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Mass Effect 3 Review - Xbox 360

8.5
Gameplay: 8 stars 8
Graphics: 9 stars 9
Audio: 10 stars 10
Multiplayer: 6 stars 6
Innovation: 6 stars 6
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Effect 1? I know people that held off playing the game for a month since they couldn’t import their character correctly. No door minigames, no throwback Mako or mining missions, no omnigel references? And, more egregiously, there’s a tendency toward lightweight cameos for previous characters. When the whole series has been about building human relationships (or, indeed, alien) with your those on your team, to do superficial justice to so many of your Mass Effect 2 crew is disappointing. Having them pop up in a hospital and then in a cutscene is not enough of a cathartic conclusion to my relationship with these characters. Some are well-handled – Legion comes to mind – but others get pushed to the side and saddled with family issues to keep them from signing up with Shepard. Oh, and be sure to do the Prothean DLC early on, because if you pick it up at the end it’s mostly pointless.

I understand the desire to keep the team smaller this time around, as last time it did blow out a bit, but it’s one thing to keep the party tight and another to ignore the fact that previous members still mean something to us. Only a couple get the send-off they deserve. Thankfully, those that made the cut for the party get serviced well, with strong character moments and relationship options for most. The world is also enjoyably gay this time around, with four members of your crew playing for a different team if you’re eager. My Shepard’s two game abstinence was paid off when he and Kaiden finally made their feelings known, in a perfectly written scene that shows off the best the trilogy offers: well-written narrative, interactive story-telling, and adherence to player choices from previous games.

So, there have been some changes, but the net effect is that Mass Effect 3 in most aspects of gameplay feels basically like Mass Effect 2, which, given, isn’t that much of a bad thing. No planet mining, but sonar exploration. Door minigames are gone, but weapon customisation is back. Same Normandy, but a few new rooms. You dock in a new area of the Citadel (with an appreciated shortcut menu to get you where you want to be quicker), but it basically offers the old functionality in a new skin. Same character abilities, with a few new tweaks as you level up.

Strangely, despite the bigger scope and larger setpieces, if anything the main mission feels shorter than before. The two tiers of squad members you unlock in Mass Effect 2 and their associated loyalty missions held a wealth of content. Here, exploration beyond the main story is mostly just asset farming, visiting the levels the multiplayer maps are based on, and a handful of N7 missions. And thus we find ourselves at that controversial ending. Please note, despite efforts to remain vague this will undoubtedly constitute spoilers.

I am a strong supporter of artistic vision. I think creativity by democracy, or, crucially, by fan input, is ...

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