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The Mass Effect diaries, volume two
by Andrew Whipple III

It's been well over 20 hours since I was first introduced to the opening credits of Mass Effect 3. Since then there's been no shortage of cinematic moments, intense combat and emotional dialogue. ME3 is definitely what you expect and so much more. While the bulk of the game has been cleared, there's still so much to do and even more to look forward to.

The more I play ME3, the more I realize BioWare really took into account everything we loved and hated about the series. The Mako missions, identical buildings, scanner sweeps, all of those frustrating mini-games, practically everything has been eliminated that one could consider a waste of time. A decision like this might seem a bit unnecessary, but I endorse this move as it has made the final game in the trilogy the most exciting and the one with hardly any fluff.

The customisation I mentioned in my first diary has deepened significantly. I've only bought, maybe, two weapons from stores in the whole game and I'm running around with more than 25 weapons in my inventory that are all unique and fun to shoot. Since I'm an Adept, I really don't use weapons often but the ones I do use are worth the time spent tinkering around with. The modifications I can make to these weapons have also increased as I've been introduced to several new items. Some allow me to fire without using a thermal clip and there's some really useful mods that cut the weight of a weapon in half. I've only ever seen two slots for mods in a weapon, but my favourite part of customising is seeing the change in the weapon itself while you do it. Adding a scope for increased accuracy? You better believe a scope will be attached. Want more damage? An extended barrel will be attached to your weapon. Going into it, I expected to make some tough decisions but I didn't realize some of my choices would also carry over to my arsenal and what to bring/how to modify them. Brilliant, I say.

You will be killing dudes. A lot of dudes

Being so deep into the story now, I can safely say that there's nothing disappointing about the dialogue. If anything, this is the most involved I've ever felt with the Mass Effect universe. Whether that might be because it's the last in the trilogy is up for debate, but I give the credit to the writers on this one. Every confrontation, every conversation has a certain weight about it that makes it personal. How the characters you're speaking to move, their body language, facial animations, everything is presented in a way that you simply can't bear the thought of missing a drop of dialogue. Of course I won't ruin anything here, but get ready for some of the hardest decisions you've made in a video game. The line of what's right and wrong is mighty blurry this time around and I can't support it enough.

It seems the vehicle segments have been completely stripped from the game this time around. I'm not against it as the combat is just that damn good, but it is something I noticed. I should also mention that character-wise, there's a lot of funny bits buried away. On multiple occasions I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things said to Shepard or just at some of the things people did around the ship. Mass Effect 3 doesn't force you to check back in with every character time and time again, but you certainly are rewarded for doing so.

Whatever Anderson says, you do it.

In my previous entry, I mentioned the Galaxy at War and assets you collect throughout the course of the game. How this system works is up to your efficiency in exploring and collecting items you can use in the war on the Reapers. Every person who joins your cause is put into your assets, which is really just a collective number to demonstrate the amount of 'power' you have. This number will increase a bar that basically tells you what kind of endings you can receive. The multiplayer also gives you assets and increases your readiness rating, which is just another way to increase your military strength. If you don't want to gather all the assets to get your bar to the max, multiplayer is another option. Sure, it may just serve as a minor distraction, but it's nice to have that co-operative material available when your friends continue to harass you to play with them.

This will do it for our diaries on Mass Effect 3. Come back tomorrow to witness our full-scale review on the game and what we truly thought of the whole experience. Thanks for being here with us!

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- Andrew Whipple III

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