E3: Mass Effect 3

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E3: Mass Effect 3

BioWare reveals why it thinks Mass Effect 3 will be the best game in the trilogy.

Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 were two highly-praised games with very different shortfalls that left them open to criticism. With Mass Effect 3, BioWare hopes to get the porridge just right so that it doesn't burn any RPG fans' mouths with too much action, and also isn't too cold for those that prefer shooting to pumping up stats.

Sporting a medium-sized 'fro, executive producer Casey Hudson presented a behind-closed-doors demo of three Mass Effect 3 gameplay sections at E3 2011. Just to go over the basics: Earth has been ravaged by Reapers and Shepard is the only one that can save the planet. To do so, he has to bring back the space fleets of every species in the galaxy.

The first gameplay section was already shown at EA's E3 press conference. In it, Shepard is attempting to take down a Reaper base. Cerberus forces try to stop him from making his way to a Reaper silo of sorts, but the plebes don't have the gusto. Shepard uses a laser to paint an inactive Reaper inside the silo, which brings down an air strike from the Normandy. This only angers the Reaper, which chases Shepard through the environment as Shepard fires a turret at it from the topside of a little ship. It ends before the situation is resolved, but it becomes obvious that Reapers are hard to kill.

The second section featured Shepard and squadmates attempting to save a diplomat with the power to bring two civilizations together. This was in a residential area and more focused on the troop blasting that we've seen in previous Mass Effect entries. Many a new addition was to be found here. New attacks include Shepard's Omni Blade, a melee weapon that brutally stabs foes from up close, and hand grenades. Shepard will now move around more dynamically by climbing, falling, and jumping across gaps. At the end of the level, an enemy Cerberus Atlas appears, which is a huge mech with an explosive cannon as an armament. The Atlas won't only be a foe, but a vehicle that Shepard can climb inside to own his enemies with mech-sized glee.

The third section followed Shepard as he escapes from Earth after the Reaper attack. While Shepard blasted plenty of the game's new bubbly-looking Husks, combat wasn't the focus here. Instead, it was the storyline and apparent emphasis on emotion. Amongst the ruins of Earth, Shepard finds a young male child in a ventilation shaft. Shepard tries to help the kid, but the youth climbs away through the vent when Shepard gets distracted. Once Shepard summons the Normandy to pick him up so he can go off and save the galaxy, Shepard watches the boy from get onto a human rescue ship from afar. The ship is then destroyed by a Reaper blast in mid-air. Shepard looks on coldly, almost too much so, but it's obvious that BioWare is trying to make you feel a bit more with this scene.

Each section demonstrated the improved cinematic quality of Mass Effect 3, which seamlessly combines cutscenes with gameplay and dialog. However, the Mass Effect series is also about a host of underlying RPG elements, which have been expanded upon after what some would call the lighter RPG feel of Mass Effect 2. Equipment-wise, BioWare showed off a new weapon modification system where players collect mods during battle or purchase them in shops to customize existing weapons right on the battlefield if they wish. Weapons have statistics such as fire rate, accuracy, and stability, all of which can be improved by these mods. Don't worry though, as it's not looking like we'll have to go through the mod-sorting hell of the original Mass Effect again with this system.

BioWare has also improved character customization. There are not only new abilities, but the paths that players take in improving these abilities have been significantly expanded. For example, leveling up Combat Mastery can now be done through multiple branches. One branch increases weapon damage, another increases squadmate damage, another recharge speed, and another headshots. These choices are meant to give players the power to play exactly the type of character they want within each of Mass Effect 3's classes (which weren't mentioned).

Other than these new elements, everything else looked similar to Mass Effect 2 for now. The power wheel to assign moves is still intact, as are the names and health bars above enemy heads during combat. Hudson said that Mass Effect 3 will be the trilogy's "main event," and because it's the best game in the series will also be a great place for new players to jump in. For a game the carries over so many choices from its predecessors, I don't really understand the statement, but we'll find out if BioWare is doing anything specific to bring new players up to speed closer to Mass Effect 3's March 6, 2012 release date, I'm sure.

Mass Effect 3 is coming to the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

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Tom Goldman:
For a game the carries over so many choices from its predecessors, I don't really understand the statement, but we'll find out if BioWare is doing anything specific to bring new players up to speed closer to Mass Effect 3's March 6, 2012 release date, I'm sure.

What it means is that they are full of their typical PR bullshit. They will try and sell the choices to the Mass Effect fans, and sell the fact you can "hop in as a newbie" to all those who haven't played the games before.

What this will likely result in is a game that is similar to Dragon Age 2 where the choices you make in the previous games have very little actual impact on your story and are only minor or aesthetic (like Mass Effect 2's).

I am sure the game will be extremely fun, but Bioware have lost a lot of faith from me considering how much they openly lied and mislead regarding Dragon Age 2 (I liked the game, but the previous statement is true).

All I can say is "yay omni tool blade!"

On the one hand you're probably right. But the outcome of the suicide mission and surviving squadmates must surely have more than simply aesthetic implications.

Yay, the RPG elements of ME1 and 2 combined are due to make for a great game. I was so worried they were gonna jump the shark with all the shooting and forget about the RPG aspect but apparently not.

MARCH! COME FASTER SO THAT BIOWARE WILL SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

DO WANT! DO WANT SO VERY VERY BADLY!

If Bioware follow though with their promise of the perfect blend between ME1 and 2, I predict that ME3 [b]will[/i] be the BEST. GAME. EVER!!!

While that trailer was freaking awesome, If I hear a random civilian in the game scream hytserically "Why didn't we listen!? WHY!?!?!" I swear I will have to punch soemthing.

If all that's true then brillo bananas.

However, for those of us with the faintest grasp of pattern recognition, it just sounds likea lot of marketing bs.

As for the video, when I could eventually watch it after meebo shut up and left me alone, it was too short for me to really grasp anything about the actual gameplay. Of course the shooting mechanic works, it'll have been blanketly ripped off from Gears of War, just like ME2, what I want to see is the modification system, the levelling and upgrades. Until I can see them, I won't believe a word of the hype.

EDIT: and the omni tool blade is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. Looks like BioWare have finally abandoned even the pretence of 'hard' sci-fi.

And how the hell is anyone going to have a chance against all of the Reapers?

Sovereign nearly won with just him and some Geth. Reason he lost was not because he was overwhelmed, but because you disabled him for a bit, and Joker managed to get a good shot on him. A bunch of fleets are going to do jack shit against all the Reapers.

I really hope beating them doesn't mount to "direct combat", because... well that would just be stupid. They've been built up as being near-invincible, so defeating them in open combat would just be lackluster.

MelasZepheos:

EDIT: and the omni tool blade is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. Looks like BioWare have finally abandoned even the pretence of 'hard' sci-fi.

Also this.

As long as I may punch the turian councilor in the face this time around, I'm happy.

MelasZepheos:
If all that's true then brillo bananas.

However, for those of us with the faintest grasp of pattern recognition, it just sounds likea lot of marketing bs.

As for the video, when I could eventually watch it after meebo shut up and left me alone, it was too short for me to really grasp anything about the actual gameplay. Of course the shooting mechanic works, it'll have been blanketly ripped off from Gears of War, just like ME2, what I want to see is the modification system, the levelling and upgrades. Until I can see them, I won't believe a word of the hype.

EDIT: and the omni tool blade is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. Looks like BioWare have finally abandoned even the pretence of 'hard' sci-fi.

Here is the 20 min demo from E3. Yes it does have a lot of action sequences, but it does show the new weapon and level/power training screen like 8 mins in I believe it looks good to me. Hope this helps. http://www.gametrailers.com/video/e3-2011-mass-effect/715589

Does no one else find this trailer off putting? It feels like it's trying to be Halo or some crap like that. After seeing this I'm feeling doubt about this game for the first time. I have a feeling the sticky greedy hand of EA have been all over this thing and now it's going to be a mediocre shoot em up instead of a tactical shooter RPG.

Also why Earth? What's so bloody important about Earth? This is another thing that annoys me. Everyone human in ME1 and ME2 seems to think that Earth is so fricken important. I don't give a crap about Earth, I want to get away from Earth. This is Sci-Fi, in fact it's full on Space Opera! So why oh why do we give a crap about Earth when we have a whole freaking universe to worry about.

If I do play this game I hope I get the chance to kill most of humanity and let Earth crumble.

MelasZepheos:
EDIT: and the omni tool blade is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. Looks like BioWare have finally abandoned even the pretence of 'hard' sci-fi.

I'm sure an explanation will be all there in the manual. I mean, they already have holographic haptic interfaces. Why do you think they couldn't get a blade out of that? Also, for all that they've shown their work, Element Zero is dodgy at best, and biotics, frankly, points at Element Zero and then says, "Magic!"

Okay, maybe you have a point that the pretense is even thinner... but, if you knew where to look, it was pretty thin already. I don't think it's that much thinner, though.

What do you mean Grenades are a new attack????
Last time I checked ME1 had grenades and they were pretty powerful with the right upgrades (high level explosive, radiation and frost grenades were insane), very limited in number (a max of 9 I believe) but certainly available for sticky situations.

They were tricky to aim, but when you got a shot right it could devastate a sizeable group of opponents with a single shot.

ok... I am going to sound like a hater again... but I mean not to be mean... it's just that when I looked at the trailer, I felt like this is going to change the direction of the game, and I can't help to think that this game is going "mainstream" on us, going for the "popular" choices, even to the point to make the main plot blended with most of the shooter games out there...here are my reactions...

*It's looking action-ny! throw in a psy-lasso, and we get "bullet storm effect 3"!
*Love the Quish jet slide! hope you get bullet time with it!
*I see turrets, but are we gonna top UT/Tribes/HALO with ACTUAL VEHICLES?
*Resistance/Crysis what?
*Where did everyone go? isn't Mass2 all about his team?
*What's with the new melee weapon? this one is going Mass-assin threed?
*ooh, Big monster, moving platform... turret... Dejavoo?
*"we need a plan.." "we fight, or die! that's the plan!"... here is our downfall of plot...

Looks as good as any action shooters, but not so much more than that, unlike the ME2 trailer, full of story, and mysteries, I actually feel less excited for this one... if i want guns and blazing to alien invaders, there are plenty other games to choose from, why is ME3 doing this?

Legion:
What it means is that they are full of their typical PR bullshit. They will try and sell the choices to the Mass Effect fans, and sell the fact you can "hop in as a newbie" to all those who h- blah blah blah yakkety shmakkety

Sorry, no more room for jaded negativity / whining about DA2 or ME2's RPG-iness in this forum. We're only accepting happy open minded people in Mass Effect land. Kthxbye. =D

The.Bard:

Legion:
What it means is that they are full of their typical PR bullshit. They will try and sell the choices to the Mass Effect fans, and sell the fact you can "hop in as a newbie" to all those who h- blah blah blah yakkety shmakkety

Sorry, no more room for jaded negativity / whining about DA2 or ME2's RPG-iness in this forum. We're only accepting happy open minded people in Mass Effect land. Kthxbye. =D

Learn to read before quoting me please.

First off I never mentioned anything to do with RPG features, so do not put words in my mouth.

Secondly if my opinion is based upon facts and not opinions then it isn't jaded negativity it is called realism.

Thirdly I can have whatever godamn opinion I like, positive or negative so who the hell do you think you are to tell me otherwise? This is not a forum for kissing arses, it is for discussion, and my point was that developers will try and sell their product by any means necessary and this means they will exaggerate and lie if it brings in more customers.

Will Mass Effect 3 be good? Almost certainly, but I wouldn't expect everything the developers say will be included to be there, or to be as awesome as they advertise.

Sweet, omni-knife

Tom Goldman:
The first gameplay section was already shown at EA's E3 press conference. In it, Shepard is attempting to take down a Reaper base. Cerberus forces try to stop him from making his way to a Reaper silo of sorts, but the plebes don't have the gusto.

This part confuses me. Yes, Cerberus is mad at Shepard for whatever reason, and they want to kill him. But come on Cerberus, time and place. Why are you trying to stop Shepard from taking down a Reaper when the reason you brought him back at the start of ME2 was because you knew how important he was in stopping the Reapers?

Oh well. Hopefully there will be a reasonable explanation in the full game. But right now it seems a bit silly.

mjc0961:

Tom Goldman:
The first gameplay section was already shown at EA's E3 press conference. In it, Shepard is attempting to take down a Reaper base. Cerberus forces try to stop him from making his way to a Reaper silo of sorts, but the plebes don't have the gusto.

This part confuses me. Yes, Cerberus is mad at Shepard for whatever reason, and they want to kill him. But come on Cerberus, time and place. Why are you trying to stop Shepard from taking down a Reaper when the reason you brought him back at the start of ME2 was because you knew how important he was in stopping the Reapers?

Oh well. Hopefully there will be a reasonable explanation in the full game. But right now it seems a bit silly.

Exactly, if he is the "last hope of humanity" then surely it makes more sense to assassinate him as soon as he wins?

From the trailer alone i can tell its very action oriented so far.

Hopfully we'll get a different trailer showing the deeper stuff we all love ME for.

Also, Omni-blade?

The hell

I'm just glad to hear that Bioware isn't forgetting the RPG elements. That was one of the main things I was worried about for this game.

So the plot is to bring every races to a gigantic showdown with the big bad baddies..

Where have I seen this before?

Note* Doesn't matter... It was a good game.

punipunipyo:
ok... I am going to sound like a hater again... but I mean not to be mean... it's just that when I looked at the trailer, I felt like this is going to change the direction of the game, and I can't help to think that this game is going "mainstream" on us, going for the "popular" choices, even to the point to make the main plot blended with most of the shooter games out there...here are my reactions...

[several completely irrelevant quotes]

Looks as good as any action shooters, but not so much more than that, unlike the ME2 trailer, full of story, and mysteries, I actually feel less excited for this one... if i want guns and blazing to alien invaders, there are plenty other games to choose from, why is ME3 doing this?

Why? Because from Day 1 when ME1 was announced, this was the end game: Full scale war with the Reapers. This is called the natural evolution of that original plot. Did you expect Shepard to spend the majority of this game exploring the galaxy in peace, chasing down thieving space monkeys and shooting space cows in the face?

Take a well made movie plot. Any movie. Let's go with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, since it's in 3, just like ME. You start slow. Everything is idyllic. Meet Frodo Baggins and his perverted uncle Bilbo. They live in happy furry midget land. Unfurl what makes them tick, make us feel comfortable being around them, and as the movies go on, the plot begins to unfurl and antagonists appear.

Do you know what happens in Act III? That's right. The @#*&$ hits the fan. Outside of the 12 endings, what do the last 30-60 minutes of Return of the King look like? Combat, death, explosions, more death, war.

This is what we were promised. The whole game isn't going to be a shooter, they are clearly hiding most of the spoilerish story elements. But the setting of this game is very much summed up in ONE word: LARGE SCALE MOTHER #$(*#($* BLOODY WAR!!!! And if you don't see the glory in the released media, you may go cry in the corner when it's been released while I make love to my copy of Mass Effect 3. Wait, did I just say that? I meant "make out with". I'm saving myself until marriage, after all. ;)

I have to laugh at the people who say "show me gameplay and blank or blank then ill believe it" Look for the 30 minute demo, it shows the dialogue, leveling up, combat, and upgrade system all at once, don't bitch until you actually take the HORRIBLE amount of time to go on Google and look it up.

I believe this calls for a "Shut up and take my money now"

mjc0961:

Tom Goldman:
The first gameplay section was already shown at EA's E3 press conference. In it, Shepard is attempting to take down a Reaper base. Cerberus forces try to stop him from making his way to a Reaper silo of sorts, but the plebes don't have the gusto.

This part confuses me. Yes, Cerberus is mad at Shepard for whatever reason, and they want to kill him. But come on Cerberus, time and place. Why are you trying to stop Shepard from taking down a Reaper when the reason you brought him back at the start of ME2 was because you knew how important he was in stopping the Reapers?

Oh well. Hopefully there will be a reasonable explanation in the full game. But right now it seems a bit silly.

There's actually an answer to this in one of the extended gameplay sections - you hear them discuss the Cerberus while they're running around.

mjc0961:

Tom Goldman:
The first gameplay section was already shown at EA's E3 press conference. In it, Shepard is attempting to take down a Reaper base. Cerberus forces try to stop him from making his way to a Reaper silo of sorts, but the plebes don't have the gusto.

This part confuses me. Yes, Cerberus is mad at Shepard for whatever reason, and they want to kill him. But come on Cerberus, time and place. Why are you trying to stop Shepard from taking down a Reaper when the reason you brought him back at the start of ME2 was because you knew how important he was in stopping the Reapers?

Oh well. Hopefully there will be a reasonable explanation in the full game. But right now it seems a bit silly.

I'm sure they are indoctrinated to high hell for messing around with Reaper tech. Or they are just jerks led by a crazy, possibly cyborg, nutjob and that the reason.

OT: ME3, will, I'm sure, be one of the best games ever. Of course there needs to be a big showdown, the whole series is a big lead up to bringing pain to the Reapers. How one can kill a whole army of virtually invincible super robots...I guess we shall see

Looks like they might've taken some tips from Vanquish in what Space Age fighting can be like. Approve of this, and the omni-blade. Holograms that kill people are cool.

I'm disappointed that the Reapers' big plan for mass extinction seems to be so direct, combat orientated, messy and above all inelegant.

well we already know why Bioware thinks this is the best ME game, they have already sold us the other ones and still have to sell us this one.

for some reason this looks like vanquish to me. pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease be a little like vanquish, i loved that game, despite the fact that i shoot for crap with sticks.

also: do i get a biotic blade for my adapt Shepard?

Can't wait for this...

OT: I'm glad they're trying to combine all the elements that worked in both games... but I can't help but worry about this "trying to please everyone" scenario.

I thought ME1 & ME2 were fantastic in their own aspects. The drawbacks of both games weren't big enough for me to dislike them.

There will be a lot of people complaining no matter what they do.

4173:
I'm disappointed that the Reapers' big plan for mass extinction seems to be so direct, combat orientated, messy and above all inelegant.

I think this is more meant as a sort of insult to Shepard and humanity who've been thwarting the Reaper's plans for two games.

I think it's pretty clear by now the Reapers aren't the cold soulless, calculating invincible machines they are trying to make you believe.

Well, this did a little to ease my fears... but I still have one huge problem with the trailer.
Jennifer Hale is commander Shepard, and I'll hear no comments to the contrary.

I do like the omni-knife... but they could have made it look just a little less like the Halo energy-sword-thing.

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