PAX 2011: Mass Effect 3 Hands On

vansau

Mortician of Love
May 25, 2010
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PAX 2011: Mass Effect 3 Hands On



A hands-on demo? Violent melee action? New screenshots? Yes, please.

BioWare may have revealed that Mass Effect 3 <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/112638-BioWare-Mass-Effect-3-Brings-Shepards-Story-to-a-Close>will be the end of Commander Shepard's story, but that doesn't mean that the character isn't going out in a blaze of glory. Based on a ten-minute hands-on demo I got to play at PAX Prime, it's pretty obvious that Shepard and his crew have never been tougher.

The demo was, essentially, one prolonged firefight. The set-up is that Mordin Solus has found a cure for the genophage that rendered nearly all the females of the Krogan race sterile. However, Cerberus is trying to prevent Solus and his test subject - a Krogan female - from getting out of the facility they're in. As a result, Shepard, Garrus, and Liara have to fight off Cerberus forces, ensuring Solus and the Korgan can make a safe escape.

Players have to travel through multiple levels, each one swarming with Cerberus shock troopers, until they make it to the roof of the facility and wind up squaring off against an immense mech. Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest.

That said, this was one of the most enjoyable action sequences I'd seen in a Mass Effect title (and I've played through both games so far). Because the enemies kept coming and I was under a time limit to make sure Solus was safe, things felt incredibly frantic; this was a little unexpected, as the squad actually started out at incredibly high levels with full access to their powers.

The combat itself felt incredibly satisfying, mainly because the difficulty seemed tougher than before. The Cerberus troopers featured some pretty solid AI that provided a solid challenge for my squad. On top of this, Shepard sported an impressive new close-combat attack that can be activated by holding down the melee button.

When this ability is used, the omni-tool manifests, sporting a wicked-looking blade that Shepard proceeds to do terrible things to his enemies with. These attacks are stunning to watch, thanks in large part to how utterly brutal they looked on screen.

Unfortunately, the mech battle was the least-impressive part of the level. While the mech looked great and could soak up a ton of damage, it was pretty easy to overwhelm with combined special abilities.

All in all, Mass Effect 3 feels like it's going to have some fantastic battles to play through. Needless to say, <a href=http://www.amazon.com/Mass-Effect-3-Collectors-Xbox-360/dp/B0050SYZS0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314763167&sr=8-1>waiting until March 6th of next year just became that much more difficult. In the meantime, feel free to whet your appetite with these new screenshots from BioWare.

[gallery=452]

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Soviet Heavy

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I'd like it if Mass Effect spent more time showcasing it's dialogue system as an actual gameplay mechanic. But previews all seem to be focused on the combat, which is a shame, since it's leaving half the game out.
 

Zhukov

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Dec 29, 2009
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Cleril said:
Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest.

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.
You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.

That last one is particular is kind of a big deal story-wise. Although, granted, anyone who has been following the development probably knew most of that already.

Really, what more do you want from a gameplay preview?
 

The_Blue_Rider

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Sep 4, 2009
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Cleril said:
"Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest."

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.
Yes because god forbid demos focus on gameplay or anything :p

This seems awesome :D although what the hell happened to garrus's scars?
 

vansau

Mortician of Love
May 25, 2010
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Soviet Heavy said:
I'd like it if Mass Effect spent more time showcasing it's dialogue system as an actual gameplay mechanic. But previews all seem to be focused on the combat, which is a shame, since it's leaving half the game out.
Well, yes, and no. The game is still a ways out and BioWare doesn't want to spoil too much of the plot, so they want to showcase gameplay right now instead of the story.
 

Soviet Heavy

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vansau said:
Soviet Heavy said:
I'd like it if Mass Effect spent more time showcasing it's dialogue system as an actual gameplay mechanic. But previews all seem to be focused on the combat, which is a shame, since it's leaving half the game out.
Well, yes, and no. The game is still a ways out and BioWare doesn't want to spoil too much of the plot, so they want to showcase gameplay right now instead of the story.
True, but they could show how they've improved it.... if they have, that is. The last time for ME2, it was the interrupt system, where "you'd press a button, and something awesome has to happen!"
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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Cleril said:
Zhukov said:
You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.
I've already learned all of this back when E3 was going on. There have already been videos of this entire scenario out there. When they showed off the kinect functionality I believe is at least one account of them showing this demo.

And this gameplay preview has done nothing to tell us anything new. Okay, we shoot guys, knew that, omni-blades, knew that too, and big giant mechs aren't new to the series. What I would like to know is how the hell an omni-blade even works...
Uh... yeah, that's because it's the exact same demo. You were expecting it to suddenly morph into a story preview?

As for the omni-blade, well, those things can already act as a flamethrower, freeze-ray, sabotage device, scanner, drone-deployer, bludgeon, medi-gel dispenser and whatever else I've forgotten. Is sticking a pointy bit on the front really such a stretch?
 

Avatar Roku

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Soviet Heavy said:
Who's the Turian in Picture 3? It can't be Garrus.
To me, it looks like Executor Palin, the C-SEC guy from the first game. Or it could be Lorik Qu'in, from Noveria. Or it could be a new guy, we'll see.
Nikolaz72 said:
Soviet Heavy said:
Who's the Turian in Picture 3? It can't be Garrus.
Council members?
Nah, facepaint is wrong for the Turian Counselor, and the Asari looks to be Liara.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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Soviet Heavy said:
Who's the Turian in Picture 3? It can't be Garrus.
Nah, the skin colour is different and he doesn't have his eye-thingy. Way different armour too, see second screenshot.

I'm guessing that's just a member of the Turian military.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Oh good, more pictures of Shepard being a badass. Because I guess there's not enough of those.

At least there's one shot that's new(I'm assuming the Mordin shot is from the gameplay demo that's been featured prominently. The one with the female Krogan) and doesn't have him holding a gun.

Bioware, more pictures of the environments/new characters/new planets and everything other than Shepard/Cerberus please. We have enough pictures of Shepard shooting dudes.
 

Avatar Roku

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Jul 9, 2008
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Cleril said:
Zhukov said:
Cleril said:
Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest.

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.
You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.

That last one is particular is kind of a big deal story-wise. Although, granted, anyone who has been following the development probably knew most of that already.

Really, what more do you want from a gameplay preview?
I've already learned all of this back when E3 was going on. There have already been videos of this entire scenario out there. When they showed off the kinect functionality I believe is at least one account of them showing this demo.

And this gameplay preview has done nothing to tell us anything new. Okay, we shoot guys, knew that, omni-blades, knew that too, and big giant mechs aren't new to the series. What I would like to know is how the hell an omni-blade even works...

The_Blue_Rider said:
Cleril said:
"Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest."

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.
Yes because god forbid demos focus on gameplay or anything :p

This seems awesome :D although what the hell happened to garrus's scars?
Again, we already knew every bit of gameplay discussed in this article existed. Guns, squads, cerberus, omni-blades, and mechs. There's nothing new gameplay wise and this preview has been seen before several times (that is, this part of the game).
Answer your question, I think the in-universe justification for the blade is that it uses Kinetic Barriers (i.e, shields). Still a stupid addition in my eyes, though.
Zhukov said:
Cleril said:
Zhukov said:
You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.
I've already learned all of this back when E3 was going on. There have already been videos of this entire scenario out there. When they showed off the kinect functionality I believe is at least one account of them showing this demo.

And this gameplay preview has done nothing to tell us anything new. Okay, we shoot guys, knew that, omni-blades, knew that too, and big giant mechs aren't new to the series. What I would like to know is how the hell an omni-blade even works...
Uh... yeah, that's because it's the exact same demo. You were expecting it to suddenly morph into a story preview?

As for the omni-blade, well, those things can already act as a flamethrower, freeze-ray, sabotage device, scanner, drone-deployer, bludgeon, medi-gel dispenser and whatever else I've forgotten. Is sticking a pointy bit on the front really such a stretch?
It's a bit different. The Omni-Blade involves stabbing people with the actual hologram, which, despite story justifications, seems really stupid to me. And yes, a good deal of time has been spent in the codex explaining that it is JUST a hologram interface.

Reservations about the Omni Blade aside, I'm looking forward to this quite a bit. I'll need more info on the story, mind you, but I see no reason to worry with how it looks now.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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Avatar Roku said:
Answer your question, I think the in-universe justification for the blade is that it uses Kinetic Barriers (i.e, shields). Still a stupid addition in my eyes, though.

[snip]

It's a bit different. The Omni-Blade involves stabbing people with the actual hologram, which, despite story justifications, seems really stupid to me. And yes, a good deal of time has been spent in the codex explaining that it is JUST a hologram interface.
If it's using kinetic barriers, then you're not stabbing people with "the actual hologram", your stabbing them with a concentrated force-field-thingy and using the hologram to aim.
 

spectrenihlus

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Feb 4, 2010
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AGH!!! I don't want to know I don't want to know. God I wish I could freeze myself until ME3 comes out. This game is going to be awesome.
 

Lawyer105

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cursedseishi said:
Eh, its not that big a surprise Mordin is looking to undo the Genophage. I mean hell, I pretty much half-expected it based on his Companion-specific mission. It's like the same thing with Garrus, we had a chance to either turn him cold-blooded kill-anyone-to-accomplish-the-mission, or get him to be more of the "Paragon Shepard" approach.

Though, it would be nice for them to actually show something new. This same scenario is pretty much one of the few repeated over and over for these gaming conventions. How about something new! Maybe give us some game time with James "Situation" Vega?
Wait... maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but didn't Mordin execute his apprentice for (in an admittedly ass-backwards way) looking into curing the genophage??