You won’t get any arguments from me about Mass Effect 3 being a fun game; what’s better than firing a big anti-material rifle and killing four Guardians (troopers with riot shields) in a single shot? The game is full of surprises, including its fair share of bugs and annoying keybindings. While BioWare did good to introduce dodges and rolls into the combat mix, the studio added these functions to the already crowded spacebar key. Now pressing spacebar means you do one of five things: get into cover, activate an object, sprint, dodge, or revive a teammate. In a multiplayer setting, this could mean the difference between life and death. Let’s say you’re trying to revive someone. If you accidentally double tap spacebar instead of holding it, you’ll dodge over your fallen teammate. But, if you hold the spacebar key when you are moving, you’ll just sprint over your fallen comrade. And God forbid the third time around, you actually manage to revive your ally … as a giant Banshee instantly kills the both of you by impaling your now limp bodies with her tendril-like arms. Congratulations, now you are both dead. Thank you spacebar for being the omnipotent, oversized button you are.
Past the life-threatening keybinding, Mass Effect 3 suffers from a lot of minor bugs. Oftentimes, squadmates online will have a weapon firing animation when they are not shooting. So you’ll see your allies running from place to place with their weapons firing at the floor. Dead enemies also have a tendency to remain … undead. Troopers would frequently fire their weapons at you despite lying motionless on the floor. Needless to say I have died too many times by enemies that played dead. There are also a few problems where the matchmaking system in multiplayer absolutely refuses to give you squadmates for a four-man cooperative mission. (I know I am good, but I am not that good.) The multiplayer servers also have a tendency of randomly dropping players in the middle of a firefight. Fortunately for me, this has only happened twice in the span of about 25+ hours of gameplay. My fellow reviewers were not so fortunate.
All in all, the bugs are forgivable; the ending to the game, however, is not. Mass Effect 3 marks the end of a trilogy, and the last 10 minutes of the game failed to live up to even a primative primate’s expectations. Without giving too much away, the ending forces themes of transcendentalism and existentialism down players’ throats, supplanting the ideas of unity and diversity that have become so prevalent for the series. The endings are virtually a carbon copy from the endings of the Deus Ex franchise. To add further insult to injury, the ending deprives players of choice; this series is a paragon of player choice. (Pun intended.) Mass Effect 2 had vastly different endings that depend on how the player plays their game. Instead, Mass Effect 3 has six similar endings; these six endings only vary in the “color of the explosions.” Pick your favorite color: red, green, or blue. Never before have I been so disgusted at a game’s ending in my life. I am disappointed that despite the game being 99 percent fantastic, the last one percent is a miserable failure—so much so that I refuse to replay the campaign knowing that the ending is a predetermined trip to “multi-colored explosions.” (The game’s ending has caused so much controversy and outcry that people online are filing petitions, organizing charity drives, and lodging complaints to the Federal Trade Commission in an attempt to have BioWare rectify the ending with downloadable content.)
Don’t get me wrong. Mass Effect 3 is a fun game. It’s still that science-fiction, role-playing game you have always wanted it to be. It’s just that the destination of this journey is a place you’d rather not be in.