Disclaimer: story spoilers for all games ahead. Moaning and whining also included out of the love of games; rather than pure bile.
The first in the series caught my attention for its story and its scale, there was nothing quite like landing on that planet and seeing Sovereign take off through the clouds. Exploring the citadel in all its intricacies, landing on planets and scooting around in the Mako even with the associated problems. Then there is the cutscenes, the epic scene of the fleet trying to stop Sovereign as you battle Saren in the council chambers and the various in-space sections as you clamber along outside structures.
So Mass Effect 2, yeah, that left a slightly sour taste – all the exploration replaced with loyalty missions and probes. The ending was even more anti-climatic, fighting a giant reaper in the image of humans; it felt cheesy to say the least given the epic scale and adventure of the first. I also feel some of the best content was likely stripped for DLC, arguably saved for later and more attention in development… but I generally avoid DLC having been burned a few times already.
Finally, my gaze swings around to Mass Effect 3 – I’m not going to criticise the ending, for I haven’t actually achieved that moment… I’m not sure I even want to. I died fighting off far too many special enemies, running out of ammo and medigel as I try to launch missiles into a reaper stood in our way. It almost feels like a secret ending, thrown in by the fore-thinking developers who may have had a hidden dislike for the ‘proper’ ending. Throw so much at the player in hopes they don’t continue; serving as a warning about what may come, “beware all ye who may enter”.
It certainly grabbed the scale of the first though, and surpassed it, but it still lacked the exploration; perhaps a given that you are supposed to be racing against a clock of sorts (there is no timer, its the implied one given by the stories). My main focus instead turns to the multiplayer, hard to believe if you’ve made it this far, right?
Lots o’ Mass
So beside my love of great, epic stories and cinematics, and edge of my seat scenarios or situations – I also really love multiplayer; specifically co-operative play. In time alone I have effectively got my moneys worth from the co-operative play, receiving far more of my attention than the singleplayer. It hits most of the right buttons, besides the lack of even mini campaigns or storylines.
Except the store, it could be likened to a collectable card game (see Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Football Players (?)) – without the obvious and necessary benefit of the ability to trade said cards. Basically boiling down to complete random chance, which is fine, if your perceived luck is good at least a quarter of the time. My worry is not for Mass Effect 3, though I think it could benefit by allowing more choice with less chance of random pot-luck.
My worry is if they follow this up with something much worse. While they allow ingame currency, it also allows spending of BioWare points (another practice I’ve put in the same basket as DLC, real money to point currency, it stinks of gambling theory); and I hope that we don’t see a system of random packs like this in something like Battlefield sometime down the road unlocks are already frustrating enough as it is.
Mass Effect 3 is a beautiful game, which goes to capture its roots to a degree and throws in a few great moments, whichmighthave a bad ending – throwing in a fairly solid co-operative game-mode with a somewhat silly unlock system based on chance, which in turn can quickly arrive in “unlock hell” for some people, but is likely otherwise deemed as fine by those more fortunate.
No game lasts forever of course, but you expect least that the factor which is most likely to stop you from playing out of frustration is to be the unlock system rather than having your fill of the shooty goodness within.