Oh, and did I mention that you can choose who Shepard will sleep with in the game? Man or woman — whether you're playing as a man or a woman? Nice to see the future is open-minded to one's sexuality like that. Always a plus in my book.
Those of you with saved games from Mass Effect 2 on your system will be delighted to know that this game can import your files over to this one — which are said to give you over a thousand variables on the final mission. If you don’t have any saved files (or have never played any Mass Effect title before), it’s no biggie: you can shape your own surroundings by choosing Shepard’s background and military status (i.e. an orphan who became a hard-nosed commander, an army brat with a soft spot, etc.) and dialogue choices/decisions reflecting your choices will appear during the game’s 82-minutes of cut scenes (don’t let that number dissuade you: it’s worth it).
Of course, it’s not without its faults. Silly dialogue and story bits aside, the game’s “the ‘X’ key does just about everything” programming can find you ducking directly in front of an enemy when you’re only trying to flee. I realize that there are only a certain amount of buttons on the PlayStation 3 controller, but they surely could have done something a little different there. My only real qualm with the game, however, is that it locked up completely on me twice in two days. Another unpleasant moment occurred when I backed down too far during one of the final combat missions and was unable to get back into the action again (to wit I had to restart the level): Shepard just wouldn’t jump back up there, the knob!
Minor issues aside, however, Mass Effect 3 is easily one of the better games I have played recently. It’s exciting and fun enough to warrant a second go from those of us who usually just play a game once. The game also boasts an impressive soundtrack (which ranges from trance to something sounding like it was culled from an ‘80s synth score), as well as a slew of professional voice actors, including Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale as Shepard, Tricia Helfer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Seth Green, Martin Sheen, Lance Henriksen, Keith David, Ali Hillis, and Brandon Keener. They even got Buzz Aldrin to lend his voice to a character.