(Wii U)

Mass Effect 3 (Wii U)

Game Review

Mass Effect 3 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Massively Effective

Wii U had a rock solid line-up of launch titles to accompany it last year. From Grade-A third party franchises such as Assassin’s Creed through to Mario, a classic staple in the Nintendo canon. Oddly enough, more than a few of these launch games were sequels, or even third games in series’ that have already been around for some time now, just not on a Nintendo platform. Mass Effect 3: Special Edition, as the numbered titles implies, is no stranger to this phenomenon, but that doesn’t stop it from being an absolute powerhouse, and one of the console’s best games to date.

The argument of whether or not video games can or should be considered “art” has been a point of contention in the media for quite some time now. Some believe that the form is lowbrow and has no place in serious artistic discourse, but then there are those who believe that video games are to be experienced, and that their purpose is to tell a story and engage with players on a deeper level than what is seen on the surface. That second group is made up of those who make games like Mass Effect 3.

Without delving too deeply into the plot, you take on the role of Commander Shepard as his or her — depending on the gender you choose to play — home planet Earth is being invaded by giant sentient machines known as Reapers. It is your goal to traverse the Milky Way and unite different alien races in preparation for war against the Reapers, all in the name of taking back your home. Uniting the galaxy to win the war is your general overarching goal, but the story tends to branch off into many different threads that all contribute to the main plot whilst also delving into the personal lives and conflicts of the characters around you. As with many RPGs, storytelling is a major aspect of Mass Effect 3, and it has one hell of a yarn to spin. And for anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to delve into the Mass Effect universe, there is the option to watch an interactive motion comic before starting your adventure that concisely covers the events of the first two games. Because it's not possible to import save data from previous Mass Effect games into the Wii U version, you will be asked to make certain decisions during the comic that influence the events of the past. Some of the characters that are present in Mass Effect 3 are dependent on the decisions that you make as the comic plays out.

Not only is the story behind this one well written, but the aesthetics of the game are also something to behold. From the war-torn streets of Earth to the polished and sparkling corridors of the space station known as the Citadel, every single environment is beautifully rendered down to the most minute detail. The spectacle isn’t just reserved for the environments, as the characters are equally as detailed and realistic and move smoothly during both action and cinematic sequences. The Wii U does well to keep pace with the action, but there is a very slight drop in frame rate when the gameplay is at its most frantic. All of the dialogue is articulately voiced by a who’s who of actors and personalities from Martin Sheen to Jessica Chobot, making the personas even more lifelike than the static and flat text driven characters that we so often see in other titles. A sweeping soundtrack that matches the tone of the game with precision compliments all of this as well.

At the core of its gameplay, Mass Effect 3 is an action RPG. As far as combat is concerned, it plays mostly like a third person shooter, but with a strong emphasis on tactical assaults rather than straight run and gun action. Depending on which class you choose for your character, you'll have different abilities and weapons that you can use in battle. Completing missions will earn you experience points which can be used to level up your character’s abilities, and you'll also earn credits, the currency used in the Mass Effect universe used to purchase weapons, weapon upgrades, armour, and sundries. During most missions you'll also be accompanied by your choice of two squad members based on who your allies are in the game, all of which come with their own unique abilities and levelling systems. During combat you have the choice of either letting these characters run free and aid you in any way that they see fit, or you can command them to certain spots on the battlefield.

Though the game does boast an open world environment in regards to allowing you to choose the order in which you complete missions and explore the universe, most of the missions are rather linear in the execution. Once you begin a mission, you'll have very specific objectives in the environment in which the mission takes place, many of which involve locating a certain point on the map or defending a base after you arrive. Though missions can get a bit repetitive in that they mostly follow the same formula of seek and destroy, the diverse locations and reasoning behind the task at hand easily mask the repetition and make each operation feel fresh in its own way.

The way Mass Effect 3 controls is the standard affair for most shooters, with the L and R triggers used to scope and shoot while the face buttons allow you to switch between weapons and other abilities. The GamePad’s touchscreen displays a mini-map during missions and can be used to reassign your character’s special abilities — both of which can also be done by menus on the big screen — but the action in game is usually frantic enough that you won’t have much time to be constantly looking down at your controller. The Wii U Pro Controller is also compatible, and provides an experience that is equally as fulfilling as that with the GamePad. Whether you choose to use the GamePad or the Pro Controller is entirely dependent on personal preference, or on whether or not you choose to make use of the GamePad’s few additional features.

As with many modern RPGs, choosing the side of the good and evil dichotomy on which you stand is vital to the way in-game events play out. In general, helping people and saving lives throughout the universe will score you points on the side of Paragon while going against the grain will identify you as a Renegade. How citizens of the universe perceive you will affect the ways they interact with you, and it will also change some of the statements you can choose to make in conversation. It is not always clear which decisions you make will land you on which side of the fence, but much the same can be said about the choices you make in real life as well.

If you prefer not to traverse too deeply into the plethora of side missions, the main campaign will take most players between 15 and 20 hours to complete. If you do decide to explore the rest of the galaxy, the side quests can easily add up to an additional 20 hours of playtime. Beyond gaining additional experience points to level up, completing side missions can be useful in adding to your Galactic Readiness, which is representative of how prepared your troops across the galaxy will be once you decide to finally engage the Reapers in a final battle. It’s also worth keeping in mind that because every decision you make in the game alters the course of conversation and events, every gamer will have a different experience with this title, ensuring that multiple plays through are necessary for those of you interested in seeing everything that the Milky Way has to offer.

Also extending the amount of time you can get out of Mass Effect 3 is the online multiplayer. Though the only mode available is a sort of survival that frantically pits you against wave after wave of enemies; the variety in foes, locations, and weapons keeps the multiplayer feeling fresh. Much like single player, multiplayer allows you the option to choose from different playable character classes, each with different powers and abilities that can be levelled up. Experience and credits are earned by completing multiplayer campaigns, and the more you play the more powerful and versatile your characters will become; meanwhile the credits that you earn during multiplayer matches can be used to purchase equipment packs containing different weapons, characters, and items, all of which can only be used in online play. Playing multiplayer matches also affects your overall Galactic Readiness in single player, so squeezing in a few online matches might benefit players seeking out a different ending to the campaign. The inclusion of other play modes such as Deathmatch or Capture the Flag would have been welcome additions, but the online play remains fun nonetheless.

Many of you may remember the controversy and fan-uproar surrounding Mass Effect 3’s ending from a few months back. Developer BioWare addressed these concerns by releasing free downloadable content that extended the game’s ending, altered some of the final scenes as well as adding some additional side missions. Fortunately for Nintendo gamers, Mass Effect 3: Special Edition comes with that additional content seamlessly added into the game already on the disc. Future paid DLC available for other versions of the game are regrettably missing from this Wii U port, but the fact that we get the full and complete version of the main journey is reason enough to rejoice.


Starting with the third game in a series may not seem to make sense, and it could be jarring to some players, but that shouldn’t be enough to stop anyone from experiencing this game. It truly is a work of art made with the eye of a filmmaker, and a testament to what video games are capable of in regards to both gameplay and storytelling. Despite the rare occurrence of frame rate drops, and the stunted online play, Mass Effect 3: Special Edition is a love letter to video game and science fiction enthusiasts everywhere, as it does all it can to please the fans and engage newcomers to its immense and beautiful universe.

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User Comments (60)



Sun said:

How you like to play with words, NL!! Sometimes it is too silly though.
The game is superb but there are two stories that are missing here...



Shiryu said:

Indeed, I bought the game day 1 but feel a bit cheated by EA knowing fully well that "Mass Effect Trilogy" it's on the way to PS3 and 360 for the same price as this game...



Shanksta said:

I've played the all the games, and actually thought about buying this one for WiiU. I wish that the trilogy would make its way to WiiU because buying the last one doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Mainly due to the first being my favorite one, and personally I thought the second one was very important to the canon of the trilogy. (I understand you can go through the first two in graphic novel format but its not the same)



CanisWolfred said:

That reminds me, I gotta pick up the Mass Effect Trilogy when my PS3 gets back from the shop.



TurianAgent said:

I just finished this game on Xbox and holy cow, games don't get any better than this. Perfect storytelling, amazing score, exciting gameplay, more jaw dropping moments than I could count, and despite what everyone says, a gut-wrenching ending. I'd recommend playing the other two games first, but if you can't, there's still plenty to love here.



seronja said:

i've played the ME trilogy for ps3 and ME3: special edition on wii u, and i must admit ME3 is my least favourite game in the franchise, the experiance on wii u is MUCH better all thank's to the gamepad! And i truly hope EA and Bioware would consider it's trilogy to be released for the Wii U, i wouldn't mind having another ME trilogy because it's the best trilogy of this gen



zionich said:

I'm waiting. Hopefully wiiu will get trilogy. If not I'll get it for 360.



mozie said:

About time this was reviewed, incredible game made only better on the wii u, (the inventory system works so much better on the gamepad) 3rd time going through it and 1st time on wii u(as a fully biotic this time) and still loving it, really is a shame that they skimped on the DLC though, had pay to download them on ps3 when they should have been included, really enjoying the multiplayer on wii u too.



DerpSandwich said:

If you play this without playing the others first you're doing yourself an enormous disservice.

I'm waiting on Trilogy to come to Wii U too. And if it never does, I'm playing it on my Xbox.



Sabrewing said:

Yeah, I dunno what EA was thinking only having the third one be published on the Wii U... This is a series which prides itself on continuity, and if you can't maintain that accurately, then there's no point.



mozie said:

In all fairness, while playing the others does add to the experience, anyone who doesent have the option is still in for an incredible time with this and the comic does a decent job of explaining the backstory. Sadly I doubt we'll ever see 1&2 on wii u, unless this sells extremely well which I doubt as most will have played it on other systems. + The ending is Great!!



ei8htbit said:

(insert title here) is a love letter to (insert wide-sweeping genre to the point of redundancy here) = lazy review conclusion.



Skotski said:

Awesome game. Got the special edition of each when they first came out for the 360.

...though I want this game on the Wii U... I'm hesitant.
I don't know if they're going to suddenly shove the Trilogy on there a month after I decide to purchase it.
I already have the other games, but I love the integration of the GamePad and the Miiverse... but I don't want to have to repurchase it if a Trilogy suddenly comes out for the Wii U.

It would've been fine if they just released the Trilogy for the Wii U. We would've been willing to wait for that, EA!



SirSmugleaf said:

Guys, don't worry about a trilogy coming, because that rumour ended up being fake, so this is it for mass effect of Wii U, as far as I know...



Swithom said:

I... haven't bought it.
If a trilogy ever comes to the Wii U i'll purchase it in a heartbeat. Right now... I'm prepared to miss out. One day I might pick it up cheap on the PC but for now I'd rather just miss out



Slapshot said:

I have the trilogy. It has all 3 games and all the DLC for each of them. It cost the same price as this ONE game.



sillygostly said:

Both the Wii U version and the trilogy for PS3/360 costs about $80-$90 in Australia. I'm tempted to give this series a chance, but not when we're receiving such a lousy deal. Even the standalone version of Mass Effect 3 is only around $25-$30 on other platforms in Australia.



Einherjar said:

If the Trology will only come to the WiiU if this game sells well...
Lets see: The Trilogy (The full package: all 3 games and ALL DLC) costs the same on other consoles. This ist ONLY Part 3 ("Part" because its not simply the third installment of a series). HOW in the world are they expecting good sales on this game ? It may be the ultimate version of ME3, but nonetheless, its still only a third of what you can get elsewhere. This does make no sense at all.



Henmii said:

Finally the Mass effect 3 review! And I could be wrong, but I guess this is the first third-party Wii u game that gets a 9 on this site! Very impressive! But I may still hold out for the trilogy!



CaPPa said:

I have the trilogy on 360 but picked up ME3 on Wii U as it was on sale for $40 at Christmas. Playing on the GamePad is awesome, so I hope that we get some more Mass Effect (I know that EA said no trilogy on Wii U but nobody thought that the PS3 would ever get ME1, so there's always a chance).



SpaceApe said:

Great game but it feels really empty when you have to do the comic to catch up to everyone else.



DonkeyPuncher27 said:

I simply cannot get into the Mass Effect series. I'm not sure what it is about them. Just so much story I get lost trying to keep up with everything.



DePapier said:

I'm gonna get this game eventually. I'm still waiting for the trilogy, but they will definitely be more likely to make it for the Wii U if people show support and interest by buying and playing Mass Effect 3: Special Edition on Nintendo's hardware. My plan is to play this one with the female Commander Shepard, thus experiencing another version of the game than the one that is advertised, and then playing the full trilogy with the male Shepard once they'll tailor it for the Wii U. It is my understanding that this is a port with a conscience, and I'm trusting Straight Right to do an even better job with it once we Nintendo gamers establish ourselves as a potential market for the Mass Effect franchise.



DePapier said:

But question: ...would anyone dare to say the Mass Effect series is better than Metroid Prime Trilogy? I have only started the latter and have yet to play Mass Effect, but I hold firm to the belief that NO ONE can defeat Metroid Prime, especially when played with the Wiimote and Nunchuck.
As anyone tried both?



CharbroiledEwok said:

Maybe they'll do like they did with Metroid Prime on Wii: release the third game, then re-release the entire trilogy as a set. Do THAT, and I'll consider picking it up...



seronja said:

@DePapier ok i would not go that far... metroid trilogy to me personaly is by far better trilogy then the one of mass effect, but ME is for more western audiance and if they didn't screw up the ending of ME3 ( those who played all 3 know what i'm saying ) i think i could say then that it's better then metroid trilogy but that way it's not. the only trilogy better then metroid trilogy is donkey kong country trilogy and nothing else xD



SetupDisk said:

Waiting for the trilogy. Same price and if I really wanted it I could get on my PS3. Ridiculous decision that wasn't what was ported for the Wii U release.



Bliquid said:

@DePapier: honestly, this is like asking if super mario games are better than animal crossing games.
Quck recap-

Metroid prime saga: First Person Adventure, heavily exploration driven, fantasy/esoteric sci-fi, basically a polygon version of the previous titles.

Mass Effect saga: Third Person Shooter Rpg, veeery heavily story driven, choices are to be made in how you want to progress through the story, "realistic" space opera, basically a "choose your adventure" with shooting.

They are different like Star Wars and Battle Star Galagtica are.



Skotski said:

@SirSmugleaf We know the rumors were a false.
But if a company wants money, a decision to make something like that (with already in-hand development on other consoles) wouldn't be out of the question.
It's a matter of WHEN.

Like CAPCOM. They could just release new characters and things via DLC... instead they'll make an entirely new game.
And they could just release that entirely new game on a new console, instead they release the older version. But they can release the new version on there whenever they want instant cash if they wanted to. And stupid thing is: People will buy it. (I'm talking about SSFIV - in case that wasn't obvious)

EA isn't CAPCOM, but they do love them some money-grubbin' tactics.
It's not completely impossible that they'd release the trilogy if ME3 sells well enough on the Wii U... heck, it won't be surprising if they sold the Trilogy right before ME4 comes out (they're planning to go up to 5, if I recall).



krunchykhaos said:

If i recall correctly they did announce somewhere that the trilogy is coming to the wiiu. Remember only ME3 was re-"calibrated" for it so itll take longer to do one and two.



Bliquid said:

I think Metroid Prime saga, especially the first, is one of the best games ever.
It was almost perfect in every aspect, and became closer to perfection by adding Wiimote controls.
But i'd never dare to say it's better than ME saga so hastily.
Surely not without explaining why.
This is misinformation at its finest.
Maybe next time you could say that Fifa 13 is way better than Dishonored, since they are even more comparable...



Sun said:

Question is what's the point in releasing ME Trilogy for PS3 and Xbox 360 and ME3 for Wii U at the same price? Of course Wii U's ME3 version is going to sell a lot less.



TurianAgent said:

Gotta clear a couple things up:

1) The Trilogy does NOT include all the DLC. It only includes the Cerberus Network for Mass Effect 2 and an online pass for Mass Effect 3 (which you don't need for the Wii U version. You still have to purchase those separately. I understand the Wii U doesn't have any of this yet, but one can hope, right?

2) The Mass Effect trilogy is better than Metroid Prime. I found those games boring and repetitive. It's a good game, but it can't touch Mass Effect.



sinalefa said:

If they release a trilogy for Wii U, I would consider buying it. But I am not getting this one alone, or the trilogy in PS3 as I already have ME2 and wasn't that engaged. The production values are awesome but the story and the combat did not really get me.



TurianAgent said:

ME2 is easily the weakest in the series. The plot has little to do with the rest of the trilogy.



Truelovetat said:

Wow after reading the conclusion, I think I want this game. Although it's the most pricey game here(79.99)!. It sounds like one to get into.



kereke12 said:

i skim though the review but i already know it looks good and that's good it got a 9/10 ill be looking forward into playing it when i get the wii u



luminalace said:

I finally ordered the game after getting a deal that is $30 cheaper than the usual price in Australia. I really hope I love it!



Kolzig said:

If instead this would've been the Mass Effect Trilogy set, I would've bought this on Wii U. It is really insane that they did not make the whole trilogy to Wii U.



eaglebob345 said:

I bought this game for the Wii U on Amazon for $10. It is a great game, one of the few solid third party titles we got on the Wii U. I hope EA and other third party companies, like what Ubisoft is doing with Watch_Dogs, realize that late ports (or in Mass Effect 3's cases unfair ports) are always doomed to fail when the older consoles with larger install bases are eating up most of the sales initially, anyways.



pukka-pie said:

For me it is almost a total irrelevance whether you've played the previous two games... this is a MUST buy for Wii U owners.



eaglebob345 said:

@pukka-pie Which they are you referring to exactly, because EA and Ubisoft both had Wii U dev kits early enough to make passable ports of their games (or else ME3, NFSMWU, ACIII, etc. wouldn't have been on the Wii U). If you mean EA I call bs because they could have had a ME3 trilogy ready on the Wii U by its launch if they actually cared (they ported all that useless sports garbage). If you mean Ubisoft I call bs once more because all version of Watch Dogs were originally scheduled for November 2013, so the Wii U version should have AT LEAST been playable at that time (they probably lied). It's not like I want them to drop everything and make exclusives, or that I want to to port every single game they have (sports and FPS suck), but fair ports like a ME trilogy or a game (Watch Dogs) released ON TIME would help. Ubisoft was saddened because Wii U owners didn't want their yearly games (AC) nor an exclusive that didn't even look as good as AC (ZombiU) but they were just marketing the game to the wrong fanbase. Then they delayed Rayman and angered a lot of their fans (plus it steered anyone who wanted to get a Wii U for Rayman Legends away because it became multiplatform). EA has been throwing slander a Nintendo and cancelling working projects (according to the DEVELOPERS, not the suits at the top, nor the hateful biased media sites like IGN, gamespot, etc.) all because Nintendo wanted to control their own games.



jenkje said:

Great game. Buy it. It does not matter if you have not played the others ones...



larry_koopa said:

I'm just wrapping up my third playthrough of this game. I beat it for the first time shortly after the Wii U launch, and then I went back and started my new game plus the next day. It truly is one of the best games I've ever played.

I now own both a 360 and a PS3 (I owned neither when I bought my Wii U), but I have never felt the urge to go and play the first two games in the series. The story in this game really does stand on its own. The 20 minute comic at the beginning of the game does a fine job of bringing you up to speed.

I'd say this is my second favourite game on the system behind only Tropical Freeze... now that's saying something.



akaDv8R said:

In answer to the guy who said Bioware had dev kits early enough to have created a Mass Effect Trilogy fkr Wii U. In actual fact, they only got the dev kits 6 months before the console launched. In my opinion, I think they did a great job of creating a version for the Wii U. I played it on my 360, and can say that I believe the Wii U version is superior in a few ways. Also, how can you say Zombie U was/is a crap game? Of all the horror genre titles I have ever played, it stands out as being one of the best. Again, Ubisoft, and virtually all other devs for that matter, only got dev kits around 6 months before the Wii U launched. So, to learn how to programme the console, find out it's strength and weakness points, and to create a brand new IP in 6 months, I think they did an amazing job with Zombie U.

However, as we all now know, we have been shafted many times by Ubishfted, and lied to. Putting back the release date fkr the Wii U version by another 6 months, so they can make even more use of the Game Pad. Wrong, real reason, if they had released at the same time as the other versions, they would have been going up against MK8, which they certainly did not want. When they finally decided to release it, they chose the perfect time so as ro get the least amount kf sales. Releasing between Hyrule Warriors and Smash, gives them more reason to say. 'Nintendo owners DO NOT play mature games'. Well Ubishafted, if you did not lie, actually created titles for the Wii U from the ground up, instead of putting ankther version through the Unity 2.0 engine, and then just touching up the edges, people might actually buy your software. Also, you claimed that sales of AC4 were quite low. At the time you made that statement, the Wii U version had already sold more than 200,000 more than the Xbox1 version..... see, yet another lie/exchse.

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