I'll start with the good -- this game was fun to play. The combat was more action-packed than previous games, with difficulties for everyone that will provide a challenge for those who want it and be a breeze for those who just want the story. The weapon customization is a fun mechanic that provides a certain sense of progression, as does the leveling system which is largely unchanged from Mass Effect 2. I'll get back to progression later though, as I still have good things to say before I explain the low score I gave the game. The characters are as great as ever, and fans of the series will love seeing old friends again. Some of these moments can be heartbreaking, or touching while others will blow you away with how strong these people are in times of need. The game perfectly builds the sense of the galaxy coming to an end, and the constantly growing tension is perfect all the way to the concluding battle.
Here is where the news turns bad. Throughout the game, you will meet new people and interact with familiar races in ways you've been dreaming about for years if you're a fan of the series. Through tough choices and diplomatic skill the world could use now, you'll have a growing army at your back as you march closer to the ending. As you approach this ending, complications arise, and you are diverted for a time from the fight with the reapers. But, all players will eventually arrive at the final battle in much the same fashion, and you will find yourself at the emotional climax of the story. And then it fizzles out as you limp your way around with nothing but a pistol. From this point on, nothing you've done in any of the other three games of the trilogy have any meaning, because every player will have the same cut-scenes, ending with the same choice between three options that result in cut-scenes whose only defining features are the different colors of the explosions involved in them, and how Shepard dies. This creates one of the biggest feelings of disappointment I have ever felt in a video game. After all the time I have spent with the game, all the memories I had of saving the galaxy with my crew. All the choices I made through all the missions of the story, the vast hordes of aliens I had riding at my back into hell at the conclusion of the story, I got the same three endings as someone who killed everyone they could, heartlessly threw away whole races, and had a measly ragtag group of unprepared soldiers stumbling into the conclusion. Now when I look back at the trilogy and try to remember all the great moments in the series, I find nothing but these words, "None of it mattered".