‘Mass Effect 3’ packs serious action and serious emotion

By Glenn Battishill

Since “Mass Effect” debuted on the Xbox 360 in 2007 it has been hailed as one of the greatest stories ever told in a video game series. Players were put in control of Commander Shepard, a human soldier who begins to uncover a plot that could mean the end of all life.

Its’ developer, Bioware, did an amazing job of creating a universe for players to explore and did what might be the best job of character development in any game series.

The series biggest selling point was the decisions you make as you play and what effect, or consequence, they have. “Mass Effect 2” was a darker, grittier but also had a more coherent and focused story that forced players to live with the consequences of the decisions made in the original “Mass Effect.”

“Mass Effect 3” is the final entry in the series and there is definitely a palpable weight behind your decisions and actions.

The story follows Shepard as he travels across the galaxy to try and unite the various races in order to stand against the Reapers, a race of sentient machines that come every fifty thousand years to exterminate all organic life.

The gameplay has been polished to a mirror shine and the combat is radically different for whatever specialization you choose.

For example, I played the game using the Vanguard class, a combat class that focuses on the use of close-quarters abilities and weapons. A friend played the game instead as an Infiltrator and focused on keeping his enemies at a distance, using stealth and long range weapons to fight his battles.

The dialog and story have always been the series’ strong point and the decisions you make in “Mass Effect 3” are some of the toughest with many options having no clear morally good answer, leaving the player to justify their actions to themselves.

But what this game does that no other game ever has made me do is cry real emotional tears, very manly tears of course. The writers of the game give the player some top-notch moments of actual emotion. The score was done by Clint Mansell and has an excellent range of styles ranging from soft but powerful songs to adrenaline-filled action tracks.

The game has come under fire for making players pay an extra ten dollars for content that was already on the disc. Admittedly it’s a shameless cash grab on the part of Electronic Arts, the publisher for the game, and it’s part of their recent “used games are killing the game industry” push. The game also features a single use code that allows the player to play the multiplayer portion of the game.

The multiplayer can at first seem like a useless addition but it is actually a very well balanced and diverse multiplayer that is a ton of fun to play with friends.

It functions similar to the horde mode in the “Gears of War” series. Four players face off against waves and waves of enemies.

Overall, “Mass Effect 3” is one of the best stories ever told in science fiction and is well worth playing. The game isn’t hard to pick up for new players, but series veterans will enjoy the callbacks and the characters much more.

“Mass Effect 3” is available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.