Its like the A-Team…but in space: Mass Effect 3 demo impressions

Mass Effect junkies now have a way to cure themselves from the “Shepard shakes” until the ninth of march as the Mass Effect 3 demo was released last week and I have finally mustered the willpower to abandon saving the galaxy for half an hour  to write this article.

The demo is comprised of two parts: single player and multiplayer, the single player portion of the demo is available to everyone from the get-go (I shall not go into too much detail as spoiler potential is too high) and has a similar layout to the previous instalment’s demo in that it has the starting tutorial mission and then a more action based mission to demonstrate what the game has to offer.

From the start its is obvious that Bioware has spent a great deal of time into creating a a more dynamic combat and movement system. With a new range of moves and response times at near perfect precision Shepard has never been more nimble, which comes in handy with the new and improved AI system which has gained the level of co-ordination and tactical competence one would expect an army of highly trained enemy operatives to have.

Some examples of this are the Cerberus guardians: riot shield wielding troops that are intended to distract you and defend troops from incoming fire whilst their comrades find a way to flank you,  another such example (and pet peeve) are the Cerberus nemeses’ plans of luring you into close combat only to have yourself surrounded by the ninja like Phantoms which can deal a devastating insta-kill attack to the unwary.

However, you shall not face these foes alone as you will be accompanied by a squad comprised of characters old and new each with their own unique power and weapon sets which if used correctly can lead a shrewd commander to an easy victory.

Moving on to the newest (and most personally anticipated) addition to the M.E.   series - multiplayer. This section of the demo available immediately to owners of Battlefield 3 whilst regular players had to wait a few days until being allowed access but to honest it is well worth the wait.

The multiplayer takes place in a unique take on the horde mode, made famous by gears of war with players fighting eleven increasingly difficult waves of enemies with special objectives thrown in every few waves to add a change of pace. In order to succeed, players are going to have to create a squad comprised of various species and professions each of which posses unique traits and abilities that when used in conjunction with their squad-mates will be the key to victory.

The level up system its fairly standard with players able to allocate points to certain skills to improve its effectiveness, eventually giving players a choice to specialise these abilities further offering them a choice between two upgrades e.g. increased power duration or an damage radius improvement.

However, the equipment and race acquisition method is a little unorthodox with players spending any credits they have earned through completing objectives on “supply packs” which are a video games’ equivalent to a trading card booster pack.

Unfortunately this can be a very frustrating experience as a assault rifle using soldier may spend their hard earned credits on nothing more than shotgun upgrades and engineer experience bonuses. Supply packs also contain one-time use bonuses such as a special ammo types which can a be a blessing or a curse depending on the players weapon preferences and the ammo type received however a good strategist will work with his team to use the optimal combination of weapons, equipment and races to overcome the situation.

All in all, it is apparent to me that Mass Effect 3 is shaping up to be the game Bioware has promised its fans and I hope that they will deliver a series finale that does the story justice.

How it ends is up to you.


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