Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3: Differences and Similarities
Each game in the Mass Effect series has been a big change from its predecessor. When Mass Effect 2 showed up on the scene, it made massive alterations from the original, streamlining combat, removing many of Mass Effect‘s role-playing elements, and basically presenting a sleeker game experience in a lot of ways.
Mass Effect 3 is poised to hit shelves and digital downloads on March 6, and when that happens, the series will yet again undergo some pretty sweeping changes in the way they play and feel. BioWare recently released a demo for Mass Effect 3 that shows off a few of these changes, and we’ve heard quite a bit of what to expect from the game from its creators. So here, in essence, is everything we know about Mass Effect 3 to prepare Mass Effect 2 players for the next installment: what’s going to be different, and what’s going to be the same.
Don’t expect ME3 to be the jump that ME2 was compared to Mass Effect. The streamlining that BioWare did between the first two installments of the series, making it rely much more heavily on run-and-gun action and its cover system than on searching for RPG loot, is still the direction overall in which the series is moving. But where ME2 was a big step in that forward direction, ME3 is a smaller one — refining the elements set out in ME2, paring a few of them back, and overall, attempting to make that direction work better than it did last time round. Still, expect to see a lot that’s the same.
Series Mainstays: Dialog, Interrupts, Choices
It goes without saying that the essential backbone of the Mass Effect experience is its morality-based conversation system, and players will know going in that making tough ethical choices in dialog will still play a major role. The recently released Mass Effect 3 demo actually downplayed this element quite a bit, presenting players with choices that lacked consequences (both “Paragon” and “Renegade” conversation choices at the few stages when they were available resulted in the same action), but personally, I believe that was a design choice specifically for the demo. In essence, BioWare didn’t want to blow its wad on the demo in even the smallest of ways — which resulted in a pretty weak demo, actually. But the overall assumption is that the dialog system will be as robust as ever.
We also expect the return of Mass Effect 2′s conversation “interrupts,” or quick moments when the player has a chance to hit a button to make Shepard take “a bold step,” such as blasting a mouthy character in the face or shoving someone out of the way of danger. Those choices are always tied to either Paragon or Renegade choices.