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    dkirschner's Mass Effect 3 (360)

    [November 25, 2013 09:43:57 PM]
    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G game, such a fantastic trilogy. Every time I play an ME game, I'm taken all over again by the rich universe. I get absolutely sucked into them. I can tell you about all the races, all the wars, detail the characteristics of all Shepard's past and present squad mates. ME3 impressed me even more than the other two with its narratives, both the overarching series narrative and the tons of stories of relationships between squad mates on the Normandy, between random civilians in the Citadel, and between people/species/organizations of all import.

    Everything about ME3 is streamlined even further from ME1 and 2. Movement and shooting feel great, using biotics is awesome as ever, interfaces are excellent and there are improved squad commands. There's a weapon upgrade system with lots of different weapons and upgrades to find and purchase, and they brought armor back. You have to purchase sets and/or pieces and collect them, and you can choose a stock armor set or build your own from the pieces you find.

    Anyway, if you're breathing, you probably know something about Mass Effect, so I won't ramble about gameplay details.

    You know what was cool? The stakes were high. For Shepard and the entire galaxy. Beat the Reapers or die trying. ME3 was so epic because it concludes the trilogy. It's not about a piece of the puzzle; it's about completing the puzzle, arranging all the pieces that you've found in previous games. You have to bring all the races of the galaxy together to unite against a common enemy. They don't all want to cooperate because they've all got their own squabbles, and you get to make some meaningful choices. I couldn't believe it when a certain masked character I liked a lot in the other games committed suicide after something I did, something I genuinely believed to be a good decision. Another decision I thought was good at the time turned out to probably have been bad, but it was too late by the time I changed my mind, and my stomach twisted because I could see the consequences of my decision in the future.

    You have to accrue "war assets," which consists of ships, special personnel, weaponry, schematics, artifacts, and on and on to help with the war effort against the Reapers. You acquire these from doing (side) missions, which don't feel "side" at all. They are every bit as intense as the main story missions and feel almost as meaningful. Maybe you get a distress call from some scientists or you find a Cerberus base and decide to shut it down. NPCs on the Citadel, the mega city in the ME universe, also provide you clues to find war assets. In the Citadel, lots of NPCs will be having conversations with one another that Shepard can overhear, and sometimes even weigh in on. Sometimes these conversations, many of which last almost the entire game (every time you go back, the next part of the conversation plays, which gives a great window into the lives of a variety of people on the Citadel during the Reaper War), drop hints that an NPC needs some object or another. When you're flying around scanning planets, you can find these objects and tell the NPC you found it, and you use it (maybe a downed ship or some medical treatment or something) as a war asset.

    Come to think of it though, I'm not actually sure the impact of the war assets. There's a menu, and by the end of the game I had almost every war asset possible (which is a lot), and there was some "galactic readiness" index. Each sector of the galaxy was at 50%. I think this was the online portion of the game that they made to affect something or other in single player. I didn't play online or post to Facebook or any of that, and so I really have no idea what it all does. Is it weird that getting war assets still felt meaningful to me even though they didn't actually do anything? I think that speaks to how much the story impacted me and how invested I was.

    Best Mission: Geth server mission and final mission

    Best Word Used: some NPC said "fuckton" and I laughed

    Thing I Miss Most From Previous ME Games: the Mako. Exploring desolate planets and gazing at the stars was incredible. I honestly think I wouldn't like the series as much if that hadn't been in the first game. It really set the scope of the universe that gets totally abstracted in 2 & 3.

    Thing I've Never Done In A Game Before: I took the male-male relationship. In ME 1 & 2, I pursued Liara and Tali (or Tali and Liara..). I don't explicitly remember being able to pursue a male in 1 or 2, but there's a guy, Cortez, in 3 who lost his husband. Cortez was my favorite new addition to the Normandy, and his story was sad and touching. There was a lot more homosexual visibility in ME3 with a solid handful of NPC stories on the Citadel involving gay couples. And it was human-human sometimes, not just the "does it really count" human-asari female relationship. I am always really curious about how race, gender and sexuality are dealt with in games. Usually it is ridiculously poor, but BioWare has a reputation for being forward-thinking and dealing with those issues better. I was really impressed. All the homosexual relationships in the game were treated as normal. They didn't have to do with prejudice over being homosexual or challenges of it or anything. It was presented in the universe as unchallenged, happily acceptable fact. One woman was trying to have her child sent to her after her wife died in duty. The problem wasn't that she was gay and would she turn her kid gay or make her kid have psychological problems or whatever, as it too often is in meatspace, but just that it was dangerous and there were bureaucratic hurdles. No one questioned Shepard and Cortez getting together, and the game showed them making out in a club and did the implied sex scene and even the morning after scene, same as for heterosexual relationships. It was just really touching to see homosexuality presented as normal and not a problem.

    And finally...the finale. Wow, lots of people hated the ending huh? My opinion: people like to complain, and once people started complaining, it became cool to hop on the 'crappy ending' bandwagon and complain too. I thought the original endings were fine. One thing people didn't like was that there was no closure. My response to that is to use your imagination. It's YOUR Shepard and YOUR Mass Effect game, so use your imagination to think about what happens after you make one of the (admittedly few) choices at the end. You don't need someone to hold your hand and tell you whether or not the entire Alliance fleet gets stranded on Earth and starves to death or whether or not everyone lives in peace or whatever. Come on! But there are some valid criticisms for sure. One that I didn't see raised in anything I read about it, is that if you pick the ending I did, the final scene with the stargazer makes no sense, because what the stargazer is speculating about would be common knowledge. That final final scene only makes sense in the context of the "destroy" ending, but it plays for all of them anyway. But I'm not picky either, and the DLC endings did give people a lot more specificity about what happened after the ending, and differentiated the endings more.

    I love these games so much. 3 of the best games ever made, and taken together definitely one of the best trilogies of any medium.

    **Just to edit and tack on something--I wanted to mention my Shepard build because I played it differently than previous ME games. In the first two I did really biotic-heavy builds, I think pure biotic and one that was like biotic and range weapons. Mass Effect lends itself well to a slower, more calculated approach to combat, so hiding behind cover and using Singularity to suspend enemies in the air, then popping out and shooting them with powerful assault rifles, was always a good choice. This time I wanted to change it up, so I went with the close-combat specialist type, Vanguard. The Vanguard's strengths are having tons of health and shields, and having quickly recharging shields. This is necessary because the Vanguard gets up close and personal, specializing in melee and shotguns. I usually supplemented myself with an assault rifle (then sniper rifle in mid-game, then pistol for the last chunk) so I could still hide behind cover and shoot some to make good use of the Vanguards two ammo types. But the Vanguard is built around rushing opponents. Biotic Charge makes you sort of teleport to an enemy, knocking them back and doing damage. Another, Nova, lets you discharge your shields to damage an opponent. Nova isn't on the power cooldown, but you can use it whenever you have shields up. So you can chain Biotic Charge -> Nova to ram and then blast an enemy. If they are still alive, then you shoot em in the face with a shotgun or melee them, since as Vanguard, you've probably invested points to boost melee and shotgun damage.

    There is also a "heavy melee" attack that is brutal, and some of the upgrades for Biotic Charge and Nova give some great synergies. By the end, I could use Nova twice in a row, and if I killed an enemy with heavy melee, my Biotic Charge immediately cooled down. I also had another ability from a crew member (each crew member can teach you one ability and you can have one extra ability active) that reinforced my armor and let me discharge that current to regenerate shields. So here's what I got good at doing:

    Biotic Charge -> Nova -> Nova -> (if they're still alive) Heavy Melee (which makes Biotic Charge immediately available) -> target another enemy and Biotic Charge -> Nova -> Nova -> Heavy Melee (resets Biotic Charge) -> repeat. Then that extra crew ability was badass because if I ever got shot or ran out of shields, I just used it and refilled them. I could blitz around the battlefield and it was AWESOME once I finally got good at it. It was hard to learn to do though! Enemies in this game could be vicious, and getting close up isn't something you want to take lightly. You've got to be precise if you're playing a close-up type character. Also, it's not the best character build for some of the bigger boss-type enemies. You don't usually want to charge enemies who kill you in one shot. I still used a pure Biotic (Liara) to complement me though. It was fun to have her use Singularity to hold an enemy up in the air, and then Biotic Charge and slam into them while they're suspended. The other crew member I used most was Garrus, primarily for range weapons and Overload, which obliterates enemy shields and armor, something my character wasn't particularly strong at. Anyway, just wanted to share that I played the game almost completely differently from a combat standpoint and I loved it.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Nov 25th, 2013 at 22:27:11.

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    dkirschner's Mass Effect 3 (360)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 18 November, 2013

    GameLog closed on: Monday 25 November, 2013

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game


    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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