Mass Effect 3
PART 1: LIKE THE EPISODE OF MASH ABOUT DREAMS WHERE CHARLES DANCES IN A TOP HAT WAVING SPARKLERS
Yeah fuck it I may never finish DEUS EX: I MADE A BOSSFIGHT IN MY PANTS, such is life.
MASS EFFECT 3 is like getting blown by a really sexy clown who is quite skilled at fellatio slash cunnilingus let’s be fair everyone but insists on stopping every 10 minutes or so to tell you about clown school. LOOK NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT FUCKING CLOWN SCHOOL. But you don’t say that to a clown because rejection is the medium by which clowns revert to their natural demonic form, and then they eat your soul. The best part about that bullshit I just typed is nobody would even question it, we all just nod and say “Yup, mm-hmm, clowns are demons, yep.” Also when anybody asks you what you think about ME3 I want you to reply with LOOK NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT CLOWN SCHOOL and walk away.
Speaking of not questioning clowns, come the fuck on Bioware. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you give me your Who-Me-Tee-Hee face, Casey.
Let me back up a bit. MAN was I champing at the bit to play MASS EFFECT 3. I heard about how it’s got all this NEAT STUFF and COOL THINGS and WOW STORY and THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIEEEEEES and HAY LET’S ADD MULTIPLAYER sfsdlghrruhrgphdeguhdoodooodooWHAT
Turns out MP is pretty fun though so you know, I am not going to be that guy. Plenty of stuff to bust ME3 over, so we can leave that out.
WAIT HA HA I LIED. Really, Bioware. Galactic Readiness. Galactic Readiness is a percent-based statistic that builds up from 50% to a theoretical 100% the more you play MP, but it degrades over time – fast time, too. Like, in the span of one day it noticeably drops. This is of course because Bioware is afraid that amid the gaming sea of Modern Warfares and whatnot that nobody would give two shits about multiplayer in an RPG which only smelly loners play, so they added this important-sounding stat. GALACTIC READINESS! BE READY, GALAXY, OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES! What consequences? The same consequences you suffered in ME2 during the suicide run at the end.
That’s right, nothing. Not dick squat. See there’s this other stat-type doodad known as War Assets. War Assets – excuse me, WAR ASSETS! *cymbal crash* – that a Shepard accumulates by completing quests and/or talking to people and/or finding things by scanning OH GOD SCANNING NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
MASS EFFECT 3 reeks of “Hey well let’s maybe do this thing here in the game and oh well fuck it I dunno it’s kinda stupid but we need to pad the game out with retarded minigames EYE EE THE HALLMARQUE OF THIS STORIED FRANCHISE, so just do it in some half-assed fashion.” That or, more likely perhaps, doing things different for the sake of doing them differently. That way players can focus on figuring out what the fuck they are supposed to be doing and hopefully not notice how bored they are. Case in point, scanning.
There was literally nothing more insipid, artificial, time-wasting and vaguely infuriating than planet scanning in ME2. It’s the Kardashians of mini games. It made clodhopping over impassable mountain ranges in the Mako in ME1 positively riveting by comparison. The Mako was a boring, mostly drunk uncle who told long, rambling, ridiculous stories but sometimes they were about The War and those stories were the shit because who else is going to tell you at age 11 about how he got the clap from a farm animal while on leave? Meanwhile planet scanning is your cousin Weedly who is obviously mentally handicapped but the entire family is in denial so you have to sit next to him at holiday dinners while he talks about how terrified he is of his closet, shoes, next door neighbor’s cat, and the moon while he slowly but steadily pisses himself, right down his legs and into his weird orthopedic shoes with the worn out Velcro laces.
Well cousin Weedly somehow made it to young adulthood and now you have to go on double dates with him, enjoy. Seriously though it boggles my brain that Bioware droned on about “player feedback” which I am fairly certain at this point means that they assuaged their pitifully small playtesting team with cheeseburgers whenever they were about to complain about an aspect of the game. There is no other goddamned explanation on this sweet Fanny fucking Adams Earth why scanning is in ME3 in any capacity. Is it worse? No. Is it better? NO.
The upside is there’s no scanning for Eezo or Ouzo or any other rare earth liquor by obsessively observing waveform spikes and oh God my brain is turning into tapioca just remembering it. There is also no physical limit on the number of probes that can be shot, nor is purchasing more required. The downside is it is replaced by scanning while tooling around inside star systems, looking for (usually) WAR ASSETS! *cymbal crash* or fuel. Now you can find these either on planets or moons or they may be floating around in space invisible. They can be detected without probes as they will emit a resonant ding when the Normandy flies by it, but they cannot be actually investigated without firing off a probe. Then you go into an orbital scanning HUD similar to the one from ME2 but you only have to look for usually just one target, fire a probe at it, then land on it.
This would all be peachy except many systems are controlled by the Reapers and if you set off too many probes LIKE I DUNNO, LITERALLY JUST FUCKING TWO, the Reaper buzzer blows and the Normandy is beset by the annoying fuckers unless it can bail out of the system. This utterly and completely sucks choad and just pads the game out in an embarrassingly obvious manner. Not to mention sometimes the bastards show up in friendly star systems, haw haw. Also fuck off Bioware, you totally stole the Reaper sound effects from the War of the Worlds remake and Inception. Fortunately I think loud blaring horns are badass, check my vuvuzela collection if you don’t believe me. TIMELY FUCKIN JOKE THERE BILL, WAY TO SWING FOR THE STARS
Remember when Bioware promised improved RPG mechanics for ME3 and we all formed a mass circlejerk and came on a giant Roy/Ray statue? WELL THAT’S HOW THE CANADIAN DOCTOR LAUGHS AT YOU, PAL. Literally zero appreciable difference between the RPG mechanics of ME3 from ME2. Some neat new skills is about all. Oh the last two or three steps in a skill’s tree branches into two choices, big queefing deal.
They did add modding weapons back in though, which is pretty cool. BUT YOU KNOW, YOU CAN’T MAKE ANY ONE THING COOLER IN MASS EFFECT WITHOUT GIMPING IT, TOO. So there’s a weight limit to how many guns you can carry and unless you want problems, the limit is typically just two. YEAH THAT’S RIGHT THE BACKPACK YOU HAD IN ME1 THAT COULD CARRY 5 WEAPONS HAS BEEN RETROACTIVELY UNINVENTED, DEAL.
Anyways, so the whole point of ME3 is to prepare for the Reaper invasion that has already happened. SEE ANY PROBLEMS THERE? Beyond that, it’s really about every notable character in both prior games making an appearance to varying degrees and collecting WAR ASSETS! *cymbal crash*
The plot such as it is, is pretty good in most spots. Bioware definitely put effort into the plot and story on a quest-by-quest basis. Most quests are pretty fun to play with intriguing tidbits of information doled out on a limited basis. The problem is the macro level. It’s just kind of a disjointed mess. Maybe it starts to wrap itself up in the second half of the game (I am a little over halfway through at the time of this writing, I THINK ANYWAY, FUCK). There has been one big plot point and then everything us tied into that in a pretty random-ass fashion. This is of course so you can do every quest in whatever order you want, but maybe I’m just a weirdo but I really don’t want that so much. I mean, it was ok within certain constraints, like say with ME1′s planets. You knew which ones you need to go to, and there was a definite chokepoint where the game would hold you until you finished those planets. You could crash land on Farthorl and cruise around in your dune buggy when the Hell ever. That’s groovy.
In ME3 it’s hard to tell what quests are plot vital and which aren’t. It’s just this slurry of quests, most of which culminate in the acquisition of WAR ASSETS! You can’t swing a dead Kaidan without picking up 10 different quests on the Citadel (returned somewhat to its former sprawling glory). You walk up to any random person or persons and a monologue (or dialogue where Shepard is often not a part of) triggers and then BWOOP a quest icon flashes and now you need to get the Blergle of the Ancients from Pharkus V. Plus, the quests that are actual questy quests and the ones that are just WAR ASSET hoarding are all piled into one overbearing and poorly organized that usually opens in a random spot and you have to scroll up to the top to see a new quest. Sometimes you don’t even have to go back to whoever you creepily overheard to get the quest completed. But sometimes you do! Which one is it! Who fucking knows! Also the entire mechanic reminds me of my days in food service, which as we all know is epic and thrilling stuff.
Speaking of returning to glory, ME3 drops a nod to its roots by including bafflingly obtuse elevators. Ha ha, remember elevators in ME1? Sure ya do. They took for fucking ever in order to load the next level or steal your credit card info or whatever the fuck went on. In ME3 it’s not so obvious. On the Citadel the elevator doesn’t show the floor you are currently on. Why? No one knows. Also early on not all the floors are available, then they suddenly appear. I swear sometimes they disappear, and not just the floor you are on. It’s fucking weird and dumb and I have no idea why Bioware did it this way. The elevator on the Normandy totally shows you what floor you are on and hell, you don’t even have to walk into the elevator, just hitting the holoknob on the front of it does the trick.
SO WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WAR ASSETS. Well see there’s this big green progress bar and you have to fill it up with WAR ASSETS or you lose. Or something. The way it works is, if you get enough WAR ASSETS, you don’t have to improve your GALACTIC READINESS by playing multiplayer (which degrades anyway). There’s some symbolism in there regarding war readiness vs. army size but like who cares, this isn’t MOO. Am I dating myself with that reference? What do strategy nerds play these days? I’d ask Troy Goodfellow but he’s been on a five-day bender and I am too physically shot to dodge empty bottles of Maker’s Mark at the moment.
That’s all I got for now, Shepettes. In part 2 I’ll talk about the ending that not unlike the videotape in The Ring, kills you after you experience it or whatever the fuck the problem is and some stuff about combat and not so subtle references about how big my johnson is. OH AND I’D BETTER HAVE BANGED SOMEONE/THING BY THEN, TOO. STOP BEING SUCH A TEASE, EDI.