Well, that didn’t last very long, did it?
Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my playthough of Mass Effect 2. It’s not like it took me that long to finish Mass Effect 3. It took me around 3 weeks. I even had to replay some segments of the game all over again because I wasn’t happy with the results of some missions. More on that later. However, to be fair, I finished Bioware’s second entry in the Mass Effect trilogy on something like a Wednesday and I scheduled the post to be put up on the next week, which is why it seems like I went through Mass Effect 3 in just 2 weeks.
I’m cutting it rather close this time around as I’ve just finished Mass Effect 3 on a Tuesday and I have to get this post up by tomorrow, which is a Wednesday. Strangely enough, while I do remember some of the important plot points of the game, I’ve forgotten most of the stuff when my brother played it and I was just a simple backseat gamer all those years ago. So there were some parts that did feel entirely new to me this time around. What I do vividly remember about my time with Mass Effect 3 so long ago is my disappointment with it. I’m sad to say playing all these years later hasn’t changed my opinion on that.
That’s not to say Mass Effect 3 isn’t a good game. I would have to say it’s the most polished of the entire Mass Effect trilogy, especially when it comes to combat. As I’ve been using an Infiltrator class for my FemShep, I’ve always been loyal to the sniper rifle. I loved the Widow in the second game but, in Mass Effect 3, it’s utterly god-like! You can easily one-shot kill baddies with it normally but I would always switch ammo types around depending on the enemies on the field. I do wish they still gave the Infiltrator class a sniper rifle slowdown bonus like in Mass Effect 2 but that can easily be circumvented with the use of mods for your guns. This made it so I didn’t have to use Tactical Cloak anymore as it was so easy to kill enemies with one shot with the Widow! Another side effect of being able to one shot enemies is that I never really needed the grenades. I always had a full stock of them no matter where I went.
Combat is generally feels much better. While I thought the cover mechanics in Mass Effect 2 was alright, Mass Effect 3 ups everything in some glorious ways. My FemShep could not glide over low obstacles, something I wish was in the previous installments. She can also to this tumble to dive in and out of cover, which did seem unnecessary a lot of times but I just like doing it because it looked fun. Wheee!
I do wish BioWare included more of the past squadmates in Mass Effect 3 because, in all honesty, I didn’t care all that much for the new members of the Normandy here. I never really got a liking to Steve Cortez, your dedicated shuttle pilot, and while he did have his moments I just didn’t care a whole lot for James Vega, the new buff soldier in the team. I guess he’s supposed to be this dumb lug who’s also the comedy relief. So I don’t understand why they had to give him this grand tragic tale about him being the only survivor of a Collector battle? If you want him to be a dumb lug, let him be a dumb but lovable lug!
I also did not like what they did to 2 other characters, namely Ashley Williams and EDI. I loved it when EDI was just a part of the Normandy and would help FemShep and her squad indirectly. In Mass Effect 3, she gets a sexy android body, which is great for Joker, but not for me! It kind of felt like BioWare was pandering to a certain demographic who wanted to see EDI in a body that matched her voice. It felt totally unnecessary and I wish her slot was filled up with a returning member like Grunt. Speaking of sexing up someone, why the heck did they change the almost plain but pretty looking Ashley Williams, the stern human soldier, and glammed her up with overly pouty lips, long hair and an outfit that sort of shows off her cleavage? When did she want to be an Instagram model? She does act the same but changing her look was dumb!
My favorite new squad member is, hands down, Javik, the revived Prothean. I do find it odd we didn’t get a krogan in your party but having a Prothean did kind of make up for this oversight. I loved how Javik is the total opposite of what many thought Protheans were. Instead of being this benevolent race of caretakers and peacekeepers, it turns out they’re a warrior race of conquerers who dominated all other races. It’s a neat little twist to the story. As he’s seen the other races before they evolved, there were times when I would put him in the party just to see if he would comment on their evolution. I strongly advise you have him join the squad when you have to go to Thessia, the asari homeworld, as he has a lot to say about how these blue skinned females were pretty much chosen by the Protheans to be the next step of the evolutionary process.
Unfortunately, Mass Effect 3 has a big problem and it deals with the story. Rather, it’s more on how it feels disconnected from the previous games. While Mass Effect 3 will have some really good callbacks, like Mordin using the data we kept during his loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2, it appears you can still cure the genophage even without Mordin or the data as there will be another salarian in his stead. The story will still proceed with or without Mordin so it seems like a moot point to keep him alive in the grand scheme of things. There’s also the matter of how Anderson, who I appointed as the human Council representative, is immediately booted from the post at the start of the game! It just seems so incredibly random and almost like BioWare wrote themselves into a corner and they had to make some hasty edits to Mass Effect 3’s script.
Before I do get to my other problems with Mass Effect 3’s story, I do want to talk about the best thing about the game and that’s the Citadel DLC campaign. This was the kind of thing I expected from Mass Effect 3 as it feels like the culmination of all of the things you’ve done in the previous games. You get to go with old members like Wrex in a more tongue-in-cheek cheesy adventure. Every one also has their moment to shine with their own mini-story. It’s just fun and the callbacks and references are genius. Oh, and the final party where you have past and current members come together felt like a love letter to fans. I really wish the entire game felt like the Citadel DLC.
Back to the stuff I didn’t like, I also didn’t like the introduction of new characters like Kai Leng, one of Cerberus’ assassins. They prop him up to be this awesome bad guy but, because they introduced him in the middle of the story, he’s never given any time to really come off as a menace. It would have been much better if BioWare was a lot more forward thinking and introduced him early on or hinted at him in a data file in one of the previous games.
The worst thing about the story, in my opinion, is the entire Crucible macguffin. It comes out of nowhere and was never hinted at in any of the previous games and you never really know what it’s supposed to do. You get this vague understanding it’ll stop the Reaper threat but how it’ll do that is never mentioned. Even the Prothean Javik has no knowledge about it! This then leads to probably why a lot of fans like myself felt like BioWare let us down when Mass Effect 3 was first released: the endings.
Mass Effect 3 appropriately has several endings. However, none of those endings are impacted by your actions in the previous games! All you do is make a choice at the very ending and, depending on how many incidental resources you’ve gathered (and, really, if you played through all of the side quests and explored the heck out of the galaxy like a good gamer, you should have a high number), you have 3 choices: destroy the Reapers along with every synthetic being like EDI and the geth, control the Reapers but FemShep will have to be uploaded to a computer to do so and the synthesis option where both synthetic and organic life are merged. I ultimately chose the control ending as it seems like this is what my Paragon FemShep would pick. However, none of these seems like a very satisfying ending. There’s no happy ending for FemShep and her partner, Liara. It’s all bittersweet and, if that’s what BioWare was going for, then they succeeded. It still sucks, though.
Oh, I was also annoyed how it turns out the crux of the entire Mass Effect series was all about how organic and synthetic life can’t get along so it was decided long ago for the synthetic lifeforms, the Reapers, would destroy all other life in the galaxy to reset things and repeat ad nauseam. It’s so anticlimactic and definitely not a twist that felt like a large revelation.
Speaking of being annoyed, I really hated those dream sequences. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how it fits in the story! I guess they were meant to be glimpses of the “blue boy” who is the Catalyst of the Reapers but they all felt unnecessary and boring! It would have been so much better if the “blue boy” was something like a young version of your Shepard. At least I would make a connection with the child! Each time I would play through the dream sequence, all I could think of is why should I care about this boy in the first place? Sure, he looks like the kid who died at the start but, with everyone who’s died in FemShep’s life, why is this little boy haunting her dreams when Kaiden would be a more logical choice?
While I can’t say I didn’t enjoy myself with Mass Effect 3, it’s just overshadowed by how much of a tighter package Mass Effect 2 is. I certainly wish the series ended with a glorious bang instead of how things came out at the end.
What did you think of Mass Effect 3? Which entry would you say is the best Mass Effect game? Let me know in the comments section below!