Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Mass Effect 3 "A Change In The Gaming Paradigm"
Originally we weren't going to cover this story, we don't usually do articles on video games except for in passing and in collaboration articles, to imagine that a game is deserving of its own stand alone article had never crossed our minds until now. The first thing we should mention is the striking phenomenon that this game has caused, from ESPN to Forbes to CNN everyone has either covered the release, the impact or the fun they had while playing Mass Effect 3, and thus we decided that it was about time we did our own article filling you in as to why this game is such a big deal and why there is so much controversy circulating around this game. (No worries there will be *NO SPOILERS*)
For those new to the series you play as Commander Shepard of the Normandy (name of your awesome ship) and its basically up to you to save the universe from calamity. Without giving too much away the first two games deal with you discovering this threat and meeting all the other alien races around the galaxy making a name for yourself and dealing with business while you're at it, but the third game deals with the big threat of the fist two games hitting everyone in mass and you having to deal with it, you having to go around and try to get the universe to join together and face this threat, this Reaper threat. That's the best we can do without giving too many things away, there is something to finding out the details while you play the game so we're not about to spoil that for you.
The game is a mix between a real time role-playing game and a third person shooter, strategy is necessary when fighting the alien races who seek your demise, specially in the higher difficulties. The element that makes this game rise above its competition is the ability to mold the story to your liking, the game emphasizes the importance of choices and the result of your choices teaching you what the outcome of bad choices are and what good choices are. Every choice you make in the game affects the outcome of the story, so if you decided to save a character instead of killing them, they might come back to help you later on, or give you items and so on. The concept here is simple, in real life your choices have consequences, good and bad, and thus in the game you should have those as well, this is where the Mass Effect series shines, not to mention that your character is entirely customizable meaning you can play a guy or a girl and you can make them look however you want making the experience your own, unique to you.
Not only do your choices matter while playing through the game which is not new but the choices you make in each game is imported along with your character to the next game and that is revolutionary. Meaning, if you play the first game and not worry about making friends and making good decisions then on the second and third games people will respond to you differently, where they could have been an ally now there is only contempt. What this means is that it places a very real concern on each choice you make while playing through the game, a wrong choice could cause a whole race of people to die out, which causes you to pause while playing the game and think about your choices, think before acting, this game in many respects can be a teaching tool about the importance of thinking before acting, about the effects of bad choices and their negative future consequences.
This gigantic project started in 2005 with the humble announcement of the game and has now come to a glorious close in 2012, let us explain to you why the dates are important, in 2007 the first game came out and everyone loved it, in 2010 we got the sequel and our Shepards got to live again and save the universe and now in 2012 our Shepards got to do his or her thing again. What this means is that all that played the first game in its release have had an investment on this game for 5 years, that's a 5 year commitment to a storyline, this whole project was a brilliant move by Bioware. This means we have had a 5 year relationship with this story and its characters causing us to care about what happens to them, 5 years will do that to you, it's like reading a book that you have waited 5 years for where your choices affect the ending, the concept is brilliant.
Bioware is the company responsible for this game, in the last few years Bioware has not disappointed us with their continual brilliance and creativity in the gaming world. There is a controversy about the ending of Mass Effect 3, we're not about to talk in detail about it but in short some people have found the ending to be lacking, after 5 years the public was expecting a massive incredible ending and thus the riots and letters began to be written, complaints that Bioware does take seriously, and has announced that it will make it up to all those aggrieved but that they want to wait a little bit until everyone has had a chance to finish playing the game, which we find to be a fair request.
Overall Mass Effect 3 is a brilliant game, it hosts amazing graphics, great voice acting, fluid combat simulations and a good RPG balance within the gameplay experience, and of course the storyline is epic. This is the type of game where you become so invested on a character that you feel compelled to help them and be by their side as if they were your actual friend, you gotta give props to a game designer when he causes you to feel guilty when betraying a fictional character within a videogame. With graphics improving more and more being the "bad guy" in a game is going to be more and more difficult, which causes the games to be more and more relational and better at teaching moral lessons about life, love, war, and death. Mass Effect 3 has brought on a new paradigm in gaming, one where your choices in one game might affect the next game, and thus sequels take on a new meaning all together, this is a great influence on the future of gaming.
For those that have finished the game we hope you enjoyed the experience and if you are dissatisfied just wait a little bit, Bioware has not let us down yet, we're sure they will pull through. For those playing through the game right now, enjoy the ride. And for those that have no idea what Mass Effect 3 is, we promise that you know at least one person who is playing it or has played it, it's just that big of a deal. We hope your week has been going well, and pray that it will continue to do so.
Love from your humble blogger,