Chronicling my way through Mass Effect 3

bartholen_v1legacy

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Been a while since I did one of these. I thought it would be fun since I'm only now getting to play Mass Effect 3 with all the DLC installed. I'm roughly 3-4 hours in, so this is my first impressions.

The disaster and following bickering over the ending was actually rather convenient in the sense that aside from that I don't know almost anything about the game's plot. I know some character deaths, but that's about it. So despite being 6 years late, I still get to enjoy the story with fresh eyes.

First impressions include:
- the galaxy seems to have gotten a whole lot more grey and darker shades of blue compared to the previous installments. It's kind of hard to judge whether this is due to the "gunmetal grey and dogshit brown" graphics trends of the time, or to emphasize the grim atmosphere.
- Boy, they sure made Normandy a whole lot uglier. Exposed wires all over the place, seemingly a third of the lights ripped out, grey metal on grey metal as the only texture colours. Again, I don't know if this is due to visual trends or to signify the downfall of organic life in visual terms. Either way I don't like it.
- The game does so far a great job at conveying how utterly devastating the Reapers are, and the scale of the conflict. The entire turian planet essentially in flames as the backdrop in the Primarch mission was a sight to behold.
- Despite having only completed the first main story mission (getting the turian Primarch) after the tutorial on earth, there's already been some rather eyebrow-raising reconning here. It's especially noticeable since I stumbled on the Leviathan DLC's first mission basically by accident, since the game doesn't display any difference between the main game and DLC missions. In the first Mass Effect the Reapers are essentially just nonexistent boogeymen, but oh, there was totally a dead reaper found by the Batarians decades ago and they just hushed it up. Never mind how advanced Reaper tech has been built up to be all this time, no, it went totally unnoticed and didn't in any way show on the batarians' technology. Yeah, the Reapers are basically invincible, but look at that, a Prothean artifact we only now happen to mention despite sitting in Mars for decades, despite the Protheans being defined in the first game as almost myths in their own right.
- It's so much fun to realize how attached I've grown to these characters. Seeing minor characters like Dr Michel get a reappearance in the game just drives that feeling further. I just wanted to bro-hug Thane in the hospital
- It's also fun to play my Shepard as a redemption story. In the first two games I played him as a renegade due to his disillusionment and anger, but now I think he's realized that won't work anymore, and is finally taking the position as a leader.

That's my first 2 cents, I'll post more when I see fit.
 

Samtemdo8_v1legacy

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Mass Effect 3 is a good game that was a victim of over expectations.

On the other hand If EA had not rushed Bioware, it would have turned out a better product. And if that story leak never happened in the days leading up to Mass Effect 2 we would not had the ending we have now.

Regardless I am just amazed at how overall solid the product is.

Still waiting for the Master Chief Collection version of Mass Effect. Where all 3 games are in one disc.
 

CaitSeith

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bartholen said:
Protheans being defined in the first game as almost myths in their own right.
Just a nitpick here. In the first game it's established that humanity finding Prothean technology on Mars was what originally gave to mankind the technology for deep space travel. Yeah, having the plans for the anti-Reapers super weapon revealed coincidentally right there at the beginning without any build up or explanation of why it wasn't found until just now is lazy; but still plausible.

By the way, don't take the Shore Leave mission until right after the main plot mission Priority: Horizon. That's how you get the best of the Citadel DLC.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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Samtemdo8 said:
Mass Effect 3 is a good game that was a victim of over expectations.
Was it though? The gameplay was, ironically, a step back from the visceral, fast paced action of Mass Effect 2, in an attempt to straddle the line between ME1 and ME2, which simply didn't work.
The story is utter, unmitigated trash. The pace is both too rushed and too plodding, the actual story is about this wonder weapon that's stupid in every possible way, you have 3 different enemies (Geth, Cerberus, Reapers) that all just sort of appear as the plot demands and that's simply way too many for this game. Cerberus inclusion is particularly stupid, as this is the culmination of the Reaper-story, yet most of the game is spent shooting Cerberus dudes and trying to stop the Illusive Man from being a moron or watching Kai Leng be TOTALLY RAD YO OMG HE IS SO COOOOL AND NINJA! Shepard is side-lined and acts as nothing but a glorified errand boy, the actual wonder weapon at the center of the story is given no screen time until the very end. The end itself is even worse then the rest of the story, having no real connection to it and introducing a bunch of new info and unresolved plots minutes before the end (and cheapens the ending by having a literal Deus Ex Machina hand Shepard the plot coupon needed to win).

Shamus Young has already dissected ME3 in great detail and it is better to read his analysis then mine. So sufficient to say is that ME 3 is a decent TPS/RPG hybrid taken on its' own, but that's it. The actual mechanics are not great and the story is so bad, and such a betrayal of the previous games, that it should only ever be mentioned with the utmost of scorn or sorrow.
 

bartholen_v1legacy

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Gethsemani said:
Samtemdo8 said:
Mass Effect 3 is a good game that was a victim of over expectations.
Was it though? The gameplay was, ironically, a step back from the visceral, fast paced action of Mass Effect 2, in an attempt to straddle the line between ME1 and ME2, which simply didn't work.
The story is utter, unmitigated trash. The pace is both too rushed and too plodding, the actual story is about this wonder weapon that's stupid in every possible way, you have 3 different enemies (Geth, Cerberus, Reapers) that all just sort of appear as the plot demands and that's simply way too many for this game. Cerberus inclusion is particularly stupid, as this is the culmination of the Reaper-story, yet most of the game is spent shooting Cerberus dudes and trying to stop the Illusive Man from being a moron or watching Kai Leng be TOTALLY RAD YO OMG HE IS SO COOOOL AND NINJA! Shepard is side-lined and acts as nothing but a glorified errand boy, the actual wonder weapon at the center of the story is given no screen time until the very end. The end itself is even worse then the rest of the story, having no real connection to it and introducing a bunch of new info and unresolved plots minutes before the end (and cheapens the ending by having a literal Deus Ex Machina hand Shepard the plot coupon needed to win).

Shamus Young has already dissected ME3 in great detail and it is better to read his analysis then mine. So sufficient to say is that ME 3 is a decent TPS/RPG hybrid taken on its' own, but that's it. The actual mechanics are not great and the story is so bad, and such a betrayal of the previous games, that it should only ever be mentioned with the utmost of scorn or sorrow.
Thanks a lot for spoilers, m8. At least tag them next time.

7 hours in, and I honestly like this a lot. The weapons are undoubtedly the biggest improvement so far. The one-shot pistol (it has to be a DLC weapon) that essentially one-shots everything is perfect for playing space Dirty Harry. The assault rifle with a 140-round magazine is so much fun to go DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA on everyone's ass. ME2, even with its additional content, still had painfully sparse weapon selection. Here it's almost too much: having like 10 different assault rifles already is more than a little overwhelming. I also didn't expect or remember to start the game already at level 35, currently 48, which means I'm absolutely vaporizing most enemy resistance.

Despite this game's age, and my previous quibbles with the visuals and color palette, this game is still diddly darn pretty at points. Though a lot of it is thanks to the fantastic ALOT texture mod [https://www.nexusmods.com/masseffect3/mods/363/?tab=description], there's no denying the art and lighting's beauty. The world finally feels properly populated with dozens of NPCs in each location, and a lot more background dialogue to listen to. The minor choices you can also make may be simplistic, but they make the world feel more alive.

Though to balance that out there's a weird issue with the audio, or at least during the Omega missions there was: entire scenes would play out with basically no background noise whatsoever, just the characters' dialogue. It honestly felt there had to be a glitch or something. The final scene where Aria T'Loak reinstates herself fell completely flat since there was no audio but her dialogue, and maybe Shepard's footsteps. Is it like this with everyone? Also, Aria's voice actor could not carry the dialogue. She was fine in ME2 due to her much smaller role, but delivering rousing speeches was not her forte. There had to be some disconnect or issue with the direction, because otherwise I haven't had any issues with the voice acting at all.

Oh, but the controls... I get that there's only so many buttons on a controller, but you really didn't need to assign taking cover, vaulting and activating objects all to the same button. It makes combat frustrating at times when Shepard will merrily shimmy between cover instead of vaulting over due to the grenade next to his face.

I like that they removed the pointless minigames, and instead just made them an automatic progress bar. The hacking and bypassing in ME2 were never fun, and served only as a speedbump. This is a good example of streamlining done right.
 

Ravenbom

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I really didn't have a problem with the ending like most people did. If anything, I think I would have preferred it be mostly scripted instead of giving you a choice in the last few minutes.



-Spoilers-

I think the synthesis ending is rape-y as all hell. Also, it's a big cop-out. No matter how you played Shepard, you were there to end the cycle and the Reapers.
Just like Life is Strange, I really don't think that they should have given the player a choice at the end of the game. I'm sure more people would have called BS at not having a choice, but a single, logical ending would have played better.
The other option would have been to have the endings spread out between different final areas (like go save a different homeworld for each option) instead of just pick a color that doesn't seem to match with the Paragon/Renegade options we've seen for the last 3 games of 60+ hours each.
 

Samtemdo8_v1legacy

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Gethsemani said:
Samtemdo8 said:
Mass Effect 3 is a good game that was a victim of over expectations.
Was it though? The gameplay was, ironically, a step back from the visceral, fast paced action of Mass Effect 2, in an attempt to straddle the line between ME1 and ME2, which simply didn't work.
The story is utter, unmitigated trash. The pace is both too rushed and too plodding, the actual story is about this wonder weapon that's stupid in every possible way, you have 3 different enemies (Geth, Cerberus, Reapers) that all just sort of appear as the plot demands and that's simply way too many for this game. Cerberus inclusion is particularly stupid, as this is the culmination of the Reaper-story, yet most of the game is spent shooting Cerberus dudes and trying to stop the Illusive Man from being a moron or watching Kai Leng be TOTALLY RAD YO OMG HE IS SO COOOOL AND NINJA! Shepard is side-lined and acts as nothing but a glorified errand boy, the actual wonder weapon at the center of the story is given no screen time until the very end. The end itself is even worse then the rest of the story, having no real connection to it and introducing a bunch of new info and unresolved plots minutes before the end (and cheapens the ending by having a literal Deus Ex Machina hand Shepard the plot coupon needed to win).

Shamus Young has already dissected ME3 in great detail and it is better to read his analysis then mine. So sufficient to say is that ME 3 is a decent TPS/RPG hybrid taken on its' own, but that's it. The actual mechanics are not great and the story is so bad, and such a betrayal of the previous games, that it should only ever be mentioned with the utmost of scorn or sorrow.
Well....I just had the most FUN with Mass Effect 3 than prior games.
 

Ravenbom

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bartholen said:
Oh, but the controls... I get that there's only so many buttons on a controller, but you really didn't need to assign taking cover, vaulting and activating objects all to the same button. It makes combat frustrating at times when Shepard will merrily shimmy between cover instead of vaulting over due to the grenade next to his face.

I like that they removed the pointless minigames, and instead just made them an automatic progress bar. The hacking and bypassing in ME2 were never fun, and served only as a speedbump. This is a good example of streamlining done right.


Well, you got your wish. It's called Mass Effect: Andromeda and there's NO cover button. There's an "automatic" cover system that doesn't work instead.
I'm glad I chose to be a Renegade Infiltrator in ME1-3. Kind of sucked, because there's not really sniping sections, but in the days before MGSV's Quiet, AI Snipers were totally useless and I figured I'd have to do it myself.

So, I never got to play as a Vanguard, which looked fun as hell when they redesigned the class in ME2-3.
Honestly, since the cover system is broken and ALL classes are mobile as hell, I find that I can only play with that Vanguard charge biotic and shotguns in ME:Andromeda.
 

Trunkage

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Gethsemani said:
Samtemdo8 said:
Mass Effect 3 is a good game that was a victim of over expectations.
Was it though? The gameplay was, ironically, a step back from the visceral, fast paced action of Mass Effect 2, in an attempt to straddle the line between ME1 and ME2, which simply didn't work.
The story is utter, unmitigated trash. The pace is both too rushed and too plodding, the actual story is about this wonder weapon that's stupid in every possible way, you have 3 different enemies (Geth, Cerberus, Reapers) that all just sort of appear as the plot demands and that's simply way too many for this game. Cerberus inclusion is particularly stupid, as this is the culmination of the Reaper-story, yet most of the game is spent shooting Cerberus dudes and trying to stop the Illusive Man from being a moron or watching Kai Leng be TOTALLY RAD YO OMG HE IS SO COOOOL AND NINJA! Shepard is side-lined and acts as nothing but a glorified errand boy, the actual wonder weapon at the center of the story is given no screen time until the very end. The end itself is even worse then the rest of the story, having no real connection to it and introducing a bunch of new info and unresolved plots minutes before the end (and cheapens the ending by having a literal Deus Ex Machina hand Shepard the plot coupon needed to win).
If you took out the Ninja part, I wouldn't be able to tell if you were talking about ME 2 or 3. The Ninja is the worst part of ME3 though.

In ME2, you are literally sent to pick people up. Then make them happy. That is 90% game and that sounds like a bunch of errands to me. Gameplay was way better in ME3 in my opinion. Other than what's already been stated, the cool down system for biotics and multiple paths of progression add tactics not seen in ME2. Combining skills led to explosive combos. Vaulting was a thing. the last thing I'd call ME2 combat is fast paced. I spent a lot of time hiding and not moving forward.

Let's not forget that in ME1, you destroyed a Reaper by killing Saren but that was totally ignored for the rest of the series. Or that, to make sure Shepherd wasn't captured, your best fighters were sent OFF SHIP during the only time they needed to be on board. Or that Cerebus was the good guys in ME2 and just as stupidly was the bad guys again in ME3. Also, terminators - agh. This is not to defend that super weapon storyline, it's more to say that ME had a bunch off stupid stuff in it.

While if I remember correctly, I agree with a lot of Seamus' arguements about ME3 but he held ME2 up as this mythical game that was above reproach. It has some great points and some terrible ones just like everything in the series.

If you don't like the direction it took, fair enough. Me personally, I found something went forward and somethings went back. I still want them to go back to the gun heating system of 1. Letting me do multiple biotics on one character from 1 would be great too.
 

Burnsidhe

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Shamus Young did NOT hold ME2 above reproach. In fact, he points out most of the ridiculously large number of problems with ME 2's story, and the start of ME 2 was where the ending of the trilogy began to go off the rails.
 

Trunkage

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Burnsidhe said:
Shamus Young did NOT hold ME2 above reproach. In fact, he points out most of the ridiculously large number of problems with ME 2's story, and the start of ME 2 was where the ending of the trilogy began to go off the rails.
Thats fair enough. I haven't read it in years
 

IceForce

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bartholen said:
- Boy, they sure made Normandy a whole lot uglier. Exposed wires all over the place, seemingly a third of the lights ripped out, grey metal on grey metal as the only texture colours. Again, I don't know if this is due to visual trends or to signify the downfall of organic life in visual terms. Either way I don't like it.
That's because the Normandy was in the process of being retrofitted at the time the reapers attack. Tidying up all the exposed pipes and wires never got done, because ain't no one got time for that now the reapers are here.

Additionally, Cerberus have always been really flashy and extravagant with their ships and property. Generally, the Alliance are less concerned with aesthetics.
 

CaitSeith

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Samtemdo8 said:
I will never play anything else but a Soldier in Mass Effect.

Guns are just so much more effective than gadgets and magic.
But those alone aren't as effective as a super charged tackle, followed with a shotgun blast with fire ammo on the face and a psychic energy explosion. The Vangard class is my high-risk / high-reward / high-fun recommendation.
 
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Samtemdo8 said:
I will never play anything else but a Soldier in Mass Effect.

Guns are just so much more effective than gadgets and magic.
You haven't lived until you've Biotically Charged a mofo and Claymored them in the face. It is the purest gaming joy it is possible to experience.
 

votemarvel

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It is fun to Charge, Nova, shotgun but it also highlights a problem with playing as the biotic classes in ME2 & 3, that you are reduced to spamming a small move set in order to be effective. It's worst of all for the Adept who gets stuck behind chest high walls spamming biotic combos because their shields aren't worth a damn.
 

09philj

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I liked ME3 a lot. I think it might actually be my favourite Mass Effect game, although it's very close between it and Mass Effect 2.
KingsGambit said:
Samtemdo8 said:
I will never play anything else but a Soldier in Mass Effect.

Guns are just so much more effective than gadgets and magic.
You haven't lived until you've Biotically Charged a mofo and Claymored them in the face. It is the purest gaming joy it is possible to experience.
It's not like you're missing out on shooty bang fun either, because everyone gets to use the Carnifex/Paladin heavy pistol, which ranks as one of my absolute favourite video game guns.
 

laggyteabag

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I would say ME3 is my favourite of the series.

ME1's combat and locations are just a complete slog. The story might be good, but playing the game is about as fun as pulling teeth.

ME2 has improves on the combat to a commendable degree, but some of the levels are still dumpster quality.

ME3 improves on the combat, gives the play a truck-load full of weapons to choose from (and doesnt lock certain classes to certain weapons), and the level design has been improved dramatically. The story certainly has faults (edgy boi Kai Leng being the biggest example), but the story is overall solid, and I feel like they played up to the whole Reaper Invasion thing really well.
 

meiam

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Samtemdo8 said:
I will never play anything else but a Soldier in Mass Effect.

Guns are just so much more effective than gadgets and magic.
Playing at insanity changes that quite a bit, you don't have the time to really line up your shoot (you die way to fast) you have to make every time you take a peak out of cover count for everything so tech and magic become a lot more useful.
 

DeadProxy

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KingsGambit said:
Samtemdo8 said:
I will never play anything else but a Soldier in Mass Effect.

Guns are just so much more effective than gadgets and magic.
You haven't lived until you've Biotically Charged a mofo and Claymored them in the face. It is the purest gaming joy it is possible to experience.
The first thing I ever saw for Mass Effect was a Vanguard charging into someone in ME3 and I was instantly hooked. The time-lag effect as you zoom across the map into the enemies chest really made the impact feel satisfying, followed by the BOOM of whatever shotgun you were using, mmm perfect. The Disciple was my shotty of choice. The ragdoll in this game made everything feel so great, I sunk dozens of hours in the MP just because I loved making Cerb forces flop around.