Mass Effect 3 Preview

  By Shamus   Apr 21, 2011   298 comments

masseffect3_space_marines.jpg

You know what I think we’ll see in Mass Effect 3? How about: Aliens attack New York. Combat is more fast-paced and focused on hitting enemy weak spots. Commander Shepard has a new melee-focused character class available so he can punch and kick the Reapers to death. While all of this sounds like stupid stuff I would make up because I’m often a sarcastic crank, this is actually from an article at Eurogamer.

You know what I want? I want the next Gears of War game to come out to find Marcus Fenix has traded in his refrigerator armor for a uniform, and he levels up his abilities as he adventures around helping people. He spends most of his time having long conversations about Big Ideas, philosophy, and galactic history. Maybe at the end he will speak to some oracle that will reveal Great Truths about the nature of his struggle and put his previous discoveries in a new light.

RPG devlopers are few and far between these days. (Excluding online games, of course.) Of those that are left, nearly all of them are beating the dead, toothless horse of medieval fantasy.

Just one space opera. That’s all I wanted. I really don’t think I’m being unreasonable.

A Hundred!A Hundred!2020202018There are more than 297 comments. But less than 299


  1. Psithief says:

    Fake past, fake present or fake future. These are the only options.

    Unfortunately, fake future seems to have a lot more wide open spaces! Who wants to hire artists to do all that when you could make a game with repeatable rocks and trees and randomly generated terrain? It’s so much easier that way!

    • Nathon says:

      Fake future can have wide open spaces in the form of…space. Who needs artists? I can make a black background with scattered points of light as well as anyone with an art degree. Randomly generated terrain is for games with terrain.

    • Christopher M says:

      I recommend Fake Far Past. Think Oblivion or The Witcher in ancient mythological Greece/Egypt/Rome.

      I mean, seriously. This time period is so much more interesting than knights and dragons… although even knights and dragons would be a nice change from Orcs and Elves…

  2. Grag says:

    Wait.. So they’re doing a ME-TOO, or should I say ME-THREEE capitalizing on the success of Battle for Los Angeles and Crysis 2?

    Wait, what?

  3. Another_Scott says:

    This is why I protect my brain by encasing it in thick layers of gooey cynicism!

    That way when things I like are mutated into abominations it doesn’t fry my brain with my burning resentment…

    And on the OFF chance I enjoy this new direction, I can be pleasantly surprised.

    • I can’t believe you’d be so cynical! what could possibly go wrong when Melee Shepard starts kung fu fighting Cerberus’s ninja shock troops?
      CERBERUS NINJA SHOCK TROOPS!

      *runs away crying*

      • Actually no, one of the devs just said “A few people asking me about a new “heavy melee class”. No new classes. All classes have improved melee and a class-specific heavy melee.”

        So there is no melee Shepard. False alarm.

        And yet Cerberus ninjas still make me sad…

        • MintSkittle says:

          Still, an updated melee and a class specific heavy melee? Still sounds like it’s going to be a more up close, if your face time of combat sim. My Infiltrator Shep isn’t supposed to be a close combat expert.

          Cerberus ninjas? Really?

          *sigh*

          • Khizan says:

            What they probably meant by ninjas was a stealthy assassiny type operative, which is a thing that is perfectly sensible for Cerberus to have. Hell, invisibility cloaks are already part of the established game. Had they called them “Cerberus Infilitrators”, nobody would have even blinked.

          • Avilan says:

            So the idea of using your stealth field to pull a Kasumi punch is totally out of character for you???

            • MintSkittle says:

              I actually never used the stealth function in my playthroughs. The Infiltrator has a sniper rifle, why should I have to get close to the enemy if I don’t have to? So, yeah. It is OOC for me.

              And ME2 IS a cover based shooter. If I did stealth-punch some dude, I’m suddenly left out in the open where the rest of his buddies can shoot me with impunity while I hoof it for the nearest cover. If he’s the last guy, that means I’ve shot up all his buddies, so why change what works?

              • Avilan says:

                You use the stealth field for three things. Automatic critical hits (always stealth before headshot!), reposition, and ammo runs.

                As for your other question… Not to point out the obvious, but: You. Don’t. Have. To. Use. It.

  4. Mumbles says:

    Raise your hand if you saw that picture and thought of Star Wars Republic Commando.

    Just me? Damn.

    • Mathias says:

      One of the best Star Wars games ever…Not that there’s many -good- games to choose from.

      • Ramsus says:

        *raises hand* There are plenty of good Star Wars games. Kotor, Battlefront, Jedi Academy, and so on. One of my favorites being Republic Commando. The issue is just that there are so many bad ones.

        • Aldowyn says:

          Played every single one of those, and glad to say it.

          And no, Mumbles, I didn’t. They’re lacking the distinctive glowing blue “T” and the colors on the armor. They just look like evil battle droids or something.

          • Chris B Chikin says:

            Although now she’s said it, CANNOT UNSEE!!!1!.

            Also, this is probably the first time someone’s made a list of “Good Games in Category X” and I’ve actually played all of them. What is this warm fuzzy feeling?

            Although Jedi Academy, while a fun game, would not hold up to modern titles of it’s ilk. It’s “karma system” is entirely irrelevant, having no more of an influence than occasionally earning you a pat on the back or a scowl from Luke. Until you make a completely independent decision in the second-last mission it makes not a whit of difference to the plot whether you decide to learn light or dark side powers.

            Besides, if Luke and Kyle don’t like Jaden learning Force Choke then why are they running a school that’s teaching him it? I mean, who else did he learn it from if not them?

    • Vipermagi says:

      I wasn’t specifically thinking of Republic Commando, but Star Wars did burst through.

    • Tohron says:

      One of the few first-person games with a protagonist who actually talks. Admittedly, there wasn’t much personality, but at least he wasn’t mute.

      • Someone says:

        Which is ironic, since he is a clone soldier with no personality and little to say.

        • Bret says:

          On the other hand, his squad had personality to spare with the same DNA.

          • Aldowyn says:

            I don’t think they ever answered that to my satisfaction. And your character was supposed to be like Jango.

            BTW… heh… Scorch? Was voice-acted by none other than Raphael Sbarge – known better for his acting as Kaiden Alenko and Carth Onasi.

            • Audacity says:

              I haven’t played Republic Commando, was Scorch as much of a whiner as Carth, Kaiden and that prince guy in Dragon Age were? I’ve always wondered if that’s the only character type Sbarge ever plays.

        • Armstrong says:

          Actually, a character that’s supposed to have little to no personality having little to no personality, isn’t very ironic at all.

          On a different note:

          I loved that you had some control over your character during the intro, especially the battle simulation.

          What I didn’t like was having to constantly knife Super Battle Droids to death, since they took more ammunition to kill than you could carry.

          • Someone says:

            What’s ironic is that a character who does have a voice, doesn’t have much use for it, beyond barking orders at his subordinates, while someone like Gordon Freeman would probably have a lot of interesting questions, dialogue, assertions and observations, if he ever actually spoke.

          • Aldowyn says:

            Actually, they had a massive weakness – you can one-hit them with anti-armor rounds. The only problem is you can only carry like 4 of them.

            Oh, and EMP grenades help a lot too.

    • woofty says:

      Hand raised.

    • Someone says:

      It was vague. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read your post.

    • Chris B Chikin says:

      Republic Commando is still one of my favourite shooters of all time. It had fun characters and generally good mechanics, especially with the squad commands. It’s only let-downs were sub-par graphics and abysmal multiplayer which I never gave a toss about anyway.

      Also, I squee’d a bit when Delta Squad did a ten second Cameo in an episode of Clone Wars – then raged when they never showed up again.

      Seriously, why did this game not get sequels?

  5. CalDazar says:

    I think it’s a bit early to start doomsaying.
    Unless Bioware lives in some kind of a bubble immune to discussion about their game they know what people liked and didn’t.

    • krellen says:

      Evidence suggests they do, in fact, live in such a bubble.

      • CalDazar says:

        But what we have heard so far is a general shift back toward ME1 in many areas.

        • krellen says:

          Such as?

          Nothing Shamus has posted here suggests a return to ME1.

          • CalDazar says:

            http://palgn.com.au/pc-gaming/18655/mass-effect-3-details-hit-the-web/

            For example: larger maps, larger skill trees and weapon mods are back.

            EDIT: I feel I should point out I’m not saying the game won’t be bad, or good, or whatever. What I am saying is I consider it a bit early to give up hope.

            • ehlijen says:

              But where are:
              -decent controls
              -non asinine main plot
              -decent dialogue choices
              -a non cover based shooter? In ME1 the cover was optional. And if chose to use it, you weren’t glued in place. Just let me duck whenever I want to rather than in specific places and for the sake of my sanity don’t overload the spacebar! Run/duck and sit and skip dialogue line/select next dialogue line should never have been the same button each!

              I actually liked the way they cut looting and inventory micromanagement down to nothing and simplified the skill trees. It really speeds the game up. So if it only goes back to ME1 in those places but keeps the bad story and controls of ME2 than that’s one fearsome bastard game from a nightmare or something :(

              • Aldowyn says:

                What was wrong with the controls?
                I am of the opinion that the “asinine main plot” has nowhere to go but up.
                Decent dialogue choices… meh. You’re not exactly going to advertise your idiocy in the last game.
                Umm.. ME2 had you stuck behind cover, yes (except for Vanguards. See Spoiler Warning season 4), but most of the classes in ME1 had to use cover, and the higher the difficulty the more you have to use it.

                • ehlijen says:

                  What was wrong with the controls? You really have to ask that?

                  ME1 had seperate buttons for crouching, running faster and interacting with things. ME2 mapped them all to the same button. Putting actions meant to get you moving fast to the same button as actions that are meant to root you in place based on dodgy proximity detection in regards to cover/objects is dumb. Just flat out dumb.

                  You could be standing near a ledge and decide to run, but as soon as you hit space, you crouch and sit still. So instead of saving time or moving fast enough to not die, you waste time, all because the game decided you were too close to some random chest high box.

              • Avilan says:

                What was bad with the controls in ME2? They are far superior to ME1’s controls, at least on PC.

                • Aldowyn says:

                  I’ve heard people complain about the whole one button thing. Josh did, actually. I didn’t notice very often, though, because I’m pretty sure if you’re facing away you don’t go into cover anyway… And at least you COULD vault over the dang things.

                • Avilan says:

                  I have NEVER done an action I did not mean to, using the one button setup. I just can’t understand how you “get stuck in dialogue” when running etc. There really are no situations in the game where you sprint and can talk at the same time (if you choose to sprint on the Normandy, it’s your problem).

                • Avilan says:

                  Shamus:

                  RUN is fine. SPRINT is a different matter.
                  You have three speeds: WALK, RUN and SPRINT. Now I think I know you enough from your blog that I don’t think you confuse WALK and RUN, but it SOUNDS like you do.

                  • Shamus says:

                    Well, I haven’t played Mass Effect 2 in about 6 months, and I’ve played several dozen games between now and then. So no, I don’t remember how sprint works.

                    But that’s not related to the discussion, which boiled down to you saying people shouldn’t try to run (or whatever) on the Normandy.

                    You said you never had a wrong action take place when you used the omni-button. Josh had that button go wrong on him several times during our show. He was playing on the PC, where there is no reason to have a button with som many conflicting actions.

                • Avilan says:

                  Quoting myself I said “if you choose to sprint on the Normandy, it’s your problem”. The ONLY way you can somehow get stuck in a conversation while sprinting is if you sprint in an area with talkative NPCs. Which means you are sprinting in non-combat areas (Conversation cannot happen during combat).
                  To me that is like complaining that the sidewalk is too narrow to drive your car on.

                  Besides, I play on a PC too, and I stand by my statement. I have even keymapped everything to my right hand (I am EXTREMELY left-handed) and I still have full control of my Shepard.

          • The Bard says:

            If Shamus posted that portion of the article he wouldn’t be able to justify ranting about it on the rooftops of the city. ;)

            1) This is speculation
            2) This is speculation translated from a foreign language.
            3) Though we like to think otherwise, it is impossible to say whether something will stink before you at least see how it works.

            If I came up to people last year and said I want to make a game that has hideous graphics even by 1997 standards, with combat that is extremely limited, and you get to spend hours roaming the landscape searching for wood and coal, you’d probably say it’s the most hideous thing ever.

            I think the internet needs to get a grip, take a few pills, and chill the heck out.

            Now I must get back to my meditations. Ohhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmm.

            • Shamus says:

              I still don’t understand this mentality that you can’t criticize a game until you’ve played it. What else are previews FOR? Are we ONLY allowed to gush and praise? Don’t we get enough of that from marketing? Do you really see no value to having a conversation about upcoming things and talking about them, even if in a negative light?

              • some random dood says:

                Not only that, but when their *marketing* makes you think “oh. my. stars. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”, then I think you are more than allowed to say something.

              • The Bard says:

                I posted further down the page what my own desires are for previews and what not, but I’ll recap. Sorry for length, I SUCK at being concise. =(

                I distrust the gushing praise as much as I distrust your glaring hatred of it. My main sticking point here isn’t that you’re putting it in a negative light. It’s that you’re dismissing any potential upside.

                You generally don’t do much to disguise your hatred for most of what ME2 offers, and only choosing to discuss the features to back up your argument could be construed by some as you wanting to dislike it without giving it a fair shake.

                Me, the reader, I want the info I read to be as fair and balanced as one could reasonably expect. I want someone to give new game info a fair shake, even if they hated the last game. Again, I’m not so bold as to say you’re not doing that, only that when your take is soooo negative, it’s very easy to question if your experience is painting your response unfairly.

                By at least trying to weight positives against negatives, you’re at least giving the reader some inkling that you are trying to be open minded.

                As tiresome as it is to hear some media outlet praising the addition of a melee class as if its the greatest idea, I find it equally groan-inducing for you to dismiss it as if no matter how they implement it, it CAN’T be good.

                If I had my druthers, media types such as yourself would discuss the potential pros AND cons about it. One might take a feature like melee combat and actually discuss it. Weigh the pros. Weight the cons. I wouldn’t want: “OMG I LOVE THIS!!!!!” and I certainly don’t want: “Melee Combat. HOW STUPID!”

                But that’s just me. I’m not trying to hate on your opinion; sometimes fair and balanced just doesn’t get the laughter rolling. I mostly try to avoid preview information altogether for the exact reason you mentioned. They get you hyped for a game that is still changing, and nothing is really set down in stone until the copy is in your hand, and what you get may not be what you expected. Peter Molyneux can back me up on this one. ;)

                • Shamus says:

                  I gave New Vegas the same treatment when it was previewed. The game turned out to be quite good (bugs aside) and I said so.

                  I don’t have “hatred” for any of the Mass Effect games. (Kane & Lynch, now THAT’S a game I hate.) I see ME2 as flawed and I see Mass Effect 3 following the same trajectory.

                • Aldowyn says:

                  Exactly. There was absolutely no mention of any upsides, and believe me, there are upsides. Gun mods, new skill system, the story doesn’t sound so friggin’ dumb…

      • Old_Geek says:

        A huge bubble. Their reaction to all the complaints about Dragon Age 2 has been basically “We made a good game. It’s not our fault if you can’t enjoy it.”

        I’ll bet ME3 will have much more in common with Half-Life 2 then ME1. That will make some people very happy, and me very sad.

        • Khizan says:

          To be fair, Dragon Age 2 was a good game, and it’s not their fault that the RPG playing masses want MAN SAVES WORLD FROM ORCS PART TWO instead of a more ambitious story that focuses mostly on the protagonist’s rise through the city.

          • Jarenth says:

            I want whatever Dragon Age 2 you’ve been playing.

            I especially hope the ending of your version is better than mine.

          • Sean Riley says:

            I just want to ditto Jarenth’s comment. Where did you get the edition of Dragon Age 2 with a well designed city that aged with you, with main characters at least half as well conceived, and a third act plot twist that actually made sense?

            DA2 was woefully bad. I feel utterly comfortable saying that.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Well, by this point the work on the game is well underway, they’re not going to just scrap it and start anew.

      On that note this isn’t that they can be convinced they’re making a mistake by shifting the focus of the game. Sure, the game will be less appealing for us but they don’t want us, they want the shooter crowd. They already got a lot of people who play for the story and character development hooked up on it in 1 so they’re hoping we’ll get the game anyway just to play the ending.

    • Sagretti says:

      Unfortunately, Mass Effect 2 racked up great scores critically, won game of the year awards, and sold extremely well. The new direction of the game seems to have succeeded commercially, even if it failed the series artistically, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bioware pushed further in that direction. Mass Effect 3 could very well end up being an action game with “RPG elements.”

      • vukodlak says:

        “End up”? The first two already are! ME3 has a chance of becoming a shooter with certain motifs which echo concepts which could be considered, by some, to be RPG-like.

        • CalDazar says:

          Excuse me but could you explain why ME1 isn’t an RPG?
          I’ve seen people use a lot of things to define RPG’s but the only things ME lacks is being based on D&D and stats beyond resistance.

          • vukodlak says:

            Now that’s a good question – and not one that I can answer without a few pages of text. But to summarise: the main gameplay elements of ME games are cover-based shooting and shooting. While there are some limited tactical options available (bionics, tech) the outcome of battles mainly rests with your skill as a player, not your character’s skills (although your character’s skills play a part). Most ‘role-playing’ aspects are confined to the conversation mechanic and divorced from the majority of gameplay.

            Hence, shooter with RPG-elements. (Contrast with Deus Ex, also ostensibly a shooter, where gameplay changes dramatically based on your character).

            • CalDazar says:

              I fail to see how that means it isn’t an RPG. I find it truly bizarre to think that it’s only an RPG when success is more or less out of my hands. An RPG can have it’s gameplay in more than one flavor.

              Aside: Is not player skill being important a good thing?

              • Aldowyn says:

                It depends. Player skill tends to be more twitch-based, while character skill requires you to be more tactical in how you use it, usually.

                And the definition of RPG is really shaky. Some people think it’s all about the leveling up and the skills, and some people think it’s all about the interaction with the game world. It’s the first part of that that ME2 cut down on.

              • some random dood says:

                “Aside: Is not player skill being important a good thing?”
                No – not when you do not have perfect health and reactions. May be fine for a healthy teen or 20-something, but for someone whose motor control isn’t what it should be, then taking the tactical aspect where *character* skill matters more than *player’s physical ability* away and replacing it with twitch-based gunplay is definitely not a good direction.
                Don’t we have enough franchises that are cover based shooty shooty bang things without taking things like Mass Effect 1 as well? Unfortunately it looks like the market is saying “more shooty”, so I think I am going to give up this series now, and depend on “Spoiler Warning” to find out how the story ends.

            • ehlijen says:

              So fallout 3 and Oblivion aren’t RPGs because they make you actually aim at the things you want to kill and click before they start calculating damage vs DR? Could have fooled me.

            • The Bard says:

              This is one of the silliest arguments going around the interwebz these days. Every time I read an argument with people fighting over whether Mass Effect is an RPG, I get this image in my head…

              Two old dudes, one lives in Hawaii, the other lives in Northern California, redwood country.

              Every day they get on webcam chat, and inevitably, they’ll begin talking about trees. The dude in Hawaii gestures to a palm tree and says “Look at my nice tree!”

              And the old dude in California snorts in disgust and points out his window to a redwood. “Ye damn ol’ coot, that ain’t no tree! This here redwood is!”

              And for hours, and then days, and then months, these two crazy old bastards bicker about which one is a tree.

              The moral here is that this argument is POINTLESS. Whether Mass Effect is an RPG or not is entirely up to you, the player. The Mass Effect I play is an RPG. You can rail on all day about skill and item lists and blah blah blah. But if it’s an RPG to me, it’s an RPG.

              Edited: Ugh, I’m full of typos this morning. Fixed a few so I don’t look like a noob.

              • MrMurphy says:

                Whether or not the Mass Effect series is an RPG is not dependent on you, its dependent on how terms are defined and accepted. You might think that the sole criteria for whether something is that thing is your belief in its categorization as such, but its not. All that that affects is -your belief- about what it should be categorized as. If you decided that Mass Effect wasn’t an RPG, but a shrubbery that was on fire and talking to you, it would not mystically transmogrify into Yahweh.

                So, why does whether or not Mass Effect and its intensely weaker sequel classify as an RPG matter? Because content creation isn’t a closed system; how these games are written, made and then marketed is dependent in a large part on the dialogue around and about them. If games that are not RPGs are classified as RPGs, then a slow and inevitable drift in the genre itself is the inevitable and unenviable result.

                How we think about things matters.

                • The Bard says:

                  I see where you’re trying to go with the analogy, but you picked a vague one. There’s nothing subjective about whether or not a game is a flaming bush. It can be proven with math (and SCIENCE!). The lines here are subjective and far more blurry.

                  I’ll grant you, there’s a happy medium between developer intent and player belief, but I definitely think this conversation in general – “Is Mass Effect an RPG or not?” has gone off the deep end and taken a few laps on top of that. Not specifically on Shamus’ board, but anywhere this complaint rears its head, there are usually insane opinions on both ends.

                  Why do we in gameland have to have ONE bucket for things? It’s an RPG, or it’s NOT. That’s all there is, huh? Imagine if books or movies used this same structure. “A comedy needs to have Billy Crystal, a romantic lead, and be no more than 1 hr and 37 minutes long.” Isn’t the RPG genre in general stagnant enough? Shouldn’t there be some evolution that can come in trade beyond “Western RPG” and “JRPG”?

                  Is it really so impossible to say there are multiple – wait for it – TYPES of RPG? Clearly enough people in the world (myself included) are quite happy viewing Mass Effect as an RPG. If YOU don’t agree, that’s fine, maybe ME2 is not your TYPE of RPG. But just because you don’t like it does not mean you can or should go around shouting for the next 10 yrs how it’s not an RPG even though there are a lot of us who say it is.

                  If you hardcore RPG loot grinder don’t like it, that’s perfectly wonderful. Then don’t play it and don’t go around posting the same damn argument over and over and over again on Mass Effect boards. It makes it very difficult for the people who DO enjoy the series to actually have a meaningful dialogue when they have to swim through the same nonsense time and time again.

                • Chris B Chikin says:

                  More to the point, WHO CARES? If it’s a fun game and enjoyable to play then why does it matter what label you slap it with?

            • Robyrt says:

              I don’t know about that one. I spent most of ME1 holding down the pause key and auto-targeting my spells, not shooting guys in the face with my twitch reaction speeds.

            • Vipermagi says:

              Ever heard complaints about snipers being utterly uselessly hunks of trash in Mass Effect 1? They have reticules as large as the entire screen if you are unskilled. Yes, player skill will compensate for this (you can still hit stuff once every while), but your bullets aren’t dead-accurate, so even a good aim can miss. Recoil is also pretty massive, and will increase swaying for a while after a shot. Higher skill and a better sniper rifle will make player skill nearly obsolete, since you have zero sway, your bullets are dead-accurate, and recoil is negligible. With the right item mods and rifles with low-ish heat output, you can even get off a decent amount of shots before overheating.

              Saying that about ME2, I’d agree. It’s a player-skill based shooter. But this is very much false when talking about ME1. Skills had a noticable effect on weapon proficiency, and your own health (or rather, shields) for that matter. Heck, even item choice is restricted by skill points.

              • Alexander The 1st says:

                I am notorious among my crowd for tanking ME1 with the pistol. Give it Photon Rounds and Heat Sinks, and the gun is unstoppable against everything but Colussi. It doesn’t even need to be trained. Done it as an Engineer, Biotic, Soldier. That gun is always about your aim.

  6. Mantergeistmann says:

    Oh hey, looks like Shepard will be fighting against Cerberus again, in a shocking and completely unforseeable turn of events. Hey, it also looks like this game will focus on – wait for it – Shepard building a rag-tag team of heroes!
    I must say, I also rather dislike that “expanded RPG elements” means “skill trees.” Of course, I guess RPG stopped meaning “Role-playing game” some time ago…

  7. Tyshalle says:

    So it looks like that article is a translation of a Spanish-language article. Can anyone check to see whether that article ran on April 1?

    I really doubt the authenticity or veracity of those claims. They really do smack of rectal extraction, given that some of them are REALLY out there– mechs? Engineers with turrets? Nah, must be a joke.

    • Raygereio says:

      It’s established in ME2 that cerberus doesn’t have that much manpower; so having mechs as an army isn’t that far fetched. It’s certainly a better sollution that having TIM randomly pull a human army out of his but.

      As for turrets. We already know for sure that instead of having a single choice between two evolved versions once a talent is fully upgraded (ME2 system), talents in ME3 will instead evolve multiple times as they’re upgraded.
      So again it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that the engineer’s combat drone can evolve into a turret’esque weapon.

    • Abnaxis says:

      Agreed. It really does seem like April’s tomfoolery

      • krellen says:

        I disagree. It reads quite heavily like the exact thing that EA is known for. Why should we believe that BioWare is somehow immune from the influence of their parent company?

    • 8th_Pacifist says:

      In my capacity as a Spanish speaker:

      The article went out in a print magazine dated only “April, 2011″. (This is weird: the front page says it’s coming out in May, but the page describing the issue says April.) Which rules out the April fools theory unless the entire magazine is a joke. Or maybe Bioware’s trolling us.

      Anyway, the eurogamer article has a few mistranslations going by the transcript posted on the Bioware forums. For one thing, the mechs don’t refer to something similar to the security mechs from Mass Effect 2. The term used is “mechas tripulados”, which literally translates to “manned mechs”. Meaning they have people in them. Like Mechwarrior. You shoot their glass cockpits for, presumably, massive damage.

      The eurogamer article also states that there’ll be a new “scanning system”, which made me scream at my laptop until I noticed that in the original spanish it actually says there’ll be a new exploration system. So at least we dodged that bullet.

      • Keeshhound says:

        So we’re getting Armored Core? I don’t know how to feel about that.

      • Veloxyll says:

        When I read “new scanning system” I immediatly thought: It’s Mass Effect Prime. Hopefully we don’t get a Mass Effect Other M DLC though…

      • El Quia says:

        Besides, in the spanish speaking world, April’s fool doesn’t exists, unless it’s by copycatting US stuff. The “let’s play pranks on others” day is the 28th December, Innocent’s day, but I haven’t seen too many people celebrating that, lately.

  8. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I think they might be trying to cash on the recent surge of Warhammer 40K space-marine oriented game. Like: “Space Marine”

    Heavy Melee? Hitting the Weak spot? Large Oversized Armors?

  9. Eleion says:

    I’m not that familiar with Gears of War (or that many modern games in general, really), so maybe I’m not the best judge, but only the “Aliens in New York” thing sounds lame from that list. Is fast-paced badstupid? Are weak spots on enemies? The idea of an entire melee CLASS is strange (I mean, are you going to punch the mechs to death? Is Shepard now the Major from Ghost in the Shell?), but if it opens up more melee options for other classes then that seems like a plus to me.

    But really, what does any of this have to do with whether it will be a good RPG?

    HOWEVER, that being said, the whole “The Earth is in danger! Oh noes! D:” plot that so far seems to be the basis of the entire story really bothers me. I don’t have a whole lot of emotional investment as it concerns our solar system in the Mass Effect universe. The first two games developed a world where… humanity wasn’t super important. Nothing interesting happened in our solar system, and a threat to Earth is only a threat to humanity, but there are WAY larger things at stake (and have already been at stake). When I saw the trailer my first thought was “Well… so what if London is being attacked? The Citadel is the heart of civilization now, and I already saved it from destruction.”

    It feels like their trying to make it more personal for the players, but it just comes across as anti-climactic to me. Why do the Reapers care about Earth at all?

    I liked Mass Effect because it wasn’t Earth…

    • ccesarano says:

      To give it a logical spin, the Reapers are obsessed with the human species now, and Earth is our home base, so…

      • Eleion says:

        I guess I get that part… (but really, Shepard is just one dude, hyper-intelligent robot species. You’d think they’d get that. He’s hardly indicative of the entire population.)

        Mostly, though, it just feels smaller scale than the end of the first game. They can logic it out all they want to get the plot they desire, but that doesn’t mean that the plot will stir excitement. I guess it sounds better than the main plot of the second game, and I absolutely loved playing that, despite the terrible central story.

        Actually, intellectually I’m not sure why I enjoyed it so much, because I can think of many, many flaws, but playing Mass Effect 2 was probably the most fun I’ve had playing a video game ever. Something about killing waves of enemies with biotic powers was just infinitely entertaining…

        • Aldowyn says:

          Supposedly, the attacking earth is a way to make it hit harder on the audience. The Reapers are still a galaxy-wide threat, and Shepard isn’t even going to spend most of his time on Earth, regardless of what you might think from the trailer.

          I think that the people who said that they’re focusing on Earth because of Shepard are right, so it makes sense to focus the counteroffensive at the focus of the offensive.

        • El Quia says:

          I guess I get that part… (but really, Shepard is just one dude, hyper-intelligent robot species. You’d think they’d get that. He’s hardly indicative of the entire population.)

          Exactly. And he was part of a multi-species strike team :p

    • Torsten says:

      I feel the same about the whole Commander Shepard Saves The Earth story this game seems to be about. Did the first two games even have anything happening on Earth? The closest I remeber was one sidequest in the moon on the first game. The whole game series overarching story is about humanity taking its first steps in living in space and exploring the opening universe.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        This. I can see how the whole thing with Earth is supposed to make it more personal, bring it home, let them show off Reapers tearing through some historical landmarks cause ever since Independence Day blew up the white house everybody thinks “dis is da awesum” (I’d track it even further back to Planet of the Apes and the statue of liberty thing but it might be too ancient for some). But frankly in ME universe I feel much more connection to Citadel or even Illium than I do to Earth.

        Also, wanna bet that with almost every single planet in the galaxy being all sleek spires and shiny metals Earth is going to have your traditional concrete and two story houses?

    • Galad says:

      Remind me please, in what movie or episode of the series did the Major punch any mechs to death??

      • merashin says:

        At the end of the first season there was the “cleanup crew” coming for all of section 9. I’m pretty sure they had powered armor people and that the major punched one of them out.

  10. Eddie says:

    “Enigmatic Mass Effect 2 patron the Illusive Man also returns, his Cerberus operation now tasked with killing Shepard. Why the Illusive Man has turned the tables on his former champion remains to be seen. ”

    So there’s one good thing going then. I fear this might be done a little bit ham-fistedly though, given the way they changed your relationship with Cerberus in the last game. I actually really don’t understand why they keep doing this though; Bioware are doing a really terrible job of building on the stories of the previous games. They don’t seem to want to maintain anyone’s characterisation beyond a single game. The games don’t really feel like sequels, so much as new, unrelated scenarios for Shepard to kick ass in.

    Actually, shit, that’s a pretty accurate description of the series so far isn’t it? It isn’t a three part story because part two had no relation to the over-arching plot; they gave us an obstacle to overcome in ME1 and then had us dick around is ME2. ME2 really, really should have been about finding some weapon or some information or something to fight the Reapers with. Hell, it could even have been in the Collector base.

    “Mass Effect 3 starts as Shepard stands trial for his actions in recent ME2 DLC Arrival.”

    Why does this fill me with so much dread…oh, fuck; the trial from Mass Effect 1!

    • Raygereio says:

      Why does this fill me with so much dread…oh, fuck; the trial from Mass Effect 1!

      Tali: “Don’t worry, Shepard. I got this. Here’s a altered recording from Legion that says you were at the citadel partying during that whole blowing-a-starsystem-up-thing.”

    • Chris B Chikin says:

      When I first saw those pictures on The Escapist I was like “Yes! No more crappy railroaded justifications for why everyone hates us!” Having read that quote, I am less enthused.

      [EDIT]: That said, having read the article properly I’m overall fairly optimistic about the gameplay. As a shooter fan it used to be one of my main peeves with RPGs that the combat, despite being a key element, was usually shoddy even compared to a much older FPS (compare Fallout 3 and esp. Operation Anchorage with Halo: Combat Evolved). Combat’s one thing that Mass Effect does well compared to other RPGs and it’s been improving through the series. I’ll be looking forward to that and just hope that the plot leaves me with less torn-out hair than the second game did.

  11. ccesarano says:

    I wasn’t really a Bioware fan until this generation with Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins. But Mass Effect 2 and the first few hours of Dragon Age 2 have already made me feel such negative dread with these guys.

    Maybe they should stick to one-off IP’s instead of sequels.

    • Raygereio says:

      I blame the KotOR-MMO for having taken up the time of all the A-team writers BioWare have.

    • Irridium says:

      Try telling that to their owner, EA.

      • krellen says:

        I think I’m about ready to give up on BioWare. TOR is their last chance to prove EA hasn’t turned them into complete drek.

        • ccesarano says:

          They were planning on these games being franchises before EA, so I wouldn’t completely blame it on the new publisher. I’m not sure I’d blame EA on the 1.5 year development cycle each iteration of Mass Effect and Dragon Age seems to be going through now, either (Dragon Age 3 announced for Fall/Winter of 2012, I’m calling it now). I mean, if that were the case you’d see it across all major EA brands. However, Dead Space 2 got a little over 2 years to be developed and we KNOW that franchise has “more mainstream potential” (though I can’t be bothered to look up actual sales numbers right now). It’s not like how Activision tried to apply the same pressure on Call of Duty as they did with Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk. EA may release sports games annually, but their other genres seem to be given a fair shake of development time (despite fan outcry, there’s no new Mirror’s Edge either).

          I think the worst thing EA does as a publisher these days is DRM and project $10 dollar (and honestly, I’m not completely against Project $10 dollar, either. Just not really for it).

          • krellen says:

            I’m talking about content, not timeline.

          • Irridium says:

            And they seemed to have abandoned Project $10, if DA2 is any indication.

            Now you have to pre-order the game early to get the DLC, otherwise you must fork over money for it.

            Bioware is also making The Old Republic, which is probably like a monetary black hole. Meaning there probably isn’t enough time/money for other projects. And since EA is footing the bill, they’ll want more games to be released to cover for this giant money-sink.

  12. TSED says:

    “BioWare is looking for photo-realism by using new lightning techniques for the environments. ”

    What is this I don’t even

  13. Irridium says:

    I don’t know, more interesting melee attacks seem a lot better then ELBOWING DUDES TO DEATH.

    Could also mean less of a focus on cover-based combat. Which I am 100% for.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Remember how in ME1 someone (I think it was Ashley) said that she’ll be useless gainst the reapers being an infantryman?

      Also, to most of us this reads roughly as “we’ve invested a lot of time and effort into making animations of Shepard doing a spin kick, also: Mortal Kombat like controls. We saved the money by getting a random guy who can quote all one-liners from Bay’s movies to write the dialogues”.

    • Chargone says:

      i’m pretty sure it’s Supposed to be smashing them with the butt of the gun, if you mean the melee attacks in the previous games.

    • Friend of Dragons says:

      But I loved elbowing dudes to death!

  14. Kanodin says:

    Never have I been so expectant yet so full of dread at a game as Mass Effect 3, on the one hand they have the big climactic galaxy spanning war with the reapers the whole series has been building to (well, mass effect 1 built to it, 2 remembered to do so every 20 hours or so) and on the other hand we have every single bit of news actually coming out of Bioware and Mass Effect 2.

  15. Raygereio says:

    Honestly; ME1’s lackluster and ME2’s utter crap stories – alongside the DA franchise – have jaded me to the point where I don’t even care about it anymore. I already know that I shouldn’t expect quality in the writing department from BioWare anymore.

    All I want for ME3 is fun gameplay. That and a couple of scenes such as Shep and Wrex (wearing monocles and tophats) launching a tomkah loaded with explosives of a ramp made from the bodies of dead husks at Harbinger.

  16. Robyrt says:

    This seems to be an overall positive direction, as long as improved combat doesn’t go hand in hand with dumber stories. Faster-paced combat? Classier melee abilities than the Halo Elbow? (You know, the one that packs more punch than two bullets to the head.) Going back to Earth wasn’t particularly on my to-do list, but as long as it’s suitably futuristic I can live with it.

  17. Koriantor says:

    Mass Effect 1 was hard for me to get into. It seemed dumb… at first. Then, at some point (I don’t remember when), the universe opened up to me. The game was amazing! The environments, although repeated, were fun to play in. The plot and atmosphere were well developed and I had a blast. After falling in love with Liara (<3), the plot on Virmire hooked me. The Reapers actually seemed threatening. They were coming to kill us. Curiosity took hold, and I had to figure out the reapers. The reapers legitimately made me concerned for the saving of the universe.

    Then I played Mass Effect 2.

    …Now I'm just facepalming. It seems Bioware’s design direction is trying to recapture my love for the series in some things, but totally screwing it over in others. I feel like the ever faithful housewife that’s just realized the man she’s married to now isn’t the dreamy knight in shiny armor, but a slob who sits and plays WoW all day, wondering where she went wrong. Bioware, you’ve changed! When we first met, you wrote beautiful crafted stories and took me away to far away lands I never thought was possible. What happened?

    Oh, and for the record, I am NOT a housewife. I’m very much male and very much not that attached to Bioware… really! Honest! Also, I just gave huge beating on Bioware, but I still love them. Even with their stupid design choices. I sincerely hope Mass Effect 3 doesn’t continue down the path Mass Effect 2 took. I’m going to write more later.

  18. poiumty says:

    Actually that sounds pretty cool. I came into Mass Effect expecting a pretty good game, and all I got was Meh with a side dish of cool scenery. Mass Effect 2 surprised me by having a story which was as half-assed (imo) but making the gameplay a whole lot better. And now ME3 is more fast-paced. Awesome. If they fix up the story then this will be a game to look forward to.

  19. Nonesuch says:

    So we’re going to be seeing the same senseless craziness from Cerberus, and whatnot.

    • Jarenth says:

      “Shepard! We resurrected you from the dead, because you are the last, best hope for mankind!

      …blargh, now we try kill you for no reason”

      • Scott (Duneyrr) says:

        To me, this seems incredibly in character for them.

      • DungeonHamster says:

        For my part, I’m generally fairly pessimistic about computer games until after they’re released, just on principle. Apart from some of the earlier marketing for DA:O, I don’t think I’ve seen an ad campaign for anything that interested me in the game more than I already was, so off-putting rumors for ME3 hardly come as a surprise to me. To be honest, the thing that bugged me most about that article is I didn’t see Tali in the list of confirmed playable NPC’s.

        That said, TIM trying to kill you now seems fairly consistent with Cerberus’s apparently bipolar nature, and goodness knows I’d like to gut the bastard, so no complaints on that one.

        • Armstrong says:

          To be honest, the thing that bugged me most about that article is I didn’t see Tali in the list of confirmed playable NPC’s.

          They’ll probably give Shepard a new set of aliens to bang.

          I’d still be rather disappointed if Tali won’t be recruitable or at least have a major role. And they better show her face this time.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Well, if you’re Paragon Shepard, they have a reason. As for Renegade Shepard… I dunno. Cerberus is stupid. Not really the idea of it, or even individual characterizations, but just how incredibly inconsistent it is.

        And many, MANY people need to be fired if Tali, Garrus, and Wrex don’t come back.

  20. Taellosse says:

    I dunno–there’s not much in that article that turns me off, as such. More action-gamey combat isn’t necessarily a bad thing, particularly if they restore some of the progression/customization from ME1 into the bargain. I also don’t really care if the Vanguard (presumably) gets more melee focused–I prefer ranged classes in ME such as the Adept, Sentinel, and Infiltrator. And anyway, if you’re going to HAVE a class that specializes in getting in close (as they remade the Vanguard in 2), it only makes sense to give them a decent range of close-up moves.

    Just so long as the central plot is less dumb than 2, I’m willing to accept a lot of gameplay adjustments (I was not so in love with how the game played in 2 that I object to additional tweaking–some of the changes were good, others not), and we don’t know enough yet about the plot to judge it. After all, the central ideas behind ME2’s plot aren’t idiotic–with some relatively minor adjustments at several key points, it could have worked quite well–it was just executed poorly. If they don’t blunder in the same fashion this time around, it could work fine.

  21. Topaz Wolf says:

    News from game informer, I have the magazine with the story in it, but the outline is not up yet. So I’ll put up a few things I can see in the article in no particular order.

    The Game begins with Shepard on Earth

    Shepard is on trial in regards to the events of Arrival

    Reapers invade while the trial is happening

    Normandy has been “reclaimed” by the Alliance. (weird seeing as how it technically isn’t theirs)

    Have to run away from the reaper invasion, Shepard can’t kill them.

    Set out to build an army from the other races in the galaxy. In fact most of the game will be rallying support for the last stand.

    You will have to sacrifice entire races for strategic advantages.

    No multiplayer as of yet.

    Going to compete with modern shooters (sigh, oh well).

    Can customize weapons.

    Reapers now have new husk warriors, ranging from turians to rachni.

    At some point a reaper attacks a krogan squad only to be dragged under by a thrasher maw, and then beginning a massive giant monster fight. (supposedly more moments like this)

    There is a cool cyborg guy in a screenshot that is not mentioned.

    Playable Characters(confirmed)
    Liara
    Garrus
    Ashley or Kaidan
    Sanders

    Shown in demo
    Wrex
    Mordin
    Legion
    Anderson

    Secondary confirmed
    Udina
    TIM

    Anyone who died in Mass Effect 2 stays dead

    You can shoot mechs’ arms off, but it doesn’t say its terribly important just strategically valuable.

    It has no news on melee or turrets, but they do say the Mass Effect 2 skills get new evolutions.

    Cerberus is now your enemy and the screens show what appears to be android/battle armor ninjas.

    Also the reapers attack all points of interest on earth simultaneously.

    Make of it what you will.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Set out to build an army from the other races in the galaxy. In fact most of the game will be rallying support for the last stand.

      Called it, not that it was hard to figure out.

      You will have to sacrifice entire races for strategic advantages.

      Or you won’t if you “do all the right stuff”. I’m thinking something along the lines of people dying at the end of ME2, possible but not that hard to avoid and the game gives you plenty of “you’re not ready yet, people are going to die” warnings.

    • Piflik says:

      ‘Set out to build an army from the other races in the galaxy. In fact most of the game will be rallying support for the last stand.’

      So it is, in essence, the same game as ME2…

      • Nonesuch says:

        In short: the first dragon age.

        • Irridium says:

          In short again: Essentially every Bioware game ever.

          • GiantRaven says:

            But when they try something different with the plot to Dragon Age 2 people complain that the story is dull and should be like other Bioware games.

            *facepalm*

            • krellen says:

              I kind of liked DA2’s story. I’m not really that excited by the gameplay, however.

              • Irridium says:

                Same here. I mean yeah they kind of pulled an Obsidian with the third act, but at least it was something different. I’d like to see them try again, and apply what they learned(have a third act thats actually meaningful).

              • GTRichey says:

                I loved DA2 for it’s story (or at least what it tried to do with it). It struck me as a much more personal story as opposed to the typical “World’s in trouble, you’re teh only hopez” but most people didn’t like that lack of overarching threat. Admittedly DA2’s story didn’t always work but it was a nice change as far as I’m concerned.

                The gameplay was better to me than DA:O with the one exception of the horrible camera for PC… which is sad since it’s something that’s obviously brought in from the new console-centric Bioware of late.

                Overall DA2 was probably a bit rushed in order to cash in, but all the makings of a great sequel were there… just too bad they didn’t take more time to finish it properly.

                On that note of not rushing things out… I would like to point the entire game industries eyes toward Valve. They get a lot of flack for long development cycles and delays, but in return customers get some of the most polished games on the market. They bring in play testers and don’t release anything until it’s good and ready, and their sales reflect that.

                • Sleeping Dragon says:

                  I was waiting with this for a DA2 SW season but since the topic was started:

                  I actually liked lots of the story and lots of the gameplay. The friend-rival system was pretty good in that you could pick other options than just those that would suck up to your companions. The combat wasn’t really bad IMHO but then again I see combat largely as a filler between the dialogues, cutscenes and plot. Spreading the game over a couple of years while keeping it in the same city and having (at least some) characters actually go about their business in the meantime was a very good idea. The companion dynamics were pretty good, I know it’s really only a couple of cutscenes with them chatting with each other but I fully admit to biting that. While a lot of plot was linear I understand this is much easier to make, I’m also fairly used to it from “the games of old” (Baldur’s Gate wasn’t exactly a sandbox either, for example) and I liked that they while they often told you what the character does they at least left you an option of WHY he/she does it. Seriously, Lex Luthor gave to charity too, did that make him a better man? Motivations are usually overlooked in choice-giving games, resulting in stuff like: it’s a good thing to keep the data on cure for the genophage though it was obtained through horrible, horrible experiments (and don’t tell me that the human skeletons were those of volunteers) but it’s wrong to keep the Collector base because “they liquefied people here”. The fact that you’re not saving the world and can think of it more in terms of personal agenda is also nice, again, helps with the motivations.

                  So yeah, I liked a lot of it, enough to skip over the linearity in many places (seriously, the fact that I could pick WHY I’m doing the linear thing does sweeten it a bit. I know I’m repeating myself). Too bad act3 and the ending effectively killed most of my sympathy for the game by making all the choices in the game irrelevant, scrapping all the motivations and reason from NPCs just to add a few more fights (people who should like you, heck, people you’d side with and did everything you could to help them so far, suddenly turn on you for no obvious reason) and generally abandoning any pretence of having reason in the plot.

                • krellen says:

                  My favourite moment in DA2 was when I gave the gift shield to Aveline and she yelled at me for selling Wesley’s shield way back in Act 1.

                • Khizan says:

                  The part that cracked me up about the shield was that I hadn’t sold it at all; I kept all their original equipment in my stash back at the house.

                • krellen says:

                  Well, you just ruined it for me, Khizan. I though the game had kept track of what I did with that shield.

                • Aldowyn says:

                  @krellen I imagine it did, it just checked to see if it was in your inventory instead of actually noticing when you sold it.

                • GTRichey says:

                  That moment with Avaline was great (I didn’t even think twice about selling the shield as most wouldn’t). If only they didn’t recycle the same dungeon for every single quest (ok they might have had about 3 dungeons) and if the third act wasn’t so stupid as to piss everyone off (must admit though that I got distracted by some other game before I hit that point so I choose to believe that it ends before then… sounds like it can’t be worse than actually finishing it).

                  Basically my point stands from before… this game didn’t need anything as much as more development time. Which is really annoying because they’ll do like they are with ME2 and simply fill in the blanks with DLC (seriously making ME2 DLC integral to the beginning of ME3 annoys me to no end). I’m not sure whether on not to blame EA so that I can believe Bioware hasn’t changed that much or to just say that this is Bioware now.

    • Eddie says:

      “Set out to build an army from the other races in the galaxy. In fact most of the game will be rallying support for the last stand.”

      This, honestly, is one of my biggest problems with what I’ve heard so far; this should not be the strategy that will save the galaxy, it’s completely inconsistent with the level of threat that the Reapers were supposed to be in the first game. Rallying the galaxy should not be able to stop them! The Protheans were supposed to be way more technologically advanced and have a galaxy-spanning empire (right? I’m not remembering this wrong am I?) and they got completely destroyed. The one advantage that we have is that we know the Reapers are coming and that got pissed away when somehow, despite everything, everyone refused to believe in them. “Reapers invade while the trial is happening” is basically explicitly stating that the Reapers managed to sneak up on us. The galaxy is fucked; given how things went against Sovereign, what possible chance does the galaxy have against a whole fleet of them?! Graaghraghghagthashadgj!

      Phew. Deep breath.

      Seriously, unless Sovereign was some new, advanced Reaper model that had armour over it’s glowing weak spots, which, oh fuck, I bet is how it’s actually going to be, the galaxy should have no chance. The plot for ME3 should be figuring out a way to abandon the galaxy and colonise a new one and making the genuinely tough decision of who to take with you and which species to abandon to the Reapers. The only alternative is to completely destroy the Reapers as a credible and frightening threat, which I suppose ME2 already did.

      • Topaz Wolf says:

        Now you have me hoping the GameInformer lied and the actual premise will be to find a way to survive. But knowing how things go you will just find an army of dark matter whale ships, massive space angles, and omega level weaponry that will be capable of destroying all the reapers.

        There be spoiler below and the system isn’t letting me hide it. Be warned.

        I actually liked the end of dragon age origins where someone has to die to stop the massive demon dragon god … at least until it was discovered that you can just have happy time with morigan and the whole plot nicely wraps itself up for you. It seriously ruins the weight of a game when you get off free. In this case I believe that you should be forced to watch the galaxy burn.

      • Kikito says:

        *Obviously*, the proteans failed because they didn’t have Shepard to rally them. duh.

      • some random dood says:

        At first, I pretty much agreed with what you said. However, there is one significant aspect that is different this time compared to when the Protheans were destroyed. In that (and every other instance before apparently) the Reapers got to the Citadel station and took control of all the mass relays. Therefore, wherever fleets of ships were, there they were effectively stuck until a sufficiently large fleet of Reapers turned up to wipe them out. The whole of the Prothean empire was picked apart, piece by piece.
        As could be seen at the end of Mass Effect 1, a Reaper can be destroyed given enough enemy ships, so they are not quite as almighty as possibly made out.
        Saying that – with the invasion size suggested, would all the current ships within the galaxy be enough to stop the invasion, considering it took a whole wing of Alliance forces (and the Alliance do not have many capital ships), and everything that was already at Citadel (a well defended place!) to take down a single Reaper?

        • Bret says:

          Well, it’s also worth remembering the Thanix Cannon wasn’t around for the Protheans.

          Beating sovvy got the Turians, Alliance, and Salarians some really nice new tech.

          Going to be touch and go at best, and I wouldn’t bet against the Protheans leaving a little more in the way of useful tech, but frankly, they were never going to leave the only option a downer ending, leaving us with either “Reapers are secretly nice” or “Deus Ex Machina” as the alternatives.

          And those are a lot worse.

        • Eddie says:

          OK, I’ll concede that control of the Citadel would have a big effect on the Reaper invasion, but that raises the question of why the Reapers have decided to attack Earth instead of the Citadel. If the only system they have for controlling the Citadel was the Keepers then they’re immeasurably dumb and all of the races they wiped out in the past didn’t deserve to survive.

          But even if there is a reason that the Repears can’t control the Citadel, so what? There’s still no-one strong enough to stop them. Sovereign’s attack on the Citadel was enough to destroy so much of the Turian military power that Humans leap-frogged them to become the largest military power in the galaxy. And if Shepard’s abandoning Earth to get help in ME3, that means the Alliance is fucked. I’ve got assume that most of the Alliance navy is defending the Solar System, since none of the colonies ever get any assistance. So, the two biggest military powers are at best severley hobbled and at worst bascially destoyed. Who else is left? The Quarians are flying around in a bunch of cobbled together, second hand or two hundred year old ships. The Krogan are fractured and frankly, I can’t imagine them being much use against the Reapers anyway; unless they’re going to join Shepard in punching the Reapers to death. The Geth are probably the biggest credible military force left in the galaxy (moreso if you brainwashed the Heretics). I just don’t see how, even if all the galaxy’s forces are combined, there’s any chance the Reapers will be defeated.

          Maybe the Salarians, Geth and Quarians are going to join forces and Jeff Goldblum up a Reaper virus together. Then the Humans, Turians and Krogan can be Will Smith. The Asari can be Will Smith’s stripper girlfriend.

          It’s fun to speculate wildly like this. Hopefully Bioware can come up with a reasonable resolution to all this that is interesting and suprising and features no giant Terminators. I haven’t quite given up hope in them yet.

    • Irridium says:

      “Sacrifice entire races”

      So… Shepard will send the ENTIRE POPULATION of a race to fight the Reapers? What kind of dumbass plan is that?

      Oh, and Game Informer shows an updated Ashley. Instead of the tomboy from ME1/2, we now get what looks like Miranda but with a fixed jaw. And bigger boobs.

      http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/masseffect/images/9/94/Ashley_Williams_in_Mass_Effect_3.jpg

      Yes, that is Ashley.

    • ccesarano says:

      Y’know, my problem with Cerberus isn’t that they revived you just so they could kill you. My problem is that they’re supposed to be acting in the best interests of humanity.

      How is this the best interest of humanity? Also, what if you GAVE them the bad ass technology at the end of ME2? What’s their motivation? Or are they assuming you blew it all up.

      Either way, guess I gotta play all that DLC now. And buy Arrival. Bah.

  22. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I do hope this is just Shamus or Eurogamer or the Spanish magazine trolling us but I am not optimistic. I’ll take my leave to deconstruct this a little. In no particular order:

    1) Pro-human organisation Cerberus, which acts against Shepard in the game,

    So either “you blew up mah base!” or “ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL” depending on what you picked at the end of 2. So much for meaningful choices. On the plus side, this means that part2 really didn’t count.

    2) The combat is described as “more dynamic”, forcing players to move quickly. “Game rhythm” is 10-15 per cent faster.

    I need translation, is there a marketing professional in the audience? Seriously, what does this even mean? I take it it won’t be cover based or the enemies will have the option to blow us out of cover (for example if you stay in cover for longer than 5 seconds grenades start flying… were have they tried that before…). But what on Earth is the “10-15 percent faster game rhythm”? I mean, it’s obviously something measurable since you can quantify that it’s X% faster. Certainly not something that they’d just come up with as a blurb.

    3) The Heavy Melee class

    Remember how in ME1 someone (a friend says it was Ashley) mentioned that being infantry they’ll be useless against Sovereign? Well now you’ll probably be able to punch one in the core!

    4) New locations include New York, London, the Salarian home planet, a Quarian moon, and Mars.

    Sooo, out of 5 locations specifically mentioned 2 are actual places on Earth and I imagine we’ll see a great majority of humans on Mars as well. I admit to being slightly curious about the Salarian home planet, they are a fun race.

    5) Environments are bigger. We’ll see people walking, ships fighting and more detailed architecture.

    This works in tandem with point #4. Notice that the more detailed architecture comes along with moving stuff to Earth. In a reply to an earlier comment I mentioned that I’m fairly sure we’ll see a lot of concrete and urban housing shockingly similar to the standard of the early 21st century. See also the mention of photorealism.

    6) [Cerberus] has mechs, assault units and “ninja-style” shock troops at its disposal.

    So the good old triad of generic, heavy and agile mooks (Geth in 1 anyone?). I hardly see why this is news.

    7) A new scanning system has been implemented,

    Meaning there is still a scanning mini-game. Was there a single person on an entire planet who enjoyed these for more than 5 minutes?

    8) Characters [..] include [..] Liara T’Soni, Kaidan Alenko and Ashley Williams. Squad members Garrus, Wrex, Mordin and Legion

    It should be an “or” between Kaidan and Ashley, just saying. Also, where the hell is Jack? I seriously, honestly romanced Jack because I wanted and I am so going to be pissed if all she gets is a mention and an email.

    9) Mass Effect 3 starts as Shepard stands trial for his actions in recent ME2 DLC Arrival. Part-way through the hearing the Reapers invade earth.

    I can sorta buy the timing seeing as the procedure would probably drag for months if not years. I’m pretty sure it’ll be more dramatic though. Also, while I can buy it for paragon why would my renegade Shep even be anywhere near? That DLC was such a load of kaka anyway.

    10) He’ll fight Reaper-controlled husks of all species along the way.

    I thought those were exclusively human thing? Part of why we’re all good for making baby reapers in 2 is also why we make good husks? Apparently not anymore.

    11) Arms can be cut off and armour can be broken.

    Umm… yaay… and all that…

    Okay, I admit that somewhere around point 7 or so I started nitpicking but my main gripes are:

    12) The RPG elements of Mass Effect are being expanded

    That’s funny… where I’m from the first ME was marketed as an RPG game… and now it seems to only have “elements” of it… but that is the RPG being expanded. But wait! There’s a second sentence in this paragraph:

    13) Skill trees will be larger, and powers can evolve several times.

    Oh THOSE RPG elements. I thought RP stood for stuff like maybe choices, or character development, or plot not made out of cardboard, retcons and lampshading.

    14) To restate: The RPG elements of Mass Effect are being expanded for the third game. Skill trees will be larger, and powers can evolve several times.

    I… but… just… no, nevermind. I’ll be over there digging a little grave for that shrivelled thing that just died inside me.

    • Vipermagi says:

      Re combat rythm: They just increased fire rates and healing rates of everything (where applicable) by 15%. I can’t think of anything else that is quantifiable and makes some sense.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        speed up reload animations…

        • Vipermagi says:

          Mass Effect has no reloading :< Screw heat sink pop-out metal bits with retcon issues and flawed logic.

          I did forget to list melee attacks and skill activation time, possibly run/walk as well, but 'can't think of anything else' was referring to other concepts, not actions ;)

          • poiumty says:

            The biggest pacing modifiers are actually the vaulting animations and the time in-between cover. My guess is they added animations to jump from cover to cover and sped up the jumping ones.

          • Khizan says:

            The heat sink cartridges made for better gameplay. No “sit in cover and wait for it to cool”. No carefully monitoring rate of fire to prevent an overheat, no modding up an unheatable gun or whatever.

            The only change I would have made for them is to make them into “coolant cartridges” that get drained after use. There’s a reason for them to be one-use devices then, and I could see the ME world considering it a legitimate upgrade because it would give them a higher rate of fire provided supplies held out.

            The “old reliable” weapons might have remained in use by colonists or the like, but I could totally see the military accepting ammo considerations to gain an advantage in weight of fire.

            • krellen says:

              Better if you like shooters, perhaps.

              Why are all of my RPGs becoming shooters, though?

              • Khizan says:

                Because the market for RPGs with shooter qualities is probably higher than the market for RPGs like where the combat is clicking people around and tactical pausing.

                And, if I had to guess why that would be, it would be because the combat is more engaging and active and entertaining, to most people. I certainly enjoy ME2 combat, cover based shooter though it may be, more than BG2 or DAO or even DA2, at least, and I’m not alone in it.

                And combat is the vast majority of the time spent playing an RPG. The items you buy, generally, are for it. The skills you learn and use are for it. Without the combat, what you have is a Choose Your Own Adventure book with pretty pictures.

                • Sleeping Dragon says:

                  Yeah, I don’t really mind combat being faster all that much. I always see it as a filler between the story parts. For me it’s mostly there to give the player time to assimilate the plot, to make up some theories about what’s going on, to let the curiosity get ripe for harvest. Plus I usually fill the combat with stuff like chatter between my characters in my head XD

                  So it’s not about having problems with improving or making smoother combat, it’s about the focus of the development process being solely on combat. Also, personally I liked the combat in DA2 better than ME2 but I’m not really that much into shooters.

                • Ateius says:

                  While I liked ME1’s combat, I really did not enjoy it in ME2. The addition of ammo was a minor grievance, mostly only because there was never enough of it, even with near-pinpoint accuracy to waste as few shots as possible. My biggest complaint was how fragile Shepard was all of a sudden. In ME1 I went Soldier/Shock Trooper, beefed up the best armour I could find and dumped all the skills I could into “I am a goddamn juggernaut”. In ME2 I went Soldier and from the start until the end of the game I could not take more than two seconds of sustained fire without just flat-out dying.

                  Result: I am glued to the cover system whether or not I want to actually play that way (I did not). At least in the first one I could design my character to be survivable when not hiding behind an inexplicably bulletproof space-crate.

                • Aldowyn says:

                  @Ateius

                  The only things I often ran out of ammo for were the shotgun (rarely, and it was usually because I hadn’t looked around yet) and the sniper rifle. That REALLY didn’t have enough ammo, though. Other than the sniper rifle, ammo VERY rarely determined what gun I was using.

                  And it makes perfect sense to not die under two seconds of sustained fire!

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Same reason d&d is the most popular rpg system,and same reason why fourth edition is even more combat oriented than previous ones(and I thought that wasnt even possible).

            • Sleeping Dragon says:

              I agree with the increased efficiency thing, though the option to drop down to an overheating mode once ammo is out should still probably be there. That being said clips never bothered me that much since I always fight at the lowest possible difficulty and I played a biotic (I will always play a mage if there’s an option) and relied on my powers most of the time.

              • Bret says:

                Apparently, they were going to do the mixed thing, but testing revealed it was kind of bad.

                Don’t like the codex entry, and Jacob’s mission was kind of hilarious because of it, but thinking ME1’s gameplay was better is kind of taking a unique position.

                • some random dood says:

                  Nope – not unique, as I also far prefer Mass Effect 1 over ME2 for everything. Story, gameplay, the lot. (Well, OK, ME2 had Mordin!) Another thing I really didn’t like about the clips is that they break immersion. “Oh look – people have died and magically turned into ammunition!” Maybe for those used to cover-based shooters this is common and accepted practice, but after Mass Effect 1, it jarred to me.
                  @Ateius – I agree!

    • Jarenth says:

      On 1: Remember that Cerberus is not pro-human, it’s ‘pro-human’.

    • Aldowyn says:

      1: Cerberus is stupid, I’ll give you that one.

      2: It means fighting will be about 10-15% faster, through various adjustments in how fast things are.

      3: There is no Heavy Melee class (that’s just stupid). There’s just more melee stuff in the game. Each class has its own melee ability.

      4: Well, it starts on Earth, and probably ends on Earth. Earth is also the most obvious one, and they may not want to spoil other areas. I imagine most of the game will NOT be on Earth.

      5: You’re assuming that the non-Earth areas won’t have as much detailed architecture. I imagine that’s partly true, but that’s probably also a big part of the upgrades in the engines and will be used on other places – like the Salarian HOMEWORLD.

      6: Meh, who cares. Cerberus isn’t the main enemy, anyway.

      7: Someone said that’s a mistranslation, it’s “exploration”, not “scanning”.

      8: Those are only the confirmed ones, I imagine most of the ones from ME2 are making a return. And Kaidan AND Ashley are in the game. Not your game, maybe, but THE game.

      9: Haven’t played Arrival. I’m assuming there’s some logical reason for it. And I don’t think even Renegade Shepard would resist that hard if s/he was arrested.

      10: Where the heck did you get that from? It’s the same principle as what happened to Saren in ME1.

      11: I thought we did this already for ME2?

      12: ME1 was a hybrid RPG/shooter, not a pure RPG. And even pure RPGs have RPG elements, though you wouldn’t say it that way.

      13: Weren’t you the one just complaining about no proof of Jack? And you’re complaining now about lack of character development? They’re talking about concrete RPG elements – it’s a little hard to “expand” role-playing aspects in such a tangible way.

      14: That’s not even a separate point, it shouldn’t have a number.

      I freely admit they are focusing on combat and other mechanics, but that doesn’t mean they’re disregarding the story, at all. I bet that, come E3, we see a new cinematic trailer and a ton of news about the story.

  23. Van Tuber says:

    Although I don’t blame people for being pessimistic after ME2, you guys seem to be extrapolating quite a lot that isn’t necessarily true from that article. (i.e. Melee class means engaging reapers hand-to-hand.)

    Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, but I’ll wait and see the actual game before I start condemning it.

    • krellen says:

      I will never be happy with any feature in an RPG that can be touted as “faster combat”.

      I’d really like to see less combat in my RPGs, actually.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Yeah, I do agree that we’re all exaggerating, I myself do it largely for the chance to rant. I imagine that the melee class will in fact be only an extrapolation of the vanguard, still doing lots of shooting but with charge and melee specials. It’s not that I think all of this stuff is bad (despite my loooong comment above). Just that if this is the “OMG our game is amazing” press release than they’ve been working on all the wrong things. On that whole list there are maybe two or so things that I wanted to see improved and even those weren’t the highest priority on my list. Sure, more attractive level design is good but I wanted them to brag about stuff like “meaningful choices”, “immersive universe”, “different paths”, “huge gallery of interesting characters”. I would take it with a grain of salt but it would at least mean that the devs (or marketing) think that the stuff I want to see in the game is important. Apparently the important stuff is that I’ll be able to shoot of limbs.

      • Aldowyn says:

        This “press release” is a translation from a spanish article on EuroGamer. The best information right now is on GameInformer, which quite distinctly calls most of what’s in this article BS.

    • GTRichey says:

      ‘Gameplay’ =/= Combat

      It’s nice when games (especially so-called role-playing games) allow you to do something that isn’t just aiming and firing (or other period specific combat action). There was a time when RPGs actually allowed you to pursue solutions beyond mass murder whether diplomatic, stealthy whatever; even some games that are are clearly geared more toward combat. It made for interesting challenges in games like the original Fallout where you could get through the game without once engaging in combat.

      This is why you have so much pessimism when all the news we get is how the combat and graphics have improved. Mass Effect was billed as an RPG and while the first did well enough the second was barely more than a bland shooter and the third is headed even further in that direction by all appearances. I want it to surprise me and be amazing but I won’t expect that based on what we’re hearing and unlike ME2 I won’t be picking it up unless it’s clear from reviews that it isn’t just more of a bland cover-based shooter.

  24. dovius says:

    “Salarian homeworld”
    Was I the only one imagining a crowd of Salarians marching down the street singing more Gilbert and Sullivan?

  25. Drew says:

    There’s always the Xenosaga people. Sure it’s probably more of a JRPG style, but I’m reading good things about Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s not exactly a space opera, but there are giant robots, so it can hardly be considered medieval either.

  26. Quicksilver_502 says:

    I think its a bit much to jump to the conclusion that mass effect is ruined forever because of one preview. Then again, i liked most of the gameplay changes in 2.

    • Khizan says:

      ME2’s gameplay is much better than ME1’s, imo. Going back to ME1 feels clumsy and slow after playing 2.

      I’d rather play ME2 than ME1. I like DA2 more than DAO. They may have weaker stories, but they’re better games. DAO combat was glacial and they may as well have called the game Mage Age. ME1 feels downright anemic compared to ME2.

      • poiumty says:

        Huh, looks like I’m not alone here.

        • Jarenth says:

          It’s hardly surprising that there are people who prefer Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2 over their respective originals. It’s just a little grating to the people who preferred the first games, and in fact helped make the franchises into financial successes, that BioWare seems to be focusing on the second group instead.

          • Bret says:

            Not “people” as if it’s a minority. Rather common opinion, really.

            Gillen, Francis, Meer… Lot of the best game journalist have praised the gameplay improvements.

            Main plot is bad, but that’s the notable (massive) flaw. Most of the rest is topnotch.

            • Sleeping Dragon says:

              Ok, the thing is if you asked me “what was ME1 combat like” I could only tell you something to the effect of “well… umm… you shot guys… right?” I vaguely remember you had grenades and the fact it wasn’t cover based I am only aware of because people keep telling me that ME2 is cover based and ME1 wasn’t.

              I don’t care about combat all that much, it’s only there to give me time to chew through the plot so as long as it’s not downright horrible or a serious obstacle (which it rarely is on the lowest difficulty) I’m good. So for me saying that “the only real flaw is the bad plot” it would be like saying “yeah, the cupcakes are awful but the packaging has nice colours”.

              • Aldowyn says:

                Hmm, lots of people would tell you to go watch a movie or read a book… Just saying.

                Both parts are important. They’ve got the gameplay down, so hopefully with a few tweaks they can go back to focusing on the story. Which they better, this being the finale and all.

                P.S. ME1 WAS cover-based, just not so GET IN COVER OR YOU WILL DIE HORRIBLY cover based.

            • lurkey says:

              Well, if you’re into shooters or – in DA2’s case – ~*visceral*~combat, then yes, it totally is.

          • poiumty says:

            Bioware has definitely taken a new direction in some of its more recent titles, though I’m not sure if you could imply that the sequels rode on their predecessors’ fame like that. In Dragon Age’s case, some of the people who helped make the first game popular are also the people who tried to make the second bomb.

  27. Peter H. Coffin says:

    “Shepard will be able to leap small gaps,”

    Ducky. I note the absence of mentioning being able to climb over waist-high walls, though.

  28. So if I read this right, yer pissed that a popular AAA title is catering to mainstream sensibilities? Who could have ever predicted…

  29. Joey Palzewicz says:

    Really, Shamus? Mass Effect 3 is a game that has yet to even be released, and you’ve already damned it? You’re basing the entirety of your opinion on a single article from a magazine?

    Come on, Mr. Young. You’re better than that. At least try to give Mass Effect 3 a chance.

    I’m not trying to be a prick, I’m not trying to change your mind. I just want to point out how you’ve now sunk to a new low.

    • Raygereio says:

      Oh come one. This is the Internet; it runs on mindless bitching. Thus all blogger are required to supply it with fuel. It’s a law.

      Remember Mr Young also tore into New Vegas just because it had a crappy E3 trailer with nothing in but some shooting (like pretty much any other trailer out there) and he ended up liking the game.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Shamus already talked about this, somewhere in this thread…

        Basically, why can’t you criticize a game on a preview? MY problem with it is that he somehow managed to pick the least reliable preview out there to criticize.

    • Patrick the voice of unreason says:

      While he may not be trying to, he is succeding at being a prick. He also may be correct.
      I would point out though that sequeals rarely attract NEW players, they simply refine what made the game a success into a concentrated form and entertain its already established fan base. Essentially if you didnt like the first 2 installments, you are even less likely to enjoy the third. Think of a game such Assasins Creed, Halo or even Mario Cart. If someone didn’t like the first installment of those games, they probably wouldnt like the third one, since the third was really just the first, with MORE OF IT.

      That said, it is kinda pessemistic to condemn a game before it’s release based on an article. We had never played a morrowind title before the elder scrolls and we loved that…. maybe ME3 won’t suck.

      • Zero T. Katama says:

        As a tangent, I got into Assassin’s Creed with 2 and have no desire to go back and play 1.

        • Aldowyn says:

          That’s not really a tangent, that’s evidence in direct contrast to what he said.

          Sequels are definitely a chance to attract new audiences. AC2 and ME2 are terrific examples. Both of these made significant changes (similar, actually, now that I think about it.), and they both became quite a bit more popular.

          And what about the Elder Scrolls? Morrowind, if I recall correctly, was quite a bit more popular than the first two, and Oblivion was the first true blockbuster in the series.

    • Cybron says:

      On the contrary, I applaud his patience. I’ve been calling it as Gears of Halo: Call of Mediocrity from the first trailer I saw. I may have jumped the gun a bit, but they just keep reinforcing my pessimism.

      Also were you not here for Shamus’s reaction to the trailer for New Vegas (the fake developer interview)? That was much worse than this.

    • Zukhramm says:

      If the developers keep showing something we think is bad, why should we keep thinking it will be good just becuase we’ve not seen all of it.

    • Of note: When he did the New Vegas thing, most people disagreed with him because New Vegas was already showing a lot of cool RPG promise. The same is really not true for ME3 as far as I can tell, beyond nebulous things like “expanded skill trees” and stuff. Which is all well and good, but not what we’re hoping for.

    • Caffiene says:

      The only actual opinion that he states is “the stuff in the article sounds stupid”. Then some creative hyperbole about his feeling of disappointment. I dont really see how that is damning the entire game.

      97% (+ or – 3%) of the content of this site is Shamus making fun of stupidity in games, even games that he thoroughly enjoys.

      He has sunk to a new low by… doing the same thing hes been doing day in and day out for years?

    • Shamus says:

      You must be new here. This is not a new low at all.

      People post previews all the time and gush on about how AWESOME the game will be. Is it somehow forbidden to also make comments in the other direction? Or is only hypemongering permitted, pre-release?

      • Kelly Fowler says:

        Mongering of any sort, fear or praise, should probably hold off until after release.

        Personally I don’t see the problem with enemies having weak spots. That actually makes some sense really.

        • krellen says:

          Why? If you monger far enough in advance, they might actually change something. It’s happened before.

        • ehlijen says:

          Enemies having weak spots? Fine.

          Enemies advertising said weakspots with neon displays and opening the protective covers in predictable intervals? That’s not fine.

          The death star’s weakness had an entire movie based around the heroes actually finding out about it and then it was still too hard to spot for even sophisticated targeting computers. The video game version of that would have been a giant bulls eye and the empire helpfully sending out targetting info to make things fair.

          Weak spots should be discovered, not advertised. And the player should have to work to exploit them, not simply wait until the cover flips open for no reason.

          • Khizan says:

            If the weakness has nothing to indicate it’s a weakness, that’s bad game design, imo.

            “Shoot things randomly till it takes double damage” is an irritating mechanic if nothing indicates that it’s a weak point.

            I’m flexible as to how the reveal works, though. Maybe a dialogue somewhere tells me where it is. Blueprints I can find. I don’t care what, but something has to indicate it if there’s no obvious visual cues.

            • ehlijen says:

              I agree that ‘shoot random bit = double damage’ is bad, whether flagged or not.

              What it should be is ‘if you can get enemy to do A, he’ll be vulnerable to B’. Say for example, if you draw fire by running around long enough, his gun overheats and he has to open a valve to let the steam out, which is your weak point. And it doesn’t have to be just more damage. Shooting that valve could stop him from doing emergency cooldowns at all, so he’ll shoot a lot less from then on so he won’t overheat.

              Basically ‘weakness’ doesn’t have to mean ‘shoot here to drop my health bar faster’. Much can be done by putting some thought into the game.

        • The Bard says:

          I agree with you, Kelly. I tend to roll my eyes at the lovetrain games get in the same way I roll my eyes when Shamus blindfires things that aren’t even confirmed as being in the game.

          I’d just like a nice balanced reaction from the media. Where someone can look at the list of mentioned features and say “hmmm, I wonder how they would implement that? It could be good, like [insert great game title here], or bad like [insert bad title here].

          I mean no offense Shamus, but I think as lazy and erroneous as it is to blow smoke up Bioware’s butt, it is equally so to blindly rage over it when this was transcribed from Spanish by a wandering drunk who gave the note to his goldfish who put it in with his laundry and gave it to a chef who spilled ketchup on it who…. eh, you get the point.

          • Even says:

            I remember him once stating in another discussion that he doesn’t want to be in the role of “customer service” in his own blog mainly because that’s not what he’s here to do and because it’s not what this blog is about. However “wrong” he might seem to you, at the end of the day it’s all just opinions and I don’t think it’s really fair to put all the responsibility on a (p)reviewer like whatever he says, it is the Word of God. Reviewers are not prophets and should never be treated as such. It’s not healthy for the media, the publication, the audience nor the reviewer.

            You should also remember that there’s a big difference between a magazine or website that works towards selling its opinions to an audience and someone stating their opinion in something which is for all intents and purposes, a private forum, where you can read everything for free.

            This is where he writes on his free time, and understanding that, I don’t come here asking or expecting for advice. When I do want advice I go to somebody who does it for work and who I believe I can trust to give me the info I need. I would suggest you do the same.

      • Lalaland says:

        Yes Shamus you should ignore the evidence of every preview, the statements of Bioware themselves and the screenshots. Trust that Bioware are making a game quite different from the one they’re describing to the press. When you eventually buy it you’ll have to ignore quite a bit harder as you realise ME2 wasn’t a ‘franchise expansion’ title but rather a mission statement.

        Bioware have decided their story telling skills are best suited to action titles, it seems RPGs no longer pay them bills. I’ll buy ME3 and enjoy it but all the while I’ll be crying a little on the inside the whole time. It seems some folks just can’t accept that Bioware has moved on from complex stories and choices to ‘press button for AWESOME’.

  30. Patrick the Balla-Thug-life-ryda' says:

    I’d like to see a futuristic RPG that doesnt have to be in outer space, it could, but it would be more a logical future where everything isnt made of stainless steel and black glass.

    Maybe you could:

    Have One- time try to come in your home and you would:
    1.surrender and be arrested
    2.take my chrome I said “yo it’s oooon! Take cover son or you’re assed out How do you like my chrome”? then I watched the rookie pass out

    Then you could:
    1.Run away
    2.Didn’t have to blast him but I did anyway, young punk had to pay
    So, I just killed a man…

    Or maybe say some punk tried to gat you for your auto:

    1.Would call the one time and play the role model?
    2.Play like a thug Next hear the shot of a magnum slug, huuuuummmmming coming at yaaaaa…..So, I just killed a man…

    Stuff like that…awesome game

  31. Mark says:

    We are a sour bunch, aren’t we? We’re looking at promotional material that’s aimed at the shooter-fan portion of the audience, and we’re disappointed that they’re not showing the shooter fans things that are of interest only to RPG fans.

  32. Raygereio says:

    Now that we are on the subject of Mass Effect.
    I’m really sad I didn’t find this during the ME2 spoiler warning run. I’ll just let this video speak for itself:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVYovVMu-5U&amp;

  33. macil says:

    @Shamus:

    I just wanted to post and say: “I agree.”

    There’s certainly enough precedent for some cynicism towards ME3.

  34. Drexer says:

    “Just one space opera. That’s all I wanted. I really don’t think I’m being unreasonable.”

    Guess I know what my little programming project next summer will be. *grabs Asimov’s books and Peter Hamilton’s latest series and starts turning his plot into something coherent*

  35. ehlijen says:

    What I am still hoping for is that they make something of the one single good bit of the Arrival DLC: when someone says ‘we don’t actually know what the reapers want’.

    We have 3 sources of info on their motives (unless I missed something?):
    1: Prothean recordings. These people had just lost a war against the reapers and probably had a bone to pick. Can we really trust their word to be objective?
    2: Saren. And the player spends most of the game contradicting everything he said because he was the bad guy.
    3: Sovereign, and he basically told us of with ‘you’re too stupid to understand’.

    Given the lack of objective actual info on the reaper motives, there is plenty of potential for interesting plot to come. They’ll undoubtedly still be bad guys, but maybe they’ll go beyond the 08/15 anthill kickers we’ve already seen in other scifi franchises.

    But who am I kidding? At this rate the reapers will turn earth into a robot head you’ll need to shoot in the weak spot with your mecha’s rifle from mars…

    • Irridium says:

      Or maybe pilot a gundam-like device and fight the Reapers in hand-to-hand combat.

      Which actually sounds pretty sweet, but it should be a different franchise.

    • Veloxyll says:

      No, you have to make a sort of Voltron-esque battlefortress out of all the planets in the solar system and melee the reaper fleet with your Earth fist.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Since I hate Arrival and everything it stands for I feel the need to discredit that one single good thing you mentioned. The person who said all that stuff about “not knowing what the Reapers want” was pretty much indoctrinated by then and was looking for excuses not to slow them down.

      We also have a fourth source of info, the events in the collector base in ME2, as much as they sucked.

      That being said my bets are we will discover Reapers are, in fact, divided into factions ranging from “destroy all humans, and other species” through “harvest humans for reaper babies” to probably something like “make reaper baby with human volunteers who’ll gain immortality in the process, oh and we can probably make the liquefying process more humane”. Though myself the “good reapers” concept will slightly piss me off and the moment I hear something along the lines that reapers have a prophecy about humanity I’ll start screaming.

      • ehlijen says:

        Absolutely, that lady was agonising with her mighty leash of +5 to railraod.

        True, there was the collector base, but as it was a remote production facility not even staffed or guarded by the reapers, I’m not sure there’d be anything on their plans in there. Either way, the game didn’t tell us what was.

        So yeah, it’s possible it was just a throwaway line, but I’m kind of wishing it isn’t. The ‘monsters who regularly destroy all civilisations’ has been done, from B5 to Freespace. And after the arneaper, the franchise deserves more good story I say :(

  36. Nyquisted says:

    When I first saw the information about Mass Effect 3, it honestly sounded like they watched Season 4 of Spoiler Warning and then expanded all the elements you hate.
    Especially Cerberus.

  37. X2-Eliah says:

    Eh. Yeah, I was thinking this would happen.
    You know what.. Screw you, ME3. I don’t need to play a broshooter with “rpg elements”, if I can play Skyrim.

    Sure, the premise was good – ME1 starting out as an undecided mix of rpg and shooter.. It could’ve gone to be a very good rpg, damnit. But no, they had to go for the common denominator crowd.

  38. Adam says:

    “…he levels up his abilities as he adventures around helping people. He spends most of his time having long conversations about Big Ideas, philosophy, and galactic history. Maybe at the end he will speak to some oracle that will reveal Great Truths about the nature of his struggle and put his previous discoveries in a new light.”

    So in other words we need Richard Garriott to do an update/spiritual heir of ULTIMA IV.

  39. Jan says:

    Also from the preview:

    “Game rhythm” is 10-15 per cent faster.

    What does that even mean?

    • Otters34 says:

      Explained further up, but what it’s assumed to mean is that cool-downs are faster, as well as movement speed.
      EDIT: Nobody said anything about hit-points, my mistake.

  40. Dude says:

    Wait, so now Shepard and Cerberus are at odd ends EVEN IF YOU GAVE THEM THE BASE? Like how, in ME2, even if you saved the council from the Reapers in ME they weren’t even slightly sympathetic towards that idea?

    Well, fuck you, Bioware. Fuck you very much, indeed.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’ll repeat myself. Either “you blew up mah base!” or “ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL!” (well, okay, indoctrination) though they may not bother with that and even go with some half-assed “I’m fairly confident we’ll defeat the reapers with the base alone and you know too much”. The council is most likely brainwashed too, it’s such a handy thing, that indoctrination. If you want a character to turn on the player without any obvious motivation just have them brainwashed.

      • Dude says:

        I think even indoctrination might be too good an explanation; I think Bioware will come up with something that’s even more retarded than that.

        Like, maybe TIM is… A REAPER! ZOMG! He wanted the base in ME2 because ZOMG HE WANTS A FRIEND!

        • X2-Eliah says:

          Nah, he is not a reaper. His eyes are actually Reaper cores, though.
          The final boss fight will be against TIM, but all your team will be shrinked to 10% size, so he will look like a giant; and you will have to aim for his glowing eyes to destroy him thus ending the whole invasion.

  41. Vect says:

    Erm… I’m willing to be skeptical and open-minded of some stuff. I’ve always thought that Bioware was better when it comes to writing Characters.

    Still, if at least the game turns out to be fun to play then that’s a plus. I understand that the plot will still be worth complaining about, but I’d say wait until the finished product comes out before we start with the rants about the Death of the Western RPG and complain about how Bioware’s just another puppet at the strings of the corporate overlords.

  42. some random dood says:

    And then there were… none?
    Who is left now to make games like Mass Effect 1, Jade Empire, Neverwinter Nights, KOTOR 1? And going to others, KOTOR 2, Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Planescape Torment, Ultima Underground?
    Dragon Age: Origins – initial premise started well, but bogged down quickly for me. Dragon Age 2 just didn’t interest me (never thought I’d say that about a Bioware game!), so didn’t get it. Now Mass Effect 3 – the trickled-out information is putting this on a “do not buy” list.
    Between the cover-base-shooter taking over, and the F-off awful DRM now being sprinkled over all the pc games (in the “don’t eat the yellow snow” type of sprinkle), I think I’m going to have to give up gaming and grow up at last… Nah! What’s the url for GoG again?

    • Bubble181 says:

      http://www.gog.com ;-)

      More seriously, you could try looking at the Eastern European market. They tend to be more serious and pessimistic, but quite good RPGs (the Witcher, for example ;-) )

    • Irridium says:

      There’s still Obsidian. Granted you’ll have to deal with buggy games, but its not like there’s much choice anymore…

      Oh, and also CD Projekt Red, but they’re a smaller developer who can only release a game at a time, every 4 or so years.

    • macil says:

      Yeah, I echo the sentiments of the two above me.

      You should give Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga (made by Larian Studios, remember the name!) a shot. The combat is not the greatest (don’t play a warrior on the hardest setting), but the story is compelling, the quest design is great and there are a lot of memorable characters/dialogue. Its one of the best RPGs I’ve played in recent memory.

      There’s also Risen, which was made by the same dudes who did Gothic 1 and 2 (Piranha Bytes). It was quite good. Risen 2 is due out this year, I think and the studio who was responsible for Gothic 3/4 (JoWood) just went under — so I think the Piranha Bytes might get their license back. :)

  43. ProudCynic says:

    Mr. Young, you don’t think that maybe you being a tad pessimistic? I suppose it is understandable after what a mess ME2’s main plot was and all the bad word-of-mouth I’ve heard on DA2, but some of the previews look promising.

    Sure, we’ve seen generic cyber-mooks with guns and invasions of Future-Earth, but we’ve also heard of missions to the salarian homeworld and quarian (now geth) space to try and deal with the conflicts that have been central to those races’ histories since the series began. Don’t discussions on the genophage with a salarian matriarch or the nature of sentience with a quarian admiral sound like they just might have in them the seeds of Big Ideas?

    I just… really don’t see the need for such negativity this early. Maybe if we’d seen a few gameplay videos with consistently stupid dialog, constant railroading and a further dumbed-down RPG system, then it’d be understandable. But two screenshots? You almost seem eager to dislike this game.

  44. Duoae says:

    Is it just me or is basing the first part of the game off of a bit of DLC that probably only a small portion of the entire userbase played a stupid decision?

    This is the sort of thing i was dreading when DLC was first announced. Having the main storyline become compromised because it’s shunted into DLC. My Shepard didn’t blow up the relay… she didn’t even hear about this incident…. Shouldn’t ME3 take this into account? If you have the DLC installed and are importing from a save game where that info is registered then by all means have the trial for Shepard.

    If it’s not there then have some “acquaintance” of Shepard do it in the backstory and have Shepard be there at the trial to see what’s going on and if they need help. Don’t make my character do things they didn’t do…

    • Avilan says:

      You get to follow the trial in the “comic” in the start if you don’t have the DLC just like you set up what happened in ME1 at the start of ME2 if you have a PS3.

  45. Avilan says:

    Sorry Shamus, but all I have read so far, and you rant about, are good news to me.

    Edit: I find it utterly, UTTERLY ridiculous that there are still people who somehow thinks it is illogical that you visit Earth in part 3.

    • GTRichey says:

      It’s not necessarily illogical to visit Earth. One thing it IS though is boring. In a series where the entire galaxy is open to explore, going to Earth just isn’t appealing to a lot of people and some think that if they wanted a game on Earth there are plenty of options without ME going there.

      • Eddie says:

        It’s not necessarily a boring setting to have, but from the trailer they seem to have executed on it in a profoundly boring way. It’s grey, apocalyptic and probably not going to feature much insight into Human society in the Mass Effect universe. I would love to go to Earth and see what that’s like in the Mass Effect universe, see how thing’s have changed. What I’m not particularly interested in doing is going to Tuchanka again, except with the Houses of Parliament in the backdrop and Reapers in the sky.

        • GTRichey says:

          Ok so it doesn’t have to be boring… but it sounds like the point of putting Earth in this game is for landmarks etc. which we can get anywhere. Humans in the ME universe in general have been pretty dull. The human colonies even are bland compared to other areas. So no, Earth doesn’t have to be dull in a game like this, but I’m not expecting it to be anything else.

      • Avilan says:

        It sounds like there is a difference between the people who are curious about how earth looks in this setting, and considers it part of the game universe, and those who think it’s going to be boring because of…? (I don’t know exactly; no reason is really given).

        My point though is that I get frustrated when people starts claiming that the game(s) was never about humanity, or earth… when to me it’s bleedin’ obvious that it is exactly that.

        • GTRichey says:

          Humanity’s position in the universe was an interesting point in the first game, but it wasn’t just about humanity. ME2 then decided that the reapers just want humans because… they do? I guess… The reapers as defined in the first game went through a cycle of wiping out all civilization once it had advanced to a certain point. So that’s been ret-conned and now the reapers are obsessed with humans because of one badass (and her name is Shepard). This makes no sense coming from the first game for several reasons.

          1. Humanity is new to the galaxy
          2. This would imply that humanity is less advanced than other races
          3. Judging an entire species based on the actions of one woman is illogical (AIs are meant to be logical)

          I’m not saying the game can’t visit Earth and make it interesting. I’m saying I don’t expect it to be interesting because the series so far hasn’t made humans that interesting. Once again it’s a space opera. There is no reason that it should focus on humanity and doing so makes it much less interesting for a lot of fans. You may disagree all you like but some like myself will hold the position I’ve laid out here to help you understand. I don’t expect you to be persuaded but realise that just because this opinion doesn’t line up with your’s doesn’t make it invalid.

    • DungeonHamster says:

      I’m just a bit nervous that they’re making the Earth more central to the plot than it warrants. What rational justification could the Reapers have to invade Earth, rather than, say, the Citadel? I don’t care if Shepard is the mostest baddest tough dude who kills things to have existed in the last 42 septillion millenia, one guy is not enough to justify that, and the Citadel remains the hub of Galactic society, not to mention the hub of their transportation network. I don’t mind a visit to Earth, and it is entirely possible my fears are misplaced and they could either not do this or do it well enough that it works anyway, but I don’t think Earth should be our base of operations.

  46. Alex says:

    If I recall correctly, this melee-centric class is optional. Kind of like that cool maneuver used in the Spoiler Warning videos where Shepard kind of teleports toward/shoves an enemy. That thing you kept saying was awesome.

    I might be imagining this incorrectly, but I could swear I’d also heard they were bringing more of a focus on weapon customization and RPG elements back this time, just not quite up to the levels of the original Mass Effect.

    (…Yeah, I’m pretty much with Avilan in the “Shamus is overreacting = good news” crowd with this one.)

  47. Vuther says:

    I’m pretty cool with melee options and more fast-paced combat, to be honest. It’s kinda surprising there wasn’t more hand-to-hand stuff considering the space opera-ness of it while Jedi lightsaber duels and Kirk beats people up (well, from what I’ve known. Never actually watched Star Trek.), though I suppose Bioware might have just thought that was a bit too tactically unsound and a notation of the unrealism of it all, while you can tell the writers work hard to make the universe seem more justifiable…if that was the case, not anymore, it seems.

    Man, so many comments over one article on this game. This is a small part of the World Wide Web, but it certainly seems like Bioware has nothing to worry about over getting exposure, no matter what the perceived quality of the game will turn out to be (…which should be reasonably variable, at least in this small part of the internet.).

  48. Thomas says:

    I’ll be honest, these don’t sound like terrible things to me. They don’t sound like good things either, and the earth part could go either way but another class choice won’t bother me.

    Maybe it’s because ME2 was a bit meh for me (which might again have been because I haven’t played ME1) but my only really issue with the game was the dialogue, not even the dialogue as it’s written but it’s impact and how it’s presented. In previous Bioware games (and moreso KOTOR2) dialogue was a game mechanic, you carefully selected the option that was best for the situation and the character you built up and you knew that if you were careful you could resolve the situation more how you wanted it. In ME the dialogue choices are just bunged into good/neutral/bad and there isn’t much in the way of dialogue fights, like in KotoR. And if you selected a blue or red option it would just resolve the situation for you. No skill or tension.

    It’s the same with relationships. In KotoR 2 (Obsidian write better i have to say :D) characters watched you and made assessments of you based on your actions in the field which would make them like you or repulse them. In Mass Effect you complete a loyalty mission and they hardly and unimportantly interact with you during other missions

  49. plugav says:

    I don’t mind the new class, though it sounds pretty silly. Why should I want to kick my enemies when everyone in the universe carries a gun and my main adversaries are sentient starships?

    And New York… Haven’t they had enough? Is the universal alien hatred of that symbolic American city a harsh commentary on the role of the USA in global politics? Why doesn’t anything meaningful ever happen in Tokyo or Seoul or Mexico City? Maybe it’s just that WASPs are tastier than, say, Catholic Spaniards?

    I totally agree with the comment on medieval fantasy. Unfortunately, I suppose there’s not only a market for it, but it’s also extremely easy to do. You don’t have to come up with your own races or technologies or anything other than silly names… Easy money. As easy as it comes in the world of RPGs, that is.

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