If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of the Mass Effect franchise. I've passed both Mass Effect 1 and 2 at least 11 or 12 times EACH! Based on this fact, you would think that I would be insanely excited for Mass Effect 3; well unfortunately, I'm not. When they showed the game off at this year's E3, instead of being blown away, I was underwhelmed, because everything about the game screamed "console gaming BS" which was insanely disappointing for me. To be fair, I haven't played the game, so there is a lot that I probably don't know about, but based on what I've seen and read about the game so far, here are the 5 reasons why I'm worried about Mass Effect 3.
# 1. THE STORY
This is what I know about the story so far: The Reapers have come out of dark space, (somehow) and started destroying Earth; this means that you, Commander Shepard, have to travel around outer space uniting every alien species to help save the earrth and the galaxy. This seems like a perfect premise for the third game right? WRONG! There is something seriously wrong with this premise, and here's what it is:
While Shepard is out trying to convince the species of this universe to help him, he/her left Earth completely at the mercy of the Reapers, and as we all know, Shepard is the only human who has ever KILLED A REAPER. That aside, why would you open up a game with an invasion of Earth, when you were just gonna go back up into space and stop the invasion later? Talk about killing the momentum of the story. And how the hell are you supposed to do side missions if Earth is slowly being destroyed on the other side of the Galaxy? Shepard may not be from Earth, but we as an audience are; and I don't know about you, but I would have a problem doing anything more than the main quest when I know that the citizens of Earth are being slaughtered while I'm messing around on other planets.
Bioware may have something hidden up their sleeve with this story, but for now, the story seems like it wasn't thought out very well. Let's hope it's not as bad as it sounds....
# 2. IS IT JUST ME, OR DOES THIS GAME LOOK A LOT LIKE "MASS EFFECT 2"?
Everything in the E3 demo reminded me of Mass Effect 2. From the cover-to-cover shooting mechanics, the level design, even the graphics look basically the same as ME2. Yes I know there were some changes, like there are hand grenades now, there is a comical "omni-blade" that comes out of you omni-tool, and evidently there is also going to be a gun customization feature; but going off of what I saw, it looks like the game plays almost exactly like it ME2.
You could argue that "if it isn't broken, don't fix it", but in an industry with so many sequels, if you show me the next title of a franchise, and it doesn't look like it plays any differently than the last installment, well I'm gonna lose interest. I would much rather have a sequel (or threequel) that plays a bit differently than the last installment, than have a game that "slightly improves" on the last installment.
# 3. MYSTERIOUS MULTI-PLAYER.....
We were warned ahead of time that EA was going to force mulyi-player into this game, but what is the mulitplayer component like? Nobody knows, but what I always thought was great about Mass Effect was that the game was based on YOUR decisions... Your decisions, as in personal decisions; as in one person's decisions. Why would we want to share this unique personal experience with other people? How would you share this experience with other people? Which brings me to my next heading....
# 3 1/2. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! PLEASE DON'T HAVE CO-OP!!!!!!!
DON'T DO IT BIOWARE! DON'T DO IT! OR, I SWEAR TO GOD, I WILL NOT BUY THIS GAME!!!!! How awful would it be if Bioware introduced co-op into this game?!?! Really? Imagine 4 Commander Shepards walking around The Citadel talking to people!! Or, imagine if only one person played as Shepard, while the other players played as the Normandy's crew members!!!!!! That would be SOOOOOO boring!!!! Please Bioware, I know EA is forcing mulitplayer into ME3, but please don't let that multiplayer be co-op!
# 4. B-MOVIE SEQUENCES + KINECT + MULTI-PLAYER= CASUAL GAMER APPEAL... RIGHT?
When I heard that this game not only featured multiplayer, but also featured a useless Kinect component, I said "HUH?! WHY?!" I couldn't wrap my mind around it; but then I saw the E3 trailer for this game, and then it all made sense.
You see the trailer featured a sequences where Commander Shepard was shooting a Reaper with a turret on the back of some sort of train. Yeah you know, a Reaper, those giant apocalyptic robots, one of which was powerful enough to kill half of the human star fleet in the first game!!!!!! What's that f**king train turret gonna do against that metal behemoth?! Judging by this footage, i'm lead to believe that Bioware, (or EA) wanted to make the game "more exciting" so that casual gamers wouldn't be bored watching the trailers. Top that off with Kinect for the kiddies, and multiplayer for the Call of Duty fans, and you've got a (role playing) game made for all audiences!!... Right?
Look, I'm not trying to say that core gamers are stupid; there are a lot of people who just wanna pop in a game, play online for an hour, and then put the controller down, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, I think it's safe to assume that most casual gmaers wouldn't be interested in a story based game where the combat sequences are then followed by long stretches of gameplay, where you do nothing but have long conversations with other characters. In conclusion, I think Bioware added multiplayer, Kinect, and unrealistic actions sequences not because those things added to the overall experience of the game, but because casual gamers wouldn't give ME3 a second thought if it didn't feature these things...
#5. BIOWARE HAS BECOME EA'S BITCH!
Finally, the one things that connects all of these points is the fact that EA is raping Bioware. Ever since EA bought Bioware, Bioware has been producing a game almost every year since 2007. That normally wouldn't be a problem, but if Dragon Age 2 told me anything, it was that Bioware clearly doesn't have enough time to make a AAA title every year. When Bioware said that they were going to be announcing their "next game" at the Spike TV Video Game Awards, I was praying that the game they were announcing wasn't going to be Mass Effect 3, because it had only been a year since I bought second game. Unfortunately though, the mysterious game was in fact ME3, and I instantly felt a sense of disappointment, because Bioware didn't spend more time on the "epic conclusion" of the franchise.
Everything I've seen in ME3 so far; between it's suspicious resemblance to the second game, to the game's questionable premise, and the addition of mutliplayer and kinect, all seem to be the result of a rushed product. In the end, that's the biggest reason I'm scared to death that Mass Effect 3 is going to be a massive disappointment (no pun intended).
Look, it's not that I want this game to fail. On the contrary, I want this game to be the best game in the trilogy; but as Mass Effect 2 was the franchise's Empire Strikes Back, Mass Effect 3 looks like it's going to be the franchise's Return of the Jedi. Let's hope I'm wrong; I would much rather cram my foot in my mouth, than have Bioware and EA rip out what's left of my heart when the game is released next march.