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What to expect from Mass Effect 3

4:00 PM on 03.05.2012 // Daniel Starkey
  @dcstarkey

There are probably, like, six people on the planet that haven't heard about Mass Effect 3 and its release tomorrow -- thanks, in part, to EA's massive marketing blitz.

If you're a semi-obsessed fan like me, you're probably hyped up like an artist on halex and have a trailers playlist on YouTube set on repeat. After about 48 hours of incessant explosions, FemShep reinstatements, and watching that little girl run around with a toy ship, I got to thinking: "Can I over-analyze these trailers to pluck out a few random details and flesh that out into a feature?"

Yes. Yes I can.

Hint: Massive spoilers for Mass Effect 1 and 2 and per-maybe-haps spoilers for 3. YE BE WARNED.

A'ight. So, you probably know the basics about the other games. Commander Shepard, the player-character is awesome, and kinda-sorta saved everyone's ass in the first game by killing a Reaper and stopping a full-scale galactic invasion.

The second title kicks off with one of the best opening sequences in any game, by killing off Shepard and having her brought back two years later to stop the destruction of and kidnappings from human colonies. Over the course of the game, you learn that the jackasses that came and killed you are pawns of the Reapers, gathering up humans to make a human-form Reaper. It's pretty messed up. You kill that thing, and then the Reapers are pissed. Go figure. So they threaten to come wreck our shit. And that's where we are. 

Since the announcement at the end of 2010, there's been almost a dozen trailers showing different parts of the game, each with a different tone and focus. I'm going to meander through them more or less sequentially, breaking down what is there, and trying to figure out what that means for the final installment. I'll close by adding a bit of conjecture with a pinch of opinion.

Each trailer has had a different tone. Some try to capitalize on the natural emotional connection we have with Earth and its cities, while others paint Shepard as some amazing fusion of Yoda, James Bond and Gordon Freeman.

The announcement trailer is pretty short and is scant on details. The only real thing we can pull away from it is just how bad this invasion is. There's a soldier who says that there are nine million casualties in the first week. In London. Given that the city only has eight million people now, that's pretty messed up. Towards the end of it, we see the camera pan out and show Reapers tearing through the city. The camera keeps pulling out and we see Earth from space with a harsh orange glow. It sets a really dramatic tone for the title and fits well with the opening level of the demo. 

"Fall of Earth" is a pretty stark contrast with the announcement trailer. It's pretty much all gameplay set to what I could have sworn was "Wake Up" by Rage Against the Machines. Suffice it to say that it sets a much more "Let's kick ass and chew bubblegum" feel. Regardless, it has a few interesting bits.

For one, we see a very ugly FemShep fighting at least two smaller Reapers in different locales. With the first, she's using a vehicle-mounted turret. With the second, she is literally running up one of the machine's legs, Shadow of the Colossus-style. The vid also showcases a few new enemies, weapons, and attacks.

Next in line is the "Against all Odds" trailer. Again, we have Commander Shepard approaching a Reaper on foot, as Turian fighters zip about. About halfway through, a thresher maw comes from nowhere and slams into the Reaper. At this point we can see a pattern emerging -- there's going to be a lot of Reapers.

Starting last month, BioWare released a flurry of new trailers each showcasing a very specific portion of the game. One detailed armor and weapon customization, another showed off the multiplayer -- that kind of thing. There's a few tasty morsels hidden in these vids. Especially the customization trailer. Apparently fan complaints have been answered as the upgrades are a lot more nuanced than in either ME1 or 2 without the worthless inventory system of the first game. Weight will be relevant, apparently influencing the recharge times on powers.

But that's enough about picking at the trailers, you folks wanted something of substance! For those of us who are FemShep players, it has been confirmed that the boxart is reversible.

All previous characters -- yeah, all -- will be coming back in ME3 (provided you didn't let/make them die in a previous game, of course). 

Oh yeah, and there's a metric balls-ton of DLC.

Are you excited? ARE YOU EXCITED?! Only a few more hours ...

(Make sure to check Destructoid first thing tomorrow morning for our official review of Mass Effect 3.)



Daniel Starkey, PC Contributor
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Some say he never sleeps and eats only gourmet amaretto cupcakes. Others claim he's a hyperactive optimist. To citizens of the Destructoid empire, though, he's Captain Starkey, Intergalactic Game... more   |   staff directory

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