It's The Little Things That Matter In Mass Effect 3

The Earth is burning. Makind stands on the brink of extinction. And all I can think about is how pretty I'm going to make my future space gun look. And how much I like an old friend's new haircut.

The Mass Effect 3 demo I caught at Gamescom came in two distinct parts, one a combat section showing the game's more balls-to-the-wall features, the other a slightly less balls-to-the-wall section setting up the game's story.

First up, the combat. The floaty, over-the-shoulder basics of the last two games remain unchanged, but the whole thing looked a little more involved. Players taking cover can now do a few extra things like roll out, and some melee kills come courtesy of a swish cinematic kill where Shepard whips out his/her omniblade and stabs an enemy in the heart.

Behind the scenes, a few additions to the gunplay and team command I saw were a more nuanced upgrade system (you can now level up individual traits and specific ammo types rather than general fields) and a workbench, upon which you can customise your weapons with new parts, tweak their stats and even change their appearance.

During this combat sequence, fighting Cerberus on an alien planet, Shepard kills a bunch of guys, encounters a mech (which if you can kill just the driver you can take command of) and shows off the game's increased verticality, with more stages now spanning different levels and including more things like ladders and long drops. Not that they made a great difference to the action, but they do help in breaking up the feeling that the game is an endless parade of flat corridors.

The other stage I saw was the game's first, on an Earth in the midst of the Reaper invasion. And while all the explosions and collapsing buildings and sombre orchestral pieces were just fine, at the end you get a look at Ashley, your old Space Nazi friend from the first Mass Effect.

Her new look has been shown before, but this was the first time I got a real good look at her. She seems much nicer now. Not that you really speak to her, but her makeoever, which includes a dramatically more feminine haircut, makes her seem friendlier. More pleasant. At least towards humans (disclaimer: she may still hate aliens).

From these two stages, it was nice to see that despite being lumbered with the shell of a game that's nearly four years old, enough additions and tweaks have been made to make the game interesting on a level beyond just wanting to see how everything pans out in the end.


Comments

    Ashley wasn't a space Nazi. :P

      Agreed. It annoys me greatly when people make her out to be some kind of insane nazi bent on galactic genocide.

      Also, 'sexing' her character up seems like they're re-writing her to me. But hey, apparently that's all they need to do to make guys like plunkett happy to have her back.

      Alright fine! Space-White-Supremacist!

        haha, yeah, doesn't help...

        For me, my shepard is the 'lets-all-be-friends-and-hug-it-out' nice guy and it just makes a lot of sense that he'd want to be backed up by someone like Ashley who is cynical and slow to trust anyone and assumes everyone is just trying to screw us over all the time. At least that'd be the smart thing to do, in my opinion.

        She's like the Riker to my Picard ;-P

        and as such I'd rather she retain all amounts of kick-ass and is in no dire need of 'sexing-up'

    I for one am looking forward to my catfight between Ashley and Miranda as they vie for my affections.

      Same here. Though I was just planning on making them fight to death.

    Did anyone actually LISTEN when they talked to Ashley? At worst she is a little distrustful of aliens and has pretty good reasons for it. I am so tired of this "OMG sooooo racist!" BS and she wasn't even one of my favourite squad members.

    Everyone knows Tali is where its at.

    If there isn't a Tali romance, fans will be hit.

      +1

      Tali!!! But yeah, no face revealing please...
      maybe show her lower face like her mouth when she talks.... now that's sexy...

        I think there's room for both options, maybe renegade option lets you see her face paragon doesn't. For a game all about choices I think its only fair if they add this.

    Dammit, I liked Ash as she was. Despite the philosophical weirditude.

    Xenophobic,right wing and religious... Last time I saw Ashley was when I left her with the bomb.

      Ash with glasses = Sarah Palin!

    Is that cerberus trooper holding a nightstick?

    LUKE:

    Makind?
    Ma'kind is burnin'! Ma'kind is burnin'!
    YEE-HAW!

      I think your local chemist might have a cream to treat that.

    I actually always leave kaidan to burn in atomic hell. I prefer all chick teams. On my most recent playthrough of ME2, I actually tried to sleep with morinth. Big mistake.

      You sure Mass Effect is the right game for you? Maybe you should try LovePlus.

    Despite what the people defending Ashley as a non-racist say, she was one of those people who starts sentences with things like "I'm not a racist, but...".
    I like Ash, she was a soldier right down to the brainwashed against the myriad potential enemies of Earth and Humanity, bit.
    If the US managed to have space soldiers, Ashley has the personality I'd expect from one of them. Religious, more intelligent than she usually appears (because most of the things she says sound a little slow and divorced from reality), somewhat bigoted, and firm in her belief that while aliens aren't necessarily evil, the Human race would be more successful without them.

    Ashley has a legitimate, personal - and pretty unique - reason for not liking aliens very much. If you stick with her, there's a scene on the Citadel of a political protest by a group of genuinely racist, xenophobic humans. She calls them out on it and makes it pretty clear they are NOT her cup of tea.

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