Mass Effect 3 – First Impressions

          I’m sure those of you who are gamers already know, Mass Effect 3 was released last week for the western continents, and I have spent a half dozen or so hours playing this much anticipated last installment of the trilogy. Unfortunately, I did not have a Mass Effect 2 save file to import, as I performed a format of my computer a half a year ago, and transferring the save file slipped my mind. So, I had to start the game creating a new John Shepard. I selected the traditional “role playing” experience, and am playing in hardcore difficulty. As an adept, the game so far has been fairly challenging. Even with judicious use of my squad’s powers there were a few tough battles that ended with my corpse on the ground. In line with my previous Shepards, this third Shepard is a strictly professional, get ‘er done at all costs hardass.
          Well, I will just quickly echo the words I had for Mass Effect 2 here, as they apply once more. I love the Mass Effect universe; its setting, races, characters, technologies, and over-arching story. It would be accurate to say that I derive most of my pleasure from being immersed in its setting, and learning anything and everything within it. Of course, the combat is loads of fun too. As expected of a highly popular and successful series, the presentation well polished in all aspects. Although some of the clothing and armor looks rather low textured, and quite an eyesore close up.
          There are some flaws that bother me. The level designs in this third title seems even more stream-lined…a bit too much so. Every mission so far felt like they were on rails. Most levels are narrow corridors that leads to a room, to another corridor, to another room, and so on. There are very little extraneous places for exploration, and that’s a shame, because I had a lot of fun exploring the much larger levels in the first game, and being actually able to land on planets and roam about in the Mako. This level design constraint is especially felt on the Citadel. In previous games the walkable areas of the Citadel were much larger, with nooks and crannies and shortcuts. In Mass Effect 3, each level is rather small and self contained, with only enough area to house the important characters, nothing more. Also, some of the graphical interfaces feels a bit clunky, for example, the weapons swap and upgrade screens. Likely a byproduct of concurrent development for the consoles.
          Is it just me or was EDI given a human-like avatar in order to appeal to a very specific group of fans? In other words, she feels like a fanservice character. She does not do it for me.

Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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