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Also, for the pulp paper traditionalist, Mass Effect: Homeworlds, No. 1 ($3.50), written by Mac Walters, the lead writer of the video game, hits stands in late April.

Pixel-popping scale: 9 out of 10. The lifelike animated cut scenes can be occasionally jerky, and the dialogue sync during long-winded conversations might burp a bit, but the sheer beauty of the dynamically visual content should stun gamers.

It’s an awesome mix of eclectic, species-driven character design including the massive reptilian Krogan and exotic locations such as the Citadel space station (home to a belligerent Galactic Council), all of which really suck a player into the mythology.

Star power: Like appreciating an epic movie franchise, I’ve known many of these legends such as crusty Capt. David Anderson, Salarian geneticist Dr. Mordin Solus and Turian tough guy Garrus Vakarian for many years, and the chance to take part in this reunion is quite enjoyable.

These virtual stars not only get an enormous amount of dialogue, but characters get an assortment of memorable lines such as Commander Bailey’s “we all lie to ourselves to deal with horror,” or Doctor Karin Chakwas’ “a little more optimism and a little less realism, Commander.” That takes the action dramatically above the common interactive gaming medium.

Extras and unlockables: Those new to the game will need to study the encyclopedic Codex hanging out in the Journal area that fills up with new entries as a player progresses. Offering a rich look at the mythology of Mass Effect, it includes lengthy (often) narrated text on such topics as Aliens: Extinct Species, Technology, Known Associates, The Reaper War, Mass Accelerators and Planets and Locations.

Multiplayer: An online co-operative mode called Galaxy at War tethers to the main story but allows up to four players to customize characters from species such as the Turians, Krogans, Quarians and humans that work together to defeat waves of enemies in squad-based combat.

Success in missions can directly impact Shepard’s Galactic Readiness rating and potentially decide the fate of the universe as the solo campaign plays out.

Players fight Geth, Cerberus and Reapers within hot zones such as Firebase Glacier, conquering three levels of challenges.

Although, the multiplayer is not required to ultimately save the galaxy, it is a new addition to Mass Effect — a fun and very customizable mode that will offer hours of additional game play.

Final thoughts: Thanks to some exhaustive character development, heart-wrenching battle scenes and that Codex packed with information, Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy that plays out like Peter Jackson’s grandiose Lord of the Rings and will satisfy committed players and Shepard devotees alike.