Mass Effect 3 Review

GAMING | by Sam Robinson | in Reviews | 3rd June 2013 - 17:30
Following on from the acclaimed, popular and frankly stonking Mass Effect 1 and 2 games, Mass Effect 3 was easily the most anticipated game of 2012. Since it's the last game of the planned ME trilogy, Bioware had a lot of expectation to live up to- so I'll be looking at how much of that expectation they've managed to live up to a year on from its release.

Gameplay and Graphics 8/10

Being a third-person shooter with a cover system, there are always going to be those awkward moments when you find you've dived into the wrong cover and people are still shooting you in the back as you scramble back up to get to the right cover, but all being considered the cover in ME3 is pretty smooth and this really doesn't happen all that often. Shootouts can get pretty intense and fun, and for the most part you can get around the battlefield pretty fluently, diving into and leaping out of cover. Having said that, it might be just me but there 's something weird about the sprint animations for some characters, as if they've got arthritis in their hip or they've crapped their pants. I'm looking at you, Anderson...

You also get a good variety of playstyles, from long-range sharpshooters to mid-range footsoldiers to real up-close-and-personal, in-your-face close combat styles like the vanguard class. You can use guns or powers, defensive or offensive abilities. Really, how you want to play is all up to you. There's a wide selection of loadouts and tactics to try out.

Obviously it's not the most important thing, but the graphics in ME3 are also pretty stunning. Crisp, clear and with a colour palette that would put most of today's drab shooters to shame, the visuals in ME3 are quite impressive indeed, being well-defined and vibrant.

Multiplayer 7/10

Mass Effect 3's multiplayer is in general very good considering it 's in a game that's not really meant for multiplayer. Granted, it only really has one game mode, you can only play co-op against waves of AI and the way you effectively have to play it to get success in singleplayer (you have to play it to make success in the final mission more likely) is annoying. It's certainly no Battlefield.

However, given that it's part of a game where the focus is entirely on the singleplayer, it is a great effort. The fact that it's co-op and affects the singleplayer makes it feel part of the game. Perhaps not an important part, but even so the pretext of the multiplayer is that you're helping the war effort against the reapers, and in this way it feels like it's relevant. Not only that, but once you get into the silver and gold challenges the AI can actually get quite challenging, with some real gnarly and difficult foes in there, so squaring up to wave after wave of them with some friends can be a blast. Also, the inclusion of all six classes (some of which are very fun to play), plenty of enemies, good customisation and a fair number of maps make the experience enjoyable and varied.

Bioware certainly didn't need to make a multiplayer, but it has to be said they put the effort in and produced something which seems to fit in with the game and is, actually, quite fun.

Storyline 5/10

Being the conclusion of the planned Mass Effect trilogy, epicness was always something that would feature heavily in this game, and indeed it does. Uniting the whole galaxy to stand as one against an all-conquering, nigh-invincible force of apocalyptic proportion definitely fits the definition of epic in my books. Throughout the game, the storyline strikes exactly the epic chord that is needed: in the campaign you lead massive offensives, take down reapers and even decide the fate of civilisations. You make truly momentous decisions which deeply affect characters you know well and have come to care about. As your fleet, thousands of ships strong, flies out of subspace to confront the reapers in the final showdown above the skies of Earth, you could almost cry with the awesomeness as you prepare to take back your home planet.

[If you don't want to know about the ending... stop reading now.]

But then, the campaign falls at the last hurdle. After such a gargantuan campaign which will take up 30 or so hours of your life, the ending manages to destroy everything. After a sequence riddled with plotholes, the player is left with a lacklustre ending, just a short dialogue devoid of any real player choice resulting in three possible endings which are almost exactly the same in every respect. Not only that, but some of them are simply ridiculous- the game is a sci-fi fantasy, yes, but what happens in some endings just has no grounding in reality. All in all, the ending is a bitter anti climax to an otherwise brilliant game. It does a disservice to the whole trilogy- no player choice or moral dilemma whatsoever, some really careless plotholes which are numerous when you look into it, and three end clips which are, simply, rather unexciting. It ruins everything you have worked for in an otherwise flawless campaign and leaves you deprived of the climax you, and the trilogy, deserve. Bioware's modified ending did close up some of the most gaping plotholes and introduced a little more dialogue, but it still wasn't enough to give the player enough choice and save the ending. If it wasn't for the ending, the storyline would have been a 10 hands down.

Replayability and Value for Money


Technically speaking, the campaign is incredibly replayable due to the huge range of loadouts and tactics you can play. Also, the fact that for £37 (at launch, it'll be even less now), the price of most other games, you get a campaign five times the typical length at around 30 hours (and that's not including the multiplayer or the side missions...) makes it amazing value for money.

But again... the ending tarnishes that somewhat. Personally, after playing such an amazing campaign to reach such a let-down, I don 't think I 'd want to go through that ending again. Apologies for all the negativity, but the ending really is an anticlimax.


In short, Mass Effect 3 is a near-perfect game apart from the ending. Graphics, brilliant. Multiplayer, surprisingly enjoyable. Gameplay, fluent and varied. Value for money, incredible. But most of all, the campaign is just utterly sensational. At least, up until the ending, which just doesn't provide a good enough ending for such a good game series. It's for that reason that Mass Effect 3 just falls short of greatness, because if the ending had been better, it would have been one of the best singleplayer campaigns ever to grace the world of gaming.


About the author: Sam Robinson

The Senior Content Editor for, Sam is a student with a passion for Film and Video Games.

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