Mass Effect 3 Demo Overview

They’ve definitely gone all out with Mass Effect 3 adding exciting new features to the year’s most anticipated, highly acclaimed RPG.

The demo begins on the home world and capital of humanity, Earth. Commander Shepard has been grounded and relieved of duty due to her/his controversial, albeit brief alliance with Cerberus in ME2.  Despite all Shepard has done, the Galaxy still hasn’t accepted the truth about the Reapers and has done little to prepare for the upcoming battle they never believed would come…until now.

A fellow soldier by the name of James Vega is sent to retrieve Shepard when the Alliance Command loses contact with two of its deep space outposts. As they make their way to meet with the Defense Committee, they are intercepted by Admiral Anderson who gives Shepard a short briefing on why she/he’s being summoned…to confirm that the reapers are coming.

It’s not long after Shepard meets with the Earth Defense Committee that the Reaper attack begins on Earth.  Shepard and Anderson must then fight their way to the Normandy and leave Earth to seek help from the Citadel Council. The only chance to defeat the Reapers lies in Shepard’s ability to unite every species in the galaxy.

What’s New

As the game series has progressed, the combat in Mass Effect has been enhanced to be more like an action FPS game. Mass Effect 3 continues this trend, making the action more exciting and intense. One new addition is that each class has a charged melee move that you can use to finish off an enemy. In actual use, I found this ability a bit difficult to use since it locked your character in place and did not allow you to adjust after you start charging.

An exclusive feature with the Xbox 360 Kinect allows you to shout out the power you want your character to execute, allowing you to stay in the action at all times. Traditionally, you would have to access your power wheel interface if you needed an ability that you didn’t assign to a hotkey which would automatically pause the game.

Other interesting changes coming in Mass Effect 3 are the addition of multi-player co-op campaigns and the ability to select one of three different play styles in the single-player campaign.

Single-Player Modes

In the demo you will be able to try all three single-player modes, and find your favorite method of gameplay.  While combat difficulty is adjustable for Action and Role Playing modes, Story mode has a set difficulty and cannot be changed.

Action: This is very different from Role Playing or Story mode.  There is no character customization, and during cut scenes your responses are picked for you.  This mode is for people who simply want to get into the action and let the story unfold on it’s own.

Role-Playing: This is the traditional Mass Effect mode we’re all used to where you can customize your character and steer the story into any direction you like.  This is definitely my favorite of the three modes, combining intense action with a great interactive story.

Story:  Story mode I would say is for those who simple want to be immersed in the story and not have to worry about getting through any particularly challenging fight.  You will be able to customize your character as well has have control of your story outcome as you would in Role Playing mode without having to worry about difficult combat sequences.

Co-op Multi-Player Mode

Multi-player mode is definitely a standalone extension of the Mass Effect game.  It follows no storyline but instead offers challenges which include waves of enemies that you can go up against with up to 3 other players with mission objectives along the way.

When creating a character in multi-player mode for the first time you will start as human.  As you gain experience points and level you will be able to customize the abilities of your character just like in the single-player campaign.  The races you will eventually have access to include Asari, Turian, Quarian, Krogan, Salarian and Drell.  All classes are available to start which include the Adept, Soldier, Engineer, Sentinel, Infiltrator, and Vanguard.

Completing mission objectives in the campaigns awarded you with experience and credits which you will be able to use to purchase packs in the store. These packs contain five random items or characters. Through the packs, you will be able to unlock additional weapons, mods, and characters.

This is a game I am definitely excited about.  The demo gives us a brief taste of what’s to come, and I very much enjoyed every little bit.  The multi-player campaigns in the demo will just have to do until the full game is released. You can download the demo now, if you haven’t already had a chance to check it out.

Mass Effect 3 is set to release for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012, and is now available for pre-order.


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