Everything We Know About Mass Effect 3
- Combat and Gameplay
- Multiplayer and Galaxy at War
- RPG Elements
- The Mass Effect Universe
- The Story
- Technical Details
The original Mass Effect was by far a deeper RPG experience than Mass Effect 2. Players were required to manage – perhaps even micromanage – nearly every aspect of their character and their squad. Add to this an enormous amount of optional side quests, random planets to explore and constant, constant loot to find (especially when you leveled up and magically received… stuff), and it’s not an exaggeration to say that 50% of your Mass Effect experience was spent role playing.
That was not the case with Mass Effect 2. Players were forced down a more linear path via a less complicated resource system, the Loyalty missions, and a reduced amount of quest generating NPCs and non-plot related planets to explore. This was not universally well received, and there has been enormous clamor for BioWare to buff the RPG aspects up in Mass Effect 3. BioWare insists they have done so, and while won’t see the return of constantly managing resources, it appears that Mass Effect 3 will split the difference between the RPG elements of ME1 and ME2.
Yes, probing is back. Perhaps the most frustrating of Mass Effect 2′s faux RPG elements, it at least had the benefit of utility. You need resources for upgrades, fuel and character improvements after all. Supposedly, BioWare has improved the tedium of probing considerably, but we’ll believe it when we see it. While probing Uranus.
Mass Effect 3 features a more variable level-up system than was seen in Mass Effect 2. Gone is the choice between one or two specialization options; in its place, players now have a binary choice for each of the player’s individual upgradable abilities. For instance, Biotic Warp offers players a duration upgrade and a damage upgrade, and choosing either path opens a vastly different series of further upgrades making each character you play fairly distinct. This system is almost as robust as the one featured in Mass Effect and looks to satisfy at least a few disaffected RPG heads.
In Mass Effect, players were able to customize their weapons by adding barrel and weapons upgrades to each gun. The problem is that you collected so many upgrade options that managing them became tedious. That system was scrapped entirely in Mass Effect 2, but it wasn’t replaced with anything, another source of player complaint. In Mass Effect 3, BioWare has responded to player feedback with the addition of modding stations. Whenever you run into a station, you’ll be able to change numerous aspects of a given weapon, including the barrel and scope, as well as apply new weapon mods and ammo types. These changes will alter a weapon’s stats, giving players new bonuses and penalties every time they play.
Looting in Mass Effect 2 was the precise opposite of Mass Effect. In Mass Effect, it seemed that every other room had at least 2 crates in which you’d find guns, upgrades and armor. As the resource management system was largely removed from Mass Effect 2, looting ,pst;y gained you credits and ammo. Based on the demo, Mass Effect 3 appears to have retained that system. Some looting will occur, but expect to find mostly money. Personally, this doesn’t bother us, as we’d rather not see the return of frustrating micromanagement.
Mass Effect’s character creation has long had serious flaws. The tools given to players often lead to ridiculously ugly Shepards. Buggy eyes, soft chins, horrible ears and an ugly, ugly complexion are just the tamest issues. In Mass Effect 2, the system got a slight tweak, but otherwise was the same experience. In Mass Effect 3, players will now be able to fully customize their imported character without having to start over from scratch, which will give them access to new makeup, haircuts and facial features. Just the thing for making sure your Shep goes into battle in only the latest galactic fashions.