Monday, 13 February 2012

Mass Effect 3 - Early Demo Access

Last night I was lucky enough to win a code to access the Mass Effect 3 demo early ( Facebook app here). The demo features both single player and multi-player, although the multi-player servers do not go live until Tuesday 14th.

So what you are left with is the single player experience. You can craft and create your character before jumping into the action or choosing to role play and get the full narrative and action experience. The single player opens with what will probably be the opening sequence of the final game. Mass Effect 2 had an explosive opening with Normandy under attack and Shepard apparently dying in order to save his crew. The opening of Mass Effect 3 makes that opening look as exciting as a afternoon of Bingo with your Nan.

Shepard and Admiral Anderson are forced to fight their way through a full on Reaper invasion of Earth to rendezvous with the Normandy. These opening 20 minutes are some of the most action packed and cinematic sequences yet to be seem in the series yet. This is it... this is what we have been waiting for.

The graphics have been overhauled again and look spectacular. The characters are brilliant and wonderfully animated. Once again this serves to just drag you more into the game world and to start evoking emotion in the player. Particularly in one section which sees you try to rescue a child trapped in the chaos. Your efforts end up  in vain and it really strikes a chord with you.

Bioware's trump card in all of this is the use of Kinect. They have focused on the voice recognition side of Kinect's many talents and have stumbled onto something quite special. Now shouting out commands to team mates isn't a new thing. In Mass Effect 3 though you can speak your dialogue actions. This also immerses you more in the world and the characters. Saying your decisions out loud seems to bear more weight.

The second part of the demo, focuses on a mission later in the game and sees Shepard reunited with Wrex, Garrus and Liara in a daring raid to secure the last female Krogan from a Salarian laboratory. Cerberus does not want this and have sent in heavy shock troops to stop you. This section gives you a chance to test out the combat and things have improved again from the previous games. Not that it needed much improvement.

The one thing a demo is meant to do is get people interested in purchasing the full game. From the single player side alone this demo is going to grab people by the neck and force them into buying the game at gunpoint. It is incredible and in its limited form as a demo it is clear that we are looking at Game of the Year 2012.

And the multi-player has not even gone live yet.

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