Mass Effect 3 Review

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Mass Effect 3

Genre: Action   Players: 1    Online: Yes    Off-TV Play: Yes

Trophieswhat are these?
Ambitious TrophyGreat Online TrophyBranching Story TrophyVoice Acting TrophyCharming TrophyBeautiful TrophyAddictive TrophyGreat Story TrophyLots of cutscenes TrophyGreat Music Trophy

One of the most controversial games in recent years comes to the Wii U.

Mass Effect 3
Having completed the original Mass Effect game on the Xbox360, but only playing a few hours into the second game, I was interested to see how the third game would play on the Wii U.

Most people who purchase Mass Effect 3 will generally fall into two categories, those who played the first and/or second installments on the PS3 or Xbox360, who probably picked up the third game when it launched on those platforms (months prior to the Wii U launch). Then there are those who maybe haven’t had chance to play the previous games and are picking up the Wii U version as their first entry into the series.

Mass Effect 3

Reapers Heading for London.

For anyone unaware of the series, it is set in the future. The human species has advanced and is now traveling through space. You play as Commander Shepherd and meet many other species, each with it’s own history and characteristics. In the first game you discover a beacon containing a message you struggle to decipher, having to find further beacons in order to make sense of the message. However, you find that the messages foretell of the return of a near-invincible robotic race called the “Reapers”, who appear every 50,000 years to kill all advanced species. In the previous games Commander Shepherd struggles to be taken seriously when trying to warn the other alien species about the forthcoming threat of the Reapers. So the start of Mass Effect 3 starts with the Reaper invasion of earth and the discovery of blueprints for a massive device left by an ancient, no extinct species as a possible way to stop the Reapers.

Mass Effect 3

The comic backstory.

The Wii U game has an interactive comic that you can opt to play through before beginning your game, which can help you can get up to speed on the story and make the big decisions in previous games which then impact on this final game. The comic, is stylised and quite well designed, giving you a good overall impression of the previous games, but it skims over a lot of the details. So you can find some references in the third game that can be a bit confusing, however, for the most part it bridges the gap fairly well.

Mass Effect is about choice; you choose a male or female protagonist, choose from a selection of back stories for your character, choose their appearance, choose their fighting style, and as you level up you choose skills you want to enhance. You also choose their dialogue / decision options as paragon (good) or renegade (bad) choices. These decisions have an impact on your story and relationships with your squad members.

It’s in these choices and overall story where Mass Effect stands out. The characters and story is fantastically well written, you feel such a deep connection and warmth to most of main characters you encounter. Making a decision and it having a consequence you didn’t want can feel pretty devastating. The universe of Mass Effect has such a strong mythos,; every planet, race and event have an Encyclopedia style entry within the game. The story remains engaging in this final part of the trilogy, however, you can expect many loose ends to be tied up.

Mass Effect 3

Robotic team member, EDI

Visually, the characters have great facial animation, showing a range of expressions. The levels vary from looking space station generic to having some stunning looking metropolitan style cities.

Despite, the effort in the story and animation, the odd small glitches come up every so often. Such as Commander Shepherd’s audio not working or character models suddenly pinging a couple of feet to one side or another.

Control wise, there are a number of fighter classes to choose from for your protagonist. However, the game essentially has a cover and shoot mechanism. You cover behind walls, desks, columns, peer put to shoot or use different styles of psychokinetic and engineering powers, such as throwing a ball of energy to knock opponents off their feet. While fighting you can also command squad mates where to go and what moves to use, on which enemies. While in battle, you choose your power moves from an ability wheel, which pauses the action briefly while you select the power you wish to use and the target you want to use it on. It doesn’t feel the most fluid system of combat, but it helps you take a breather and aim your powers more precisely.

Mass Effect 3
There is also an co-operative online mode, where you battle as part of a team against waves of enemies advancing in difficulty and can fight on difficulties of bronze, silver and gold. You are also given tasks to complete, such as escorting a drone. In this mode you level up a class of fighter gradually getting more power, earning xp and credit by kills waves of enemies. You can then spend the credit on packs where you can randomly win items, such as revival kits and new characters can be unlocked. This mode also has voice chat, allowing you to chat with three online players by touching the touchscreen on the gamepad. The online mode is a fun little extra and is surprisingly addictive, however it feels it could be more fleshed out, with more options, such as being able to play to competitively against other players.

The final game in the series, takes things to final epic proportions, with some epic cutscenes. The game is the end of this storyline, meaning various aspects were tied up, with some characters dying. Without giving too much away, the ending caused a lot of uproar in the gaming community when the game was released on the xbox360 and ps3. There are a number of endings to choose from (some only become available after building up points via online multiplayer), while no ending felt “ideal” it did not ruin the experience for me personally. The other controversy with this game on the Wii U was the timing, with a trilogy edition (containing all 3 games) being released shortly after the Wii U release. Unfortunately, the Wii U edition doesn’t really offer enough unique content, you have a map on the gamepad screen and shortcuts to moves, you can also play it Off-TV. Nevertheless it is hard to recommend it over the trilogy edition for anyone who has the option of buying that version. For those without that option, Mass Effect 3 on its own is a fantastic game which easily offers over 30+ hours of content. Once you have completed the game, it can be tempting to re-play the story, making different decisions and see the consequences.

Head Heart
Branching Story
Fantastic story
Over 30+ hours play
Memorable characters
Small audio / graphic glitches
Addictive
  Great Music
  Outstanding 96%

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Mass Effect 3
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David Lee
David is the founder of Heart Gaming. Regular writer, reviewer and editor. Has a strong passion for gaming; particularly the Legend of Zelda series.