The Most Thrilling Moments Of Mass Effect 3's E3 2011 Presentation

If you like Mass Effect for its blockbuster moments - the explosions, the futuristic set pieces involving giant alien machines, narrow escapes - this trailer is for you. It represents the Mass Effect 3 moments that might draw in the people who don't play role-playing games.

During my 30 minute long demonstration of Mass Effect 3 at E3 2011, I saw some of the quieter moments. I saw all of the above too: Shepard stabbing Cerberus soldiers with his holographic Omniblade melee weapon; Shepard taking control of an Atlas, the giant bipedal mech that will surely make some action sequences more exciting; Shepard battling hordes of Reapers as they invade Earth.

I also saw some of the less trailer-suited moments. On Earth, I saw Shepard running through an embattled futuristic city being decimated by those colossal Reaper dropships. Amidst the chaos, Shepard spotted a young boy hiding in air duct from Reapers.

"Let me help you.../Get out of there!" were Shepard's dialogue options, but regardless of the choice it was a touching moment that couldn't be resolved with a gun fight. The outcome of that interaction was about as heartbreaking as a Mass Effect story beat gets, so I won't spoil what becomes of Shepard and the boy.

Before that, I saw plenty of the third-person shooting that makes Mass Effect 3 feel even more combat and action-heavy than the last game. The demo started with Shepard fighting Reapers, engaging in an on-rails turret sequence, battling a massive robotic beast. Shepard calls in an orbital strike on the metal monstrosity that chases him in a nail-biting escape sequence. Explosions and violence abound.

I saw a more personal combat moment, with Shepard alternating between run-and-gun combat and cover-based stealth attacks. This was conflict on a smaller scale, with BioWare's Casey Hudson promising that a player's approach to that third-person combat can be tailored to their tastes.

Hudson showed us morsels of story, with Shepard caught between two warring factions on a rescue mission. He issued commands to squadmates Garrus and Liara, briefly showed us new Power uses and a new hand grenade - that's in the trailer too! - that Hudson says expands the combat experience and the role-playing aspects of this Mass Effect.

And we saw a customisation Bench at which we could upgrade and modify Shepard's weapons through the game. Those mods will be collected and swapped in to suit a player's particular style, adding new layers to how every player's Shepard fights.

Still, it was the big set pieces that were memorable, perhaps the more enticing parts of Mass Effect 3 that will bring new fans to the series this late in the game. We wrapped with the most exciting one, with Commander Shepard on Earth, attempting to escape Earth while Reapers rained down upon the planet's surface, toppling buildings and laying waste to humanity.

Admiral Anderson and Shepard ran for the Normandy, aiding evacuees and battling the Reaper Cannibals you'll see, eyes a-glowing, in the trailer above. Shepard and Anderson sprint to their escape, sliding over cover, narrowly avoiding Reaper fire. Shepard makes it to the Normandy, his crew waiting for his arrival. Anderson, however, says behind, sending Shepard to rally forces from "every species" to bring every fleet to defeat the Reaper invasion, just after reinstating his command.

It was a captivating moment, a cliffhanger of a presentation, more exciting for me than sci-fi rock music and explosive storytelling. Fortunately, it appears Mass Effect 3 has both of what draws us into its universe.

We'll revisit it next year, when Mass Effect 3 comes to the PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012.


Comments

    Oh! Maybe Tali and Shepard can adopt that little boy??

      No, it's another classic example of a Bioware non-choice. The kid dies whatever you choose. They showed it during the closed press demo in a sequence after Shepard boards the Normandy to escape. Read the IGN article "Mass Effect 3 Made Me Cry" for a description.

        He's "Commander Shephard" not God. You don't get to make all the choices in life. Are you really complaining that one of the deepest choice featuring RPG's is crap because you can think of one instance when you didn't get to choose?

          You missed the point entirely. Bioware games are chock full of illusionary choices - the "choices" you are presented with result in the same outcome regardless.

            And yet the game still has more consequences for choices than the majority of games in the RPG genre. You're complaining about nothing. Obviously not every single choice would have a consequence. Take your negativity elsewhere.

    I really hope that me keeping that "species" alive in ME1 on Noveria dosen't come back to bite me on the ass like it is rumoured to. Although i do like the idea that even paragon choices can come back and have negative consequences.

      Personally, I hope it does.

      Extra Paragon quest, FTW!

      But on Ilium that chick tells you that the "species" is wanting to help you against the reapers...

        Yeah, I think that species has good intentions.

      The thought that players chose the cookie cutter Paragon option to save the Rachni, being a bad choice is amazing.

      That's the problem I have with BioWare, most of their renegade/paragon options are so predictable with very little consequence (besides saving that Asari Merc in ME2).

      Every now and then, I want them to throw a curveball just to fuck with the genre-purists.

    "I saw plenty of the third-person shooting that makes Mass Effect 3 feel even more combat and action-heavy than the last game. The demo started with Shepard fighting Reapers, engaging in an on-rails turret sequence, battling a massive robotic beast."

    Craaaaaaaaap. Goddammit EA/Bioware!

      Don't this put you off - it's not the case. The EA live developer walkthrough showed off the weapon mods, armour for squadmates and a MASSIVE power evolution tree that is very adjustable most likely makes this more RPG then the first ME in most aspects.

      I wouldn't worry too much for the moment. These types of events they want to show off pretty explosions and action to suck people and media in. Watching a 20 min demonstration of two characters talking isn't really a good marketing strategy to the general public.

      The odd on the rail shooter won't kill the game. Hours upon hours of it will.

        I'm just waiting for Shepard to start doing slo-mo door breaches and quick time events.

        Then we'll know we're screwed.

    Shep survives boy dies?

      Yeah, he says he 'didn't want to spoil it' but there really aren't too many other options for a heartbreaking resolution to the story, are there?

        Shep reunites the boy with this family and they all live happily ever after on a farm. THEY LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER

        "Here let me help you" - Shep moves towards the boy who then gets squashed by falling debris or something.

        "Get out of there!" - Boy panicks and runs away just before debris falls but then they're cut off and Shep can't save him anyways, you have to leave with no idea whether he survived...

        Possible?

          See my comment above. The kid dies either way.

    I've seen this exact same trailer quite a few times on Kotaku already, and a bunch of other news sites (over the past few weeks).

    This post is a fail, tell us something new.

      Did you read the article?

    The new Omni-Blade thing really bugs me. As far as I was aware, the Omni-Tool glowy thing is just a hologram UI and the tool is basically a smartphone.

    Suddenly it becomes a solid, sharp object that he can use to kill people? If it's a physical object, how does it even fit inside the gauntlet?

    DAT MASS!

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