All I was asking for…
I will not lie, when ME3 was nearing launch, I was
pretty hyped. Perhaps not hyped for the game like others, but this was the first time I had time for a midnight release since I’ve yet to get any obligations such as college or a job yet. The thing though I told my brother as we left the GameStop after picking up the game and getting in the car was the ONE thing I was asking for besides a quality game was for it to end well.
Thoughts going in
Before I go into anymore detail, I should first state my opinions and experiences with the previous entries and Bioware’s other ventures. Lets start with Mass Effect, my feelings for this game are mixed, on one hand, I thought the game play was rather unpolished at times and the bugs really did start to get in the way. I probably cursed the auto-save system the most, because if I died by either making a stupid mistake or not seeing something coming, the game reloads to a really far point in the encounter, forcing me to save after almost every little shoot-out. I point this out because Game Informer made a dare to put the game down in the final 3 hours, this checkpoint system bit me in the ass here, so I did turn off the game in disinterest and finished it later.
I do however do not ever regret playing the game because its plot is really good and it felt like I did have control over what could happen in the game’s universe. Even though I only used Garrus and Wrex throughout the game and didn’t really care about the romance options opting to only to do it for the achievements sake, I still say it was a game not to be missed. Overall, it was a good game, but it had its share of annoyances.
When Mass Effect 2 came around, my brother was more interested in it while I was focused on something else (I don’t remember what it was XD). When I played it out of curiosity, I was hooked with the game, with the plot being even better than the first one, a far better composed crew, the combat being more polished, and the auto-save system being more efficient.
I should briefly mention the Dragon Age games and Star Wars the old republic as quickly as I can. I really couldn’t get into Origins because of the combat not exactly starting off strong, but I will admit its still a cool game. Dragon Age 2 I did play all the way through and while I did enjoy it, it is nowhere near as good as Origins, I look at it as a experiment that did a few things right but got a lot of things wrong. The Old Republic I immensely enjoyed playing in the initial months, but it did fail as a MMO, with me finding a lack of feasible end game content to do, it felt more fun to play as a single player game and a few groups here and there rather than a MMO.
That year was full of some of the best sequels in awhile (my favorite being BlazBlue CS), so it pained me that I actually found 3 games better than ME2. Anyway, I probably liked the character cast most about this game, its generally the elements of a story I feel that are the most important, and this game did them really well. I never played future DLC for it, but I still found it an awesome game without them.
WARNING: As if you hadn’t seen this enough with any other ME3 post, I will be getting into spoiler territory, sorry but this cannot be helped.
What did I like?
Then ME3 comes around, with me picking it up on the 360 along with its DLC counter part, From Ashes. Perhaps its best to start with the things I liked about the game before I ramble about the annoyances. First off, the graphics are pretty well done, with some characters from the previous games looking at their best (specifically Ash looking far more attractive than she ever was in the previous games) and the backgrounds having some pretty cool things going on while you fight. The combat is at its best with Melee being a decent addition and the head shots having some pretty good weight in them. Plot wise there are a few fantastic moments in the game, my favorite being the curing of the Krogan Geno phage and another moment which I will get into later.
Was the multiplayer worth its salt?
In a few ways, yeah, its actually surprisingly strong in some aspects… at first. Its really fun at first to be shooting with 3 other players and having a lot of classes and races to unlock, but my main problem comes from the lack of maps. It gets really repetitive quickly, so I quickly I lost interest in this mode, it ends up feeling tacked on.
Now to what hurts this game… and me
This game really is not an Action RPG anymore, its a action game because it feels a little too stream lined. I really did not like the lack of middle choices, making it feel like there are less ways to express your character. The thing that I liked about ME2 is that I felt like I could make any decision I wanted to do rather than being a pure paragon or renegade, though I do end up being more paragon most of the time, doing renegade if either I’m making a immediate decision or I just feel its a decision that is closer to what I would make. This game is also short, not the shortest game ever, but still inexcusable since it has 2 discs on the 360 version. This is one of my biggest gripes with the current generation, not enough games are long enough to be worth the 60$ purchase, and this game is one of the offenders in this case.
The Characters(Squad mates)
The crew in this game is shorter than ME2, and this really hurts me considering that ME2’s best strength was its crew members, now there are less and I find myself doing what I did in ME1, using only Garrus and Tali for the entire game once I got them. Ash, while looking better than ever, still is unfortunately not that interesting. Vega, while not being as bad as I initially thought, it still very lacking as a character, with only one really good moment with him early on. EDI was always really fun as a A.I and the relationship was fun with Joker, but giving her a robot form, while not intrusive in her character, doesn’t really add much. I was not on board with them taking their husband and wife further, the relationship was supposed to be funny, not LITERALLY a physical one, because as I joke (forgive the crudeness), if he F@#$s her, HE WILL BREAK HIS @#$%!!! Liara is OK, definitely not annoying like she was in ME1, but still I didn’t take too much interest in her for this game. This game does strengthen Garrus, who has always been my favorite character, who doe make some really strong moments. To borrow a saying I once heard from a tweet, hes like the Spock of your crew, and this is very accurate in this game. Tali is also strong in this one despite me not romancing her, though I did think it was a fail when they reveal her face, one of the many letdowns of this game. I guess that is all I have to say about the squad mates, overall, they are underwhelming with only Garrus and Tali being standout.
The Characters cont. (Everyone else)
Wrex is I had fun with him being on board despite not being in the crew and I love his role in the Geno phage curing (if you got him killed, SHAME ON YOU!). Mordin was also great, still having a subtle innocence to him, and I was moved for what he ends up sacrificing himself to save the Krogan, easily one of the most moving moments of the game. I also felt really subtle moments of depression when talking to Thane, and when he died, I really did feel sadness when being with his son. Miranda, the character I romanced in the 2nd game, I didn’t really think too much of either, guess my Shepperd is doomed to mediocre romances, shame too considering I always like a good romance. Jack, while still being foul mouthed and dirty, is still cool because she can fight, oh god can she fight. I guess I really don’t have much more to say for the characters (or at least nothing is coming to mind now).
DOUBLE WARNING: If you didn’t read the first spoiler, then I’ll repeat, SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPPPPPPOOOOOOOOOOIIIIILLLLLLLLLEEEEERRRRSSSS!!!! :)
The ending, OH GOD, the ending
Here is the thing, the ending to me was the most important part of the game. This is what would make or break the entire game, whether or not I would forgive its flaws depended on this because it would determine if I could walk away feeling like I accomplished something big and I could walk away satisfied for the most part. So what did I think of it… I hated it.
I did not like the fact that there’s no way to fight against the Star Child, I did not like the way Shepperd just flat out accepts his ultimatum with no rejections whatsoever, I did not like the fact that all 3 decisions you make are the same without seeing the consequences of your choices and how they affect the universe and characters, I do not like the Adam and Eve symbolism with Joker and EDI, and I do not Like the feeling this ending left with me, emptiness. Look, I get there are ambiguous endings out there and they work perfectly for stories like Watchmen. This, however, was not appropriate for a trilogy ending, and lets say that was the intention, guess what, it certainly does not feel that way considering that Bioware has already tested my patience with TOR and DA2, games that I liked, but still had a lot of problems. This doesn’t feel ambiguous, it feels like a ploy for more DLC and/or sequels, something that shouldn’t happen at the end of a trilogy, yeah, Halo 3 leads itself for more games, but at least it ties up everything important to its current storyline. I could probably go into more reasons why I don’t like this ending, but really, you may have heard them all before, so I’ll finish up my thoughts.
In the end
Mass Effect 3 was a disappointment, and I really felt like the 70 bucks me and my older brother laid down for the game was not worth it at all. I will not demand them to change the ending, not because of “artistic integrity” or “I want what was promised by the advertisements” or whatever, I won’t raise a fuss because I don’t care anymore about the Mass Effect series. Whatever they do to change or add to the ending of the game doesn’t change that in my mind they thought that THIS was the best way to end one of the biggest AAA games this generation, they rushed this game out the door like they did with Dragon Age 2 and The Old Republic, and that we are all at each other’s throats over the ending, with arguements getting really vicious. I’ve heard some say they liked that this ending happened because it got people talking or it proved that the fans cared about the games, feel free to correct me on this, but when was the fans loyalty in doubt? I respectfully disagree with these statements, mainly because I think we are getting into arguements over the wrong reasons, it doesn’t feel like the writers knew what they were doing, if feels like their getting far more credit than they deserve.
As it is, I’ll leave Mass Effect 3 as a disappointment, getting rid of the damn game, and hope to never think about it again. I don’t care what DLC comes its way or whether or not the ending is better because of it, to me the core game should be good when it comes out, we should not have this mentality to fix it later or that a game DLC to be a good game, DLC should exist to make a already good game better and longer, not fix something that should’ve been right to begin with. Feel free to have your opinions about the game, but I hope this just lets me say all I want to say about the game.
EDIT: After reading this article, I feel mine article pales in comparison, so I’ll keep this up as just simply my thoughts on the game, but I want to direct any readers to this: http://jmstevenson.me/2012/03/22/all-that-matters-is-the-ending-part-2-mass-effect-3/