Platforms: PC (Microsoft Windows); PlayStation 3; X-Box 360
Rating: M for Mature – violence, mild sexuality.
Game Summary: Mass Effect 3 is the third in the Mass Effect video game trilogy. The series tells the story of Systems Alliance Commander Shepard as he fights against a race of machines called The Reapers, bent on global domination and destruction. In Mass Effect 3, the story begins on Earth with Commander Shepard relieved of duty, but later brought back with the mission of uniting the galaxy’s forces to stop the Reapers. Shepard liberates former squadmates and goes on goodwill missions throughout the galaxy in order to get help and resources for the war.
Critical Evaluation: Although a rated “M” for mature game, the Mass Effect series is very popular with teens as a role-playing game that offers the ability for multiplayer gaming through gaming networks like PlayStation and X-Box. There are missions to complete and a “choose your own adventure” feel in that every decision brings its own consequences, and these can change with each play. Downloadable content provides additional quests, maps, characters, and weapons. Gameplay is rapid, with interludes of content to flesh out the Mass Effect storyline. Controversy over the game’s ending led EA Games and game developer BIoware to release additional downloadable content during Summer 2012 that will expand the ending with an epilogue.
Reviews: Gamespot.com: “Mass Effect 3 is a remarkably satisfying conclusion to a beloved trilogy, and a poignant and memorable role-playing action game in its own right.”
Game Informer: “From Earth’s darkest hour to the universe’s last stand, this game revels in heart-pounding excitement and soul-crushing twists. It starts out with a bang and rarely slows as it races toward its conclusion.”
Awards: The Mass Effect series has won over 80 awards, including the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’s RPG (role-playing game) of the Year at the 11th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards; New York Times; Game of the Year: 2007 Game Awards; IGN’s Best Story and Best RPG: Best of 2007; GamePro’s Editors’ Choice 2007 RPG of the Year and Developer of the Year; and Best of E3 2006 from LifeTeen.com.
Game Information: The Mass Effect Wiki is a comprehensive online encyclopedia for the game’s universe and is a very helpful compendium of information anyone interested in learning about the game or related media, including comic books and novels. It is available in six languages: German, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish and Hungarian. The Complete Mass Effect Encyclopedia is another online resource that welcomes Mass Effect gamers; their content tends to remain game-related, with articles about alien races, ships, characters and skills.
Reader’s Annotation: Commander Shepard has one more chance left to save the planet. Will you join him?
Genre: Role-playing game.
Reading Level/Interest Age: 15+.
Challenge Issues/Defense: Violence, brief nudity, mild sexuality (characters can choose to be homo- or heterosexual). Defense: This is a futuristic survival game geared for older teens.
Why did you include this game in the titles you selected?
I am interested in role-playing games, having played tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons as a teen; it’s interesting to see how they have moved into an online world.