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Mass Effect 3

What is it?

The third installment in the Mass Effect space opera trilogy. Choices you (and your version of Commander Shepard) made in the previous games will earn some sort of payoff here, as you battle to save Earth from the Reaper invasion.

Why is it cool?

Everyone's favorite deadpan, alien, musical-theater major Mordin is back, and Shepard's got a new Omni-Blade melee weapon you can whip out for one-hit kills at close range, or even stealth kills. I'm not sure how a hologram inflicts quite that much damage, but I'm rolling with it.

Shepard's more mobile now: You can move between cover more fluidly, jump, and climb. Your special abilities are customizable, too, so you can choose to boost a skill's damage, persuasion bonus, or a number of other parameters (even before you've maxed that skill out).

Developer Bioware's adding Kinect support as well — you can use voice commands to direct your squad, which is nice, or read out Shepard's responses to navigate dialog trees. I'm not sold on that last one; seems like it'll only make conversations take even longer, as you still have to listen to Shepard deliver the lines after you say the option you want to choose. If you could read out the actual dialog rather than an approximation, so that your in-game Shepard wouldn't have to speak at all, well that'd be more interesting. Especially for fans of community theater.

Oh, and apparently after you defeat a hulking Atlas boss mech, you can then take the controls and go on a robo-rampage yourself, so that's something to look forward to.

The moment when [spoiler redacted]

As enormous Reapers land on Earth and commence Cloverfield-like destruction, Bioware takes a page from the Aliens playbook when Shepard encounters a lone child cowering in an air vent. I won't reveal what ultimately happens, but I overheard a couple other attendees who felt the whole sequence was kind of manipulative. To me, though, I thought it did a good job of personalizing the somewhat abstract event of giant, angry robots lasering up the Earth.


Mass Effect 3 atlas


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