For some, this month's award-winner will come as no surprise. And there's a reason for that: from start to finish, Mass Effect 3 is one of the most unforgettable RPG experiences ever made.
The game is full of touching moments, painful goodbyes, and fantastic music that will stay with you long after the ending credits roll. From a gameplay standpoint, the series has never been tighter. The gunplay is punchier, the powers are satisfying, and the multiplayer is a (totally optional) blast. But the reason this game stands head and shoulders above so many other games is the incredible emotional connection players make with the characters that flesh out this vast universe. For players who began with the original game, seeing the relationships come to a conclusion and the end of Commander Shepard's long, painful journey will fill them with an incredible sense of loss and finality; one that puts the game on the same shelf as some of the greatest finales in storytelling history.
The huge number of voices on all sides that can be heard discussing Bioware's decisions with the finale of the story cannot be discounted, of course. Some love it, some hate it, and some wish they could just forget it, with many others falling somewhere in between. But the simple fact is that experiencing the story of this series from beginning to end is an incredible journey that cannot be truly dimmed by hang-ups in the eleventh hour.
Before the original Mass Effect launched, Bioware said their goal was to make you care about these characters and form real attachments to them. And while the ending of the game is divisive and has stirred many loud voices into action, this is an indication that the developers have succeeded. If they hadn't, no one would care. Bioware has capped off a series that will be remembered for years to come, mentioned in the same breath as classics like Chrono Trigger and Baldur's Gate. And with that achievement, there is no doubt in our minds as we give our Game of the Month award to Mass Effect 3.