Mass Effect 3
5 Things We Hate About Mass Effect 3
Written Wednesday, March 21, 2012 By Dan Webb
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As much as we loved Mass Effect 3, the purist and perfectionist in us will always find things to nitpick about in the game – it’s what we’re paid to do, after all – and while it was a triumph, there’s certain aspects that we weren’t fans of.

Every man and their dog on this site knows that I’m a bit of a Mass Effect fan. Having followed the series from the first game, read every book, tried to read every comic – I literally lost track of the different comic series though and lost my way eventually – it’s been a while since a franchise has gripped me personally with its lore alone. That, however, makes me personally more critical regarding BioWare’s space-opera than your usual games journalist, and when we discussed ideas for post-release Mass Effect 3 features, this featured heavily on my “to do” list.

Mass Effect is a franchise that’s changed massively from the first to the latest iteration. Some things for the better, some things for the worse. And while Mass Effect 3 was a truly epic game, there’s things that we would like to have seen improved upon - or even improved upon for the inevitable sequel/spin-off - so in a follow-up to our “5 Things We Love About Mass Effect 3” feature, here’s 5 things we hated about Mass Effect 3.

Oh, and if by some miracle you hadn't realised that an article picking apart Mass Effect 3 at the seams would have big spoilers in it, let me clarify: It's going to have spoilers. Lots of them. It was always going to. Derp.


Lack of Exploration

We’re not sure what BioWare were aiming for in Mass Effect 3 in terms of exploration. After seeing the franchise go from a huge, expansive, almost open-world universe in Mass Effect 1, to a slightly smaller but more detailed and rich universe in Mass Effect 2, the franchise ended with a fairly enclosed and linear universe in Mass Effect 3. From our perspective, we much preferred the approach the developer took in Mass Effect 1 - and even 2 - to that of 3.

Aside from the Citadel in ME3, there really weren’t many places for players to go out and explore just for the hell of it. If you wanted to do that in Mass Effect 1, you could land on an uncharted world and explore to your heart’s content. In ME2, you had the Citadel, Illium, Omega and even Tuchanka to sink your teeth into. In ME3, you have the Citadel and that’s it. For the next game - which there’ll obviously be eventually - we’re hoping for a hybrid of Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 i.e. a much more open universe but with more variety and effort put into those worlds. Mass Effect 3 for us moved the wrong way on the spectrum, if we’re being perfectly honest.

So Many Unanswered Questions...

Say what you want about Mass Effect 3’s ending, the thing that we couldn’t get our heads around was the ending’s – and even the main game’s – inability to grant us closure on more than a few things. There were a ridiculous amount of unanswered questions that we were hoping BioWare would answer in the game. Who and what exactly were the Keepers? Did Wrex and Urdnot Bakara have their baby? Did Garrus finally get to relax on the beach like he always wanted? How did James get on as part of the N7 program? Did Miranda reunite with her sister properly? Did the quarians settle down on their homeworld, or conversely, did the geth? Moreover, were the two races able to play nicely? What the hell happened to Earth? What happened to the galaxy? If the relays were destroyed, what happened to all the different races stuck on Earth?

The list goes on... Even ‘Lost’ gave us more closure than Mass Effect 3’s ending, and that’s saying something. Should BioWare change it? Hell no, it’s their story and they’re entitled to do whatever the hell they want with it and we'd be offended if they did change it, but they should at least have given people - who had been invested in the franchise for five years – what they deserved. What we deserved. All we want is closure. Questions answered. Which it seems like we may get now.

Not As Many New Interesting Characters

Around every corner in Mass Effect 2 there was an interesting and new character that we got chance to know and explore the inner workings of. Complete their loyalty mission and you could get even more of an insight. In Mass Effect 3 though, new and interesting characters - aside from James and Javik – are few and far between. Sure, it was great to be able to explore EDI's character as she attempted to become more human, but that was it really.

The lack of new squad members was pretty disappointing, and characters like Diane Allers seem like they were shoehorned in for purely commercial reasons – why did we need another reporter when we could punch Khalisah Al-Jilani every time we saw her? We’d have much rather welcomed back Emily Wong with open arms than Miss Allers.

Allers aside though, Mass Effect 3 gave us three genuinely new squad mates to recruit and get to know, which is a hell of a lot less than Mass Effect 2’s ten. Now, we’re not saying we wanted another ten – that might have been a tad too much – but somewhere in the middle wouldn’t have hurt BioWare and would have given us a new bunch of characters to get to know. 

We did like Traynor though... Probably because she’s a Brit.

Forcing Players to Play Multiplayer

We don’t care what BioWare said. It’s almost impossible to get enough assets together for the best possible ending in Mass Effect 3 without playing the multiplayer. In order to achieve such an ending without the multiplayer, you essentially have to not put a foot wrong and get an Effective Military Strength (EMS) of 5,000 before the final battle. This allows you to save Andersen, keep Shepard alive and destroy the Reapers – well, this is what we understand from our research on the subject.

In my playthrough I had completed Mass Effect 3 100% (every side mission, fully explored the galaxy and so on) and still only went to the final battle with 3,700 in terms of assets (EMS). In order to get the perfect ending I effectively would have had to save the Collector’s ship in Mass Effect 2 and broker an agreement between the quarians and the geth. I’d probably have had to deceive the krogans as well. That meant that in order for me to get that ultimate ending, I’d have to play the game in a way that I didn’t want to. Hardly ideal. So for me, I’d have had to play the multiplayer to get that ending, which is something we find deplorable.

This whole thing is contrary to what BioWare said as well and I don’t know about anyone else, but I couldn’t care less about the multiplayer. Mass Effect for me is, and always will be, about the single-player story-driven adventure. We’re not saying the multiplayer is bad by any means, but the single-player and the multiplayer should be two separate entities. Dead Space 2 and Assassin’s Creed’s multiplayer doesn’t encroach on the single-player, so why did BioWare find the need to do it with Mass Effect 3? In short: keep the multiplayer completely separate from the single-player... is that so hard to grasp, BioWare? Really?

Lack of Side Missions

Outside of the main narrative, Mass Effect 3’s idea of side quests is six N7 missions and a variety of fetch quests. Yes, that’s it. For a so-called RPG, there really wasn’t that much lying off the beaten path. What makes it worse is that the N7 missions feel shoehorned into the game, you know, considering that they're essentially the game’s multiplayer maps. Take Mass Effect 2 for instance: the N7 missions there seemed to be well thought-out, provided a better narrative and looked less like a desperate attempt to use the multiplayer assets in a meaningful way in the campaign – it didn’t have multiplayer in 2, that was probably why they felt like standalone missions.

If you track the progress from Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 3, you'll see a few patterns that seem to correlate with one another. From Mass Effect 1 to 3 you’ll notice that A.) the explorative elements were a big part of the game and as each game came and went, they became more and more scaled back; and B.) there are fewer side-missions the further into the franchise you get. That’s disappointing to say the least. BioWare’s aim for Mass Effect 2 was to make the side-missions more like mini-experiences on their own, focusing on quality over quantity. We’re more than okay with that. We’re just not quite sure what their goals were with ME3 as both the quantity and quality took a dive.

So there you have it. The other end of the spectrum. We’ve now gone through the 5 things we love and the 5 things we hate. Check back on Friday for our top 20 Mass Effect moments. You’d be a fool to miss it.


User Comments
Forum Posts: 395
Comment #1 by Cromag2
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 06:45:00 PM
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I liked Traynor cause she likes a hot shower...

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #2 by daydreamdrooler
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 06:59:00 PM
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all the unanswered questions are for you to make up, in order to answer those you would have to go far beyond the actual ending of the game so I found that to be pretty dumb. and I got well over 5000 military strength without doing everything in the game. and it never forces you to play the co-op, it increases your readiness which doesn't net you a better ending, it all comes down to destroying the collector base or not and the military strength which isn't affected by co-op. so I found those 2 point in this article to be a bit bogus

Forum Posts: 20205
Comment #3 by Blaze Naruto Shippuden
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 07:27:08 PM
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I didn't think you guys would do a hate version of it. I seen the things you like as a way to counter the bad ending topics, but the things you hate about ME3 is like throwing more oil on the fire...

Forum Posts: 16548
Comment #4 by olsen77
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 07:27:25 PM
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Can James Vega get his own section? I stopped using him after hearing him yell "Wahoo!!!" on Menae.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #5 by Tempest
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 07:29:17 PM
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While it doesn't force you to play the co-op, you have to play co-op in order to attain the highest level of EMS (effective military strength) to achieve the best ending(s). There's confusion about how the military strength mechanic works. There's a rating for total military strength and then there is a rating for effective military strength. The rating for effective military strength is determined by multiplying the Galactic Readiness rating by your total military strength. So if you have 5000 TMS, and 50% GR rating, 5000 x 0.5 = 2500 EMS. So those two points in this article aren't bogus, he's actually right. There are articles online that prove this as well.

I finished my first play-through with 5000+ TMS and didn't touch multi-player. After doing so, I did some browsing and apparently you get a short scene after the ending of Shepard gasping for air, only if you have 4000+ EMS, which cannot be achieved without raising your GR through multi-player.

Forum Posts: 5567
Comment #6 by SoaringEagle23
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 07:33:05 PM
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@4 - I agree, James is so annoying that he's just mainly filler to the game. If Bioware kept his name as James Sanders, I could look past that, since Kahlee Sanders plays a major role in the novels.

Also, am I the only one who misses the mining. Personally, I didn't find it all that annoying. After the 1st playthrough on Mass Effect 2, having a default set of minerals at 200,000 makes the upgrading go by much faster. If I didn't feel like mining, I could go to side missions or shop at the Citadel, but now mindlessly searchinig for assets on planets, sometimes at certain points in the game, lost the interest of going to different planets and makes it less fun to explore the galaxy.

Forum Posts: 83
Comment #7 by Kojiro-uchiha
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 07:44:48 PM
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I agree with all your dislikes except for what you say at the end of the 'forced multiplayer' part. EVERY game with multiplayer keeps it seperate from the singleplayer and i think that it was brave and refreshing of Bioware to attempt something with multiplayer that no other game has done. I actually would have enjoyed more interaction between the two modes so i don't agree with everything they did with it. I enjoy the multiplayer anyway. Just my opinion though :)

Forum Posts: 4475
Comment #8 by OceanH
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 07:59:31 PM
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@daydreamdrooler: Guys like you don't know the difference between TMS and EMS. Tempest is right and I can assert to it: I've collected every single war asset and it's IMPOSSIBLE to reach 4000+ EMS (not TMS) without playing MP. Even Prima's official guide states it.

Forum Posts: 461
Comment #9 by dellboy81
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 08:11:19 PM
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well ive not played more than 1 hour of the first 2 games as i found them to be boring and just ok respectively. i have mass effect 3 which i won so its free, but looking at the 5 hates i would say MP is a big no-no but the fact its more linear will make me happy - i like to be told what to do in a game over having a massive planet to get lost and confuddled in. and side quests? the bane of gaming for me so im happy with a few.

might start on it soon - and as for having to play MP for the best ending - is there a trophy relate to it? because if not them im not fussed. does MP have trophies? if not then im happy. i guess i should check them out haha but to be honest ill never plat the game, probably never end it. mass effect trilogy is so over hyped, its not a patch on uncharted.

Forum Posts: 965
Comment #11 by kdogg2010
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 08:16:37 PM
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Please add the chase scene on Mars to the list. I don't know if you could fail it but thank god there were no more chase scenes. I kept taking cover and rolling on accident. Worse than the chase scenes in Uncharted.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #12 by Tempest
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 08:29:31 PM
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Can you elaborate on what the very best ending is? From what I understand you can get all three endings of control, sythesis, and destruction with an EMS above 2800, however with an EMS of 4000+ and the choice of destruction you get a cutscene at the end of the cinematic of Commander Shepard gasping for air.

Additionally, I just wanted to know how you were able to get an EMS of 5000 without playing the co-op, because I've only been able to raise the GR rating with co-op.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #13 by daydreamdrooler
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 08:39:23 PM
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my EMS was 6457 by doing most of the side missions which brought my TMS up over 5000 but not by much. I missed a quite a few side mission because I never finished them before finishing the Krogan story arch. my GR was still at 50% when I beat the game, Bioware even stated you don't have to play co-op to get the best ending. from what I've read there are 16 ending. 8 endings go with destroying the collector base at the end of ME2 well the other 8 are for saving the base. the ME2 file I use destroyed the base, from there it comes down to your TMS. 0 to 1000 TMS gets you the first ending, 2000 gets you another ending and so on so forth up to 5000, which is where you get all three ending, 4000 gets you two endings I believe. within each "different" ending there are very small changes such as the earth being save or destroyed or just in utter ruin. my ending was synthesis, the earth was saved. all without playing co-op

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Comment #14 by Tempest
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 09:16:31 PM
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I probably should've just posted these to help clear things up.

The very first picture shows how the readiness rating affects the EMS.

My second playthrough I was able to get a total of 6717 TMS, at 50% GR my EMS would've been 3358.5 so 3359 since it rounds up. I would've been able to get all three endings of synthesis, control and destruction. If the EMS rating was below 2800 I would not have the option of synthesis. So in that regard you can achieve all the endings. However, certain variables in the endings cannot be achieved without a GR rating that puts your EMS at 4000 or above. Here were the variables in that I got in the ending with GR at 100% and full 6717 EMS, I chose to destory the reapers, resulting in Earth being saved and the cutscene with Shepard gasping for air. You CANNOT get the scene of Shepard gasping for air with an EMS less than 4000.

So, did you get the scene of Shepard gasping for air at the end of your playthrough?

The reason I'm even pursuing this matter is because there is a huge misconception about TMS and EMS and how GR affects the latter. BioWare and/or EA were very smart about in regards to how they presented the multi-player. What they did say was that you don't have to play MP to get the full SP experience, which is absolutely true. All the SP content is there, none of it is taken out. Technically all endings could be achieved in SP with the endings being the options of control, sythesis and destruction. However, what they kind of brushed off was the fact that only certain variables within the ending can be achieved through playing MP. If I recall there was a video with Casey Hudson saying something about this, I'll post it up if I find it.

Forum Posts: 284
Comment #15 by drkrZEN
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 09:18:12 PM
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My biggest gripe was the War Assets. They never came into effect gameplay-wise... they were simply totals that affected choice of endings.

I was hoping all the assets I collected would be utilized in a similar fashion to the suicide mission of ME2, but on a galactic scale, rather than 10-12 people you recruit.

The lack of exploration was pretty crappy, too, but I didn't care as much since we got to see some truly interesting worlds like Thessia, Rannoch and Tuchanka, again. But the sidequests were horrible... each and every one was simply a fetch quest... I was hoping for some like ME2 where we explored a certain character further. Which leads me to my last gripe, the lack of interesting characters and a cast, at that. ME2 had a squad of 10-13 people based on choices and DLC, where as ME3 has 6... +1 for DLC. And, only the ones already in your party at some point were interesting or memorable, although EDI was cool since I enjoyed her in ME2.

Also, I find the lack of Krogan in your party disturbing.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #16 by daydreamdrooler
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 09:28:33 PM
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hmm that's weird because my EMS has always been higher than my TMS but only by around 3 to 4 hundred. I would always check the EMS after I got a war asset because it seemed to have the most effect on the EMS. My first run was the only run unaffected by co-op which was my synthesis ending. my destroyed ending was at 100% GR which, yes I saw Shepard breath but I guess its kind of pointless to mention because I had the 100% GR. however I do clearly remember have over 5000 on both TMS and EMS... I wonder if it was a glitch???

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #17 by Tempest
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 09:44:43 PM
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Likewise, my first run I didn't touch co-op. I had a TMS of 5567 with GR at 50% and I chose to destroy the reapers. I didn't get the scene of Shepard gasping for air, which confused the hell out of me, until I learned that GR needed to be raised for higher EMS. After getting my GR to 100% through playing co-op I was able to get the final scene.

Perhaps it may have been a glitch, and one hell of a glitch at that.

Forum Posts: 4475
Comment #18 by OceanH
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 11:30:57 PM
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@daydreamdrooler: If you knew basic mathematics (TMSxGR%=EMS), then you'd knew you had a glitch and wouldn't tell others you can get EMS over 4000+ without playing MP. Common sense.

Forum Posts: 679
Comment #19 by Pure_Breed-1
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 03:17:07 AM
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hmmmmmmm well let's recap the story, organics are at war with the reapers. I don't think there would be time for exploration (not bothered), if you want an explanation for lack of characters then just blame the reapers for killing them. the multiplayer is great, clear out an area with 3 other people and 3-4 of those rounds are mission based. isn't this what happens in a war? u send out people to go do missions or secure an area. it was great however I do agree about the closure. but hey the game was great.

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #20 by Eudaemonium
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 05:50:01 AM
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Other than the ending, which is an atrocity, I didn't really have any issues with the game. I found that it tied together nicely and 'made sense' within itself, despite the lack of exploration. Also, there are a bunch of plot-related 'side-quests', such as the ones on Tuchanka and Rannoch, Kallini, Grissom Academy, etc. These are mostly purely optional and completely missable if you just choose to go straight to the 'Priority' missions. Sure, they seem plot-critical, but they are non-mandatory and can thus qualify as 'side-quests'. The N7 missions were a bit lazy, yeah, but they weren't really the only side-missions.

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #21 by Ahabs Foot
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 08:26:48 AM
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I think I'm strange. I've already got the "best" ending with 90+% GR and killing all synthetics, including Shepard's gasp. I'd like to keep playing the MP because it's fun, but I want to try a "bad" ending. I'd love to keep GR at 50% without sacrificing time in MP.

Forum Posts: 114
Comment #22 by M09_Lord-of-War
Sunday, March 25, 2012 @ 08:07:28 PM
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i am so confused as to how you can get different endings, as far as Im aware you have the option to control, destroy or synthesis. I saved the collector base and my friend destroyed it and we had the same 3 endings open to us

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Comment #23 by Pabs_85
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 07:04:18 AM
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Great read, same views lol :)

Forum Posts: 24
Comment #24 by Iamrizer
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 08:31:54 PM
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My gripe? Not! Enough! Zaeed!

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Game Info
Electronic Arts


US March 06, 2012
Europe March 09, 2012
Japan March 15, 2012

Resolution: 480p, 720p
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Players: 1
Online Players : 2-4
ESRB: Mature
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