Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3: Differences and Similarities
Cover and Combat Systems
Though it has been greatly refined for Mass Effect 3 and will factor into the “differences” in the two games, if you played Mass Effect 2, you know what to expect from ME3′s combat system. Players will be expected to hit the deck and hide behind objects, blasting enemies while keeping their heads down. Leaving cover is still an incredibly inadvisable danger with enemies tending to realign their sites on your noggin the second you poke it up, so keeping clear of fire is the best (and only) way to ensure your survival, kinetic barriers or no.
Players also will deploy their various “powers” in the same way as last time, mapping them to specific buttons. All biotic and tech powers used this way will have a global cool-down for both Shepard and his squadmates. And speaking of cool-downs, health will also regenerate over time as in Mass Effect 2.
Speaking of squadmates, the tried-and-true squad commands will also be back for players, although now squadmates have a much greater tendency to stay back and out of your line of fire (rather than running directly into your crosshairs and then standing entranced, as in Mass Effect 2). They’ll also suggest flanking maneuvers more often, apparently.
(Some of the) Looting
Mass Effect 2′s looting got a serious downgrade as compared to Mass Effect. Players found themselves gravitating toward objects marked with hotspots in ME2, which they would interact with by hitting a button only to see Shepard unfurl the ubiquitous omni-tool, wave it around and receive credits. That is…well, mostly the same, unfortunately. Looting isn’t quite as minimal or as uninteresting as it was in ME2, but you can still expect to skip exploration almost altogether and not feel like you missed too much.
Melee Combat (or Lack Thereof)
It’s worth noting that, while there has been much made of the new “omni-blade,” the laser sword-like attachment to Shepard’s holographic computer tool, in Mass Effect 3, the melee portion of combat remains pretty well unchanged from Mass Effect 2. Players now have the ability to commit what is basically a one-hit kill or throw on a single enemy by holding down the melee button — which is effective — but melee remains a sort of quick slap when executed as a tap of the button.
Mass Effect 2′s melee system was more tacked-on afterthought than serious alternative to shooting, and while you can now sneak up on people and rip them apart ruthlessly, it remains a not-so-viable system in Mass Effect 3, as shown in the demo.