In-Depth Demo Thoughts

Probably a titsch redundant at this point (since it's more than 5 minutes after the demo was released) but fuck it, it's my blog and I'll write I want to. Write if I want to. Wriiiiite if I want to. You would write too if you just played this demooooooo. Oh and I haven't tried the multiplayer, so I may edit this to include that after I do, or I may just make a separate post. Long story short on the single-player portion: You start where the game will start, play through the intro mission, and then jump ahead to somewhere seemingly within the first third of the game to give you some idea as to how the skill progressing works.

The Bad

This demo starts out presumably around where the game itself will begin and herein lies my first, and biggest, complaint: the game begins with a whimper. After you played Arrival (in which you killed 250,000 batarians to cut the Reapers off from the Mass Relay that would give them unfettered access to the more populous parts of the galaxy), I expected Shepard to be in the midst of a court-martial when the Reavers interuppt the precedings, but no. You've been stripped of your rank and effectively grounded (with Andersen making vague reference to "that shit you pulled"), but the Alliance seems to have come around and believe in the presence of the Reapers. They call you in to consult (again, I thought the Reapers were being widely denied as even existing?), when the massive, sentient ships make landfall on Earth and begin indiscriminately blowing up EVERYTHING IN SIGHT! This is where the demo kicks off, but it's an oddly hollow moment compared to the absolute "WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK!?!?!?" moment of The Normandy being destroyed in the first five minutes of ME2. The whole thing came off as a little rote.

On a more nitpicky level: I chose the default JaneShep character and her facial animations were a little wonky at times. The closest thing I could think of is Juno in Force Unleashed who, in the first game, appeared to just be opening and closing her mouth when she talked, giving her a weird fish/ventriloquist dummy appearance. It wasn't NEARLY as pronounced in this game, but it looked weird. And Wrex's voice actor seems to have trouble finding his ...well voice. He sounded a little unsure, which is something Wrex absolutely should NOT sound like (but it was still good to have the big lug back).

The Good

Everything else. The game plays incredibly smoothly. The animations transition much more organically from one into the other (as opposed to the more "snap from one to the next" of the previous two games), Shepard is MUCH more dynamic now able to jump, climb, drop down, combat roll, and vault over cover, thus eliminating the incredible logistic irritation of the previous two games. On a more fundamental level, this game does exactly what they promised it would: it splits the difference between ME1 and ME2 in terms of action VS RPG. The shooting is still very much ME1 with Shep now able to wield any weapon effectively (as any combatant with this level of experience should), but the number of weapons you can take into a mission limited by class (with Soldier being the only one that can wield all of them), but the abilities now branching at every level past the third. Yes, even ammo abilities have completely different branches which, even just previewing them, makes me extremely excited since the branches seem to be change how each ability works substantially. It's also great to already see in this preview who's coming back and who has yet to be seen. Edit: Additionally, I picked up a number of weapon customizations, which I couldn't/didn't use in the demo, but the sheer number I got seem to indicate that customization is back in full force, so anyone missing it in ME2: your prayers have been answered.

Ultimately this demo failed to completely WOW me, but it did absolutely show me that they're going in the right direction. It also makes sense that they wouldn't put a giant "OH SHIT" moment in their demo necessarily, so I'm still absolutely willing to be wowed. For those worried that Bioware had somehow lost their way or were just shoveling a pile of crap when they talked about compromising between ME1 and 2, it absolutely seems like they're doing exactly that. And there are PLENTY of dialog wheels even in this hour or so, so no worries: the game is still plenty chatty. This demo did exactly what it should have: gave me a taste so that I'm absolutely down to pay for a full experience.

15 Comments
16 Comments
Posted by Undeadpool

Probably a titsch redundant at this point (since it's more than 5 minutes after the demo was released) but fuck it, it's my blog and I'll write I want to. Write if I want to. Wriiiiite if I want to. You would write too if you just played this demooooooo. Oh and I haven't tried the multiplayer, so I may edit this to include that after I do, or I may just make a separate post. Long story short on the single-player portion: You start where the game will start, play through the intro mission, and then jump ahead to somewhere seemingly within the first third of the game to give you some idea as to how the skill progressing works.

The Bad

This demo starts out presumably around where the game itself will begin and herein lies my first, and biggest, complaint: the game begins with a whimper. After you played Arrival (in which you killed 250,000 batarians to cut the Reapers off from the Mass Relay that would give them unfettered access to the more populous parts of the galaxy), I expected Shepard to be in the midst of a court-martial when the Reavers interuppt the precedings, but no. You've been stripped of your rank and effectively grounded (with Andersen making vague reference to "that shit you pulled"), but the Alliance seems to have come around and believe in the presence of the Reapers. They call you in to consult (again, I thought the Reapers were being widely denied as even existing?), when the massive, sentient ships make landfall on Earth and begin indiscriminately blowing up EVERYTHING IN SIGHT! This is where the demo kicks off, but it's an oddly hollow moment compared to the absolute "WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK!?!?!?" moment of The Normandy being destroyed in the first five minutes of ME2. The whole thing came off as a little rote.

On a more nitpicky level: I chose the default JaneShep character and her facial animations were a little wonky at times. The closest thing I could think of is Juno in Force Unleashed who, in the first game, appeared to just be opening and closing her mouth when she talked, giving her a weird fish/ventriloquist dummy appearance. It wasn't NEARLY as pronounced in this game, but it looked weird. And Wrex's voice actor seems to have trouble finding his ...well voice. He sounded a little unsure, which is something Wrex absolutely should NOT sound like (but it was still good to have the big lug back).

The Good

Everything else. The game plays incredibly smoothly. The animations transition much more organically from one into the other (as opposed to the more "snap from one to the next" of the previous two games), Shepard is MUCH more dynamic now able to jump, climb, drop down, combat roll, and vault over cover, thus eliminating the incredible logistic irritation of the previous two games. On a more fundamental level, this game does exactly what they promised it would: it splits the difference between ME1 and ME2 in terms of action VS RPG. The shooting is still very much ME1 with Shep now able to wield any weapon effectively (as any combatant with this level of experience should), but the number of weapons you can take into a mission limited by class (with Soldier being the only one that can wield all of them), but the abilities now branching at every level past the third. Yes, even ammo abilities have completely different branches which, even just previewing them, makes me extremely excited since the branches seem to be change how each ability works substantially. It's also great to already see in this preview who's coming back and who has yet to be seen. Edit: Additionally, I picked up a number of weapon customizations, which I couldn't/didn't use in the demo, but the sheer number I got seem to indicate that customization is back in full force, so anyone missing it in ME2: your prayers have been answered.

Ultimately this demo failed to completely WOW me, but it did absolutely show me that they're going in the right direction. It also makes sense that they wouldn't put a giant "OH SHIT" moment in their demo necessarily, so I'm still absolutely willing to be wowed. For those worried that Bioware had somehow lost their way or were just shoveling a pile of crap when they talked about compromising between ME1 and 2, it absolutely seems like they're doing exactly that. And there are PLENTY of dialog wheels even in this hour or so, so no worries: the game is still plenty chatty. This demo did exactly what it should have: gave me a taste so that I'm absolutely down to pay for a full experience.

Posted by Seppli

The guns feel awesome. I think DICE's resident gunplay designer had a hand in that.

Also loved that moment where the little dude buys the farm. And Krogan ladies with an attitude!

I'd hit that.

Posted by Undeadpool

@Seppli said:

The guns feel awesome. I think DICE's resident gunplay designer had a hand in that.

Also loved that moment where the little dude buys the farm. And Krogan ladies with an attitude!

I'd hit that.

I'm going to agree with everything you've said here. Every. Thing.

Posted by wolf_blitzer85

I mostly enjoyed it. Even on my old computer, it ran at a constant 60fps with AA at 1080p, which is great, because it's a better looking Mass Effect game. Shooting felt good, however I really had a problem with the way Shepard (Lady Shep anyway) moved. 
 
It felt like I was ice skating everywhere all the while holding my hands out like snake....slithering towards all the bad guys. It felt super disjointed for me. Like she had no weight even though according to Anderson she's a fatass now.
 
If anything, I really can't wait to see how the story unfolds. I thought I wasn't excited, but once I got a drop of Mass Effect story on the tongue, I decided I needed more.

Posted by ChaosDent

It plays exactly like Mass Effect 2, and yet as far as the story is concerned, Mass Effect 2 may as well never have happened. None of your new game choices cover any of the events in ME 2, you start with the military, disgraced, and are immediately given command of "The Normandy," with your ME 1 Human ally as a guide. Which Normandy is this? Did the military build themselves a Normandy 2 or did Cerberus hand it over (I find that hard to believe)? This can't be Normandy 3, because that would be weird to have two rival military organizations take turns building these nearly identical prototype ships for the express purpose of this one commander and then number them sequentially.  Then the next thing you know, some time has passed and we're hanging out with three different Mass Effect 1 characters, and one of the ME 2 characters (part of the "incredible team' you had to spend the ENTIRE GAME building last time) is just an NPC?  If Mass Effect 2 gave you such little agency, it would have just been better to skip it and head straight for the Reaper invasion.  

Also, it plays exactly like Mass Effect 2, and I don't really care for the way Mass Effect 2 plays. I still miss grenades, I still miss the map,  the run/sprint/jump/talk button is still the devil's spawn and they haven't fixed any of the PC UI issues.  

Pass

Posted by jozzy

@ChaosDent said:

I still miss grenades

I had grenades as a soldier? It did take me a while to figure out how to throw them (it's an ability).

Posted by ChaosDent
@jozzy said:

@ChaosDent said:

I still miss grenades

I had grenades as a soldier? It did take me a while to figure out how to throw them (it's an ability).

If it triggers like an ability and cools down like an ability, then it's an ability. In ME1 grenades represented a third path you could use if your abilities were all cooling down and your weapon overheated. They were just an item you could use, and not a feature of a specific class.
Posted by jozzy

@ChaosDent said:

@jozzy said:

@ChaosDent said:

I still miss grenades

I had grenades as a soldier? It did take me a while to figure out how to throw them (it's an ability).

If it triggers like an ability and cools down like an ability, then it's an ability. In ME1 grenades represented a third path you could use if your abilities were all cooling down and your weapon overheated. They were just an item you could use, and not a feature of a specific class.

Sure, just thought you didn't know there were grenades in the game. You actually pick them up as ammo, but throwing them is an ability. Thought that was weird too, that's why it took me a while to figure it out.

Posted by Undeadpool

@jozzy said:

@ChaosDent said:

@jozzy said:

@ChaosDent said:

I still miss grenades

I had grenades as a soldier? It did take me a while to figure out how to throw them (it's an ability).

If it triggers like an ability and cools down like an ability, then it's an ability. In ME1 grenades represented a third path you could use if your abilities were all cooling down and your weapon overheated. They were just an item you could use, and not a feature of a specific class.

Sure, just thought you didn't know there were grenades in the game. You actually pick them up as ammo, but throwing them is an ability. Thought that was weird too, that's why it took me a while to figure it out.

I'll agree that I was one of the few people who found the grenades really useful (mostly throwing them on a wall behind a dug-in enemy, then detonating them), but I'm fine with how the game handles them now. They have a REAL quick cool-down and I never really used them as a third offensive pillar since they were a pain in the ass to aim.

As for all the ME2 irrelevancy talk, I think I'll wait until the full game comes out before dismissing every little thing that happened in 2. There's a huge amount excised from where you start to where the demo plops you down and for all we know, the Normandy could've been in Earth orbit, or nearby, and just come to help. Remember that Cerberus might own it, but it's not like they control it.

Posted by Mike76x

@ChaosDent: It's the Normandy from Mass Effect 2.

The Alliance takes it when Shepard turns himself in, and is relieved of command.

After going through it for the Cerberus tech, they turn it into an Alliance ship.

Shepard handing over the Normandy pisses off the Illusive Man, now Cerberus doesn't like Shepard.

Posted by Guided_By_Tigers

So you're saying the game is full of win?

Posted by Totoni

It would probably be best to wait for the entire game to come out before dismissing anything happening in ME2 not having relevancy or consequence in ME3. The opening in ME3 seems more like a cold opening to me. You probably find out more about waht happened between ME2 and ME3 while playing through the game.

Posted by Undeadpool

@Unknown_Pleasures: I am saying that but what an oddly specific way to...oh you suck!

@Mike76x: Figured they wouldn't leave a gaping plot-hole like that...

Posted by Pezen

I skipped the story beats just to feel the combat. The gunplay feels nice but what is up with everyone running like frogs on two legs? Maybe I'm overreacting but it looked like they were lifting their legs out really weirdly. As if everyone had been horseback riding for 3 years.

Posted by Undeadpool

@jozzy said:

@ChaosDent said:

@jozzy said:

@ChaosDent said:

I still miss grenades

I had grenades as a soldier? It did take me a while to figure out how to throw them (it's an ability).

If it triggers like an ability and cools down like an ability, then it's an ability. In ME1 grenades represented a third path you could use if your abilities were all cooling down and your weapon overheated. They were just an item you could use, and not a feature of a specific class.

Sure, just thought you didn't know there were grenades in the game. You actually pick them up as ammo, but throwing them is an ability. Thought that was weird too, that's why it took me a while to figure it out.

Well the cooldown is so short (I'm pretty sure it's just until the grenade explodes) that it basically IS another ammo-type. I don't think you could have multiple onscreen in ME1 either since the trigger button was also the detonate button.

Posted by eclipsesis

i felt no excitement through out the demo, i found it pretty bland quite underwhelmed by the reappers