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Joystick: “Mass Effect 3″ delivers — massively

Published 11:00am Thursday, March 8, 2012

“Mass Effect 3″

4.5 out of 5 stars

For Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Genre: RPG

Rating: M for Mature

• Amazing sci-fi story and massive gameplay.

• Choices, powers and dialogue trees give the game incredible depth.

• Framerates, clipping issues plague the game at times.


Sci-Fi geeks can’t game these days without hearing how great the “Mass Effect” series is. And for good reason: The “Mass Effect” universe is incredibly popular among western RPG fans, and the game to cap it all, “Mass Effect 3,” doesn’t disappoint, bringing a cornucopia of everything good in science fiction and fantasy out to play.

The final game in the trilogy was sure to please new players with its remarkable depth and interesting choice branches. That was before stuffing this game full of sci-fi nerddom the likes of which makes every self-respecting geek and nerd jump for joy.

In the first five seconds, we hear from Goliath of “Gargoyles” and Optimus Prime of the original “Transformers.” That alone is enough to make hardcore gamers and Saturday morning cartoon watchers excited.

The game, which puts players in the mind of Commander Shepard, revolves around a threat to the galaxy as we know it in the form of enemies who suspiciously sound like they came from Joss Whedon.

Shepard can be male or female, have a male or female “best buddy,” come with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or severe sociopathic tendencies, and can use magic or the Force.

That’s in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Players can choose to go through “Mass Effect 3” as a third-person shooter, a third-person shooting RPG, or a third-person platformer that concentrates on story. That, in effect, is how the game’s three play modes break down.

Without giving too much away, players should be aware the game becomes far more interesting in RPG mode, even in story mode, than in simple action mode.

What makes the “Mass Effect” series great is the attention given to its universe. There are hundreds of sidequests to complete, and no two playthroughs will be the same. That’s in effect the only hindrance to “Mass Effect 3,” in that it’s not a game you can stop and start easily without losing your way or your grasp on the story.

Luckily, the game ends up spelling out a lot of mission objectives for you, but the universe can seem too big at times. I didn’t get a chance to test multiplayer, but the option in a massive RPG like this is tantalizing and could shape up to be an incredible experience for players of all ages.

“Mass Effect 3” is definitely a buy if you like science fiction, but its deep universe and almost scholastic approach to story will leave players who want intellectual stimulation breathless.

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