Attention conservation notice: extended bitching about certain video games, which will mean nothing if you haven’t played them.

Six or seven hours in to Mass Effect 3 and pretty disappointed so far. The biggest innovation in the original Mass Effect was the dialogue, but in ME3 they’ve apparently decided that so long as a conversation doesn’t alter the course of the plot (or at least give you Paragon/Renegade points) they might as well just railroad you through it with no dialogue tree. The result is that the Commander Shepard I’m watching on the screen feels like Bioware’s Shepard, not the one I’ve been playing for two games.

And it does feel like I’m watching, not playing. I hope it’ll improve — maybe they blew the budget on acts two and three? (The cut scene where the Asari councillor tells you the Asari won’t be showing up for the summit, for instance, wedged into the end of the Turian chapter for no good reason, just screams budget cuts.) But right now it’s awfully railroad, and compressed in a way that makes it feel disjointed too. The beginning of ME2 was railroad, but it opened up quickly, and in the railroad segments, when you met your old ME1 party members it was a revelation and it meant something. Here it just feels like filler.

If I was in the mood just to shoot things and watch cut scenes, I’d be playing Halo or Gears of War, not Mass Effect. As it is, if I wasn’t a completist and hadn’t paid full price I’d probably put it down and go back to Old Republic.


  1. I feel that Bioware shaved off a lot of what made the original game distinctive when they made ME2. The only way in which it improved on the original was when you judge it as a corridor shooter, and while that decision makes a lot of sense in terms of appealing to a wider audience, it definitely made the game less interesting. I imagine ME3 continues that trend, and while I do plan on playing it, I’m content to wait until the price is cut in half.

  2. This is just a place-holder comment…with new-dog excitement, I’ve not had much time to play with the game yet. (Our xBox thinks I’m 11.5 hours in, but it must be counting the long stretches when the game was in and the xBox on, but everything timed out while I worked on getting new dog into her crate…) The dialogue thing really surprised me. I knew there was going to be a no-dialogue-tree mode, which I’m fine with as an option as long as it wasn’t the only option, but I didn’t realize there would be compressed dialogue stuff even in narrative mode!

    At this point I’m enjoying it without being blown away, but optimistic that will change as I get farther beyond the early stages…I have heard some neat-sounding stuff, so fingers crossed.

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