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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mass Effect 3 - Spoiler Free Review

To be entirely fair, no review can ever be "spoiler free"...any details I tell you of the game or its make are ruining some level of exploration. However I am trying my best here to keep things general, and to leave those precious moments of discovery up to you, while I focus mainly on the elements which made the game good and bad. This is by no means comprehensive, more of a "player's opinion" on bits of the game.

I'll start by saying this however: the criticisms here will outnumber the compliments plenty, and yet I find the game to be a great deal of fun, it is easily one of the best I have ever played...and that's mainly due to the criticisms being mostly nit-picking and tiny details...things that could easily be patched away.
  • "The little details" - Some would call this "polish" but in this case the game has plenty of that...what I am talking about here are those tiny details that normally elude notice, but add volumes to the game's immersion.
    • Good - Crew members now move about the ship, they aren't locked to specific locations.
    • Good - The special ammo types now do more than "add fire damage to weapon"...for example, Armor piercing ammo can no pierce certain levels of cover...enemies hit with Incendiary rounds might panic.
    • Good - Every single thing you do and did (in previous games) helps the cause in some way...ending discussion aside, you feel like you are building an army.
    • BAD! - The claymore shotgun only carries ONE shell, I don't want to see NPCs fire it 2-3 times without reloading...I know what that gun does, I use it all the time. Krogan in cutscenes carry it all the time, and treat it like it has multiple shots.
    •  Odd? - There is a mission in which an NPC carries a shotgun...every few cutscenes, the gun he is carrying changes without explanation.
    • BAD! - The Avenger assault rifle is THE iconic weapon of Mass's also the worst assault rifle in the game, and by so much that using it feels like hamstringing oneself.
  • Overuse of one button - Games these days like to have a default "use" button...the problem is, in ME3 that button ("Spacebar" on PC) is used for everything from; taking cover, diving out of the way, reviving teammates, activating consoles. Really, what they need to do is split it into two buttons: the "cover" button (which would handle everything from diving to taking cover, they mesh well as is) and the "action" button (which would handle reviving and activation)...far too many times has a squadmate bled out because the game thought I wanted to hug the nearby wall.
  • The Ending....I am on the fence with, but I am not going to discuss in this post (I'll do one soon with heavy spoilers).
  • The gunplay (aside from certain guns being MUCH better than others) is tight as could be, and the power cooldowns feel perfect. The leveling up fits well and actually asks you to make some meaningful choices with your abilities that effect how you play. In other words: The weapon/modding system, the armor system and the level up system are virtually perfect...if they make an ME4 or another game in the universe, they should leave them as is...except....
  • ...make all the weapons more balanced...they are generally balanced (with a few exceptions) in terms of DPS, but Bioware neglected to balance based on "face time" or the amount of time one must stay out of cover while firing. For example...the Revenant Machine gun has extremely high DPS potential, but you must be out of cover and exposed to make use of it, while the Saber and Widow rifles have high alpha strike but lower DPS...and are generally better because they do not expose you long (as exposure = DEATH).

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