A Look into Mass Effect 3

The arrival of the Reapers on Earth begins our final moments in the Mass Effect trilogy. As the Reaper’s brutal assault on Earth begins, Shepard has to leave Earth to seek help from the Citadel. Shepard discovers the Reapers are attacking every homeworld in the galaxy. Even though it seems like Earth is bearing the brunt of the Reaper assault, the Council is too concerned with their own species’ survival to spare any forces. It is up to Shepard to travel across the galaxy to convince every species to send forces to help the Alliance even as their own homeworlds are being decimated the Reapers.

Darker tone

The darker tone of survival at any cost permeates the entire game. You can easily notice the graphics take on a darker look with the retrofitted Normandy SR2. Gone are the bright and plush niceties from Cerberus, replaced by a darker, more functional retrofit from the Alliance to convert it into a mobile war command center. Even the Citadel looks darker than before and the every location you visit reflects the chaos occurring in the galaxy. The storyline obviously reflects the dire situation the galaxy faces. Cutscenes of heroic sacrifices to innocents being killed are cleverly designed pull at your heartstrings.

Engaging, intertwined storyline

The storyline in the final chapter of Mass Effect 3 is amazingly crafted. Bioware pulls you along through the game’s main storyline at a great pace with many events thrown at you to deal. With the ability to import your Mass Effect 2 character, you will discover the story is deeply intertwined, with decisions and conversations you had in the previous two games affecting elements in this game. While newcomers can jump in and enjoy the storyline, in order to get the full effect and catch all the subtle changes you should play through the previous games. In addition to the Reaper threat and having to deal with rallying support from every species in the storyline, Bioware has thrown in complications from Cerberus to keep you on your toes and make the storyline more exciting. While the main storyline missions are great, it does seem like the side missions have been downgraded to simple retrieval or brief conversational missions without much behind them. One bug that seems to be popping up during conversations is that your characters can end up looking at a far wall instead of each other making it awkward. Hopefully Bioware will get that fixed in a patch and it doesn’t occur too often.

Enhanced customization

In addition to increasing the level cap to 60, Bioware has brought back the ability to customize your weapons with two mod slots from the first Mass Effect game. The slots allow you to choose attachments which will increase the damage, accuracy, ammo capacity, thermal clip usage, or armor penetration of the weapon. During missions, if you come across any new weapons, you are given the chance to swap the new weapon without mods immediately. You won’t be able to modify a weapon until you get back to your ship. Other improvements include the ability to customize how a skill behaves or how strong it is. While the first three upgrades to a skill are linear in nature, the last three upgrades make you choose between two options. For example, you can choose between increasing the damage of a skill or increasing its effective radius.

Improved combat

As Mass Effect 2 improved upon the combat in the first game, so does Mass Effect 3 improve upon its predecessor. The level design in the game is improved to provide interesting combat scenarios. You will have to consider foes not only on your level up those on higher ground as well since their higher vantage point allows them to fire down on you even if you are behind cover. To assist you with moving about the battlefield, you can now roll in all four directions, move around a corner while under cover, and move from one covered position to another nearby position. One fun addition to your combat abilities is a charged heavy melee attack. It’s satisfying to charge up to a guy and hit them with a heavy melee attack to finish them off.

Bioware has also introduced several new enemy archetypes for you to deal with. Several of these additions include charging Brutes that have a plenty of armor, Combat Engineers who deploy turrets and do repairs on friendly units, Centurions who use smoke bombs to obscure your vision, and more. There are even deployments of shield generators on the battlefield to make things more difficult. Enemy units have improved AI moving from cover to cover and will attempt to flank you.

While it doesn’t affect your combat, Bioware also made graphical improvements and animations on the battlefields. As you are advancing across the battlefield on the Krogan homeworld, artillery shells are constantly raining down around you making the crossing more exciting and real.

Changes to Gameplay

With Mass Effect 3, you get the option to pick between Action, Role-Playing, or Story modes for the single player campaign. If you want a more Halo-like experience, choosing Action mode will create Shepard as a soldier. It will also customize the game settings so the game will automatically pick skill upgrades for you and conversation choices, making conversational section play out as cutscenes. When I tried this mode, this sometimes leads to some lengthy cutscenes. Role-playing mode is the traditional Mass Effect experience where you can customize everything and Story mode just has simplified combat difficulty. Regardless of which mode you pick, it looks like you can jump into the game settings and change them to allow customization or set everything to be automatic. Therefore, if you really want to play a Vanguard in a Action mode experience, you can start the game in Role-play mode so you can pick that class and adjust the game settings later to simulate Action mode.

In order to speed up the gameplay, it looks like Bioware has removed the mini games while decrypting or hacking a terminal. Also gone are the tedious parts of scanning every planet to find resources. Instead, you scan the solar system you are in and interesting planets will be highlighted for you to do a more detailed scan to find the anomaly to probe. Speaking of probes, you no longer need to buy them either, but you do need to purchase fuel when you travel to a nearby system without the help of a mass relay. The only new caveat to scanning systems is that it can alert Reapers to your presence and if the alert level gets too high they will appear in the solar system and chase you down. You will have to escape and chill out in another system for a while when this occurs.

A bonus feature for XBox 360 Kinect users is the ability to use the Kinect to give voice commands for you and your squad. This makes activating power synergies between multiple members of your group a lot easier and at the same time keeping you in the action instead of having to pause to bring up the power wheel interface. You can also give voice commands when you approach items or people in the game to interact with them and also use it to pick conversation decisions.

Addition of multi-player

Finally, a co-op multi-player experience has been added with Mass Effect 3. You can join up with 3 other players to complete challenge maps at various locations you come across in the single player campaign against different enemy groups. Basically, you and your team will have to survive waves of enemies while completing certain mission objectives. You can play as any of the six classes and which you individually level up with experience you gain in successful or even unsuccessful campaigns. Credits are obtained by successfully completing mission objectives and can be used to purchase packs from the store to unlock weapon and armor modifications, consumable items like medi-gel, and unlock other class models. You start out only able to pick human for each class, but each class has two additional species character skins to unlock. As you successfully complete campaigns in multi-player mode, this will increase your effective galactic readiness level in the single player campaign as well. While completing multi-player campaigns are not necessary for your single player experience, it is a fun bonus to play with friends who enjoy Mass Effect.

If you haven’t picked up Mass Effect 3, you should definitely check it out. It contains an excellent blend of storytelling and action to appeal to both RPG and FPS gamers out there.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *