Opinion// Mass Effect 3 - Tenterhooks

Posted 6 Mar 2012 10:13 by
It's hard to explain to non-gamers just how good it feels when you play a game you're enjoying for the first time. There's that moment where you lay down in bed at 3am on a weekday morning wishing that you didn't have to sleep because sleep means that you can't continue your adventure.

I'm currently sitting writing this whilst experiencing a mixed bag of emotions. Although these feelings seem to happen often, I can never quite get used to them when they come around. I'm sure you've all felt like this at some point because us gamers are a similar bunch.

You see, in less than a week's time Mass Effect 3 hits the shelves and I'm some what looking forward to it.

I was late onboard the Normandy. When the original came out I was a young and naive gamer that thought that anything tagged with the genre RPG just wasn't for me. As I grew so did my tastes but when the second rolled around I was fed up with so many people telling me to play it that I rebelled, again like some sort of twat.

When I eventually got round to trying my hand at the series I decided to start from the beginning and found the first game to be less than impressive. Although I was captivated by the universe and the characters that roamed within it, I was let down by some frustrating combat and glitches that left a hero stuck in a bench far too often. I decided to move on. I reluctantly tried Mass Effect 2.

From the start I was completely blown away. Every single complaint I had about ME had been addressed. Yes, I was frustrated with myself for not seeing the first game through, fortunately the sequel did a very good job of bringing me up to speed before setting me off on a wonderful storyline.

Once done, I was aching for more. I played through all the DLC and just sat wondering where the next instalment would take us. Soon I'll find out.

First and foremost, I'm excited. The thought of sitting down and seeing the universe that I fell in love with is making me grin from ear to ear. I can't wait to see where my decisions will lead my Commander Shepard and how my relationships with the characters I've met so far will develop.

I'm excited to meet new characters. The folks at Bioware have proved that they have a skill of introducing believable and interesting characters; ones that don't signpost their intentions but keep you second-guessing their personalities.

The thought of meeting some more characters that I'll remember for the rest of my gaming life makes the wait for the new game even more unbearable.

There's always that fear that the next instalment of a game could let you down. I've certainly experienced this recently. The Uncharted series was shaping up to be one of my most loved in gaming history but the third game in the PS3 series ? the slightly rushed and underwhelming Drake's Deception - ○put a dark spot on what was a highlight of my gaming life.

The thought of a game doing that to Mass Effect scares me and with this being its third of the series, it's very possible. I'm worried that the structure will be too similar to the first two, where we are sent of squad building missions followed by loyalty quests. It could all seem a tad stale a third time round if there isn't enough twists or turns.

I'm also expecting an ending. One that is satisfying and justified. I want it to feel unique to the path I've taken. I don't want it to feel perfect. I want a sense of loss but without forced drama. It's something I've worried about the most when it comes to this game.

Endings to story based video games really vary. They can seem cheesy, or leave gamers feeling as though the developers are leaving themselves the option for further games. I'd hate to think that Bioware might do this. As much as I trust them, with the pressure of the gaming business world, it must be hard to stand up for an artistic ending over a financially sensible one.

I've tried everything I possibly can to avoid spoilers. I've not touched the demo, I've not browsed threads in forums. I've even gone as far as avoiding the official website just in case it has some game art up that will ruin how a character will look in this Mass Effect 3.

I'm not the only one either. I've seen arguments break out on Twitter and Facebook over comments and opinions voiced about the demo. As we all know though, the closer we get to launch day, the harder it'll be to avoid the stray give-away that will completely ruin a portion of your experience.

Stay strong gamers... never click that link.

I'm also frustrated with EA. It seems to be pegging a lot on this game. To try and drum home the point the company is taking every opportunity to ram the ME3's launch down our neck. Email spamming, Facebook applications and PR events are all things that game publishers have done in the past, but EA's taking all these practises and stretching them out.

When you ram a game down an audience's throats it makes them question whether the game is artistically viable, or just another product to take us of our cash.

The Day One DLC doesn't help matter either. Publishers need to understand that consumers will lose faith in them if they start to feel cheated. Whether 'From Ashes' was made by a separate team or not, it's a slap in the face for fans of the series when a company releases DLC this way. Fans need to be respected more than they have during the build-up to the game they're looking forward to.

These Moments
But after these negatives thoughts leave my brain I remind myself that these moments are what most of us are in it for. The sheer lack of being able to control our excitement. The wonder, the intrigue. It's like you're eight years old again and Christmas is just around the corner.

I'm counting down the minutes, and it's absolutely killing me...

The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and does not reflect those of SPOnG.com except when it does.

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