Some would question the sagacity of writing the second half of a review for a game that came out weeks ago and, unless you’re reading this just to hear my prose (an eventuality my analyst assures me is highly unlikely), there is very little reason to continue past this paragraph.
Except I’m going to probably be a lot meaner than those other ‘real’ critics are being.
All that stuff I said in the first part? All the complaints I had? I retract them. All. Why? Because for a while there the game really did get better. The dialogue improved. The emotions got real. Everything looked like it was stacking up to be one of the most unforgettable endings to a videogame series in history.
It looked that way.
You know what? Hell, it was that way. The ending(s) were not merely bad. They were unacceptable. I am not disappointed. I am angry. EA is not simply dead to me. It is dead from time. If I were a pan-dimensional being, capable of viewing the cosmic flow as space instead of an inexorably increasing line that we small organic beings are constantly forced to march backwards, I would fundamentally rewrite history to assure that EA never emerged. But what about Bioware you say? Well, see, I’m working on a theory that somewhat exculpates the Bioware team from blame.
But before I get to that, let me just go over what I’m sure all of the other reviews have touched on. Spoilers ahead. Sort of.
There was a comic here. I removed it. It essentially illustrated how all the decisions you make in ME and ME2 don’t in any meaningful way affect choices or outcomes in ME3. The hard reality of the game is that your choices from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 are essentially aesthetic modifications that lead to different coats of paint on pre-determined, distinct, pathways. Sorry, I’m kind of out of it. Did I say ‘distinct’? I meant to type ‘exactly the same up until the last thirty seconds of the final cut scene at which point you suddenly realize the most important choice you just made, that is, the fate of all organic life, leads to a difference in the color of the mass relay lights.’
And people are mad. A fan complained to the FTC about false advertising, essentially stating that ‘choice’ doesn’t really ever enter into the equation when they claimed it did. In this obviously unbalanced person’s defense, in Mass Effect 3, your choices, in the end, and in the middle and beginning, change nothing.
The multiplayer is pretty good, though.
I have other complaints. There were glitches pretty much constantly. The armor and weapon upgrade interfaces were vague at best and totally disinteresting at worst. Points for verisimilitude, I suppose, because I was bored in the way only actually modifying a gun could make me.
So, all in all, what does this one fan who has spent countless hours over the last five years exploring every single corner of this wonderful galaxy think of the last game?
Before we get to that here’s a statement from Bioware’s cofounder, released an hour ago, about the criticism.
tl;dr? Okay, he basically says they’re going to release some DLC to calm everyone down. He then goes on to cite the perfect and near-perfect scores reviewers have given the game.
…which I agree with. The game is a flawed masterpiece. It is their Sistine Chapel. Their Citizen Kane (the Citizen Kane comparison is actually surprisingly inappropriate, considering how that ends). It’s just that the endings left a whole lot to be desired. And not just because the endings are inevitable regardless of your in-game choices, but because nothing is explained. You’re left empty, like they rushed through it. The interaction leading up to the final choice is scripted and you literally cannot ask any of the questions you need to ask to clarify what “all synthetic life dies” means, amongst many many other equally important questions.
Also, if you have beaten the game, riddle me this: if the Normandy crashes on that new-found garden world, would that not mean that Joke would have to have gone through the Sol Relay before Shepard made a decision? Does that not mean that Joker was fleeing the battle? Like a bitch? All of them, in fact, were running, then. That goes against all of their characters.
Whatever. Great game. Flawed masterpiece. Could have been fundamentally changed the medium forever. Instead it just makes me kind of sad, like a great book where the last sentence is missing. Flimsy closure, swiss-cheese explanations, a let down. You walk into your apartment and your partner’s things are all gone. Like all things without inherent reason we will try to find some, if only so we can provide ourselves with the closure Bioware so utterly failed to give. This is a review so I’m supposed to give a rating. I can’t. I don’t know how. The two parts of the game are too radically different. Getting to the last ten minutes, through three games, has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had with the medium. Wouldn’t trade it for the galaxy.
Comment if you have something to say. I’ll be trying to build a mass relay.
Update: Yeah, Bioware says they’re going to fix it.
Update 2: Maurader Shields really is the last boss you fight. That’s funny, but not like haha funny. More like ‘yep’ funny.