Earlier this week, one of 2012’s most anticipated gaming releases was finally made available in stores. I’m talking about Mass Effect 3, and it’s time for players to “take Earth back”, as splashed by the slogans and trailers that have been all over the Internet and getting everyone hyped up for the concluding installment of this epic cinematic interactive experience.
When the first game released back in 2007, it really marked a turning point for the Western role-playing game (RPG) genre. Players were now allowed to make moral decisions during the course of the game that would affect how the ending turned out, as well as determined how other characters would react to the player in the future. Mass Effect 3 is essentially a culmination of all the decisions that players have made in the previous two games. Yes, you can import your character and save data from the previous games and bring them over into this final installment. In this final episode, we get to find out how our choices in the past will come back to haunt us.
Mass Effect 3 starts off on a truly action-packed high. We once again take control of Commander Shepard, who is desperately trying to get to his spaceship and escape from Earth, which is overrun with the Reapers — the biggest threat to all organic life the galaxy has ever faced. The story of the entire Mass Effect franchise revolves around Shepard, who views a prophecy back in the first game and sees that the Reapers are coming to ‘cleanse’ every single planet in existence, which means killing off every living and breathing entity they can find. And now, in the third game, it is up to Shepard to unite aliens and humans alike in a final stand-off against the Reaper menace.
The well-realized and detailed environments have always been one of the most commendable points of the Mass Effect franchise, and this final installment definitely lives up to every expectation gamers have. Gameplay is classic Mass Effect where players traverse the galaxy gathering support from every planet to fight the Reaper invasion. It’s also nice to see side characters from the past two games making unexpected appearances, and some even rejoin Shepard’s squad. Perhaps one of the best things about the Mass Effect series is that the gaming experience is almost always unique for every player. Depending on how you played through the previous games, characters will show up in different locations with differing attitudes towards Shepard. So kudos to Bioware for seamlessly managing the massive web of social and situational permutations so coherently.
Every character gets their due in this epic conclusion, even those with the briefest of exchanges with Shepard in the previous two episodes. Mass Effect veterans will be pleased with this final chapter: it brings to a highly satisfying end this amazing five year-old adventure.
Mass Effect 3 was released on 6th March and is available now.
Reviewed by munnyndonuts