The final installment is finally surfacing. Here is where we find out if saving or melting the Rachni Queen is going to save our bacon, was destroying/saving the collector base a good idea in the end and if is the council finally going to believe us. It truly all does come to a end with the final ending being measured by all your choices from the predecessors as well as your actions in the last.
Mass Effect has really set the trend when it came to story and choices. They created an iconic character whose story seamless transitions from game to game over the five years of our lives. A combination of countless of choices some tough and some subtle from sequel to sequel painting a unique picture for each player and a strong sense of ownership.
No matter what you’ve done before shit hits the fan in Mass Effect 3. If you played the Arrival DLC on ME 2 you’ll understand how the game starts out. You are on trial on Earth for you actions in a very dramatic mission and it just so happens that when the Reapers decide to attack. They strike with righteous fury and Shepard start off with getting off Earth and go into survival mode with your primary objective is to get reinforcements to beat what is and still is a unbeatable foe. You need to unite all the species against the Reapers all the while trying to figure how to defeat an enemy that annihilated countless species beforehand.
When you go to recruit the other species of the galaxy you’ll have to deal with their monumental problems they are having. Casey Hudson(Executive Producer) has assured us it won’t be just a quests to get a species on your side it’s a bit more complicated than that. Some of the issues are obvious for the people who have been following ME such as the Salarians are in deep in a controversy over the Genophage, the Quarians are trying to take back their home planet from their creations the Geth. A lot of other species leave speculation to open ended. Though some are pretty easy to figure others haven’t been fully fleshed out yet such as the Asari and Turians and hopefully they do something outstanding with the species we really haven’t gotten to know yet. Whatever it is you have to assist them to gain their support in fighting impending doom.
Feeling that they hit the sweet spot with ME 2 in terms of combat they seek to improve upon it for the last installment. With Shadow Broker setting the bar for action combat will be a lot faster this time around. There will be more interactions with your surroundings. A piece of a building your fighting may fall apart and alter your course, you’ll climb to higher ground to get the drop on an enemy. Movement plays a bigger role. Shepard gets some new moves, he/she will be able to roll, jump small gaps, perform swat turns and dive into cover. Cover is also getting a lot of work so it’s a lot smoother going in and out as well as transitioning between and its getting its own button and not . All of these improvements would be meaningless if the A.I functioned the same way it did in the previous games where they mostly took cover and only ever manage to pop up and take some shoots at you. The A.I. and enemy types have been tweaked. You’ll see very bulky equipped personal who will try to rush you while others provide covering fire as they approach. They have learned the art of flanking and will adapt to how you are combating them. Upping the ante they will be tactical shooting implemented in the game. Going beyond head shots, certain enemies will be strong and vulnerable in various areas of the body. The Atlas a Cerberus mech, you can shoot the glass display where the solider piloting it resides. Shoot that and take out the pilot along with the mech or you can take out the mech by other means but the pilot will eject and then you’ll have the deal with him. Overall they want the combat to be more challenging with gameplay and not by artificial means.
With all the fancy new mechanics with combat you’ll need some tools to help you out. If you remember the transition from Mass Effect 1 to 2, you’ll recall they did a lot of streamlining of some of the RPG elements. Inventory was reduced to a load out, you had select pieces of armor to choose from and skills progressed in a very linear fashion. They’re making a more robust system this time around though not as complex as it was in the original game. You’ll have more choices to make as you upgrade a skill instead of picking a final functionality at the end. Weapon upgrade will be coming back as you’ll be able to upgrade certain parts of the weapon for example the barrels, scopes and materials. As you customize the weapon you’ll get a sense of ownership because when you upgrade it will change the appearance of the weapon.
The biggest question from all the fanboys and girls was what squad mates will return. We do know from interviews that all of the companions in the previous Mass Effects will make a return in some form or another. We know so far as of this writing that Ashley/Kaiden, Tali, and Liara will be making a return as a full time squad mate. All surviving companions will make a return in some way or another. We do know they are focusing on a smaller team this time around to build a more intimate relationship leaving the returning characters to play a major role in some of the problem that you need to tackle giving them there cameo as well as still play a important part. Some characters are being slightly redesigned and for an example Derek Watts(Art Director states in Xbox World 360 magazine that Jack(Subject Zero) “Maybe she’s softened up a bit. You can only stay punk rock for so long, you know. Even Johnny Rotten eventually goes, ‘I’ve got to do something different.’ She’d get tired of walking around completely naked and she’d probably grow her hair out, but she’s still Jack and still kind of punk – shaved at the sides with a pony tail at the back.” Romances being a Bioware staple return. If you had a love affair during ME 2 you’ll hear about from you love interest from ME 1. Did you wish for more same sex romances, Casey Hudson confirmed that there will be more robust options in that area not quite sure yet if it will be from existing squad members or we’ll receive a few new squad mates to choose from.
As you progress there will be multiple ways in dealing with the Reapers. Whether some will be the right way or the wrong way we don’t know but it will be very interesting the impact of these “solutions” will have in the ending of the game. Will you have to sacrifice a species, a portion of the know galaxy or perhaps self-sacrifice. No matter what Bioware is really throwing the gauntlet down to make the Mass Effect 3 the best it could be. Sadly it won’t be until 2012 before we can’t decide the fate of the galaxy.