Mass Effect 3 Demo Impressions: Cooperative Multiplayer, PC Version
The PC Version
What is included in the demo is at least some look at Mass Effect 3′s PC version, which will be available through Electronic Arts’ Origin platform on the same day as its console release. As one might expect, the PC version looks a fair deal better than its Xbox 360 counterpart, aiming is easier and more fluid, and the controls actually map quite well to the keyboard.
Where an Xbox or Playstation controller is limited by the number of buttons available, forcing players to enter those annoying menu wheels over and over and over again, the capability of playing with a keyboard means all your special powers are mapped to the number keys automatically. That’s some good thinking on BioWare’s part, and playing two of the three demos back-to-back, I actually preferred the PC version to the Xbox 360 version (despite my having been playing the ME series on Xbox since it was an exclusive when the first game was released).
But like most PC games that also drop on console, one can definitely feel the console influence on the PC version of Mass Effect 3. There are a few graphical options to be had, for example, but not many — players have a chance to turn on or off anti-aliasing and shadows, but that’s about it. And while the game does look better with a PC providing the power for its graphics, realistically, it doesn’t look that much better (although that could just be the sometimes unfortunate artistic choices made for the series, like overly heavy shadows and creepy face textures).
Played side-by-side, even a dedicated Mass Effect Xboxer like myself had to admit that the PC version controlled and felt just better in just about every respect, but it’s still worth noting that, at least as far as the demo is concerned, BioWare and EA haven’t gone out of their way to provide a lot of PC support for the game. Hopefully the full retail release will see more graphical options and other PC-centric tweaks. We’ll have to wait until March to find out.
Check out Ross Lincoln’s hands-on impressions with the single-player portion of the demo and his rundown of everything that’s new within it.