I wonder what the Bioware guys would think, if someone told them that ME3 "wasn't Mass Effect"... A lot of the reviewers acknowledged and mentioned the shortcomings, but gave the game stellar scores despite them. I think people were just happy about being able to enjoy this grand and spectacular sci-fi trilogy. That kind of sci-fi is not so easy to come by these days, either in the cinema or in video games
"That kind of sci-fi" was pretty much killed in ME3, after being somewhat driven down the path already in ME2. The original premise and game had a definite feel of classic cinema sci-fi from when it was at it's strongest: the late 70's through the 80's and the very early 90's. Casey Hudson, Drew Karpyshyn and the others all touted the fact it was a homage to this era of sci-fi and the likes of Blade Runner, Alien, Dune, the early Star Trek movies, the original Star Wars trilogy, etc. By the time it got to Mass Effect 3 the series had taken a distinctly modern approach more resembling today's big budget, over-the-top mindless action films. The film grain option wasn't even there any more in ME3.
Reviewers tended to emphasize the many positives of ME3: gripping story and atmosphere, excellent characters, dialogue and voice acting, interesting conclusion, production values through the roof, game is even more rewarding for players who have played the previous games, improved customization, much improved and more enjoyable combat on so on. The more positive aspects a game has going for it - and ME3 has so many - the easier it is to overlook any negatives.
Beyond the combat and a few technical aspects, ME3 did everything weaker than the other games though.
The story was rubbish for the most part and BioWare's once-great writing was severely lacking in the final part. It was linear, so many factors didn't make sense, the whole thing pivoted on a horribly trite and lazy Deus Ex Machina solution that BioWare outright promised we weren't going to get, pretty much anything to do with Cerberus and Kai Leng was utter garbage and they upstaged The Reapers and shoved them aside to dominate as antagonists too often, and there were so many poorly written weak excuses to keep the story on the rails whenever possible (Clone Rachni Queen, the new Council being exactly like the old ones, Ashley and Kaidan being shoved aside half the damn game and acting almost identically when rarely present, pretty much every replacement character for somebody who could have died just being the same as them and doing the same as them, Legion literally
just replacing himself, etc.). Sure... we saw glimmers of brilliance in Tuchanka and Rannoch, but beyond that the whole thing was just a glorified, overly linear war story that punished you whenever you tried to deviate too much from what BioWare wanted.
Voice-acting was good, but many characters were questionably handled. Kai Leng, James Vega and Allers were all rubbish. Ashley went from hardened Alliance soldier to big-titted, oversexed bimbo. Udina and Din Korlack suddenly being Cerberus supporters didn't make a lick of sense. Hell... characters like Captain Kirrahe, Matriarch Aethyta and Oriana didn't even look
the same! Not to mention a lot of what made the original characters special was constantly undone whenever there was some other chump to step in and just do their job for them in the same way just as efficiently.
Calling the conclusion "interesting" is like calling sticking your testicles in a blender "interesting."
And the game was NOT
more rewarding to players who imported their saves! Aside from the fact that the damn face import doesn't even work, it was insulting more than half the time than anything. I can understand new players enjoying the game, but how any proper fan can be anything but massively insulted is beyond me. Almost nothing was handled in a satisfactory manner. Too many war assets instead of real consequences, too little proper variation in outcomes, too many weak substitutions and poorly written solutions to make sure no matter how
varied your playthrough it ends up as just the same tedious game in the end. Nothing matters, nothing feels rewarding. It's like EA just took a p**s on everybody who played the other two games.
And again, I don't see how anybody can consider an RPG game good and rate it high when it doesn't even let you ROLE PLAY
Oh, and the best multiplayer game of all time is the original Unreal Tournament.