Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Mass Effect 3

Preview: Shepard & company visit Mars in Mass Effect 3

10:30 AM on 02.13.2012 // Samit Sarkar

The bleak, ruddy Martian landscape comes into view as Commander Shepard, Ashley Williams, and James Vega descend upon the Red Planet. Massive sandstorm clouds billow in the distance, their monolithic surface broken only by periodic flashes of lightning. But do they pose a more perilous threat than the yet-unknown reason for the loss of contact with a Martian base, the situation that Shepard’s crew has been sent to investigate?

This is the way one of Mass Effect 3's early missions kicks off. I spent about half an hour playing through it at an EA press event in New York last week, after seeing demos of two Mass Effect mobile experiences. While I didn’t make it to the end, the session left me with plenty to discuss.

I should note that nothing has changed between my co-op preview and now, in terms of my familiarity with the Mass Effect franchise: I still haven’t played either of the first two games. But BioWare has been insisting all along that while ME3 will of course provide the conclusion to the trilogy that longtime fans desire, it’s also a viable entry point for newcomers.

[Editor’s note: I kept this preview as spoiler-free as possible, but if you’ve been avoiding ME3 stories so you can go in blind, you may want to skip this article. Heck, why’d you even read this far? --Samit]

1

Mass Effect 3 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [previewed], PC)
Developer: BioWare Edmonton (single-player) / BioWare Montreal (multiplayer)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release: March 6, 2012 (NA) / March 8, 2012 (AUS) / March 9, 2012 (EU) / March 15, 2012 (JP)

Each demo station featured a default male Shepard of the soldier variety, in a fresh ME3 game with no save data imported. Once we landed on Mars, the game presented me with an upgrade screen in which I could allocate skill points to each member of my party. An EA PR rep explained that the series’ RPG elements, which BioWare streamlined in Mass Effect 2, have returned in full force for ME3. This also applies to weapon upgrades: you’ll find attachments that you can graft onto your guns at workbenches. And for quick orders in battle, you can assign one power from each party member to right/left on the D-pad.

2

After customizing my characters, I headed in the direction of the facility, an imposing white metal structure that stood in stark contrast to the rusty Martian surface. A cutscene soon played, showing Cerberus agents executing employees of the base. I immediately fired upon the soldiers, igniting a shootout among the rocks, crates, and vehicles strewn about the clearing. Shepard’s rolling dodge came in handy, and my pistol discharged rounds as quickly as I could hammer the right trigger. Many action RPGs suffer from putting story ahead of gameplay; I’ve heard that the combat in the first two Mass Effect games is serviceable at best. That doesn’t seem to be the case here: while I don’t have a point of comparison, I can say that I had no issues with the responsiveness of the gunplay in ME3.

Soon after fighting my way inside, my trio ran into a room filled with the clamor of gunshots and metallic thumps. The sounds emanated from the air vents, and Shepard’s crew took cover until an old friend, Liara T’Soni, popped out of a vent and finished off the Cerberus operatives who had been chasing her. Here, Shepard ordered Vega to return outside and secure an exit strategy, and Liara replaced him in the group.

3

Once she came along, the work of lead writer Mac Walters and crew really began to become apparent. I didn’t know any of these characters or their backstories beforehand, but the ME3 writers have done an excellent job of implementing expository dialogue in cutscenes without it feeling forced. Even in my short session, the cutscenes elegantly conveyed the history between the characters -- whether through Ashley questioning where Shepard’s allegiances lie (due to his past work for Cerberus), or with a lingering look of longing from Liara in Shepard’s direction.

The good doctor explained that the facility’s archives contained a Prothean artifact, and after we were stymied by a locked door, it dawned upon us that the mission came down to a race for the technology between us and Cerberus, who were quickly sealing off the base. From there, skirmishes became more heated, as a wider variety of enemies pushed me to use my teammates strategically. Liara’s biotics proved effective on shielded foes: I instructed her to lift them into the air, arms flailing slowly, to give me a free shot.

4

A tramway in the distance would ferry us to the archives, but we had to step outside in order to get to it. Unfortunately, the fast-approaching dust storm had just about arrived, wreaking havoc on Vega’s radio signal. The three of us quickly returned indoors and made our way to the tram, hopping into a creaking cable car. Shortly after it started moving, it halted with a jerk, and Cerberus forces began taking potshots at us from the landing platform.

Sadly, my time with the game ended there. Even as a first-time Mass Effect player, I felt drawn to the mission and immersed in the game’s sci-fi universe, equally charmed by the story, combat, and RPG elements. I couldn’t grasp the significance of most of the terms that Shepard, Liara, and Ashley were bandying about, but I wanted to keep playing and learn more. Personally, I still wouldn’t dream of touching ME3 without having at least played its predecessor, but my session instilled faith that if you want to jump directly into this game, you’ll likely be able to enjoy yourself without feeling completely lost.

Try ME3 for yourself when the demo, with single-player and co-op content, launches tomorrow.

Photo Gallery: (6 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Samit Sarkar,
 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 *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

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!


Exclusivity is (mostly) Bad, except for when Nintendo is involved

Summer Wars: The Video Gameā€¦.I mean Digimon: Cyber Sleuth

Gaming's Beautiful People #4: Valentine's Day Special OR Love Multi-Kills

Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky Import Review

Stupid Teens Do Stupid Things: An Oxenfree Critique

A blog test. Brought to you by Buckner & Garcia

Cblogs of 2/11/16, 2/12/16 + Firethoughts

XCOM 2 And The Glory of Mods

PS+ Games of the Month January 2016 - Feat. GajKnight and SolarPonyDjango

Your Opinions On Racing Games Are Stupid

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
No comment.
Parismio avatarParismio
Omg i love the internet
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Iron Paladin avatarIron Paladin
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I can't wait to mute Niero. #NoRules #ThePurge
Joe Parlock avatarJoe Parlock
I spent all last night playing Day of Defeat: Source. If only Valve gave it even half the attention it did to TF2 or CS:S...
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Nearing Platinum status.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
THIS IS THE BEST EMAIL I'VE EVER GOTTEN HOLY SHIT
Parismio avatarParismio
Sheesh i played metal gear rising before and Platinum ruined the franchise.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Toonami is running a poll right now at [url]www.toonami.com/poll[/url] where one of the questions is which show you'd want un-cancelled. Oh, Teen Titans is included? That's curious...
SlyTAdvantage avatarSlyTAdvantage
"The Ravagers dropped the giant insects and waited for them to evolve ... it's clear. This is their plan from the start" -EDF 4.1 scientist So dragons are evolved forms of ants, spiders and/or wasps ....... what?
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
Every time I hear "I don't understand why people like _____ game", I get annoyed. Of course you understand, if you've listened to what those people were saying. You just don't agree, and that's A-OK. I HATE Twilight, but I understand why people like it.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just tried playing the first Bayonetta game... it was really bad. Honestly I don't understand why Platinum games are so well regarded. None of them are really worthwhile.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
The first person I block is the person who talks shit about Platinum
Torchman avatarTorchman
Even though your waifus are shit
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
Finally, a blog that I can call my own, I feel accomplished somehow.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Gonna be honest; this really made my day.
Rico the Penguin avatarRico the Penguin
I doubt I'll use it much but I'm totally fine with a block/ignore feature. Everyone has a right to speak, but I don't think anyone has a right to be heard. If this place played country music I'd want a mute button, basically :p.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Mall haul today (plus I split a BEAUTIFUL Star Wars Slave I with my brother). Any thoughts on Haze? Wanted to play it back when it came out and I had no PS3. For a dollar you can't go wrong!
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I'm not gonna lie, I don't feel "good" about the upcoming "ignore" feature. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea that people can mute other people because they don't agree with them. Spammers and trolls, sure, but not regular community members.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

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 -