Mass Effect 3 is, for the most part, bigger and badder than its predecessors. This time, the Reapers invade the galaxy. Earth is devastated. Commander Shepard leads the counteroffensive and tries to give scientists enough time to build a superweapon that can destroy the Reapers. This is space opera at its most epic. But not without its flaws.
Up until the ending, Mass Effect 3 provides a satisfactory conclusion to “most” of the plot threads from the previous two games. Mass Effect games have always given players incredible freedom to make choices, and this game is no different. This time, Shepard makes decisions that affect the future of entire races. Do the Krogan get a new lease on life? Will you forgive the Geth? Sometimes, the morally righteous choice isn’t necessarily the best one for the war effort. At one point I found myself troubled by the consequences of a choice I’d made. I almost reset the game so I could choose differently, but that felt like evading responsibility. So, I lived with the guilt.
Up until the ending. As everyone on the internet knows, the ending was a disappointment. Unlike Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 does little to incorporate the player’s choices throughout the game. All those choices made seem to matter little because the ending presents the player with one BIG choice that obviates them all. The finale provides almost no insight into what happens to the characters – my friends – after I make that big decision. I won’t spoil the ending here, but I’ll just say that I’m happy that there will be a Mass Effect 4 so the franchise doesn’t end on such a low note.
Aside from the lackluster ending, Mass Effect 3 has some excellent storytelling moment and forces players to make tough choices about war, justice, and human nature.