This Man Has Played Through Mass Effect 3, And He Likes It A Lot

I talked to a guy named Ray a couple of weeks ago. He was with his buddy Greg. Ray said he had played BioWare's Mass Effect 3 end to end already.

I believe him.

He told me what it was like to play through the whole thing. Ray is, I should note, really into BioWare games.

Ray played through the game as a male version of the series' protagonist, Commander Shepard.

He played the previous Mass Effect through a couple of times, as a male Shepard and as a female Shepard.

The first Mass Effect, he said, felt like it leaned toward being a role-playing game. "The second one was aimed more at the action or shooter side. This one is both. Both sides have been amped up really well

Decisions matter in the new one, he told me. Didn't they matter in the other ones, too, I asked?

"It's like Decision-making with a capital D," Ray said. "Every time there was a big decision — when something bad happens and or good — something impactful happens with consequence when you make a decision There's lots of them through the game, they all feel like, ‘Yeah that was appropriate, but holy shit! That was expected, but boy, that was hard. I'd still make the same decision, but boy that was interesting. That was compelling.' There are kinds of moments in the game that I think people will talk about years from now. It's a significant game in that respect."

That was in the previous games, but it's been more amped up, Ray said.

Look, Ray is pumped for this game. He just rattles off all these things he likes about it:

"A lot of the [series'] elements have been refined: the progression system, having a weapon bench so you can tinker with your weapon and encode them, it's really fun. It's cool. The mining experience… using it to find materials that are required for quests. It links together really well. The multiplayer, the way it's integrated in and the seamless way it helps amp up your galactic readiness and gives you more resources to build your fleet, your alliance against the Reapers. They're very thoughtful the way they're apportioned and is building on a foundation from ME 1. I think it's really taking the best of what we've seen and added significant elements of innovation too.""

I'd played a little bit of Mass Effect 3 myself. Some multiplayer and a mission on Mars in singleplayer, both at events set up for members of the media like me.

Ray is not a member of the media. By having played through the whole new game has seen a whole lot more of it than me. So I asked him if the side stuff really was better. It always seemed like the weak part if these games. The mining and exploration? Kinda mindless and sometimes tedious, no?

Ray said that everything I mentioned has been addressed in this game.

"The exploration in this game is really cool," Ray assured me. "The system involves a Reaper threat. The Reapers are on the edge of the system. By scanning the worlds, the Reapers actually get engaged more and more. You have to scan the planets to find key objectives, to find away-team missions, to find resources that actually solve RPG quests back on different planets. You have to bring things back to a planet and talk to people and they'll be like, 'Oh, cool, I'll help you now' and that kind of thing. If you scan more the Reapers start coming in and you have to evade the Reapers in the system by literally having to drive the ship around. It's actually kind of fun.

"There's no limit on scans now. There's no limit on probes. That's not a constraint anymore."

Ray said that BioWare has a core value of "humility," of listening to fan feedback, including complaints about mini-games, so of course they were improved.

Greg chimed in to speak up for Mass Effect 2's less awesome planet-scanning mini-game. "I actually liked that, but I'm kind of a freak...I found it strangely soothing." (Semi-disclosure: Greg has been playing The Old Republic. That's his game these days.)

I still don't get this Galactic Readiness thing, but Ray does. It's a meta-game system that links single-player and multiplayer into the larger context of a galactic war. Earning readiness points through either element of the game improves the chances of getting the game's best ending.

Ray was the first person I'd spoken to who could articulate how this thing plays out for a gamer. "It shows the state of the galaxy, what resources you've got at this point, which regions are controlled and which ones aren't. It gives you a sense of where to go. You can go back and talk to the admiral and get some more feedback. ‘How are the Krogan feeling?' ‘OK, I've got to spend a little more time on them.' ‘Are Cerberus allies?' 'I gotta get some more of those.' I started really getting engaged by the moment-to-moment anticipation, but the decisions would also weigh on me after the fact. For me, it really struck me that, as great as Mass Effect has been to this point — and we're very proud of it — I think this is the best of the franchise. And I think it's a game people will talk about afterwards in a very fond way for years to come."

Did you catch what he said there, readers?

"We're very proud of it."

Belated spoiler: Yes, Ray is Ray Muzyka and Greg is Greg Zeschuk, co-founders of BioWare. Yes, developers usually rave about their own work. But, hey, at least Ray has played the game. He knows what it's got in ways that we don't.

He's beaming about this one. It'll be out on March 6.


    Wait there's still planet scanning? Jesus Christ! In this its sounds like they think the problem was a limit on probes and what the reward was. The problem is, the process of scanning was incredibly tedious.

    I just want this game released! Tired of every 2nd article being ME3 related! Lol

    "Yes, Ray is Ray Muzyka and Greg is Greg Zeschuk, co-founders of BioWare. Yes, developers usually rave about their own work. But, hey, at least Ray has played the game. He knows what it’s got in ways that we don’t."

    Yeah. Right. I think I'll wait for someone not relying on my money to tell me how great the game is.

    Taking the word of a Biodrone on a Bioware game.. Of course he's going to 'love' it.

    Hahhaahaha the co founders or Bioware like their game? Seriously? I'm shocked! Thank goodness for this article!

    I don't understand why people need to doubt this game? Have you played the demo? It is amazing.. The single player was top notch slight improvements across the board. But what surprised me the most was how fun and engaging the multiplayer was. I've completely ignored my BF3 for a week now playing multiplayer demo nonstop. Although there are a few bugs, which can be easily overlooked considering it is a beta. The game is everything I've ever wanted to be. Can't wait.

      The multiplayer is definately a ton of fun, its like a GOW Horde mode that doesn't suck my only issue is that it can be alittle to difficult unless you have stasis silver and gold is a pain in the ass.

      In my case its because I have no interest in an any kind of multiplayer, and ME1 and ME2 were outstanding single player experiences. I'm hoping ME3 lives up to that standard, but I suspect the whole galaxy ready indicator thing is basically a choice between mutliplayer or mundane single player tasks like in ME2.

      i can't trust them until i see it after what they did with ME2.

      Your opinion. I thought the demo was absolutely horrible, every few minutes introduced another aspect of the game I thought was horrible, when I could even see it, that frame rate was horrendous, it maxed out at about 20 fps.

    am i the only one who picked up on the whole "is cerberus allies" part? Does that mean at some point in the story cerberus stops trying to kill you and becomes your ally?

    Great article. Read the ign interview with Greg and Ray if you want to see how tediously an article based on a media circus back to back to back interviews can be. The pr stooges bring a new reporter in every 10 minutes, from the bbc or ign or el pais or gq and the movie star or game dev just has to yammer on for 10 hours straight in a hotel room.

    This article totally bypassed the usual bs and had a surprise ending. Trope inverted . Honestly guys, this is quality blogging and why game informer is the only magazine I feel the need to pay money for.

    Some people, so negative. Bioware release a less than top-tier title (DA2) and starts developing for a wider target audience (An intelligent decision, in these turbulent times) and people start screaming.

    So they've made the mining more tedious by making you have to dodge reapers while doing it...

    ...and the sinking feeling hits a new low

    I don't like the fact that multiplayer affects singleplayer, fucking stupid idea. I wished SW:ToR wasn't an MMO either, just pisses me off. Mass Effect has always been an RPG, I play Mass Effect for singleplayer, sure multiplayer isn't a bad idea, but I don't like how it's almost compulsory to get the best ending.

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