Mass Effect 3
Ah, Mass Effect. You came for the controversy over blue alien bottoms and stayed for the killer story and gameplay. The last entry for this series was written up as Star Wars for a new generation, and as the pre-orders start to roll in for ME3, the final installment, that’s looking no less true.
The newest entry picks up not long after the last DLC (depending on who you got killed) with Commander Shepard benched for killing, oh, well, a lot of aliens. And since court martial scenes can be dull, it immediately jump starts the game by throwing you into the middle of an alien invasion of Earth. So that’s new.
The combat sequences here aren’t all that different from before, many of the familiar weapons return in new forms, and there’s a ton of customisation to give each gun your personal touch. Shepard moves around the battlefield much more actively now, can get up in enemies’ faces, and in general makes run-and-gun a more valid option than it used to be.
Still, there are a lot of new variables here that don’t bode well. ME has always been a single player story that everyone puts their own spin on, and now Bioware is adding multiplayer for no reason I can think of. Same goes for voice-activated squad commands and dialogue options (because who doesn’t love barking at a video game?). I’m all for giving a good game some new tricks, but these are the kind of thing that distract from what makes ME so great.
Ultimately there’s a lot riding on this to bring home the thousand plot lines every player left dangling in their last save file. Some have even kept the same character going since the very first entry. And so far, this game looks set to deliver an epic conclusion. [Alex Cole]