Earth is doomed. If civilization’s final hope is commander Shepard…well, we’re all fucked. Anyone who runs as though they’ve just soiled themselves is bound to have a hard time inspiring confidence in those he hopes to lead. Which is a huge disadvantage when your raison d’être is to forge intergalactic alliances with numerous alien species.
Poo-pants running aside, everything about Mass Effect 3’s brief demo screams epic sci-fi romp. The title screen alone is enough to get the juices flowing. Celestial balls of flame plummet towards the earth, scarring its surface with molten pockmarks. The Reapers are back.
For Mass Effect newbies, The Reapers are a sentient race of machines responsible for cleansing the galaxy of all organic life every 50,000 years. Major bummer, right? In order to stand any kind of chance against this technically superior race of robo-bastards, Shephard must gather support from alien civilizations and mount a counter-attack.
The demo plunges you into the action from the off. The Reapers – looking like giant mechanical ticks – descend upon the city in their hundreds, spewing death lasers from angry red eyes and generally being an effing nuisance. Piggybacking off of the final DLC available for Mass Effect 2, Arrival, Mass Effect 3 sees Shepherd’s court-martial hearing rudely interrupted by the Reaper's genocidal shenanigans.
Luckily, both you and David Anderson - remember him? – survive the initial onslaught and make a run for safety. Here’s where the cut scenes end and you actually take control of Shepherd. Your escape route involves a precarious dash along crumbling beams that overlook the city.
And – wow – what a city it is. A genuinely stunning sci-fi vista with an absolutely heee-oooge Reaper chewing up the scenery. It’s a pretty epic way to see in the tutorial. Sadly there’s nothing else of note to report. The combat, at this early stage, is your basic run, cover and fire. But it’s satisfying nonetheless. My only beef is Shepard’s spazzy run. What the hell is up with that?
One more thing: the demo also allows you to play as either boy-shep or girl-shep. Choose boy-shep and you have a brief run in with Ashely. Opt to play as girl-shep and you’ll bump into Kaiden. You can expect to see other familiar faces as the story progresses.
Conclusion: The demo pushes all the right buttons. This looks set to be a worthy finale to an epic trilogy. Check out the vid below and see for yourself.
Release Date: March 9th 2012