Sidescroller: ‘Mass Effect 3’ closes the franchise on a cinematic high note

“Mass Effect 3” packs in the franchise’s mix of planetary exploration, morality-based conversation and combat.

The humble space opera has faded from television in recent years, leaving a “Battlestar”-sized hole in our collective hearts. Don’t fill that void with Jar Jar Binks in 3-D. That’s just humiliating. Play video games instead. “Mass Effect” is back, offering up one last slice of intergalactic swashbuckling before it goes up to that Holodeck in the sky.

These games, for the newbie, offer up an engrossing serial narrative dealing with humanity’s place in a, um, federation of planets. There’s action, plenty of talking and decisions that have actual consequences. If a character died way back in the first entry, assuming you played it, they are still dead in the third. Pretty cool, right? Still, this installment takes great pains to catch new players up on the story.

“Mass Effect 3” is a sequel in more of a cinematic sense. The gameplay is fairly indiscernible from “Mass Effect 2,” except for some simple Kinect functionality on the Xbox version. If you liked the franchise’s mix of planetary exploration, morality-based conversation and third person combat before, you’ll probably like it again. The story, however, is all new and manages to end the trilogy with earth-shattering aplomb.

Of course, this is 2012 and online multiplayer must be shoehorned into every video game no matter what. It’s not bad, if you play these games primarily for the combat. You can even parlay online success into more allies and weapons in the single player campaign. Beware buying used, though. It comes with one of those “online passes” that must be registered for 10 bucks if you want to play online. In space, nobody can hear you grab for cash.

Creepy online pass or not, this is one heck of a close-out for the series. The main storyline takes at least 50 hours to complete and every narrative thread you’ve been wondering about gets unraveled in ways that are often surprising. Play it and then wait patiently for a new “Star Trek” series. It should only be another decade or so.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.