This preview has been written by Justin, a guest writer for this site, whose always looking for feedback on his work so he can imporve, so don’t be shy, let him know! – Baden
With the upcoming release of Mass Effect 3 in North America on March 6, there’s plenty of anticipation building and a lot riding for Electronic Arts and BioWare. Perhaps the biggest challenge for video game developers this time around has been the hurdle of creating three different modes to generate an individual experience for all players. The challenges begin with creating different modes, then adding in numerous branches of the story and dialogue.
From the outset of Mass Effect 3, storylines begin on Earth with Shephard and the Alliance and goes on to give gamers plenty of what they’ve loved in the past releases of the franchise, while introducing plenty of new features. The third piece to the Mass Effect trilogy was developed as a closing for Shephard’s storyline, which is why a galactic war is at the middle of the theme. The galaxy is going to hell because thr Reapers have arrived, and it’s up to Shepard to save the day. The war itself is on about a large a scale as possible, backed by an epic soundtrack as well.
Perhaps the most surprising change in Mass Effect 3 is that there are now three different ways to play the game, each of which is selectable from the main menu. RPG mode is the option for anyone looking for the standard Mass Effect experience, while Action mode will make conversations between characters automated with answers chosen for you, allowing you to simply focus on shooting things in the face. Story mode is for those that just want to experience the epic sci-fi tale that is Mass Effect – combat difficulty is turned down to the lowest setting.
With only minor descriptions of the game modes to boot thus far, that leaves plenty of questions to be asked. Within the action mode, the game will bypass dialogue to keep the focus on the battles. This has left many wondering what types of choices will be made for each player. Recently, Game Insider reported that playing action mode will mean a combination of renegade and paragon choices throughout the bypassed dialogue. This means that there won’t be only good or bad decisions made throughout the mode. This isn’t too surprising, even though it would’ve certainly been interesting to go through making completely bad decisions the whole time.
Another great feature of the game is the fact that players who have saved lives from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 can import them in. Once a character is pulled from one of the previous releases, a number of variables will be accounted for in building a character. A no origin story arc will be created for players who don’t have any saved files available just like previous releases. At the conclusion of every game finish, an option will be presented where players can continue to play, collecting more items the second time around.
Character development and Combat within the game is supposed to be upgraded as well. Each player class has a set of takedowns specific to themselves, which allows for a different style of kills than previous games in the franchise. Combat will also be boosted by weapons that can be customized even more for anything a player encounters.
This customization will consist of the weapon lying right in front of you, as opposed to its position in menus within previous releases. You can then customize your weapon at any time you need to, even during the middle of a battle or gunfight. Each weapon is slated to have 25 upgrade levels and five different options.
Another interesting feature about the weapons in Mass Effect 3 will be the work that was done to detail them. BioWare worked with DICE, who developed Battlefield: Bad Company 2, to help really boost the weapons. They are expected to be improved when it comes to distances, sounds and projectiles involved with the weapons. Having a gun to fire that is both loud and on point is perfect for game play, as too often the specifications of sound and direction just don’t match up with the types of weapons. If this is off, it can be downright annoying at times, so I among others is greatly excited for the chance to play with these new weapons.
Characters within the game will be backed by greater development along the way, allowing for paths that are individual and player specific. Apparently ME3 is really primed to include a number of consequences and side action with characters. Pregnancy is one area that has really surprised gamers, as three characters will have the capacity to end up pregnant. There’s been no description of gender or names for characters yet, but this is still greatly interesting. Disease is another consequence that characters may face, as one character is said to have an illness that can either be put to a halt or spread through others. This is one of the most intriguing new features with the release of ME3 because it will be great wondering who these characters that can be effected are, as knowing in advance will only help to build the suspense for me, at least.
One take away from early interviews with BioWare on the combat of ME3 has been the insistence that there will be numerous opportunities for new styles of attack. These are slated to include melee style sequences, as well as the opportunity to use classic grenades.
Despite the upgrades to weapon customization and benefits, the opposing force will also have some improved features. Given these upgrades, the enemies within the game are expected to be much tougher opposition this time around. They will now have the ability to move together as a unit, attacking together. This will be emphasized mostly in the larger settings of game play, which will be greater due to an increased focus on creating bigger environments.
Besides setting up a finishing act for Shephard’s character, the developers are also faced with the task of building a proper setup for continuing the Mass Effect franchise after this release. This is one of the main reasons that multiple stories are at the heart of ME3.
A multiplayer mode will be offered for the first time in the Mass Effect franchise with the Galaxy at War option. In this section, players will be given the opportunity to take part in unique missions with three other players that could have an impact to the single player mode. All of the missions in the Galaxy at War section are specific to the campaign, focused on the invasion of strongholds for enemies. When players complete these missions, they are expected to better themselves for an improved ending within the single player campaign.
The multiplayer section will have different options for characters from the single player setting, but there will still be a dense selection to choose from. Players can also create new characters for themselves, as well as have the opportunity to use other non human species. Every individual species is slated to have a different power and movement options. Players will have the option to create up to 20 players in total, with the opportunity to improve skills along the away. The multiplayer mode was designed strategically and wisely to blend in with the game play of the single player campaign. This includes battles that are a part of the story’s war, making for what could be a great addition to the release.
After viewing some of the initial video previews of the game, it’s clear that there’s an upgrade in the camera work of the game. In the past, a common talking point has been the difference in the cinema style captures from the cut scenes and the action parts. In the videos of game action that have been released thus far, it’s clear to see that developers really wanted to fuse the cinematography of the game together more, leaving as little a difference as possible with cut scenes and action sequences. Some other things that can be taken away from the in game footage is that the games lighting looks to be better, as well as some minor improvements to animation in general and character facial construction.
With the improvements that have been set out for this release, developers certainly had a lot of ahead of them in the design process, especially with the expectations of a powerhouse game franchise. Despite the challenges, the addition of three distinct modes, as well as a multiplayer campaign should be welcome additions to an already successful franchise.