Publisher: Bioware / EA Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Bioware could write the playbook on how to create an immersive single player experience. The Mass Effect series is one of the defining RPG franchises of the last few years, particularly for Xbox gamers. This explains why Mass Effect 3 carries the burden of expectation and thankfully, it mostly delivers. The uber-villians of the series or the Reapers have invaded Earth it falls on the decommissioned Shepard to gather his team and prevent galactic Armageddon. The game finally dispenses with the collect-a-companion missions of the previous installments and there’s plenty of satisfying exposition and character development. It’s a testament to Bioware that they’ve created a game where every player will experience a different version of this story. Like Mass Effect 2, players can import their save-games and the world will reflect the decisions made in previous games (who did you kill and who did you save?)
There’s more to the game than space opera. Bioware must have been playing a lot of FPS games in their spare time because the combat is faster and more fluid than ever. There’s even voice-activated biotic powers for Kinect owners. The scripted set-pieces feel like something from a Call of Duty Game and the graphics aren’t quite up to Skyrim but the improvements make a favorable impact. There’s also a new multiplayer mode, which frankly feels out of place in a game like this. It’s not going to divert FPS-heads for more than a few hours whereas RPG die-hards won’t get more than a few hours out of it. Still it’s there, if multiple play-throughs and DLC don’t satisfy.
An ending to a series carrying this much hype was never going to please anyone and there’s already an online petition afoot for Bioware to change it. The merits of an online petition aside, most gamers will agree the third installment is a satisfying conclusion to the Shepard arc of the Mass Effect franchise.
Buy or Rent: Buy
Replay Value: 4/5
Reviewed by: Bryan Collins