I will try to keep them to a minimum but some spoilers are inevitable. As a long time fan of the nearly five year old Mass Effect series, I feel the need to get on my little soap box and address the four main issues that seem to have everyone incensed. Though, I receive many games directly from publishers to review, I did purchase my Collector’s Edition Mass Effect 3 at the midnight launch at a local Los Angeles Gamestop. The first two complaints, in my opinion are completely ridiculous but with the third and fourth, I am totally with you, maybe not for the exact same reasons but the net result, regardless.
Sexuality has been a controversial issue in Mass Effect since the beginning and while not new, it is surprising that people are still talking about it. I suppose since two crew members of the Normandy in Mass Effect 3 are homosexual; someone was bound to be offended. Apparently, having virtual sex with hot aliens is cool (Captain Kirk) but, someone wanting to have a relationship with someone of the same race AND sex, in the game is out of line. There shouldn’t be any, “We need to protect the children” arguments, because it is after all a mature rated game and if seeing gay people blows your mind, you probably have more serious issues you need to deal with.
The second complaint that, in this writer’s opinion has no merit is the Day 1 DLC outcry. The From Ashes DLC was part of the Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition bundle and for that reason, was created before the release of the game. Honestly, if someone should be mad about it being released at launch day, it should be those of us that purchased Collector’s Editions since, EA and Bioware devalued our preorder and purchase by releasing what we paid extra for immediately to everyone. Considering that, whether or not part of it is on the disc is really irrelevant even I had a substantial download after entering my From Ashes code.
The first of these complaints that I actually agree with is the stripping down of RPG elements from Mass Effect 3. I will admit, the original Mass Effect was probably a bit burdened with its clunky inventory system and the new one is superior. Where the RPG elements fail in Mass Effect 3 start with dialogue, the trees have certainly been trimmed. As a matter of fact, the dialogue not in cutscenes has been severely reduced and considering the accelerated pacing of Mass Effect 3, your connection with characters suffers greatly. Space exploration has been stripped to the bones and even the hacking is gone. This leaves players feeling, for the first time in the series, it doesn’t really matter what they do.
It really doesn’t matter what you do is what Mass Effect 3 will teach you. It doesn’t even really matter how many assets you secure to fight the reapers, you will still end up in the same place. The ending is a stock ending that will swap colors and a crew member or two in a cutscene regardless of whether you want to sacrifice yourself to a better future, join the enemy or destroy them. As epic as the series has been, is it any wonder the Bioware twitter feed and Facebook page have been lit up or that an online petition and change the ending Facebook page have been created?
Did I mention the whole ending premise is hokey. It’s almost as if all of your hard fought urban warfare has given way to the end of Contact or Ghost Whisperer. The ending isn’t clever, it has however generated conversation but, if the history of disgruntled fan interactions with Bioware repeats, something will need to be done. Bioware has today, acknowledged that fans are unhappy and have indicated, they will now attempt to address the fan outrage although, no details or time frame have been released.
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