The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
Most of us get multiplatform games on just our gaming machine of preference. However, due to string of events, I now have two copies of Mass Effect 3, each for a different platform. Today (or tonight, as of this writing), we shall see how the two match up. Does the PS3's streamlined console form outdo the rougher PC, or does the PC stand above its console brethren in more than just graphics for once? Read on, and find the answer*.
I will clarify that I haven't gotten to spend as many hours in Mass Effect 3 on PS3 as I did on PC. However, I did play both platforms when the demo was released, and have put in a good significant junk of hours into the PS3 version, trying more than one class and playing the majority of the maps. That all said, I'll be honest, I'm not sure if there's a definitive winner here.
I know, you probably expected me to say one was better than the other like in my Mass Effect 2 PS3 port review (yes it was poetic but still) where I said about how the port felt more like a downgrade but the game still held up. In this case, most of the game has clearly been better optimized. Absence AA and similar graphical enhancements are far harder to notice. You'll see it more often with bigger structures in the distance or specific models and/or texts, but for the core character models, it no longer appears to be an issue. Supposedly ME2 was built on an earlier build of ME3's engine, so maybe they were still ironing out the bugs at the time.
Load times are still an issue though. I can enter and exit a match in Mass Effect 3, in lobby or in-progress, almost instantaneously by comparison to the sometimes over a minute load times for the PS3 port. I have to imagine this would be cut down if the PS3 port let you install the game data on the HDD, but unlike Mass Effect 2, the only installed content you'll have is any DLC and your save games/preferences. I even played a few matches with a fellow GIO member, and he repeatedly got error messages and confusion trying to connect to the games I'd join, so be sure you have a good internet. Once it's finished loading, the game has far fewer slowdowns than the ME2 port and holds at a steady 30 FPS even when things are really busy. I'm assuming 30 FPS because it does seem to be a lower frame rate than
my 45-60 FPS on PC, and yes, you can seriously notice the difference.BONZAI! COWABUNGA! FREE WILLIE! (yes this image is important to the review, because reasons)
On the control front... it's once again divisive. The PS3 controller is far better at quick firing abilities and it is clear multiplayer was designed with a controller in mind. Almost in contradiction to this though, it seems to be a great deal easier to just use the Space Bar as the omnipotent button, whereas the X on my PS3 being a bit fickle. Sometimes I'd take cover when trying to heal a teammate. Half the time I'd stick to a wall whether I wanted to or not.
This seems made worse by the auto-guessing system for what you want on the PS3 version. On PC, it seems to assume when you're sprinting, you want to keep SPRINTING. If you're in cover, you want to leap over cover, not swap to a new piece over cover unless you specifically move in that direction. On the PS3, the Dualshock 3(R) is a bit undecided. It wants to know what it's motivation is for running. It's wondering why you're cursing at it as you stick in a doorway and get shot to death for the third time tonight. It doesn't understand why you're always so down on it and never love it. I think this may have to do with the more free moving aim of the mouse on PC.
As for the game content, there are some odd missing and included pieces. On the map Firebase Reactor, there's an actual reactor chamber that, on PC, you could activate and have it close and kill both enemies and allies within if you were strategic, griefish, or foolish enough to press the button at a certain time. On the PS3, this button was patched out. I have the same content of DLC on PC and PS3, and according to a friend, the button was there originally. Why it is still allowed on the PC but not PS3 is beyond me. Similar odd little things like an unnecessarily closer camera make the PS3 port feel slightly inferior, but this is taken in the light once again that the controller genuinely felt better to me than hitting 1-4.
Using the D-pad to activate secondary purchased abilities like self-revive and rockets is also a lot easier and it's far harder to accidentally use them. Mashing X to stop from bleeding out as quickly seems less effective on the PS3 but this may be thanks to me doing over ten New Game + rounds in Dead Space 2 where X button QTEs were in greater number than the minions in Despicable Me. The only real downside is that inviting people is actually easier on PC than PS3. In my experience, due to the long time it takes to connect, you're best off starting your own game, inviting your friends, then if a slot is left, open to the public so you can get additional teammates. There is no grouping function in either version, but at least the PC lets you connect quickly and efficiently through Origin (yes, I just said something positive about Origin).
Chains and magic helmet! (if you get that reference, you get a cookie)
The universal good and bad aspects are still there. It's always better to play with friends or at least people who use mics and strategies. The unlock system still, even on PS3, has given me two shotguns when I want more handguns, SMGs, and assault rifles. I've only so far been given one character unlock that's from the new character races by a pack not made to intentionally give you a new one (I've yet to get to try the tougher Geth Prime-like unit, but I've seen it in action so it should be fun). The maps are all the same no matter what platform, so there are crappy ones like Omega, Vancouver, etc. and great ones like Glacier, Rio, etc..
Really, it is a matter of what platform you want it on if you have more than one, but my honest recommendation... PS3 if you are patient and have friends on it. Otherwise, PC. PC has more people using microphones than PS3, and the community seems a great deal more experienced. Most people on PS3 seemed to be newbies with a few high ranking players (thankfully skill can still win out over better stats). I advise getting all the free MP DLC as you're missing roughly 3/4s the content without it.
Tell us how the coffee has stayed warm for months! TELL US BIOWARE! WE NEED TO KNOW!
I hope this clarifies your purchase if you've held off on buying the game.
Cheers,Paradigm the Fallen
No, I'm not talking about the singleplayer. I for one have played with another fire thanks to Tomb Raider.