Mass Effect 3: Initial Impressions


I received Mass Effect 3 via on the release date. I’ve only played about five hours. This is May. The game was released in March.

Something is wrong with this game. It’s not terrible, but it’s lost something that the first two games had. I can’t really put my finger on it but I can point out some of the things that I think are bad.

Note that I’m nowhere near completion yet. However, since some of the things I’ve seen are spoilers I’ll continue my rant after the jump…

So far I’ve found two major problems with the game [spoilers ahead].

(1) It’s too predictable and sometimes absurd

At times I feel like I’m watching the third movie in a trilogy that was directed by someone other than the person that made the first two. There have been moments when I thought I was watching a Hollywood blockbuster sci-fi movie. It’s as though the narrative voice was completely changed.

I didn’t think the game started well by beginning with the invasion of the Reapers.

I’ve tried to overlook the fact that Sheppard managed to learn about the Reapers only a couple of years before they arrived. It’s not unthinkable for a galactic civilization to learn about them before an impending attack, but only a couple of years at the end of a span of 50,000 years? That’s hard enough to swallow but having the third game begin during the Reaper attack just makes this even more obvious.

I’m not sure why the Alliance is surprised that the Reapers arrived sooner than they expected. Sheppard destroyed an entire system to delay their arrival. I’d expect them to either take Sheppard seriously from that point on or lock the character away into a deep, dark cell.

The worst moment so far was when Sheppard was leaving earth and watching a little boy board a shuttle. How many of us didn’t know that he and his fellow passengers would be killed as soon as their ship lifted off? Solemn music wasn’t enough to hide the fact that this scene was lifted from every other war/sci-fi movie.

And what about Sheppard just flying in circles watching the shuttle take off? Were the Reapers sleeping? Did Sheppard’s ship have a magic cloak? [No.] The Reapers are well aware of Sheppard and rather pissed. I’d expect them to be looking for Sheppard instead of letting the character just float around a city while it’s being destroyed. It’s probably the main reason they went straight for Earth!

I was somewhat disappointed in the Reapers. Their firepower wasn’t really that impressive considering all of the hype. They’re also very slow. The Reapers did an effective job of wiping out the Protheans but apparently they took their time doing it since the war is a resistance fight rather than an all-out space battle.

(2) It borrows from too many other games.

Sure, the story borrows elements from every other sci-fi book I’ve ever read but at least it was well combined in the first two games. The enemies and weapons are what I’m finding irritating. If I wanted to fight soldiers carrying shields I’d go play the Gears of War series. If I wanted to deal with enemies dropping turrets or shoot weapons that can barely aim then I’d pull one of the Halo games off the shelf.

I’ve also read headlines implying that the ending of this game doesn’t actually wrap things up. I don’t know if this is the case yet, but if it is then I’m not sure I’ll still be a dedicated Mass Effect player after this game is over.

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