Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360 Review)

Mass Effect is one of the most highly regarded series in video game history, and with the conclusion making its debut just last week, the internet has been exploding with reactions on the widely anticipated finale.
Mass Effect 3 is a game that cannot be done justice through merely writing about the emotional impact and gut wrenchingly intense choices that have gamers raving.  This ethical journey defined through powerful storytelling is an experience every gamer must embark upon for themselves.  The poignant moments of soul-searching and emotional turmoil that overwhelm fans lead toward an opportunity to reminiscence and reflect upon the series as a whole, though not necessarily due to the most satisfying of video game conclusions.
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The entire series was built around one key aspect – choice.  Choice defined the conversations within the Mass Effect games, giving gamers ample control over the outcome of Shepard’s decisions.  Therefore, it was widely believed that previous decisions would inevitably affect the series’ conclusion.  Although the ending was a more or less gratifying conclusion to the trilogy, it is likely to be lost upon fans for the mere fact that player’s choice did not play a significant role.
While this may seem like a trivial point to those who have not played the other games in the series, the problem lies in the fact that since the beginning, Mass Effect built up the notion that decisions would affect the course of the game and subsequently, the trilogy’s outcome.  For the conclusion of Mass Effect to tease gamers with the false sense of hope that prior decisions made throughout the course of the series will have a dramatic impact upon the outcome and then to provide what can only be described as a handful of pseudo-choices is a blow to the overall spirit of the series.
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As a whole, however, Mass Effect 3 is a worthwhile addition to any gamer’s collection (despite some minor glitches and typical disjointed lip synching issues).  Gamers will experience an immersive world of breathtaking art, extraordinary music, compelling voice acting, and enticing gameplay.  This installment of Mass Effect is the first to include the Xbox Kinect feature, allowing commands to be called out rather than pausing to bring up the menu.
Mass Effect fans can experience this new addition with their old Shepard and prior decisions intact.  Some previous choices affect the game in minor ways, though some choices affect major change, such as the appearance or absence of other characters.  (The deaths of certain characters are presumed for those without a Mass Effect 2 save file.)  Six character classes can be chosen for an array of different weapons, powers, tactics, and the basic “wheel” menu with these selections is present and accounted for.
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Get 'em, Shepard.
The best way to describe Mass Effect 3 is as a Star Wars-War of the Worlds hybrid.  The richly developed characters are reminiscent of Lucas’ vivid portrayal of complex relationships and character aspirations, juxtaposing human weakness against personal strength.  The premise of the game is undoubtedly based around a War of the Worlds’ apocalyptic scenario, playing the reigning hero to combat an invading alien force for survival.
Mass Effect 3 is a tale of epic proportions, embodying a perfect union of Star Wars­-esque character development and powerful storytelling while maintaining a classic War of the Worlds’ premise – the possible destruction of humanity in the face of an alien army.
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Gotta save the universe!
Although Mass Effect 3 can certainly serve as a standalone game, the decisions that shape the entire Mass Effect adventure are most profoundly felt by those who saw the entire series unfold.  At the onset of the game, those who haven’t played ME3’s predecessors will wonder why others are welcoming Shepard back to duty.
In addition, Mass Effect newcomers will by no means feel the impact of the reaper’s presence, seeing the drastic effect of Shepard’s continuous warnings from prior games falling to the wayside
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