Shepard Warned Us

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Mass Effect 3 is one of the games that is at the top of my canít-wait list, and with good reason. The previous two games have done a great job of setting up this trilogy-ending event, and once again, you will control Shepard and his small crew as you try and save the known universe.

This time around, the Reapers are fully awake and are taking over. The game starts with Shepard being put on trial for his various valiant, though not-exactly-legal, tasks. Before the trial can reach itís conclusion though, the massive alien machine race rains down.

At the E3 demo, we got to see two segments of the upcoming game. The first shows off the scale of some of the fights players will be facing. Shepard is attempting to destroy a Reaper base and when he marks his target for The Normandy to send in its firepower, we learn that it wasnít just a Reaper base, but a Reaper itself. Now Shepard has to not only get away from the awakened mechanical monster, but still find a way to take it down.

It was during this segment that we got a glimpse at some of the characters being brought back. While trying to get away, Legion, the Geth you befriend in Mass Effect 2, drives a massive vehicle through a wall and picks you up. From here, Shepard takes to a set of gun turrets mounted on the top of the vehicle and starts shooting at the chasing Reaper with everything he has. As is the case with most E3 demos, the gameplay ends just before the final showdown with the beast, leaving us to wonder what will happen next.

In the second demo, Shepard and his team are trying to rescue a character who is apparently key in a budding alliance between two races. From what I was able to gather during this sequence, the character is a female, and fertile, krogan. She is encased in some sort of medical machinery and Mordin is trying to escort her out. The big problem is that there are several checkpoints and Shepard and the rest of his team have to fight their way through a bunch of enemies to get to each checkpoint and allow the geneticist and his new patient through each checkpoint. Interestingly enough, Iím pretty sure I heard the female krogan mention Wrex and how he ďcanít back away from a fertile female.Ē Is Wrex on your team? Is he after you in order to get to this female? How does this play out if you allowed Wrex to die in the first game? I canít wait to play through ME 3 in order to find out.

This demo did a good job of showing off a lot of the face-to-face action that is in play this time around. With indoctrinated Cerberus agents all around, not only were we able to get a good look at the newly overhauled cover system, but also at Shepardís Omni-Blade which makes for some good close-up kills.

The last part of our E3 demo starts just after Shepardís shortened trial. Here, he teams up with Anderson (Keith David) in an attempt to get out of the city and to safety. During this, we got to see some of the early choices that will face Shepard and how they will set the tone for later parts of the story. Once again, this mad dash through the ruined city really sells the scale of the game and how big the events around you feel. When you finally reach the ship, Anderson decides to stay behind in order to rally the forces on Earth and orders Shepard to go out and do whatever is necessary to end the Reaper threat. When Shepard points out that he is no longer under Andersonís command, the older officer tosses Shepard his dog tags and officially reinstates his commission. This same scene gave us a good view of Garis, Liara and Ashley, and presumably, Kaidan would be standing there if he was the one that survived the first game.

ME 3 completes the epic trilogy on March 6th for both the XBox 360 and PS3. While the game has a much stronger third-person shooter feel to it, I am hoping that it will still feel like Mass Effect and there is still a good bit of customization to be had.