this year the divisive Mass Effect 3 was released, concluding the
current console generation’s largest, most ambitious sci-fi franchise.
Though some took issue with the ending (which we mention in our Mass Effect 3 review, few argued against the
improvements to the gameplay, and the general strength of the
storytelling. With the Wii U’s release, BioWare has repackaged the
thrilling shooter, inviting Nintendo gamers to experience Mass Effect
for the first time. And though it’s a competent port with some nice
additions, it’s hard to justify picking this one up when it means
forgoing the continuity carried over from the first two games.
core experience--the one we played back when the game launched on other
consoles earlier this year--is essentially the same. Commander Shepard
is on a quest to stop the reapers from their intergalactic genocide
quest by blowing up bad guys, sleeping with aliens, and making
ridiculously difficult decisions. These choices continue to escalate as
the game progresses, making the “which person do you save” moments of
past Mass Effect games seem quaint in retrospect. Third-person action
segments are thrilling, frequently reaching heights usually only seen
for fleeting moments in other franchises, from the beginning of the game
until its conclusion. The multiplayer, too, is intact with the Wii U
version, and you’ll be hard pressed not to find yourself pulled in to
the thrilling wave-based matches.
Technically, Mass Effect 3 for the Wii U is about the same as it was on other consoles, save for some occasionally blurry textures and audio problems. They're minor, and the visual differences are only noticeable if you've played the game on another platform first, but they're still there. Some minor additions, however, make up for the issues, and create a more flexible
experience when it comes to combat. Ordering around squadmates, both to change position and use
abilities, is easier to control with the touchscreen. Quick taps will
cause your allies to dash across the map, and commanding them to attack
enemies is even easier when you don’t need to constantly try to remember
what was assigned to what button. The inclusion of a map on the screen,
too, is a technical improvement, even if it isn’t needed.
important is the inclusion of a smattering of additional features,
including the Extended Cut ending, as well as the From Ashes and
Leviathan DLC. Since Mass Effect’s downloadable content is best
interweaved with the rest of the story, it helps the game’s value,
padding out the already lengthy campaign.
largest, most unavoidable issue with Mass Effect 3 on the Wii U is also
the most obvious one: It’s best served as the conclusion to the past
two games, and not really meant to be a stand-alone experience. The
introductory motion comic works for those who have already played the
game on other systems, but it doesn’t really give the full story for
anyone looking to jump into the series for the first time.
you really, really want to play Mass Effect and simply can’t get your
hands on it for other consoles, the Wii U version will definitely work,
and it’s a fine iteration. But unless you fall into that niche, it’s
likely worth grabbing the games on other consoles so that you can get
the full experience.