PAX 2011: Mass Effect 3 Hands On

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PAX 2011: Mass Effect 3 Hands On

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A hands-on demo? Violent melee action? New screenshots? Yes, please.

BioWare may have revealed that Mass Effect 3 will be the end of Commander Shepard's story, but that doesn't mean that the character isn't going out in a blaze of glory. Based on a ten-minute hands-on demo I got to play at PAX Prime, it's pretty obvious that Shepard and his crew have never been tougher.

The demo was, essentially, one prolonged firefight. The set-up is that Mordin Solus has found a cure for the genophage that rendered nearly all the females of the Krogan race sterile. However, Cerberus is trying to prevent Solus and his test subject - a Krogan female - from getting out of the facility they're in. As a result, Shepard, Garrus, and Liara have to fight off Cerberus forces, ensuring Solus and the Korgan can make a safe escape.

Players have to travel through multiple levels, each one swarming with Cerberus shock troopers, until they make it to the roof of the facility and wind up squaring off against an immense mech. Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest.

That said, this was one of the most enjoyable action sequences I'd seen in a Mass Effect title (and I've played through both games so far). Because the enemies kept coming and I was under a time limit to make sure Solus was safe, things felt incredibly frantic; this was a little unexpected, as the squad actually started out at incredibly high levels with full access to their powers.

The combat itself felt incredibly satisfying, mainly because the difficulty seemed tougher than before. The Cerberus troopers featured some pretty solid AI that provided a solid challenge for my squad. On top of this, Shepard sported an impressive new close-combat attack that can be activated by holding down the melee button.

When this ability is used, the omni-tool manifests, sporting a wicked-looking blade that Shepard proceeds to do terrible things to his enemies with. These attacks are stunning to watch, thanks in large part to how utterly brutal they looked on screen.

Unfortunately, the mech battle was the least-impressive part of the level. While the mech looked great and could soak up a ton of damage, it was pretty easy to overwhelm with combined special abilities.

All in all, Mass Effect 3 feels like it's going to have some fantastic battles to play through. Needless to say, waiting until March 6th of next year just became that much more difficult. In the meantime, feel free to whet your appetite with these new screenshots from BioWare.

Permalink

Mordin! He is back!!!!

Who's the Turian in Picture 3? It can't be Garrus.

"Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest."

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.

Soviet Heavy:
Who's the Turian in Picture 3? It can't be Garrus.

Council members?

I'd like it if Mass Effect spent more time showcasing it's dialogue system as an actual gameplay mechanic. But previews all seem to be focused on the combat, which is a shame, since it's leaving half the game out.

Cleril:
Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest.

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.

You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.

That last one is particular is kind of a big deal story-wise. Although, granted, anyone who has been following the development probably knew most of that already.

Really, what more do you want from a gameplay preview?

Cleril:
"Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest."

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.

Yes because god forbid demos focus on gameplay or anything :P

This seems awesome :D although what the hell happened to garrus's scars?

Soviet Heavy:
I'd like it if Mass Effect spent more time showcasing it's dialogue system as an actual gameplay mechanic. But previews all seem to be focused on the combat, which is a shame, since it's leaving half the game out.

Well, yes, and no. The game is still a ways out and BioWare doesn't want to spoil too much of the plot, so they want to showcase gameplay right now instead of the story.

Zhukov:

Cleril:
Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest.

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.

You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.

That last one is particular is kind of a big deal story-wise. Although, granted, anyone who has been following the development probably knew most of that already.

Really, what more do you want from a gameplay preview?

I've already learned all of this back when E3 was going on. There have already been videos of this entire scenario out there. When they showed off the kinect functionality I believe is at least one account of them showing this demo.

And this gameplay preview has done nothing to tell us anything new. Okay, we shoot guys, knew that, omni-blades, knew that too, and big giant mechs aren't new to the series. What I would like to know is how the hell an omni-blade even works...

The_Blue_Rider:

Cleril:
"Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest."

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.

Yes because god forbid demos focus on gameplay or anything :P

This seems awesome :D although what the hell happened to garrus's scars?

Again, we already knew every bit of gameplay discussed in this article existed. Guns, squads, cerberus, omni-blades, and mechs. There's nothing new gameplay wise and this preview has been seen before several times (that is, this part of the game).

vansau:

Soviet Heavy:
I'd like it if Mass Effect spent more time showcasing it's dialogue system as an actual gameplay mechanic. But previews all seem to be focused on the combat, which is a shame, since it's leaving half the game out.

Well, yes, and no. The game is still a ways out and BioWare doesn't want to spoil too much of the plot, so they want to showcase gameplay right now instead of the story.

True, but they could show how they've improved it.... if they have, that is. The last time for ME2, it was the interrupt system, where "you'd press a button, and something awesome has to happen!"

Cleril:

Zhukov:
You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.

I've already learned all of this back when E3 was going on. There have already been videos of this entire scenario out there. When they showed off the kinect functionality I believe is at least one account of them showing this demo.

And this gameplay preview has done nothing to tell us anything new. Okay, we shoot guys, knew that, omni-blades, knew that too, and big giant mechs aren't new to the series. What I would like to know is how the hell an omni-blade even works...

Uh... yeah, that's because it's the exact same demo. You were expecting it to suddenly morph into a story preview?

As for the omni-blade, well, those things can already act as a flamethrower, freeze-ray, sabotage device, scanner, drone-deployer, bludgeon, medi-gel dispenser and whatever else I've forgotten. Is sticking a pointy bit on the front really such a stretch?

Soviet Heavy:
Who's the Turian in Picture 3? It can't be Garrus.

To me, it looks like Executor Palin, the C-SEC guy from the first game. Or it could be Lorik Qu'in, from Noveria. Or it could be a new guy, we'll see.

Nikolaz72:

Soviet Heavy:
Who's the Turian in Picture 3? It can't be Garrus.

Council members?

Nah, facepaint is wrong for the Turian Counselor, and the Asari looks to be Liara.

Soviet Heavy:
Who's the Turian in Picture 3? It can't be Garrus.

Nah, the skin colour is different and he doesn't have his eye-thingy. Way different armour too, see second screenshot.

I'm guessing that's just a member of the Turian military.

Oh good, more pictures of Shepard being a badass. Because I guess there's not enough of those.

At least there's one shot that's new(I'm assuming the Mordin shot is from the gameplay demo that's been featured prominently. The one with the female Krogan) and doesn't have him holding a gun.

Bioware, more pictures of the environments/new characters/new planets and everything other than Shepard/Cerberus please. We have enough pictures of Shepard shooting dudes.

Cleril:

Zhukov:

Cleril:
Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest.

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.

You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.

That last one is particular is kind of a big deal story-wise. Although, granted, anyone who has been following the development probably knew most of that already.

Really, what more do you want from a gameplay preview?

I've already learned all of this back when E3 was going on. There have already been videos of this entire scenario out there. When they showed off the kinect functionality I believe is at least one account of them showing this demo.

And this gameplay preview has done nothing to tell us anything new. Okay, we shoot guys, knew that, omni-blades, knew that too, and big giant mechs aren't new to the series. What I would like to know is how the hell an omni-blade even works...

The_Blue_Rider:

Cleril:
"Unsurprisingly, there's a huge amount of action and very little story to digest."

And that is what Bioware seems to be going for with Mass Effect 3. I've yet to see much to the contrary and this makes me sad face.

Now I know they can't just say anything about the story because that would be spoilers but we could be told things like how many endings, branches, etc. can occur in a single playthrough. Instead they keep touting the action and occasionally mentioning "RPG Elements" for good measure.

Yet again, another news article making me hesitant about Mass Effect 3.

Yes because god forbid demos focus on gameplay or anything :P

This seems awesome :D although what the hell happened to garrus's scars?

Again, we already knew every bit of gameplay discussed in this article existed. Guns, squads, cerberus, omni-blades, and mechs. There's nothing new gameplay wise and this preview has been seen before several times (that is, this part of the game).

Answer your question, I think the in-universe justification for the blade is that it uses Kinetic Barriers (i.e, shields). Still a stupid addition in my eyes, though.

Zhukov:

Cleril:

Zhukov:
You pretty much answered your own question there.

I'm guessing they want to avoid what they did in the lead-up to the previous game. For ME2 they basically went and spoiled the entire game during the advertising campaign. It left precious little in the way of surprises.

Besides, even in that one short article you learned that:
a) We get to go to the Salarian homeworld.
b) Garrus and Liara are back as squad members.
c) Mordin is actively working to cure the genophage.

I've already learned all of this back when E3 was going on. There have already been videos of this entire scenario out there. When they showed off the kinect functionality I believe is at least one account of them showing this demo.

And this gameplay preview has done nothing to tell us anything new. Okay, we shoot guys, knew that, omni-blades, knew that too, and big giant mechs aren't new to the series. What I would like to know is how the hell an omni-blade even works...

Uh... yeah, that's because it's the exact same demo. You were expecting it to suddenly morph into a story preview?

As for the omni-blade, well, those things can already act as a flamethrower, freeze-ray, sabotage device, scanner, drone-deployer, bludgeon, medi-gel dispenser and whatever else I've forgotten. Is sticking a pointy bit on the front really such a stretch?

It's a bit different. The Omni-Blade involves stabbing people with the actual hologram, which, despite story justifications, seems really stupid to me. And yes, a good deal of time has been spent in the codex explaining that it is JUST a hologram interface.

Reservations about the Omni Blade aside, I'm looking forward to this quite a bit. I'll need more info on the story, mind you, but I see no reason to worry with how it looks now.

Avatar Roku:
Answer your question, I think the in-universe justification for the blade is that it uses Kinetic Barriers (i.e, shields). Still a stupid addition in my eyes, though.

[snip]

It's a bit different. The Omni-Blade involves stabbing people with the actual hologram, which, despite story justifications, seems really stupid to me. And yes, a good deal of time has been spent in the codex explaining that it is JUST a hologram interface.

If it's using kinetic barriers, then you're not stabbing people with "the actual hologram", your stabbing them with a concentrated force-field-thingy and using the hologram to aim.

Eh, its not that big a surprise Mordin is looking to undo the Genophage. I mean hell, I pretty much half-expected it based on his Companion-specific mission. It's like the same thing with Garrus, we had a chance to either turn him cold-blooded kill-anyone-to-accomplish-the-mission, or get him to be more of the "Paragon Shepard" approach.

Though, it would be nice for them to actually show something new. This same scenario is pretty much one of the few repeated over and over for these gaming conventions. How about something new! Maybe give us some game time with James "Situation" Vega?

AGH!!! I don't want to know I don't want to know. God I wish I could freeze myself until ME3 comes out. This game is going to be awesome.

cursedseishi:
Eh, its not that big a surprise Mordin is looking to undo the Genophage. I mean hell, I pretty much half-expected it based on his Companion-specific mission. It's like the same thing with Garrus, we had a chance to either turn him cold-blooded kill-anyone-to-accomplish-the-mission, or get him to be more of the "Paragon Shepard" approach.

Though, it would be nice for them to actually show something new. This same scenario is pretty much one of the few repeated over and over for these gaming conventions. How about something new! Maybe give us some game time with James "Situation" Vega?

Wait... maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but didn't Mordin execute his apprentice for (in an admittedly ass-backwards way) looking into curing the genophage??

I liked the conversation system. It would still be good even if they didn't add anything to it. The combat is what I disliked the most and what needed the most work, so good to see they're putting more time into it.

That said, my favourite things were the story and characters. So I hope they give them at least as much emphasis as in the other games.

Lawyer105:

cursedseishi:
Eh, its not that big a surprise Mordin is looking to undo the Genophage. I mean hell, I pretty much half-expected it based on his Companion-specific mission. It's like the same thing with Garrus, we had a chance to either turn him cold-blooded kill-anyone-to-accomplish-the-mission, or get him to be more of the "Paragon Shepard" approach.

Though, it would be nice for them to actually show something new. This same scenario is pretty much one of the few repeated over and over for these gaming conventions. How about something new! Maybe give us some game time with James "Situation" Vega?

Wait... maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but didn't Mordin execute his apprentice for (in an admittedly ass-backwards way) looking into curing the genophage??

You can stop him from killing Maelon by choosing to interrupt when the blue paragon interrupt flashes. If you don't choose to interrupt Mordin will kill Maelon.

Lawyer105:

cursedseishi:
Eh, its not that big a surprise Mordin is looking to undo the Genophage. I mean hell, I pretty much half-expected it based on his Companion-specific mission. It's like the same thing with Garrus, we had a chance to either turn him cold-blooded kill-anyone-to-accomplish-the-mission, or get him to be more of the "Paragon Shepard" approach.

Though, it would be nice for them to actually show something new. This same scenario is pretty much one of the few repeated over and over for these gaming conventions. How about something new! Maybe give us some game time with James "Situation" Vega?

Wait... maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but didn't Mordin execute his apprentice for (in an admittedly ass-backwards way) looking into curing the genophage??

It wasn't so much that he was curing the genophage that he killed him, but how he was going about doing it.

So ... it is true. Liara is back in the squad, which means:
In order to get complete story lead in to ME3 from ME2 you HAVE to buy DLC no.2 and DLC no.3.

Well, no thanks.

Wonder how many DLC it will take this time for the story to come together? Also, is Drew back to writing Mass Effect 3 or not?

I'm willing to overlook the omnitool blade, although I'd have preferred that Shepard simply us a spring-loaded blade built into his gauntlet, or even a knife housed in the right forearm of his armor (so that he can stab somebody with the knife while still holding his firearm with his right hand).

Actually, my dream concept would be each class having it's own unique melee moves, such as the Infiltrator using a stiletto, the Engineer using a plasma cutter, the biotic-classes using a biotically-enhanced close combat move, and the Soldier using a knife/rifle butt/bare hands.

Oh, well, I've enjoyed the previous installments of Mass Effect, but have gripes about both of them. If this turns out to be my biggest gripe about ME3, I'll be very, VERY happy.

Plus we haven't heard anything about scanning for minerals yet. That's certainly a case of no news being good news!

SouthpawFencer:
Actually, my dream concept would be each class having it's own unique melee moves, such as the Infiltrator using a stiletto, the Engineer using a plasma cutter, the biotic-classes using a biotically-enhanced close combat move, and the Soldier using a knife/rifle butt/bare hands.

I'm pretty sure that is how it works.

Soldier gets the omni-blade, engineer gets a mini flamethrower and I think the sentinel gets some sort of electro-taser... thing (see image 4 above). No idea about the other classes.

kajinking:
Mordin! He is back!!!!

Assuming, presumably, that he survived Mass Effect 2. It didn't happen on any of my playthroughs, but I think it was possilble for him to die on the final ME2 mission.

I wonder if this will be a forced mission or optional, you can press mordin on the whole plague thing in me2 or you can cheer him on for stopping the krogan menace.

either way there could be a ton of reasons why they are not showing more story, its not done, they do not want to spil any more than your are getting out of the action videos. i would not be hand wringing that a bioware rpg will lack story, what me2 lacked was many rpg elements, and flat boring combat, so the previews and the promise of reworked combat and all the other rpg stuff they readding sounds good to me, because i was never worried about the story, call me crazy.

vansau:
PAX 2011: Mass Effect 3 Hands On

The set-up is that Mordin Solus has found a cure for the genophage that rendered nearly all the females of the Krogan race sterile.

Permalink

Wait, Mordin found a cure for the genophage and he actually wants to use it? Isn't this a massive retcon from his idea's in ME2, where he thought the genophage wasn't exactly good, but necessary regardless?

And yet another thing to add to my "why not to buy ME3" list.

P.S. Just to clarify, it isn't Mordin trying to cure the genophage that pisses me of, it's the fact that this is a retcon of Mordin's entire moral dilemma in his loyalty mission.

Mortuorum:

kajinking:
Mordin! He is back!!!!

Assuming, presumably, that he survived Mass Effect 2. It didn't happen on any of my playthroughs, but I think it was possilble for him to die on the final ME2 mission.

It is possible, he died on my first playthrough. He was the only one sadly. I was wondering how this would affect me.

Is it wrong the only thing I can think of after reading this article is: Where's the fucking screenshot of the female Krogan?

Mezmer:
Is it wrong the only thing I can think of after reading this article is: Where's the fucking screenshot of the female Krogan?

Same here, actually. I really wanted to see a female krogan.

zeda12123:

Mezmer:
Is it wrong the only thing I can think of after reading this article is: Where's the fucking screenshot of the female Krogan?

Same here, actually. I really wanted to see a female krogan.

Dude, you see her in a video from E3.

i think we will have plenty of story and endings in ME3. bioware would not let the fans down with the last installment of this epic saga. yes, they really do show a lot of the combat that makes you wonder in some way, but i also guess they simply dont wont to revile too much of the story at that point.
lets just wait and see. thats all we can do.

I'm getting pretty bored of all the action shots now. I get it BioWare, Shepard and his friends can kill things, but I would really like to see something else.

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