If you’re a fan of the Mass Effect franchise to this point, then it’s a safe bet that you’re eagerly awaiting any and all details concerning the plot and mechanics of Mass Effect 3. More and more information has been released as we move closer to the upcoming launch, and the latest reveals some confirmations of past rumors, as well as a few large tidbits that give a fairly clear view of what the team at BioWare has planned for the trilogy’s final chapter. Read on, but be aware that some aspects of the game may be spoiled if you haven’t been keeping up.

The BioWare Doctors have voiced their belief that Mass Effect 3 will bring a satisfying close to the current series, but the various problems that fans have had with the franchise to this point are more concerned with the moment to moment action than the overarching plot.

A host of game details and insights featured in this month’s edition of PSM3 have made their way onto NeoGAF, and contain plenty of points to get fans even more excited.

Fans dreams are confirmed to be coming true, with Shepard finally making his way onto Earth. Not to London, as Mass Effect 3‘s announcement trailer may have led some to believe, but to a mega city formed by the merging of Seattle, Washington with Vancouver, British Columbia. The words used to describe the metropolis speak for themselves: “curved, futuristic buildings bathe in beautiful light as the sea laps into the waterfront and docks.”

So for those hoping for a gritty and gloomy environment on Earth should be happy to hear that in the Mass Effect universe, humans are apparently doing okay. Unfortunately, the city is one of the places first attacked by the Reapers, so we shouldn’t expect it to remain as beautiful once they’re done with it.

Mass Effect 3 Story Earth

The latest screenshots of Cerberus operatives revealed that Shepard will also be setting foot on plenty of alien worlds. According to PSM3, players will be making their way across the galaxy to explore the Turian homeworld of Palaven, the Salarian homeworld (possibly Sur’Kesh), the Geth-occupied Quarian homeworld Rannoch, and a human mining base on Mars. So as expected, Shepard will be calling on the Salarians and Turians to defend their human counterparts.

Sadly, it seems at this point that players won’t be earning the loyalty of a cast army of Asari commandos, but instead venturing to a planet populated by the former minions of the Reapers. Crew member Tali made it clear that the Geth are not to be trifled with in the first two titles, and considering the fact that Shepard is making his way to the Geth stronghold with both Legion and Tali confirmed to be returning, players will want to make sure that they chose their sides in the dispute wisely in Mass Effect 2.

If there is one major theme being emphasized by the team at BioWare, it is the fact that they plan on making player choices through the past two games carry great significance in the events of ME3. The plot of Mass Effect 3 may be all-out war, but the decisions that players have made over the first two entries in Shepard’s epic will give the ability to shape the events in specific ways.

Mass Effect 3 Tali Confirmed

Aside from the truly troubling issues of the Geth’s rebellion against the Quarians, and the decision to either wipe out or reprogram the rogue Geth in Mass Effect 2, choices that may have seemed small could turn out to be serious influences in the third game. Remember the decision to wipe out or forgive the Rachni in Mass Effect? Well according to the new information, the decision players made may come back to “haunt” them in ME3. It’s hard to imagine that eliminating the potentially deadly race would be able to play a significant role, so there’s a good chance that those who chose mercy may have a higher price to pay in the end.

The technology of the series has come a long way since the first game, so it’s only right that the size and scope of the story be broadened to keep pace with the amount of content that can be delivered. The game’s executive producer Casey Hudson is promising big things for the plot of the game, which will bring some of the most dramatic moments in the universe, as well as smaller, personal moments that reveal more about the past and personality of Commander Shepard.

It will be nice to see some more time spent on fleshing out Shepard, since the backstory chosen by players in the first game amounted to very little in the end. The one side mission that brought Shepard face to face with a former squadmate struggling with desires for revenge and suicide still stands out as particularly unique, so any chance to see more of that is welcome.

Mass Effect 3 Story Shepard

Shepard has had an intense few years, losing any number of crew members and loved ones, so a little more investigation is more than warranted. We’ve already spent some time thinking about how Mass Effect 3‘s denouement will play out, but according to the magazine, it won’t follow the standard pattern. They wouldn’t go into detail about how the story would ultimately end, but did say that it wouldn’t be a simple ‘beat the bad guys, party with the Ewoks’ celebration.

With so many strong characters, having Shepard, Garrus, Tali, Wrex, or even Liara sacrifice their lives to save mankind wouldn’t be out of the question, but we’ll no doubt have to wait until our playthrough is complete to know how the story ends.

The graphics being used to deliver the story have also been improved, with claims being made that it is approaching the same levels as Killzone 3 or Crysis 2, and with more than 6 months left in development further progress is possible. These are bold claims, but hopefully a polished presentation will go great lengths in repairing the ill will over the PS3 port’s performance.

Continue to Page 2 for more details on the characters and combat changes being made to Mass Effect 3!

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