Game column: Mass Effect 3, a Portal rival, and save York’s remaining Game

21 Apr 2012 @ 2.31 pm
| Entertainment

Mass Effect 3: 'an astonishing piece of work'
After 15-month long wait, on March 6 the highly-anticipated final chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy was finally released. Part RPG, part third-person shooter, the series has been widely acclaimed for its sheer scale (all three can be completed in over 40 hours), powerful story and evading comparison to anything else in the gaming universe.

One moment you find yourself shooting one of the many inventive enemies, the next you are cultivating a relationship with someone from a different nebula. The variety in this series is unparalleled – Halo and Gears of War style combat, but with the RPG quality of Fable.

Developers BioWare have set themselves a huge challenge with this game, attempting to create a unique story for every single player, based on in-game decisions. Many believe they have somehow pulled this off, with reviewers comparing notes showing very contrasting storylines with only the occasional crossover.

Also, players can import their saved games from the first two to the beginning of this one. This means that decisions from the original and hugely acclaimed second game can dramatically alter the course of the third, creating one vast story spread over three discs.

However, although most critics and fans alike agree that what BioWare have achieved with this game is remarkable, there are still a few drawbacks to ME3, one being the ending. Without spoiling anything, it is extremely disappointing, and many fans of the series feel let down by the finale, mainly because it doesn’t feel like your many hours of choices have any effect on what happens.

It is still possible to be put right with a good DLC, but the Mass Effect series – for now, at least – has finished with a whimper.

Ending aside, Mass Effect 3 is an astonishing piece of work with no rivals. An innovative series has ended with a third masterstroke, with fans of Shepard and the Normandy crew and newcomers alike generally being pleased with the first three-quarters of this amazing adventure.

A DLC named Resurgence was released on April 10 for no cost, containing six new multiplayer characters, maps and a variety of weapons, but does not go near to resolving the poor ending of the astonishing Mass Effect trilogy.

Look Out For

Being developed by a co-creator of one of the cleverest games around is always a good sign for any puzzle fan. But Kim Swift, who created Portal alongside Erik Wolpaw back in 2007, is currently helping develop a new digital-download game with devs Airtight Games (creators of 2010’s Dark Void).

Quantum Conundrum, released this summer, in some ways seems similar to Portal, in that the puzzles are equally perplexing and scientific as dimensions and gravity are messed with.

You are the nephew of the eccentric Professor Fitz Quadwrangle, sent to stay in Quadwrangle Manor for a while. But soon, inevitably, one of his experiments goes wrong and he becomes trapped in another dimension. You now need to work out how to return him, presumably with the aid of his IDS (Inter-Dimensional Shifting) glove, which can change the world around you to one or a merger of four other dimensions – Reverse Gravity, Slow Motion, Fluffy(!) and another one which Airtight are keeping to themselves at the time of writing.

The Prof’s abode isn’t dissimilar to Portal’s test chambers – a large structure broken up into separate rooms – and you are free to inspect it plus use the glove to solve brain-teasers. Scientific equipment, strange animals like Ike in the screenshot below and various safes, vials and switches (cough*Portal*cough) adorn every room to produce a labyrinth of home comforts and science labs just waiting to be explored.

Quantum Conundrum seems to be the perfect solution for anyone who is waiting for Portal 3 but needs another comparable puzzler to pass the time. Roll on summer!

What do you think the other dimension should be? Parallel? 2D? Send us your suggestions!

And finally…

The sad news that GAME in the centre of York has had to close due to financial constraints is unavoidable for all local gamers.

The increasing popularity of sites on the net like Amazon and play.com coupled with the current economic climate is forcing 277 stores to close throughout the country, but thankfully there is still one in York – at Monks Cross.

A plea from me and hundreds of other gamers who use this store – please try to purchase your games and other gaming tech from here rather than the web. Even if you just come to see what they have in stock, this would help boost the visiting figures and encourage the company to keep this one running.

Please help your fellow gamers by stopping the greedy internet swallow a brilliant local shop. Thanks!