Game Informer says Mass Effect 3 is Perfect…ish.
So being among the gamer folks, I need something to save me in case I really REALLY run out of toilet paper; so I keep Game Informer handy.
When I’m too lazy to sell my own games, I still trade and occasionally update my membership with Gamestop, a “benefit” of this membership is a subscription to Game Informer: a drowning game magazine from the 90’s that Gamestop bought out to contend with EB Games starting their own (better) magazine. With EB dead and Electronic Gaming Monthly out of the picture, Game Informer is pretty much the only pulp action in town and with ties to the primary retailer of videogames nationwide their scores and opinions are often… questionable.
Which brings us to the issue at hand…
Let’s talk about GI’s handling of Mass Effect 3; specifically, their review, rating and commentary on the side.
After the cut!
This issue’s “Game of the Month” was none other than Mass Effect with a glowing score of 10 slathered over its two-page review, but for the record let me just make this clear: With exception to Tali’s face, shitty cameos in lieu of playable squad members from ME2, various plotholes Bioware dug themselves, multiplayer semi-pointlessness, the only bone I had to pick with ME3 was its last 10-15 minutes and the abominable ending gurgled out.
The game itself is magnificent, taking even minor decisions into consideration and bringing the big stuff into play with better combat, amazing visuals, and a fairly top notch story. It’s excellent and it’s something that I’d be slapping Bioware on the back about if they hadn’t stabbed me in mine with they shitty closure their ending fails to deliver.
Also Daison, who is braver than I, tells me that different playthroughs tend to be uncomfortably familiar as though Shepard is doomed to run in the same wheel no matter what happens, what decisions you previously made or who survived to see the adventure brought to its conclusion. While in many ways Different Rachni make for interesting experiences and stand-in proponents for the Krogan cure make things exotic, the limitations of this epic glow as hot as the sun when they lead up to something that tosses the entire franchise out a fucking window.
Sorry, that got a bit excitable. Suffice to say Game Informer reviewed the game and got a glowing, emphatic review. Cool! I’m not really motivated to hunt and peck every review out of the ether, but this one fell in my lap and it’s this line on the side (their “Second Opinion” column) that curled my eyebrows in furious anger:
Don’t be dismayed by some users’ complaints about the ending; I’ve been a hardcore fan of Mass Effect from the beginning, and I am completely satisfied with this conclusion to the most ambitious video game project I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. -Joe Juba
Game Informer issue 229: Mass Effect 3, 2nd Opinion Column
So there ya go. Game Informer brings their EA dickriding review out after ALL the news has already happened and NEEDS to throw that little nudge into their publication to make sure that even though people oppose it so strongly that real publications are regularly reporting on it, you should ignore this wholly unprecedented phenomenon.
My opinion notwithstanding; I am genuinely surprised with how much the fans have been raging about ME3’s ending. I’m surprised as to WHY they’re pissed off after Bioware took a shit on their own game by ruining trilogy’s most important themes of man/machine coexistence being possible, unity of diverse elements under a common goal being preferable as opposed to homogenization of the galaxy, and ultimately taking player agency completely out of the equation when it mattered most in the entire series and THEN making the same ending three times over with none of the “wild differences” Bioware assured fans would have.
I get why Game Informer neglects to address the biggest problem marring ME3; having their snazzy wraparound cover and exclusive articles looks like they plotted this as a slam dunk. It’s not like every other element of the game deserves critical praise, but Mass Effect isn’t LIKE other games and it needs that distinction. The fact that this Juba-joker decided to sneak the comment in shows precisely how dire this situation is, that they have to persuade people to invest in a $60 commitment that actual consumer reports online assure them will bite them squarely on the ass.
Jamberlin pointed out that ME3 should reward exclusive ending content to those who toughed it through all three games and I agree fully given the fucking commitment their consumers on PC and Xbox 360 had put forth in time and money. Granted, Bioware and likely EA resent the concept of providing any exclusivity on this title given that they want to wring as much money from us suckers as possible, but there are things that managed to wriggle through that likely won’t show on the PS3 because there were SO MANY decisions and actions that defined the path of story and arguably the first game was literally the most important since it exposed you to Saren, the Geth, the Reapers and this magnificent universe in the first place.
Given Bioware’s false promises we should have seen hundreds of different permutations giving wholly different endings with wholly different results on the universe that we risked our lives to protect. We should have seen these results the first time without having to ask. I had multiple Shepards lined up to throw at this thing and I had been making plans to start several more Shepards to lead to different fates for the Galaxy and those characters I had grown to love so dearly over the last five years.
Different opinions are one thing, but this is possibly the most important aspect of the franchise since it represents at least a 100-hour commitment no matter what and it’s great that those #%*@-gurgling Yes-men at Game Informer love the ending while made their donation to Electronic Arts pockets, but to do so in such a brazen fashion is disappointing to the point of being hurtful. Seriously. Game Informer, please pull the dick out of your mouth to distinguish yourselves from Gamespot.
If I had read this review and somehow been able to acquire a copy of Mass Effect 3 without somehow tripping over the fact that people have taken up arms against the company that made it because the ending was THAT bad; I would absolutely burn every copy of Game Informer that I came across once I got to this ending. It’s bad enough that their score system has to be stymied by this half-assed method of tacking on percentages because they’re fucking idiots that can’t write well enough to yield worthwhile review. It’s far worse knowing that even with ten whole numbers to work with, their scatterbrained opinions become erratic enough to require an accompanying percentage when a blemish takes the piss out of a full number.
The last time in recent memory that I came across that coveted perfect 10 score was for Batman: Arkham City, which deserved every one of those fucking numbers for being an amazing game that blew its already amazing predecessor out of the water. It’s quality that occupies that entire product that should merit the score, and not a cowardly percentage score to fuck with metacritic stuff, but a damn score (preferably 1-5 so that every Game Informer can’t fuck it up) accompanied by less error-filled text that speaks to their gaming audience rather than dickriding companies for big games.
Sadly, I live in a dreamworld expecting gaming journalism to be more than an elaborate advertising sham that isn’t in the street begging for publisher dollars. If constantly walking out of an alley funny is what keeps the lights on for Game Informer, I’m not sure that it’s worth the expense.