Another article by Seth to find out what he thought about EA's line-up and games such as Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3. With all the great games coming in 2011 and 2012, how are we going to keep up?
The Lord is my Shepard
As always, EA had a large number of games on display at this year’s E3 and while almost all of them will be huge releases a few stand out among the rest. Mass Effect 3 is at the top of that list for most. Crowded in to a room that looked something like crew quarters on the Normandy, we were given a demo of the game on what has to be the largest television I’ve ever seen. The game will open with Shepard once again facing trial, this time for his actions and decisions against the Reapers during Mass Effect 2.
From what was shown during the demo it appears the Reapers attack Earth during his trials and that is where the action begins as Shepard and Anderson work their way across a destroyed landscape. Along the way an example of the decisions you have to make is shown, as Shepard can offer help to a scared boy. Later in the scene Shepard watches as the escape vehicle the boy was placed in is destroyed. Beware as the following is a spoiler, but we also found out that Shepard will finally be reinstated as Commander.
The developers took great care to point out some of the changes and improvements in Mass Effect 3. The scope of the gameplay, story, and combat has been expanded. With the Reapers launching a full-scale attack on the galaxy this is to be expected. Character class upgrades now have options attached to them, so you don't simply choose to improve "Combat Mastery". You choose from several options of how to improve it at each level. Guns now have many more upgradeable options, and they can be installed at workbenches even while on missions. The duck and cover system has also been improved and was on full display, as the player was able to quickly move from one cover to another, advancing toward an enemy while remaining unseen.
Evident during the demo is the new scale of the world. The battlefields were often large, more vertical than before, with huge enemies both on land and in the air. Though we weren't shown it, there will be mechanized armor used by the enemy and it can be taken by the player. While the graphics didn't look to have been improved on the whole (it is still early) the improvements made to other areas of the game look like changes in the right direction. If what developer BioWare showed us is any indication Mass Effect 3 should be a bigger and more involved game than either of its predecessors.
The more, the deadlier
EA’s other heavy-hitter was undoubtedly Battlefield 3. DICE have gone all out for this one with a new engine that provides for an incredible level of detail and destructible environments. EA was kind enough to invite us to a hands-on multiplayer demo of the game and it didn’t disappoint. We were given the choice of one of four character classes: Assault, Engineer, Support, or Recon. All are balanced for playability alone, but benefit each other when played in a balanced squad as they have unique abilities. The engineer’s flashlight can blind other players or the AI, for example.
The developers have gone out of their way to meld the best aspects of Battlefield 2 with aspects of the Bad Company games. The dog tag feature makes a reappearance, this time with a great degree of customizability. When an opposing player takes you out they can collect your tag and it will feature designs and statistics that you’ve chosen. The tag they collect will feature your stats at the time of the kill, though, so as you get better you may become a prized target. Our demo was on the PC, which is the lead platform for the game, and the graphics and sound design were impressive. Fans of the series are sure to be satisfied when the game releases in October of 2011.