*Recovers from fainting* I spent some time yesterday playing this demo and I’m here to tell you all about it.
Every time I think I can’t lose my mind over a game anymore, a new title or innovation comes along and blows me away. The demo for Mass Effect 3 did just that with the addition of the voice commands via the Kinect. Let’s breakdown the experiences that you can look forward to.
There was much buzz about this addition and a lot of fans didn’t like the idea of it. Basically, the purists felt that it detracted from the whole Mass Effect experience and that it didn’t add anything to the game. After playing the demo, I disagree.
The multiplayer feature is separate from the game and doesn’t factor into the actual single player campaign. That’s just fine because there are times when you just want to jump into some action and not worry about making choices that will affect the ME world. Multiplayer allows you to team up and take on waves of enemies in a firefight style of play that requires you to think and act as a unit to be successful.
As you play, you level up, allowing you to place points into useful skills, upgrade your armor as well as unlocking different classes and species that you can play as. Always wanted to be a Turian like Garrus? Now’s your chance!
The story option allows you to experience the Mass Effect world as it is meant to be played. Mass Effect has always been good a telling a story and pulling you through to its completion. The opening of the third installment is no different, picking up where Mass Effect 2 left off and putting you into the action almost immediately.
The difference here is the Kinect. Almost everything in the game can be controlled by voice command. In the previous titles, you cycled through a wheel to switch ammo, give orders to your squad, switch weapons, activate special abilities and so on. With the Kinect, there is no need to do that (though the wheel is still there for those who are more comfortable using it).
Nothing prepared me for being able to actually voice the chat option that I wanted as the cut scene played. I have to tell you all, when that happened, I had the biggest gamergasm EVER! When I finally recovered, I decided to test this feature using squad commands. The first one I gave was, “Anderson, concussive shot.” Imagine my joy when I watched the enemy explode before my eyes. *giggles* I’m Commander Shepard and I approve of this use of technology.
The Kinect brings this game to an entire new level but don’t even think about throwing away your controller. You will still use it to move your character, take cover as well as target enemies, but most of the world is interactive. Want a squad member next to you? Tell them to, “come here.” I cannot adequately describe how useful it is to be able to give orders in this way versus pausing the game to set up the attacks in the wheel. The Kinect brings a more immersive experience to a title that I thought was completely immersive on its own.
I noticed a few areas that didn’t seem to work as well as I’d hoped, namely, character control. There were a lot of times when I wanted to take cover and my character would move around on the screen sort of like a chicken with its head cut off. After taking heavy fire, miraculously, she’d finally take cover. The same button for storm is the one used for taking cover, so perhaps the computer wasn’t sure which I wanted, even though I was standing still. This was more than a little annoying, but, I got around that by using different parts of the environment until the computer and I were on the same page.
The only other glitch I noticed was the way that Garrus will randomly place a proximity mine right next to us for no apparent reason. There were no enemies approaching us, I didn’t give an order to place one, he’d just take it upon himself to drop them, usually on any surface next to my head. I love you Garrus, but I will punch you in the throat.
It seems that this time around, the cut scenes are a lot sharper and the landscapes a bit more detailed. What hasn’t changed is the sort of scary appearance to the humaniod faces. There were moments during the story when I frowned, simply because the faces that were used were almost like masks that had been run over a few times by a tractor trailer and then spackeled onto a skull. Outside of my personal zombie apocalypse, the game is beautiful with rich renderings and excellent motion capture.
I am more excited than ever to play this game. March 6th cannot arrive quickly enough so that I can jump back into the role of Commander Shepard and face the threat of the Reapers. Action, adventure, aliens, different worlds and facing a relentless enemy spells, “win” for me. Having the Kinect integration is beyond useful and I think I’ll be stuck saying what I want in other games as a result; maybe even in real life. Picture it, someone cuts you off in traffic. “Grenade.” Oh, wait… *sigh*
Who else has played the demo? What are your thoughts?