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!


Persona 4 Golden and Positivity

Cblogs of 02/06/16 and 02/07/16 + Lane to Lane Combat within the Storm

What is Metroidvania?

Wanna Bet? Fall 2015 Finale

Conquest of Elysium 4 - Review

The PlayStation Vita: Twice as Bright

Video Gaming Bits -- Magical Date: Doki Doki Kokuhaku Daisakusen

Cheat Codes Ep. 83: Shut Up

Comments of the Week - Love Love Love

Sonic Generations Mod Retrospective 2 - COLORS

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

SayWord avatarSayWord
Sorry guys and gals, this demon pussy is bestest.
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Just sayin'.
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Best demon-girl, however, is obviously Shadow Labrys-cause shut up baby you know it!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Also, Jonathan is best mainline SMT waifu. He can instill his Law within me anytime.
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Anyone who doesn't like Pyro Jack?
Parismio avatarParismio
Please all your demons are dumb. They're dumb demons. Behold the magnificence of OSE!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Mother Harlot is another SMT favorite of mine. I've never used her, but look at that shit. A holy skeleton sipping a golden chalice and riding a red, seven-headed hyena!
Torchman avatarTorchman
http://gonintendo.com/stories/251731-fire-emblem-0-a-look-at-two-genei-ibun-roku-fe-cards COME ON NINTENDO. BRING THIS OVER. I WILL BUY ALL THE CARDS. I WILL MAKE YOU MEET YOUR PROFIT GOALS.
SayWord avatarSayWord
Saw this window painting at a local sushi restaurant, was to cute not to share!
Shinta avatarShinta
bigboss0110 avatarbigboss0110
I just went back to Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition and got to the part where you can switch to Trish, and holy fuck, she's amazing! I actually might like using her more than Vergil!
gajknight avatargajknight
My favourite SMT demon is Naoto.
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Happy to see Niero being hard at work with hotly anticipated new features like adding old man eyes everywhere.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
MY FAVORITE SMT DEMON IS MISTER TORGUE BECAUSE CHINESE CARTOONS ARE FOR @%&#ING %&^$-BAGS! MOW-WOW MIDDLEY MIDDLEY MOW!
Torchman avatarTorchman
Pyro Jack is where it's at mofos
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
If you don't like Jack Frost the best I feel nothing but contempt towards you.
Batthink avatarBatthink
Regarding SMT favourites, mine is Succubus.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Hey, I here theres some premium blog o' mine just lying around the cblogs right now. Should go pick it up, while its still in stock-which is limited due to artificial scarcity. Also for favorite personas, I am also a big fan of samael. Cool design.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Was going to start The Darkness 2 today but honestly I'm so into The Witcher I'm just going to keep that going, probably for the best, too. LETS GO SKELLIGE CAPN JACK SPARROW UP IN THIS
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Samael for me.
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 -