Having played through Mass Effect (ME) and then Mass Effect 2 (ME2), I thought I might have yet another play-through of Mass Effect 3 (ME3). I’ve had two play throughs of ME3, but I did it with whatever random history the game gave me. Now, however, I could import my ME2 character, along with all the decisions she’d made. From here on in, there are likely to be spoilers so, you know, be careful. What’s been interesting is how much it’s changed the game experience. Sure, the shooting parts are pretty much all the same (perhaps with different characters as my squad), but some of the story and many of the conversations have changed. It’s given the story a lot more depth. It now drags me in even more, because know Shephard’s history and was part of creating it. Therefore I’m rarely surprised (or confused) by some of the discussions between characters. The (often subtle) references made to previous encounters serve to bring up known shared history, and pull me into a story that I probably overplayed a bit. There are also fewer conversations where past events are glossed over, or discussed “generically”. Instead, more conversations reference specific events or characters. That makes the story seem richer.
One particular sequence that became more powerful through an imported character was the dream sequences. In the original playthroughs you just had some shadows whispering ‘Shepherd’. Now, however, you have the voices of those squadmates you lost, and that really gave me a “hairs on the back of my neck standing up” feeling.
Another couple of examples of how things improved are my dealings with Wrex and Mordin.
I was able to save Wrex, and was happier to have him around on Tuchunka than I was Wreave. It also meant ‘Eve’ survived past the genophage cure, which made me even happier. I’m not sure if those two really are linked, but both times I had Wreave, I lost Eve; the one time I had Wrex, she survived.
I still lost Mordin, but somehow – even knowing that was coming – it meant even more because I’d spent more time with him, and come to like him even more. Given what happens with Mordin, I’m not really sure you can have a play-through where you don’t lose him. At least if you plan on curing the genophage.
In parts I haven’t reached yet, I’ll be interested to see if I can save the Quarians this time around, as in both other play-throughs they stupidly kept up their battle with the Geth, even when I’d warned them not to (and upgraded the Geth fully – hey, the Geth deserved to live!).
There are a few things that I’ve yet to find the history to. The last I saw Anderson, he was Earth’s representative on the Council, and Udina was his ‘advisor’. Suddenly it seems Anderson is back on Earth, and Udina is now councillor. Nothing has yet told me why and it’s a touch disconcerting.
I’m not sure how much further I’ll play through. I can’t really see me going through to the very final scene – though apparently there’s now a different ending available. I guess we’ll see.
However, right now, Skyrim – Dawnguard, beckons me …