Mass Effect 3 Review: Part 3

Haris Aslam, Staff Writer

It’s been a while since I promised Part 3 of my review of Mass Effect 3 (ME3).  Much has been happening in the last month in the world of gaming, but this week has seen a bit of a lull in terms of gaming news, so I have taken this opportunity to continue the ME3 review.

It is impressive, how the branching storylines function in the ME trilogy.  Starting from the very beginning of ME1, players make literally thousands of choices as the story progresses.  True, the conversation wheel can only hold a handful of choices for each response (see the picture above), but each response builds up to impact the story in many ways. Even though players sometimes choose the same choice in a specific conversation, the combination of all the choices made throughout the trilogy is unique to each player; since there are thousands of choices in each game, it is nearly impossible for any two players to have the exact same play-through with the exact same major or minor plot details.

In addition to that, however, ME2 and ME3 have an “interruption” game-play element.  At certain points throughout the story, while another character is interacting with Commander Shepard, players are prompted to press a button to interrupt the cinematic to affect the outcome of the situation.  Players are prompted to press either the left trigger (for a Paragon action) or the right trigger (for a Renegade action). If the player wishes to increase Shepard’s reputation as Paragon/Renegade, the player presses the button; however, should he/she wish to remain neutral in the given situation, the player simply does not press the button, allowing the situation to play out without dramatic intervention.  These “interruption” actions serve to further differentiate one player’s experience from another’s.

This is why the ME trilogy has received over 300 awards.  Regardless of whether a person is a fan or not, it cannot be denied that this technology is quite impressive.  This system of game-play truly draws the player in because he/she isn’t just watching a plot play out on screen; the player is experiencing and directly impacting a richly detailed, multi-leveled story of epic proportions.

Check back for Part 4, a review of the multiplayer mode of ME3.