Mass Effect 3: Session 1
After finally receiving the game in the mail, I began the install process. This time around, EA forces you to install their proprietary beta steam clone “Origin”. You can’t separate this from the game and even if you try and run the executable through Steam, you have to put up with Origin launching and giving you two overlays. Steam won’t acknowledge that you’ve quit playing Mass Effect 3 until you shut down Origin too, so it’s fairly inconvenient. However, I stuck to this for Steam’s screenshot function so that I’d have pictures to put up in these posts.
The adventure starts with the Reapers taking over Earth. Yeah, I know…it’s like all my efforts to delay them were for naught. There comes a point in this early area of the game where I’d nominate as one of the most fun “missions”. You have to survive for an unstated period of time with very limited supply of bullets, no room to manoeuvre, and an unending stream of baddies storming your position. Having imported my ME2 character, the game let me start with points in every skill so I ended up flaming enemies with my fireball to conserve ammo. Good times.
Mass Effect 3 introduces darkened scenes into the franchise where you have to use your torchlight to illuminate your path. Strangely enough, no enemies would hassle you in any of these scenes so it seemed very redundant and unneeded. Maybe they thought the difficulty and panic factor would put off some players?
Ranged combat mechanics work pretty much the same way they did before but close combat has been overhauled with the introduction of a charged melee attack as well as the ability to roll across the floor into cover. This gives infiltrators a big boost to their versatility with cloaked melee assassination now feasible. Timelag sniping is still just as crazy as before once you find and equip the concentration mod on your rifle so I didn’t actually have to resort to the omnitool blade at all in the singleplayer campaign.
Maps are now easier to access (they are still nonexistent in combat areas though) and they show you the rough position of key characters which include quest givers and crewmates. This can be slightly frustrating though as you still have to search the area for them which becomes a problem when everyone looks the same.
Low resolution CG cutscenes sometimes replace the in-game renders for an unknown reason. From what I could tell, they offer slightly more bloom effect and are vastly inferior to an in-game rendering of the same scene. The graphics of Mass Effect 3 feel slightly outdated, especially when compared to the years old Crytek engine that ran Crysis. The graphics could be better but nostalgia goggles help with that.
And thus session 1 ends as the only spoiler-free post in this series. I realized it would be impossible to show the epic without at least some mild spoilers so you have been warned! Look forward to Session 2 through 7!