Shepard Tried To Warn Them, But They Didn’t Listen
We're less than two months away from the final entry in Shepard's trilogy, Mass Effect 3, and I couldn't be more excited. Sure, people have expressed concern that EA's executive meddling will ruin what made the franchise great. Sure, everyone's been all frenzied over the rumors that the game will feature a social gaming element. And yes, not everybody's particularly keen on the multiplayer, mostly due to the whole online pass fiasco… but honestly?
I think things are going to be okay… Well, except for the fact that you'll have to install Origin to play it on PC. That kinda sucks. Of course, that's why I'll be buying it for the Xbox 360.
For me, the most fascinating thing about the culminating point of BioWare's trilogy is the way they've designed the gameplay. Revealed via a leaked, early version of the beta, Mass Effect 3 will feature several different campaign modes. See, a lot of folks weren't particularly happy about Mass Effect 2's increased focus on third person shooter combat, while there were quite a few people who found ME2's style a lot more tolerable than its primarily RPG-geared predecessor.
BioWare decided to meet everybody halfway. Players will be able to play ME 3 in one of three ways. For those of you who are just in it for Shepard's tale, you've got Story Mode. Details are pretty sketchy, but word is that it'll feature minimal combat difficulty and manually-selectable replies in conversation.
Action mode is on the other end of the scale, for those who really don't give a damn about the story and just want to shoot things. It'll feature regular combat difficulty, and it'll automatically select replies in conversation. Basically, you'll just be playing a shooter with the occasional cutscene.
Finally, RPG mode is the happy medium. Featuring normal combat difficulty, it'll also allow people to manually select responses in conversation. I'll probably be playing on this one.
As the final piece of Shepard's story, Mass Effect 3 starts with, unsurprisingly, the arrival of the Reapers, something Shepard's been trying to warn the galaxy about since the first ME. With all their best laid plans completely deep-sixed by the Commander, the Reapers essentially went "screw it", and decided to zerg-rush Earth. Apparently, he made them mad.
The first ME3 mission, as detailed at E3, will involve Shepard's escape from Earth. At that point, it'll be time to call on all the alliances and friendships he forged throughout the series. It'll be time to prepare for war. A number of new companions will be entering the fray, along with some old favorites; already confirmed are Ashley Williams (or Kaidan Alenko, depending on who survived the first game) and Professor Mordin Solus, along with Thane Krios, Miranda Lawson, Legion, Zaeed Massani, Jacob Taylor, and Urdnot Wrex.
Throughout the game, you'll be trying to build up something known as a "galactic readiness level". This can be done a number of ways; while it'll be possible to build it up to a point that you can fight the Reapers by playing through the story, you'll also be able to increase the level by playing multiplayer or taking part in the previously mentioned social game. If you don't have the level at a high enough point by the time the final mission rolls around, well…The Repaers win.
On the gameplay side of things, Mass Effect 3 is going to feature expanded game mechanics, combining the systems from the first two games. Weapon and equipment customization include back-scopes, barrels, and a wide range of mods can be applied to weapons, as are branching skill trees, both features which were, unfortunately, absent from Mass Effect 2. The combat, too, has received something of an overhaul: battles are larger, enemies are bigger, and the A.I. is much, much meaner.
Shepard will, naturally, be able to provide a pretty eloquent answer to these new foes, with an improved cover system, the ability to shoot off limbs and armor pieces, and a revised melee system which features an all new piece of equipment: the Omni-knife. Oh, and Shepard will also have access to new hand-to-hand combat moves and class-specific melee finishing moves.
I don't know how Mass Effect 3 is going to look at launch. What I do know is that it's definitely one of the most anticipated games of the year, and March can't come soon enough. I'm ready to finish the fight. Are you? Oh, one last thing: there's a demo coming. Keep your eyes peeled.
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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