App Review: Mass Effect 3 Datapad


With this game tie-in you get marginally more than you pay for.  The Mass Effect 3 Datapad app for iOS is a product that does not add much to the Mass Effect 3 experience, but it is free.  To have any worth to most users, they will need to have an EA Origin account tied to both Mass Effect 3 as well as the Datapad.  The interface looks and sounds like Mass Effect, but there is an appreciable lag when some of the buttons are pressed.  It is clearly communicating with some server in EA land, and this chops up the experience.

The appeal of this app is that it will, to a very limited degree, enhance your Mass Effect 3 play.  It does this in two ways.  The first is that after certain milestones are reached in the story in the main game, characters from the game will send short messages to Shepard via the Datapad.  These little text messages will be about what they’re thinking or doing.  Mundane transmissions of this sort do add a little depth to the people and creatures in Mass Effect.  However, these messages do not clue players into new quests or tasks or anything that will actually matter in the game.


A trivial effect on Mass Effect 3’s Galaxy at War Readiness rating is the second appeal of this app.  Using the app, players can send fleets to various sectors of the Milky Way to complete missions of either defending a base or gathering resources.  A successful run takes a certain amount of real-world time (usually about 1, 4, or 6 hours) and will net a fraction of a percentage point of Readiness for that sector.  Credits can also be gained, but they are only used to upgrade the fleets in the app and do not transfer to the real game that matters.  This is an inefficient way to increase galactic readiness as being attentive to this app for a full day, checking fleet readiness every ninety minutes like clockwork, will net the same story effect as playing one Bronze level match of ME3 Multiplayer.  All of this is probably meaningless if you haven’t played the main game, and should give you an indication as to whether this app is worth your time.

For those that stick to a purely offline experience with their Shepard shootin’, this app is worthless as none of the aforementioned data exchanges will occur.  The app contains the Codex from the main game (and the two previous chapters) which might be nice to have on the go, but probably is not too useful.  It also has a few trailers and screenshots from the thirdest of Mass Effects.  Again, difficult to see why anyone who bought the main game would want to see these when they could just be playing the game and seeing these sights in motion.  If someone who downloads this package does not have the game, it serves as a nice advertisement but not a compelling game experience.

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The price of this app is just right; it’s free. The messages from crew members do not add a ton to the experience, but it is fun to think that even in the far future, powerful political and military figures will send trivial texts to one another.  The fleet mini-game will have little appreciable impact on the main game’s outcome when compared to the similar perks gained by playing Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer.  But, for the Mass Effect 3 superfan, the Datapad is a fun little app to mess around with while taking a break from saving the galaxy.

Download it from the iTunes App Store and give it a shot.


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About the Author

Steve has been playing video games since the start of the 1980s. While the first video game system he played was his father's, an Atari 2600, he soon began saving allowances and working for extra money every summer to afford the latest in interactive entertainment. He is keenly aware of how much it stinks to spend good money on a bad game. It does things to a man. It makes stink way too much time into games like Karnov to justify the purchase.