Monday, January 13, 2020

Mass Effect 3

Well, I finished Mass Effect 3.  I’ve been vaguely aware since this game came out that people were disappointed with it.  I have to ask, what the hell is their problem?  This game is BY FAR the best of the series.  It completely blows all others away.  There isn’t even a question of competition here.  This is the game that I was expecting Mass Effect 2 to be.  Imagine my disappointment when it was Mass Effect 2 instead.

This is the only game in the original trilogy that actually feels like a story, rather than a collection of things that happen.  The whole thing feels sufficiently apocalyptic and epic in scope.  Even the side quests feel like they’re a part of the greater story, and serving the overall narrative.  Right from the beginning it starts off with a bang in the Reaper invasion of Earth, and you head through, resolving the conflicts of the people who have been with you from the beginning to pull everyone together to fight in the last battle to save all life in the galaxy.  I loved it.  Despite being the shortest game in the series—I didn’t even break 20 hours of gameplay on it—this was a GREAT end to a story that has been kind of mediocre up to now, if I’m being honest.

The combat and leveling systems are a step up from the previous games, and this is the first game in the series where I really noticed the music, which was really good.  My only real complaint is that the character and facial animations are horrible in this game.  It’s like they took a huge step backward from the previous game in that regard.  People make fun of Mass Effect Andromeda for the character and facial animations, but anyone who does must not have ever played Mass Effect 3.

I did not play any of the DLC for the game, though I did get the free extended cut.  I just didn’t want to pay double what the game costs to be able to play three stories that are probably pretty short and not worth the money.  If they ever cut the price on them, maybe I’ll pick ‘em up, but until then I’ve got better things to spend my money on.

Anyway here’s my rankings for the series, best to worst:

1.) Mass Effect 3 - The story, in my opinion, is the best of the bunch, and I liked the narrower focus on a smaller group of characters.  It gave the game the time and room it needed to flesh them out more than previous games.

2.) Mass Effect Andromeda - A very good open world game with a crapton of things to do, the best combat of the entire series, an interesting story, and some good characters.

3.) Mass Effect - Though the characters are pretty wooden and one dimensional, and the controls are pretty broken, once you get a good team put together with enough abilities, you can pretty much just overpower your way through the deficiencies in the gameplay.  While the story feels less a story and more a collection of random things that happen, it had a great villain, a pretty epic climax, and was a good setup for things to come.

4.) Mass Effect 2 -  Yes, that’s right, everyone’s little darling is my least favorite game in the series.  Why?  IT’S FREAKING BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Too many characters.  Not enough story.  The game doesn’t even have a villain.  It’s 5 hours of story, and 30 hours of playing psychiatrist to boring people I just don’t care about. While the combat, controls and visuals are better than the first game, the more I think about it the less I actually liked it.  For all the choices and consequences for those choices there are in the game, it just didn’t have a story to back it up with.

Okay, there.  Now I can say I’ve played the Mass Effect series.  Now people can stop harassing me about it.  I played your stupid games, now leave me alone!

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