Publisher: EA > Developer: Bioware > Systems: PC, Xbox 360, PS3 > Rating: M
Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated game release of 2012, Mass Effect 3 also happens to be one of the finest sci-fi tales you’ll experience in any medium. It’s high drama, a space opera for the ages, and full of the kinds of twists and turns that made the likes of Battlestar Galactica so compulsively addictive.
Where the previous two Mass Effect games focused on Commander Shepard and his crew investigating the return of a deadly alien race (the Reapers), the third and final entry in the series begins with the Reapers invading earth. This also involves Earth’s citizens being impaled on giant spikes, and being systematically turned into cyborg zombies.
Like its prequels, ME3 strikes a fine balance between action and storytelling. The third-person gunplay has been improved upon throughout the series, and really hits its stride here: the duck-and-cover system is tight and snappy, and though some battles tend to drag, there are plenty of fantastic set pieces to compensate.
But what lifts ME3 above its competition is the sense of reckoning for your character—the fact that your choices matter to the outcome of the story. As the tale unfolds, it becomes clear that the decisions you’ve made in the previous games are woven into the ongoing narrative. The result is a story that feels very much your own, and so deep that you’ll likely play through it at least twice.
Hint: You don't have to have played ME1 or ME2 to enjoy this game, but you'll enjoy it a lot more if you do.
by Devon Santos
Ed Note: This is one of those games that the whole video game world goes gaga over, but I could never get into. I tried! I played one and two and lost interest fairly fast. Which is strange, because I love science fiction and space opera! I wonder why my brain and this franchise never quite connected? Mysteries of the mind! - UB
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