Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Single Player Demo Review

We continue the O&E's gradual rise from the ashes of nonproduction (not a real word) with a review of Mass Effect 3's single player mode. "But El Jefe," you might (or might not) say. We're assuming you might, "I bought Battlefield 3 because I am very cool, probably cooler than you. No, definitely cooler. Consequently, I can like play co-op and stuff. Why can't you?????????"

First of all, cool down with the question marks, hypothetical reader. That's just too many. Secondly, I'm lame. So I'm just gonna give you my impressions on the single player, since that's all I can play right now. Tomorrow, once they let the unwashed masses in, I'll update you on the multiplayer.

In the meantime....

So the single player demo let's you customize your Shepard, both in appearance and, to some degree, in background. Obviously, the full game won't need to do this since it'll have your save data from ME2. Once you've made your Shep, you're good to go.

"Good thing I picked Ilos over London for vacation this year..."
Well...kinda. Turns out everything is sorta in crisis because the Reapers are on their way. On the bright side, everything looks pretty, at least. Good graphics aside, you still face kind of a challenge. Your good bud Captain Anderson takes you to see some Alliance bigwigs who want to know what your plan is for keeping the human race (and others, maybe, if there's time and if they're nice) you know...alive. The meeting quickly becomes irrelevant, however, and Shep and Anderson end up running on the rooftops, fighting off husks and cannibals on their journey to the Normandy.

Here you get your first taste of combat, which is overall more fluid. Biotic powers can be combo-ed (also not a real word) very effectively, as can tech abilities. I also like the health system; there is still a shield meter, but the health meter is divided up into sections. You can only regenerate health to fill up one section, meaning that you'll have less total health until you use Unity to heal. This, to me, adds a welcome challenge to the combat system. Furthermore, I really like the heavy melee; there's just something freakin' satisfying about stabbing people in the face with huge omniblades. Call me crazy.

"Hey, that's a really nice blade you have there, mister!"
At the end of this first section of the demo, there's an incredibly emotional cutscene that sets the tone for the rest of the game. I won't ruin it for you, but it's powerful. It makes me excited for this game, for it will be epic.

The next section begins on the salarian homeworld of Sur'Kesh, where Shep et al. endeavor to help Mordin save a krogan female. First of all: yes. She is smokin hot.

"Dang girl, you lookin' fiiiiiiiiiiine!!"
There's a lot more combat in this section, and, perhaps more excitingly, you're now level 12! So you can level and stuff. The leveling system is pretty neat, providing more decisions since most upgrades involve some sort of tradeoff between damage, radius, cooldown, etc. I like that; it sure beats waiting to max out a skill before making a one-time choice.

This section also gives you a taste of the different sorts of weapons and new abilities out there now that you've leveled. One new biotic power is Nova, wherein Shep uses his shield to send out a powerful shockwave into his unfortunate foes. It's pretty cool, especially when combo-ed (there's that word again) with Biotic Charge. Another neat power is Lift Grenade, exclusive to Sentinels. As its name implies, it'll lift up a bunch of enemies on detonation, which leaves you free to pump em full of bullets. Always a crowd pleaser!

Overall, it's a very short demo, so there's only so much I can say about it. What I can say is that it looks like combat is gonna be more fun and varied, the graphics are gonna be sweet, and the story is gonna be intense. I'm sure we'll get to see all our old friends, or at least the one's who are still alive, and I'm sure all of our decisions as Commander Shepard are gonna factor in to decide the ultimate fate of the galaxy. And that's what Mass Effect is all about: saving the freakin' galaxy.


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