Mass Effect 3 Preview
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 13th Jun 2011
Of the 153+ games shown at E3 2011 there was a handful that had the sort of carte blanche that caused massive lines for the demo -- and it quickly reached the point that just getting in line did not mean you would get to demo the game before the show closed for the day -- the lines were THAT long!
Fortunately we were able to take a look at the game, and we have much to report to you -- because even though this one will not be released until March of 2012 there was a good bit of it on display at E3, and what we saw certainly suggests that it will live up to the previous games in the series.
Shepard returns, and this time around he seems like a much more serious and stoic leader, resigned to the fact that a massive invasion is coming and that it will be up to him and his team to spearhead a major portion of the tactical resistance.
One new bit that we found refreshing is that it seems that people in the Mass Effect Universe have rediscovered sex -- and reproduction! There were children in the demo -- in fact one child in particular served as a poignant example of what we were fighting -- and what we were fighting for. Plenty of other sites have ruined that little event by revealing it, but we will resist the temptation, and instead head into the meat of the demo.
The demo included lots of game play from the game engine, giving us a good idea of what play is like, which naturally begins with combat. The good news is that it is not that different from the previous games, so there will be no major change and thus, no learning curve to deal with, but the same cannot be said for the enemies that you will be facing in the game, which are bigger, badder, and more of a challenge than before.
We experienced an encounter with the Reapers -- one of the dreads from the previous games that are now a very real threat -- which come into the game as a major enemy, but then the demo shifted to a mission of Krogan mercy, in which we met up with some familiar characters and saw more of the combat side of the game, battling against waves of agents from Cerberus whose intent was to overwhelm us and take us down, while taking out the last of the breeder Krogan females.
The buzz for the demo surrounds Shepard's omni-blade, a weapon that he put to use with considerable effect, and that fans are itching to play with themselves. Not just fans... Seriously.
The word that was passed leading up to E3 was that Mass Effect 3 would take a slightly different approach to combat, with there being more of a stealth element in the game as an option over the direct head-to-head battle style from the previous titles, and it seems that the omni-blade, combined with the new movement mechanism in the game, will play a major role in that.
Fans of the first game that established the series will be pleased to learn that grenades have made a return, and while the demo stuck mainly to the soldier class in the game, we are assured that the biotic combat and classes will also feature, as will the established skill-based upgrades system that was a major part of leveling your character.
A new system called blood haze replaces the veins from the previous games, and towards the end of the demo we got to see how the games hook together, with the beginning of the third game neatly linking to the final DLC from the previous one.
Conclusions and Observations
One of the most basic elements of the Mass Effect Series is that as a game it included elements of story telling that placed a high value upon the choices that you, the player, make, and how those choices branch out and impact the story that is unfolding before you. This system is back and solid in the third game, which means that once again we are getting a game that will have a very high replay value!
The Shepard that we saw in the demo is not too altered from the one we are used to playing, which means that he will not be a stranger to us, and that is a reassuring thing indeed, though perhaps he is a different Shepard after all... The demo shows us a Commander who no longer thinks and acts like a loner, and as we watched the demo end, we saw him board the Normandy (which now bears a decidedly Alliance paint job) and head off to warn the combined races and, presumably, seek their aid.
It will be good to battle with allies beside us this time around, and to have the faith of the Alliance Council without having to work for it or beg for it, but it is highly unlikely, from what we saw of the game, that our ties to the Alliance will alter the experience of playing the game as Shepard all that much.
Mass Effect 3 is due to hit gamers hands on March 6th, 2012, and we are not sure that we can actually wait that long -- but Gaming Update will be keeping an eye on it and bringing you the news as it happens!
Official Title: Mass Effect 3
Developing Studio: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: March 6th, 2012
Platforms: Xbox 360 / PS3 / Windows PC
Genre: Action-Adventure / RPG / Third-Person Shooter