PAX 2011: Mass Effect 3 Preview

In: Articles by Chris "FighterAce100" Salazar

26 Aug 2011

The huge signs and posters, the non-disclosure agreement on the iPad I signed while waiting in line, the very strict control of who sees what and where — it’s all a part of the PAX experience for big title games. Mass Effect 3 is now partially playable and if you enjoyed the second game in the series, you’re in for a surprise with the third.

PAX provided me an opportunity to play the demo. Keeping in mind I haven’t played any of the games for more than six months, I had to reacquaint myself with the buttons, but it all came back after just a minute or two of playing.

Everything about Mass Effect is grand: The setting, the story, and the characters. Everything is set in such a massive environment, filled with choices that affect how the game progresses. Everyone’s experience is different in some way. In Mass Effect 3 The monstrous Reapers have invaded Earth. The home ground is under attack, and our very cities are getting destroyed. It’s up to you, Commander Shepard, to save the galaxy. No big deal, how hard can that be? I’ll warn you from here on out, if you don’t want to know anything about the story, READ NO FURTHER! You have been warned.

The demo mission is to protect a female Krogan. She has the key to the genophage in her blood. The Reaper invasion has reached the point where drastic measures must be taken if sentient life in the galaxy is to continue. It has been decided (at some point earlier in the story) that Krogans must be allowed to breed once again, and in great number, in order to create a large military force. It’s also brought to your attention that Cerberus is doing everything in its power to get in your way. They fight relentlessly against you and your squad and have become a menace to the galaxy.

The mission was set in a devastated high-rise urban environment with ruble everywhere and Cerberus soldiers trying to kill the Krogan. My squad members were Garrus and Liara, and both used their abilities much more frequently and more intelligently. It seemed like I was the one lagging behind now. Mordin also makes a nice appearance in the demo, explaining the situation to Shepard and the consequences if he fails.

I decided to go with the tried and true soldier class for the demo, with incendiary and concussion abilities boosted all the way up. The shooter controls and ammo drops are what you would expect from the franchise: Conserve your rounds, aim for the head, and pick up any ammo clips you see on the ground. The cover system allows you to find cover a little more quickly and better judges what you want to take cover behind, so you don’t end up behind some random desk or barrier. Switching weapons and the rest of the user interface are unchanged from Mass Effect 2. I had an assault rifle, handgun, and SMG in the demo, and all the weapons handled exactly the same as they did in the second game.

The game ran smoothly and although I didn’t get into much backstory, nor did I have any conversations with characters, it still felt like it held true to the last game with some new AI improvements. The demo was still a pre-alpha build, so there’s definitely more room for improvement and additions. If you’re any sort of a fan of this franchise, you should be excited to see what Bioware is turning out for this third game.

Mass Effect 3
Publisher:  Electronic Arts
Developer: Bioware
Release: Early 2012
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1 Response to PAX 2011: Mass Effect 3 Preview

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HeartbreakRidge

August 28th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

slight correction – 3-6-12 is the release date (and let’s hope they make it!)

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