Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PCWii U

As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the Earth.

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8Out of 10
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Mass Effect 3 screenshot
Mass Effect 3 screenshot

It helps make even the smaller decisions seem significant. Here, you're frequently forced into uneasy alliances, trying to keep previously warring factions sweet to unite against a common foe. If the first game set you as a fairly standard world-saving hero, and the second as intergalactic relationship counsellor, flitting between planets on missions to cajole others into committing to your cause, here you're a peacekeeper, trying to avoid a war breaking out aboard the Normandy just as the battle to save the universe rages outside the airlocks.

As such, the decisions you make here are all a means to a noble end. You can play the virtuous hero, constantly appealing to everyone's better nature; or you can opt for the results-oriented approach, issuing blunt ultimatums, shouting, and getting your hands dirty for the sake of saving life as Shepard knows it. Whether you're Paragon or Renegade, the points you earn count towards a total reputation figure, ensuring you don't try to game the system by picking all 'good' or all 'bad' options to unlock the best abilities.

Meanwhile, BioWare sensibly grounds the action to convey a greater sense of threat. The first time we see the Reapers, they're descending on Earth, and it's not long before they're branching out. Before long, your galactic map will be dominated by these metallic hermit crabs, and their presence has an effect on your approach to mining. What was a bizarrely compelling bit of mindless busywork in the last game is now a careful side pursuit, as you send out signals in the hope of receiving one in return. Should you hit paydirt on a planet, you can start searching and send out a probe, only this time you're not searching for minerals but for war assets which could prove crucial in the final reckoning. Yet every time you ping a signal, the Reapers will start to trace it; do it too often and they'll enter orbit accompanied by a terrifying, otherworldly sound. At this point you'll need to escape to the safety of another cluster, though if you're caught, you can merely resume from where you left off, a rather feeble punishment that lessens the sense of danger. Before long, these searches feel too much like hard work.

Attempting to manage your mission codex can be something of a chore, too. Walk past NPCs and their conversations will register key data in your codex pertaining to sidequests. Often, they can be as simple as retrieving an artifact from another planet through mining, or obtaining an item elsewhere. But they remain highlighted in your mission summary until you complete them, and for many, the pile-up will prove alarming. Worse still, there's an unseen time limit to many of these and it's easy to miss them because you opted to tackle something else first.

Then again, BioWare does manage the difficult task of making even the most minor aside feel like a crucial part of the bigger picture. Before you could be forgiven for wondering why you were titting about when the galaxy needed saving, but here everything you do contributes to the war effort. Sure, researching a medi-gel upgrade might seem small fry next to the possibility of an entire race being wiped out, but there's a tangible reward for every minor action that could potentially change the tide of battle against the Reapers.

Elsewhere, it isn't afraid to dream a little bigger. BioWare has broadened its canvas when it comes to set-pieces, and though its ambitions occasionally clash with the limitations of the game engine, the results are often spectacular. An early highlight has you fighting on the surface of a moon while its mother planet burns in the background, the first staggering sight of many. Replacing Jack Wall was a controversial move, but Clint Mansell's plaintive piano themes prove the perfect backing for the game's most moving moments.

The multiplayer game is also far from the perfunctory check-box addition you might expect. Again, context is key: these co-op missions tie into the narrative with levelled-up characters contributing to your galactic readiness. It might be little more than a Horde mode with additional mission objectives besides 'kill everything that moves', but it's surprisingly well-constructed.

There is, in short, a hell of a lot of game here, and at a time when free social and smartphone games have analysts wondering aloud whether full-priced retail games can cut the mustard, here is a package that represents exceptional value. There's little here to convert non-believers, but then this game is not for them. This is one for the fans, and few who buy it will be left unsatisfied by how the story - their story - ends.

Version Tested: Xbox 360

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User Comments

GarethJShep's Avatar


Best sci-fi gaming series ever!, the ending was disapointing but the game itself was awesome!
Posted 15:37 on 10 May 2012
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ guyderman

You'd still need a Gold sub at the moment, but yeah you can just start a private match and play it yourself. It's REALLY not easy though, me and a friend struggle with two of us. We're just about getting it to be manageable, him a lvl 18 Adept and me a lvl 14 Engineer.

When you get to wave 8-10 and it starts sending 2 Brutes and a Banshee with accompaniments then yeah, doing it on your own is a challenge. You dont need to finish all 10 waves to get some galactic readiness points but you have to go pretty far, round 5 or 6 I think.

I jumped in a random match though, not one person had a mic and you just run around and kill stuff as if it's the single player. Gained 3 levels and 5% readiness lol
Posted 08:43 on 21 March 2012
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ Endless

Didn't know that was possible? That would suit my antisocial deviant behaviour - lol!

To be honest I have no problem in having to achieve all the required goals of uniting the galaxy completely to achieve the 'Ultimate' ending as I do believe that should be the way and it gives you a goal for a future play through. My objection is more that it should be more easily obtainable just because someone has played MP.
Posted 08:30 on 21 March 2012
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ guyderman

The pure singleplayer route does seem overly strict/unforgiving by your descriptions. Maybe that was the idea though?

You can always do the online scenarios on your own :)
Posted 16:38 on 20 March 2012
guyderman's Avatar


I got 100% assets from every galaxy and completed all N7 missions as well as main missions but I only got my EMS to 3800ish (which was still a full meter bar), and still wasn't given the option for the 'Best' ending (although I have just watched it on Youtube and I preferred the ending I got tbh).
I think that you have to get every single race to stand with you and I made a FUBAR with the Quarians, (couldn't help it I just hate them!) and the Salerians, (whoops!).

I was satisfied with the climax, the ending and the explanations I got and was really impressed with the game. However I understand that if you get your Galactic Readiness to 100% then your EMS isn't quite as vital - you can only raise your galactic readiness by playing MP - I just don't think that MP should affect SP and vice versa on any game what so ever (especially on a series that has been a SP experience for 85% of it).

It seems to be expected that there are people that only play MP and yet everyone thinks you are a weird anti-social deviant if you only play SP!
I spend all day surrounded by people and I like my gaming time to be 'me' time. I'm not interested in listening to other people or being social, having games ruined by idiots who just like to p!ss about - it all just gets on my nerves and beats my purpose for gaming as relaxation. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who feels this way.

But anyway back to ME3 - Great game - Loved it a LOT!
Posted 12:18 on 20 March 2012
Endless's Avatar


So visual fluff is a good way to incentivise multiplayer now? Tangible relevant rewards are the way to get people to do something. I personally like the option, because I'm not one to bother finding every single little detail of everything, I just cant be bothered; It gets boring. But you can find everything in singleplayer and get the best ending, or you you can play a bit of multiplayer and find less things in single player and still get as good an ending. Sounds like a win-win.

It's a proven strategy and pretty much follows in the footsteps of every other game company: you want stuff without the associated work? you pay for it. Except in this case the multiplayer is actually really fun! (imo)

And it's not really the trend of tacking a multiplayer component on to a game that it doesn't fit with, it's simply scenarios from the singleplayer that you play with your friends. It totally works! It plays like a co-op campaign should. The equipment unlock system is garbage though, but thats another story ;)

They are assuming that most people have a gold account though, because without that you dont have that choice. Which is a shame. Are there no plans for an offline version of the multiplayer? I know that sounds a bit odd but you can still play the multiplayer scenarios online on your own, no reason for an online pass or gold sub if you're not playing with other people.

My biggest annoyance with the game so far (apart from the inclusion of an online pass) is constantly having to switch discs on 360 when I go from side-mission to main-mission, does get very tiresome.

Oh and the online pass scam rears it's ugly head yet again. I bought the game brand new, everyone on my console can play the game and play any of the DLC I download. Yet if my wife wants to play the multiplayer she has to buy an online pass. Bull*****. Why is the online pass not tied to a console rather than a user? Just like all other DLC. I dont see how it can be defended when it totally changes the user experience of the hardware.

Anyway. Mass Effect 3. Brilliant!
Posted 09:59 on 20 March 2012
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ Grumblecake

I spent 30 hours on single player and still didn't get the "best" ending. It's not even difficult, it's just a case of finding everything. That would be fine if the mission log wasn't utter bollocks, but it is, and that's something that people who can't play online have to suffer to get the most out of the single player experience.

For me, this was the biggest misstep in the entire franchise. Thanks, EA.
Posted 12:41 on 19 March 2012

coletrain@ guyderman

I agree games shouldn't be punishing offline players for not playing multiplayer. Incentivising online play with a new skin or item that merely has asthetic value in solo gameplay would be fine though.
Posted 10:30 on 19 March 2012
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ Clockpunk

My issue isn't with there being a MP mode, that's all fine. My issue is having the MP have any sort of impact on the SP game. I've bought Mass Effect 3 on the 360 as I knew it was gonna run smoother than the PS3 version - also my main games save that has carried over from the first game is on the 360. But I am only a Silver member as I have no interest in any MP so no point in me paying for Gold - but now I can't take advantage of the additional points required from MP to aid my SP play through. Very disappointed indeed!
Posted 21:28 on 08 March 2012
Clockpunk's Avatar


I'll admit to sharing such sentiments upon hearing about the inclusion of multiplayer, but did you chaps try it out in the demo, while the servers were switched on? Playing it changed my opinion, and I cannot wait to dive into the multiplayer with friends.

That said, EA have Behaved most tiresomely predictably and added a way to further milk the weak-minded by offering purchasable 'consumables' that may (or may not) unlock better equipment/races for use in mp... That marrs it slightly.
Posted 17:35 on 08 March 2012
guyderman's Avatar


Once again I say it - I wish MP would just F**k Off! - It shouldn't have any bearing what so ever on the SP aspect of a game!
Posted 17:15 on 08 March 2012
Grumblecake's Avatar


@Bloodstorm You do NOT NEED to play multiplayer to get the best ending. It's even mentioned in the original article that the one you linked is based on.

"It is possible to get the best ending in single player without playing multiplayer, but it’s twice as hard."

Sometimes games are hard.
Posted 16:40 on 08 March 2012
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Why not mention the fact you NEED to play Multiplayer to get a decent ending?

For a game that doesn't need multiplayer, this is a slap in the face
Posted 17:31 on 07 March 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ scaz2244

I'm sure you'll get to hear my take on the game soon enough! I stepped away from doing the review because I am way way waaaaaaay too much of a Mass Effect fanboy to be able to give it a fair and balanced write-up.
Posted 17:20 on 07 March 2012
scaz2244's Avatar


great read think il wait a month to get it, slightly pissed off that the score is on the right hand side so it shows you what it gets even before youve read the review!.

shame martin didnt do this review either would of loved to hear his version on this. but solid read never the less
Posted 14:21 on 07 March 2012

Game Stats

Mass Effect 3
Out of 10
Mass Effect 3
  • Narrative finds welcome time for touching personal stories
  • Looks incredible in places
  • Beautiful Clint Mansell soundtrack
  • Mining replacement is weak
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 06/03/2012
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC , Wii U
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 1,880 17
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