We have seen the trailers checked out various Gameplays and gone though many Screenshots.
Now after a long wait we finally have the Mass Effect 3 demo. Mass Effect 3 was voted as our own most anticipated game of 2012 for good reason. I was lucky enough to nab myself a demo code during the past weekend and have played through it a couple of times since.
Story [Spoiler alert if you have not played it]
In this demo we get a look into two missions although these are the game missions that were highlighted at E3 2011 so if you have seen that then you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. The opening of Mass Effect 3 set on Earth when the Reapers attack and you are forced to get to the Normandy and head to the Citadel to recruit species to help out before the Reapers are done with humans and move onto other races. The second mission is more action based you are tasked with going to the Salarian home world to bring a truce to the Krogan and Salarians in order for them to help you defeat the Reapers you have to escort a female Krogan out of the system but in Mass Effect nothing is ever simple Cerburus (the guys you worked with in ME2) want the female Krogan dead so it is your job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Mass Effect 2 has great gameplay so why change something that is already pretty good? (I’m currently going through ME2 to set up my Shepard for ME3) The experience in Mass Effect 3 feels similar but its more refined and feels a whole lot more smooth than Mass Effect 2 did. The AI has been improved a lot compared to Mass Effect 2, you can now be shot while you are in cover, so it is always good to keep moving from cover to cover or you will get pinned down as the AI now tries to flank you. I really like this improvement with the time that I have had with the demo.
In Mass Effect 2, character control at times felt very sluggish compared to other third person games. Bioware have known about this and have rectified it in Mass Effect 3. Shepard moves a lot more smoothly than before with the added moves under his/her new arsenal this Shepard is more deadly than ever. Mass Effect 3 doesn’t run as smoothly as Gears of War 3 for example but is a huge step up from Mass Effect 2.
One thing that many players wanted for Mass Effect 3 was more customisation and Bioware delivered. The level tree is very different compared to Mass Effect 2 it has more options and more category’s, you can level up your fitness so you have more health and carry more items, you can level up biotics until they are very deadly after reaching level three on a skill it branches so you have two options for upgrading you can only pick one of these options so think about your choice and what you want before committing to something.
Have a look at the differences between Mass Effect 2′s skill tree compared to Mass Effect 3.
Unfortunately there is no weapon customisation included with the demo you get to pick up a gun sight on the second level but you cant do anything with it; we will have to wait until the full game is released.
Controls are the same as Mass Effect 2, from the action wheel down to basic movement. There are some new additions though I have found three so far during my Playthroughs and just for you I will let you know what they are and how they work. You can now jump over gaps just by holding down A, Another thing you can now interact with certain objects using the L stick you can climb ladders and jump down to other areas. My favourite new control so far is the heavy melee all you have to do is get up close and personal with an enemy hold down B and unleash a satisfying heavy attack.
With most EA games that I have played more recently (Crysis 2, Bulletstorm, Battlefield 3, Bad Company 2, Mass Effect 2) one thing that always stands out to me is the quality of the sound and Mass Effect 3 is no different everything just sounds a whole lot better from the sound of your gun shooting and reloading to ambient noises, This could be due to that Bioware called in some friends from Battlefield 3 Developer DICE to help out in the audio department to bring us the best sounding game possible. Don’t know if the sound is up to the scale of Battlefield 3 but this demo sounds amazing, we will have to wait until the full game for a full verdict.
As soon as you have picked which sex you want your Shepard you choose how you want to tailor your experience in-game, Mass Effect 3 gives you three choices to how you want to play the game, you can go for Action which pretty much cuts out the core of Mass Effect but is good for players who may not have the patience for all the conversations and other RPG elements. Role-playing is the traditional Mass Effect experience that has a mixture of the high action and RPG elements and is my preferred way of playing Mass Effect. And finally we have Story is the only mode that I haven’t played, It plays out more like a interactive story that makes the combat easier and lacks some of the role-playing elements that Mass Effect is known for. Its not my sort of gamemode but I know there are always some people who would enjoy this mode.
After picking what mode you want to play you head on over to create your Shepard, you can pick between having Femshep (highlighted in the latest trailer) or go with the default Maleshep, beyond that you can create your own unique character the creation tools are the same as previous titles you can adjust the face, give yourself a good hairdo.
Its a shame that you don’t get into the full customisation of the game in this demo I would have loved to have seen some of the armour variants and had a peek at the codex to get some new information about some of the races, but hey it is a demo its doing what it is meant to do get players playing and to have them talk about the game. At times textures can look a little stretched and can look low quality apparently this demo is an earlier build of the game so hopefully for the full game this has been corrected.
At first I was very sceptical about Bioware adding a Mutiplayer element, much like most of the internet but the more we saw the trailers the more we got used to the idea. In this section I will give you a little glimpse into the new Multiplayer mode.
Multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 is four player Co-Op that can be played with either three other random players or three other friends through private games or public games, you have to go through waves of enemies until you complete the mission and clear out the sector it’s very horde-esque. In my initial playthrough it was a disaster I went into the game with no communication and the other guys who were in the team also had no communication we managed to survive two waves before all of us being taken down.
Multiplayer is divided into three separate difficulty’s bronze which is the easiest difficulty it moves upto silver which is the middle difficulty and finally gold which is the hardest of the three, my first game was on as highest difficulty and lets say the results were not exactly good. The demo has two levels Firebase White which is located in Noveria, the level looks to be a Cerburus facility very clean and quite sterile and on the other side of that you have Firebase Ghost that’s located on Benning which looks to be an industrial area or a slum area that looks and feels a bit dirty compared to Firebase White.
Much like the single player you can customise your own character, it is unknown whether you will be able to change armour variants or not I have not found and extra armour, you can change suit colours in the demo it is very limited to primary colour and highlight colour, however it does show the other options that will be available in the full game secondary colour, pattern, pattern colour and lights this system is very similar to Mass Effect 2. You level up your own character very much like the single player, the more you play as a particular character the more experience and unlocks it gets. There is other customisation also with your equipment, powers and weapon selection the more you play and unlock.
With online gaming now you have progressive ranking, Mass Effect 3 is no different you level up continually and get new unlocks along the way, which can be used to ehance your character. As I mentioned a little earlier you get challenges to do at random waves these mainly compromise of protecting a certain area for a allotted amount of time or taking out marked targets on a time limit and going to certain locations around the map to grab valuable information and move onto the next completing these challenges earns you credits.
You earn credits though doing challenges that appear at the beginning of a random wave. If you succeed in the challenge you get credits which can be used in the store. You can purchase special packs through the store that give you certain items from gun upgrades to special ammo types that you can only use once, med packs to give you an automatic revival if you are downed and other single use items.
Based on this Demo the multiplayer doesn’t feel like its just pasted into the game to make more money off the franchise it plays like Mass Effect but with friends or random people. Connections are decent and gameplay is the same as the single player. In closing this demo has gotten me even more excited for Mass Effect 3, I may have missed out of the first game but I have played through the second game, purchased all DLC and enjoyed it nearly every step of the way. Even if you haven’t played the first two games I would recommend downloading this demo and giving this game a chance who knows you may like it. Mass Effect 3 takes up around 2GB of hard drive estate on the Xbox 360 other platforms may be similar.
Join in the battle against the Reapers and take Earth back 6 March in the US and 9 March in Europe.