As a Goozer, I don’t play games when they are brand new, rather, I play them when they get cheap. Sure, Amazon has had some good $20 sales in the past (and you can currently get Mass Effect 3 brand new for $18), but I didn’t pick up my copy until a few months ago, and it still took me a long time to finally start playing it. When I did, it took me 20 hours, which went by very quickly, and I earned 26 out of 68 Achievements netting 430 gamerscore without trying for anything in particular. Let me tell you, it was time worth spent. And the entire time I was playing it, I was thinking to myself, Mass Effect 3 is so much better than the first two.
The first reason why Mass Effect 3 is better than the first two is because BioWare eliminated all of the crap. What do I mean by crap? In the first Mass Effect, you had to drive that damn moon buggy all over planets full of hard to navigate cliffs, mountains and boulders that you can’t drive up or over. Then, in some missions, you had to use that moon buggy to blast the bad guys, which was really just an exercise in point and shoot. No real challenge or game enhancements in that. In Mass Effect 3, you have none of that.
What else do I mean by crap? In Mass Effect 2 you had to scan many planets looking for resources. In essence, it was a time waster running a scanner over a planet’s surface looking for materials. Ho hum. I’m falling asleep just thinking about it. In Mass Effect 3, you only have to scan for stuff in a single mission and this time there’s a visual clue to point you in the right direction. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it’s over before you can get bored. Kudos to BioWare for learning and moving in the right direction.
The second reason why Mass Effect 3 is better than the first two is because they streamlined the game. In the first two games, there was a lot of meandering and searching around for what to do next. Or, there were multiple choices of missions to embark on. Or, there were several different characters that you had to hunt down to have conversations with, which generally led to more side missions. While some of this is still true in Mass Effect 3, it’s mostly all streamlined for you. You are told who wants to talk to you and where they are and the side missions the characters lead you on are directly tied to the main plot. It’s all very cohesive and done very well.
The third reason why Mass Effect is so much better is because BioWare took the storytelling -- drama, plot, character development -- to a whole new level. The cutscenes are gorgeous to watch and blends in perfectly with the action. I’d play this game again just to watch it, let alone play it.
The ending to Mass Effect 3 is what made many gamers despise the game. To which I say, WTF ever! The ending was awesome. Mass Effect is about the cycles of life. You can’t stop death. Think of the Reapers as the Grim Reaper. You know the Grim Reaper is coming. You can try and stop death, but it’s not going to happen. You can fend off death, make all the preparations that you want, build up as many defenses as you can muster, but death is only a matter of time. Death will happen. To all of us. Eventually. And then the cycle repeats. A new life is born as another passes away. Such is life. Such is Mass Effect.