Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3: Differences and Similarities

The Differences

We don’t know everything you can expect to have been changed between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, but we can make some educated guesses based on what we’ve seen so far, what Casey Hudson and the other developers at BioWare have said and what made its way into the demo. Keep in mind that many of these remain or best guesses, but here’s what newness we expect to show up in Mass Effect 3.

Galaxy at War and Multiplayer

Obviously the biggest change to Mass Effect 3 is its additional multiplayer mode. Things get a bit trippy here: the demo we saw of the mode that was released last week suggested a Horde mode style title in which four players battle waves of enemies and occasionally complete objectives while racing the clock. However, BioWare has alluded to a more story-driven experience, in which players take on missions more akin to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3′s Spec Ops missions. We haven’t seen those in action yet.

That said, we do know that much of the options you get in single-player mode will make their way in to multiplayer to round out the experience, like adjustable loadouts. We also know players will get to earn and unlock various character classes and alien races.

We also know that all that multiplayer action, along with tie-in mobile apps on Apple’s iOS platform and Google’s Android, will work together in a system called Galaxy at War. Points earned in doing stuff in Galaxy at War will be applied to players’ main Shepard storylines; the Galaxy at War bit is meant to portray what everybody else is doing to prepare for the imminent Reaper invasion while Shepard is off doing whatever Shepard does. The more points you earn in Galaxy at War, the more prepared the galaxy is to be at war, which translates into a more successful stand against the Reapers in the end game, as we understand it.

Weapons Modding

There was some weapons modding to be done back in Mass Effect, but the system was pretty summarily scrapped by the time ME2 rolled around. But players were upset by the scaling back of RPG elements in the second installment of the series, which led to BioWare listening to feedback and working a few of those elements back in. The most robust, it seems, is a new weapon modding system, which will give players a whole lot of freedom to customize their loadouts.

Players will be able to change up a whole lot of things about their guns at specific modding stations available throughout the game. You’ll be able to change the barrel, scope, “weapon mod” and ammo type for each gun you carry, altering its stats and infusing it with different bonuses. It also appeared in the demo that players will no longer be limited to class-specific weapons; we’re not sure if the weapon system will be more like Mass Effect, in which players could use non-class weapons but at a significant disadvantage.

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5 Comments on Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3: Differences and Similarities


On February 22, 2012 at 7:39 am

Are you serious?

Play ME2 after playing ME3 and see how much better and more fluid ME3 is. It’s like the leap from ME1 to ME2.


On February 22, 2012 at 8:40 am

I dont know, Im a Mass Effect fan but ME3 seems like it is leaning on the action side a whole lot more than the RPG side. The series is far from where it started in ME1. Don’t get me wrong, alot of great changes have been made to the series since the first one, but bioware seems to want to focus more on the combat and less on the exploration, kinda like what they did with dragon age 1 to dragon age 2. The combat in ME3 is good, based off the demo, but its not as good as other 3rd person shooters such as uncharted or gears of war. Thats why I don’t understand why there focusing alot of attention on the combat instead of the rpg elements bioware is known to be good for. But, I can’t judge it yet until I play the full game. I just hope its a long, deep experience instead of just an action oriented game that is over relatively fast.

Phil Hornshaw

On February 22, 2012 at 9:40 am


Combat has been greatly cleaned up, but the underlying mechanics are still the same BioWare rebuilt for ME2. I played the two back-to-back immediately before writing this article.


On February 22, 2012 at 11:13 am

I knew it to be honest… there’s a pattern there:

ME was a heavy RPG with shooter elements, ME2 was a heavy shooter with RPG elements, and ME3 tries to balance both based on feedback.

Dragon Age was a heavy RPG with some action elements, DA2 was heavy on action elements with some RPG, DA3……

trial and error is Biowares latest method I guess.


On February 23, 2012 at 4:14 am

I hope that it has breath taking opening scene like ME2. ( Shepherd walk pass the ship that roof is wide open, scrap float pass, and everything went quiet just only shepherd breathing).