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02-11-2013, 07:35 AM
Voodoo Child
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Chengdu
Country: China
Posts: 3,738
vCash: 500
Mass Effect 3 (PS3)

Well I was right; certainly superior to Skyrim. It's not superior on all counts (I doubt many would argue that Mass Effect 3 is a more attractive game than Skyrim, or that it's less linear than Skyrim), but it still did a good job.

Story: I have no idea how to do spoiler tags, so I have whited them out...I know it's not the same, but you can just skim past.

It's been too long since I played ME2, but something about that ending did make me go 'WTF!?'; it felt like a cop-out, it felt like I spent the better part of 3 games building alliances and assets to have a virtually indistinguishable set of endings ('If I grind for another ten hours, instead of just Joker and James stepping out of the Normandy, EDI is there too, oh whoop-de-doo!'). It felt like decisions that I had made, and not made lightly, were cast off in exchange for a tidy resolution.

Aside from that (admittedly major) gripe, the story the trilogy tells is perhaps the best the medium has seen since Final Fantasy VII hit us a decade and a half ago. 9.4/10.

Characters: You know one thing I hated about Skyrim? At the end of the day, I didn't care about any of these people...not so in Mass Effect. I love all of these characters, all had integral roles in the story in relation to Shepard, all had a place on my combat team, hell, even lowly one-off NPCs were real people. 10/10.

Gameplay: Yeah, I know you level, and customize your gear, but I've never felt that the Mass Effect series was an 'RPG'; it's in the gray area between RPG, Action Game and Shooter. Nonetheless, the mechanics of the shooter parts of the game were usually good (can't count how many times I took a bullet to the head because I wasn't flush against a wall I needed to get cover behind, or how many times I was in a firefight and BAM! Husks up my ass from nowhere, or for some reason I couldn't fire from cover).

The customization system is just okay I think...before you crucify me, I only say this because it feels like I modded all of my shotguns with Upgrade A and Upgrade B, all my pistols with Upgrade B and Upgrade C, and all of my sniper rifles with Upgrade C and Upgrade D. If there is some sort of continuation or prequel in the pipe, I would like to see this expanded in greater depth (just spitballing, maybe upgrades themselves level with increased usage?).

However, I can't say enough good things about some other areas; space exploration and the choices. I used to love just ******* around, scanning planets here and there for what I can find, and the choices add heft and gravity to an already extremely strong story. 8.6/10.

Graphics and Sounds: Even running at 1080P, Skryim is an aesthetically far superior game, but that's okay; I don't need to be wowed by the graphics to be sold on a game, but I'd hardly call ME3 a sterling example of a next-gen title, in terms of visuals (anyone else remember Asteroids when flying the Normandy through space?). Faces are rendered fairly well and the cutscenes are very well done. I'll throw the Bioware team a bone here and give graphics a nice round 8/10.

However, the music is outstanding; apt, moving, comes in at just the right time, sufficiently epic in scope and nature, and it, at alternating times in the game, either perfectly compliments or directs a scene (as much as I dislike the ending, how badass is that minimalist Philip Glass-esque piece when you need to make your decision at the end?). The series has the best VG soundtrack since Super Mario Galaxy.

Voice acting is also superb, showing that well-done voice acting can elevate even the most cringe-inducing dialogue (which ME3 does have a little bit of). The environment and gunshot noises are also perfectly captured. 9.7/10.

Extras and Misc.: A complaint I have about Skyrim is that sometimes a game can have too much to do, so much that you can lose track. Mass Effect 3 clocks in at 30-50 hours (depending on your skill level and how many quests you do), which to me is the perfect length for a video game; any shorter and I feel like I could easily have rented the game, any longer and you run the risk of monotony and boredom.

Some of the quests were a tad redundant (veering into Skyrimesque 'go there, get this, come back for credits'), but overall I enjoyed most of them.

Being able (as in ME2) to load a previous Shepard is an awesome touch, as is the New Game +. I plan to replay the series in its entirety when I get home, and to pick up a few of the DLCs. With a seemingly endless amount of choices, the game has a good level of replayability. I am already on Playthrough #3.

Having emerged from the bug hell that is PS3 Skyrim (though my roommates visiting their families for the holiday has meant that WiFi is now fast enough for me to catch up on my patches, and its certainly helped), it was refreshing to play a smooth game through and through (the only bug I know of is the game sometimes shuts down when you're in the Citadel and go to the Refugee camp from the elevator, and there is occasional freezing).

It will be a very long time before another series comes out that pulls at these old heartstrings like Mass Effect did.

Overall Score: 9.4/10

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