Mass Effect 3 Review
BioWare’s sci-fi opus concludes in excellence, save for a few minor missteps.
After four years, two beloved main sequence titles, three spin-offs, four novels, and six comics, the vaunted Mass Effect series--arguably the finest trilogy of the current console generation--finally culminates in Mass Effect 3.
BioWare, the Canada-based developer of the series, already boasts a resume that is legendary. They're responsible for classics like Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, to name a few. With Mass Effect, the company sought to push their genre of choice, the role-playing game, into modernity. They fused the RPG with the shooter in a way that few had done before. They innovated on narrative and player choice by blending cinematic direction with an immersive conversation system that will be copied for years. For the first time ever, they attempted to link all three games by allowing choices made in the first to affect outcomes in the second and third. And as much as they've advanced the western RPG, they also looked back and drew inspiration from the large-scale space operas of the 1980's, translating their classic appeal for a new audience. This is the stuff of gamer's dreams.
Mass Effect 3 marks the series finale and, as such, isn't bound by future-proofing or other considerations for the next installment. This is it. The plot is free to develop in ways that are drastic and permanent, leading to some of the most arresting and emotional moments we've seen from Commander Shepard and his (or her) crew.
This review is based on over 45 hours of gameplay, including a complete playthrough at default difficulty, 2 hours of online multiplayer, and 3 hours of gameplay at the most challenging difficulty. Our player character was imported from Mass Effect 2, and from the original Mass Effect before that. All impressions are from the Xbox 360 version of the game.
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