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32 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Mindblowing yet bittersweet

Author: jakimiku from Tartu, Estonia
14 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers in here, read if you've completed the game.

I looked forward to ME3 like a madman, got it and played (lived) it. I can honestly say that the Mass Effect series is the best i've played: the story is beyond imaginable and the characters are so dimensional and likable. I don't think that lately there has been a more captivating game, book or film where i have grown so into the characters and the world. The fact that i was able to import all my character development and vital decisions through all the franchise is already a sign of how really grande the game is.

First of all, a bit about the gameplay: i liked that the movement was more dimensional, you could sprint a lot (which saved me many a times when i needed cover), using ability combos - again fantastic, and the game was generally a lot faster. New squad members, James and EDI were interesting and brought something new to the table. Soundtrack was very well composed and the atmosphere whilst playing the game was of something significant. That's that, top notch.

The characters... amazing. To see a portrayal of them through all three games was fantastic, because even if you used some of the squadmembers more than others (f.e. i didn't use Liara or Tali in my ME1 playthrough very much, i relied on Ash and Garrus mostly; we all have our favorites), you could still see how they all grew and what the world was like for them. Seeing how Ash reacted to Shepard through different times or how their romance went, how friendship with Garrus grew, how Thane interpreted the world and the meaning of life, what Tali felt in her suit, what was it like for Liara, how Jack opened up, and all about the other characters, all that combined was so heartwarming and astonishing, something i haven't encountered in other games (even in Dragon Age it wasn't that close).

So yes, the thing that enraged me the most was the ending. Massive, massive letdown which bitters the whole saga for me because now we know that ME3 was the last. All the decisions, all the character development, all the romance, all the build up was made irrelevant by the Catalyst god who offered Shepard three choices: control, synthesis or destroy. All the endings were basically the same: energy takes out the reapers, mass relays blow up, Shepard dies, Normandy crashes and galactic army is stuck around Earth with no way to get back home without the relays. The lack of choice and variety was the worst problem. For example, in ME1 you had the choice to save the Council, in ME2 you had the choice to destroy the station and which characters survived (why engaging the characters was so important in the game) but in ME3 whatever you do, with all the endings you get the same cutscene and Shepard dies (even if you see the little scene where he draws breath it's not good enough, because it's the matter of your hopeful interpretation and it's not fair to demand the loyal fanbase to "make up our own interpretations of what the ending means for us"). All the good we can see or make up is just our imagination because Bioware didn't give us clear and different endings (the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in the middle, as in 16 different endings they promised). That leaves literally no point to play the game again (you cannot alter the main ending path like in 2 where you could alternatively help the Illusive Man) because you cannot either return to Ash (or whoever you chose) or to Normandy or to anywhere else. You have three basically identical (save for the color of explosions) choices, none of which are satisfactory. Reading all the other reviews/thoughts, i'm not the only one who would have preferred a more clear, an alternate ending. Bitter, bitter, bitter.

All i can hope for is a DLC which makes a clearer ending or offers a new one which sees Shepard reunite with Normandy and it's crew. The reason i love ME series is because the choices you make feel real, they reach out to you, you fall in love with amazing characters and the world, you're a part of the story, but none of this matters with an ending we have no control over. Sad.

The main concept of Mass Effect is the freedom of choices, creating your own path, living the game as Shepard. Everything you do influences what comes next (f.e. if you sacrifice the Council in ME1 then in 2 and 3 other races see you as someone who puts humanity over the galaxy, therefore it's more difficult to get their support; if you get high approval from squad mates in 2 you get better defense for Normandy, etc.). If you are able to choose every little part of the story for yourself in the matter of choice-consequence way, it is only fair that you should be able to choose the ending as well. Otherwise, what's the point? This ending however doesn't give us a chance to make none of our choices matter (it even doesn't give us a chance to defy the child/god) and abandons the reason why Mass Effect is so great to play and why it differes from everything else.

In the end all i can say is that i loved the series very much. One of the most outstanding sci-fi and fantasy worlds with incredible story and characters. I'll just pretend that the ending was something different, something to my own liking.

10 for the franchise, gameplay, story in general, outstanding characters and the world itself. Thank you for reading.

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25 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

A 'Literary' Review of ME3

Author: nomen_meltdown from NB, Canada
16 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you hated the ending, and don't want to hear why I think your complaints are probably petty, by all means please skip this review.

Whereas Mass Effect 3 was tasked with ending the story of Shepard's accidental drafting as the vanguard against the Reapers and their existential threat to galactic life, I think it succeeded spectacularly. Whatever technical imperfections and gameplay quirks (for me, all the new 'mobility' sometimes hindered me as much as it helped), my focus is on the characterization and narrative, which I found on-par with or superior to any other game I've ever played. I felt moved to more-- more warmth, awe, sorrow, affection, humour, and anguish-- than any other piece of fiction in memory, and I was an English major with a love of stories.

The characterization was riding on the writing, the acting, and the character visualizations. I felt the latter was the weakest-- some of those facial expressions... yikes. But the script showed some real growth in the characters, and made them feel 'alive.' I also loved how-- unlike the mere stationary 'conversation dispensers' of ME1& 2-- NPCs aboard the Normandy and the Citadel moved around, interacted with one another, and revealed their own 'relationships.' Eavesdropping on their supportive intercom conversations and their banter, listening to Joker and Garrus tell racist jokes about each others' species-- some of it was hysterical and some of it was quite touching. There were also some great scenes with Shepard that really showed how close these imaginary people have become.

None of that would have 'worked' if not for some praise-worthy performances by the actors, most of whom 'sold' me almost all of their material very effectively. And at risk of playing unfair favourites (because I've waited 5 years to romance Kaidan Alenko as another guy), I was especially wowed by Raphael Sbarge. He sounded superbly authentic to me, none of it came off as forced or fake, even in the novel role of the finally-realized same-sex romance. (Though Shepard's part in that first 'date' fell a bit flat for me-- equal parts the lines and the delivery, I think-- Kaidan felt really 'real.') And his 'farewell' at the London FOB was heart-wrenching, and changed my mind from "I want him safely as far away from me as possible" to "I couldn't imagine doing this without him by my side." It *would* have been nice to have seen a bit more of our ME2 squad-- I didn't realize how attached I'd actually gotten to them until their bodies started piling up-- but the story was coming full-circle and ultimately I don't mind that they were 'bit players.' They were assembled for a specific mission, it was accomplished, and not having experienced the Reapers' threat as directly as the original team did, they had lives to get back to. Even so, the QEC farewells from London were nonetheless really emotional for me.

And I found overall narrative outstanding; the invasion seemed urgent, its spread felt foreboding, Cerberus' interference sincerely made me *angry* at their meddling, and the push to reclaim Earth really had an 'epic' feel to it. Standing out as emblematic of how immersed and how invested I'd become, during the final battle through the streets of London, it was like I forgot medigel even existed and I fought harder than I think I ever have-- poetry in motion-- to 'defend' Kaidan. Nothing else I've watched or read or played has made me feel so protective of an imaginary person.

As for the much-derided ending(s). I'm unsympathetic to the complaints-- they strike me as churlish and smacking of "the customer is always right" entitlement. Yes, it was sad. Broke my heart in half a dozen different ways, but none of them because "I didn't get" my way, or all my questions answered, or a ticker-tape parade at the end. 'My' Shepard heroically offered up his life to end the threat to everything he loved, and while I could have asked for more-- I deeply longed for a 'happy ending'-- I couldn't presume to expect it given the scope. By that I mean: if Shep had survived then what? A hum-drum retirement? Death of old age? Because that would have been so much more satisfying. No, this was a good old fashioned epic-- given the stakes, victory was always bound to be pyrrhic and agonizing. You don't give birth to a new age without pain.

In the end I felt beat up. I was a mess. But I'd done what I set out to do. The Reapers were stopped and the people I cared about had a chance. There was ambiguity and worry and there were questions, but there was hope. I'd been reminded of feelings that often go untapped by blowing the reservoir wide open, and reminded I was alive by making me think about what a death could 'mean.' The notion that I deserved more-- that BioWare's storytelling artists "owed" me exactly what I wanted because I'd *chosen* to pay to experience this journey they crafted-- strikes me as self-centered. It was always their story to tell and ours to participate in, and I wasn't robbed at the end of any gun. That they gave me some freedom in how I experienced 90 or 99% of that story, that I got to see certain decisions play out over time and certain consequences reach fruition, never deluded me into thinking that I was the ultimate author. But I think audiences today are spoiled for information (the information age tells us nothing need go un-answered) and for 'choice' (often the choice is to escape, to shirk responsibility, and to brush off real consequences to have everything our way), and I think that makes the uproar over ME3's conclusion an indictment of 'bad readers' more than 'bad writers.'

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46 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Unforgettable game, the kind it will be remembered like a true ground breaker

Author: spadurar-271-261202 from Sweden
11 March 2012

I've started playing ME2 and it appealed to me so much that I went back and played the first one, so that I will create - to quote Dr. Okeer - "the perfect specimen". In other words, I love this world and I would recommend to anyone to give it a try. When I've started ME3 I was at first unnerved by what I considered sloppy writing, but the game proved me wrong -it grows steadily and ends up a giant. Don't believe the whiners that complain about the ending. It's not only the best ending that I saw in a long time, it the only possible ending (within the logical frames of the story). This game depth and capability to draw you in the story are unparalleled.

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Mass Effect 3 review from a fan of Mass Effect 2

Author: bondukkevin from United Kingdom
20 March 2012

After playing Mass Effect 2 and aching to import my character into Mass Effect 3, I played the demo and was blown away. I then read some reviews from fans before getting the game and some were disappointed and others thought it was great. So was time to make up my own mind and on first play through it was awesome and 17 hours in it is still to me awesome! This has got to be one of the best games every made IMO.

The level of detail and the great way you can import the game save from ME2 was astonishing, I cannot praise Bioware enough, sure it has a few flaws i.e. I don't like how you cannot "Drill down" into the missions and see more details like you could in ME2 and also how sometimes when going to cover you roll forward but aside from these little niggles it is an astonishing feat that surely must win game of the year!

Anyone who loves 3rd person shooters and RPGS will love this game! Buy it now!

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46 out of 84 people found the following review useful:

Best Game.

Author: kcboo from Canada
8 March 2012

I'm quite the fan of Mass Effect, after beating ME 1 and 2 Mass Effect 3 is just as good and better then its predecessors. It's everything the last games were and improved. I highly suggest this game to anyone, it is the definition of epic. So amazing and serious, yet humorous and sad. It's a terrific game, and the new features such as being able to dodge and sprint for long distances really improves game play in comparison to the previous games. 1000/10 Fantastic. I've only been playing Mass Effect 3 for roughly 3 hours and already i can say it is one of the best games i have ever played. The Story is so unforgettable. Bioware has once again pulled out an amazing gem! Anyone who is new to the series can probably pick this game up and play it. There are some key aspects you might not get immediately but after awhile all questions are answered. I am in love with this game, and cant wait to see what will happen!

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16 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

All's well that ends well, therefore:

Author: agastler from United States
8 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I won't discuss plot details here, but I will write vaguely about the ending of the game. If you don't want my impressions to enter your mindset before completing the game, I would forgo my review.

Virtually everything about this game is an improvement from the first two games. It strikes a middle-ground between intensive customization and streamlining. For instance, there are more weapons to be had, but we see fewer variations than in the first game, but certainly more than in the second. This allows the player to enter into combat equipped as they see fit - a pleasant change. Also, there are fewer squad-mates than in the first two titles, but the customization of their abilities has been increased. This also was quite good.

The combat is improved. It is quicker, with generally faster ability cool-downs for more active use of squad-mates. They also operate more intelligently, not barreling into crowds of enemies as they did in Mass Effect 2. Grenades were added to the game, though I personally saw little use for them in my first play-through.

My biggest complaint over the first thirty hours of the game also relates to multi-player - there's just too much loading and waiting. I was compelled to seek out my crew during the break between operations, but was torn away from doing so by the reality of loading screens. Though they don't take an excessively long amount of time, it all adds up very quickly. Why the ship itself wasn't one contiguous zone escapes me.

Another improvement is that we're not bothered by trivial missions anymore. There is the occasional scan-and-go-find-this-item mission, but when we step off of the ship with a gun, we're going in for a fully-scripted, voice-acted - and plot-relevant - shootout. No more are we going on trivial side-missions (as we did in Mass Effect 2, finding anomalies).

Some have made attacks against the writing of the game. Most are nonspecific, though I take it they mean how cheesy the writing can be at times. That is to be expected. It's the end-of-days for these characters, and that means a bit more of an "Aw, screw it" sort of basis to build the lines on.

The biggest problem with this game, without question is how it ends. If you haven't completed the game, I encourage you again to refrain from reading below.

The endings are terrible, and uniform. There is little to no variance between endings, other than a few tweaks. This affects the game's chief virtue: re-playability. There's little point in going back to play through it again, knowing that regardless of what choice you make, you're stuck into a very narrow set of endings. It's what killed Deus Ex: Human Revolution for me, and it's what kills the entire Mass Effect series for me personally. Coming off of a fresh play-through of this game's predecessor, which provided endings ranging from the triumphant to the bleak, I can't iterate enough how badly this game failed in its last twenty minutes.

Because the demand for more material will be enormous, there will undoubtedly be some single-player expansion in the form of DLC. It may simply be another squad-mate, but I hope that it carries on where the endings leave off. I have never encountered an ending so unsatisfying in any entertainment medium.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

High Science Fiction

Author: starofflames from Hungary
17 November 2012

What is "real science fiction"? There are many answers. I say, high science fiction is a form of art, that asks questions no other artistic genre can pose. What is the meaning of life? Where is the line between computing and artificial intelligence? How do you define life and is an AI alive?

The Mass Effect series makes the players ask those questions and let them answer them. Mass Effect is more than a game, it is an interactive story that inspires you to think, to wonder, to imagine. Mass Effect is a drama about the value of humanity, our place in the universe, about interpersonal relations and constant values.

The third and (so far) final chapter in this story is no less worthy of the players' attention. The game-play is intensive and exciting, the cut-scenes are even better made and inserted into the main storyline. The game involves deeper social interactions but many who missed the "planetary exploration" part during the second game were even less satisfied. Mass Effect is no more about exploring new planets and getting to know new aliens, now it is all about the heat of the story.

If anyone who has not played the game but has already heard the fans' screams about the ending, may be horrified what they will experience in this game. But rest assured, Mass Effect 3 is dramatic, heroic, deep and artistic, and the story is just well-written and complete. Everything is as they should be, everything fits into a greater pattern. It's not just worth a shot, it's a must-play. It has sorrowful moments just as it has happy ones, and you can experience actually how attached you grew to Commander Shepard and his/her crew. It is pure and elevating. Just how a final part of an amazing story should be.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Master piece of space history ever told

Author: argento100 from Argentina
1 September 2012

This is the most epic game i ever played, truly, is blows your brain away. Since the start to the end,is so EPIC.

The game is full of movie scenes, a lot of pieces of history, missions that just gives you more question and finally answer that make it all more epic.

Play it with From the Ashes and Leviathan DLC's, you will get some surprises and some holes of the ME universe will be erased giving you part of the history that you will appreciate much.

The fear, the tension, the despair, the most dark behavior of a person, the cost of war, the drama, the fight for the survival, the threat of annihillation of entire civilizations, all of this in Mass Effect 3. This will get you in the front of the monitor immersing you in the game so hard that you actually will believe that is happening.

A master piece of ART itself, is not just a game, is a HEROIC EPIC HISTORY about survival, believes, friendship, loyalty, union. Moral choices about sentient beings, organic or inorganic, the pain of refugees. You will feel your blood boiling for what happen, you will want to fight and protect your kind, you will feel the necessity and impotence of stop the Reapers while you see what they are doing. You will understand the price of the ultimate survival fight.

This game really is good as is reputation, is epic itself.

It deserves a film about it but i prefer a high budget series rather than a movie, but well, movie is already in shooting stage.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

"One Last Fight..."

Author: slayerjmk95 from United States
18 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to say, i was beyond impressed with ME3, and, to all you haters and people who call themselves "fans" who are really trolls, i loved the final conclusion to this epic video game. The Mass Effect universe is, without a doubt, the greatest and most intriguing story set-piece of all time. Not only do you get to visit other worlds, save the galaxy, meet aliens and take on another life in a sci-fi epic's future, but you control the fate of trillions throughout this series as if it were actually happening; THIS is what an RPG is all about and should be. Skyrim was fantastic, but it didn't have any true basis of real RPG game-play and a life-changing, epic adventure; ME3 was beyond mind-blowing and memorable. Yes, i will admit this game has bugs, but who really cares!? I'm so engrossed in the story and witnessing the hell that Shepard has to go through that my thoughts on bugs in the game are ABSENT! That's how damn good this game is!! I've never felt so attached to characters in my life; the voice acting was perfect, the characters were lovable and note-worthy, and the facial captures are stunning (mainly with the romance scenes). The score: Oscar-worthy. Clint Mansell created some of the most incredible tracks of all time with this game. I can understand the uproar over the plot holes in the game, especially with finding out that the Reapers are only pawns in a bigger scheme, but this is a timed effort; Shepard doesn't have time to go searching for other answers. This is war, and he has to see it through because the Reapers will never stop, not until they've won.

All in all, this game was a perfect conclusion to a memorable and phenomenal sci-fi series that will go down in history as a "game-changer," and for just being a true masterpiece of life. When i first played Mass Effect, i felt as if I'd been here before, witnessing these events unfold on familiar worlds with friends I'd already come to know. Now, it all ends; everything will be different, no matter what.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Massively overrated, unlike its predecessors

Author: bottombass88 from SLC, UT
15 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 created a vast, interesting sci-fi universe in which moral ambiguity and allegory thrived. Mass Effect had a cohesive narrative and compelling characters, coupled with a vast explorable universe with interesting locations and sci-fi lore. It was a true RPG with a quite complex leveling system and a protagonist who was truly unique to the individual player. The player made hard decisions and presumably would have to live with their consequences. It was a grand story with grand implications, much like KOTOR. Many people complained about the mediocre shooting mechanics, but I'd argue that the game was not a shooter. The combat and story flowed together.

Mass Effect 2 was a much different game than the first, opting to minimize the main narrative in favor of a more character driven experience. The issues presented were less important on a galactic scale than those of the first, but were regardless just as interesting and engaging to the player. The characters were the focus, and they were appropriately well developed and unique. Each had a compelling arc that moved them to gaining the mutual trust of the player. The lore was rich, and the universe was enhanced from a somewhat idealist state in ME1 to a realistic, gritty state in ME2. The music and art design followed beautifully, creating a complete experience that added to the video game's quest to become a vindicated art form. The shooting mechanics were improved at the cost of some of the RPG elements from the first game, but the RPG experience was untarnished and almost every choice that was made in ME1 was honored in some way in ME2.

ME3, for the most part, misses out on the very things that made these games good.

THE GOOD: Liara has a nice arc that continues to conclusion in ME3. Javik was a great addition. Some sections of the game are well written and executed, namely Tuchanka and Rannoch. Garrus is still Garrus. The graphics are noticeably better. The Illusive Man Citadel scene is reminiscent of the Saren confrontation in ME. Some choices play out well, such as saving Wrex in ME1 and keeping your squad alive in ME2. Weapon customization was a good idea, but it's nowhere near as satisfying as it was in ME1.

THE BAD: All pretenses of being an RPG are gone with the addition of competitive multiplayer and the bastardization of the combat. It's a shooter, first and foremost. There is less interactive dialogue than ever before, less side missions, and much less character development. The quest menu is broken and the EMS score is a silly, despicable excuse for quest rewards. Drew Karpyshyn wasn't involved in production, so much of the game is poorly written melodrama that ignores the themes and choices from the previous games. The plot concerns a giant MacGuffin (Crucible) and a Deus Ex Machina (Catalyst). The new characters are either underdeveloped (Javik), used inappropriately and lazily (Kai Leng), or boring (James). Established characters act out of character (Donnel Udina, Illusive Man, Anderson) or are just a side note (Jacob, Jack). The game feels incomplete, in part because the DLC is obviously cut content and should have been in the released game (Javik, Leviathan, Omega). Some of the most crucial choices in ME1 and ME2 are almost totally disregarded, namely the Council choices from ME1, whether or not the Rachni survived, rewriting/destroying the heritics, completing Lair of the Shadow Broker, and saving/not saving the Collector Base. The music is not notable and the soundtrack often samples the first two games to make up for its shortcomings. What happened to Jack Wall? The player classes are all too similar, due in large part to the fact that money is the only resource in the game. Exploration is basically nonexistent, so the galaxy feels small and the narrative linear. Planet scanning and door unlock puzzles are gone, so the lack of gameplay variety makes the game repetitive. Shepard is just ferried around to shoot people. Cerberus acts out of established character and I think it was a terrible narrative choice to just have the Illusive man become indoctrinated. Cerberus becomes more of an antagonist than the Reapers. The Reapers themselves are demystified in very uninteresting fashion and are degraded to a mere means. Everything Soveriegn said in ME1 was a lie. Mordin has a different voice actor. Where is Michael Beattie? The game is less interactive as a whole.

THE UGLY: The ending is a travesty. Everything after Harbinger shows up is a mess from a storytelling standpoint. The Catalyst ruins the concept of the Reapers and changes the central conflict of the series. Mass Effect was never about "Organics vs. Synthetics". It was much more complicated than that. It's themes dealt with anthropocentrism, the very concept of life, bigotry, strength through diversity, and defiance in the face of impossibility. Instead, Shepard is given the choice to control the Reapers (something he has fought against), combine with the Reapers and synthetics (husks? What happened to strength through diversity?), and destruction (oh yeah, it also kills all synthetics). No matter which you pick, its a cop out and a violation of the themes of the games. It's a superficial, artificially "hard choice" to make instead of a genuine dilemma. Furthermore, all established lore (Mass Effect relays) is forsaken in favor of an easy way out of the problems of the narrative. Really Bioware? This is the best that your writers could come up with? The story ends without an ending and it sullies the ENTIRE journey. See the videos of MrBtongue and smudboy on YouTube for infinitely more depth into the blatant problems of the ending.

THE BRIGHT SIDE: Most of my problems with the story could be solved if the indoctrination theory turns out to be true and they actually add a meaningful ending. Seems unlikely.

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