I am so mixed about how to go about reviewing this game... I had a blast, but there is so much that nags me now that I've finished it.
If you don't know what the gameplay is, you're living under a rock. I don't really need to go into it. It's fun. It works. The cover system sucks a little, but it gets the job done.
Basically, this is what we played in ME2. Whizz bang shooty fun tempered by a great story. The story was a blast throughout the whole thing, but I did have some issues with the dialogue. Where the hell was all of it? The characters rarely had anything to say to you! The long dialogue trees of ME2 where you could spend a couple hours talking to each character and hearing stories and all sorts of nuggets of joy are gone. I realize there isn't a lot to do with some developed characters, but it's like they didn't know how to continue with each character, so they didn't.
Pretty much, short of romances, you don't EVER have conversations with your teammates anymore. There is maybe 1 or 2 for each squadmate. Most of which fall early in the game. The rest of them are just them talking at you as you walk up and try to initiate dialogue, just like all NPCs. Part of me wonders if this is a result of multiplayer. It's not that what they say is bad, it's just all rather shallow feeling and disappointing.
Even the romances are hilariously short. There are a few bits for each of them, but pretty much they consist of "Are you still interested?" "Yes." and then some "Oh I love you" thrown in every couple hours. All in all, I felt like they ran out of ideas for the characters and instead of developing them they just decided to let them "stagnate." What annoyed me most is even new characters had very little development.
However, what WAS there was extremely well done. The dialogue was memorable and worthwhile when it existed, but overall I just felt like there wasn't a whole lot to it. I feel like the game saw some cut corners on the dialogue department.
But, this can be forgiven due to the awesomeness of the main story arc. It MORE than kept me interested throughout the entire game. Without giving away too much, the fight against the reapers is probably one of the best representation of bleak odds of war I've run into in a long time. The decisions you are given are often tough, and I found the story-based dialogues to be excellent. As anyone would expect, a LOT of people die. I won't give away any more details on that.
But, ultimately, the endings are a SEVERE disappointment.
(*MINOR SPOILERS START HERE*) Basically, you get a three-option tri-fecta similar to Deus Ex, which may not be bad all in itself, except that ultimately nothing gets resolved. Every ending uses the same footage with very minor changes, and ultimately you have NO idea what happens to almost everyone. There is no closure, no facts, no information of what happens afterwards. Plus, worst of all, in order to get the "Best" ending (which is 12 extra seconds of video more than the next best one, only in the case of one selection though.), you have to play multiplayer. MULTI. **** PLAYER. I don't want multiplayer in my RPGs, thank you very much. It's a dying breed already...
Basically, the endings are cheap cop-outs for a writing crew that didn't have a damn clue how to finish it out. They even broke their own canon with what happened in the end (See some ME2 DLC for that one).
And before someone says "you just want the happy ending," No, I don't really care. I could deal with really **** endings if I got closure to WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED AFTER THE GAME. All your actions gave you no clue as to what actually occurred. I'd almost have preferred the reapers to win (pretty sure they can, actually), at least then I'd know everyone died.
(*END OF THE SPOILERS*)
Basically, the sad fact of the matter is that it was a thrilling ride where a bird shat on your head in the end. Sure, you had fun, but you're still trying to wash off the way it finished.