Mass Effect 3 on the PlayStation 3 tells of the alien "Reapers" who have launched an invasion leaving Earth a devastated wasteland, and who are now bent on destruction on a Galactic scale. As Commander Shepard, your customizable on screen persona, it is your mission to save mankind from annihilation. The software allows you to take complete control of all aspects of your mission from start to finish, so if it fails, you have only yourself to blame.
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Has there ever been a more anticipated game than Mass Effect 3 for the PlayStation 3? And has there ever been as much fear and trepidation that the final chapter to Bioware’s storied trilogy would be a let-down, which would permanently tarnish players’ previous experiences in the first two installments of the Mass Effect series? Set aside all concerns, as Mass Effect 3 not only is a worthy addition to Commander Shepard’s adventure, it is arguably the best of the three and is, without a doubt, one of the best gaming experiences available on the PlayStation 3.
Players pick up their adventure shortly after Mass Effect 2, in which Shepard has already made numerous crucial decisions during both his jump through the Omega-4 Mass Effect Relay to fight the Collectors and his employment with Cerebus, the para-military human organization that takes xenophobia to unearthly levels. With the previous threats of the series vanquished, Commander Shepard now must somehow defend not only earth from the onslaught of tens of thousands of world-destroying Reapers, but the entire galaxy, too. It is the stuff of legends.
While previous installments of the series demanded Commander Shepard to gather individual allies, ranging from Garrus to Grunt, Mass Effect 3 challenges the protagonist to gather not only individual characters to support a small assault team, but to convince entire civilizations Turians, Krogans, Salarians, (and even Geth) among others to set aside their ancient conflicts that are rooted in petty grudges, racial hatred, and genocide, in order to save the universe. As with Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2, player decisions in Mass Effect 3 for the PlayStation 3 determine the success of Commander Shepard’s mission; this time, however, it is not merely the fate of individual characters at stake. It is the fate of entire worlds.
How players make those decisions is determined primarily through conversations Commander Shepard has with the supporting cast within Mass Effect 3. As before, a dialogue wheel is provided that gives players choices of what Commander Shepard will say, which range from comments that will encourage peaceful resolutions to actions that result in the death of major characters. A play through in which players create a Gandhi-like Shepard persona that attempts to acquiesce constantly while massaging characters’ hurt feelings plays radically different than if players opt to recreate Commander Shepard in the image of Jack Bauer, resulting in brutal interrogations and a shoot first ask questions later. As with previous iterations, Mass Effect 3 does not penalize or encourage either type of gameplay choice; instead, players’ decisions are only recorded as paragon or renegade.
The characters with whom Shepard does interact in Mass Effect 3 for the PlayStation 3 consist of many familiar faces (assuming they survived Mass Effect 2’s final mission), including Garrus, Liara, and Mordin. There are new characters, of course, but none are more notable than Javik the Promethean. Included in the DLC From Ashes, this character injects both a substantial amount of lore and dark humour into the playing experience. Since the endgame objective is to stop the Reavers while fleshing out the secrets of the Prometheans that were introduced years ago, it is suggested to make the nominal investment to pick up Javik as a squad mate to ensure players get the full experience of Mass Effect 3.
Additional DLC released for Mass Effect 3 include a more refined ending. While there has been much criticism about the game’s final moments, these objections are both inaccurate and unwarranted. Take heart that the playable ending of the entire series does not merely finish in a scroll of credits; instead, it is a fully-realized and interactive sequence that nicely wraps up a variety of personal decisions dating back to the initial Mass Effect title to more recent ones made in Mass Effect 3. Indeed, it is an altogether worthy end for the epic series.
But even when the end comes about and the credits roll, players can continue enjoying Mass Effect 3. With the addition of multiplayer content, players have the ability to play as a variety of different races and classes against surprisingly smart AI opponents. As in the campaign for Mass Effect 3, players cannot merely run-and-gun as their habit might dictate as a result of other shooter games. Instead, they must employ steady tactics while relying heavily on their squad mates (player or AI controlled). To do otherwise ensures defeat.
Mass Effect 3 for the PlayStation 3 is an outstanding game. Its gorgeous visuals and stunning sound complement a masterfully told campaign story and addictive multiplayer gameplay. It will provide constant hours of gaming, and ranks among the top games of this generation.