Mass Effect 3 Demo Impressions

Mass Effect 3 Demo Impressions

The internet is abuzz with the recent launch of the Mass Effect 3 Demo so I thought I’d sit down, play it and let you know all my findings. Spoiler warning: the co-op multiplayer is a blast.

It’s no real secret that I’ve been a long-time Mass Effect fan but I haven’t really touched anything Mass Effect since the second game’s release way back in January of 2010. After spending so much time away from the incredibly expansive and almost all encompassing universe, I was a little apprehensive to return to it. With BioWare’s recent trend of attempting to appease the mainstream audience (see also: Dragon Age 2) I was genuinely concerned that the Mass Effect I had grown to know and love would be nothing more than a distant memory. Fortunately for me, and fans around the world, Mass Effect is back. Almost exactly as we left it.

The single player section of the demo should feel immediately familiar to any mother’s son what calls them-self Commander Shepard. The classes and abilities are lifted directly out of Mass Effect 2 with a few small changes. Leveling up abilities now takes place in an ability tree where a player can choose one of two ways to develop each ability every time they put a point into it. There are a few new weapons as well and gone are the classic “use this weapon for shields, this weapon for armor” descriptors. I couldn’t quite tell if certain weapons were more effective on different types of enemies and I couldn’t check the codex as it was disabled for the demo.

The game plays almost exactly as the Mass Effects of ages past and while there are a few tweaks here and there overall it feels great. The story and production are what will set this third installment apart from the others. Even just the brief glimpse of the campaign that the demo gives us already feels like a much more immersive experience. The cinematics look smoother then they ever have and Mass Effect 3 is starting to feel like an action movie.

Brand new to third game is the introduction of co-op multiplayer, the object of which is to team up with other players and fight through waves of AI enemies. It feels very similar to Halo: ODST’s Firefight (or Gears of War’s Horde Mode) with a few noticeable differences. Upon logging into the multiplayer, you will be asked to choose a character from the standard list of Mass Effect 3 classes. Each character starts at level one and requires you gain xp through killing enemies and completing missions to level them up. As a character levels you can augment their abilities, weapons and equipment. While all the classes are available, it was sort of devastating not being able to take my Shepard into the online arena. No one kicks more ass than her…

Overall, the demo has me more excited to play Mass Effect than I think I’ve ever been before in my life. I’ve played literally half an hour of the single player and already the story beats have me totally obsessed. Much of the old crew is returning (Wrex, Ashley, Garrus and Morden for sure) and they look pretty ready to kick some inter-galactic ass.

As a final, and somewhat tangential, note I’d also like to point out the score for the demo is mind blowing. I’ll just leave this here… March 6th cannot come soon enough.

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