First Mass Effect 3 Details Warp In: Beefed Up RPG Mechanics, Returning Party Members, Improved Combat

Maximum PC Staff

We're still not entirely sure if we believe BioWare will be able to have Mass Effect 3 polished to a space-aged sheen in time for a 2011 release, but this certainly has us hopeful. If we normally call these things “scoops,” then BioWare's given Game Informer one of those comically tall ice cream cones normally reserved for slapstick gags in cartoons. Want to know nearly everything about Mass Effect 3? Well, have at it.

First up, story. Mass Effect 3 begins with Shepard suffering quite the fall from grace – getting carted off to earth to be tried for his actions during the recently released ME2 “Arrival” DLC. The reapers, however, aren't so big on courts, trials, and the survival of life as we know it, so they attack earth mid-trial. Shepard is then forced to fight his way to the Normandy and escape to rally his troops.

So, who's along for the ride this time? In the party member category, we have Liara, Ashley/Kaiden, and Garrus. Wrex, Mordin, Legion, and Anderson will also show their faces/vaguely expressive cranial regions, but not as party members, unfortunately. Everyone's favorite Martin Sheen-voiced manipulator The Illusive Man is back in the spotlight (or dimly lit space lounge , as it were) as well, but this time, he's chasing you down. Something tells us it's not a friendly game of mid-Galactic Apocalypse tag, either.

In terms of ground-level nitty gritty stuff, any class can now equip all weapon types, but different classes will have different numbers of weapon slots. There's also a new weapon-modding system that'll let you upgrade your arsenal with all manner of scopes and barrels.

The best part? That's barely even scratching the surface of the game's renewed focus on RPG customization mechanics. Leveling and skill trees will be significantly more diverse, allowing for a wider range of abilities and options. Combat's also getting a Krogan-sized kick in the pants, with increased difficulty, larger areas, and location-specific damage being the main bullet points.

All of that, of course, comes as the cherry atop the mountain of decisions you've made throughout the series – many of which will have huge effects on how Mass Effect 3 ultimately plays out.

So yes, you have plenty to chew on. Now then, if you'll excuse us, we have to go replay ME1 and 2 for the thousandth time. We need to have a badass female Shepard with a heart of gold (except, you know, any time the option to punch people mid-conversation is involved) and an army of Rachni-mounted Krogans ready in time for ME3, you see. Or wait, do we already have one of those? We forget.

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