Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mass Effect 3 Game Informer Scans - Syko Shadow's Thoughts

It feels like forever since the teaser trailer for Mass Effect 3 at the VGA's (which, along with the Arkham City trailer, were the only good parts of the entire award show). Finally, we're getting some good info on the final game in my favorite video game trilogy, and I'm loving every page. The trees that were chopped down to make these magazine pages died for a good cause, dammit!

Source: Mass Effect 3 Game Informer Article Scans (SPOILERS)

NOTE: On the original webpage I got these scans from, the pages of the article are not in the correct order. I made sure to do each scan in the correct order, from page 50 to 61.

Is that Kaiden Alenko with a shotgun standing in front of a burning building on (presumably) Earth? Silly BioWare, shotguns are for Vanguards!

For the record, I only did one of those things (spared the Rachni Queen). Other than a cool introductory paragraph, what I like is the awesome shot of Shepard and Liara, with Shepard holding the Mattock assault rifle from the Firepower Pack DLC, which hopefully means that we'll be seeing it in the full game, as I loved it and the Phalanx Pistol from the DLC (geth shotgun is cool too, but I mostly gave it to Tali, I'm a Scimitar man myself).

The paragraph in the white box on the upper right informs us of the beginning of the game, where apparently Shepard is facing a trial for the controversial events of the most recent story DLC in Mass Effect 2, Arrival. This is of course the perfect time for Shepard to witness the Reaper invasion of Earth, and I can't wait to see it in action.

The entire wall of text on the left basically says the same thing we already know: Mass Effect is awesome. I will say though, I do enjoy those screenshots of lush and colorful environments, which we'll hopefully be able to explore before they're inevitably turned into smoldering ruins by the Reapers.

Holy shit, that concept art looks fucking awesome. The large photo on the top of the page is no doubt my favorite, showing Reapers descending on what I'm assuming is a lunar colony, with a humongous Earth set in the background. Artistically, it emphasizes the large scale and scope of the game, with Earth looking absolutely humongous taking up the entire background, hundreds of Reapers flying towards it with a few breaking off to attack the lunar colony. Also notice the size of the Reapers in relation to the buildings. This is definitely a hint that we'll be seeing Reapers of all shapes and sizes, not just the behemoth motherfuckers like Sovereign.

I am also interested in the concept art on the bottom left, showing the same city area in various conditions, from pristine to absolutely fucked. I REALLY hope this is reflective of the game itself, where we get to visit beautiful places like that, then witness the Reapers come down on it and turn it to Hell.

I would be remiss to not mention the blurb on the Normandy, which basically tells us how the ship we'll be travelling in won't be the same one from ME2. Well it is, but the Alliance fucks with it and changes it up a little. I just hope they scrape off the god-awful Cerberus logo from every inch of the ship.

The text on this page gives us even more insight into the prologue of the game, and more and more it sounds like the first 10 minutes of Mass Effect 3 will be more epic than entire plotlines of other games around. Reapers are invading Earth from the very start, and Shepard basically has to abandon the planet, spend the rest of the game searching for allies as well as a way to defeat the enemy, and then come back to retake Earth. I also greatly enjoy the idea that Shepard doesn't know what to do from the start, which will of course require hefty exploration of the galaxy. It's also a great theme for the story, the feeling of losing the battle, but trying to win the war.

I like the new look for Anderson, but I am disappointed that, as far as I know, he's not going to be a squadmate. I figure he'll either stay with the Alliance Fleet, or come with you on the Normandy and serve a non-squadmember role. I'm hoping for the latter, as I love having a posse on the Normandy.

And on the bottom, we have Cerberus troops wearing some big-ass armor. You can tell they're Cerberus because of the color scheme, as well as their weapon of choice, the Eviscerator shotgun from the Cerberus Assault Armor DLC. Needless to say, I want to kill them. Kill them dead.

Is that... a sword in that woman's hand? Tiiiight! Although from the four glowing eyes on the helmet, I'd swear this was a female batarian in full-body armor. Hey, maybe in ME3 one of our squadmates will be a female batarian cyborg samurai! But of course this is probably just another type of Cerberus enemy judging by the color scheme of the armor.

The katana-wielding biddy, along with the screenshot on the bottom of the page, indicates that CQC and melee attacks will be much improved, and we might see some awesome melee attacks in ME3. This is heavenly to me, considering my favorite class is the mufuckin' Vanguard! One thing I missed in ME2 that was in ME1 was the ability to pistol-whip bad guys (although in ME1 it was automatic depending on your distance from the enemy), and the screenshot of Shepard bashing the butt of his rifle over a Cerberus trooper's head is proof that they're bringing it back. I'm loving Mass Effect 3 more and more with each page. By the way, is it just me or is Shepard's armor shiny and chrome in that screenshot? Looks sexy!

From the sound of the text under "Old Conflicts, New Allies," it sounds like there will be some amazingly tough choices to make in regards to the politics of the galaxy. Not only are different species fighting against each other, but they're fighting to keep themselves safe from the Reapers. Getting entire civilizations to join your fight will not be easy. Hopefully, all the legwork I've done in the prior 2 games will greatly affect these scenarios, such as my actions during the loyalty missions for Mordin, Tali and Legion.

I love this page. I love everything written on it. First, let's talk about the improvements they're making to the combat. The addition of small maneuvers, such as rolling and vaulting over obstacles without having to take cover behind it first, are a great way of improving the fighting. Also, being able to pick up weapons from the battlefield, as well as all weapons being available to all classes, is a fantastic improvement, especially the latter. I always hated how, despite being trained soldiers, Shepard, Kaiden, and Jacob weren't able to use assault rifles. Even worse, Kaiden can ONLY use a pistol, Jacob somehow forgot to use an assault rifle inbetween Mass Effect Galaxy and Mass Effect 2, and Shepard's weapon skills are dependant on his or her class. Man, the Alliance really has shitty combat training. To balance this, the amount of weapons you can hold at a time are limited, with the Soldier once again being the only class able to carry all weapons all the time.

One small thing to note is the part about adding ladders and multiple-level vertical depth to the environments, adding new dimensions to the combat. Playing as a biotic never sounded so appealing. Now I can yank a guy off a balcony with Pull and send him falling 3 stories to his shotgun-related death!

The biggest thing for me is the confirmation that there will NOT be multiplayer. It was easy to sweat the rumor that ME3 would have multiplayer, seeing as their publisher, Electronic Arts, a while back stated that single-player only games are a "waste of time." So either EA has wised up, or BioWare stood up for themselves and said they weren't gonna put up with any shit. No matter which way you slice it, Mass Effect 3 is in good hands.

This is a page that nobody can hate. By far the biggest complaint about Mass Effect 2 (one that not even magx01 shuts the fuck up about) is the limited RPG mechanics compared to the first game. Let me make my opinion clear though: apart from lack of depth, Mass Effect 2's design is far superior to the first game. Inventory management in the first game was not only clunky, most of the loot was absolutely fucking useless. I ended up never running short of omni-gel, since I was converting entire crates of loot because most of it was the same shit. The skill trees were very basic, and only a few abilities really felt the benefit of fully leveling up. All in all, it was in need of an overhaul.

With that said, taking the design of ME2 and beefing it up, depth-wise, to the level of the first game or even further, is the best thing I've ever heard. Multiple evolutions of all skills and powers sounds like a great addition to the RPG mechanics, and if done right will ensure that even if five people play the same class, all of them will play very differently. BioWare recognizes what people want from Mass Effect 3 that wasn't in the previous game, so they're bringing it back, better than ever.

Just as exciting as hearing BioWare is improving the RPG aspects of the game is hearing that they're doing the same to weapons. Again, Mass Effect 2 did weapons much better than the first game. Every shotgun, assault rifle, pistol and sniper rifle in the first game was just the same damn gun, whether it was white, blue or red, or what Tier it was. Every weapon in ME2 felt unique, and I found myself using certain weapons based on how they felt to shoot, instead of getting the same weapon with slightly higher stats and ditching the old one forever. The most exciting news is, of course, the addition of weapon mods. Unlike the first Mass Effect, they're bringing real weapon customization in the vein of Borderlands. Each mod changes the way the gun is used, and even modifies the appearance. I love that. Just look at those concept art pieces of those weapons. Don't they look awesome? Of course they do.

Just one thing: I hope they bring back ammo mods, instead of ammo "powers." One bad thing about ME2 was the ammo powers, the biggest waste of skill points I've ever seen in an RPG.

One more thing to note is the screenshots, showing even more Cerberus assholes. One of them ripping off Iron Man, which along with aforementioned multi-level areas (and LADDERS!), shows promise for some great combat making full use of the Y-axis. Another one is about to knock Shepard the fuck out with what looks like an electrified nightstick, showing even more melee promise. The text box tells us that Cerberus is indeed out for Shepard's blood. No mention of whether this is affected by your decision regarding the Collector Base in ME2, or your overall relationship with Cerberus throughout the second game. Either way, as long as I get to kill the Illusive Man, I'm good.

Now we're getting to some really juicy info-- wait... up there on the top right, is that a.. Rachni Husk? SHIT YEAH! Totally sucks if that means the Rachni Queen from the first game got indoctrinated, but all the same... that Rachni Husk looks pretty cool! The article states that, unlike the first two games that only showed human Husks, we'll be seeing Husks from all species, from turian and batarian to Rachni and Harvesters (for those who don't know, Harvesters are those giant green flying things from Grunt's loyalty mission that didn't fight you but flew around dropping off klixen).

Another new addition is an entirely new character, James Sanders, who is possibly related to Kahlee Sanders, one of the main characters of the Mass Effect novels. If so, then maybe we'll be seeing other characters from the novels, like Gillian Grayson and Kai Leng. Also, I want to see characters from the comic books, like Tazzik the most badass salarian in the galaxy (well, second if Mordin is still alive after ME2), and the characters of the still-running miniseries Mass Effect: Evolution (although I'm pretty sure Jack Harper is really the Illusive Man).

Just one thing... there's a scenario on this page... yeah, you might have noticed it too... something about a Thresher Maw and a Reaper... THAT SOUNDS SOOO FUCKING BADASS!!!

Just a quick note regarding the top screenshot: human Husks looks scarier than ever, and that batarian Husk with the arm cannon looks absolutely sick. As frightening as Husks always looked to me, I never felt their creepy factor was fully taken advantage of. I hope there's some scenarios in ME3 where I get the fuck scared outta me by Husks, they really are some terrifying-looking motherfuckers.

I know I'll love any returning squadmates from the previous two games, I grew attached to almost all of them (except Zaeed, what a fucking tosser). Garrus is one of my absolute favorites, so knowing he'll be back as a squadmate again pleases me intensely. The return of Liara is also welcome, and I'm sure her "second job" will be very helpful throughout the game. Of course, we all know that no character will be unaccounted for, as long as they're still alive. So don't worry you Tali lovers, just because she hasn't been confirmed yet, I seriously doubt BioWare would forget her.

The blurb on the bottom left gives me hope for a great series of spin-offs for Mass Effect. Anything from an MMO to a stealth game starring Kasumi Goto, the possibilities for this rich and amazing universe really are endless. And yes, a Mass Effect MMO DOES make sense!

I'm very interested to see how in-depth their plot-state system is, and how much it will change within the game. After two games worth of side missions and big decisons, I want my Paragon and Renegade playthroughs to feel as different as possible.

The interview with Casey Hudson gives us some hint of how Mass Effect 3 will play, talking about import bonuses and even vehicle sections. More than anything, I'm glad to hear that BioWare doesn't want to spoil every goddamn thing in the story, like they kinda did with Mass Effect 2. I mean come on, everyone knew that Archangel was Garrus! It was still an awesome scene when they reunited, but goddammit BioWare!

By the way, there's only one thing that comes to mind when I see that screenshot on the top of the page:

The final page... I don't want this to end!!!

Two things can be gathered from this page that shows BioWare's commitment to take every negative aspect of the prior games and fix them. Diversifying environments basically means "no more corridor shooter environments filled with chest-high walls," and also, it's confirmed: planet scanning has taken a hike! More and more, I feel content that this will be one of the best games I've ever played. Every small negative about the first two games is being considered here, and they're improving it all.

The best part, however, is being reassured: this is the epic finale. Every important decision made in the past two games will come to a head here. There won't be a Mass Effect 4, so everything is resolved in Mass Effect 3. I can't FUCKING WAIT!

By the way, I'm also happy to notice that Shepard has the M-5 Phalanx pistol in its holster on his left waist... I love that fucking gun.


This article did not disappoint. In fact, it's only quelled whatever small nagging doubts I had about Mass Effect 3. BioWare created my favorite videogame of all time, then made a wonderful sequel to it, and now they're going to make the best game of all time to cap off my favorite science-fiction trilogy since Star Wars. Mass Effect 3 is going to kill when it comes out, and I wouldn't be surprised if the first Mass Effect was no longer my favorite videogame afterwards.

Bring on the Reapers, I'll make them my bitch!


  1. I knew you'd mention me when it came to the RPG stuff. well, keep on mentioning me, because what they stated there, while an improvement, isn't enough, and planet scanning is not gone, just evolving, from what I read there.

    This game sounds better, and them deepening the skill trees, at least to some degree, and adding weapon customization is nice to know, but it's not enough. You know that useless loot you complained about? Well, I want that! That convoluted inventory system? Yes please!

    Overall, it does sound like it will be a step up from 2, so I am somewhat pleased. Just not overtly so. More like....cautiously leaning towards maybe being so ;)

    Great writeup btw.

  2. Correction, the planet scanning is gone. BioWare has stated multiple times they know that nobody liked it that much, and in the article they use the words "won't be anything like the system in ME2" basically saying whatever system they use in ME3 will be nothing like planet scanning. The only way planet scanning will return is if BioWare is lying.

    Nothing is ever enough for you people! D: If I'm on a quest to destroy the Reapers, I'm not gonna find my answer IN A CRATE! Shepard has better funding than to go scrounging around for a Kinetic Coil! If they bring back a form of loot, but in the form of distributable resources (credits, minerals, scrap) you can use to research technology, then that'd be great, though.

  3. "Nothing is ever enough for you people! D: If I'm on a quest to destroy the Reapers, I'm not gonna find my answer IN A CRATE!"

    Okay, that was funny. Misdirection, but fucking funny nonetheless ;)

  4. My idea is still a shitload better than just bringing back the old loot system from ME1! ADMIT IT! LOOT SUCKS!

  5. FUCK YES! Thank you for sharing all of this. :) I didn't read the scans yet, but I read all your comments, which is enough for me.

    Vanguard and Biotic are by far my absolute favorite class.

    I've actually just started replaying the games! Obviously starting with the first. Female Shephard all the way!!!!!!

    Liara.. I was disappointed to not have her in the second game (have yet to play the expansion with her in it). She was my favorite, so glad to see she is back!!

    I'm really excited for this game. I have a PC that'll play it with all the best settings, a 26 inch monitor @ 1920 x 1200 resolution.... This is going to be epic.

  6. Goddamn, son! A 26 inch monitor? My fucking HDTV is 32" and I sit like 5 ft. away from it! That must be INSANE!

  7. :) Its amazing.

    And I also have a 32" HDTV as well; got that not to long ago.

  8. 1 sec i'm gonna go change my pants...

  9. LOL...32" HDTV? Try a 53" plasma widescreen with a bose sound system for it....a gamers wet dream. I also have a home built comp hooked up to it that can run anything at full graphics.

  10. Honestly a 53" television would be way to big for me. So not really a wet dream of mine. The bose sound system though sounds awesome.

    I also built my own computer; the best way to go! :)

  11. As everyone else has been saying, thanks for posting these and WHY MUST I WAIT UNTIL THE HOLIDAYS FOR THIS GAME!?!?!?!?!?! SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!

    Also, even though it was a tiny little comment, the quote from Casey Hudson on the last page saying: "We are treating space cinematics and space combat differently and on a bigger scale than ever before." is getting me really excited at the possibility of actually controlling and flying the Normandy and possibly blowing some Reapers out of the sky with it! I love that ship.

  12. Wow, bragging about your TV?

    Should I tell you how much my house costs now? We can all sit here and 1 up eachother with meaningless bragging...

  13. You know the (shit I forget his name) drell guy, this may sound pathetic but HE was my third favorite character (afterall nobody can beat Garrus:D) oh shit I forgot he died

  14. I CANT WAIT FOR THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will disappear... for days to play it.

  15. can't wait for ME3!!! I really love everything you wrote! Very detailed and exciting! Plus, I so wanna know who the girl in picture #6 is!!


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