BioWare finishes Shepard’s final chapter with a bang.
By Kamal Hwail
Not many games uptake an ambitious nature like Mass Effect and leave its lasting mark. Only a few games can sweep the scene the same way the Mass Effect series has done with such a powerful and emotional impact. In the grand finale, Mass Effect 3, emotion is its key strength. Whether I’m grieving over a lost friend, standing in the middle of a heart-ripping affair, or faced against impossible odds, strong feelings are evoked and spilled into the game that make me care. BioWare treated players to a priceless gift that should not be disregarded. Deep storytelling and naturally crafted characters propels Mass Effect 3 into an emotional thrill ride that make your hands sweat from beginning to end and then your jaw dropped by its epic conclusion.
In the final chapter of Commander Shepard’s story, the universe stands on the brink of annihilation by the Reapers and it is up to you, Commander Shepard, to set things right; no pressure. It comes highly recommended that one plays the two previous installments before venturing into this galactic war. Nonetheless, as I mentioned before, the depth and capability to draw you in the story is ultimately what makes Mass Effect 3 an unforgettable experience. But this is not only done via decision making and its further influence. The look and tone of this game is crucial to the kind of emotion the player may experience. In fact, BioWare is not known for its graphical fidelity, but the attention to detail is exquisite and the art design is unforgettable. Lighting effects shine bright, particle effects flash with realism, and colors are vibrant and cohesive. Likewise the orchestral score is sweeping, stirring, and beautiful work that fits the game’s glorious action perfectly and is another of the game’s inseparable components. More importantly though, the art design is what helps construct the moody atmosphere. In this galactic war, themes such as hope, sacrifice, and survival are clearly visible throughout many moments. Of course, new characters do make their way into this game but it is the returning characters that will make you feel at home. The time spent with these characters help make them come to life and shape their personality. You may become so invested into their feelings that you may mistake them as a real-life friend or family.
Most of the game play features set in Mass Effect 3 are quite similar to its predecessor but revamped and refined. This is not terrible as the second game’s game play was not flawed, just slightly clunky. That does not happen here. Yes, you are still dashing to cover, shooting enemies one by one, and exploring areas for goodies. But BioWare does elevate these features with silky-smooth camera control, a useful close quarters melee attack, and customizable weapons. If you are quick to compare the game play to Uncharted or Vanquish, you might be a little disappointed. But that is not to say Mass Effect 3 is not special. Every enemy encounter is intense and varied. The controls constantly feel fresh and addictive. Know the gist of this game is crafting your character by morality paths and decisions. By importing a save, Mass Effect 3 will become one of the most personal games ever played. Choosing either path of Paragon or Renegade is justifiable and allows every player to gain something a little different out of the game.
The masterful aspect of Mass Effect 3 is way the game tells its story of friendship, hope, morality, and survival through its beautiful cinematography. Every cut scene perfectly captures the emotion and intense scale of the war. The story grows steadily and ends up a giant. Many story layers were clearly crammed into this game to rightfully end the trilogy on a satisfying note. But the way BioWare combines these layers to keep you on the edge of your seat is applauded. Mass Effect 3 is not flawlessly polished as sound glitches, jumpy animation, menu presentation, and things of that nature do occur. But when you weight them against the visionary content, it by no means ruins this touching experience. There will be moments when you will get goose bumps, moments where you get an adrenaline rush, and indeed moments where you will shed a tear. It is that powerful.
I will admit. Mass Effect 3 made a tear run down my cheek. Although it may not be the best game ever made, is one of my personal favorites in recent history. It is an opportunity to present real characters with real emotions. It allows me to step into the universe and live the moment with them. The wide array of emotion that the game tampers with is touching, sad, and grim. The cinematography is splendid and each scene is consistent throughout. In the end all you have is your memories of those moments you can relate to. Treat yourself, sit back, relax and just get lost in it. This is a game that deserves every gamer’s attention.
Final Verdict: 10 “Masterpiece”