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Submitted by Joel Windels on June 13 2011 - 14:22

A first look at the concluding instalment to BioWare's epic, space opera RPG...

In what was possibly the busiest booth across the entire E3 showfloor, with scores of people waiting in queues over five hours long, BioWare Executive Producer Casey Hudson talked us through the Mass Effect 3 demo. There is good cause for such anticipation, as this is the concluding chapter in BioWare's mammoth space trilogy and the sequel to EA's most critically acclaimed game of all time.

Mass Effect 3 is what the past two games have been building up to, and the unprecedented save import feature from Mass Effect 2 returns, meaning players can transfer over their own versions of Shepard to continue where they left off - on the brink of galactic destruction. Given that over a thousand individual decisions made in the prequels carrying over to this title, this tale is truly tailored to the player.

With the galactic community suffering from a whole host of geopolitical problems, compounded exponentially by a universal attack upon civilisation by the returning Reapers, Commander Shepard is tasked with uniting all the remaining fragments of sentient life in the galaxy in order to combat this ultimate threat. Once again, this will see Shepard using the Mass Relay devices to span the cosmos, dissipating old grudges, making allegiances, liberating societies, performing favours through diplomacy and military might, and of course recruiting a personal party of hardened followers and advanced equipment (or 'asset acquisition', as Hudson puts it). Some of the faces Shepard will encounter will be fresh ones; others will be familiar creatures from the journey chronicled in the first two Mass Effect games. A sneak section of the demo strongly implied that we will get to see the likes of Legion, Mordin, Wrex and Garrus again, as well as a never-before-seen female Krogan.

Other hints we picked up on were a possibly playable desperate defence of Earth itself, as a smouldering London was shown under attack from a fleet of Reapers in a setting more epic than anything seen before in a Mass Effect game, or pretty much anything else either. We also saw a troubled and typically honourable Captain Anderson doing everything in his power to save a crippled planet from destruction, as well as the return of the Cerberus-funded, inter-stellar stealth ship, the Normandy.

In a monumental scene that involves Shepard calling in air strikes against a gargantuan Reaper attack, we were able to see that BioWare has dedicated a great deal of care into sculpting the impressively huge environments in which the action is set. The world looks stunning, and the character facial animation is even more realistic than before.

Shepard is now equipped with a context-sensitive melee attack, which employs an arm mounted omni-blade to kill enemies in a single lethal swipe. The gunplay is now larger in scope as well, with the Y axis more commonly used than before as enemies approach from a variety of heights and levels. Guns are individually customisable using mounted work benches, possibly in a similar fashion to how lightsabers were when all this began, back in Knights of the Old Republic. Other novelties include explosive grenades, new bullet types, a wider range of biotic powers, enhanced AI behaviours like flanking, stealth mechanics, both enemy and player-controllable mechs called Atlases and more complex squad commands.

The demo concluded with a monumentally epic battle for the survival of a human-colonised planet, and a touching scene between Captain Anderson and Shepard was made even more emotional with the saddening plea of a small child looking to escape the furious and desperate situation, all backed by a ridiculously loud and melancholic score.

Mass Effect 3 was one of the best games we saw at E3, and the team at EA BioWare are really pushing to make sure it's the fittingly climatic finale to this much-loved series that the fans expect. On the evidence of the E3 demo, and with the plethora of talent we know BioWare have in their portfolio, Mass Effect 3 will surely be one of the biggest and best games ever when it finally hit shelves early next year. Consider us duly hyped.

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User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 28th Oct 2011 12:07, Post No: 10

i can't see what the problem is from what Bioware have been saying they opened up a brand new studio just to build the Multiplayer mode, clearly done so the devs working on the single player mode can focus on the single player mode without the distraction. Have a bit of faith it might be worth it

By: freeradical

Added:Fri 28th Oct 2011 11:46, Post No: 9

@Post 8: Thanks for the corrections - I've ammended the article. Got mixed up with Firefly on Reavers - typo on Drell.

User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 28th Oct 2011 11:14, Post No: 8

Haha... I'm pretty sure that they're called "Reapers" and not "Reavers"

Also "Drell" not "Droll"

User avatar
By: Kiran255

Added:Fri 08th Apr 2011 12:49, Post No: 7

I dunno. I always used to wish Ocarine of Time had a multiplayer mode.

User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 08th Jun 2010 03:16, Post No: 6

i agree to most of the comments here

mp will ruin this franchise and only pure shooters should have

i mean the cod series would be terrible without any mp but to add it to a great sp experience is a stupid thing to do

most hardcore ME players prob wont buy this if mp was in it, i for one wont if it ends up with mp

By: freeradical

Added:Tue 01st Jun 2010 17:35, Post No: 5

Have you ever checked the lobbies of a mediocre multiplayer game a few months after its release? They're usually completely dead.

If a developer isn't going to make multiplayer the focus, then it seems like it's just a waste of resources to tack-on a bland multiplayer experience.

Exactly how deep can multiplayer modes go for an RPG series that's so strongly focussed on story? Not deep enough for my liking...

User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 01st Jun 2010 17:19, Post No: 4

@gfh-77 - Using CoD as an example saying that it adds a more lasting appeal is like saying would you like WoW without multiplayer. That's basically all the CoD games are. The single player on them is just a generic run and gun game (I mean, 7 hours end-to-end on MW2 on Veteran is just pathetic as a single player game). 

It's not about lasting appeal. That's what DLC is for. No, adding multiplayer to everything wouldn't add lasting appeal. You needa realize that it's a rarity for a game to have a good single player and multiplayer. One of the modes ends up being completely half-assed. So, on a game like Mass Effect (my favorite video game series to date), I'd rather see the money they were going to use to do this multiplayer being put in to something to improve the single player than put some random multiplayer mode on to the game that just drags it all down. 

And one last word on 'lasting appeal' - I've played both ME games through at least 3 times and I've bought every single piece of DLC for ME2 that's been released. I've never once wished for multiplayer to make me keep playing it.

As for paying for live, I didn't say multiplayer shouldn't be in some games; I'm saying don't include it in every single game for reason, rather than tack it on and it be complete crap. 

By: SegaBoy

Added:Tue 01st Jun 2010 14:08, Post No: 3

I think it's pretty sad when great single-player games have to jump on the bandwagon - purely for the sake of it.

There's no doubt multiplayer is a money thing for the publishers; it's the easiest wayto keep churning out DLC and keep gamers attached to the product.

That said - if it's done well I'm not going to complain.

By: gfh-77

Added:Tue 01st Jun 2010 13:30, Post No: 2

if multiplayer realy ruins games then would you just love to see call of duty not include a multiplayer mode, no offence but multiplayer just adds more lasting appeal to any game (how many people would love to see a multiplayer mode on just cause 2).


all thats needed is to use a few more disks (if more space is required then make use of it especially on the 360) as for bioshock 2 not having multiplayer might have been worse (once completed youll have nothing left to do thats why multiplayer is included in more games) besides whats the point in paying for xbox live if you dont want multiplayer included in certain games.

User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 01st Jun 2010 12:50, Post No: 1

FFS, where do devs feel the need to include multiplayer on every single game? Bioshock 2 would have been way better if it had stayed single player, and now BioWare are feeling the need to ruin the best franchise/game universe there has been in the past decade! Just keep things single player, they sold fantastically, both critics and players LOVED them... why change that for some tacked on bullsh*t multiplayer mode?