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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mass Effect 3...Or How I learned to stop worrying and love Bioware

Hi Everyone! Sorry for the post lag. As you've all figured out,Mass Effect 3 ate me alive for a while. Andrey is a thorough gamer, much to my fortune, this is one piece of work that punishes the shit out of you for anything less than thoroughness. It really is a masterpiece, and today I will explain a little bit about why this game lives up to almost all expectations.

So, without further ado, here is my review so far of the writing in ME3. The ending and some of the philosophical questions brought up by the game will get their own airtime in posts to come; this is just a discussion of content until the finale. Since a) we are not finished and b) rumours of DLC abound, that has to be put off.

Bioware rarely disappoints and this game surpasses the usual standard. The atmosphere is great and dialogue is tight. Some of the dialogues about time spans are inordinate, as it has only been six months or so since the last game, and the power of the Reapers is touched on but not adequately explored. However, a lot of interaction between squad members was added, and between personal reflections and lots of humour, there is no lack of entertainment. Joker is revealed to have an insightful side and Ashley has a meltdown, and it is all compelling stuff. Background dialogues with NPCs are also far above par.

While the timed events for important character development and War Resources can sometimes be tricky and irritating, the elegant tie-ins starting from minor characters in the first game and continuing into thousands of subplots in the second game reward players who patiently ground through the first two. If you were kind to puppies and rescued kittens (or Asari) from trees, you will have endless rewarding details to enjoy. Every plot thread, from endlessly annoying Conrad Verner to Khalil Al Jihani, our favorite punching bag, gets a moment in the spotlight. The details are mindblowingly well-followed.

So, setting is fine. Great. What about character writing?, I hear you say. Well....I am not much of a marshmallow, but so far I have been in tears twice at least and we not done the game. Although our Paragon MaleShep has saved the krogans, Mordin's death as the price was awfully high. I liked the little guy a lot. He does get an epic death scene at least and that is comforting. Legion's death (or dissolution) also drove me to tears. Udina, not so much, but it was satisfying. This game does have a high body count though.

As for plot, the small details are great, but the ending so far feels as though it is coming unsteadily. My one complaint is that some things have been predictable, and that Cerberus is used as a forced McGuffin/Deus Ex Machina a bit too often. Shouting 'Cerberus did it!' after minor mishaps has become a meme in my household. Still, MaleShep has good voiceacting and I am dying to see how it all plays out. Well done Bioware!

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