hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Mass Effect 3

EB Expo 2011: Mass Effect 3 hands-on

3:45 PM on 10.17.2011 // David Rayfield

As I'm waiting in line to play BioWare's third installment in its celebrated science fiction RPG series, Commander Shepard appears next to me. He is tall and imposing, complete with N7 suit and buzz cut. A young girl also waiting in line squeals in excitement and welcomes him with open arms. It's a testament to a series that has built such a fan following in just a few short years that even a random person dressed as one of the characters can elicit such happiness from the public.

The demo (on Xbox 360) opens with Shepard, Liara, and Garrus' teaming up to help Mordin free a female krogan from prison. She is being held there by Cerberus soldiers and there's only a matter of time before they come back. It's time to play Mass Effect 3!

In the interest of full disclosure, this demo is the same single-player slice of Mass Effect 3 that was shown at E3 in June and the Eurogamer Expo in September. Whether or not this demo at the EB Games Expo in Australia is exactly the same build of the game is unclear, but EA certainly seems determined to stick with it for public viewings.

Regardless, the atmosphere of the tropical medical facility hangs heavy. There are fires burning out of control, and smoke blocks out part of the sky. Mordin orders Shepard and his squad to make their way through the ruins and help him in his liberation of the krogan.

I take control of Shepard; it feels immediately familiar to anyone who has played the previous games in the series. The left bumper pauses the game to bring up the menu wheel, filled with weapon options for each character. The right bumper does the same for squad abilities.

As I move forward, I immediately notice something: everything seems to be saturated in a very fine, film grain effect. The white walls of the facility have flecks of dust on them, as does the air itself. I continue to advance only to confirm that it isn't atmospheric residue of the fires, it's actually part of the screen.

The Cerberus agents arrive, dropping down from the sky in jet-propelled battle armor. I take cover behind a bench and start firing. As I'm ordering my squad to attack, the combat is strikingly reminiscent of Mass Effect 2. The crouching and shooting feels like slipping on an old pair of shoes.

As we finish off the agents, I decide to try out the squad movement commands -- left on the D-pad to order one squad member to advance to a position, right for the other. I order Garrus and Liara to move ahead. As they do, I notice that their running animations are terrible. Both shuffle forward as if they are floating slightly above the ground when moving into position. As they run, it seems as if their legs are too fast for the speed that their bodies are moving. I send them forward again, and sure enough, it happens again. Running animations aren't a major component to any game, but I was surprised how much they stand out here.

I locate a workbench, where Shepard can now customize weapons on the go. I'm carrying three standard weapons -- a pistol and a couple of rifles. Upgrading the weapons seems like a handy, easy-to-use feature that hints at a larger range of features. 

As I order the squad back to Mordin's position, I decide to take a look at the external view of the tropical terrain around the facility. Despite fires raging out of control and lush trees surrounding the area, I'm immediately taken aback by the jagged edges on the buildings outside. Moving the camera, the graphical roughness remains. I'm shocked by the lack of smoothness of the structures, making sections of the game feel unfinished. It overshadows an otherwise beautiful view of the planet. and I start to wonder what other visual issues I might stumble across. 

None of these questions are raised during the cut-scenes. As expected, they look and sound great. Mordin still speaks with rapid-fire fragility, and Shepard exudes confidence with every word.

After finishing the demo, the graphical limitations become more evident the longer I think about them. If this is indeed the same build from June, I can only assume that BioWare has fixed these problems since then. As it stands now, I'm surprised at how rough the overall experience feels, and it raises far too many niggling questions I didn't expect to ask.

It's now October, and the game's release is in early March. It begs the question why EA would keep showing this demo when hopefully there is a better version somewhere out there ready for consumption.

David Rayfield,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
It's my Birthday 22 today, Bleh!
Virtua Kazama avatarVirtua Kazama
One thing I've learned about the Japanese fighting game players: They are willing to play any fighter no matter how good or bad it is, and they don't shit on the game or the community behind it.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I killed Darth Vader by crashing a spaceship into him 10/10
Parismio avatarParismio
Watched the first ep of One Punch Man and I was not disappointed. It seems like they'll be adding their own stories into it because I don't remember that fight in the last 5 minutes in the manga. I'll have to reread it to make sure.
Paul S avatarPaul S
What the hell is Sega using in the printing of their PS3 game manuals? I wouldn't be surprised if some dumb kid stuck one in a plastic bag and started huffing the fumes to get high.
CeeDotGreen avatarCeeDotGreen
Been playing MGO obsessively, still can't find anyone in their right mind that uses the Hush Puppy. So of course I'm gonna be the dumb bastard that tries.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Why don't we have more games that use filtered 3D models to creat faux-pixel art? It's such a cool, smooth style, but you never see any games using it.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Oh lawd. Next Saturday, Gamestop will have three hour access to Tri-Force Heroes. Nintendo, really wish we could just get normal demos from you more often, please!
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
I made this. Want one? [IMG]HTTPS://[/IMG]
JawshButturBawls avatarJawshButturBawls
Star Wars Battlefront is pretty good. Except the beta is basically a demo with nothing in it so that upsets me. but it's still pretty good.
gajknight avatargajknight
Just cleaning up the last of Gotham's Most Wanted before I finish Arkham Knight. Those Riddler trophies...much more fun than Arkham City but my word, stop it Rocksteady. Love the game though, outstanding. In my top 5 this year, fo sho.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
SCIENCE. IS. AWESOME. [youtube][/youtube]
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Looks like my copy of Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash won't be here till Tuesday. What do I pay for Amazon Prime for again? I think I might have to stream me playing it.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I have just heard someone say Uncharted was a "role playing game."
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The glitched walking animation people carrying crates in Novigrad do is hilarious.
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
Undecided what to do with my weekend now my fiancée is away. One part of me says I should work my ass off, another says I should go watch The Martian while the last part tells me to be a slob, play games and masturbate to Highschool DXD.. Such a hard lif
Steel Squirrel avatarSteel Squirrel
The 1.10 patch for The Witcher 3 is out. Downloading for PS4. Pretty excited to see the changes, especially since it said the damn swamps in Velen would finally see performance enhancements, along with like a million other areas. So good! Yes?
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
Just got confirmation that a feature I spent way too long writing is going up on Sunday. Not a bad way to start the weekend off, though I wish I had a slot on a weekday.
gajknight avatargajknight
PB&J sandwiches. Saturday morning cartoons. A blanket. Ominous sounds coming from the next room. Blood seeping from the walls. A dark figure standing in the corner, staring, watching. Darkness, everywhere. Such darkness. This is childhood.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Dear Namco, give me a proper localizer Super Robot Wars title. I need it in my viens, especially this
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Mass Effect 3

  May 15

BioWare announces most popular Commander Shepard names

I like 'Josh Homme Shepard,' but that's kind of dumb, I guess

  Apr 25

Pew pew pew! Check out these new Mass Effect replica guns

Project Triforce makes some slick, expensive stuff

  Feb 25

Details on Mass Effect 3's final free DLC pack Reckoning

The fifth, final, and free multiplayer expansion

  Oct 19

RIP Commander Shepard

Who will step up? The Asari? The Turians?

  Sep 07

Mass Effect anime delayed

Won't be making it into your N7 stockings this Christmas

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -