In keeping with my talks about Mass Effect and badass-ness, last Tuesday the Mass Effect 3 demo (including early access to the multiplayer) came out. The characters, story, and gameplay have driven me to love this series…but I have to tell you I was a little nervous about the third installment coming into this review. The trailer shown to us at the VGA’s gave me nothing to go on but “hey look there’s a new dive mechanic like in Gears of War,” and it left me more than skeptical. I’d heard many people complaining that it was becoming more Third Person Shooter than Role Playing Game. I used to scoff at the nay sayers: It’s freakin’ BioWare, they have literally never made a bad game. They even made Sonic the freakin’ Hedgehog a good RPG. But there I was, still skeptical. So I waited for the download and then pressed Start…
All of that skepticism came to a head when I played the Single Player demo last tuesday. As soon as you boot it up you’re given a choice between Action, (you can change the difficulty, the scenes are cutscenes instead of interactive) Role-Playing, (difficulty change, interactive cutscenes) Story (difficulty relatively easy, interactive cutscenes). Then it lets me choose my character’s classes, (Adept, Soldier, Engineer, Sentinel, Infiltrator, Vanguard) psychological profile, (Spacer, Colonist, Earthborn) service history, (Sole Survivor, War Hero, Ruthless) and whether or not Ashley Williams, Kaiden Alenko, or numerous others have died. Immediately the general feeling of Mass Effect came rushing back like a damned waterfalll.
The story begins with one of the two campaign parts of the demo. Shepard is trying to save the Earth Council from imminent doom. Nearly everyone in the board room must be one day from retirement, because the Reapers blast through the door and kill nearly everyone except for Shepard and his commanding officer David Anderson, (easily recognizable if you’re a fan of Mass Effect). Then you must fight your way out of the wreckage of Earth and recruit other teammates like Ashley Williams, who you end up seeing prior to the wreckage. In the second part of the Single Player Demo you must save one of the last Female Krogans for Urdnot Wrex from Cereberus. You immediately are thrown into the fray to battle with your new toys. I played with an Engineer and an Adept for the demo and they both are very useful against the Cereberus enemies especially the Combat Engineers and their turrets. Then later on you must destroy a gigantic robot named Atlus. (there’s more than one…better get ready). I thought the Mass Effect single player experience was going to suffer because of the inclusion of multiplayer, but it seems that it’s just going to be that much better thanks to BioWare having a completely different team work on the multiplayer.
Speaking of the multiplayer my opinion on its existence in single player experiences is easy: It’s not necessary. Single player experiences are just that…don’t ruin it with multiplayer…bleh, I’m getting off track. The multiplayer in Mass Effect surprised me. It’s fun and addicting. You are given all of the races to choose from, (Asari, Turian, Quarian, Krogan, Salarian, and Drell) as well as all of the classes. You also are given some weapons in the beginning of the multiplayer. The weapons play a huge role (obviously) but in a new way. The weight of the guns can hinder your reload time and how fast you are during combat, so you must choose your weapons wisely. There are 11 waves, with certain objectives you need to be complete before the allotted time and others in which you just kill all the enemies. Teamwork is definitely required with 4 players in total, and a microphone is highly recommended; if you can’t communicate, you will die…just trust me. When you finish a match, you get credits in order to buy new gear. There are different packs you can choose from in order to get better. When you first begin you get a starter pack which is totally free, giving you new weapons and characters. Then there are the Recruit Packs which cost you 5,000 credits and Veteran Packs which cost you 20,000 credits. Personally, I’d say wait a few games and get a Veteran Pack. You will not regret it.
Overall, Mass Effect 3 was a skeptical, worrisome mess for me…until I played the demo and my worries were washed away. Mass Effect 3 is going to be an amazing game and I believe the crowning achievement of BioWare’s illustrious history. I, for one, will be waiting with open arms on March 6th when this beast of a game is finally released to all of us in North America. (March 8th in Australia, March 9th in Europe, and March 15th in Japan) All I can say is, while this is a demo, I am certainly not afraid to thank BioWare already for what they’re made possible.