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Default Thoughts on Mass Effect 3 after completing it

March 8th, 2012, 15:19
So, I've played through ME3 now. It's roughly the same size as ME2 (30-40 hours). For people who only want to know whether or not they should buy it, it boils down to this: If you enjoyed ME2, you'll probably enjoy ME3. If you didn't, don't bother.

Anyway, let's get on with it. I played through the whole series with a Vanguard (Paragon), and I'll be doing a Soldier (Renegade) next, followed by a Sentinel (Paragon). I'll use ME2 as a reference since they're so similar.

Update: None of my characters import 100% correctly. Decisions and so on are all present, but I always have to remake their looks. It's actually somewhat annoying because the ME3 char generator seems unable to make the characters I want. It's as if certain customization choices are missing.

Graphics
On the highest settings, it looks pretty decent. I'm not overly impressed though - it didn't have the "wow!" effect that the previous games had. Especially the talking animations during various scenes look a bit odd. There are some spectacular scenes though, usually involving the Reapers. Sprinting looks a bit weird without armor, but it improves once you get full armor (the sprint animation fits the bulky look more than the skinny look). All in all, the graphics are still more than good enough in my opinion.

Sound
Top notch as always. Good music, overall decent voice actors. Nothing out of place really.

Gameplay
It's basically a beefed up version of ME2. It feels very similar, but the enemies and overall battles are a bit more varied, which is certainly a change for the better. Also, various skills are slightly more varied now with more significant choices as you level up.

Other than that, I feel they streamlined the gameplay between combat sequences a bit too much. The Citadel is far more interesting than it used to be, but there are so few people that you can actually interact with. Almost all side quests are simple fetch quests where the fetching is done either by using a scanner on a planet or by picking up an item in a location that's part of the main quest. It gets very repetitive after a while.

Economy, items and inventory management
Items and inventory management got yet another overhaul in ME3. Weapons can now be both modded and upgraded, and there is a wider selection of weapons than in ME2. Armor upgrades are still somewhat limited, but at least it's somewhat better than ME2.

The biggest change is related to item weight, however. Item weight is now a very important factor when deciding what weapons to pick. Basically it boils down to this: The less you carry, the faster you can use your abilities. With a very light load, cooldowns are almost instant, which makes a very big difference. It's also worth noting that different classes have different weight limits: Soldier can carry the most, followed by Vanguard, Sentinel and Infiltrator. Adept and Engineer have the lowest weight limit.

Economy is a not an issue to be honest. I ended the game with over 650.000 credits, which means I probably should have bought a lot more than I did. The only way to ever run out of credits is to buy the Spectre weapons.

Characters
Hmm, where to start and how to avoid spoilers? I have mixed feelings when it comes to characters in ME3. I felt far more attached to my team in ME2 than in ME3, but ME3 gets far more emotional than ME2 ever did. Beyond the team, the other characters you bump into are roughly on par with the ones in ME2. I'll have to explain more in a spoiler tag.

Spoiler – Mixed feelings


Anyway, I'd say ME3 scores below ME2 in terms of characters - there's not enough "meat" compared to the crew of ME2. Most dialogues aren't actual conversations where you can ask questions and what not, but merely a "click on the person to get a response" kind of thing, similar to how Kasumi and Zaeed were handled in ME2.

Romances are back, but only some of them can be re-ignited it seems. I don't know exactly which ones are viable, but I believe it depends on who is available as a squad member. Which means is boils down to:
Spoiler


Story
It's a step up from ME2, which had a rubbish story beyond side quests and character missions. However, it's still behind ME1, as the whole thing feels a bit too intense and overly dramatic. They're playing the emotion card too often in my opinion, leading to an experience that sometimes feels like a chore and not fun. There's a reason I don't watch movies like Titanic too often - I just don't find them fun or entertaining.

I suspect some people might enjoy the story a lot more than I do, as I'm a huge fan of ending trilogies in a similar way to Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. ME3 is not the Mass Effect equivalent of RotJ.

Choices and consequences
Importing save games and noticing the consequences that span over three whole games has always been an important selling point of Mass Effect. As I've only played through ME3 once, it's hard for me to know just how big of a deal importing a save game is. I'll know more about this once I play through it again with my Soldier who is a Renegade character.

For now, I'm left with a "Dragon Age 2 feeling". The choices are there, but I can't shake the feeling that the outcome is the same no matter what. For example, I really don't think the ending can be changed. I've heard a lot of people whine about how they can't achieve an optimal ending without playing multiplayer, due to the readiness rating staying at 50%. I honestly don't think it matters. Filling the green bar before the ending mission seems to be the only thing that matters, as I simply have no idea what else is supposed to be affected. The choice at the end seems to be set in stone.

There is one thing I found very odd though, something I have been unable to figure out why happened. Near the end of the game, I ended up in a conversation where I had both Renegade and Paragon options available several times despite being 100% Paragon. However, in the third and final conversation, I went from having both Renegade and Paragon available to none of them. They were both grayed out. It looked like a bug to me, but I don't know. Like I said, I had 100% Paragon, so you'd think every Paragon option would be available to me.

Update: It might actually have to do with readiness rating, which is affected by coop mode. If that's the case, it's ridiculous.

I'll know more about C&C once I've replayed the game, so I'll update this thread then.

Final verdict
I'd normally give this an 8/10 or so, maybe even borderline 9, but the emotional aspect really got on my nerves after a while. The thing is: It works reasonably well for a single playthrough, as it's easy to get attached to the story. However, it reduces replay value quite a lot, as I simply don't feel like going through it again. There are too many *unskippable* scenes that are overly emotional. Why on earth did they make certain scenes and conversations impossible to skip? It makes no sense, especially for people who replay games a lot.

Bottom line: I'd probably give it a 7. I might adjust that after I've played through it a second time if I discover that C&C actually matters more than I think it does.

As always, I'll update this thread if I think of something else or if someone wants me to add something specific. Feel free to ask questions and what not.
Last edited by Maylander; March 12th, 2012 at 14:51.
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March 9th, 2012, 19:19
Thanks for this. After reading your thoughts on ME3 if feel I might really like it … I would have bought it anyway, but your review makes me feel positive about the game.
I read about what you suspected about the ending/s, and this seems to be the case. But as long as the trip up to this point is entertaining I won't mind too much.

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March 9th, 2012, 20:02
Thanks for the review! I was uncertain of this game but now I think I might go ahead and give it a try.
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March 9th, 2012, 21:42
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
If you enjoyed ME2, you'll probably enjoy ME3. If you didn't, don't bother.
Thanks for the review, and especially for this: I won't bother with that for sure.

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March 10th, 2012, 17:33
Not for me either but really good to hear your thoughts about the game. Seems hard to get a sensible opinion of this game…
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March 10th, 2012, 21:11
Based on feedback, I've now added a little info about romances. I've also added some info on economy, items and inventory management.

I'll be starting my 2nd playthrough now, so hopefully I'll have more info on C&C + different endings soon.

Edit: I also added something about importing characters - my imports are never 100% correct, as their looks are always reset.
Last edited by Maylander; March 10th, 2012 at 21:21.
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March 10th, 2012, 21:33
Instead of creating a new thread about this, I'll post this here. Just a warning to everyone who owns (or plans to own) ME3:
http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/to…ndex/9689886/1
Apparently ME3's online component lacks any form of cheat protection, and the host can modify its gamefiles. If this happens, and someone mods his/her game to give you a huge reward for a single game online, then anyone who was a part of this game runs the risk of getting banned. And that is a total ban, single & multiplayer. So stay away from multiplayer for now, even if it means that you can't get the best ending.
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March 10th, 2012, 23:36
Apparently Bioware wasn't aware of the cheater problems the shooter genre already has ?

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March 11th, 2012, 02:30
Was the ending that bad?!? Seems fans are raging, something about their choices not meaning diddly or the endings are too "depressing"…

Warning - Spoiler alert -> links to destructoid article and BSN.

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March 12th, 2012, 18:19
Spoiler
Last edited by Trelow; March 12th, 2012 at 18:30.
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March 12th, 2012, 20:25
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I've heard a lot of people whine about how they can't achieve an optimal ending without playing multiplayer, due to the readiness rating staying at 50%. I honestly don't think it matters. Filling the green bar before the ending mission seems to be the only thing that matters, as I simply have no idea what else is supposed to be affected. The choice at the end seems to be set in stone.
Filing the green bar is indeed what matters, you´d only noticed some differences in outcomes/choices with the bar not being full, but there´s one substantial exception.
I´ve played the game in a pretty thorough manner and on an imported save which came from thorough playthroughs of ME1+ME2 (with pretty much ideal set of decisions, as it turned out) and before the endgame, without touching multiplayer, I had effective military strength at 3650, meaning I gathered 7300 total. I´m more than sure that´s close to maximum which, given how "ideal" my playthrough was, very likely isn´t much higher than 7500.
Well, there´s one "easter egg-y" outcome which requires
Spoiler
if you don´t play multiplayer.
That is not possible.
Easter egg or not, multiplayer should not be one of the mandatory prerequisites for it. And considering the "easter egg" is the only scenario
Spoiler – ending spoiler
"whining" is more than understandable.

Originally Posted by MasterKromm View Post
Was the ending that bad?!?
It is bad.

First, the very ending itself (I´m not going into specifics, but I´ll spoiler this just in case)
Spoiler


Second, the whole endgame event preceding the ending is anemic in my opinion.
It takes place in bland environment and, more importantly, feels like a lot of corners were cut. Judging by some pre-release leaks, I´m pretty sure it was initially planned to play out similarly as ME2´s ending sequence and it would be a good opportunity to put the whole war assets thing into more satisfying fruition, but somehow this went out of the window and the war asset mechanics only affect the game in a very abstract and rather nonsensical manner.

Third, I would say that the note the game ends on feels tonally quite out of place in the context of the series. From a replay perspective it just isn´t something I´d look forward to repeating, unlike in the case of the predecessors.
I´d be ok with this shift if the above two points wouldn´t stand, but since they do, I just can´t appreciate the devs for being bold in this case.
If this was due to lack of resources, they should´ve just played it safe.

Btw, this is from the perspective of someone who liked most of the game otherwise.
Last edited by DeepO; March 12th, 2012 at 21:54.
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March 12th, 2012, 23:57
This article basically says what I feel-http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertco…ss-effect-3/2/

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March 13th, 2012, 02:08
Thanks for the info DeepO…

I had no intention of even buying ME3 but this whole bruohaha has piqued my interest.
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March 13th, 2012, 18:26
Meh, lads - it's not just the ending that sucks. From the storytelling perspective there are plenty of things that are simply wrong with this title. With inconsistencies ranging from silly to blatantly stupid, through wrong pacing, the entire idea of Reapers starting their invasion with Earth to unconvincing character motivations and lame twists.

Let's face it - Bioware was simply hyped to be the masters of storytelling - but I have yet to see their alleged competence. With this title they once again proved that they have no clue what constitutes quality writing, and I won't mention even botched implementation of the said writing within the framework of the gameplay.
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March 13th, 2012, 18:52
Well if you are trying to compare CRPG writing with good literature, games will fall short 99.9% of the time. I you want a good story, the answer is read a book from an acclaimed author, not play a CRPG from a has been game developer.
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March 13th, 2012, 19:02
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Well if you are trying to compare CRPG writing with good literature, games will fall short 99.9% of the time. I you want a good story, the answer is read a book from an acclaimed author, not play a CRPG from a has been game developer.
I am trying to compare ME to GAMEs with decent to good story - Betrayal at Krondor, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale series, Witcher series, Ultima series, Vampire: Bloodlines, NWN2 (but only add-ons), Kotor2 even Baldur's Gate series (I refuse to believe Bioware of those days is the same as current Bioware) - and that's just RPGs. What about System Shock 2, Thief series, Deus Ex 1 and HR, Freespace 2, Hitman, Incubation, Beyond Good & Evil etc.

Let's mention a few RPGs that more than make up for all of naivety in their writing by introducing actually deep and meaningful storytelling mechanics within the gameplay: Fallout series, Arcanum, Alpha Protocol (for all its flawed gameplay…).

There are plenty of better written games, and games with better implementation of the writing within gameplay.
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March 13th, 2012, 19:07
Well I wouldn't say any of those had good stories, decent maybe except for Torment, but we all have our preferences.
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March 13th, 2012, 19:29
You wouldn't say The Witcher, VtM:B, or Deus Ex had good stories?

You must possess standards that far exceed those of the rest of us mere mortals.
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March 13th, 2012, 19:40
Witcher - decent story, great setting though
VtM:B - again decent story, great setting / world premise, etc…
Deus Ex - yeah, maybe a good story there (although I find the conspiracy stuff pretty cheesey looney bin stuff), certainly a great setting / world premise
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March 13th, 2012, 19:52
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Witcher - decent story, great setting though
VtM:B - again decent story, great setting / world premise, etc…
Deus Ex - yeah, maybe a good story there (although I find the conspiracy stuff pretty cheesey looney bin stuff), certainly a great setting / world premise
See? Now compare the stories in all of those games with a simple fact in ME3. All that it takes to stop Shepard from ever lifting a finger against the Reapers is them turning off Mass Relays which are the devices made by THEM - the whole plot of ME1 was about it. Visit a star system - switch off the Relay - kill off entire population - switch on the Relay - move forward. That's all that it takes to WIN with no effort whatsoever.

And that's but one of glaring plotholes in the entire franchise.
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