Mass Effect 3 Impressions [GO]
March 12th, 2012 by Dan

Mass Effect 3

Shepard and Joker get to have pretty awkard bonding time in this game... (Photo courtesy gamesweasel)

I’m about 66-75% through the game so I don’t think I can claim first impressions anymore. Here’s what I think:

NOTE: I’m planning on avoiding story spoilers, but if you want to know absolutely nothing, don’t read this.

– Remember the interface and flow of Mass Effect 2’s combat? It’s back! It’s pretty much identical, but Bioware says it runs a little faster.

– Oh, they brought back grenades that act like bouncy grenades. The spinfusor style from ME1 is gone, but those never operated that well anyway.

– I might be wrong, but it feels like there are fewer long conversation wheels in the early game. Best to keep things brisk in the early going.

– The more defined mission style of ME2 returns for another go. ME had you stumble into more free form environments that may or may not have missions. It was a less directed than 2. What 3 does that I like is eliminate the debriefing summary screens. I always felt they killed the flow of any mission and felt more game-y than not.

– Remember how your crew used to let you enter into a conversation wheel with them all the time even if they didn’t have anything new to say? That system is gone. Instead your crewmates talk in the not-cutscene field when they’re just making one-sided comments about a mission. They enter the conversation system if they have a dramatic bonding moment. This sounds worse than it is, but it’s pretty awesome. Instead of loading the conversation and learning they had nothing new to say, it allows you to know at a glance they’re not gonna say anything new.

– Which isn’t to say they say less. If you talk to your crewmates after every mission I guarantee that 98% of them will have something new to say. Some kind of comment or joke. It’s awesome. What’s even more awesome is that the crew speaks to each other. You can walk into Liara’s room and hear her on the intercom with Javik or see Garrus and James shooting the breeze and bragging in the mess. It’s a much more organic system, but I feel bad for people like :cough: Eric :cough: who lost anyone who would normally be on your crew. They’ve all got hilarious/interesting things to say.

– Speaking of which, Javik has been more than worth the money, in my opinion. The fresh Prothean perspective he brings to every mission and the conversations/comments he makes are all pretty well thought out and interesting. I’m glad I have the version that comes with him, but I’d recommend buying the DLC if you didn’t get him.

– Look for the Blasto advertisement wall in the Apartments of the Presidium Commons. You won’t be sorry if you spend five or six minutes listening to the whole thing.

– Disregard what you might have heard elsewhere: the story and choices you make in ME3 are amazing. I don’t see first time players getting much out of it, but people who have been there since the beginning will totally love how things come together. If your crew mostly survived ME2 you’ll also love spotting your mates on various missions. The ME3 world is a crazy place. Everything’s in disarray thanks to the Reaper attack. More than once I’ve found myself amazed at how fucked everything seems. There’s a sense of despair that pervades and I love it. Super effective use of mood and place.

– I like how the new enemy types gel with the combat system. There are a new classes of enemies with different vulnerabilities and the factions all feel unique.

– Can’t not mention the multiplayer! Not being able to pause is less of a concern than I thought it would be mostly because you’re only managing one person versus three. A solid team makes for a fun wave-based shooter. Combining powers for a biotic blast is always super fun.

– OH! Forgot to talk about the new encumbrance system. Instead of having set weapon profiles for classes, Shepard now has a weight limit associated with each class. Carrying more (or heavier) guns adds to your encumbrance rating, which slows your power recharge speed. The fewer you carry naturally boosts your recharge speed. It’s a neat system.

– Also cool is the War Readiness readout. It gives fun/interesting little things to read about your war assets and how they’re contributing to the effort against the Reapers. Very cool stuff.

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