Mass Effect 3 (the actual game bit)

Mass Effect 3; that’s quite the video game, I hear.

I’m going to leave discussion of That Ending away from this particular bit of writings other than to say it leaves the game with a sour taste in my mouth, after all is said and done.

And it’s a real shame, because I think ME3 gets lots of things right, mechanically. There are real improvements made to the actual game; the inventory system is a happy medium between the clutter of ME1 and the sparsity of ME2, with a fair amount of weapons being available for each type (including things in each category which are substantially different  to what you’d expect; there is a heavy pistol which fires proximity mines instead of bullets, for example), upgrades and modifications for each type of weapon, and unlike ME1 you just need to have found these weapons and upgrades once for them to be available for everyone. Shepherd has also learned to move; rolls, cover-hopping, and melee are all much better. The fact that the spacebar is used for so many things (including using objects) is a little clunky, but overall I’d say the experience is better.

I also think that the narrative is relatively good, for the most part; getting to see important places in the empires of other species is really cool (especially going to the Quarian homeworld, Rannoch), there are pretty cool callbacks to some characters (I really like what Jack became, in spite of not really liking her at all in ME2) and I even liked the new characters. It’s a real shame that the vast majority of decisions you make are rendered pointless or severely altered by That Ending which I’m not mentioning right now.

There’s also the multiplayer, which frankly I’ve really liked. Sure, it’s your bog-standard horde-mode with a few objectives, but I think it’s an awful lot of fun, has a compelling upgrade system, and works pretty well in the Mass Effect framework. The fact that it contributes to your single-player score is sleazy, but I think it’s a worthy addition to the game, over all.

All in all, I really enjoyed it. And I think it speaks as a testament to how good the series as a whole is that I can’t even think about going back to it because of how bad That Ending (which I’m still not mentioning) is.

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