In 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Teen Jean Gray drops the line "the third movie is always the worst one" after watching Return of the Jedi. This immediately sparked a few thoughts:
1) Wait until she sees Rise of Skywalker.
2) She has a point.
3) Does that rule apply to videogames?
Fortunately for our favourite hobby, video games tend to fair better than their cinematic counterparts when it comes to this particular rule of three. Sure there have been a fair few duds in the land of three (Driv3r immediately springs to mind) but overall, third entries in games tend to be among their series best.
Whether it's because developers have figured out what their customers want or simply because practice makes perfect, most game series are firing on all cylinders by their third iteration. As this article will show, this remains true both across genres and through the years - the oldest game on this list came out in 1988, while the youngest was released only a couple of months ago.
Our first entry, however, was released sometime in between...
10. Mass Effect 3
No game has had a more deletrious final act than Mass Effect 3.
The internet backlash against ME 3's ending has gone down in video game folklore. Millions of gamers vented their frustration that an entire trilogy's worth of decision-making was rendered pointless by an ending that ignored all the player's choices and simply asked them to pick between a red pill or a blue pill (with a bonus green pill thrown in on top).
Was it frustrating? Absolutely. Did it wreck the 50 hours of fist-pumping, fan pleasing action that took place before it? In this writer's opinion, absolutely not.
Ending aside, Mass Effect 3 is a glorious celebration of Bioware's seminal sci-fi series. It's a game made by designers who clearly fell in love with their creation, and a generous thank you to the fans who made it possible. Fan-favourite characters get their moment(s) in the sun, series-long plotlines are gloriously/horribly resolved (depending on how much you screwed up along the way) and the combat is not just great for an RPG - it's great, full stop.
Packed full of sharp writing, great characterization and so much heart you can practically hear the game's pulse, Mass Effect 3 is a glorious celebration of the much-beloved series.
Even with the abrupt ending.