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Friday, March 23, 2012

Mass Effect 3: Second Thoughts

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It occurred to me as I was fooling around with Mass Effect 3 this week that I was, in the heat of the excitement, perhaps a bit hasty in glossing over some of the things that really ticked me off about this game.

Don't get me wrong—I stand by the high rating I gave it and I'm by no means suggesting the game was a percentage point or two away from perfection … but overall, it was darned close.

Still, I wanted to address some of the things that I found particularly annoying in the hopes that we as video game aficionados can use our powers of persuasion to ensure the next Mass Effect franchise doesn't fall into the same traps:

Annoyance 1: Holy Crap I'm the Harbinger of Death!


OK. Really. Don't come near me. People around me have a tendency to die. Without giving away any spoilers, let's just say that Shepard's cohorts sure did have a tendency to pass away. One or two of them is fine … it can be a pretty traumatic thing when the story works well.

But seriously, I felt like I was killing more people than the Reapers! Worse, some of the characters who die are the ones I've liked most from the very beginning.

Annoyance 2: Side-quests


There are a dizzying array of side-quests that are usually over in an instant and really don't add much to the overall experience … what makes it worse is that some of these side-quests can take an hour or more just to puzzle together. And without any hints to tell me where to go, I found myself wandering around the Citadel endlessly while searching for some specific place to be.

Annoyance 3: Cover, shoot, repeat


While the game did a pretty decent job of mixing it up a bit, by the third game Mass Effect's cover-and-shoot formula was starting to get a little dull. I found myself intentionally not taking cover simply to maintain the freedom to move around. Surprisingly, I found it to be quite enjoyable despite dying a little more often than necessary.

I think in the next-gen consoles, we should at the very least see a little more diversity and creativity when it comes to these types of games.

Minor Annoyance: The Ending


I won't give anything away, but needless to say there's been a bit of an uproar over the ending, and perhaps rightfully so. Sometimes, I think video game creators try too hard to get cute with endings and end up fudging the whole process. It's OK to have a mildly clichéd conclusion … just look at HALO 3 for inspiration.

OK. So there. A few annoyances addressed. We can move on now, and just in time for a slew of new games! Next up: Ninja Gaiden 3.
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