Mass Effect has become one of the hottest RPG properties of this generation.
The futuristic sci-fi adventure – which puts players in the space boots of Commander Shepard and his crew of alien comrades – first launched as an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2007.
While the first title was well received, it was 2010’s sequel that really took the franchise to another level, with millions of sales and Metacritic scores between 94 and 96. This was due in no small part to its grander storyline, refined action gameplay and revolutionary save mechanic, which took into account the player’s decisions made in the first game. Thanks to this success, Mass Effect 2 arrived on PS3 last year, turning the franchise multiformat.
Mass Effect 3 is the first game in the series to arrive on both Xbox 360 and PS3 simultaneously at release, and is hotly anticipated. The game centres around the alien Reaper invasion of Earth. Decisions made in previous titles will help or hinder Commander Shepard on his quest to save the planet. And like Mass Effect 2, players can carry on playing as their own unique custom male or female protagonist.
Mass Effect 3 features several firsts for the franchise. It is compatible with Xbox 360 Kinect, allowing players to issue squad commands and take part in conversations using the motion accessory’s voice controls.
Gamers will also be able to take part in online multiplayer for the first time in a Mass Effect game. Players can take control of a solider and team up with others as they take part in skirmishes against the Reapers. The more battles they win, the more they increase their ‘Galactic Readiness’ in the single-player campaign. This improves gamers’ chances of getting the best possible ending.
EA and BioWare have both said that despite being the final episode in the Mass Effect series, this release can serve as a strong entry point for the masses and take the series fully mainstream. You can expect Mass Effect 3 to be another truly blockbuster title.
EA has responded to the popularity of the female Commander Shepard, known by fans as ‘FemShep’, by placing her on the cover of the Collector’s Edition. It has also produced a FemShep trailer and an online marketing campaign.
There are two Mass Effect iOS games players can download – third-person shooter Infiltrator and companion app Datapad which has a map and a mini-game included. Both increase the user’s ‘Galactic Readiness’ in the Mass Effect 3 single-player mode.
Consumers who pre-order Mass Effect 3 at retail will receive the M55 Argus Assault Rifle, the N7 Defender Armour, the AT-12 Raider Shotgun and the N7 Valkyrie Assault Rifle as in-game extras.
The Mass Effect 3 demo arrived on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on February 14th, allowing players to try out the game’s character creation tool, take part in a single-player mission and test the multiplayer mode.