Video Game Review: Mass Effect 3 provides sophisticated conclusion to popular franchise

Mass Effect 3 had plenty to live up to as one of the most anticipated games of the year, and developer BioWare succeeded in delivering the conclusion to Commander Shepard’s story.

For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Mass Effect is a science fiction first-person shooter with heavy storytelling elements, set a century into the future. In this final installment, the Reapers, sentient machines that wipe out all life in the galaxy every 50,000 years, have arrived and are already killing millions of humans each day.

It is clear when playing through the main story that Shepard and his or her – depending on the player’s choice – reaction to the war is the focus of the narrative. Each choice, major or minor, that a player made in the past two games will have an impact on this game, which can be very satisfying to see. We also get to see Shepard’s psyche come into play as the high stakes take their toll on his or her stability.

The gameplay is reminiscent of that of Mass Effect 2 but with a couple of quality of life improvements. Squad mates are more reactive and independent and each one has a clearly defined role. Combat is more fluid by providing options for each fight, even though the player still sits behind cover through most of it.

The third installment is the first of the series to include a multiplayer function, an extremely beneficial addition. A player picks one of the classes, customizes their character a bit and proceeds to fight off hordes of Cerberus troopers, Reaper ground forces and Geth. Despite the controversy of adding a multiplayer function, it is well-executed and adds days to the life of the game.

Before purchasing Mass Effect 3 there are a few important things to consider. While BioWare tried to make the game accessible to new players, the experience will be significantly more enjoyable to those who have played through the first two games. Also, if you can’t stand watching hours of people talking then you’ll get bored easily. If you’re looking for a game focused on shooting aliens then you’re better off sticking to Halo.