Mass Effect 3 review

We save the galaxy again in the Gamesweasel review of the Mass Effect 3 video game for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC rated 9 out of 10
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I jumped onto Mass Effect‘s Normandy when Microsoft published the first game and I’ve stayed for the ride ever since with. Recently I’ve met the doctors of BioWare, the producers and even interviewed the voice actors so I was more than keen to play this third instalment which sees the Reapers arrive to conquer the Earth as well as the galaxy. Without giving away any spoilers it’s up to Commander Shepard to recruit various races from across the galaxy to all work together and defeat them.

Of course what you’re guaranteed to get here is a rich story and believable characters you genuinely care about and you’ll be asked to make some really tough decisions along the way that will affect how things play out for you. Import your save from the previous games and you’ll have an even richer experience as you talk and fight alongside great character models and superb voice acting that really sells the epic nature of what’s happening around you. It’s a pity then that around this are graphical glitches now and then where characters jump into position to react to your conversation choice and there are also some laughable movement animations and the same old problem of textures visibly loading into new scenes. The next game in the series certainly needs an engine overhaul.

So what about the actual gameplay? There are the same lengthy conversations which I’m actually a fan of in this series due to the great voice acting and when you’re not on the Citadel or the Normandy you’ll be on a whole host of missions embroiled in some very hefty combat. Combat has been improved yet again with a more refined cover mechanic and melee attacks and you can also order your teammates using your voice via Kinect on Xbox 360. This works to some extent meaning you don’t have to pause things to open the wheel as much but sometimes it doesn’t hear you or unbeknown to you, your companions have already fired off the biotic you ask them to unleash, and it’s tricky to tell in the heat of battle. Kinect can also be used to choose dialogue in conversations and open doors but thankfully you can still press a button which is still far quicker and easier. There’s also loads of different armour, accessories and other things to buy and salvage when scanning planets. This time you can scan when pootling about in your ship. Do this too much in a Reaper infested area and they’ll come looking for you. It makes you jump at first, but when you realise the game just restarts you from your last save if they catch you which is always about 30 seconds ago it loses all its impact.

For the first time, Mass Effect 3 also comes with a multiplayer co-op mode which not only is quite fun to play in its own right (it’s basically a horde mode with waves of enemies you have to destroy), as you level up and earn XP in this mode it also goes towards your ‘galactic readiness’ in the campaign as well. And don’t worry, you don’t have to play co-op to get the best ending, it’s just another way of being more prepared for that final battle.

On another note, someone should have told BioWare that swapping discs on the Xbox 360 version of the game even though you’ve installed both discs to your hard drive isn’t acceptable in this day and age. I’m not playing Monkey Island 2 using floppy drives on the Amiga any more. Along with the superb soundtrack from Clint Mansell, this is one hell of a sci-fi package which will keep you playing for well over 30 hours and more if you get hooked on the co-op mode. It gets an almost perfect 9 out of 10.

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