At this point it's a fair bet that Mass Effect 3 fans are already counting down the hours until the playable demo is released on Tuesday, February 14. But in the spirit of roses and whispers of sweet Renegade Points, BioWare has released a new Facebook game that will provide Xbox 360 owners with a download code ahead of schedule. That's provided they don't need a Normandy model ship for their Xbox Live Avatar, and that they are able to complete the test at all.
This announcement isn't the first time that Mass Effect 3 has been combined with the powers of Facebook , as serious fans are already likely signed up for the ME3: Mission Command Facebook app. That program had initially held early access to the demo as a potential prize, but for whatever reason the developers have decided to open the floodgates for anyone able to pass their cryptic test.
The Facebook app itself grants players three attempts at clicking four icons in a specific order. Failure results in being locked out from more attempts for two hours, while success grants the user either a download code for Xbox Live, or a free Avatar item. Exactly why this test has only been released for Xbox 360 owners is unclear, but hopefully the other platforms will have a similar chance soon. While having access to this test may be good news for Xbox 360 owners, that doesn't mean gaining access will be immediate, since we have yet to distinguish any sort of strategy to the test other than dumb luck.
If the demo itself is anything like the sections of the game we played at Comic-Con, then fans need no further reason to test the game out early. That doesn't mean BioWare and EA aren't doing everything in their power to get even casual fans to download the demo sooner rather than later. The DLC cross-promotion with Kingdoms of Amalur won't just earn Amalur players some N7-inspired gear and weaponry, but will also unlock the Reckoner Armor for Shepard in ME3 - which already looks fantastic in action.
The demo is practically a must for players to grasp just how many changes have been introduced with the third installment of the Mass Effect series, from improved combat and movement to the increasingly impressive visuals of the new game engine. And considering the fact that some of the the opponents glimpsed in the new enemy type trailers seem to appear in the opening stages of the game, those who download the demo may get more than they bargain for.
If the cooperative multiplayer of ME3 is what you're most excited for, then you'll want to tell your friends to start attempting the Facebook test immediately. Since even Xbox Live Silver subscribers will be receiving a Gold Trial subscription upon downloading the demo in order to see all the features the multiplayer has to offer.
The demo releases on all platforms on February 14, but see if your powers of decryption can let you cut the line with the Facebook App now.
[Update: Sadly it seems that BioWare has run out of download codes. Looks like Valentine's Day will have to do for those unlucky enough to crack that code.]
Mass Effect 3 will be released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 6, 2012.
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