E3 07: Mass Effect Impressions

Posted by: Chuck at 7/18/2007 8:18 PM
When I booked our E3 appointments I intentionally set Mass Effect as our last appointment.  Mass Effect was the last (and best) game I had seen at E3 06 and I was interested to see how far the game had some in the 14 months since I had last seen it.  Graphically the game still looks awesome and it was easily one of the best looking games at E3 this year.  What's interesting is that the game streams all the graphics to the screen which allows you to completely customize the look and feel of your character.  They are still smoothing out some of the details with the system but even in beta state the game looked fantastic.

This time around the folks from Bioware walked us through one part of a mission, everything from recruiting a new crew member to planning and executing that mission.  What I like is that the game is going to offer a lot more choices than previous Bioware games.  There is no light or dark side of the force to deal with rather a lot of grey.  Instead of having one bar that shows you where you are you earn points on both positive and negative scales.  This allows for more complex and involving story telling.  Bioware also showed us a new plotline option that I can't talk about but I can say that there are some things in Mass Effect that haven't really been done in a RPG of this type before, things that are a little bit shocking and more open.  I'd tell you more but the Bioware Ninja's would kill me in my sleep tonight if I did.

The interaction with the other characters in the game has taken a few steps forward from what we saw at E3 last year and the dialog trees are very natural.  There are areas where your leadership skills open up new avenues but the actual dialog and conversations between characters has a much more natural feel.  There's a little bit of lead time between interactions so the other characters aren't constantly waiting on you to give them an answer.

I was pretty sold on the game going in and seeing the game in action didn't disappoint me at all.  The only frustrating part of the demo was realizing that I'm not actually going to be playing it for another few months.