First Thoughts: Mass Effect 3
Posted by janhutchings
EA and Bioware’s Mass Effect 3 signals the glorious end for the successful RPG/Squad-Shooter hybrid franchise. The third game has a grim tone to it; the Reapers have invaded Earth and every human-colonized planet and it’s up to Shepard and his team to convince every alien race to band together to fight their common enemy. Players itching to finish Shepard and the Normandy crew’s tale absolutely cannot wait to take the fight to the reapers in single-player and in online co-op.
Here are our first thoughts on Mass Effect 3:
Who put Uncharted in my Mass effect? I was blown away by the Earth-being-invaded-by-Reapers cinematic set piece, something I didn’t expect from the title. Sure I expected something like that from Gears of War or Uncharted, but not Mass Effect. The graphics received a pretty big update too, water effects were top-notch and the war-torn vistas were eye-catching if anything. I was too busy checking out the beautiful environments to notice that I had to get to the Normandy.
It’s also a game that’s akin to The Empire Strikes Back in tone. If you thought Mass Effect 2 was a suicide mission, you haven’t seen anything yet. The emotional impact of seeing Earth getting decimated and humans getting murdered viciously stuck with me hours after I finished playing it. If Bioware keeps this kind of story-telling the entire game, in addition to the already deep and customizable RPG/shooter gameplay, then it’s already in the running for game of the year.
I did have issues with the game’s cutscenes. It tended to get really choppy when there’s a lot happening on the screen. It happened on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. Here’s hoping they fix that before the game gets released. The infamous Unreal Engine texture pop-in issue is back in full force too. It would sometimes take a few seconds for the game to load textures onto characters, objects and environments. But I think that’s par-for-the-course when you use Unreal Engine 3.
All in all, I was really impressed by the cinematic turn that Mass Effect is going with. This in combination with Bioware’s superb story-telling, deep RPG system, and engaging squad combat, is making Mass Effect 3 into the blockbuster hit of the season.
March 6, 2012 cant’ come fast enough.
This was a demo that I approached with trepidation. Not because I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, I’ve pre-ordered the collectors edition, something I’ve never done before, but because I was worried I was going to like it too much.
Really, what I wanted to know from this demo is just how big a shift this game would be from its predecessor.
Where Mass Effect 2 was a huge shift away from the original, I feel Mass Effect 3 has gone deeper. Instead of tearing out the RPG elements of the game, Bioware has improved on the system they already had in place. The levelling system offers even more customizable options than before and we’re also going to see customizable weapons, a first for the series.
Speaking of weapons, each gun seems to have a distinct personality. For example, the rifles available differed significantly in power, accuracy and firing rate. So your weapon loadout can change the way you take on a fight.
I’ve yet to try out the multiplayer, but I’ve got a good feeling about it.
My opinion? March 6th can’t come fast enough.