Back in 2007 I strolled into my local game store and started browsing the shelves for something interesting to play. The owner of an XBOX 360 I was in the market for a video game with some depth. November of 2007 was a good month for video games. I don’t think we knew how good though. I came across a game called Mass Effect. Reading the box I was immediately interested as it was a far-future based RPG. Little did I know it was going to be so much more.
After Mass Effect 1 and then 2 in 2010, I was hooked on this trilogy that had found a near perfect mixture of gameplay and storytelling. Its most impressive feature though, was the decision-making tree. Every decision that lead character Commander Shepard makes has consequences. Not just in each individual game, but in EVERY subsequent game. That’s right folks, decisions you make as Shepard directly affect the way Mass Effect 2 and now 3 will play out. That brings us to the purpose of this blog. Mass Effect 3, the third and final arc of the Commander Shepard Trilogy, releases on Tuesday March 6th.
Possibly the most anticipated video game of 2012, Mass Effect 3 finds series antagonists The Reapers arriving in our galaxy and beginning to destroy Earth. This race of intelligent machines has done this before. They return to our galaxy every 50,000 years to wipe out all higher biological life and have the galaxy ‘begin again’. They have given no reason for this other than ‘we’re a higher life form than you are so there’. I hope that this and many other unanswered questions will be revealed in this last entry.
While Mass Effect 3 is story-driven it is certainly not without its action. There are intense combat sequences throughout that will more than satisfy those that crave the third-person shooter. With new squad level control, customizable weapons and armor, and the addition of Kinect voice commands, there will be no shortage of visceral thrills. This game however has always been character driven and the voice acting has played a huge part in its appeal.
Here are a few names you might recognize from some of their other work. Martin Sheen, Seth Green, Freddie Prinze Jr., Tricia Helfer, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, and many more have loaned their voices and talent to this endeavor. For the first time in my memory the player is given three important options as to how they wish to play this game. They can play it in Normal Mode which gives you the complete narrative and normal combat (the best way to play it in my humble opinion), Story Mode which lessens the combat difficulty in favor of the narrative, and Combat Mode which heightens the combat and bypasses more of the narrative.
Not bad options but as a Mass Effect Purist I’ll be playing this in Normal Mode. There is a multiplayer co-op mode to the game, which actually delayed its release. In multiplayer, four player teams battle against AI driven opponents in what is essentially a Hoard Mode. I’m told this will have some effect on how the war against the invading Reapers plays out but I’m hoping we can do without this.
March 6th is right around the corner and if you pick up one video game all year, this is the one. You don’t need to have played Mass Effect 1 and 2 to play this game. They seamlessly allow you to jump right in if you so desire. Mass Effect 3 will be available on the XBOX 360, Playstation 3, and PC all on the same day. Men and Women it’s time to take back the Earth and save the galaxy!