With the wealth of content that BioWare has given us with the recently released demo for Mass Effect 3, I decided to break it up into three parts to make sure I give each aspect some detailed coverage. Today’s post goes over the single player side. Check back next week and I’ll have some detailed information for the brand new co-op multiplayer mode and also what I think of the Kinect functionality.
Let’s be honest here, I have no doubt that Mass Effect 3 is going to be a great game. I don’t need a demo to sell me on it, but I couldn’t resist having the chance to pick back up with Shepard again. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the fantastic additions and tweaks BioWare has made.
Detailed impressions await you below the break…
The demo gives you two separate sections to run through, the first being more of an intro/tutorial section as it details the controls and the beginning stages of the story. The second part pits you with Liara, Wrex and Garrus later in the story and lets you spend skill points and mess around with the more advanced tactics of issuing commands and battling tougher enemies. All around, a very cohesive demo which gives you a great look at what you can expect.
Please note, my play through may be a bit different from yours as at the beginning when you’re creating your character, you’re presented with a number of different options to select. I made my Shepard a Vanguard because that’s what I had in Mass Effect 2 and I wanted to keep it as close to that as possible. Don’t worry, I plan to go back and play with the other classes as well. How could I not? Most of the questions you’re presented are standard fare including things like your childhood and if you’re ruthless or a war hero. The interesting aspect came in when you were asked about your major combat loss. You could select “numerous”, “Kaiden”, or “Ashley”. I picked Kaiden for my run through and I haven’t had time to play around with the other options quite yet.
Another interesting detail that I had forgotten all about is the fact that you can now select the style of game you want to play. For you traditionalists out there, you’ll want to select Role Playing as it’s what you’ve come to know and love out of the series. The other two options are Action, which focuses on the combat aspects of the game and cuts down on conversations which instead play out as cut scenes. The final option is Story, and from what I gather, it’s a mode that’s more for beginners as it focuses on the story over the combat.
So where are we in the story at this point? Well, to avoid major spoilers from the last DLC for Mass Effect 2, lets just say that Sheperd is back on Earth only this time, no longer a Commander, but as a regular member of the Alliance military. Word spreads quickly that there’s extremely large and unidentified ships moving towards Earth. You meet with a ruling council about the threat and soon enough, the Reapers begin their assault of Earth. You now team up with your old buddy Anderson as you try to make it to the Normandy as the Reapers destroy everything around you. It’s quite a visual treat.
The real fun begins in the second part of the demo, which is obviously a bit further down the road. You’re now on the Salarian home world of Sur’Kesh with Liara, Garrus, and Wrex. You’re here to save a fertile Krogan female and just as you settle the hostilities between Wrex and the Salarians, Cerberus shows up to further mess up your day. With additional help from Mordin and Major (formerly Captain) Kirrahe, you’ll need to rescue the female Krogan from Cerberus.
So what are these additions I’ve been talking about? The biggest addition for me has to be the faster and more agile Commander Shepard. No longer will you see him awkwardly run down hallways. Shepard seems to have inherited moves that Marcus Fenix or Tom Clancy would be proud of. He sprints harder, can vault over small objects, jump into cover, and even forward roll. It seems like such a small tweak but believe me, it makes things oh so much smoother. Another awesome but small addition is the new HUD icons for your squad. Now when you map an ability to them, you’ll see the icon next to their picture. It’s nice because it’s a quick remind on what power they currently have assigned.
Guns in general seemed to have been tweaked as well as I noticed a subtle ‘thud’ noise as bullets hit an enemy. It gave a more satisfying feel to the shooting aspect. While I didn’t have a problem with it, the screen that comes up when your damaged has also been toned down as I remember many people didn’t care for the strange vein looking lines that appeared when you suffered heavy damage. The upgrade menu has also been given an overhaul as you go to spend points on an ability, you’ll notice an upgrade path opens for that skill. It’s more user-friendly and is so much easier to see the different paths and what you’ll gain. I’m a fan of the new look. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of the inventory sections or gear customization but on a positive note, I did come across upgrades and parts for weapons like scopes and other things. So it’s there.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with what BioWare has here. I’m a fan of the franchise so I wasn’t worried but it’s always nice to receive confirmation. From my point of view, this seems to be a cross between the first two games, so if that’s true, it should be the best. Here’s to finishing the fight on March 6. I’ll see you there.