***WARNING** This post contains multiple spoilers about the Mass Effect 3 demo and the missions included. If you haven’t played it yet, or just want to play the game when it’s released in March and don’t want to get spoiled, bookmark this post and come back to it then.
Rick and I have never really been that into Valentine’s Day. We usually try to make a fancy dinner together on or around the 14th, but we’ve never done gifts and only occasionally do cards. But, when we heard that the demo for Mass Effect 3 was dropping on Valentine’s Day, we knew we had to make a date.
I was a little exhausted and frazzled from a full day of baking for a huge order this week, so when Rick showed up with flowers they were extra appreciated. After a casual meal of turkey burgers cooked by Rick, we sat down to try out the demo.
The first thing we encountered was the new option of “how” you want to play the game: Shooter, RPG, or Story. For this first play through we chose RPG, which is meant to be the classic Mass Effect experience, but I’m looking forward to trying out the Story option myself later as it is meant to de-emphasis combat, my greatest weakness. I know some people are up in arms about the inclusion of a Shooter option, like the game is trying to be too many things to too many people, but I say we wait until the sales figures are released to see if BioWare’s strategy were successful or not.
As expected we opted to play as FemShep, although we both agreed that the new default FemShep was not the way to go. Instead we created a short haired soldier, similar to the FemShep Rick is planning to import for at least one of his play throughs (we think long term here). Nothing to report about the menus and such during character creation, except that the jump in graphic quality is already quite noticeable.
The single player portion of the demo consists of two missions, one set at the very beginning of the game where we see Shepard get reinstated as a Commander amid the first Reaper attack on Earth and the other set later in the game with most of the gang from the first Mass Effect backing you up. The demo is well structured in that it only gives hints to the full story. Will Earth survive? What’s Cerberus’ role in all this? But it also demonstrates what has changed about the game itself. As the last entry in the Shepard storyline, it was a given that this would be the most epic Mass Effect yet. With the fate of humanity in the balance, the scope of the visuals needed to be more cinematic and I can easily say this will be the best looking Mass Effect yet. We also get a taste of the new combat mechanics with improved animations and sound editing giving shots even more satisfying feedback and impact.
We also get to see things we’ve never seen in Mass Effect before: Captain Anderson in action, Wrex macking on a Krogan female and children (let alone children in danger). Unfortunately, the true hallmarks of the Mass Effect series, the sweeping story and the organic character development; just won’t fit into a one hour demo, so it’s difficult to say whether Mass Effect 3 will really live up to fan expectations.
But it’s certainly going to be damn pretty.