GM Review: Mass Effect 3 – The Reapers are here

While other people want to cash in on their popular franchises and churn out sequels in a yearly fashion, Bioware’s decided to end one of the most popular one in recent times, and in the process set forth on a task to give the Mass Effect series a fitting end that is so deserves. The end result is something which we’ll discuss in detail below.

Mass Effect 3 is the final installment of Commander Shepherd’s story. The situation is grimmer than ever with the Reapers no longer remaining a myth and launching the full-frontal attack throughout the galaxy determined to wipe out all biological life in existence. The worst news? Earth’s been chosen to be their ground zero. The mechanical monsters have invaded Earth, and every day the human species draw nearer to extinction. Their only hope is Commander Shepherd.

You’re tasked with traversing the Galaxy with your squad and amassing as much assistance as possible. The main story revolves around you preparing the galaxy for the final battle against the reapers and saving your species from being wiped out from the galactic map. Amidst all this, the Cerebus is also thrown into the equation with a plan of their own, which is sending shockwaves across the galaxy. You’re the one who’ll need to investigate things.

Mass Effect 3 never tries to re-invent what the series has come to be known for, it however refines and improves upon most, resulting in a game which is the epitome of modern day action-adventure done right. Bioware’s taken something from every genre to make things click in Mass Effect 3, and the end result is a blockbuster which will consume you into its world before you know it.

The story of the game is the link which holds off everything else, and you’ll have all kind of emotions creeping up as you progress through the game. Old friends will be lost, new friends will be formed, good times will be shared, all along the way to hold off the reapers. It’s amazing how Bioware’s managed to put together everything, with instances and decisions taken in the first game impacting things in small big ways in this one. Old characters will return based on the choices you made in the past, or be bought up as war heroes who lost their lives fighting for the cause. It’s these kind of things which makes the game feel so real and your journey as the commander is bought to life.

Bioware’s managed to refine the combat of the game a lot. The fighting feels a lot tighter and the shooting sections no longer feel like a drag. They’re actually fun to play. The cover system’s improved, sprinting has been introduced, the weapons feel a lot tighter and the overall experience is much more fun. This is a much welcome change since you’ll be having fights in huge numbers in preparation with your final showdown with the reapers. The melee system’s also been revved up and you can now perform a sort of power attack which makes close quarter combats much more bearable as most enemies die with one such power strike.

Squad mates have become more capable in combat and there’s a noticeable change in their behavior. They use cover more intelligently and use power combinations to dish out brutal damage much more efficiently.  The upgrade system hasn’t changed much, with only a few new powers introduced but feels as satisfying as ever.

The decisions you make in Mass Effect 3 has wide and varying consequences, some which may result in entire species being wiped out while other resulting in a new ray of hope for them. You the player needs to really think what you want to accomplish with the game, and it’s amazing how Bioware’s managed to include so many choices for you. One playthrough just isn’t enough to explore every possibility although I’ve spent more than 40 hours into the game. However, it was apparent that every choice you make will add up somehow to what the final outcome will be.

No war is won without sacrifice and this holds true with the battle against the reapers, expect to see old friends giving up their lives for the higher cause in the game. Almost every character returns in some form in the game, and Shepherd’s encounters with them often results in slow-mo cutscenes which are bound to tug at your heart-strings.

The scanning system has also been improved a lot now, and instead of scanning individual planets, you now scan the entire map, with the signal picking up point s of interest. The twist however is that each scan you perform alerts and reapers and be too careless and they’ll be breathing down your necks. This gives room for a exciting element.

Mass Effect 3 is a huge game with plenty of side-quests and quests which’ll decide the outcome of the end game. There’s a war room and you need to collect war assets for the final battle and improve the overall Galactic readiness for the battle. Each mission you accomplish and decisions you make has either a positive or a negative effect on the state of your assets and how well the Galaxy is prepared to handle the threat. This adds great depth to the story and the game as every thing you do adds up to the battle against the reapers and isn’t some random s**t the developer’s come up with to have you kill time.

Your arsenal of weapons has increased considerably and there are two mods which you can install at a time for each one. Mods increase accuracy, firing power, adds a scope, and various other upgrades for the weapons you use. It adds to the role-playing feel of the game. The weapons also are a lot more fun to handle in Mass Effect 3. There are some weapons which you can just pick up in the battlefield like in Mass Effect 2, but which you can’t keep in your inventory. These weapons are often overly powerful and can give you a tactical advantage against your enemies.

Coming to enemies, there are a lot of enemies you’ll face in the game. There are cerebus units which you’ll fight against which mostly comprises of troopers, centurions, assault mechs. There are some higher difficulty units like nemesis which is a highly agile sniper unit who can kill you with a few shots. Then, there’s the reapers. The reaper units are mostly harvested other species but they do have some units of their own. The cannibals, the harvester, and reaper foot soldiers are a few which you’ll encounter in every reaper face-off in the game. You’ll also fight against other species like the Geth in the game. There’s a lot of variation as far as enemies are concerned and this keeps things fresh in combat.

Bioware’s also included a co-op multiplayer component in the game, and although I was skeptical about it, but it’s actually a pretty good addition and extremely fun to play. You also get the chance to play as a Turian, a Drell or a Krogan and that’s reason enough to try it out. The multiplayer gives you some welcome respite from the lengthy main campaign and Bioware’s done a good job with it.

Closing Comments

Overall, Mass Effect 3 is the perfect ending to a great series which’ll leave a lasting impression on you. The outcome of war is never pretty and the game makes no effort to change that. Friends will be lost, sacrifices will have to be made, but Command Shepherd can still save humanity and much more. It is upto you as the player to enable him to do so, or else everything you’ve stood for in the past games, and everything which is worth living for will be lost. Handling such a mammoth task is an experience which isn’t worth missing out on for anything else, and everyone should play this game. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

What Clicked

  • Amazing Story
  • Well sketched out characters
  • Almost every choice you make has a consquences
  • Much more improved combat
  • Great Dialogues
  • A fitting end of the great saga.

What Bombed

  • Needs many playthroughs to fully explore the game.