Mass Effect 3: Massively Lazy?
By 4thHorseman 03-28-2012 05:22 PM
Let me preface this by saying: This isn't a rant about the ending. It's not even a review. But as someone who finally finished the game, I came across a lot of moments and things that irritated the hell out of me. Not because they were necessarily awful, but just because they felt rushed. Instead of trying to make this trilogy end on a strong note and try to top Mass Effect 2, who some thought was one of the best games of all time, they decided to release a product that felt like they wrapped it up simply because they had to.
1. Poor Design
I didn't realize just how important quest logs can be. I guess I never thought about it, because I never ran into any real problems with them. Until Mass Effect 3 that is. While Mass Effect 2 made great strides of improvement from the original game, ME3 takes a step back in many areas, the quest log being one of them.
In Mass Effect 2, each quest would update itself with where you need to go, what you need to do, and when finished, who you need to talk to for that quest to be completed. No such luck with ME3. Instead, they give you a brief description about the quest at hand and no updates will be made until that quest is completed. Well, completed, or just made unavailable.
That's right, in another irritating note to the poor quest design, there are key moments in the game where the quests you have in your log will suddenly be unobtainable. It won't let you know that, it'll just keep the quest in your log. It also will continue to show the person you need to speak to on the map, even though that person may no longer be there. If they are there, they may no longer need that quest. None of this is really explained particularly well, and it can be frustrating that you decide to finish up your quests at the Citadel, get pulled into a story event, then realize that the quests can no longer be turned in. Thanks for the heads up, especially since I was fortunate to remember I grabbed the item from the quest since it doesn't seem to update in the log. Oh well...
2. Barebones Multiplayer
It's bad enough that Bioware went back on their word about the multiplayer not playing a part in the single player campaign, but it felt like they just threw the multiplayer in there as a bullet point on the back of the box. The multiplayer is competent, but it's just not particularly new or interesting. It's a horde mode. 11 waves of enemies, some waves more difficult than others, and you have to survive until the end. Nothing other games haven't crafted just as well, if not better.
While I feel the different classes do add to the multiplayer a bit, the transaction model of getting new characters and weapons can be frustrating since there's no guarantee you'll get anything particularly worthwhile. After spending almost $20 on new packs, I had some more medi-gel to use, one extra character, and one new weapon. Other items I did gain, but unfortunately, some were items that once you use them, you lose them. I don't like spending money on something I will get for one match. While they do tell you it is for one match only, you may not really understand what that means until you go back to try and equip it the second time. Like some other parts of ME3, it just isn't explained particularly well. You don't have to buy the packs with real money and can instead use credits you gain from winning levels, the same still applies. You don't know for sure what you get, and that can be frustrating. To me, it feels like they were trying to get an easy way out of actually developing a decent leveling mechanic and reward system. It's not particularly good in this regard.
3. N7 Missions
The N7 missions are probably one of the best examples of what can be the downsides of Mass Effect 3. Instead of intricately made levels, the player is dropped into a small map area where they need to either type on some keyboards or gather a few items before the mission is over. To make this more exciting, they throw in a lot of enemies to fight. Unfortunately, it doesn't change the fact that these missions are garbage. They are boring and add nothing to the game other than time spent in it. They are quick little missions that were thrown in just to give the player something extra to do. I'm still trying to figure out if they threw these in the main game because they already made them for multiplayer, or if they didn't want to make any more multiplayer maps so they used them for that as well.
I'll go ahead and discuss the From Ashes DLC here as well since the mission itself was basically an N7 mission. I don't particularly mind that the Prothean character was on the disc. Fine, whatever. Do what you want Bioware. My main problem is that if the only thing they added as DLC was the mission itself (or that's what I've come to understand), then $10 went to fund a quick 10-20 minute mission with a few cool cutscenes that was, for the most part, one of the worst missions I've played in the entire Mass Effect series. I would not be surprised if they had most of the Prothean things in the game, but were rushed to put the game out, and didn't have the mission itself done. So instead of actually finishing it, they decided to try and hide the ProtheanProtheans viewpoint is to the game, it felt like it was meant to be in the game originally. That aside, you do get a game-breaking weapon in the mission and the character itself is pretty awesome.
4. Import Problems
By now, the issue with importing faces has made its rounds around the Internet. One of the most important features of the Mass Effect series has been being able to import the character from the previous game so that connection with your character is still there.
Well, sorry for those of you who played both ME and ME2, because thanks to the coding being different, ME3 may not be able to read your characters face. Bioware was aware of this issue apparently as they were able to make an error message regarding this problem, but didn't actually think it was worth fixing at the time. Instead, a patch will be coming out shortly to fix this problem.
But that's not the only problem one could have if importing a character. Another I've heard about involves the relationship involvement of characters. If you decide that you want to play as a female character and romance a man in ME3, you are limited greatly based on past decisions. For example, the following are males you can romance in ME3 if you are a female:
I love Tali. She was so sweet and smart and she was my perfect mate in ME2. I was so glad to know that I would get a chance to see her in ME3. I mean...reaaaally see her.
But why would I want to see her? What would I expect her to look like? I don't think it would really matter as it would probably disappoint me regardless. However, what they decided to do, was worse than anything they could have possibly done. Instead of taking the time to find a perfect face for her and craft it for the game as a big reveal if you decided to romance her...you get a still frame picture.
Okay, that's alright. This could still turn out okay. I mean, it's more thrown in there just to get fans off their back, but whatever. Perhaps they still put some thought into what she would look like. Maybe they crafted every line and mole her face would have considering how important this would be for fans, right?
*sigh* Nope. Apparently someone fell in love with a stock photo they found while searching Google for "pretty faces" or something, and thought it would work. No Bioware. It doesn't. If you weren't going to put an ounce of thought into what Tali would look like, just keep it a mystery. You'll probably still get some hate from the fans, but it would be better than just flipping them the bird this way. Hell, I probably would have at least got a laugh if it was a stock photo of Predator.
And I refuse to be the person to spoil what her face looks like. I'll let you look it up and get disappointed for yourself.
6. Flying around the galaxy
Another good example of ME3 stripping something out of ME2 would be when you travel to different planets in the galaxy. In the previous game, you could go to every planet and there would always be something there to scan and gain from it. In ME3, you can still look at every planet, but not every planet will allow you to scan it. Instead you set off a beacon in random parts of the system to see if there's a planet the EDI detects with an anomaly. There's no real reason to do it in this game whereas in ME2 you did, but they could have kept that feature from ME2 and condensed it to a smaller version instead of replacing it with what they did. A bad game of tag with the Reapers.
So there are specific systems that get invaded with the Reapers. When you search for anomalies by using a beacon, the Reapers become aware of your presence in the system. After so many times, they chase you down. This should be a moment of dread where everything that goes wrong possibly could and you just get demolished. Well, what happens...is much less drastic. Game over screen. No real punishment, nothing to really defend yourself with if you can't escape in time. Just load it back up and go right back in since it saves when you travel there. An almost pointless inclusion into the game that does nothing but rush you to get your quests done.
What I had hoped they did would be to do what they did in ME2 where you beef up the Normandy with weapons and shields. Then if you do engage with the Reapers, you may have a quick action cutscene or something to add to the conflict that gives some sort of reason for them to be there other than annoyance. But they didn't, so I will continue to gather my war assets that I barely understand and risk being gobbled up into a game over screen before restarting and knowing exactly where I need to go when I reload.
7. Story "huh?" moments
I'm not particularly sure if these would fall under glitches or not, but there were some questionable things that happened in my game of Mass Effect 3. The first thing I'll point out is this ultimate weapon to destroy the Reapers. Not only was one of the components one of the most obvious things in the series, but to think that in such a small amount of time, this weapon could be constructed seemed kind of weird. Especially since every system was being invaded by Reapers basically but this weapon was well hidden. I'll even somewhat ignore the idea that other races such as the Protheans knew of this ahead of time and still couldn't construct it in time, even with the item that was needed the most...although they apparently guarded it....but didn't bother to grab before they were destroyed.
I also had sex with a ghost. No lie, I banged a dead woman. I know necrophilia is frowned upon now, but according to what my Shepherd did, it's something that's not so crazy in the future. So I told you that I romanced Tali. Well, she later died in a mission. Her name was written on the board in the ship, I was distraught over it, and expected to see Ashley walk in or cry over a picture frame. Instead, Tali walked in as if nothing had happened, and we proceeded to get dirty under the sheets. After having the last pointless and horrible dream sequence, we had some pillow talk and went on with our lives. Well, I did. She went back to being dead. There will never be a greater one night stand.
Another thing that stood out for me, and the last one I'll bring up, was the final mission. I had two people with me, one of which was Garrus. Everything went to hell, and we charged to the final showdown. Big mistake. Everyone appeared to die. Instead, Garrus remained alive. Not only alive, but in space. I don't know how, but why the hell didn't Garrus inform me of this amazing teleportation ability he suddenly had? It would have saved a lot of load times on the Citadel if I could just teleport to the Normandy the way he did. So I finished the game by myself instead of having my companions with me, because they decided to ditch me and show up with Joker instead of sticking with me until the end. I'm just not sure HOW they did it...
Basically the point I wanted to get across was, how well did they think this through? As much thought that went into this series, they left some pretty obvious things in this finale that they just made. Things that doesn't take much thought, and perhaps, I'm the idiot here. Maybe it was explained in a throw away line or perhaps I blinked during a sequence, but the way some things just played out felt odd, out of place, and made no lick of sense.
8. The End
I lied. I'm sorry, but the end has to be discussed a bit. I wish I could go on a tirade about how it was one of the worst endings ever and Bioware should be ashamed of it...but I'm not. I didn't think it was particularly bad, just...lazy. I don't know of a better way to explain it. There were some big choices in this series, and it should have ended with the BIGGEST. Instead, it ended the way it did. There were multiple ways to make the game end, but there weren't that many differences between them.
That's what is so disappointing to me about the ending. The choice just didn't seem important. The series itself became what it did because of how the choices played out, and this one...didn't really matter. And it's really hard to describe it without spoiling it. But it's sad to know that the game ends with a whimper. It also ends too neatly considering the scope of the game. I may as well have finished the game by pressing a button. That's how uneventful, uninspired, and lame the ending is.
The only thing worse than the ending are the people going crazy about it demanding Bioware to release a better one.
But really, the game itself is great. I would recommend it to everyone and despite how I feel they took the easy route on many parts of the game, it is still quite an amazing experience especially if you played the first two games as well. It could have used some polish, could have used some extra time, and would have benefited greatly had they put more effort into improving parts of the game. But if there was a way to finish off one of the greatest game franchises of all time, there were worse ways to do it. But there were also better ways. But I don't regret playing the game one bit.
|Comments (Total Comments: 12)|
|The Crotch - 03-28-2012, 05:31 PM|
|mrspicytacoman - 03-28-2012, 08:18 PM|
|kona - 03-28-2012, 09:57 PM|
|Macheezmo - 03-28-2012, 10:30 PM|
|glemtvapen - 03-29-2012, 12:41 AM|
|polly - 03-29-2012, 11:20 AM|
|randomthinker - 03-29-2012, 12:01 PM|
|SeanNOLA - 03-29-2012, 01:31 PM|
|Monsta Mack - 03-29-2012, 02:36 PM|
|Wolfkin - 03-29-2012, 04:56 PM|
|mowmow - 03-30-2012, 04:52 AM|
|kona - 03-30-2012, 04:35 PM|
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