March was always going to be a massive month on the account of the release of a little known sci-fi RPG by the name of Mass Effect 3. Indeed, gamers had been waiting to get their grubby mitts on Shepard’s swansong ever since that gritty teaser trailer emerged at the Spike Video Game Awards back in 2010, with the wait even more torturous due to the small matter of a delay. Still, avert your eyes from ME3’s Reaper-induced galactic calamity for a few minutes and you’ll find there’s plenty of other games worth your hard-earned pennies. While a mixed bag in terms of quality, March was a diverse beast if nothing else, catering to a wide variety of gamers of all tastes.
For starters, we’ve got yet another reboot in the form of Ridge Racer Unbounded, with developer Bugbear Games taking Namco’s venerable franchise and fusing it with the DNA of Split/Second and Burnout. Silent Hill fans had reason to get excited too, with both the Silent Hill HD Collection and Silent Hill: Downpour stepping into the light, though not without its controversy; the former was plagued by complaints of a shoddy port thwart with choppy frame rates visual hiccups. Elsewhere, FIFA Street put one in the back of the net, Ninja Gaiden 3 cut a bloody swath through retailers and cover-based zombie shooter Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City lumbered onto shelves, offering a new take on a classic series. Capcom also released Street Fighter x Tekken, marking a hugely successful crossover between two of beat-'em-up's biggest franchises. PlayStation Network also saw the release of one of its most acclaimed outings yet in Thatgamecompany’s Journey, which went on to become the fastest-selling PSN title in the U.S. and Europe.
So, all in all, not too shabby, and a fine step up from the past couple of months. Still, only one game can bag the accolade for Game of the Month, and in all fairness, it was only ever going to come down to a clash of the titans between Mass Effect 3 and Journey. Ultimately, BioWare’s sprawling space odyssey narrowly beat it to the punch. Controversial ending aside, Shepard’s latest (and last) adventure is an absolute triumph; a sprawling sci-fi epic tinged with beauty, emotion and eyeball-popping spectacle. Combat’s been spruced up to accommodate seamless evasive moves and cover transitions, quests are varied and packed full of meaningful dialogue, and the choices you make are broad and incredibly thought-provoking, often leaving a lump in your throat as you shape the fate of the galaxy in the war against the Reapers. In short, a bombastic and compelling conclusion to one of the best trilogies gaming has seen.
Check out our review here, and have a butcher’s at a brief excerpt below.
“Overall, from combat to storytelling, Mass Effect 3 is an absolute monster of a game. Despite some visual inconsistencies (clipping, Shepard talking to thin air for a few seconds), and a poor mission management that inexplicably fails to update your progress, there’s little to complain about. At the end of the day, BioWare has crafted an emotionally-charged spectacle that is unlikely to be surpassed for some time. Shepard, we salute you.”
Don’t agree with our choice? Let us know what title you would crown Game of the Month: March 2012 in the comments section below.