So, a bit later than I’d planned (been busy writing) here’s my review of Mass Effect 3.
It’s a little while after the events of ME2, and the galaxy has been invaded. FemShep just about makes it off Earth, which has been conquered. She sets about trying to unite the various races of the galaxy to see off the enemy, who have seemingly overwhelming power.
It feels rather less engaging than previous games, to be honest. Even the extended cut DLC (free) doesn’t make the ending all that good, although there are various possible endings, so perhaps I got a duff one.
I have a pretty major complaint about companions. Part of this I’ll cover in a full review of the Trilogy as a single purchase, but part belongs here. After a small but solid number in the first game, and an arguably excessive number in the second, the third has too few. After 10 hours of play I have 4. Now, I’ve checked (because I was wondering if I’d done what I do with Dragon Age games and missed one or two) and the reasons for this are:
One who would’ve joined me got killed during the final mission of ME2 (who lives and dies varies according to your decisions)
One who sounds pretty interesting is DLC (a pet hate and something Bioware should stop doing)
One who could join me is Kaidan, and he irritates the hell out of me
So, I’ve got 4 (at the time of writing: later Kaidan does join). Two technical, 1 biotic and 1 meathead who I’m disinterested in. So, really, I’ve got 3 to pick from. Whereas in ME2 I always took Miranda, the third spot was varied, with Thane, Garrus, Grunt and Tali often joining me.
The galaxy is as big as ever, but just about every sidequest appears to be a fetch quest. Annoyingly, you will sometimes get a quest to go to planet X, but they won’t tell you the system or the cluster in which it’s located. This is a letdown after ME2, which had some more varied sidequests, and even random missions from exploring planets could be unexpected and interesting.
Battles are very similar to ME2. Whether it’s the fact I played them back to back and got a bit used to it or because the ME3 battles are just worse, I found them a bit irksome sometimes. There’s a tendency to just hurl huge numbers of relatively easy foes at you, and some enemies are overpowered. Banshees were just a pain to fight, whereas Brutes were a challenge without feeling frustrating.
Generally improved from ME2, although not the large leap that we saw from the first game to the second. However, the character creator has changed significantly. This meant that, even importing my ME2 file, it was pretty much impossible to get my FemShep to look she should. The character creator seems a step backwards to me (from my limited furkling there appear to more options, but the end result isn’t as good, to my eyes, as ME2’s).
The armour looks better than in ME2 and works more or less the same, although customisation options have been improved. Cutscenes and so forth look nice and I think the texture loading issue has more or less gone.
Third instalment, so the voice acting is as solid as ever. Jennifer Hale did a great job through the trilogy, and others (Hackett, Anderson, Garrus etc) are a strong supporting cast.
Bugs and Other Issues
There’s a serious bug, but having searched Gamefaqs it sounds like a rare one (unlike the ME save problem and the ME2 Cerberus problem). Basically, the game freezes. This is quite rare, and normally it’d be no more than a mild annoyance (30 hours of play included 2 freezes). However, the console fails to shut down properly afterwards and does a check to see if it’s been corrupted. I don’t want to have to worry about my PS3 becoming a brick when I’m playing a game. After the first freeze, which occurred just a few hours in, I disabled autosave. No idea if that made a difference.
This is especially frustrating because I’d planned on playing it through a few more times, to take advantage of the German language option. However, I think I’ll probably give it a miss from now on.
On a lesser note there’s also a strange little bit of lag when changing floors in the Normandy. And halfway through floor 2 there’s a stupid delay for a body-scan, which never reveals anything and just causes a 5-10 second wait. The floor isn’t large, and this isn’t a major problem, but it’s just a needless and tiresome thing.
A good game let down by freezing, and a lack of quest variety. Enjoyable but fails to live up to the standard set by Mass Effect 2. 7/10 (score does not consider the freeze problem as, mentioned previously, this does not sound like a common issue).