It arrived. The game I longer for. The game I had developed slightly sexual feelings for (jk...ok not). The game to complete the trilogy: Mass Effect 3. I finished it in four days.
And then the bitch broke my heart.
But first I will deal with the many traits which deepened my love for the game.
Chapter 1: The Graphics and Design
Mass Effect 3 is a stunner, there's no doubt about that. While it still hasn't gotten human movement down to a tee in cut scenes, the graphics seem otherwise flawless. Shadows, light reflection, distance detail...and of course our favourite, the sheer awesome display of CGI when things go boom. Nerdgasm guaranteed.
The developers have also been creative in their inclusion of new enemies. The Reaper armies are fierce and ugly...and leak a lot more than I wish they would. But the design of the Reaper forces is fantastic - each based on a typical ME race such as asari or batarian - and distorted in a grotesque yet awesome indoctrinated enemy. If you thought Husks and Scions were freaky, just you wait.
Chapter 2: The Story
This was where I knew it was love. This was how Romeo felt about Juliet, how Tristan felt about Isolde, how Fenix feels about Dominic (Gears of Wars knows how to make a bromance).
I transported my ME2 character, so the choice was made for me to continue with the typical RPG form of the ME series. Choices I made in ME1 were realised in the game. Each character had a story, and the friendships between Shepard and their crew are fleshed out to the point that the player feels immersed in the story and connected to the characters.
However, Bioware also goes all J.K. Rowling on our asses and will kill those you love. I had a few 'Dobby! NOOOOOOO' moments in the game. Of course, your actions will determine whether they live or die - and the choices are not as black and white as one would wish.
Chapter 3: The Combat
Many RPGs are notorious for their lack of challenging combat. I mean, Fable 2 didn't even have a boss fight (yeah, I mentioned you, whatyougonnadoboutit? Improve? I hope so).
But ME3 gives you all the fight you want - to the point that a really challenging battle isn't necessarily a boss fight. The combat is so intense the game autosaves like a neurotic, which is useful for people like me who die and haven't saved in hours, resulting in that 'on-your-knees-fists-to-the-sky-screaming-WHHHHYYYY?' moment. Of course this means that you need to save regularly if you decide you want to change a certain decision or you'll end up like me with only 4 saves for over 30 hours of gameplay...
No longer is combat just about hiding behind some cover and pew pewing the enemy: they have grenades, they have the same range of movement as you (rolling, jumping, etc) and they will come find you and kill you. There are some battles where you have to run around like a you're planning on competing with Caster Semenya because staying too still for a moment results in you being crushed, or stomped, or impaled, or nommed by the enemies.
You will feel invigorated after battle, maybe even a little self-satisfied (I'm saving the galaxy, what are you doing with your life?). The story furthers this, creating a game which is intense on all levels. It even has background music for cutscenes that rival the soundtracks for some movies.
Chapter 4: The 100 Days of Summer moment
So why, might you ask, do I feel like that game had its way with me and then never called back?
Because like so many great love stories, it had a crappy ending. I will not disclose the ending for those of you who are still playing, but if you, like me and many other players, invested time and effort in fulfilling an epic questline and was enthralled by the build up to the final battle, you will probably feel that Bioware copped out of an ending.
It's like they spent all their time making this epic game and towards the end got decided and provided us with the crappiest ending since the person who invented 'It was all just a dream".
It left me asking, why, Bioware, why????
I felt their answer was:
Turns out the ending may be fleshed out more with DLC. But seriously, why suck even more money out of us distraught fans? When did Bioware become about ruthless moneymaking? Who are you, Apple?
So it turns out that ME3 is both the most epic and most disappointing game at the same time. It's like when Chuck Norris said he thought Chuck Norris jokes were stupid - you're conflicted.
I was unable to write this post because I was stuck in a post-ME3 haze. Oh how I mourned...
On the bright side, I am now a fully fledged nerd because being seriously emotionally affected by game and feeling scorned after it backhands you with a crappy ending is the burden beared by many-a gamer nerds.
Do I reccommend you play it? Of course. This game is an experience many should have - just don't be surprised when the ending feels like a kick in the (in my case figurative) balls.