‘Mass Effect 3’ Impressions – Warning! Ending Spoilers Follow

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Back in 2007 gamers were introduced to the startlingly-unique world of Mass Effect. In many ways it felt more real than any other world created in a video game. Different races legitimately had different cultures and fleshed out histories. This week, that beautiful universe was threatened and for many gamers, it may even have ended. Mass Effect 3 is an emotional rollercoaster unlike any other in the history of gaming. Here are our impressions of the story, who lives and who dies, and of course the ending. SPOILER WARNING! Do not read further if you have not beaten Mass Effect 3.

First off, lets talk about my personal save file. In the original Mass Effect, I saved the Rachni queen, Wrex and Kaiden died, and the council was killed. In Mass Effect 2, everyone survived the suicide mission except for Grunt and Miranda, and I destroyed the Collector base. Also, I have shared a romance with Liara in both games.

Lets start by talking about your squad. Without the ‘From Ashes’ DLC, Mass Effect 3 offers fewer squad mates than either of the other two entries, and four of them are characters you are already familiar with. Garrus, Liara, and Tali all return. In a surprising turn of events, EDI, the Normandy’s AI, takes over the body of a Cerberus synthetic and becomes a squad mate. The only other is James Vega, who looks and talks like he walked right out of Jersey Shore. Vega is probably one of the worst squad mates in the series. Other than that, however, this set of teammates is much more personal than the other two games. Tali and Garrus are your close friends. Liara is who you want to ride off into the sunset with. EDI is, well umm, your ship. While the cast may not be as diverse and deep as in Mass Effect 2, it feels more real, which makes the stakes even higher.

Now let’s move to the story. Mass Effect 3 has you attempting to unite the galaxy to fight a common enemy. The incredibly deep universe makes it difficult to get every race to work with each other but if they don’t the Reapers will destroy everything in the galaxy. Some of the groups that could end up helping out are surprising. I was delighted to see Aria ready to put her troops into the battle.

Okay, now it’s time to get into the really spoilerific stuff. Before the final mission I had four major characters die, and a few moments where I prevented a character from dying, but it sure seemed like it could have happened. Perhaps most heart-wrenching was Mordin’s death. He sacrificed himself to make sure the Genophage was cured, all the while singing a song. Another sad death came with Thane. Obviously he was going to die, but he went out fighting. One death that I perhaps could have prevented was Legion’s, but it seemed that either he or Tali had to die. His final moments were touching. I was happy to see his role expanded after coming in so late in Mass Effect 2. Another death in my game went to Udina, who I killed. The same situation pointed to Ashley dying as well but I prevented that. Another possible death seemed to go to Samara, but I managed to save her as well. I have read that both Miranda and Grunt die if they appear in the game.

The end of the game sees you liberating Earth from the Reapers. The mission is incredibly dangerous and wiped out my squad (Garrus and Liara! Right before the end?! Come on!). Once on to the Citadel, the final confrontation with the Illusive Man came, and I killed him, but not without the sacrifice of Anderson. The final choice of the series is a tough one, and since I failed to collect enough war assets, my Shepard died. But it was a good death, one that felt satisfying and heroic.

And that’s a wrap on Mass Effect 3. It has already made its way into my favorite games of all time. I’m not sure if I like Mass Effect 2 better or not. I will have to do another playthrough and see how I feel the second time. I think for this time I will download the DLC and mess around with a new squad member.

 

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