Mass Effect 3 PC Review: Prettier, But Pretty Much the Same

NOTE: This is the second review we’ve done for Mass Effect 3, with the first concerning the Xbox 360 version of the game. Rather than restate too much in this review, I recommend you read the original for more points on story, gameplay and multiplayer that are universal to both versions.

Mass Effect 3 might have a PC version that was released at the same time as its console counterparts on Electronic Arts’ new downloadable platform, Origin, but make no mistake — the PC version is a port of the console game. Though a few extra options have been thrown in to clean up the graphics and give players a little bit more control, there’s very little that’s different about the two versions.

But if you’re faced with the choice of playing either PC or console without the mitigating factor of 100 hours or more of save files to transfer from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, for most players, PC is the winner (and you can move your saves to PC from Xbox 360 with this guide right here). But it’s a close race, ultimately boiling down to player preference for how Mass Effect 3 controls: gamepad, or no gamepad.

Mass Effect 3 (2012): PC (reviewed), Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: March 6, 2012
MSRP: $59.99

In my review of the Xbox 360 version of Mass Effect 3 — which was the first copy Game Front was able to get its hands on, before the PC copy became available — I wrote at great length about the many quality moments of the story. I still feel that, by and large, Mass Effect 3 contains some of the most incredibly resonant, emotional moments ever created in a game, especially for players who have been sticking with the series all the way through.

Much less powerful is the emotional impact for players new to the series, but BioWare has made up for it by making the game a whole lot more accessible than ever before. The primary component to that is the ability to switch between the classic RPG experience, a story-only experience in which combat is downplayed, and a combat-only experience in which story plays out as cutscenes with only the most major decisions presented to the player. Newbs should have significantly less trouble finding their way into Mass Effect in this third installment of the game than in the last.

So since we’ve already handled the story components in another review, this review is going to focus on the more technical and, frankly, somewhat boring aspects of the port. Just because we’re not talking story doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be counted, however — the game is still a powerful piece of the Mass Effect series even with the contention surrounding the ending (more on that later).

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11 Comments on Mass Effect 3 PC Review: Prettier, But Pretty Much the Same

Kenji

On March 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm

+1 to this, I really must say im loving your site and coverage of all of this, Its VERY rare anyone reviews the PC AND Console versions of a game, its something that needs to be done more often with all the garbage ports the PC Gaming community gets

Maywiki

On March 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm

On my system, I had no load time (and I’m not on a ssd). The longer I had to wait was about 3 to 5 sec, but most on the time every load was not perceptible, especially on the Normandy and the Citadel.

Stone

On March 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Don’t forget you can always hook up a 360 controller to your pc and have the best of both worlds!

Phil Hornshaw

On March 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm

@Stone

Actually, ME3 doesn’t support a 360 controller (or other gamepad). It’s a bummer, actually.

Zimriel

On March 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Not to be too off-topic, but BSG went wrong during Season 3 and never recovered. I didn’t even start the “4.5″ season. It would be like if ME2 went off the rails toward the end and ME3 was awful throughout. (Which didn’t happen.)

The ending of Lost did, yes, ruin the whole experience.

With ME3, probably best for players to stop the game before the ending, go out for beers, and write a fanfic.

Focusingblur

On March 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Why would you want to use a gamepad over mouse+keyboard anyway? Especially for a game with shooter elements that require a good deal of precision, especially at higher difficulties? I’ll never understand this. To me, that’s like electing to use crutches even though your legs are fully functional.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

@Focusingblur

Pretty much for the cover system, to answer your question. I agree that keyboard and mouse plays better, but in terms of Mass Effect, even other PC gamers at Game Front felt it needed a gamepad.

birthofthecool

On March 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I would have wanted a real PC game, I found the conversion lacking in many points compared to the earlier games.
Not that it was harder to play, but the many things that were done in “console style” put me off at first.

A real was getting any items in the star systems, with reapers chasing you. You move the ship with the mouse, but you also have to activate landing or docking with the mouse. The time you lose by moving the cursor, might just give the reapers the time to reach you.

As an RPG fan, I still prefer ME1 over the other 2 games, as far as character development, equipment and exploration go.
Even the endless Mako explorations were more fun than those endless scan and fetch quest and to think that all those accumulated War effort points only lead to slight variations of the ending.
It is absurd and it does take away not only from the last game, no from the whole series.

Sorry if you don’t see it that way, it is how I reacted to it.

aviation

On March 27, 2012 at 10:26 am

Sweet learned something newjust now now I’m satisfied for this week. Best!

racing

On March 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I was going to encourage Sassan to continue posting in the future, by following the rules. But then I realized he’s been attempting to circumvent moderation efforts, and that should be a banning offense.

Kiljoy616

On March 28, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I have to conquer that the game lost a lot of what made ME 2 such a fun game, the RPG side of this game franchise when south, it just felt bad, empty feeling. The day one DLC which was actually in the disk also felt cheap and it did add a lot to the game, but this game was so lacking in what made mass effect cool that I really don’t care if they fix it or not anymore since the whole PR from Bioware has me thinking next game I like from them I am waiting to see if its worth playing. To many good games to play half finished games.