For those of you PS3 owners who are completely new to the Mass Effect scene, you have some required reading ahead of you. Please refer to my original review of Mass Effect 2 on Xbox 360 for an in-depth look into what you‘re getting with this legendary space opera.
Now that you’re caught up, let’s get right to it.
On the surface, this is a perfect port. The hype about Mass Effect 3’s engine supporting the PS3 version has died down with good reason: there’s not much of a difference. Combat still feels great. Even with the standard controller’s triggers, each firefight is fast and smooth. I almost prefer the dualshock3 to the 360 controller. The addition of facial construction codes to the character creation menu offers a nifty little tool that will help other players recreate pre-existing faces, though there doesn’t seem to be a way to upload these codes to a universal hub. For now, you’re left snapping pictures of the code or writing it down, which seems painfully archaic for a game set so far in the future.
There’s plenty to gush about, though I think I did plenty of that a year ago. The facial textures and animations seem to be a little smoother this time around and it sure is nice not having to juggle two discs. Yet there’s nothing groundbreaking about this port- the aesthetic changes are subtle, though most may have to take a look at a side-by-side comparison in order to truly understand the differences. Though there was a moment when I found myself truly impressed by how unbelievably smooth the facial animations were when speaking to Grunt in the cargo hold. I couldn’t remember if the scene had been that crisp on the 360, but it didn’t matter. It still looked fantastic.
There’s been no improvement with load times, despite the install, but this is an issue most fans should have already come to terms with. I experienced some annoying sound delays that I never noticed on the 360 version, but these were infrequent. There were a few character model glitches during the opening cut scenes that repeatedly caused awkward cut scenes.
Mass Effect: Genesis, Dark Horse’s comic substitution for the first Mass Effect, does its best to make up for the lack of the real deal. Those who never knew the first game may find themselves feeling let down by the rather tedious introduction, but I was fortunate enough to have Jennifer Hale entertain me with her narrative and couldn’t complain much. It’s not fantastic, but it gets the job done. Players use the conversation wheel to make the pivotal choices from the previous game and the paper plot progresses. As a veteran of the first Mass Effect, I can say in all honesty that I did not mourn my inability to play the first game on the PS3, despite my undying love for the game.
But it’s the lack of the first installment that left me wanting as I returned to the alien worlds I’d first visited on the Xbox 360. Quests appear just as they did before, prompted by choices made in the comic. Yet something was missing. There were several quests left out simply because of how much that comic didn’t cover. BioWare is such a proponent of player choices and that’s what makes plot progression so rewarding- you are constantly dealing with the consequences of your actions. You may never deal with Conrad Verner, the die-hard fan, or Gianna Parasini, the woman who helped you deal with Anoleis on Noveria- you’ll never kiss her, and she’ll never, ever buy you that drink. These names mean nothing to players who are experiencing the Mass Effect universe for the first time, but those returning for another round will notice that quests they took for granted are nowhere to be found. That damn reporter you punched in the face forgot all about that last encounter. Why? Because it never actually happened. As far as the big picture is concerned, these quests mean little; they’re just missed.
For first-time players, it’s an excellent port that needs to be in every PS3 owner’s collection. For those who knew it once before on the Xbox 360, think twice. I advise only die-hard fans of the series to own it on both consoles, if only for the free DLC. Yet if you’re as dedicated as I hope you are, you already bought that content on Xbox Live. And now you’re sitting there, reading this review while wearing your N7 hoodie, N7 wrist bands, and your custom-made N7 scarf. You reach into your N7 wallet and pull out your sixty dollars. Let’s face it. I’m Commander Shepard and this is your favorite game on the Citadel.
Here’s The Rundown:
+Amazing game on Xbox 360 is just as amazing on PS3
+Bonus content contains some of the greatest DLC of all time
+Graphics are a bit more polished on the PS3- especially facial textures
-No major improvements over Xbox 360 version
-Lacks depth that can only be experienced if saves are imported from Mass Effect.
-Occasional sound glitches/weird-ass hair issues