Shepard's last stand
While emotionally and story-wise it doesn't go beyond its predecessors, Mass Effect 3 does present quite a few advancements. Most important seems to be the well refined and polished action gameplay. Shooting doesn't feel so sluggish and most importantly it doesn't feel like role-playing kind-of slow action which makes it into a seamless action you can play until the goal is set. Enemies also fall down much easier which feels like it's the advantage of the new shooting gameplay system.
What was so obnoxiously lame in Mass Effect 2 was the mission-based gameplay which is now removed. Thank you BioWare. this is not a strategy game of a sort, there is no need to have mission stats and all, it ruins the feel of a story driven game. Now it feels again as an interactive movie rather than cinematic game.
Also, mindlessly long mining for minerals is now much better executed. It is fun to search for all kind of lone teams and fleets across the galaxy and put them under your command. Alas, it doesn't feel like you can do much with it because events are pre-defined, but nice touch nonetheless.
Most important of all things is that staying loyal to Liara yields to expectations. I know this is not a love story of a sort, but not having Liara constantly with you in ME2 was a big loss, rectified to perfection here. It was fun going all the way... alas, without any little blue children.
While at first game does not feel like a graphical improvement over its predecessor, after it forced me to replay the final battle of ME2 for the save game file, the graphical improvement was noticeable enough.
I've heard a lot of rumors about bad ending and all that kept me from buying the game at launch time. Well, DLCs are probably the main cause to that, maybe was hoping to see something like inclusion in PS3 version of ME2. Ah well. While I don't find the ending to be that bad, after the credits crap was really over the top. And no ending with Shepard and Liara... ah... what was I hoping for throughout these past six years or so.
Script feels a bit rushed and there are many bad things which simply have no sense based on your past actions. For example I was so glad that I managed to create somewhat of a non-fighting stance between Quarians in Geth in ME2 only to find out that I have to pick which side to save in ME3. Naturally, Tali had to die... what can I say, Quarians acted like jerks, didn't gimme much choice. Same with saving Rachni queen in ME, I was hoping for much better comeback. All in all, ME3 has the lamest script in the trilogy, but it still doen't make it an all bad game.
Async sound bugs seemed to have been removed in comparison to PS3 release of ME2, but there were some weird eyeing bugs where characters seem to look totally aside while talking to one another. It didn't happen too often, but that thing simply couldn't have been skipped during testing phase, and BioWare even extended this game's release date by three months.
The Bottom Line
Overall story is kind of lame so the ending fits in well. Something one would expect from Final Fantasy games. But despite of that, improvements on other sides were made, and it still feels like a Mass Effect game. But what started as a brilliant story with Mass Effect didn't end up getting better and better by the time it reached the climax. Thankfully, the majority of side-quests and characters is what keeps the quality in an overall story.
I can't say I am disappointed with the title or anything, I loved every second of playing it... especially conversing with Liara. But expectations were set too high after seeing what jump they did between ME and ME2. Still looking forward to Mass Effect 4 for next gen consoles... maybe Liara (T'Soni) Shepard will be in there somewhere.
BioWare seems to create great starters for their franchises (namely Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect), but then seem to get derailed by their own success getting to their heads and start deteriorating the greatness throughout the sequels. Hopefully, ME4 will be the starter for the next ME trilogy or something.