I finished my second play through of Mass Effect 3. The game is awesome, the series was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone… except the ending, specifically the very last 10 minutes. I played each of the earlier two Mass Effect games twice as well, once as a hero do-gooder (aka “Paragon”) and once as a cunty jerkface (aka “Renegade”). The slick thing about the Mass Effect series is that you can import the save game from each of your previous games – meaning decisions you make in ME1 and ME2 can affect the outcome of ME3 – it’s totally awesome and worth it, except for the ending, specifically the very last 10 minutes. The story is great and almost everything from the previous two games are tied up nicely, except for the last 10 minutes or so. The combat is fun, albeit a little repetitive, and the weapon system is a good balance between the basic customization of ME2 and inventory-tedium of ME1. This game was great, except for the last minutes of game play and cut scenes.
Did I mention the ending sucks? Like hardcore, worse-than-Lost style, kick-to-the-groin sucks. This stupid picture really just about sums it up – you get to pick the color of the explosion – that’s the difference between any of the very last endings no matter what decisions you made earlier, I really wish I was kidding or even over exaggerating. It kinda feels like a cop-out, like they ran out of time and had to scramble to make endings. Don’t get me wrong, ultimately as a whole, there is so much great game play and story telling. You can just read the alternate ending a fan wrote, pretend that’s actually how the game ended and be very satisfied with Mass Effect game series.
I honestly thought they were setting up a never-ending-battle type thing with the multi-player tie in, instead, multi-player is an exercise in futility. You just fight wave after wave of Mass Effect baddies with 4 other players co-op earning unlocks at a much slower pace than you would playing the single player campaign. To what end? I have no idea. Like most ‘horde mode’ game play styles, it doesn’t really seem competitive and really gets kind of boring after 4 or 5 rounds. It seems like such a missed opportunity – it would have been neat to have the multi-player portion of the game be part of the single player experience by either: having to help “mop up” the galaxy of left-over defeated reaper forces or defend and survive against the winning reaper forces (depending on your ending — if either of those endings existed — which they don’t — to reiterate: you only pick a laser colour).
When I finished Dragon Age II, I was so dissatisfied with the ending I wrote: “I may just give up on it though and hope that BioWare pulls its head out of its ass for Mass Effect 3” – they did – for 99% of the game. With the recent DLC controversy (yeah, I caved, and bought it) I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a slick marketing dude pointing at a social media metrics graph telling a shadowy board of EA execs: “Look at everyone talking about our game. They all want a new ending and we can sell it to them as DLC!”. The sad part is, I’d buy it if it was good.