PlayStation Universe

Mass Effect 3 info landslide: enhanced combat, fewer squad mates and larger environments

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on 11 May 2011

Way ahead of the early-2012 release date of Mass Effect 3, snippets of information and even some spoilers are already serving well to whet our appetites for the final game in Bioware’s epic RPG trilogy.

Xbox World Magazine, via a poster on the Neogaf forums, has an exclusive feature on Mass Effect 3 that reveals the developer has cut back on the amount of squad members you can recruit; instead  focusing more intently on the relationships between those characters and how they develop.

Referring to the amount of squad members you could recruit in the last game, Bioware’s Casey Hudson said: “Twelve was a big number in Mass Effect 2 – almost too big.” “We’re focused on a smaller squad with deeper relationships and more interesting interplay in Mass Effect 3. We’re not going to have twelve again but we are going to do more with the characters on your squad including Liara, and Kaidan or Ashley."

Hudson also confirms that every main character from Mass Effect 2 will appear in the sequel, but a few tweaks here and there will see a change to some of their abilities and the way they look. Indeed, changes are to be made with the armor set-ups of the main characters and the way they approach combat situations to give players more variety during action sequences. The article refers specifically to Shepard: "To deal with the last few elites, Shepard [using the freezing concussion shot] freezes them solid to hold them still, then lines up sniper shots exactly through the eye-slits in their shields,” says Xbox World.

"Put a shield in front of an enemy, and suddenly the ability of the engineer class to place a combat drone behind someone and blow it up gains a new significance. Namely, knocking a guy on his face and shooting him in the head."

"Shepard commando-rolls out of the elite's way - a new move, by the way - and sneaks behind a partition running alongside the main corridor. Liara springs out of cover and pins the elite with a biotic singularity, while Garrus snipes him from cover. Neither kills the elite, but now Shepard is behind him. Rather than fire, he lashes out with his omni-tool, which emits a blade of flame that cuts through the elite's exposed back. He drops."

Bioware appears keen to stress that the additional powers of your squad will come in very handy for tackling the Cerberus forces, which have received an A.I. overhaul."Cerberus Troopers can do everything that Shepard can do now" says Designer Corey Gaspur. "So you’re fighting a force that's a lot more punishing"

Bioware is also intent on making Mass Effect 3’s level design worth remembering, and the article goes into specifics regarding the scale of some of the fights. "These spaces are large enough to accommodate a six hundred foot Reaper bossfight, and a fifty foot Cerberus Atlas mech which Shepard himself pilots later in the game," reveals Xbox World. Indeed, Bioware has apparently rammed home the fact that Mass Effect 3 will feature many large-scale environments. “Every fight every enemy and every space is bigger than anything you've ever seen rendered in Mass Effect,” teases the Bioware team.

Bioware even reveals that the area of “Seattle/Vancouver megacity on the west coast of North America” is actually modeled on Vancouver and if you were to check the map of the area out it isn’t too dissimilar to what you’ll find in game. There are a few more snippets of information from the magazine that Mass Effect fans should find interesting. You can read more at the Neogaf forums, though we're sure Xbox World would also be chuffed if everyone actually bought the magazine.