While BioWare is promising deeper RPG mechanics, the purpose of the E3 demo was clearly to showcase the enhanced combat. Now that he's able to run, move from cover to cover, and roll with relative ease, Commander Shepard could easily join Delta Squad from Gears of War. New enemies, like one that carries a physical shield, encourage players to move around the environment to flank and gain the upper hand. The ready availability of grenades only further cements Mass Effect 3's transition into a full shooter. Purists may be wary of the action-heavy direction of the franchise, but it's potentially the end of all living things in the universe! The visuals do a great job of reflecting the stakes at hand. The environments are a lot bigger than before, letting you see vistas that stretch far into the distance. Perhaps this is necessary to accommodate for the size of some of the enemies in the game, some which tower many stories high. Not only are the environments bigger, they're a lot prettier. BioWare promised tweaks to the engine while working on the PS3 port of Mass Effect 2, and the results of their efforts is immediately evident in Mass Effect 3. One of the most striking elements of the game is the new lighting system. It is a very bright game, with super-saturated visuals reminiscent of the recent Star Trek reboot. The effect is quite jarring, making for a quite dramatic look for the franchise's last act. The environments are a lot more destructive, as well. The final part of the demo took place on Earth and suffice it to say, the situation did not look good for humanity. As Shepard attempts to escape the planet, his path gets destroyed by a Geth laser. To make his way past the debris, we saw one of Shepard's new abilities in the game: he can jump, likely automatically (a la Zelda). We saw some mild platforming as he attempted to flag down the Normandy. From what I've seen so far, Mass Effect 3 looks to be an exciting, fitting end for the franchise. I'm especially looking forward to seeing the ramifications of my decisions from the first two games. Even in the demo, I saw how some rather major arcs might end. (Don't worry, I won't spoil anything for you.) Seeing so many familiar faces return for the final act, with many fighting alongside Shepard, has me looking forward to Mass Effect 3's release on March 6, next year. Watch the Shacknews E3 2011 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. You can also subscribe to it with your favorite RSS reader.
Mass Effect 3