It seems that my assertion in my review of the Arrival dlc that there would be a huge cost to Shepard has been borne out. ME3 starts with Shepard back on Earth, on trial for the events at the end of Arrival. During the trial the Reaper attack finally begins, and Shepard has to escape to go and round up his friends and acquaintances and persuade them to join him in saving the galaxy from annihilation.
Cerberus are out to kill Shepard this time round (perhaps not surprising after what happens at the end of ME), and the Illusive Man returns in a prominent role.
Squadmates that are confirmed this time round include Liara, Ashley, Kaiden, Garrus (assuming he survives ME2) and someone called James Sanders. Mordin, Legion and Anderson will be in the game, but it has not been stated whether they will be squad members.
The RPG elements have been boosted, with more, larger skill trees and more options with regards to weaponry. A good thing in my opinion, one of the very few ways ME2 fell behind ME1 was in the over-simplified skills system.
Apparently Bioware have stated that there are many potential endings to the game (and trilogy as a whole), including several paragon endings, and several renegade ones. The ending will also be dependent on who you manage to recruit and which companion characters are in your squad.
It has also been confirmed that the game will start with an optional "previously on Mass Effect" type interactive comic, so that you can choose your main decision points from the previous games if you have not played them. I guess this will work in a very similar manner to the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2, which was a very effective way of bringing new players up to speed and allowing them to make the major story decisions from ME1 (check out this video for a preview of how that worked). You can of course import your ME2 saved game instead if you have one.
Holidays 2011 cannot come soon enough!
|Game Informers amazing ME3 cover|
There is a massive thread on the official forums that is absolutely jam-packed with info. The great thing is that every single report and review is very, very positive, which is good to hear. If you have a couple of hours spare it's an interesting read, and you can find it here.
Some of the info to come out of the event includes:
- Currently companion characters are allowed in flashpoints, but the maximum number of characters is 4. So you could have 4 real players, or 3 real players and one companion, or 2 players and 2 companions. Taking companions instead of real players allows you to try the flashpoint but makes it much more difficult.
- Swimming will not be in the game at launch. There is nothing in the game to make it necessary (no large bodies of water) and they decided to spend the development time improving combat instead. Swimming will probably be added after launch.
- Everyone agreed that the cut-scenes and quest dialogues were amazingly well done and could be a real game changer. Even people who had been highly sceptical before playing were reporting this.
- Target forwarding is in-game.
- Some items have sockets which can have improvements plugged into them.
Finally on the SWTOR front the latest official update gives a lot more detail on the Advanced Class system. There is a lot of in-depth information in this update into class skills and roles, finally confirming what had only been surmised before.
The most interesting part of the update to me was their metrics system and how feedback from the Game Testing program had influenced the game, but more on that in a future post.
As for myself, I have been getting back into EQ2 this week after a few weeks spent vacationing in Kirkwall. Voltaan joined me last night and helped me finish off my cloud mount quest in the Kingdom of Sky, which was much appreciated and a lot of fun. We're running through the Qeynos Claymore questline next.
For those of you interested in how games like this are put together there is a really great timelapse video showing how character artist Chris Atkins created Lord Yelinak, a raid boss in EQ2s latest expansion. Check it out here.
Next time: Rise of the Machines - Are Bioware planning to destroy the world with intelligent Terminator robots?