BioWare: Mass Effect 3 Combat Perfected

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BioWare: Mass Effect 3 Combat Perfected

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The executive producer on Mass Effect 3 over at BioWare said that the team has made many combat improvements for this iteration.

The first Mass Effect was an RPG with shooter elements while the combat gameplay shifted closer to a pure shooter with the sequel. In the cover story of this month's Game Informer, executive producer Casey Hudson at BioWare said that the response that the sequel earned from consumers and critics alike means the shift was a success. But now with the third game, Hudson said that the team has made further tweaks to bring the combat in line with the best shooters of this generation.

"If you look at the way Mass Effect 2 was received by fans and critics - given the huge, sweeping changes we made - I think there's reason to believe that the formula we arrived at was right. Now, I think there are tweaks we can make to that."

Hudson pointed to improved cover mechanics, more aggressive AI enemies, and ladders providing access to multi-leveled areas as clear indicators that the combat will play better in ME3. He's especially proud of the AI tweaks that make each enemy act differently. "They have very specific roles on the battlefield, and those roles - like chess pieces - work together a lot better because they have unique tactics," he explained.

All of that adds up to game that might give Call of Duty or Bulletstorm a run for their money. "We realized that because we have shooter combat, we inevitably will be compared with the best shooters in the world. So we have to get to that level," Hudson said. "Now, with Mass Effect 3, we're able to complete that evolution with improvements across the board."

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Can I get a video with my publicity yammer?

I remember reading that in those magazine scans that hit the net awhile back. Sounds good to me.

The RPG-crowd are gonna hate it though. "It's justed a dumbed down shooter now! Ruined forever! Waaah!

Heh.

I guess seeing is believing, because 'multi-tiered levels joined by ladders' sounds pretty damn frustrating and tedious to me.

Dammit. Every publicity item about ME3 just reminds me it isn't out yet. I want it now!

Not sure ladders in shooters are ever a good idea though...

Luv'd ME 1 and 2, i will sure as hell also love this one.

Yeah, not exactly looking forward to it.

In ME2, you were just as accurate and your guns were just as strong at the end as they were at the beginning. You did not get more accurate, your guns didn't get stronger, they stayed the same from beginning to end. There was no sense of progression, no sense of getting stronger. Yeah you got a couple of new guns/powers to play around with, but they didn't really change up combat. Like, at all. You still stayed behind cover and shot dudes who poked their heads out(or casted your powers, depending on your class). The only two classes that were fun to play were Vanguard(who can charge everywhere) and the Infiltrator class(can turn invisible). And even then it was still pretty "meh".

In Mass Effect 1, you start out with ass guns, ass stats, ass armor, and pretty much just ass everything. But as you progress, you get better. Your weapons get better. Your skills get better. Your team gets better. You have an actual sense of progression. At the start I had to fire in bursts and couldn't cast much powers. By the end I could fire for 2 minutes without the gun overheating(not counting the "overload" power, which boosts accuracy/lowers heating up even more), my guns were super-accurate, I had such beefy armor I was like a tank. I went from "standard soldier" to "uber-badass". And it was great.

You also learn how the combat works. At the start you'll fumble around, but then you'll learn it. Learn when to use your powers, when take your shots, everything. You get better, Shepard gets better, you both get better at the same time and it just gives a sense of immersion that no other game has ever given me. Most people try to play Mass Effect 1 as a straight up shooter. Casting powers all at once, running in, ect. and I think thats why there was so much hate for it.

Mass Effect 1 is not a shooter. It is an RPG(although that in itself is debatable) with shooter elements. If you play it as a tactical RPG, pausing while playing, issuing orders, managing powers, ect. the game's combat gets great, fun, and interesting.

In ME2 you start out as "so-so badass" and just stay that way through the whole game. You don't get better, don't get more accurate, don't improve your guns(all the guns are basically side-grades instead of upgrades). There just isn't any sense of progression. Yeah you level up and get a bit more powers, but they all have the same cooldown for some stupid reason, so you'll cast one, then wait for everything to recharge, and then do it again. Its boring.

Again, ME1 is not a shooter. If you don't like that, then guess what? The game is not for you. This is not a bad thing, it just means this game is not for you.

ME2 is a shooter. I guess it would be an action adventure, since it has essentially no role-playing. Same with Mass Effect 1, only ME1 is just adventure with shooter elements. Again, ME2 being more shooter-like isn't bad per-say, its just boring as hell to me.

Also ME1 had infinite ammo. And no matter how you say it, I don't see how going from unlimited ammo to limited ammo is an upgrade. Especially if you like sniping, in which case you'll be running out of ammo very quickly and have to just go up the front lines and fight Gears of War style anyway. Or sit in an area where the ammo things constantly respawn, which completely undermines the new ammo mechanic.

And another thing, I seem to be one of the very few people who think naturally moving in/out of cover is better then pressing A to stick yourself to a wall. In ME1 if you want to take cover you go up to a wall, and Shepard automatically gets into cover. In ME2 you have to tell him to do it. I guess TIM didn't fully repair his brain if he doesn't have the sense to get into cover when getting shot.

And that is why I liked ME1's combat much more than ME2's. Hopefully ME3 brings back the sense of progression, but from what I hear I doubt it.

I thought they said this about ME2 too?

Zhukov:
The RPG-crowd are gonna hate it though. "It's justed a dumbed down shooter now! Ruined forever! Waaah!

They already did that for Mass Effect 2, so I say who cares what they think about the 3rd?

I say good. And improvement to the core gameplay is fine by me.

Unless you've reintroduced heat based weapon ammo (as in the first game) or made it so that the heat ejector things from the second are from a common pool (I mean it made no sense to have 500 assault rifle "rounds", whilst having only 13 sniper rounds when they're both using the same pool of ammo) then you have not perfected it, Bioware.

Zhukov:
I remember reading that in those magazine scans that hit the net awhile back. Sounds good to me.

The RPG-crowd are gonna hate it though. "It's justed a dumbed down shooter now! Ruined forever! Waaah!

Heh.

The first one was heavy on the action to begin with, all 2 did was remove the constant micro managing which really broke up action. Oh, also made the environments smaller, which is the only gripe I would have with it.

manythings:
Can I get a video with my publicity yammer?

Exactly what I was thinking.

Anyway, I'm sure the combat is fine. That really wasn't a problem with Mass Effect 2. The problems were more with character animations and the removal of a lot of the equipment and stat options. If they combine the stats and equipment from Mass effect 1 with the combat of 2 it may very well end up being the greatest RPG in terms of gameplay.

As for the story, if it is on any level better than Dragon Age 2, and they don't use some Duex Ex Machina to finish the Reapers I wont complain.

Shoots and Ladders? Sounds like fun!
If the enemies get smarter, did they also make sure Wrex's fat ass won't run in front of me every time I try to snipe?

I've yet to play ME2, but I liked the combat in ME1 (the sniper rifle especially). Not really sure how to feel about making it more TPSey, but so long as I can make my amazing exploading sniper rifle again I think I'll be ok with it.

Now you see, combat in a shooter can never be perfected until there is NO. GODDAMN. COVER. BASED. SHOOTING!!! (or third person view). The only non-platformer shooter I consider to have truly good combat with either (or in this case, both) of the aforementioned mechanics is Gears of War.

Mass Effect has awful, tedious and extremely easy combat (even on the hardest setting) and when it isn't ridiculously easy, its just frustrating and stupid because you can be clever about how you do it -- there are no vantage points or tactically advantageous positions -- just cover.
Popping in and out of cover. for 5-8 hours. with occasional breaks for cutscenes.
Why do game developers think it is fun? WHY?

...God, Mass Effect is overrated.

/rage

Kind of sad what Bioware is slowly becoming since it became part of EA, not that it wasn't to be expected but it's still depressing, from deep and involving story and characters to mindless action and cliche and shallow story and characters, from the leading RPG developer to crappy action and shooter games, did all the people that work on previous games just die ? cause after DA2 and now hearing this it seems like Bioware itself isn't far off from following them... hell even my hopes for SW TOR are slowly being killed :(

Zhukov:
I remember reading that in those magazine scans that hit the net awhile back. Sounds good to me.

The RPG-crowd are gonna hate it though. "It's justed a dumbed down shooter now! Ruined forever! Waaah!

Heh.

well the RPG crowd i hang out with didn't hate the combat system in ME2 but the reduction in character development. But since Bioware promised to change that in ME3 I am really looking forward to this.

Really, now? Mass Effect 2 is already my favorite third-person shooter. You say you'll make it even better? As long as we keep the radial menu, have at it Bioware.

While I am certain that Mass Effect 3 will be an excellent game, after listening to what Bioware said about Dragon Age 2 and the reality of the game, I am now taking everything they say with a pinch of salt. Don't get me wrong, I like Dragon Age 2, but the developers painted it in a very different light from the reality.

Well... looks like I won't be buying Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 2 was a broken, dumbed down piece of shit and bioware made me pay $120 for an expansion that should have been DLC.
Fuck Bioware. We knew EA would destroy them.
Anyone remember Jade Empire?
Such a good game, shame it will likely never see a sequel.
-Tabs<3-

Normally I am all for improving the combat but the whole "in line with the best shooters" bit reminds me of the crap THQ was trying to feed us for the last four months.

Vaer:
Kind of sad what Bioware is slowly becoming since it became part of EA, not that it wasn't to be expected but it's still depressing, from deep and involving story and characters to mindless action and cliche and shallow story and characters, from the leading RPG developer to crappy action and shooter games, did all the people that work on previous games just die ? cause after DA2 and now hearing this it seems like Bioware itself isn't far off from following them... hell even my hopes for SW TOR are slowly being killed :(

Lol... darn you... ninja.
Yes, it does appear our once beloved game studio who produced such gems as Kotor and Jade Empire is descending into just mush.
Gotta love EA.
R.I.P Bioware. You shall be missed.
-Tabs<3-

This probably means removing all the bad elements without adding anything new. See ME and ME2.

Daedalus1942:
Well... looks like I won't be buying Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 2 was a broken, dumbed down piece of shit and bioware made me pay $120 for an expansion that should have been DLC.
Fuck Bioware. We knew EA would destroy them.
Anyone remember Jade Empire?
Such a good game, shame it will likely never see a sequel.
-Tabs<3-

Perhaps your problem is platform specific.. If you don't like ME2 fair enough, but, what do you mean by broken? I've played it extensively on the PC and it's been fine without crashes, errors, or poor performance.

No just because you have shooter elements does not mean you will be compared to shooters. Does that mean that because CoD has some RPG elements we can compare it to Oblivion or Final Fantasy? No it doesn't. The only change the game was crying out for in the first was an option to stop the ability wheel pausing the game. The fact that happened showed the game was crying out for a keyboard and mouse or something with more input options.

I buy Mass Effect to play Mass Effect, not to pretend I'm playing Call of Duty Future.

Anyway, it sounds fine but I'd like to see a video or something. Also, have they done away with the heat-sink clips? That was my main complaint really...from going to an unlimited ammo system to a system in which you worry about wasting a full clip on a Krogan and a handful of Varren before you notice the other mercs in the room.

I wonder at what point they forgot this was supposed to be an RPG?

Though really, that's not such a complaint, after all, Deus Ex is one of the best RPG's of all time, and they went full gung-ho with the FPS elements even back then. I guess here, I don't like the way they seem to be making the combat the main draw for ME3. I got an inkling of it from ME2, but, can we really call it an RPG anymore? If in the end it's going to be an FPS with RPG elements (and not even that if it's purely restricted to simply the dialogue and upgrades.)

This is not to say ME3 is probably going to be a bad game, quite the contrary, BioWare have a wealth of experience in storytelling to draw on, so I think it's going to be fantastic, just you know, not the great space RPG I would like.

Sorry...Star Control II has kind of got into my head...

The dialog system in ME2 was brilliant. The combat was insipid. When you regen health and every zone has chest high walls the combat is exactly the same.

There was almost no meaningful character progression. About the only real "choice" you had was which bonus power you received and even then the only good choice for a Soldier was shield. The "capstone" choices of "slightly more aggressive" "slightly more defensive" were just fluff there wasn't enough of a difference to make it worth thinking about the choice. And of course the free respecs meant you didn't have to really think about it at all.

I wish I could have just skipped the combat, the only fight that has a single original mechanic was one of the very last ones where you had to stay in the biotic bubble.

ME2 was less of a game more of a decently written choose your own adventure story attached to a quest hub.

So long as i can still arc my biotic powers around cover <.<

I don't care about your Bullets when i can lift you with my mind and throw you.

Irridium:
Snippity snip.

I concur with you, fine sir. One thing I enjoyed when playing the first game was how I, as either an Engineer or Infiltrator, could close my hand and completely disable everyone's ability to shoot (can't believe they took out Sabotage), then have Liara project what's essentially a Black Hole Kamehameha force tornado, then finally have Ashley - or myself - finish up with what the Mass Effect wiki ("wiki" is a word?!) calls a "mass accelerator cannon", laughing in delight as everyone goes up in rather spectacular flames.

While turning invisible and making my enemies wonder what just created their colleague's head to erupt in a cloud of strawberry syrup is enjoyable, it didn't quite have the same appeal as the above.

If I can do that again (especially since Ash will be joining my Erika again), then I'll be a happy Sage.

immovablemover:
Unless you've reintroduced heat based weapon ammo (as in the first game) or made it so that the heat ejector things from the second are from a common pool (I mean it made no sense to have 500 assault rifle "rounds", whilst having only 13 sniper rounds when they're both using the same pool of ammo) then you have not perfected it, Bioware.

My main complaint about the weapons. And actually, Im not that bothered by this. As long as the bring back some actual RPG mechanics like in ME1 (and not that piss poor excuse in ME2) ill be fine with upgraded combat...

BTW, will Vanguards still charge about the arena? Cause if that not in there, imma gonna burn Canada to the ground in retaliation (Bioware is Canadian based, right?)

GothmogII:
Sorry...Star Control II has kind of got into my head...

Star Control 2 has yet to be matched in scope or execution. The world/galaxy that is built is ALIVE and things happen with or without the player.

Almost all of it is optional but as a player you are motivated by seeing cool stuff and meeting cool characters that you WANT to help regardless of the rewards.

The character's actions have actual consequences in the game world as opposed to maybe a line of dialog by an extra character in a sequel.

Damn I'm going to install urquan overlords again....

They've also said that RPG elements will be expanded as well in ME3 so it won't turn into a mindless shooter. Bioware isn't just improving one aspect of the game, they improve everything. I can't wait for it.

Zhukov:
I remember reading that in those magazine scans that hit the net awhile back. Sounds good to me.

The RPG-crowd are gonna hate it though. "It's justed a dumbed down shooter now! Ruined forever! Waaah!

Heh.

... and we will be right. The series is supposed to be an RPG series, not an action game series.

I could be wrong, but I am expecting that Bioware might very well be in for something of a surprise here. Bioware loves to sit down and talk about the "critical reception" they have received and all the praise for the directions they have chosen, but the reality has increasingly been far differant. I still remember how they asked fans whether we would support the idea of them having a very pre-scripted protaganist with little customization for "Dragon Age II" if it meant he was fully voiced, the answer was a resounding "no" and then Bioware turned around and tried to say that the response was positive and it's what we wanted.

With "Mass Effect 2" they sold so many copies because of the success of the first game, it was largely due to pre-orders and first day sales like most games. The negative backlash was mostly from people who already had paid for the game. Saying that they were such a tiny minority "because of the sales" misses the entire way the industry and it's business model works.

I'm not saying that shooter fans won't like the game, and it won't be a decent success, but it is definatly a continued backstabbing of the RPG fans who lost their game series, and I suspect that this is going to have a surprising amount of influance on it's sales.

Interestingly one of the things about "Mass Effect" is that the storyline is interesting enough where I think there are plenty of people who will hate the game, but will buy it just to see how things turn out. That may or may not include me, depending on exactly how repugnant the gameplay is when it comes out, I'm not into high octane masochism. Sadly I think that this fact will further retard the results, and probably lead many to believe that the game changes have support that they really don't.

Only time will tell, but yeah, I think this one is going to result in some nastiness. I also think Bioware might be facing some serious backlash from the way they operate even if this game does succeed. You can only slap your core fan base so many times before they decide to slap back so to speak.

I found Mass Effect 1 tedious. If it wasn't for the story I wouldn't have completed it. Call it a sense of progression if you wish, but I dislike having to level my gun simply for me to be able to hit anything. In ME1 I spent most of my time stood behind cover, waiting for my bullets to hit their target because I wasn't levelled up enough. Fair enough if the damage rises with experience, but when I'm holding the reticule perfectly over an enemy, I don't want the superfluous roll of a dice to deem whether I hit them or not. Perhaps this makes me a blighted casual who can't appreciate the finer points of classic RPGs. Fair enough.

Add onto that the awful inventory management and the annoying Mako sections and, from a gameplay standpoint, I still hold that Mass Effect 1 wasn't all that great. It was functional, but not fun in gameplay. Maybe it was just that I chose to be a Vanguard on the first play through.

I did enjoy the levelling though, and I do think ME2 stripped the skill progression down a little too much, as well as the more linear, less open environments. That inventory system can go die in a fire though.

By the way, a role-playing game doesn't equal a game where you fuck around with an inventory screen and crunch numbers for half the play-time, it's a game where you take on and perform a role. Both games had this in spades. ME2 just trimmed the fat that got in the way of everything that was exciting about ME1. It's indeed arguable that it cut down on a little too much, but even that granted, I think ME2 is the far more enjoyable game.

Also Firewalker >>>>>>>>>> Mako

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