The series may have initially struck a chord with gamers based on the science fiction plot and emphasis on unique player experience, but Mass Effect 3 is quickly becoming more and more of a showcase for BioWare's evolved approach to combat. That's definitely not a complaint in itself, as the newest pair of gameplay trailers show that not only will the combat of Mass Effect 3 be a new height for the series, but may offer players an even more challenging experience than they might be expecting.
Obviously the third-person action and improved combat have taken most of the attention in the trailers and gameplay details recently released, and with good cause. The action and visuals seem to have been significantly improved from Mass Effect 2, and the developers have apparently also heard the cry of RPG fans as well. Customization is back in a big way, according to the new trailer detailing weapon and armor modifications , and the sneak peek given of how one ME3 gameplay decision can play out differently.
But with a growing attempt to bring shooter fans into the fold of devoted fans, an expansive arsenal alone wouldn't do. Enemies need to be more responsive and aggressive to offer something worthwhile to newcomers, and it's because of this that the Insane and Hardcore difficulties have been seriously boosted.
The newest trailer, 'Ruthless and Intelligent Enemies' gives a good look at the new character designs and enemy types that have been called together to put an early end to Shepard's quest. From gigantic roaches to Geth dragons - and a Nightwing wannabe in between - Shepard's squad will be dealing with supremely skilled fighters capable of dispatching them with ease.
The new Female Shepard trailer does a much better job of bringing the character's scarlet locks to life, since we don't think this is what she had in mind:
The team at BioWare had previously talked up the new and improved enemy behavior, and so far the gameplay footage looks to back that up. Where the first game's enemies tended to hide behind cover until eliminated, and Mass Effect 2 introduced more dangerous opponents, none of them seem to compare to these. Intimidated is a strong word, but let's just say we won't be jumping to Hardcore right off the bat.
Another gameplay trailer has also been released to highlight the 'Adrenaline-Pumping Gameplay.' The shift to third-person action has been taken with gusto by the development team, equipping Shepard with new mobility and melee combat to boot. Along with the combat comes a few looks at the environmental deformation and vertical combat that the team claims has been introduced to keep Mass Effect 3 unpredictable.
We'll let you be the judge:
One thing is abundantly clear: this game looks gorgeous. Aside from smoother animations on both sides of the skirmishes, the overall lighting and environments are far more stunning than the clean and at-times antiseptic levels of the two previous games. If BioWare has hit their stride as well as they seem to, then these design changes could mean big things going forward.
The new enemies are extremely well-designed and varied compared to what fans will be used to, and with the range of races and classes that are hinted at in the trailers, one game hardly seems enough space to do them all justice. Perhaps more time spent with the flying Geth or techno-assassins is what the developer means by 'neat' singleplayer DLC plans? Who knows, they may even be laying the groundwork for Mass Effect 4.
Has the overhaul to the combat style and graphics gotten you more interested in playing ME3 for the action as much as the story? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
Mass Effect 3 arrives on March 6 for the PS3, PC and Xbox 360.
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