5 Things That Would Ruin 'Mass Effect 3'
Ask a fan of Mass Effect where the series ranks in the echelons of gaming bliss, and chances are they’ll have it ranked right up towards the top. Ask a Mass Effect detractor where the game goes astray, and they’ll point to minor flaws in combat, narrative, or RPG elements — but nothing that depicts a second rate gaming experience. With Mass Effect 3 set to release on March 6, it's being branded as the most infallible installment of the series to date, with nary a flaw to get in Commander Shepard's way.
So we made some up.
With all the hype and all the promise, we decided to fly through the Alternate Universe Mass Relay for a second and imagine that BioWare didn’t have the best grasping on how conclude the Reaper crisis. Just what would it take to turn Mass Effect 3 into an abject and abysmal failure? Read on to find out!
[Warning: One potential spoiler to Mass Effect 1 exists in Part 3.]
It Was Only Just A Dream
The gorgeous "Take Earth Back" trailer for Mass Effect 3 had some of its viewers echoing the old Battlefield 3 tag line: "Is it real, or is it Mass Effect 3?"
They'd be awfully disappointed if they found out that the answer was "none of the above," after Shepard wakes up out of a coma in a cell aboard the prison ship SSV Broken Dreams. Turns out he's actually an Alliance private with a dishonorable discharge, whose bordering-on-lifeless remains were scraped up after the pillaging of a Batarian Red Sand caravan went south. Going unconscious, buried in a pile of hallucinogens wasn't without its side-effects however, and He Who Talks To The Reapers (as his cellmates call him) has been traveling through galactic la-la-land ever since.
The rest of the game is now spent deconstructing dreadnought models and fighting off advances from Berthanon, your pasty Volus cellmate. Obviously, this is all after you've entered your $15 online pass code.
Planet Scanning 2.0
Planet scanning in Mass Effect 2 was an indirect successor to Mass Effect 1's free-roaming Mako component. However, other than affirming that EDI has a sense of humor inside all her quantum nuts and bolts during our "probing" of Uranus, it was widely regarded as a crutch to the gameplay's pacing — much like parts of the Mako missions before it.
Surely BioWare aims to improve this in Mass Effect 3 (perhaps with the M-44 Firewalker), but then again, a negative times a negative does make a positive. So why stop at homing in on minerals with a scanner that's better suited for ghost hunting in Transylvania? In our Planet Scanning 2.0 system, Shepard's probes merely alert him to the existence of some Palladium on a newly discovered planet. Upon detection, it's time to fire up the Mako for mining trip down memory lane. Reminders shouldn't be too hard to come by, as long as the planet's surface is a shade of blue, brown, or grey, but just remember to have a formidable electronics skill; you never know when a downed satellite has an old sappy diary inside.
Saves Don't Transfer As Expected
It's been six years since the first Mass Effect released and, for many gamers, spawned an addiction that's remained in their lives ever since. Many have amassed a gargantuan amount of saves (not to mention, hours) leading up to Mass Effect 3 in order to see the story resolve itself on their terms and theirs alone. So imagine the surprise if everyone’s saves vanished into deep space like they were strapped with an FTL drive.
Maybe you've spent years padding your statistics as the Milky Way's ultimate paragon, extolling the virtues of dignity and unity throughout death and despair. Too bad! Morality status gets a new life from previous Mass Effect titles, but the countless innocents you've apparently slaughtered during your blood-thirsty crusade don't. And when you head off to Shepard’s private Normandy quarters to relax with Ashley Williams, be prepared to explain to a shirtless Kaidan Alenko why you wished he had died on Virmire instead.
For better or for worse, multiplayer is coming standard with every copy of Mass Effect 3. While some see it as boon to accessibility and gameplay variety, others see it as the Christmas sweater they never asked for. BioWare has fervently stressed that ME3's multiplayer isn't essential to unlocking the best ending for the game, but critics say that the 4-player co-op plan will distract developers from the main goal.
Maybe they just have ulterior motives.
For our alternate version of Mass Effect multiplayer, players find themselves inhabiting a micro-transaction nirvana, where every weapon unlock, every armor upgrade, and every grenade, med-kit and bullet (pistol rounds included) is billable upon use. The game then seeks to embellish Assassin’s Creed’s multiplayer, where our "special forces" squadron actually reports back to the Illusive Man to help him railroad Commander Shepard's war effort. In return, they get a cut of his rare Asari cigarettes and cheap aged whiskey.
Shepard Dies... In Every Ending
Mass Effect 3 offers multiple endings for players to earn based off of their in-game decisions and performance, so such a Shakespearean fate couldn't possibly befall every one. Or could it? Killing Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 2 required a truly commendable effort in futility, but it proved that our hero wasn’t immune to making the ultimate sacrifice.
It could just be that Shepard’s destiny is death at every corner.
Or, perhaps BioWare are simply fans of the scene towards the end of Martin Scorsese's The Departed; we can see it now: Commander Shepard, beaming from a galactic poleaxing of the Reapers, rides down in the Citadel Tower elevator after a quick meet-and-greet with the Council. The door slides open. "Ugh, Conrad Verner again? I thought I got rid of him on... wait, why is there a gun in your hand Con...”
*Directed by Casey Hudson*
When the Game Rant Monthly Game Guide hits for the month of March, you’ll see that we have no shortage of love here for Mass Effect 3. The series has had us captivated since day one, and we have every ounce of respect for the effort and talent it's taken for BioWare to bring it this far.
While nothing is set in stone for its Game of the Year aspirations, the list here might demonstrate just how hard it would be for Commander Shepard to fall flat on his face; he’d have an easier time getting a response from the Council that’s not a condescending jab at humanity.
If you can think of any more interesting directions that Mass Effect 3 might take in order to run off the tracks, feel free to add them in the comments. Also to be sure to check out our recent demo impressions and the amazing "Take Earth Back" trailer to see where the game is really heading — just in case you’re still on the fence.
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