Mass Effect 3 ‘Omega’ Post-Mortem: Time To Stop Caring?

The Changing Essence Of Mass Effect?

It needs to be said, however, that despite promising changes in gameplay and cinematics, Omega and previous recent Mass Effect content hints to some subtle, and not-so-subtle, changes to the core of what makes a Mass Effect game a Mass Effect game. We believe it’s possible to extrapolate from them some trends to keep an eye out for in future Mass Effect games. To wit:

  • Limited Dialogue. Mass Effect 3 already saw a dramatic reduction in the amount of dialogue options, but Leviathan and especially Omega drastically cut the options further. Choices now range from “I don’t like something I’m going to do” to “I love something I’m going to do,” and those choices come with alarming rarity. More often now is a cutscene that is mostly scripted, with one or two opportunities to interact.
  • Renegade/Paragon options far less important. This is especially pronounced in Omega, where choosing to take advantage of renegade and paragon moments does nothing at all to affect the way a scene plays out overall. Persistently choosing one option over the other ultimately influences Aria by the mission’s end, but it feels like a hollow change, somewhat nonsensical that Shepard would affect the Queen of Crime (especially over Nyreen), and tacked-on. Interrupts are given “Paragon” or “Renegade” delineations for seemingly no reason.
  • Little side content. By contrast to missions from previous Mass Effect games, Omega and Leviathan (and somewhat, From Ashes) are strikingly linear. Gone are reasons to root around in rooms, gone are side missions related to these missions. Everything that happens happens on a set path, as demanded by the script. It’s so pronounced that if you notice something vaguely out of place, you can be certain it’s related to the main mission.

  • Heavier, more diverse combat. As we saw in Omega (and also Leviathan), combat scenarios have been more intense, and featuring more various kinds of enemies, than we’ve seen before in any of the Mass Effect games. During some fights in Omega, players could face all manner of bad guys, including close-range robotic fighters, mid-range, superpowered monsters, and the whole contingent of Cerberus soldiers. All of it makes for better, more interesting fights.
  • More involved conflicts and wars. Another heavily emphasized element we saw in Omega were players taking part in major conflicts, rather than driving them. While Shepard and his team would often strike out on their own, they also found themselves coming across engagements in which other tropos were taking part. Acting as a flanking force against soldiers already fighting, for example, is a big part of the fighting in Omega.
  • Reduced Squad Mechanics. The strangest thing that Omega and The Leviathan, and also The Arrival, have in common is that they all find ways to separate Shepard from his/her squad of loyal crewmates. In each instance it’s somewhat different; The Arrival forces you to take Shep on what is largely a solo mission, The Leviathan separates Shep from the crew during the part of the expansion that delivers the most exposition, and Omega simply replaces Sheps’ crew with a squad of Aria & associates. But in each instance, one of the core elements of Mass Effect is dummied out.

We realize the matter of Mass Effect 4 is complicated by the fact that Casey Hudson, still director of the game, will be overseeing a brand new team based in Montreal, and by the departures of so much of BioWare’s high level staff this year. As such that makes accurate prediction a lost cause. But seeing the same features showing up again and again, and in more refined form, with each new iteration of Mass Effect-related game content, and one can’t help but draw the conclusion that we’re looking at the de-Mass Effectification of the series before our very eyes.

Is this a bad thing? Well, as Phil related in his review of Omega, it’s difficult to really care about Mass Effect 3 beyond curiosity at this point. The problems with the game are too pronounced, the inability to fully enjoy it retroactively affects enjoyment of the series overall. A ‘pure’ Mass Effect 4 that extended the problems of Mass Effect 3 would just be more of what doesn’t work dressed up in drag. So if we’re looking at a taste of changes to come, this could be a good thing. A chance to stop thinking about Mass Effect 4 as the successor to Mass Effect 3, and instead think of it as its own self-contained thing.


This piece is a collaboration between Phil Hornshaw and Ross Lincoln. Read more of Hornshaw’s work here and Lincoln’s work here, and follow them and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw, @rossalincoln and @gamefrontcom.

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22 Comments on Mass Effect 3 ‘Omega’ Post-Mortem: Time To Stop Caring?

Michael

On December 27, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Is it me or are they wasting there time with this. They ruined the series just like QUEST FOR GLORY.
They shouldnt make Mass Effect 4. No one cares for the DLC and the fans of the series will not buy Mass Effect 4. They should do something new.

Kevin

On December 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm

They are just looking for the money at this point. If they really cared about a game, they would make a different IP.

But yeah, less choice, more John Woo than Star Wars style, and a ton more dudebro, combined with some incredibly shallow characters. Yeah, I really can’t see me getting to hyped up about ME4.

sapito

On December 28, 2012 at 12:35 am

ME4 = Generic RTS, mark my words.

Maay

On December 28, 2012 at 2:02 am

Hope is alive.

Ebalosus

On December 28, 2012 at 4:01 am

@sapito What do you mean by “Generic RTS”? I get the hint of what you’re trying to say (i’ll extrapolate below), but want to know what you mean in your own words
;)

For me personally, I think sapito is over selling it. I think it’ll be even worse than ‘generic.’ Sure, it may *look* like Mass Effect, but it certainely won’t *feel* like Mass Effect. To understand what I mean, go experience the first game again. I believe that you’ll find that (for the most part), everything grows organically from each other, instead of contrivances like ME3.

Mr B Tongue (BTW where the hell is he, me and all of his other subscribers miss him dearly) said that Mass Effect was “Talky-Techy Science-fiction,” like star trek. Everything from the second game onwards has felt less and less like Mass Effect, in my opinion, because there has been less focus on the talky-techy part. There’s nothing wrong with action, but if the primary focus *is* the action, then the developers are kind of missing the point of what made Mass Effect 1 sublime.

Ergo, going from the examples set by ME2 and ME3, I believe that ME4 will be even further away from its talky-techy beginning, more focus on the action, less focus on the dialogue, setting, characters, gameplay, and RP part of this supposed RPG.

Addendum: This is extrapolated by what the article itself extrapolated, ergo this is more or less conjecture on my part

Dratkin

On December 28, 2012 at 4:25 am

R.I.P. Bioware

Crank

On December 28, 2012 at 4:46 am

Just give it up. Most of us already did after our voices were totally shot down/ignored over the ending. The fact that the press is trying to manipulate the Extended Cut as some sort of brilliant example of customer loyalty says it all. When you need DLC to ‘fix’ your offensive, insulting game, and the DLC still doesn’t do anything to address the real concerns, it’s pretty clear that BioWare isn’t the same company it once was and is only interested in appeasing EA. It’s so utterly shameless now after From Ashes and Omega that it’s almost funny. They’ll still retain the same vapid fanboys they catered to with ME2 regardless of whatever rubbish they do. The rest of us can go to hell.

Mark

On December 28, 2012 at 7:56 am

Perhaps I’m a bit behind the times on this, but this article is the first time I learned that Casey Hudson will be overseeing ME4. I really had practically zero interest in it before, but now I absolutely will not purchase it. Casey, you ruined what would’ve been (at least in my opinion), the greatest RPG of all time over your pride. You screwed up the ending once. And the community, while outraged, was more than willing to give you a second chance to give us a whole new ending. Personally, if the ending DLC had fixed it, I would’ve totally forgot the first ending ever happened. But you had to feed us that retarded “Artistic Integrity” line and make the problem even worse.

I would’ve bought ME games for as long as they made them had ME3 been handled right. Now I won’t even buy the DLC.

hemlock3630

On December 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Wonderful.

So the extrapolated forward momentum for a ME game (it will not be a sequel in any form….it will be a new game set in the ME universe)…..is to further remove the RPG aspect.

I was fine with the more action-adventure RPG mode of ME2 compared to ME1.
Loved some of the cinematic events, and even scripted cut scenes from ME3, but I thought ME3 could be loosely called an RPG…..very loosely.

I enjoyed watching my husband play Metal Gear games, but I don’t want to play one. And it sounds like ME may be moving more to a MG style game……I could see a 5th ME game removing any ability to respond in any but the most basic fashion at all…..

Sad to see such a fun and gripping series take a 180 from what made it great.

R-man

On December 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

In my opinion ME2 was almost perfect. It gave a perfect mixture of RPG elements to action elements and the combat was good. Then they went backwards on ME3. I think they need to just get rid of the whole ME title… cuz I’m pretty sure by ME4 its not gonna even have any of the elements that really makes it a ME game and sets it apart from the others. The ME name carried respect and pride and was prestigious title… now its getting slapped onto what EA thinks is a ME game that might not even deserve to be called a ME game… if they’re gonna change it so much, it needs to be called something else. It can still have ties to the original but as I see it for now, its not ME and should not be named so. Of course maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself and judging before judgement is due, but I’m just tired of Casey’s pride and EA’s greed… and all the community managers and most journalists, IGN, thinking its alright…

SweetPea

On December 29, 2012 at 3:39 am

@R-man

No matter how much they change it, it will be called a Mass Effect game to boost the sales.

Axetwin

On December 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm

@ R-Man. ME2 had a perfect mixture of RPG elements? What RPG elements? Nearly all RPG elements were removed from the game. ME2 was the giant step backwards, not ME3.

Roy Batty

On December 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Gentlemen…you never cease to amaze me, you hit it spot on yet again. When I finished ME1 I played it through maybe 3 times. When I finished ME2 it BEGGED me to play through 1 & 2 again and again. ME3 simply puts a gun to my head and begs me to pull the trigger.

I keep plying the multiplayer but I have already written off the universe (given Hudson/Bioware/Ea attitude). The only way I will buy an ME4 is if it starts sh!tting me tiffany cufflinks.

The only problem is that it is connected to the ME universe and thus associated with ME 3 and thus laced with hemlock. Why would I want to play ME4 assuming the series starts with a new protagonist and have ME 6 (assuming 6 is the end ) only to have EA/Bioware end it with “art”?

I still have not seen an apology and a statement that this will not happen again. Where is the humility? I don’t fault someone for making a mistake…we all make them. I do fault someone for trying to cover the mistake up and saying effe you in the proccess.

TheDog

On December 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Axetwin@ You are correct in one aspect. Two didn’t really have any rpg in it, but neither did three. The only thing really different about 3 over 2 is they added more combat mechanics ( which I hated. Lost count how many times I died cause I couldn’t get off the wall or when I was running got stuck on a wall), and the ability to add mods to weapons. But ultimately it was the story that ruined it for me, and I’m not talking about just the ending. I was just now replaying 3 and had to stop. Hated the story the first time through and just got a slap in the face just how much I hate it this time through. It’s like they really were trying to rush it. To many question brought up in two, left unanswered in three.
One example is Shepards armor in Legion. Made a big deal of it in two and didn’t even address it in three. So many things happening that dont make sense. Example, you’re kicking he pee out of Ki Lang in the temple only to have your crew suddenly abandon commen sense and attack him up close and personal, and have your whole crew pretty much defeated in seconds. Then he orders the chopper to attack the supports knowing that the whole temple would collapse all except the center walkway that he calmly walked down, during the missile attack, while your whole team seems to have the need to be on the collapsing areas.
Then, while talking to the Asari councilor, she says that she never dreamed this day would come, and you wisely say, none of us did. Funny, is it just my imagination or did he not try to tell everyone that this would happen if they didn’t prepare for the reapers.
These are just small examples of why I quit caring about the game. They seemed to quit caring long before I did. I at least had more fun with one and two then I ever will with three.

Brad

On December 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Mark my words, ten years from now, they’ll be desperately trying to reboot the whole franchise because they’ll realize that they screwed over their fanbase. The problem is, when they reboot it, they’ll drastically alter the original story so that the stuff that never made sense throughout the series suddenly make sense. They’ll probably even rewrite the Mass Effect 1 reboot so that Shepard has a brief run-in with Miranda and Jacob or something.

Wesker1984

On December 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Useless article. I’m still waiting for true Mass Effect 4 news.

Hellblazer

On December 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

It just me or peoples here are just a bunch of crying babies who puke the same things again and again and again. If you hate the Mass Effect franchise so much now just let it go and pass on something else morons.

IGN was right about the fact that the Mass Effect franchise was better with it subsequent sequels and gamefront was right about the endings who was a total BEEP! But can you just step aside your immature anger and consider Mass Effect 3 for what it really is, a gaming masterpiece? It seems no. Because everyone here are just complete morons.

Did i care for what they did with the endings? With the EC out, no! Did i’m looking forward for future ME contents and games, hell yes! Because i’m a true gamers and not a lamers like all of you.

folklore

On December 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm

@Hellblazer
What do you mean by true gamer?

Jupiter

On December 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm

hellblazer is the perfect example of what is killing the industry – obedient, ostrich fanboys refusing to engage with legitimate industry and artistic complaints and staunchly sticking to their delusions in order to prevent themselves from ever having to question their own allegiances. He is certainly not a “true gamer” and is in fact the very opposite. A true gamer is more than capable of acknowledging when a developer has messed up. hellblazer is an enabler, and it is attitudes like his that are destroying the integrity and credibility of videogames.

TheDog

On December 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Hellblazer@ Just you.

Is it just me or do you whine more than most and just about people who don’t agree with the small, weak kneed trollboy. Your not a fanboy cause I doubt you even believe what you spout out. You just want to argue like any true trollboy would. Talk to us when you move out of your moms house.

Hemlock3630

On January 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

@Hellblazer: ” and consider Mass Effect 3 for what it really is, a gaming masterpiece?”

I was going to respond….but then I realized you’ve drank enough Kool-Aid that if I cut you with my words, fruit punch flavored goo would spew from your veins.

Robin

On January 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I don’t mind a company going for money, but I’d have hoped they’d have a better product for me to buy. I enjoyed ME3, including the endings. Leviathan was fine, but I’m about disappointed with Omega. I didn’t even think the combat was challenging compared to an average multiplayer experience. It was way linear and story points that it brings up aren’t really explained. If there’s any more DLC, it’ll have to get really good reviews and player feedback for me to want to buy it. Same with ME4.