Mass Effect 3
Content at a glance:
Blood and gore. Strong language. Some nudity and sexual content and references. Alien belief systems explored in brief.
The universe is in trouble and it is again up to Commander Shepard to save it! Mass Effect 3 is Bioware’s final installment of the award winning RPG/Shooter trilogy. The Reapers have finally arrived and are killing species across the galaxy. It is up to Shepard and his elite team of old friends and new companions to find a way to stop them. Bioware has once again crafted an excellent game that, besides the now infamous ending, is a worthy end to the trilogy.
Those who have played the previous games in the series will know what to expect from the game. Gameplay is more refined and action packed this time around with smoother controls and the addition of new moves such as rolls. Each class has a new active and passive power to spend points on and the squad mates are more distinct from the previous game, though there are not many of them. Players can import their character from Mass Effect 2, keeping their level and choices they made in the previous game. Never played the series before? You can start a new character if you want, but you are missing out on a lot and I highly recommend playing the others first.
Many of the minor characters return from the previous games. Remember that female doctor in ME 1 you and Garrus help save in the first game? She is back. The Volus you got the info from in the Citadel ? He is back as well. Even Kahlee Sanders from the first ME book finally makes an appearance! The only disappointment of the many character returns is that some of the ME2 squad mates do not have a big enough part in the game.
Helping various characters and doing various missions gives the player War Assets, which represent strength in the final battle against the Reapers. These assets alter the ending mission slightly as well as give you more choices in the ending. The ending itself is easily the worst part of the game. It is notorious for breaking the canon of the series, parts of it making little sense, and previous player choices having zero effect on it. Want to know what happened to everyone after the game ends? That game won’t tell you that either. Bioware has planned a free ending “Extended Cut” DLC for summer 2012, so how much it will improve the ending has yet to be seen.
The player uses various weapons and high tech abilities to kill human and non-human creatures. The game is a bit more violent than the previous game. There seems to be a bit more blood when you shoot a character. Some areas and cutscenes are also a bit more violent, such as when you question a blood soaked trooper or when a character is slammed repeatedly against the wall by a robot. You can also blow enemies heads off exposing their severed neck. Using specific abilities also explodes the enemy into meaty bits which soon disappear. One party member talks of suicide after the mission is done, but does not carry it out.
Characters can optionally romance various party members. These include the love interest from Mass Effect 1 and 2. Kaiden and Ashley are bisexual now, also there are new same-sex only romances of Cortez and Traynor. The gay characters are handled tastefully, Cortez talks about his dead husband while Traynor seems a bit too interested in the female crew members, but nothing romantic is shown if you choose not to romance them. Also Dayna Allers is a “fling” for both genders like Kelly Chambers was in ME2. This is a bit weird as she is modeled after and voiced by a real person, Jessica Chobot.
These romances can calumniate into a “sex scene”, which is sort of a hybrid between the ME 1 and 2 ones. The characters are in their underwear and show straddling, caressing and kissing. The Tali and Garrus and Allers scenes just fade out, while Kaiden, Liara and Ashley are the most detailed. The ME2 characters who are not squad members in ME3 do not seem to have a scene. For instance, my ME2 character had romanced Jack and besides kissing her twice and telling me she expected to “get laid” after the final battle, noting is shown. Sex is implied for the Miranda romance, but it just fades out.
Besides the romances there are also some sexual jokes or references, such as the number of Krogan testicles or that a character is just romancing someone to use his body. One female character discusses with her Asari mistress about leaving her husband. There is an ad for a new Blasto 6 movie in which the Blasto the Hanar sleeps with his Elcor partner’s sister, who is a prostitute. This is done as a joke. Also you can have one character enter into a romantic relationship with a robot but nothing is shown, this is probably partially done as a joke as well. Also one ME2 character’s new girlfriend is pregnant with his child.
Some female squadmates and characters wear form fitting clothing. Some non-squadmate ME 2 characters such as Samara are back with her cleavage bearing outfit, and Jack wears an outfit showing cleavage and her stomach, though it is covers up more than the one she had in the previous game. There are several butt shots of a clothed Miranda. There are scantily clad exotic dancers and female patrons in a bar showing parts of their buttock and cleavage. A husk Asari enemy is topless and has LEDs where the nipples would be.
Strong language is a little more prevalent this time around. There is around 6-12 uses of the f-word, and well as the same approximate amount of godd*mn. S*it and the misuse of God’s name is a little more common than that. Mild language is even more common. One character, James Vega, swears more than the others. For a particular reason and to show that she has grown up a little, Jack swears a lot less in this game. Some words like “balls” and “testicles” are used a couple times.
The various alien races talk about their belief system a bit such as the Asari goddess and the Turian belief in spirits. Sadly humans do not talk about God, and Ashley does not talk about her faith. A human character once says “May the gods of war watch over us.” but he uses it metaphorically.
Mass Effect is a great end to the series that uses the best aspects of the first two games. Until the ending that is, but the last ten minutes do not ruin the game as a whole. If you are new to the series you should play it from the beginning to get the most out of it, as there is no reason to start from the end of a trilogy. Hopefully Bioware’s promised ending DLC will fix the endings issues and make the game great from start to finish.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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