Being an Edmontonian, I have a special place in my heart for BioWare. I love the crap out of the Mass Effect franchise and Knights of the Old Republic, but there's also a bit of "home town" pride thrown in there as well.
The Mass Effect games, while not perfect, were some of the most entertaining games of the past 5 years in my mind. New consoles need strong launch titles, and while I agree that Mass Effect 3 is a strong title it's the final part of the trilogy and you're starting off with a pretty significant story handicap. As anyone who has played these games knows, this franchise is all about choices and their consequences (whether they are intentional or not).
To make up for the lost "history" that you would have accumulated from playthroughs of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 an interactive comic has been included. Providing a 10 minute synopsis of the first two games and allowing you to choose the key choices from each game. The story telling style for this interactive comic is mildly reminiscent of a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book from the 1980's but with every choice being highly EPIC in scope. I would have preferred some method to draw my previous playthroughs through the Origin service. Instead we got this.
Graphically, Mass Effect 3 stacks up well against the incarnations that we saw on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 earlier – similar load times, graphics are of a similar quality, plays nearly identical. This version stands up as an excellent port of the game. There's no difference between this version and the other previous ones except for the included extended ending – and for a current lack of DLC for the game. So completionists will not be able to pick up and do all of the available DLC for the other 3 versions of the game.
The add-ins are going to be the draw for most people – the big one being the incorporation of the Wii-U Gamepad. Acting as a hub for the action, a quick look down to your controller shows the map of the action; where you can issue orders to your teammates or map powers to be used. You can still play like previous versions where you pause the action to bring up the power wheel and issue orders; but you now have the option to take a more live-action approach to gameplay. There's some nice little touches as well. On maps with reapers, you will see the display of the controller start to fill with static and be disrupted.
All in all, those new to the franchise would be better served to pick up the Mass Effect Trilogy releases that came out at the same time and would get all 3 games for the same price. However, if you don't have access to an Xbox, PS3 or a gaming PC, this isn't the worst way to go.
- Really cool incorporation of the Wii-U Gamepad
- Love the on the fly, game map and powers
- Watching the attempt to condense 2 games (i.e. 60-80 hours of previous gameplay) into a new gen-title
- No method to import your previous game
Score: 9.0 / 10