Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cut
AMD Radeon HD 4850
The long awaited ending of the Mass Effect franchise is upon us! It is now time to discover if Shepard can truly save us from the Reaper threat and time to find out what all our choices throughout the two previous games had as consequences. Is Mass Effect 3 able to live up to the massive expectations behind it?
After being greeted by the very familiar, yet slightly different, Mass Effect 3 start screen, it is time for the player to embark on the final journey of Shepard and his crew (at least in my case it is a “his”). Once I finished the quick and easy steps to import my Mass Effect 2 save game, I was off and in true Mass Effect style, the opening sequence does not disappoint. Without much pause you are instantly thrown back into the thick of the action as you witness firsthand the Reaper invasion hit earth. The opening sequence not only serves as an appetiser for what is to come, but also as a tutorial for players new to the franchise, as well as to introduce some new gameplay mechanics unique to Mass Effect 3. This process is pretty much the same for those who do not have a save game to import over, only in this case the player then needs to pick a background and make some quick choices as to who he or she saved and what not. Once you finish the opening sequence you end up right where you left off in ME2, thus back on the Normandy (your spaceship).
The vistas are spectacular throughout the whole game.
Your mission? A pretty obvious one, save the Earth. To do this, The (Commander) Shepard will have to build an alliance fleet between as many of the key alien races as possible to fight and take back Earth. While your mission might seem straight forward, it quickly becomes quite the rollercoaster ride, with you having to not only convince each race to join your cause, but solve their problems that prevent them from being able to help the humans. Not to mention all the bad blood between most of these races and, to make matters worse, Cerberus ends up getting in your way with their conflicting agendas. Oh and of course not to forget! The Reapers also being a small bump on the road...
As your overall goal is to gain enough force to take back Earth and defeat the Reaper threat, the game introduces a new mechanic which serves as the reward as well for doing side missions. War Assets are now something you will need to spend most of your time trying to find and earn; this can be done through the main missions of course, but also through a large variety of side quests available. Some of which are missions on different planets, some simply use the new planet scanning and Reaper evasion mini-game. Talking about mini-games, the first thing most people will notice is that complete lack of mini-games this time around, which I for one was extremely pleased about. It is not that the mini-games in the previous ME titles were bad, but they did not really add much to the gameplay.
Shepard just shat his pants.
Without spoiling anything about the actual story, I will say this: mind = blown. I honestly do not know how else to put it, while yes, I am a big fan of the ME franchise, especially since ME2 came out. The ME3 story is extremely good, not only did they do an amazing job balancing action with story and dialogue; they really reflected the state of the galaxy and mindset of its inhabitants extremely well. So well in fact, that one could have easily mistaken this for a type of documentary. It really shows that BioWare quality story and dialogue writing we are so used to. This is not only the case for the dialogue in which you get to pick the dialogue options, but also in the dialogue you can hear while passing by random NPCs on the Citadel and on other planets. However, unlike in previous ME titles, all downtime is focused on the Citadel. When you go to other planets and stations it is only for missions and combat, you no longer have any missions to get while on other planets by walking around on them and exploring.
As you read this, it is highly likely you have heard all the fuss about the ending, I do not want to get into too much detail about it here but I really did not like the ending. It is not just because it feels so out of place and so poorly written with massive story gaps and flaws, it also makes all your choices throughout all three games seem totally for nothing as they have had no impact at all and have been undone in the final minutes of the game’s ending. There are many community theories out there explaining the ending, but only time will tell why BioWare ever released the game with this god-awful ending. It is quite possible they always intended to release DLC later that would then explain the ending and build further towards something, but regardless of that, the actual ending should be included in the game. There is also an extended cut that was released now as well. While the extended cut does improve on some of the flaws the ending used to have, it does not touch the core of the issues that the original ending had at all, those aspects were all left the same. The new extended ending also adds some new flaws.
Who cares that we are in the middle of a galactic wide war...
Gameplay wise, little has changed from ME2, though BioWare have made some nifty additions this time. When starting a new game (import or non-import) you are given some choices regarding the ‘mode’ you want to play in. Namely; ‘Action Mode’, ‘RPG Mode’ or ‘Story Mode’. The different modes influences the default combat difficulty and the way in which dialogue is handled, as in ‘Action Mode’ turns dialogue into cutscenes that you simply watch and do not pick any options. These settings can be further tweaked in the options menu as well to get it just the way you want it. While most will likely prefer ‘RPG Mode’ as it is just the standard way to play a ME game, some will definitely appreciate these choices and they do not ruin anything for those that just want to play it the standard ‘RPG Mode’.
- Story: The game delivers the final chapter for a great franchise and up till the end its story is amazing and really can touch the players emotions.
- Visuals: Overall, the game really does deliver some impressive visuals, including vistas and scenes that will just make your jaw drop.
- Combat: The combat and the RPG elements supporting it have been quite improved over ME1 and 2, making it even more fun, intense and exciting than before!
- Bugs: The few bugs in the game will not be encountered by every player.
- Co-op: Depending on personal tastes you will love or hate the co-op, some can probably invest tens of hours into it while others will get bored of it quickly.
- The Ending: Considering how few people have come out and said “Hey guys I love that ending” I think that says plenty about it. And the ‘Extended Cut’ didn’t help much either.
- Day 1 DLC: There really is no excuse for this.