Mass Effect 3 Review

Epic Space Odyssey

Demo versions and leaked game clients are great: about the Reapers advancing, children dying in rescue shuttles, Ashley needing to return to the team, not having to choose dialogue options, Shepard being a potential gay, we don’t even need to dwell on these insignificant topics anymore. Now that the game client has been downloaded from Origin and the game-breaking settings have been removed, we can just get straight to business without explaining for the thousandth time that all those strange modes in ME3 are heresy and so on and so forth.

Now we can just play.

The last fight

Fundamentally, nothing has changed since the second part of Mass Effect, but almost every old element has been noticeably improved.

In addition to the obvious cosmetic repairs, the developers have greatly worked on the combat system. The fun, but still quite schematic battles of the second part have greatly increased in dynamics. Cover, overheating blasters, and other biotics – everything has received its own level-up. Now we can not only hide behind corners, but also jump between small trenches and – you guessed it – roll from barricade to barricade. The battles themselves have become faster and more chaotic, and now there is little that distracts us from them. Mini-games for hacking various terminals have disappeared, making room for additional waves of enemies. Poorly placed money, documents, and other upgrades are still scattered throughout the locations, but dealing with them is now completely optional.

The dialogue wheels with the reputation system that doesn’t really mean anything are also still in place, turning into completely flat cardboard templates. Nevertheless, the dialogues themselves are still interesting to read for the most part, especially if you have played one of the previous parts, especially if you are playing ME3 and have restored your save file from the second part. All the surviving heroes from ME2 (including friends from DLC, but only those you personally played) will somehow appear on the plot radar, and some will even play (relatively) larger roles. Seeing the old team members again, I must admit, was pleasant regardless of the circumstances.

Commander Shepard's Galactic Quest

Sincerely hope that BioWare themselves realize that they have come to a dead end with their current concept: your main “role-playing” decision throughout the game is to respond to all dialogues either kindly or angrily, so that in the end you can use at least one of the “unusual” dialogue options. If you stick to the party line, eventually everything will work out for you, your companions will do everything right, and things will go well. ME3 follows its traditions to the very end, and in the context of the trilogy itself, it’s even great, but if the developers try to squeeze the exhausted wheel somewhere else, it will be a failure.

Things have also changed slightly in space. The Normandy has been traditionally redesigned: now we can walk around the shuttle bay. Along the way, of course, inspiring the team and having fun with little things. The captain’s cabin with the aquarium and the collection of ship models has not disappeared. Good news: now you can buy an automatic fish feeder in one of the stores! Oh, where was this technological miracle last time…

Even more good news: boring geological surveys are gone. Now search probes will search not for random minerals, but for money, artifacts, and other goodies. Minerals, by the way, have completely disappeared from ME3 – now all upgrades are purchased exclusively with currency. What’s even better is the fact that you don’t have to fly to the only peaceful location, the Citadel, to buy the necessary upgrade. Everything you need can be ordered right from the terminal in the Normandy’s hangar.

There are a thousand and one of these lovely little things. All (or almost all) of the lingering elements from previous parts have either been simply removed or thoroughly improved, which is incredibly pleasing. Some new annoying distractions, like the scanner on the second deck, have replaced some empty spaces, but overall BioWare has done an excellent job of fixing mistakes.

Intergalactic Conflict

Scandals, intrigues, saving the galaxy

The plot of the trilogy is riddled with gaping holes, and the last part only added new ones instead of patching up the old ones. Just when you start to forget about the epic achievements of our earthly SuperShepard, questions arise that spoil all the enjoyment of the process. However, if you don’t specifically dwell on the inconsistencies in BioWare’s fantastic universe, it will only catch your eye at the very end, when the storyline completely collapses under its own weight. The ending of Mass Effect 3 is more disappointing than the finale. God from: Human Revolution All the possible endings are disheartening with their lack of thought and illogic. But before reaching them, of course, one still needs to get there, and already the “intermediate” events capture attention and keep the gamer glued to the monitor.

Almost all the twisted plot lines from previous parts find their resolution, which is logical for the concluding trilogy of the series, but on the other hand, it’s all just too cool to even be science fiction. Shepard’s titanic strength and charisma will find their explanation in the very last video from BioWare, but still – in a matter of weeks (or even, possibly, days) our main hero resolves at least two centuries-old conflicts and takes out one of the most serious players. Well, and in the code, he takes out the reapers, but that was inevitable.

Meanwhile, by the standards of a video game, it’s still undeniably cool. Essentially, my main complaint about Mass Effect 3 is that with such ambition, BioWare didn’t create a masterpiece for all times, but simply a wonderful trilogy that stands out from all the others. In my head, I keep thinking, “They could have done so much more, wow!” and I start nitpicking the remaining inconsistencies twice as much, and the leaked ending completely ruins it.

Shepard's Battles Across the Stars

An offer you can’t refuse

ME3 literally blackmails the gamer to try its cooperative mode Galaxy at War, about which they were trumpeting on every corner for unknown reasons before the release of ME3. In the next paragraph, I confess that I didn’t really want to try the online game, but the circumstances surrounding me from all sides played their role. Well, we have small locations-arenas, taken directly from single-player missions, three random teammates, and a slightly modified ME class system. Hordes of enemies are coming at us; sometimes we just need to hold our ground against the approaching foes, sometimes we also have to perform a couple of dances with a technobomb: sometimes we need to capture documents from different points, sometimes we need to hold a certain position for a while.

It turned out to be quite dynamic, I must say. You will spend a few solid hours in Galaxy at War painlessly, maybe you will enjoy fending off all these endless attacks from the Geth/Reapers/Cerberus. The improved combat system of the game does its job here as well, and now there is the irreplaceable human factor present in the missions. Oh, and there are also the traditional online level-ups, gift boxes, unused voice chat, and all the other attributes of not very original online fun.

Unfortunately, you have to start playing online games without fully understanding Shepard’s epic adventures. The Mass Effect 3 cooperative mode is tightly integrated with the single-player campaign, and in the most audacious and harsh way. I initially wanted to ignore the online part and then write something like “a game like Mass Effect doesn’t need multiplayer in any form” in the text and explain that cooperative play in all RPGs, except for Diablo and its clones, is meaningless and ruthless, but ME3 didn’t allow me to do that. As it turns out, at least minimal success in the cooperative mode with four bored galaxy saviors is critical for a solo playthrough, and in order to be confident in a somewhat happy ending, you must play about twenty joint missions to clear out troublesome spots. Otherwise, all your heroic efforts, measured in dry statistical numbers, will be divided in half, and the effect of the army training and diplomacy miracles created on the screen will be halved. The galaxy will still not be ready for a counterattack against the Reapers.

It’s funny that now games make the gamer play “properly” not by giving game overs after particularly slow and/or stupid actions. Nowadays, programs prefer to subtly scare me. It’s good to follow the developers’ path, look into this corner, complete this quest, and play multiplayer for about five hours. Otherwise… well, who knows what will happen, but you want the galactic fleet to approach the battle against the Reapers fully armed, don’t you? Because then you will have “significant chances” of winning instead of “minimal” ones, right? Minimal chances are bad for virtual health, game plot, and can lead to that very game over, and you don’t have the necessary old saves because you’ve been playing new projects through autosaves for years.

Uniting the Galaxy

I warmed up your catalyst blaster!


Playing Mass Effect 3 without knowing the backstory (at least the events of the second part) and without having a save file from the previous series is almost pointless, but still possible in general. The enjoyment won’t be the same, but it will still be there.

How significant is it?

There is very little left of the “true” role-playing game in ME3, the tactical side of local battles is superficial, and the plot smooths out the differing details from playthrough to playthrough into one big mess, after which all the action still merges into the same chaos. The secret of the game lies in the amazingly well-balanced proportions between these ingredients, as well as in the stunning quality of execution.

Fans of the series will be completely satisfied with the conclusion of the trilogy’s work, but judging whether ME3 is good or not should be based on the answer to the question: “Can the game interest the player enough to make them start playing the previous parts?”

Mass Effect 3 will definitely be able to handle this task. And that means BioWare succeeded.

P.S. And even cooperative mode.


A year has passed since the release of Mass Effect 3, and BioWare is finally ready to release its baby. Citadel is not just the latest expansion, it is a farewell to the entire trilogy, filled with jokes and references, old acquaintances and cameos. It is a witty and touching goodbye to the series’ characters and a declaration of love to the fans.

First of all, there is a story campaign here, a new tale featuring Shepard’s most unexpected enemy. The story lasts for several hours, taking you to many places in the Citadel and allowing you to see your entire squad fighting side by side.

Citadel is firmly focused on the bonds Shepard has with his combat comrades. Shepard’s mentor, Anderson, rewards him with personal apartments after his forced “shore leave.” The stylish urban district serves as the center of the whole story, where you can interact with any of your subordinates in between missions. Here you will find audio recordings from an unfinished interview with Anderson, and this is just the first of many locations filled with character interactions and side quests.

The dialogues are surprisingly well-written, and BioWare has fully delivered on the promise of “bringing the whole team together” – words that Shepard himself has repeated more than once. The studio assigned different characters to different writers, and the numerous “cast” of the expansion led to the involvement of eight writers instead of the usual two or one.

Urnot Rex remains with the detachment throughout the DLC, and for the characters Mass Effect 2 can be played in the arena

Urdnot Rex stays with the squad throughout the entire DLC, and you can play as the characters from Mass Effect 2 in the arena.

This tactic more than justifies itself, and numerous scenes crackle with dialogue. If Wrex the krogan survived in your playthrough, you can take him with you into new battles – great news for players who like to think ahead. And if you splurged on From Ashes with the additional character, you will be rewarded with a wealth of new content. At first, it may seem like some characters are given more prominence than others (such as EDI, Liara, and James Vega), but this is offset by subsequent interactions with the crew and familiar faces from previous installments.

In some places, the game is genuinely funny, with sharp exchanges and humorous monologues that bring back memories of Lair of the Shadow Broker from Mass Effect 2. There are moments that will appeal to all players (including a special cameo for the Space Hamster), some that only those who made the right choices in previous games will appreciate, and some that seem specifically aimed at die-hard fans of the BioWare forums.

Citadel is almost like the 100th episode of your favorite TV series, where the writers stop caring about the integrity of the plot and test how far they can go without breaking the fourth wall. For the most part, BioWare handles this balance beautifully, but there is a cool plot twist here that threatens to ruin the series once and for all. The subsequent story revision may smooth out the misstep, but this approach still shakes the plot, no matter how hard BioWare tries to stick to overarching themes.

The later stages of the campaign will take Shepard through the Council Archives (another significant source of knowledge if you choose to linger there) before the final location with one of the best bosses in the game’s history (take that, Kai Leng). It’s possible to breeze through the campaign in two hours, but thanks to the abundance of new content and Easter eggs, you can easily multiply that time by two.

In the second half of the campaign, the central place is occupied by former crew members. In particular, one Salarian singer.

In the second half of the campaign, former crew members take center stage. In particular, one salarian singer.

Fighting on increased difficulty is quite interesting. The opponents – a mysterious unit of mercenaries – are nothing more than reimagined Cerberus, but well-designed maps and a couple of new tricks help keep even experienced players on edge. BioWare has managed to benefit from a whole year of observing multiplayer and knows the typical actions of most players. In many cases, enemies manage to disrupt your tactics (in one of the areas, multiplayer characters are even hidden, telling about common player mistakes).

When the business is done, Shepard can relax in their new apartment, and this is where the second half of the expansion begins. A new area with shops, leisure spots, casinos, and slot machines is open for exploration. You can customize the apartment to your liking, furnish it with new furniture, and invite other characters there to immerse yourself in jokes and sketches.

Each surviving member of the crew is present in the game, but no one forgets about fallen comrades. Any character can be invited to your home, and there are also many side quests in the new area. BioWare changes them – sometimes quite significantly – depending on whether you had a relationship with a specific character. Romance enthusiasts will be more than satisfied.

It all ends with a “mission” party. This is a rare chance to see the whole team together and, if desired, get them all drunk. I spent about an hour just listening to different dialogues (especially enjoyed the continuation of the argument between Miranda and Jack from Mass Effect 2). Gradually, the party becomes louder, and three times you will be able to change its course in a certain direction.

The team gathered for the final photo in front of a large -scale drunkard

The team gathered for a final photo before a large party.

At this stage, BioWare uses a bunch of different scenes, which means that your choice will generate a huge number of different dialogue variations. In different playthroughs on YouTube, I’ve seen completely different storylines, depending on the invited characters (which need to be chosen from a long list) and the mood of the party. Those who upload all the possible playthrough variations on their channel will have to work hard.

Among other things, BioWare has added a completely new arena mode. This time killer, located in the heart of the Citadel, is a miniature offline version of multiplayer. You can fight against the Geth, Cerberus, Reapers, or Collectors in the holodeck analogue from “Star Trek”. You will have to unlock many maps, use numerous modifiers, and, most excitingly, you will be able to bring any surviving squadmates from the first and second parts of the series. This means that you can once again fight side by side with Zaeed and Kasumi, or team up with Krogans Grunt and Wrex. And there is also a terminal with side quests and challenges related to them, and… for heaven’s sake, BioWare, do you want me to never leave this game?

It has been a long 12 months since the release of Mass Effect 3. Those who didn’t like the triple ending are unlikely to find solace in the triple set of party scenes, and it is quite possible that many have already distanced themselves from the game over this year. But BioWare managed to please the loyal fans of the series by offering them a chance to say goodbye to their beloved universe. And the developers themselves clearly enjoyed sending off their characters on their final journey and reminiscing about the best moments of the saga.

Mass Effect 3
PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360
Action, RPG, Co-op
Electronic Arts
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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