For everyone in love with Shepard (or FemShep, as fans call the female version), the sleepless nights spent waiting on the release of Mass Effect 3 are almost over. From the very first scene of the very first game, it's been a romance worth all the hours logged. I've been sighing and drooling over the website for months. The demo has been out for a minute, and people are loving it. I've been scouring the internet, and picking people's brains, and I've come up with a little bit of information to share with the masses.
If you're completely new to the trilogy of amazingness that is Mass Effect, here's a run-down courtesy of Wiki (because they're more comprehensive, and don't say things like "nerdgasm", and "fan girl", and "omgomgomgomg", all the time):
Mass Effect is an award-winning, bestselling series of action role-playing video games developed by the Canadian company BioWare and released for the Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and, from the second installment, for the PlayStation 3. The first game in the planned trilogy centers around a player created character named Commander Shepard and his/her mission to save the galaxy from a race of mechanical beings known as the Reapers, and its followers, including Saren Arterius. The first game sees Shepard facing Sovereign, a Reaper left as a vanguard, who plans to allow the Reaper fleet currently hibernating in extra-galactic dark space to invade the Milky Way and destroy all sapient organic life, continuing a mysterious cycle of destruction. The second game takes place two years later, and sees Shepard battling the Collectors, an alien race abducting entire human colonies in a plan to help the Reapers return to the Milky Way. The third and final game will center on the final battle against the Reapers.
Since the beginning, the series has been a major critical success. Both games have received critical acclaim for their storyline, characters, romances, voice acting, choices, tolerance of diversity, and the depth of the galaxy. Video game website GamesRadar called Mass Effect the best new franchise of the generation, saying that the galaxy was so well-constructed that it felt like a decades-old franchise and that it represented "a high-water mark for video games as a story-telling medium."
Now, even with all the anime, comics, books, films, and games, I have still been left dying inside waiting for the last installment. I know, now, that I will not be disappointed:
Mass Effect 3 plunges you into an all-out galactic war to take Earth back from a nearly unstoppable foe – and how you fight that war is entirely up to you. Choose a fast-paced cinematic experience or delve into a deeper, more choice-driven narrative. Either way, intense combat propels the action as you fight to unite a war-torn galaxy against a common enemy.
The game play is reminiscent of Knights of the Old Republic, in that everything you do shapes how the story continues, including a feature not seen in KOTOR: What you do carries over into the next game. It's a feature that I can't wait to get in to. I love a good story line and tons of action, and both are going to be delivered to me in one nice, neat little package. The intense fighting will fuel the story line farther, so I get the best of both worlds. Also, I get to stare longingly at the Commander, in either form, and wish my husband looked like that.
For newcomers, they are starting the game in a way that makes it easier to get fully caught-up and immersed. The website tells you all about it:
If you're new to this award-winning series, Mass Effect 3 offers a unique opening narrative to immerse you in the storyline and characters, quickly and easily preparing you for the beginning, middle, and end of a galactic war for survival.
I love this feature, and I hope that I can get my husband to love the trilogy as much as I do with this game. I'm already trying to convince him to dive into the website and get friendly with it; no luck thus far.
The places they're taking us to look amazing, and some of them are "Classified", leaving us in suspense. So far, they've listed the following:
- Geth Dreadnoughts
The characters you build your relationships with are also listed, but again, some of them are deemed "Classified", and you won't know who they are until you bust open the case and get to playing:
- Commander Shepard
- David Anderson
- Ashley Williams
- Kaiden Alenko
- Liara T'Soni
- James Vega
I know, right? I want more!
Here's more! Your arsenal of ass-kicking weaponry? It's custom, yo! This is what the website has to say about it, which leaves me in full-on excitement mode:
From the first moments of Mass Effect 3 you will build Shepard into the warrior you want to be. Choose your appearance (including male or female) and pick from a variety of specialized combat classes, each with unique and devastating abilities. As you progress in the war against the Reapers, you'll choose which customizable weapons to use, which abilities and powers to upgrade, which armor upgrades to equip, and which characters will join your squad.
Eeeeek! Yes! Stoked, stoked, stoked, STOKED! I love when I can make things my own, and tailor my team to my specifications. It makes for a better experience all-around.
Still not enough? Still not enough! Here's something about the stellar shoot-em-up parts of the game:
Wage war against the Reapers your way. Command your elite squad to exert full tactical control over battlefield, or charge in guns blazing and devastate the enemy with overwhelming firepower. Use stealth technology and an enhanced sniper rifle to drop opponents before they see you coming. Throw enemies into the air with telekinetic "biotic" abilities and have your squad shred them with their assault rifles. Position turrets and hack opposing tech to turn the entire warzone into hostile ground for your adversaries.
Now, I don't know about you guys, but I love FPS games, TPS games, and any other kind of shooter game. This one? It makes my heart flutter and my knees weak. Also, it makes me do super awesome poses in the mirror when I walk by, and stalk imaginary prey as I traipse through my house. It scares my family. They think I need to be committed. I see it as preemptive preparedness. Don't judge me!
Through all the conversations I've had with my friends about the demo, the one thing they're gushing over is the co-op capabilities. I read what the site had to say, and I can see why they're so in love:
Form an elite strike team with three of your friends, then work together to liberate key conflict zones in an action-packed co-operative multiplayer mode. You'll start as a human combatant, but through a deep progression system you can unlock other powerful races and classes. You will need the other classes' unique play style, powers, and abilities – plus other unlockable rewards such as weapons, armor, health and damage boosters, and upgrade kits – to defeat increasingly deadly waves of opposition. But above all, you will need teamwork to survive.
Omgomgomg! OMG! Yes! I can't wait to tear it up with my boys (and ladies). Stoked doesn't begin to describe how I'm feeling at this point. I'm especially excited about the needed use of all classes. It forces people to branch out and work together. March 6th can't come fast enough!
Th last bit of information on the site is about the enemies. Some of the foes waiting to be vanquished are listed, and they look beastly:
- Cerberus Phantom
- Geth Prime
- Cerberus Engineer
- Cerberus Trooper
- Cerberus Guardian
The rest are listed as "Classified", but I'm certain they're even more deliciously evil than the ones they're letting us sneak a peek at. The site's little blurb just whets the palate, and makes me want to throw my computer out the nearest open window because I don't have my hands on the game yet:
The towering, unstoppable engines of destruction known as the Reapers pose the greatest-ever threat to the galaxy – and to your own survival. They bring with them a host of abominations – various races from across the galaxy, perverted into horrific servants of war. And the threat doesn't end there. Also standing in your way is a wide variety of malevolent forces, including the well-equipped pro-human group Cerberus, and the Geth, formidable alien adversaries with their own hidden agenda.
For those of us that are waiting, this serves as something we've probably already seen, but with my little comments inserted here and there; for everyone else, this is the ultimate teaser. I hope you're as excited as I am to see how the story unfolds, and hopefully I'll see you on XBOX Live!
Happy gaming.. err, longing, everyone!
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