If you don’t know the general story of the Mass Effect universe by now, that means you have yet to play at least one Mass Effect game. Therefore, we can no longer be friends.
Mass Effect 3 finally brings us to Earth to see the destruction the reapers are reaping upon our futuristic planet. It’s Commander Shepard’s job to gather space fleets from many solar systems to help save Earth, and in conjunction, the entire galaxy, from the reapers’ destruction. He is to accomplish this all while still getting laid on his lovable Normandy.
If you’ve played Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 will be easy to pick up. The mechanics seem to work the same. However, Bioware did make sure to bring a more immersive experience this time around, with several upgrades and touch-ups to the combat and character customization.
In regards to the battles, you are now able to perform some impressive melee attacks on your enemies for some short action sequences. For example, in an attempt to be more covert and aggressive, you can now perform stealth attacks from behind (I can hear some of you snickering, don’t think that way!). Likewise, the omni-blade is another feature that allows you to stab an enemy in the heart for a quick takedown.
You can now vault quicker over obstacles and roll during combat to avoid damage and move towards cover or a target. Hand grenades will make a return in Mass Effect 3, with an option to throw them in an arc rather than straight ahead like in the first Mass Effect. Overall, all the movements and weapons seem to be a bit more fluid and precise. The same can’t be said for the sex scenes since no one wanted to talk about it (I asked damn it).
To make the game a bit more challenging, you will not be able to overwhelm all the enemies the same way; certain foes will require different methods of strategic combat to defeat them. There will be enemies coming from underground to try to get the upper hand, or enemies whose shields you will need to rip away from their hands in order to land a hit. There is even an enemy called the Atlas; upon defeat of this mech, you have the option to climb into it to cause mayhem against your other foes.
Before you die-hard fans of the first game (Yoshifett) cry foul over the emphasis on combat, Bioware has been listening to your rants and has moved towards a more RPG-orientated game. To start off, when you reach crates at certain points in the game, there will be workbenches right next to them. At these workbenches, you can customize your weapon to improve its look as well as the weapon’s fire rate, accuracy, etc.
There are also more options for your characters in the game: there are new abilities you can add to your squad members, and within these abilities you have even more options for customization. For instance, if you upgrade a combat ability, you can make it dominant in terms of “full damage” or make it “half damage, half intuition,” all which affect accuracy, weapon damage, recharge speeds, etc.
As seen in the EA press conference’s demo, the battles will be bigger and more epic. Reapers will be hovering overheard at every turn and you will need more than a Gatling gun on a small ship to take them down (it seems to just piss them off). The game is also going to be more vertical – I’d like to note that when I first heard this term I thought pervertedly… am I the only one? Anyway, what this means is that you will be climbing more, jumping across gaps, and even falling. The movement of such transitions from say, running to climbing, will only use two or three buttons to make the movements more fluid.
Oh, and something insignificant I saw was the use of indicators, light blue arrows, that will dictate where you’re facing when you’re behind cover. This is to help in combat so you go in the direction you actually want to go in.
In regards to story, you should already know how Mass Effect works. Decisions you made in the prior titles will make a big impact in this final installment. [MINOR SPOILER] [MINOR SPOILER] [MINOR SPOILER] Such as Cerberus’ involvement with the Reapers! I hope you didn’t give Cerberus the reapers technology! The demo kept repeating the statement, “Cerberus has been indoctrinated.” Your job, on top of trying to save the galaxy and all, is to find out why Cerberus is being such a turd and helping the reapers. [/MINOR SPOILER OVER]
Because this last installment is a war story, Bioware has focused more on the emotional aspects of Shepard, the world crumbling around him/her, and his/her relationship with the Normandy crew. It was evident just how much Bioware wanted to pull on our heartstrings given the last demo we saw that made everyone in that private (and cramped) room so silent.
All the videos seem to cut off before the final scene is shown, so if you’d like to know what happens next… [MINOR SPOILER] [MINOR SPOILER] [MINOR SPOILER] Shepard witnesses the scared child from the duct board a rescue ship, only to see that ship get blown to pieces by a reaper. It was truly saddening, even if it was an NPC. [/MINOR SPOILER OVER]
Mass Effect 3 comes out March 6th, 2012 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and maybe even the WiiU)! That date could not be farther away… that’s what actually brings a tear to my eye!