Being the culmination of an epic trilogy, could Mass Effect’s last episode possibly come up to par to the 9.5/10 reviews from the last two? Not only did it do just that, but Bioware’s Mass Effect 3 goes above and beyond given expectations with evolved gameplay, a killer team line-up (literally), and an ending that will leave gamers wanting to play it over and over again.
With Mass Effect: Andromeda coming soon, gamers will want to go back to the roots of the Mass Effect series in order to fully comprehend what we are to be expecting from Bioware’s award winning series. In-game content in Andromeda will be very confusing to the gamer if they don’t have any background knowledge about the last installments of the Mass Effect title. Mass Effect 3; however may be used as a “guideline” in order to determine whether or not Andromeda is bad, good, or better.
Bioware strives to satisfy the fan’s constant hunger of gameplay evolution within Mass Effect 3 through drastic change and improvement from the last two games. According to in-game content and mechanics, it may seem that Bioware didn’t want the fans playing the same videogame twice. Bioware has been using the Unreal gameplay engine for years, but with new innovative ideas, they installed the third version of the Unreal engine in the culmination of the Mass Effect series to provide fast-paced RPG action. Unreal v. 3 permits interaction with A.I. teammates in real-time combat situations, allowing the gamer to command and adapt with optimal efficiency in all situations.
If that wasn’t enough, we are also given the option to utilize the Xbox 360 Kinect voice command to be able to vocally command your A.I. comrades. AI enemies keep us watching our every move with their new and improved engine coding. They now aren’t random AI characters that run straight at you with guns pointed to the sky begging you to take them out. Even on the easiest difficulty in the game, one must be alert in order to survive each battle encounter.
Now, many die-hard N7 fans may think that the new Gears-of-War-style gameplay within this game may be just wrong or out of place, but it was a huge relief knowing that we weren’t going to be playing the same game twice. Mass Effect 2 and its improved gameplay was given highly positive reviews, but like all videogames, perfection was not reached just yet. The new integration of in-and-out-of-cover controls with the unlimited sprint ability creates a sense of liberty and realism to the gamer. Bringing something new to the table tells us that videogames have not reached a complete with respect to its progression in improvement. Of course, Mass Effect 3 still has that familiar fluidity in its gameplay from the last episodes, but the new gameplay mechanics are noticeably integrated.
Once again we find ourselves with awesome kick-trash teammates within Mass Effect’s plot/storyline that brings the laughs as much as it increases the body count. As Mass Effect tradition goes, new characters were introduced in this last instalment. New characters such as James Vega and the new-and-improved EDI provide new story options, and bring even more opportunities to connect with the Mass Effect universe. New teammates also means new powers in combat, and more adaptability to almost all in-combat situations. New characters open up even more space to explore into their lives and see who they are individually because each Mass Effect character has their own personality and desire. All players are allowed to shape the relationship they have with each Mass Effect character through positive or negative dialogue options. The protagonist gains a certain level of respect from the teammates because of the role that the protagonist has in the plot.
As the series came to a close, many people were in fear of the way Bioware was going to end such an establishment of a videogame, but they were not discouraged. Captain Shepard finishes of his battle against a synthetic race, the Reapers, but he could not do so alone. He must call upon all races of every kind in the universe in order to avoid the apocalypse. In the last two episodes we see the many prejudices that all alien-races have against each other and the human race, but all pride must be set aside for the greater good and well-being of the galaxy. It is up to the player to use persuasion and tact in order to fix galactic problems before such an alliance can be made. Of course, all past decisions in the last two episodes are in play, so if any mistakes were made at any time, the player must learn how to fix it, or move on.
The ending to the trilogy caused as much grief as it caused excitement. The player is confronted in the end with different decisions, and each have distinct consequences. It is up to player to discern which one is the best for the well-being of the galaxy, and if the player isn’t satisfied, one must replay the game to get another ending. The ending till this day has been discussed over and over again in forums and reviews because there are so many opinions over it, An alternate ending has been added as well after the game’s release, providing another perspective of what the video game's plot. In the end, Mass Effect 3 shows all gamers the true potential that the video game industry has through its evolution of gameplay and storyline. Anyone who is not a fan of N7 will be easily convinced if the chance is given. Mass Effect 3 shows gamers that we are not limited in any sense, especially if our mind is set on progress. With this first trilogy set in stone, everyone in the N7 community are waiting at the front door for Andromeda, and for good reason too.