Mass Effect 3 will be hitting the shelves in a couple of weeks. Bioware’s epic space saga will end, bringing the story of Commander’s Shepard to a close. Will Shepard save the universe, or die trying? We’ll all have to wait until the game’s release before we can answer that question. Fear not Bioware have released a Mass Effect 3 demo that we can wet our appetites with until the game’s release.
Is Mass Effect 3 the gaming equivalent of the second coming, or have Bioware finally run out of steam? I’ve played and completed the single player demo several times so read on to find out what I thought of it all.
In order to download the demo you must have an Origin account. Origin is the Electronic Arts downloader, and it doesn’t take long to set one up. I was getting pretty good download speeds so after 45 minutes the 2GB demo was downloaded. I experienced a few issues with installing the game. The installation failed when it tried to install the DirectX components. I removed the entire game, re-installed, and still got the same problem. Now I know this wasn’t Bioware’s fault but it was frustrating. On the third attempt it worked, and I was in the game.
I hastily ran through the character creation options. I didn’t change any of her options, I wanted the default female Commander Shepard, after all I’d heard so much about her. There were the usual array of slider bars to tweak your character to be exactly how you want him or her to be. Once my look was created, I selected the background and class for her. I chose the soldier. What’s not to love about an attractive woman wielding heavy weaponry?
The demo doesn’t introduce you to a great deal of story-line. There’s an invasion, and after escaping to your own ship, Normandy you head off into the stars to gather the support of as many other races as you can to defeat this foe. We all know the storylines in Mass Effect 3 are good, and I’m glad that Bioware didn’t feel the need to inject too much into the demo.
Mass Effect 3 Gameplay Trailer
In a similar way to the way the Dragon Age II demo worked, you are first introduced to the tutorial introduction level where you learn the basic controls. Though I suspect that this is not at the very start of the game, as the story doesn’t connect in any way with how Mass Effect 2 ended or what I have heard about ME3. The second element of the demo is further on in the game and gives you two companions to work with; Grunt, a Krogan companion from Mass Effect 2 and Liara T’Soni an Asari companion from Mass Effect who was also a quest-giver in ME2. The purpose of this level is to escort a female Krogan out of a Salarian facility.
I’m pretty sure that you don’t want to read a huge long review of this, you’d much rather download it and jump straight in to play it and to be fair so would I. With that in mind these are the pro’s and cons of the demo.
- The opening level puts you right into the action. Building’s explode around you, alien vessels land and fire lasers. The demo drags you into the game, and holds you there.
- The demo is quite long. I spent about 30-45 minutes playing it.
- It looks much smoother and graphically superior, than any of it’s predecessors.
- You get to see the old gang again; Mordin, Grunt, Liara, Garrus, and Kaidan all appear.
- The combat is relatively unchanged from Mass Effect 2, so you can jump straight back in without having to learn the controls again.
- A multiplayer option is available, although I haven’t tried it yet.
- A few graphical glitches have crept into the demo. Characters spoke without moving their lips, and there was the occasional time when character’s eyes rolled back in their head leaving pupil-less eyeballs. Commander Shepard was never meant to be that creepy.
- There isn’t much selectable dialogue. If you wanted to experience the two different sides of Shepard, then you’ll be disappointed.
- The beginning part of the game is mostly cut sequences and the odd line of dialogue. If you’re keen to get playing you will need to press the escape key many times.
- You don’t get to see the inside of the ship, or the space exploration gameplay.
So is it worth it?
Of course it is, what a silly question. Why would you ask that? Oh you didn’t, I did, albeit rhetorically. Hmm anyway it is a very playable demo, and one that can be played over and over. Despite all the cons I listed, which to be fair are mostly down to me expecting too much from a demo. Mass Effect 3 is looking to be a darn fine game and if the demo is anything to go by it will deliver more of what we have loved in earlier Mass Effect games, with all the extra impact of a nuclear suppository.
Anyone who pre-orders Mass Effect 3 will get added in-game items, although these are likely to be low-level items that are soon outgrown. Don’t get the game because of those items, get it because it will be another storytelling epic from Bioware.
If you do want to download the demo, and let’s face it who wouldn’t? You can get it from the Bioware site here.
I’ll leave you with some more screen shots of the demo, enjoy.
Click on the image above for the slideshow.