The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Mass Effect 3: an epic conclusion

Without attempting to spoil any aspect of the story in Bioware’s final game in the Mass Effect trilogy, Mass Effect 3 is just simply yes, yes, yes and another yes. Yes, Bioware developed a game that truly lives up to the immense hype. Yes, Mass Effect 3 provides an epic and engaging ending that the Mass Effect trilogy deserves. Yes, each character, plot and relevant decision will immensely alter the gaming experience. And yes, every gamer, regardless of gender, genre or gaming interest, should experience the incredible tale known only as Mass Effect 3.

As the game begins, the Reapers, a terrifying alien race who set out to annihilate all organic organisms every 50,000 years, have turned Earth into the first stop in their path of universal destruction. Commander Shepard (the player) must now unite the Alliance, the human leaders and the Council, the group of alien leaders, to lead the charge against the Reaper armada.

Now, Mass Effect 3 does a great job of integrating newbies into the storyline, the role of each character and the events which preceded the ongoing Reaper invasion without turning the entire game into a wall of text. Though, to be fair, the concept of saving Earth and the universe from an apocalyptic fate is hardly intricate and understandably easy to grasp. Regardless, gamers who have journeyed through the tales of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 will be rewarded with a masterfully crafted gaming experience in which each and every decision made in the previous games will have an effect on the fate of Shepard and his path to saving the universe.

The Mass Effect series has prided itself immensely on its intricate and engaging story and Bioware does not disappoint in the final game of the series. Mass Effect 3 does a great job of not only immersing each gamer in another new journey or suicide mission to save Earth, but also presents a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Instead of greedily leaving behind a cliffhanger outcome, Bioware sums up each previously made decision to present an all-inclusive ending which ties up any loose ends in the series. In the previous two games, side plots were merely a source for experience and resources. However, Mass Effect 3 has not only created a unique backstory behind each side plot but has also made each one vital to the success of completing the main storyline. In other words, to save Earth and the rest of the world, Shepard will be forced to understand and unite the various races that exist in the universe.

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In the previous two games, the combat system always lacked a definitive substance that effectively detracted from the overall gameplay. However, Mass Effect 3 in many ways improves upon its predecessors to present an exhilarating and, at times, difficult shooting experience. Unlike Mass Effect 2, which hardly required players to utilize the various resources Bioware had given them, Mass Effect 3 has created new, terrifying creatures such as the regenerating cannibal and equipped them with a brutal AI to force players to make the most of their squad mates. Each real-time tactical decision the player makes for his squad will now have a much greater impact on the outcome of a firefight, whether it be which weapons each character will carry onto the battlefield or when to fire a devastating fireball.

In Mass Effect 3, Bioware has also attempted to create a more interactive environment with its implementation of the cover-and-roll mechanic. Though rolling from point-to-point, cover-to-cover, can be the difference between life or death, the mechanic itself is equally hit and miss. The pinpoint accuracy of rolls can be extremely satisfying. However, sometimes rolls leave Shepard wide open to assault as he attempts in vain to take cover behind a wall. The Mass Effect series has never truly stood out in the combat aspect of a third-person shooter. However, the attempts to implement small things such as the cover-and-roll are certainly a great addition to Mass Effect 3.

Even so, Mass Effect has always been more about the relationships between its well-developed characters than shooting aliens or even saving the world. That’s what sets it apart from other sci-fi games and that’s what makes it great. This holds true in Mass Effect 3 as well, though perhaps to a lesser degree. With the looming context of the Reaper invasion many of the conversations with other characters are fewer and farther between than past games in the franchise. The same richness of character is still there, but in some cases it’s far more compressed.

Though Bioware has done an excellent job of creating an amazing soundtrack to accompany the game, Mass Effect 3 truly shines in the strength of its voice actors. When playing through the game, players will notice the amazing ability of the game to integrate the player into the story just through the realism of the grandiose speeches characters perform and minor side comments squad mates make. Mass Effect 3 does not just present mind-blowing audio, it also does an equally excellent job in the graphics of the game. As veterans of the series will observe, the textures of characters’ faces are no longer clunky. Bioware has made admirable improvements in both the character models and faces. It also has devised an intricately beautiful landscape for players to explore as they progress along their mission to save Earth.

Everything veterans have accomplished in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 has led up to this moment, a weight Mass Effect 3 has upheld with both dignity and pride. In Mass Effect 3, everything is important—every side plot, every conversation, every shot in every firefight feels like an attempt to further Shepard’s mission in saving the universe. And nothing is overdone. Though the player will be traversing the galaxy in an attempt to join the forces of alien races while also searching for the lost component in the vital weapon required for stopping the Reaper invasion, nothing in Mass Effect 3 feels overwrought or overly dramatic. Mass Effect 3”is worthy of the title of the final game in the best trilogy of gaming history.

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