The lights are on
Mass Effect 3 was one of the most anticipated games of 2012 and for good reason. The first two games were phenomenal and fans of the series were all excited to play through Shepard's final mission. The battle against the Reapers has expanded through three games and their power is not exaggerated. Mass Effect 3 is a perfect way to end such a fantastic series.
The aspect of this game that I noticed immediately was the tone. In the first two games there's always that feeling of, "No matter how bad things seem, I know that Shepard will win," but not here. Right from the beginning you get the feeling that this could be the end, there may not be a way to win. This was the first installment that made me feel helpless no matter how well I thought I was doing. This tone may not have worked in the first two games, but it fits in perfectly in Mass Effect 3. The Reapers have arrived, and there is nothing you can do to stop them. You think you're doing well, but there's always that instance where you realize that while you are busy building your forces the Reapers are taking more and more worlds.
While the tone of feeling helpless fits perfectly, you also get the sense of hope. This is instilled mostly through your companions. As Shepard starts to break mentally, physically, and emotionally his companions are always there to remind him that they will always be there to help. It is very apparent that this is not a game where you point and shoot and it has a story wrapped around it. I found myself wanting more of the dialogue and moments with my squadmates and less time actually shooting at the Reapers. Some may consider this a flaw in the game-play but I assure you it is not. There is simply more here than a simple third-person shooter.
When it comes to actually shooting at the enemy, Mass Effect 3 has improved itself over its predecessors there as well. While the game-play is still basically finding cover and picking your spots, the combat has evolved a bit. There are very few instances where you enter a room and the enemy is in front of you and only in front of you. Many of the areas you encounter have plenty of places for the enemy to flank you if you are not careful or if you simply take too long. Your allies can still handle themselves, though there were some instances of frustration when an ally would run ahead too far and be swarmed by the enemy, or times where your ally would not shoot at an enemy that had found a way to get behind you until it was too late. But those frustrations were outweighed by the fun experience of trying to think as you moved. You had to be quick but not reckless in Mass Effect 3 otherwise you'd be outmaneuvered by the enemy.
The overall scale of this game is also larger than the previous installments. Fighting ground troops while a Reaper tears apart a world in the background is an experience that has not been seen in a Mass Effect game. You often find yourself fighting against odds that mirror that of the suicide mission from Mass Effect 2, only when you fight these battles now its simply to make it to the next area, it's not to finish the game. The enemies are bigger, the battles are larger, and the stakes are higher. You get the sense that you really are fighting for everything. This is no longer Shepard's mission to prove to everyone that he's telling the truth, it is now a battle for the very survival of all living beings in the galaxy.
Ultimately, this game earns a 10 out of 10 from me because of all the aspects it brings to the table. Is it a completely perfect game? Of course not. It did, however, improve over the last two installments and really changed the dynamic of the entire series. The game looks great, it plays great and it continues to draw you in to the narrative. This is Commander Shepard's game, but it is the player's experience from beginning to end.
I completely agree. It wasn't perfect but no game is entirely perfect. Definitely a game worthy of getting and playing at least a million times..... or so.