Don’t Fear the Reapers Mass Effect 3: Special Edition
Written by: J.H. Longman
New games can sometimes take far too long to come out, but at least the time spent waiting, can be spent playing newer games you would never normally have played and it was because of that, I started playing 2012’s science fiction, third person shooter, role-playing videogame, Mass Effect 3 and I am so glad I did! Sure I took my sweet time getting round to the Mass Effect Trilogy, but that was clearly a mistake. Mass Effect, all Mass Effect games, are more than just a shooter, they are a series of games with a truly engaging story, a story full of choices and consequences.
Being as how I am a Nintendo gamer and not Xbox or PlayStation, playing both the prequel games becomes a lot harder, as the only other option would be to play them on PC but it just wouldn’t be the same, Mass Effect 3 deserves to be on home console and in actual fact, although the Wii U has been found lacking in favour to the Sony and Microsoft, there isn’t as much difference between the three, with Xbox clearing taking top position, and Wii U taking second. But at least the Wii U Special Edition of Mass Effect 3 does come with an interactive comic, which takes place right at the beginning of the game to help read you into the series’ story and make key decisions that will have repercussions throughout the third game.
Another reason for the inclusion of the comic is because in the Wii U version you are unable to import a save file from Mass Effect 2, which would obviously have big impacts on the game, because if a certain character died, than they would remain dead in ME3, but thanks to the comic, Genesis 2, certain choices can make certain characters be alive, such as Kaiden or Ashley, or Jack, Legion and Thane, or have those three perish, but Kelly Chambers and a couple of others service instead, and with Kelly, although she doesn’t have her dress from the second one, you can still romance her for a quick fling, or pursue a full relationship after inviting her back on to you ship. Other choices during the comic include saving or killing Wrex, saving or killing the Rachni, pursuing a relationship with Kaiden or Ashley, depending or whether you are a male of female Shepard, or with Liara or even Garrus. And you can choose whether or not you want to destroy the Collector’s Base.
There really is so much that needs to be said about this game, despite most of it being said many times over, in all the other reviews that have come out since the game’s release, but I’m going to say it anyway, so with that, let’s start with the story. The year is now 2187 and after already coming face to face with a Reaper and having killed Saren and stopped the collectors, Shepard, playable as both male or female, (during gameplay, I played as FemShep, so from here on in, all reference to Shepard will be done as her and she, as opposed to him and he), has been removed of duty and is currently under surveillance on Earth. Despite all of Shepard’s warnings, everyone refused to believe her, but all of that is about to change because the Reapers have come and Earth is their destination. Before you know it, Admirable Anderson is shoving a gun into your hand and the two of you begin racing across the city.
When you finally make it to your “evac site,” the Normandy swoops in and saves you both, except Anderson refuses to leave and commands you to do so. Naturally Shepard replies she’s no longer has to take orders from the Admiral, so he quickly reinstates her by tossing Shepard her dog-tags. It is during the take-off that one of the best scenes in the entire game occurs, the scene where Shepard spots the boy she encountered earlier and tried to save, only to have him vanish on her. She watches him board a shuttle, full of other hopeful escapees, but as the shuttle attempts to make a clean escape, a gigantic Reaper fires two beams that destroy two shuttles. With the boy dead, Shepard’s face is wracked with guilt. There are very few moments in gaming that really grab you by the throat by just how emotionally packed the scene is and this is one of them.
After a successful departure, the Normandy makes it past the reapers and takes you to Mars. Anderson wanted you to go straight to the Citadel and inform the council of the invasion, but Admiral Hackett orders you to Mars first as this could very well be the last time you could go there, what with the overwhelming presence of the Reapers. So you go there and get reunited with an old friend and an old enemy, the Illusive Man. Your time on Mars comes to an end when a team-mate is wounded badly and you rush to the hospital in the Citadel. Having made it to the safe spot in the galaxy, you meet with the council and from there, your mission to unite a divided galaxy, uniting all races you can for it is only together may you be able to defeat the Reapers, or at least hold them off long enough to complete the Crucible, an ancient weapon capable of destroying the Reapers.
There are many things to love about this game and why wouldn’t you? This is a game where not only can your decisions determine the fate of a singular life, but you can condemn an entire race to extinction. You can even take sides during arguments, choose to be passive, or aggressive, or just downright horrible, and you cause not just one, but three people to commit suicide, order another dead and kill in cold blood. Mass Effect 3 really has it all, just a shame the Wii U version can’t have the dlc the other games can, as everything that takes place in the Citadel is a right laugh, especially that lovable Krogan Grunt, the mess he gets himself into, but at least we have YouTube to find all of the best bits.
As for the game itself, other than a compelling story and surreal art that really gives life to your surroundings, although the game is an “open world,” the levels or mission, themselves are really quite limited and very linear. Also each level have a range of items, weapon modifications and weapons you can collect, as well as med kits, datapads and other things you can salvage for credits, as well as important documents, but you will only have one chance to grab everything because if you do miss it, you only have one shot at the level, so should you finish it, there is no coming back, which of course means if you missed important intel for a side mission, there is no other way to complete it and you’ll just have to try again in your next new game.
Something I really enjoyed, was the battle mechanics, it’s a shooter game where tactics are a must, sure you could run across the field, shooting anyone you see during story mode when the game is easier to beat, but in the likes of action mode, where the enemies are a lot harder, it’s time to use your cunning, but big guns aren’t the only weapons in your arsenal. Depending on which class you chose to play as, you will have a set of powers that reflect who you chose to be, be it a soldier or an infiltrator and yes the powers start off weak in the beginning, but thanks to a levelling up system, you can upgrade your powers through the course of the game, including your squad-mates, who’s own powers you are also able to use, but bear in mind you can only take two of them with you on each mission. During story mode you won’t be able to upgrade your stats as much, as you hardly get any upgrade points, but in the harder game mode, such as insanity, leveling up and acquiring upgrade points becomes a whole lot easier.
Furthermore you can play this game exactly how you want to, be it just sticking to all of the Priority Missions, to get through the game as soon as possible, or by doing every mission that pops up and giving all side-quests top priority and scanning all possible destinations to acquire as many War Assets, key intel and artifacts as possible, all of which are fundamental as they help towards getting you the best possible ending there is in a game that has four endings, (three choices and one straight-out refusal) with many variations. Although unless you are able to get every possible asset you can, a Total Military Strength sum of 6200, so that after the Readiness Rating reduction of 50% you’ll have an Effective Military Strength of 3100, you won’t be able to get the best possible ending and given everything Commander Shepard has to go through, only the best ending would do.
Interestingly enough, when the game first came out, you needed an overall 10000 assets with a 50% reduction to get the best ending, but after endless complaints, BioWare dropped it to 31oo to make it easier. Now as for the Readiness Rating, it is possible to raise it, to a full 100% if you need it, but that would require either using the app that was put out to assist with the Galaxy at War, or go with the easiest option, which is the quickest way to get it up, play the online multiplayer mode. Yes you have to be online to play it and given as it is 2016, there won’t be as many matches as there used to be but you can still create a match, where just you or you and a couple of friends can play. Not only will you be able to play as different classes, but also different species, such as Asari, Drell, Turian and even Krogan, but you’ll also be able to level them up to level 20 and then deploy them to the main game, to become more assets in your Total Military Strength.
Multiplayer is very similar to the main game, you can change the colour of your armour, equip mods to your weapons and wield a number of guns as you traverse a range of levels that are either small, or medium sized, but at least the goal is simple, survive 11 waves of enemies until the your shuttle arrives to extract you. Not only will you just have to survive and kill all of those who oppose you, but during a few waves, you’ll actually be assigned certain tasks, such as assassinations, intelligence gathering and recovering objects. Multiplayer is both a welcome challenge and a great alternative for anyone who just wants to spend a few hours shooting up random Geth, Cerberus troopers and Reapers, getting away from the main game and it’s tough decisions.
Only real difference between multiplayer and the main game, is that during the main campaign, you can take full advantage of the GamePad by viewing the map, which can be used to send squad-mates forward, or just to see where the enemy forces is going to pop out next. Although you aren’t limited to just the GamePad as the Wii U Pro Controller can also be used, which is perfect for gamers who don’t want the added advantage the GamePad offers. Then of course for anyone who finishes the game, there is a New Game + mode, in which you can import your ME3 save file and almost everything carries over into the new game, such as mods, weapon levels and models you’ve found the first time round.
With all of that out of the way, I think now is as good a time as any to bust out my list of Pros & Cons:
-One of the most compelling and oldest stories to date, unifying divided forces to take on a formidable enemy, in the most beautiful way.
-Some games give you control, some give you consequence and Mass Effect 3 does just that. Life and Death, consequence and the choice to be a cruel Commander or compassionate leader is yours and yours alone to make!
-A fitting end to a defining trilogy.
-ME3 possesses one of the greatest war-torn city of London settings I have ever seen. London is burning and yet the classic red phone booths and Big Ben still remain.
-Characters that actually feel like people, people who have their own engaging back-stories and reactions.
-Krogans are playable characters in multiplayer because Krogans are easily the best species in the entire galaxy. Both Wrex and Grunt are just awesome.
-Plenty of replay value in both the form of main game and multiplayer.
-Great use of the GamePad.
-Exciting battles that can be accomplished in a number of ways, be it an all-out offensive strategy, or simple sniping.
-At times the game can be a bit glitchy. In some cases Shepard can be having a conversation with someone, only her words are not audible. Whereas other times Shepard can be talking to the invisible man, or woman.
-Lack of dlc. Mass Effect 3 has some great dlc that is available to all other versions of the game, but not on the Wii U.
-Romance is now limited to just one main crew member, so if you wanted to cheat on your partner like in the last game, you can no longer do that. So we just have to settle for sleeping with Kelly or Diana first before going into the relationship. Not that it is wrong you can’t cheat, but for a game that is based on choice and consequence, and whose predecessor had this very function, cheating should still have remained an option in ME3.
-The Cinematic Endings could have been a bit more diverse. To new players of this franchise, they may be none the wiser, but to veteran players of Mass Effect, the endings of the game left them a little short-changed that what they were striving for was not given the reward they felt they deserved. However, the game is focused around War and to be honest, you don’t actually get what you think you deserve in the real world. Very few games give you a hallowed yet realistic outcome that are set around War.
Mass Effect 3 is a game you can’t help but fall in love with and I did just that and so the final installment in the Commander Shepard trilogy lands itself a 9.8/10.0 dead Husks. It is a deeply sad fact that Commander Shepard’s story is over, but Mass Effect is far from over as ME4 Andromeda is on its way, be it the end of this year, or the start of the next one. Mass Effect 3 is hands down one of the best Third Party games on the Wii U and if you haven’t tried it yet, then I implore you to give it a go yourself. Just like L’Oréal, it’s worth it!
But as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of my own and it is encouraged for you to make your own.