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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Game Reviews

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End of a saga
Nikhil Hemrajani, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 23, 2012
First Published: 16:25 IST(23/3/2012)
Last Updated: 18:48 IST(23/3/2012)
Mass Effect
There’s a good reason why the Mass Effect (ME) series ranks amongst the best games of all time. Like Star Wars, this is space opera at its best. There’s intergalactic exploration, memorable characters, a gripping storyline and great dialogues.

If you haven’t played the previous two games in the series, Mass Effect 1 and 2, now’s the time to catch up. Set towards the close of the 22nd century, a technically-advanced machine race of creatures, the Reapers, have awakened from dormancy to carry out their 50,000-year purging cycle. They have repeated this intergalactic extermination of all living beings for millennia. As a human soldier, Shepard, you discover this in the first game and stall the plans of a Reaper starship from destroying the Citadel — the largest space station in the galaxy. In the second game you learn that there are possibly thousands of Reaper ships lying dormant in the galaxy’s dark spaces, waiting to unleash their attack. ME3 starts with invasions on numerous inhabited planets including Earth. How you may defeat this overwhelming force of sentient spaceships is anybody’s guess.

In this role-playing game, you can fine-tune your character’s fighting style, attributes and make decisions with far-reaching consequences. For instance, many times, you can smooth-talk your way out of sticky situations instead of mindlessly opening fire on your enemies. You can even have a relationship with a few of your teammates, and in many cases decide their fate in battles. But it would be pointless if these numerous decisions weren’t carried forward, so you can import your files from the previous game to start exactly where you left off in ME2. New features include on-the-fly weapon modifications, a much more effective melee mode, and new biotic powers. In addition to a few new teammates, all your companions from the previous games, assuming they survived, return in this game.

Purchase the official DLC (downloadable content) ‘From Ashes’ and you get an additional teammate as support. Javik who is found cryogenically preserved, hails from an ancient alien race called the Protheans that were annihilated by the Reapers 50,000 years ago. Javik has new and powerful biotic abilities, making him a good companion to take along on missions.

Mass Effect 3 is one of the best looking games around. Graphics are stunning but better still is the fact that you don’t need cutting-edge hardware to run the game. Sure there’s an overproduced futuristic look to everything, but this makes the game much more immersive and larger than life. Lens flares, depth of field effects and accurately depicted space battles are some of the things to look out for. Once you’ve completed the game’s roughly 40-hour long main story,you can also give the co-operative multiplayer mode a shot too.

Verdict
Available on the PC, Xbox and PS3, what makes Mass Effect 3 so enjoyable is the choices you make and their unforeseen consequences. The ending may come as a surprise to some, but that aside, you won’t regret the time you spend playing this game. Though there aren’t many new additions compared to the previous games in the series, the more-of-the-same formula works well here. If space opera is your poison, drink this to the dregs.

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