Review: Mass Effect 3 (PlayStation 3)

By Wayne Webb

Mass Effect 3 is one of those games that everyone talks about. It was awaited with baited breath and arrived to a storm of controversy over its ending and some of the questionable choices (to some players). When you look past the hype and complaints though, what you get is another in the trend of story games that put movies and television to shame. An interactive playable epic of galactic proportions.

This being ME3 means that this is a sequel and picks up where the previous two leaves off. One of the appealing things about this series is the persistence of choice in the storyline. If you kill off a character or promote a certain other one then those effects stay with you through the sequels. You can alternately choose to start each one from scratch and manually select who lived and died in previous episodes. Ultimately this “ground breaking” persistence of choice is an illusion. While the players in your cast may change, the events and pathways do not really change significantly and they all lead to the ending that a lot of people are complaining about. I’m happy with the ending, but maybe that’s because I don’t buy into the persistence of my choices, so it’s just another game to me.

It is a great game and contains hours and hours of missions, movie sequences, action-packed battles and much more. Play it for the fights, the story or the achievements – either path or mix thereof is of the highest quality available in games today. It has amazingly detailed design and a length and breadth of options and side missions that can keep you down in the guts of ME 3 for weeks or even longer. The voice cast is provided by such recognisable talents as Martin Sheen, Australian Yvonne Strahovski and Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer among many more talented and entertaining voices.

You can pick up extra missions and quests in online upgrade packs, and extend the life of the game for many more hours. The game I got came with the expansion pack From the Ashes which fit seamlessly into the main game missions as options. There’s an online component but to be honest I have not even scratched the surface on that as I keep running down the tangled web of the plot and all the avenues it has to offer.

The only complaint I have is the run/cover/jump mechanisms. This is the second game I have reviewed recently where all three of these actions are on the same button press and only the context changes what occurs. When running in tight spaces you can end up ducking for cover when you want to be moving forward rapidly. Also the same with diving into cover instead of leaping over it. It’s very annoying and irritating, but not enough to stop me playing through to see the entire plot the game has to offer.

Pros: Deep and fully engaged story, excellent graphics, top-notch voice acting, plenty of options and variants.
Cons: An occasional control annoyance, choice is an illusion.

4.7 Shacks Out Of 5

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