Dialog options are presented on a wheel that's familiar to players of previous Bioware titles. A player selects a response in conversation, and then the character replies in a line of dialog that captures the essence (but not verbatim) of the statement chosen. It's very easy to determine which responses are the "Paragon" responses (or ‘good') and which are the "Renegade" (‘bad'). If the player wants to play as a character who's concerned with the folks around him, one would gravitate toward Paragon responses, while if you're a "Mission First, Last, and Only" type of character, you'll head for the Renegade options. These will influence how NPCs react to your Shepard, so chose wisely.

There won't be any spoilers in this post. The most talked-about aspect of Mass Effect 3 has been its ending, which has many gamers up in arms. There are, however, 16 possible endings to the story based on the makeup of your crew, decisions you've made in game (and in previous games) and the level of support you've managed to secure from other races in the galaxy. Up to the very end, Bioware has created a story in which the player's actions have real and far-reaching impacts on how the game plays out.

While I can't recommend this series of games more highly from a story standpoint, there are some concerns that our audience may have with some of the content of the game (which I'll list below). Please take a look down there, and if you feel you can discern the good from the bad, I don't think you can go wrong in playing through the Mass Effect series.

Mass Effect 3 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. I noted the following things that may be of concern to some of our readers:

Language: It's salty. Any "bad" word you can think of will make an appearance at least once during the game, probably multiple times. Blasphemies also occur.

Sexuality: Shepard can pursue intimate relationships with any of his/her crew members, but is not obligated to. They aren't integral to the story and can be avoided. They're also much more implied (think PG-13) than shown, in most cases (there are two that I've seen that border on R). Both hetero- and homosexual relationships are available choices. And, as seems to be prevalent in games today, women are objectified much moreso than men by the "outfits" that they wear.

Violence: Mass Effect 3 is an action RPG, with heavy emphasis on the "action". There is a lot of shooting and killing in this game, and there is no option (in contrast to other RPGs available on the market today) to play as a stealthy character and avoid killing. Animations of killed opponents can show blood and gore. Not the worst that I've ever seen, but graphic enough to cause concern for some.

Theme: One of the themes of the Mass Effect series assumes that all races (human and otherwise) have had their evolution and civilization guided, not by God, but by the Reapers, a race of sentient machines who are bent on destroying them. The implicit assumption is atheism.

*This Review First Published 4/9/2012