Posted on March 6, 2012, Phil Hornshaw Mass Effect 3 Review
Five years ago, BioWare made what became a series of ridiculous promises in Mass Effect. A galaxy spanning space opera of an RPG. A persistent trilogy in which decisions made in each game would influence the eventual outcome. A choice-driven narrative steeped in moral quandaries. Looking back, it was something of a crazy undertaking.
Drawing close to the release of the third and final installment in the Mass Effect story arc, like a looming Reaper threat, things were not looking so good. A leaked copy of the script hit the Internet, a lackluster demo dropped onto all major platforms, and every bit of new information about the game suggested a scaled back RPG-lite that catered to a demographic with its brains soaked on Call of Duty clones, brown ruined cities and chest-high walls.
I’ve just closed out a marathon session with Mass Effect 3 to get this review done on time, playing for nearly 20 straight hours (more or less) to bring you this rundown. I can say two things with clarity in the moments after I turned off my Xbox: that Mass Effect 3 is a flawed, imperfect game; and that it packed an incredibly high density of moments that I’ll remember among the greatest of any game I’ve ever played. Mass Effect 3 was a phenomenally good time and a great way to end a five-year mission to the Milky Way, circa 2187.
Mass Effect 3 (2012): PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: March 6, 2012
I’ll not bother with the story because anyone reading this probably already owns the game, if we’re being honest with ourselves. Suffice to say: The threat of robotic monsters that protagonist Commander Shepard has been preaching for the last two games have shown up, and the galaxy is plunged into a slow-burn war as the relentless machines spread from system to system, harvesting high-level sentient life and destroying just about everything in their paths.
Earth succumbs to occupation almost instantly, interrupting Shepard’s almost-court martial for blowing up a mass relay and taking out a batarian colony in the process, back in “The Arrival,” a DLC pack back in Mass Effect 2. (Quick note: If you’re lost, well…it’s only going to get worse.) Shepard hops aboard his ship, the SSV Normandy, under orders from his buddy and former CO Admiral Anderson, and it’s off to gather the rest of the galaxy to come back and help liberate Earth. Easier said than done, given that half of known space is under active attack.