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Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 is a remarkably satisfying conclusion to a beloved trilogy, and a poignant and memorable role-playing action game in its own right.
Mass Effect 3 is an action role-playing game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.Officially announced on December 11, 2010,the game was released March 6, 2012[13] and marks the final chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy of video games, completing the story of Commander Shepard.
Gameplay in Mass Effect 3 is influenced by decisions from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. Combat has been changed and refined; in particular, the cover system has been improved, there are more options for moving around the battlefield, instant melee kills and more conventional grenades are introduced as well as improved artificial intelligence. A four player multiplayer co-op mode will also be available.
Mass Effect 3 follows on from the events of the Mass Effect 2 DLC expansion Arrival and Commander Shepard's mission to save the galaxy from the Reapers by rallying civilizations of the galaxy together, while also having to deal with Cerberus, who have decided to turn against him/her.

The Good
    * Fantastic, moving story that balances plot and character 
    * Past and present choices impact the game in wonderful and unexpected ways 
    * Much-improved level design leads to challenging, exciting battles 
    * Fantastic art design makes great use of color and composition 
    * Top-notch voice acting brings every major character to life.

The Bad
    * Some glitches and bugs 
    * Galactic travel and scanning aren't much fun.

Sacrifice. It's Mass Effect 3's major theme, and rightly so. After all, the reapers were coming--it was only a matter of time. And now, those sentient space vessels are here, and with them, a galaxy's worth of destruction. Mass Effect 3 brings the sound and the fury, but these aren't meaningless shows of laser fire and alien devastation. The series has earned its right to showcase such destruction by drawing us close to its characters and teaching us of its universe.
Mass Effect was about time and place; you discovered the Milky Way's landmarks and races, guided by memorable characters like Tali and Garrus, who served as representatives of their cultures. Mass Effect 2 was about people; you learned more about old friends and made new ones, and drew each of them close to your heart. Mass Effect 3 fearlessly manipulates those personal bonds, forcing you to make difficult choices and consider the greater good--even when the greater good isn't always clear. The game is structured less like Mass Effect 2 and more like Dragon Age II: three dramatic acts, each concluding with major events that might leave you in tears, or at very least, shivering from the emotional impact.

Mass Effect 3 is focused more on plot than the previous installments were, and at first, you might miss Mass Effect 2's more obvious personal touch. You meet some new characters, but you develop few new meaningful relationships. A couple of notable exceptions aside, your party members are familiar faces, and as Commander Shepard, you aren't traveling the galaxy seeking individual crew members, but rather the assistance of entire races. Some of the plot devices seem a bit transparent; what are the chances that Shepard would just happen to find an old acquaintance on almost every random planet? But once the plot is in motion, the human element returns, and poignantly so. Mass Effect 3 frequently reminds us that the loss of a single shining soul often takes on more meaning than a planetwide massacre. (After all, what carried more emotional weight in Star Wars: Obi-Wan's death or Alderaan's destruction?)
                     The series' focus on player choice is as vital as it has ever been in Mass Effect 3. The effects of choices in previous installments have an impact in extraordinary ways here, more so than in Mass Effect 2. Sometimes the nods to prior choices are subtle. A lover might fondly recall her previous entanglement with you, while still supporting your new romantic interest. At other times, the impact is far more dramatic. Entire quests, conversations, and characters shift as a result of your actions in previous games (not to mention, your decisions in this one). As a result, you might be delighted by characters other players never meet, share intimate talks with crewmates other players never interact with, and deal with decisions other players never make. And as in previous Mass Effect games, your entire attitude when choosing dialogue options (paragon or renegade) can drive you to conclusions other players could never consider.
                         This intense narrative is met with an equally intense presentation. Mass Effect 3 is more atmospheric and darker in tone than even Mass Effect 2 was. You hear more expletives and raise your voice in desperation far more often, and the environments you do battle in reflect the rising pitch. An ominous storm encroaches, giving battle an even greater sense of urgency. The sheer darkness of a subterranean ruin enhances the sense of danger. The blue and rose bands of light that periodically stretch across the screen may seem old hat after Mass Effect 2, but the trick remains effective. That blue is also the color of Garrus' eyepiece, Liara's skin, and a harvester's glowing lights. That rose is the color of Wrex's armor, Mordin's forehead, and the Normandy's war room terminals. Both hues are used in the game's various interface elements, which makes other colors more effective when used. Witness, for example, the starkness of Jack's black-and-white ensemble and how it contrasts with the rich colors around her.

                         These are exquisite details, though other details come across as a bit sloppy in comparison. The frame rate stutters on occasion. Camera movement and viewing angles occasionally go askew; the camera might jitter in weird ways during cutscene transitions, or focus on a wall instead of the character speaking. A scripting error could force you to restart a mission should an event not trigger properly. And if you play on the PlayStation 3, you could run into a crash or two. These flaws stand out because Mass Effect 3 is otherwise such an elegant experience.
                    Mass Effect 3 begins on Earth, with Commander Shepard relieved of duty for the consequences of his/her actions in the Mass Effect 2 DLC pack Arrival,[17] as the Systems Alliance is beginning to lose contact with its outposts and colonies, and speculate that the threat is in fact the "Reaper" threat as Shepard had warned.

The Alliance's Defense Committee convenes and seeks advice on how to deal with the Reaper threat. This meeting is cut short as the Reapers reach Earth suddenly. The forces of Earth are overwhelmed by the onslaught of the Reapers. Cmdr. Shepard is tasked by Admiral Anderson to build up a force to confront the Reapers. He reinstates Shepard's Alliance commission and orders Shepard to escape in the Normandy to seek the Citadel Council support. At this point, Anderson chooses to stay behind in order to coordinate a response with the human resistance forces. Admiral Hackett contacts Shepard, updating that he and what's left of the Alliance fleet were forced to retreat. He orders Shepard to stop at the research facility on Mars, where the scientists studying the Prothean artifacts discovered a way to defeat the Reapers.

On Mars, Shepard saves former squadmate Liara T'Soni from attacking Cerberus troopers. She tells Shepard that she discovered blueprints to a Prothean weapon that has the power to destroy the Reapers. The blueprints are forwarded to Hackett, who dubs the weapon "The Crucible" and begins preparations for its construction. Post Mars, Shepard returns to the Citadel and requests an audience with the the Council. It is hoped, depending on prior game decisions (save the council or let them die) that they will provide support towards the war efforts for Earth. However, the Council is reluctant to provide aid as their own systems are under attack by the Reapers, and would only provide aid if Shepard can reduce the threat to their systems.

Shepard is then sent on various missions throughout the galaxy to gather allies for the ongoing war and resources for the construction of "The Crucible". Based on Shepard's past and present actions throughout the trilogy, there are many critical decisions that must be made. Former crew from the past two games can be recruited to support the war effort. This includes scanning various solar systems for resources and aiding with various rescue missions.

Key plot points are where Shepard must also decide whether or not to cure the Krogan genophage, and whether to side with the Quarians or Geth when the Quarians attempt to retake their home planet. Shepard is not only opposed by the Reapers, but Cerberus. The Illusive Man is obsessed with finding a way to control the Reapers, even if it means sabotaging Shepard's efforts. Eventually, Cerberus attacks the Citadel itself with assistance from Earth's representative, Councilor Udina. This coup is an attempt to assassinate the other Council members and seize control of the station. Shepard manages to repel the Cerberus forces and their leader, Kai Leng. Udina is also killed during the confrontation.

                    During these events, the construction of the Crucible is progressing, but it is missing a critical component called the "Catalyst". Along this juncture the Asari Councilor then contacts Shepard for a critical mission on their homeworld, Thessia. She reveals to Shepard that the Asari had been hiding an intact Prothean artifact and that it may hold information about the Catalyst. When Shepard arrives, Thessia is under assault by the Reapers. Shepard, with the aid of the Asari, manages to reach the Prothean beacon. During the research, the team is ambushed by the Cerberus assassin, Kai Leng. The ambush is successful and Shepard's team is nearly wiped out. Angry and frustrated by the Cerberus efforts, Shepard convenes with Admiral Hackett to coordinate a surgical strike on the Illusive Man's headquarters. Shepard manages to kill Kai Leng and recovers the stolen data from Thessia. However, the Illusive Man manages to escape. Through the recovered data it is revealed that the Citadel is the Catalyst. The Reapers were informed by the co-opted Illusive Man as to "What" the Catalyst is and they move the Citadel to Earth.

              In response to the completion of the Catalyst, Shepard assembles the combined military forces and attacks the Reapers on and in orbit around Earth. The goal of the attack is recapturing the Citadel and combining it with the Crucible to complete the weapon. While the fleets battle the Reapers in orbit and and provide defense to the Crucible, a large ground attack force simultaneously lands in London. Operation "Shield" protects the Crucible and operation Hammer begins it's assault on the site identified as the focal point of the connection to the Citadel. Hammer is successful but sustains heavily losses. Shepard meets up with the Earth Forces and reunites with Anderson. They coordinate an assault to reach the connection "beam" between the Earth and the Citadel.

               With the assistance of the Human resistance movement and the remnants of Operation Hammer, Shepard begins offensive on the beam site. During the assault, Harbinger intervenes and decimates the majority of attack force. Shepard survives this attack but is critically injured. Shepard manages to stumble into the beam, as does Anderson where both reach the citadel. It is revealed that the Citadel is being used in a manner similar to the collector base: processing humans into a new Human Reaper. Inside the Citadel, Shepard and Anderson are stopped by an indoctrinated Illusive Man. Shepard manages to kill the Illusive Man, or convince the Illusive Man to kill himself, but not before Anderson is mortally wounded in the confrontation. Shepard manages to open the Citadel, allowing the Crucible to dock. Shepard collapses and reflects with Anderson and has memories of the crew. Anderson passes away and Shepard loses consciousness. Shepard awakes and is carried to the pinnacle of the Citadel. There he is approached by an artificial intelligence, which identifies itself as the Catalyst and declares it is the entity controlling the Reapers. It reveals that the cycle the Reapers enforce is an attempt to prevent organic life from wiping itself out by creating synthetic life. It argues that the creators are always doomed to be destroyed by the created.

The Reapers, it is further revealed, are in fact preserving the advanced organic races by using them to create new Reapers, and leaving space for the more primitive species to evolve. It argues that without this "reaping" that the created artificer life would wipe out "ALL" organic life. However, the Catalyst points out that since Shepard has managed to assemble the Crucible, the Catalyst's priorities have now changed. This was a feat not done by the three trillion individuals that had already been harvested through the past cycles. The Catalyst then gives Shepard three choices: Destroy the Reapers and all synthetic life, take control of the Reapers , or initiate synergy between organic and synthetic life: (Ray Kurzweil's concept of the technological singularity). The last synthesis option would be creating an entirely new life form, described as having several attributes Shepard already has, thanks to his/her implants. These endings are referenced by their colors as "Blue", "Red" and "Green".

Ultimately, regardless of Shepard's choice, all three endings result in Shepard's apparent death and the destruction of the entire mass relay network. London is shown rather intact in the "Good" variants and is heavily damaged in the "bad" variants. The Normandy, which is in the middle of a mass relay jump for unknown reasons, is forced to crash land on an alien planet. This presumably strands the crew. The team exits the crashed ship and looks up to an alien sky. Post ending, if the player's Effective Military Strength is high enough and the "Destroy" ending is chosen, it will be revealed that Shepard is still alive.

In a post-credits sequence, a man and a child are seen on an alien planet looking to the sky. The man tells the child how there are billions of stars and planets in the galaxy, and how all of them are populated by countless alien races and cultures. The child then asks the man to tell him another story about "The Shepard".
It's also packed with action. The basic third-person shooting is the same as Mass Effect 2's, though it has been given a few minor tweaks. You can now deliver a charged-up melee attack, for example, and slide around corners while still in cover. Such mechanics don't drastically change the flow of battle, which is still occasionally sullied by returning Mass Effect combat quirks: occasional cover glitches, unintelligent friendlies that crouch on top of crates, and enemies that thoughtlessly tumble against walls and end up going nowhere as a result.
                    On the other hand, the improvement in level design is remarkable. Unlike the previous game, Mass Effect 3 isn't about "take cover behind the obvious barriers, shoot the enemies that predictably emerge, and then do it again." Combat areas are more expansive and some enemies are more aggressive, so not only are you given room to move about, but you must use that space. One such enemy is the banshee, which destroys you in a single grab if you let it come too close. These shrieking horrors join charging brutes, dogging you in tandem in a memorable combat sequence and providing a challenge the previous games lacked, at least on normal difficulty.

                         And so you can't always trust a single cover spot to provide sanctuary--not when you have three guys in humongous robot suits blindsiding you. You sprint and tumble about, sliding into cover and using cryo ammo to freeze a creepy cannibal before smashing it with a powerful shock wave. As you level up, you eventually make choices on how to upgrade your powers. Do you increase the Pull ability's recharge speed, or do you learn to launch two Pull projectiles at once? Don't assume that Mass Effect 3's missions are all about guns and space magic, though. A pistol isn't much help when you traverse a virtual space made of neon cubes and floating platforms. Facing an old nemesis isn't a battle of guns--it's a battle of wits.
                    You may also spend credits to level up these weapons, which gives Mass Effect 3 a fine sense of progression. A dinky pistol and submachine gun lead to assault rifles upgraded with scopes and sniper rifles with damage modifiers. And if you've never found much use for certain weapons, the broader level design may have you rethinking your approach. If you were never inclined to use a sniper rifle, now you can find a good vantage point to zoom in and let loose. You may never have let an enemy get too close before, but a nice shotgun and a melee attachment can make it a snap to fend off hawkish husks that intrude on your personal space.
                 It's worth noting that Mass Effect 3 has added a notable feature to the series, but has lost another. The Xbox 360 version supports the Kinect peripheral, allowing you to call out commands to teammates ("Liara: Warp!"), perform your own skills ("Pull!"), interact with objects ("Open!"), or choose dialogue options. This is all absolutely functional, and sometimes even enjoyable. For instance, calling out to a team member to let loose a biotic power means you don't have to pause the game to pull up the radial menu. On the other hand, there's enough of a delay when speaking your wishes aloud that it's more efficient just to push a button. The feature lost, on all platforms, is that of hacking minigames. They were fine diversions, but Mass Effect 3 varies its pace enough that you won't likely miss them.

                    Mass Effect 3 isn't all talking and shooting. Outside of combat, you walk around the Citadel, picking up odd jobs and eavesdropping on diplomats and refugees. There are some wonderful moments to be had here: having a bizarre conversation with a virtual copy of yourself, checking in on an old ally in bad health, and punching an old nemesis square in the face. Refugees mourn for the lost and missing, gazing at a collection of photographs that serves as an ad hoc memorial. Again, it's the subtleties that pull you in. A crewmate gets a tattoo to celebrate his newfound ambitions, you ponder the meaning of a human-on-AI romance, and you grab a drink in a busy nightclub. It's a pity that the entertaining lesser races--the Hanar and the Elcor in particular--are in such short supply. Mass Effect 3 isn't big on comedic interludes.
The multiplayer's overall structure is more interesting than the action. You choose from one of six classes and level them separately, and earn credits as you play. You use these credits to unlock packs that contain a number of random items--special ammo, a weapon mod, an on-the-spot ammo refill, and so on. (You can also spend real money on them if you are so inclined.) Because so many of these items are expendable, and because the flow of rewards is slow but steady, you might be drawn to stick with Mass Effect 3's multiplayer even after you've reaped its single-player benefit.

             Mass Effect 3 has its flaws, but they're of minimal consequence in a game this enthralling. By filling the Milky Way with vibrant, singular characters, the series has given you a reason to care about its fate. Ostensibly, Mass Effect 3 is about saving the galaxy, but a galaxy is just a thing--an idea, an abstract, a meaningless collection of plutinos, planets, and pulsars. But the game is actually about saving people. And there's a big difference there. Watching cities burn from orbit tugs at your heartstrings; watching a beloved companion die cuts to the bone. Whether you possess a storied history with the series or come with a clean slate, Mass Effect 3 expertly entangles you in its universe and inspires you to care about its future.


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