Before you say anything. Yes. Yes it is. Mass Effect 3 is everything that you’ve ever asked for in a Mass Effect game and so much more. So many times in conversations with friends over the past year have I said that I am legitimately scared for Mass Effect 3. I was the guy who was shouting from the rooftops, “There is no way they can make a better game than Mass Effect 2!” But they did, and I am here humbled and astonished at what I have witnessed. The culmination of the most epic space drama I have ever been a part of.
The gameplay you expect from Mass Effect is back with little tweaks here and there. The combat is more Mass Effect 2 brought over to 3. You shoot, you run, you throw biotics/grenades/incinerates, what have you to take down your enemies. This time around, though, you have a dive in which you press X (or A) in a certain direction in order to dive in that direction. Standard stuff for most third-person games.
I find the new leveling system rather enjoyable. You have your seven slots to fill in each of your character’s unique abilities. With each ability you have a skill-tree in which you are given choices as to what you want to improve: rate of cooldown, how much health and shield power you’ll be given, how much damage you do — it’s all in your hands.
You’ve probably heard the story already: Take Earth Back. I loved the concept but somehow I thought that BioWare was going to focus too much on Earth. Luckily I was dead wrong. You still traverse the galaxy as you normally would with the Normandy. The Normandy has a few upgrades since our last adventure, but the War Terminal is the key addition. It’s used to show how ready you are against the Reapers. Certain things affect your readiness rating, but it will never get past 50 until you do — well, something I’ll get into later. Every race can help you, whether it’s Krogans, Turians, Asari, Salarians, Quarians, Alliance or even Geth. The main function is to see just who is on your side currently in the war to take Earth back. (Yeah that’s a common theme throughout the game, and it’s made very clear during the beginning.) You can also traverse the galaxy and do other missions like N7 missions, things like stopping Cerberus from detonating a bomb, stopping Cerberus from taking a school hostage or… let’s face it, all of the N7 missions have to do with Cerberus. But don’t get the wrong idea: That’s still cool! There are also quite a few Citadel Missions you can do to help out the galaxy as well.
Side Note: I feel it necessary to mention this because of the recent backlash over the ending(s) of this game. This entire trilogy is about the LEGEND of Commander Shepard. You always knew that it would get to this point people. Stop complaining and appreciate the magnitude of what we were given.
The multiplayer is something I worried about while waiting for Mass Effect 3, and I have to say, they knocked it out of the park. You can create your own characters, earn different races to play, and customize how characters look. There’s also a store where you buy packs (Recruit, Veteran, or Spectre) to better equip your characters. When you first create a character, there is a free Starter Pack, but after that you need credits to unlock other packs to get guns and characters. How do you get credits, you ask? Well, you can pay a dollar or two for micro-transactions, but you mainly get credits by playing the multiplayer, earning extra credits by getting medals for accomplishments like getting five headshots or ten biotic kills.
The multiplayer is a four-player cooperative recon mission in which you have 11 waves of enemies and after the eleventh wave, you are extracted from the point; mission accomplished.
That’s right, folks, this is a teamwork multiplayer, so look alive and quit being a kill-stealing whore. You all need to have each others’ backs to keep yourselves alive. I find that it’s very hard without having a microphone to communicate, so definitely try it out with some buddies.
Oh, and remember that thing I was going to tell you about? Well, it’s happening now. The readiness in your War Terminal will rise above 50% when you complete all of the missions you need to complete in the multiplayer in order to show your galactic readiness. I personally think it’s an ingenious way to get those of us who bought the game to actually try out the multiplayer and, personally, I enjoy the hell out of it. I must say, though, there were a few hiccups here and there but they’ve fixed those up since I started playing it last Tuesday.
The sounds in Mass Effect 3 are amazing. I usually listen to them with my Turtlebeach headphones, and let me tell you. A bullet wizzing by my head has never sounded more beautiful… Wait, that came out wrong. Every time you fire a gun or dive to dodge a bullet, the sound effects make you feel like you are in the action. Case in point: The Javelin. If you can find this gun (which I’m fairly certain you will be able to), equip it and just listen to it. Every time I shoot that rifle, I get a tingle down my spine.
The music is just as earth-shattering as the sound effects. I can’t help but admire the work of Clint Mansell anymore. Mansell is the dude behind most of the Darren Aronofsky films, most notably “Requiem for a Dream.” He can make amazing music, and I love that BioWare tapped him to compose the soundtrack. It is quite simply music to my ears… God, I hate myself for using that phrase.
Now, with all of that you shouldn’t even be continuing to read this article anymore. I figured by the first paragraph you’d have already gone out and bought the game. No form of media has ever made me more excited, more cold-hearted, more giving, more upset, more emotionally driven than this piece of gold right here. Nothing has ever made me tear up, and then swear at my television two seconds later quite like this. This is gaming encapsulated. I have put myself in the shoes of Shepard. I am Shepard. No video game has ever made me feel the way I feel the way I feel about Mass Effect 3. Go out to your local game store, look around for it and buy it, right there. I can guarantee you that you have never had an experience quite like it. It’s what I’ve been waiting my entire lifetime to say about a game: It is, put simply, a masterpiece.
Rating: Buy it
Final Verdict: Just go. Just play Mass Effect 3.