The Mass Effect series launched in 2007 to much critical acclaim, introducing players to a futuristic mesh of RPG and FPS elements with players assuming the role of Commander Shepherd, humanitys aspiring Spectre. Across the first two titles he brings in the rogue Spectre Saren, discovers the Reaper threat, stops the Collectors from building a human-based Reaper and in Mass Effect 3, the final entry of the trilogy, he becomes the galaxys last hope of surviving an Extinction event the Reapers perpetuate every 50,000 years. Can ME3 live up to the hype the excellence of the first two titles created? Lets find out.
In the original Mass Effect, players had myriad choices in everything from gear to abilities, and the second title worked to streamline this, though it did this too much. ME3 scales back some of the simplification in ME2 by adding more detail to both leveling up and weapon customization, both welcome changes.
The atmosphere in ME3 is phenomenal. The soundtrack ranges from tense and frantic to cautiously hopeful, from tragically uplifting to hauntingly beautiful and always perfectly complements the mood. The visual aesthetic is well done, giving off that futuristic, yet feasible vibe.
But the real selling point of the Mass Effect franchise is the story, and ME3 deliver this in spades, with one tiny caveat. The entire galaxy is in a war of survival with the Reapers, and it shows. The Citadel is cramped with denizens of every species, people are dying everywhere and everyone is in at least a slight state of panic, wondering where the Reapers will strike next. As the legendary Commander Shepard, you are tasked with finding a way to end the Reaper threat once and for all.
Another major selling points for the Mass Effect series was that your choices would carry-over into subsequent games, creating your own personal story. This is done exceedingly well in ME3, as you will run into old friends or old enemies, depending on how you handled events in the previous titles. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will make an appearance at some point, though only the base characters from the previous titles return as playable characters. You wont be able to play as Kasumi or Zaeed, though if you had them they do make an appearance.
The only issue with the story is the ending, which really divided the Mass Effect community, with some feeling it was fine, if sparse, while others were angered at what they felt was a sharp change in their Shepards attitude. Personally I found the ending to be beautiful, and found myself wiping away a few tears, but I do understand where the other camp was coming from. So did Bioware, as they later released an update that closed a few plot holes and expanded on the ending without changing the core of it.
ME3 is a satisfying conclusion to an epic story spanning three wonderful games. If you are into Sci-fi, beautifully written characters and an amazingly detailed universe, you need to play the Mass Effect series. You will not regret it.