We already know that Mass Effect 3 was a slightly flawed masterpiece, and when I say ‘slightly’ I mean the last 0.5% of the game. But, how does it play on Nintendo’s new console?
Almost identically to the other console versions is the short answer. However, there are a number of differences; the biggest is the inclusion of the GamePad’s touch screen which adds map functionality to every level, not just the hubs like the Citadel. On this map you can see enemy locations, move squad members around or tell them to attack certain targets.
You can also choose a number of abilities to have ready for quick access, which I found especially useful because I don’t use the pause menus to select abilities, I have them mapped to the customisable buttons on the control pad of my preferred console, so having immediate access to extra abilities quickly and easily, including my companions, is beneficial to my play style.
One extra thing to note about the GamePad is an aesthetic addition in the form of static and signal loss during the Reaper attack on Earth, as if the touch screen was functioning like an omni-tool that Shepard could refer to, to get a tactical overlay of the battlefield, I loved this addition, but I missed some of the things it was doing due to being conditioned to keep my eyes locked on the television
Which brings me to the GamePad's single downside, especially for Mass Effect
veterans: whilst the map inclusion is fantastic for newcomers to the franchise, it went mostly unnoticed by myself because I already knew the layout of the levels, I found myself forcing my eyes down to look at the screen, it felt counter-intuitive in every way except for activating those extra ability quick-slots.
The map would probably benefit me more during an insane difficulty play-through, where I need every edge I could get on the battlefield, but for the normal difficulty setting the additions felt unnecessary and I would have been perfectly happy playing with the Pro Controller.
Graphically the game is identical to the other console ports with minor differences such as better particle effects on the biotic powers than on the Xbox 360. I noticed that the visuals were less vibrant than what I was used to on PS3, but that could be down to the screen we were playing on and not a fault of the game itself. One thing that can be said is that the Wii-U version runs silky smooth, barely a hiccough, not even in the in-game cut-scenes which can be choppy on the other consoles.
For people who are familiar with and have played through the Mass Effect
games already I cannot recommend the Wii-U edition, especially after learning that the Leviathan and Omega DLC won’t be coming to Nintendo’s console.
But, if you’ve never played the previous games and only own the Wii-U, then you owe it to yourself to purchase this game, it will lack some of its emotional poignancy that it holds for people who have been with the franchise from the beginning, but it will not disappoint as a game standing on its own merits.
It's Mass Effect 3
Identical to other consoles graphically
GamePad is excellent addition in some places
No Leviathan and Omega DLC
GamePad can be counter-intuitive
SPOnG Score: 8/10