The fans are pissed and yet, the review scores are, for the most part, through the roof.

Maybe none of those critics were fans (although that's difficult to believe). Or maybe, just maybe, the fact that many reviewers simply don't have the time to finish big games like Mass Effect 3 before posting a review played a role.

I did not finish ME3 before posting the review . Back in 2009, I posted a clarifying feature that dealt with the harsh truths of the state of game reviewing; accept them or not, those all remain true today. While a few – a very few – of the biggest sources have the staff and resources to play every game through to completion before issuing a review, for the vast majority of sites, it just isn't possible. And given the demanding nature of the gaming public, we can't afford to be late. You lose attention and traffic if you're frequently late.

I will absolutely guarantee that not every critic finished ME3 before writing the review. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most didn't finish. Some hardcore fans who have complained bitterly about the endings have even suggested as much, saying there's no way the game would've received such high marks if more critics had actually completed the adventure. It's a perfectly legitimate question and one that deserves to be addressed. However, I can only speak for myself; you'll have to be satisfied with that-

First and foremost, in over a decade of reviewing games, I have very very rarely written a review, finished the game in question at a later date, and said to myself, "Gee, I want to change my score." The bottom line is that seasoned critics know when they've seen enough, when they can accurately gauge the product's quality, and this almost never requires us to complete the game. Perhaps when the day comes that sees much more complex storylines, this will change. But that's the only thing that will change; controls, basic mechanics, graphics, music, voice performances, etc.; these elements won't suddenly become much better or worse as the game progresses. That just doesn't happen.

Secondly, I've seen the endings now and no, I'm sorry, I wouldn't change my score. I really don't see what all the ruckus is about but admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of the franchise. Call that bias if you like, and say that it renders my score null and void, but that's the way it is. I would also direct you to reviewers I know completed the game and still awarded it a very high score, so perhaps this isn't too big of an issue. Thirdly and finally, maybe it's important to acknowledge that at its core and from an analytical point of view, Mass Effect 3 is a superior piece of work. At least doing that much will give BioWare some of the credit they deserve.

As for the rest…fight amongst yourselves. 😉

Related Game(s): Mass Effect 3

Subscribe
Notify of
86 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

Funny, I have been quietly reading about all the controversy regarding the ME3 game ending. Now admittedly I have not purchased the game so I can't say too much about it at this stage, but my question is why?

Is the story that intricate and detailed that it warrants such a reaction? Can endings be that bad that a company is forced to change it? It's a game, it's a fun play through, you see the fireworks and then that is it… what more?

I will get ME3, but why all the fuss? I loved the demo and thought the presentation and dialogue were slick… I would just enjoy it for what it is…

Anyway, with regards to the review scores, it could very be that many of the critics did not finish the game otherwise they may have picked up on "why" the endings were poor and in what context, nonetheless, all this is probably a little overblown. I think the inherent quality (from what I can see) is there across all its production values…

Look at how many times Lucas has kind of "spoilt" Star Wars… people the world over still enjoy it and say "oh well"… and accept it for what it is.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"


Last edited by Qubex on 3/21/2012 9:23:59 PM

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Doesn't Gamespot have a finish the game before it's reviewed policy?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

They do. However, I do cite them in my article as being one of the VERY few sources that are able to do that.

And besides, it has been abundantly clear in the past when they write reviews when the game obviously wasn't finished. So it still happens.

telly
telly
9 years ago

I think it depends on the nature of the game, too. Do you need to master every Street Fighter combatant before you can write an accurate review of the latest Street Fighter? Probably not. But might you give your journos the time to play through a story-heavy game like Mass Effect if you can swing it? If you have the time/bandwidth, probably yes. Regardless, I think game reviews can be very accurate even before the game is finished, but it's an interesting thing to think about.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I see your point Telly. But arguably, a person could play through the story or arcade mode and claim they've "finished" it. Skill building games I assume have more of a quantitative perspective, regarding overall quality and offering. I learned a long time ago that critics are usually not a master of any given game. That's for the hardcore. Fighting games, for example, I look to the critics for the overall synopsis and general product offering, noting any glaring flaws or misgivings along the way. But leave the actual quality of the fight to my own judgement or to fighting game fan sites.

NG3 (yep, slipping it in again 😉 is another game that can become similar to a fighter. Im pretty dissillusioned by the critical response, but placing myself in the shoes of a critics job, and their usual service to consumers, the game would probably be best approached cautiously by the majority of game players, as it's best kept secrets do not make themselves readily known(and NG3 does terrible at explaining anything), and I'm pretty much convinced most gamers don't play games of this type to the extreme as I do. I make it very technical for myself, hence why I enjoy it so much. I usally can't get as much technical fullfillment out of other like-genre types. Bayonetta could if I allowed myself to like playing better for the sake of point multipliers and stylishness.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

YES, they do Temjim and I salute them for it. That is the kind of professionalism I expect.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

This whole fiasco is insane and makes me ashamed to be lumped together with these gamers. These raging nerds need to man up and deal with the fact that the ending is what it is. That said, I don't believe it would have changed many, if any review scores had they finished the game. Don't most reviewers take into account A LOT of things besides the story or ending? I mean Rage got fairly good scores and it's story and ending was atrocious.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Bioware says they did listen and are using fan backlash criticism in the new ending DLC.

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
9 years ago

@ WorldEndsWithMe

Well actually as far as I know they didn't actually say anything about new ending dlc. They just said some things that hinted at that.

But even if true it could open another can of worms if Bioware charges people for something they probably should have gotten when they bought the game. What that would mean is essentially people paid full price (or more) for an incomplete game.

Another thing is that as I understand it the ME3 ending(s) is problematic on a number of levels. That there was apparently no closure is only one issue. I think it would be best if Bioware uses any new ending dlc to completely rewrite the existing ending(s). If they try to justify the existing ending(s) that could possibly make things worse.

In other words there are still a number of things that could go wrong with new ending dlc if Bioware doesn't go about it the right way.


Last edited by Looking Glass on 3/22/2012 7:38:39 AM

telly
telly
9 years ago

Agree. I have loathed quite a few games in my day, regretted sinking dozens of hours into a quest that yielded a terrible resolution, and never in my wildest dreams did I considering demanding NEW endings.

I really, truly hope BioWare finds a way to diffuse this situation, both with the crybabies who started this mess and the defenders like me, who are at the moment appalled BioWare is going to augment the ending in way. What a weird, sad epilogue to the Mass Effect trilogy.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I read at an IGN interview it was a certainty

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
9 years ago

that same article at ign never stated a brand new ending that retcons what happens at the end of me3, but that it would explain a lot of things

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

Rage may have received decent scores but it was taken to the freaking woodshed for its lack of strong narritive and idendity. Just go thorogh Metacritic. The was easily the biggest gripe reviewers had with the game, and one I tend to agree with. The "ending" for that game was a letdown mainly because it somrhow felt incomplete. I say games have a long ways to go in terms of writing and storytelling.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I agree, if you are going to review a game and it comes out fantastic but the ending breaks the story you still have to take into account all those basic elements and countless others. You can't say the ending ruined the graphical presentation and so forth.

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

True, but is the ending that bad that it breaks the whole trilogy… the complaints being made sound to me that Bioware really made errors… but for a dev such as them, surely it is not as bad as it is made out to be…

It maybe that people are more upset that choices made during the play through do not influence the outcomes enough. I can understand that but how many endings are enough?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

Qubex, its because the fans of the series got hooked on the amazing lore and story that was in the first Mass Effect game. I think because of biowares history the ending is super confusing for the fans because they can't believe Bioware would write something so atrocious. On top of that the ending is literally A B or C, and they are practically the same, and you don't get to see the aftermath. For a game that promised closure they ended the game so fans could wildly speculate what happened to the galaxy, to shepard and to your crew…..How is that anything close to tying off the end of a trilogy?

In fact not all but a lot of fans think ME2 was an abomination as well. As it has a ton of bad writing and plot holes in it too.

Are they still fun games to play? Yes they are, but the hardcore fans invested in the story and the ending for those people was enough to make them feel super betrayed and lied to.

I have a list of quotes from bioware developers and staff saying that the ending would be this this and that, and that there would be so many you wouldnt be able to say I got ending A B or C. Which I might add is exactly what we got. Plus the writing in the last ten minutes REAAALLY factually makes NOO sense, if people think it does, then they have to be delusional. I say that with confidence as a number of people have dissected it to show that its utter nonsense.

Yes games are about the ride and some games don't need stories to be enjoyable. BUT when your game ME1 was so refreshing and full of mystery and created this awesome universe and set up a really cool story, well people are going to be mad. I think the people who are reallllly mad are the people who hated ME2 for straying so far from ME1s original story.

I honestly think they should have just made ME1 and then worked on a large expansion for two years and finished the reaper story arc and shepards story, while the original team and vision for the story was still fresh.

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

Fare enough Xenris… appreciate the explanation… I will what you said in mind when I play through ME3…

Thanks again!

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Metal Head
Metal Head
9 years ago

I'm still playing Mass Effect 2 and like the game so far. It will take a while for me to get Mass Effect 3, because Vita is hard to put down. I don't know how to review games, but I know what I like. I don't understand the constant complains for Mass Effect 3 ending. What I really hate are updates, patchs to fix a game.

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

Ben, can we please stop with the ME3 articles already? How many did we have in the last few days? Seriously…

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

March and April are tough traffic days.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

It's called current events. You may not have realized, but we're supposed to cover those.

You're lucky there aren't more; most sites DO have more.

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

Obviously I realize it, no need to be a smartass. I've been here long enough to know that.

But not every current "event" needs an article written about it. I guess you're the one that didn't realize that.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Sorry Ben, I'll amend my comment. Just get sick of seeing these kinds of posts from people when the solution to their dislike is simple.

If you don't like it NAS, don't read it.


Last edited by Jawknee on 3/21/2012 11:17:23 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Okay, okay, everyone calm down. Jawknee, I appreciate it, but no need to go on the offensive.

And I admit, I was a bit of a smart-ass myself. It's true that we've done a lot of ME3 coverage but I think it's in the site's best interests. Hope that's a better explanation. 🙂


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/21/2012 11:10:55 PM

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Ben, are you seeing someone?

Nah but seriously, it's probably a good practice to just not read stuff you aren't interested in. I read most articles here, but not all of them.

ME3 is the only real blockbuster that's released in the last month, and it's definitely trending across the internet. Ben would be stupid not to keep up with it all, if for nothing else, the health of the site.


Last edited by Underdog15 on 3/22/2012 11:28:43 AM

PC_Max
PC_Max
9 years ago

Well, you just have to look at Skyrim which was full or bugs and major issues that it still retained high scores and GOTY award. I have not played this game but that surprises me IF all that I heard about the bugs/issues is true. I think I will have to play it and judge it for myself.

I have read reviews of other games a long while back that had major frame rate issues that were given low scores. I get confused because I guess when its a certain issue, it warrants a low score… or maybe just maybe because a gamer or critic plays the game with no real issues that is what counts, regardless if a large number of users hit the issues.

Ugh!! comes down you to… borrow the bloody thing of a friend, if they bought, try it out and see before maybe you decide to buy it.

Ah.. the gaming world can be just soooo fickled. Long live gaming and everything good and bad it brings. 🙂 Keep playing!!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

It depends on if there are reasons to forgive some of it like a massive open world setting with tons of things going on at once, or if it really shines in other areas. Assassin's Creed gets away with screen tearing murder, but there's a lot else going on there.

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

Dragons flying backward? 🙂

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

1torulemall
1torulemall
9 years ago

If you bought a book and up until the last chapter the book was great and then the last chapter is(as they say still to start ME3)crap or disappointing does this make the whole book a bad one?The feelings/experience the book(game/movies/series/etc) up to the last chapter are to be disregarded completly?Only the destination counts not the journey?
Do you ask for the writer to remake the last chapter if you didn't like it?For better or worse this is the creation he wanted you to read.To ask someone to change his creation it is selfish and immature the least.Accept it for what it is and on his next creation punish or reward him by making the purchase or not.I just hope this phenomenon won't appear anytime soon cause its quite sad.

All the above for the artistic part of a game(music/story/art direction-etc) not the mechanics or technical aspects so considering that no the critics shouldn't care whether the end is good or bad.Just if the game is good or not and the reason.


Last edited by 1torulemall on 3/21/2012 10:41:14 PM

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

Its more like this, you get to the end, and it makes no sense and confuses you, and goes against the lore that the book had just established, but then WAIT. The last page has a form you can detach from the book and fill out your information. You can send cash or a cheque and you will get the messed up ending explained to you in a couple months for the low price of 9.99.

Heres the other thing. Its what Bioware was promising, countless times about how the ending would provide closure, have a huge amount of diverging endings, wouldnt be an ABC choice, would tie off EVERYTHING. I have posted the quotes on other Mass effect articles on this site so if you want to see them they are there.

This is what is leaving a sour taste in peoples mouths. People are standing up to this which is good. THEY supported and paid for the game and were lied to. Its not like going to a movie and being mad, you lost out on like 10-15 bucks tops. Its 70$ for a game, its not cheap and people who spent that because they trusted the reviewers(who mostly didn't finish the game) are pissed.

Here is the biggest kicker, its basically been proven that this was planned. On Xbox live people found that there is a screen that says this. "Commander shepard has becoem a legend by defeating the reaper threat. Now you can continue to build that legend through further gameplay and downloadable content."

So yes it is enough to ruin the series for hardcore fans. It is ENTIRELY different than the book or movie analogies people keep giving, or the art ones. A lot of the people who dont get this backlash from the fans probably didn't play the first ME game. Thats the trend I have been seeing at least.

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
9 years ago

The ending wasn't planned out due to that screen at the end. They have always done this so those who purchased dlc at a later date, From Ashes or any future dlc, can go ahead and play it without starting a new record. They did this on ME2, and on Dragon Age

It also allows you to finish any sidequests that are currently still available at the time, since it starts you back before the last Cerberus mission. The ending may not have been good, but lets not look too far into something as normal as a 'continue to play if you want' screen…


Last edited by aaronisbla on 3/22/2012 3:36:21 PM

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

Oh its not that screen that makes me think they planned a DLC ending. Its the terrible dream like ending with nonsense writing, that goes against everything all previous games have developed lore wise.

Its obvious that either the indoctrination theory is true, and that we will have to buy DLC to see how the game really ends. Or the ending was the worst planned out ending in any game ever and has some of the worst writing in any medium.

Sounds bold sure, but do some research on the ending, tons of people have dissected it and it is factually just plain terrible writing, and on top makes no sense within the context of the game and the first 2 games in the trilogy.

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
9 years ago

the ending totally makes the indoctrination theory a viable story arc, but the ending could have been written and done much better.

I dont understand it, Bioware went thru great lengths to not repeat the same mistakes some thought two made, as far as the action and hell, even the story goes. The addition of less characters made for a tighter narrative, and it had better pacing.

Some plot holes from 2 that people had gripes with were even somewhat settled, like they explain why cerberus appeared to be a nicer organization to you in me2 than they really are. But then they murk it all up with ten minutes of the ending….baffling

I began thinking indoctrination after the events on arrival, but i did't expect such a vague ending

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

Exactly, thats kind of my point with all of this. Either its the indoctrination theory which the more you look at the story the more it seems highly likely, or its the worst writing bioware has ever done >.<

I hope its the indoctrination theory, but I would still have some gripes as, that would still mean that we got no closure and they perhaps planned to sell us the real ending as DLC.

Like I said earlier and in other ME3 articles on this board, the devs have been quoted saying that the ending would bring full closure, and there would be no speculation. You wouldn't be able to count the number of endings etc. Then we get an ABC ending that is completely ripped out of Deus Ex, almost word for word.

But yeah we will just have to wait till april and see what Biowares move is with this ending thing. I'm intrigued to say the least 😛

Deano34249
Deano34249
9 years ago

Indoctrination Theory anyone??
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ythY_GkEBck

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
9 years ago

its probably the only way the ending makes any since, ever since Arrival, i thought shepard was gonna go down this route. Too much evidence supports this theory

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I prefer the way A Clockwork Orange ended in the film versus the book.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Ugh…..I can't STAND Kubrick.

I know, I know…let the flaming begin. 😉

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Neither can I. 🙂

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

That's the only work I found to contain a useful exploration of an important question about mankind. I only mentioned it as a classic like the ME franchise was destined to be before this particular explosion of rage.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Sorry World, but the Russian authors were doing that long before Kubrick. War and Peace comes to mind. 😉

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

Sorry guys, but I have great respect for Kubrick's work…

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I never got into Russian lit so I can't say when the whole "programmable man" idea was best characterized.

goldentinny
goldentinny
9 years ago

Frankenstein dealt with all of those issues, and extremely well, in 1818. I could read that book forever.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

A reviewer that doesn't finish the game? Shocker! / sarcasm

You can always tell when a reviewer doesn't spend the necessary time on a software title.

It's why a professional system needs to be established in order to force the required time needed for some titles.

Don't have time? Don't review it. Simple.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

That doesn't make a lot of sense.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Think about. If there was a reviewer entity that goverened websites and its writers, it would eliminate several problems.

1 – As with any professional group, you get professionals who are serious on the job. These people are not accountable to the publishers and developers, they are accountable to the entity they represent.

2 – Having a professional group brings instant recognition and peace of mind. A reviewer who is part of this entity is serious about his trade. No longer will his reviews only affect the studios and cost employment of others but the reviewers neck will be on the line. Reviews can hurt people with little or no fallout on the author.

3 – Credibility. Any reviewer who is in fact a part of this professional collection will instantly separate themselves from the rest of the pack. This would bring the industry into a more serious and positive light.

Hope this helps.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

But if you can't review it without playing all of it this site would go under in two seconds.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Either that, or we'd have to find another way to stay interesting. But no matter what, we'd certainly lose a lot of respectability. All major sites are supposed to have reviews…fast.

It's deadly if you don't deliver, but it's ALMOST as deadly to kill yourself doing it. 😉


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/22/2012 5:27:12 PM

Spanky
Spanky
9 years ago

I agree to a point…I am on my third playthrough of Assasin's Creed Revelations and my review would have changed after the ending and with each subsequent playthrough. It would've been a solid 9 before finishing but because of the ending, and the control issues that have cause me to de-sync, or lose 100% so many many times I can't even begin to count. The controls on this game are hovering around 5.5 for me about now. It's a shame the game could've been SO good. They should've took some notes form the control in the Batman games. I never once died in that game due to poor control.