I’m a-waitin’

So Mass Effect 3 comes out in less than a few days time (unless you live in the promised land of the United of States Americanistan; honestly, roll on the day when all the physical retailers go the way of the Dodo and we can have true global releases), and I’ve been plowing through ME2 again as a result. I’ve also been playing the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer demo until yesterday, when it done got shut down to pave way for the real game.

So Mass Effect 2 is great, and I’m finding that using my actual character from the original game is a million times more satisfying than using some perfect paladin from a save game website (which shamefully is what I did last time). Here’s an odd thing; having just completed Jacob’s loyalty mission, I’m finding him to be a far more sympathetic character than I did previously. Not sure why – attrition perhaps – but there we have it.

There’s also quite a bit of fun to be had playing a class (Sentinel) that has a lot of powers, and has been upgraded to use them often. I can throw out a biotic or tech attack every few seconds; pretty satisfying, especially when I have powers which can take down shields, barriers and health with ease. I’m also finding that I’m getting re-absorbed into the story; even though I dislike the conceit of Shepherd having no choice but to work for Cerberus, the actual bones of the struggle against an unknown foe seem fairly well-crafted.

There are still bad parts, though. Scanning. Oh lord, the scanning. Let’s have none of that in 3, please Bioware. If I’m honest, I don’t think that there will be; the whole “Galaxy at War” thing seems like the resource management of the third game, and it sounds both more involved and more satisfying than scanning for sensor-spikes and clicking. Also, I’m quietly hopeful that the inventory system has been improved based on my experiences from the multiplayer. This was the area where Mass Effect 2 really went downhill in my eyes; the fact that there were two or three weapons per category available with a small amount of linear upgrades was a step down from the (admittedly hugely unwieldy) system of the first game. In the multiplayer of ME3, there are at least 4 (sometimes 8 or more) weapons per category (of which there are 5 in total), and several upgrades per category too. I’m hoping the single-player has some better armour customisation too; but I can live with the weapon system being improved.

Speaking of the Multiplayer; I found it really fun. It’s some fairly standard 4-player co-op objective based horde mode stuff – but the fun of it is really in the class progression and the unlocks. It works like a trading card game; you get money from each mission, which you spend on various grades of upgrade pack, and you then get a various assortment of one-use mission items (medi-gel, rocket launchers, ammo resupplies, emergency supplies), one-use upgrades for ammo, weapons, or armour, new weapons, new characters, new character customisation options, new weapon-mods, and new weapon upgrades. It’s really addictive, to the point where I’m secretly glad that the progress in the demo will be wiped so I’ll be able to level-up and unlock all over again (shhh, don’t tell anyone).

But yeah – Mass Effect 3. It’s going to be ace (Jim Rossignol liked it, even if he found the combat dull – and I already liked combat in previous ME games – so it must be good). Come out now, so I can play it. Grrr!

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