If you miss the tweaking and fine-tuning in Mass Effect games, then you're in for a treat with Mass Effect 3.
The Mass Effect series has something of a Goldilocks problem when it comes to its RPG elements. The first game had a few too many - or at least, too many for the systems to comfortably handle - the second game had too few, and the third game, well, the third game will be just right if BioWare is to be believed. BioWare has said for months that Mass Effect 3 would be much better blend of action and RPG than previous titles, and at San Diego Comic Con last week, the studio put its money where its mouth is.
SDCC was the first opportunity that the general public has had to play Mass Effect 3. BioWare presented a short, combat-orientated demo, which besides showcasing the improvements to the actual aiming, shooting, and crouching behind waist-high walls that makes up Mass Effect's combat, gave the studio the chance to show off the depth that it has re-introduced to the game's systems. As promised, players are able to modify weapons again - the demo had a workbench which allowed players to equip equipment like silencers and scopes - and tinker with a weapon's rate of fire and stability.
Skills also have some more depth. The biotic skill Warp, for example, has six different branches that the player can pick. What's more, he or she can pick a different branch for each member of the crew, allowing a great degree of specialization within the party. Players who aren't interested in fine-tuning their party won't have to suffer either, as there's an option to let the game make the choices for you.
With over six months to go before the game comes out, there's a lot that can change, but it sounds like BioWare is really trying to balance the action and RPG elements properly. No doubt there will be some who won't be swayed by this and will remain convinced that BioWare has sold out, but for the rest of us, there's cause to be cautiously optimistic that Mass Effect 3 could be the best in the series.