Man, what the heck is this guy on about? He is clearly just trolling for pageviews. I mean come on Kotaku, no one should be nervous about Mass Effect 3. There are so many reasons to believe that the game will, in fact, be the best Mass Effect yet.
Hmm actually, let's slow down for a second. In all seriousness, it really is fair to be a bit nervous about the new game. But while part of me may feel some worrisome doubts, many other parts have faith in BioWare. They've made two great Mass Effect games already, so it's hard to say they haven't earned the benefit of the doubt.
Let's look at some reasons to feel hopeful that Mass Effect 3 isn't just going to not suck, it's going to be pretty darn great.
A lot of fears about Mass Effect 3 are centered around the fact that the promotional materials seem to have little to do with what most of us love about Mass Effect. But that's okay. Most of the things that we love about Mass Effect simply don't translate well to advertisements, and wouldn't help sell the game to a mainstream audience.
All advertisements lie to some extent, and video game advertisements are certainly no exception. But that lying is in the service of bringing new people in, and selling the game to folks who don't know anything about it. As jazzed as I may be to hang out in the cockpit and gossip with Joker about my squad-mates, or to see what becomes of Thane, Garrus, Miranda and the rest of the gang, EA is probably doing well to avoid showing that stuff in a trailer. Showing a tough-looking brunette sucker-punching a reporter isn't exactly the stuff that great TV spots are made of, no matter how much it would make fans cheer.
Everywhere I look, I see signs that the team working on Mass Effect 3 "gets it." (And why shouldn't they? They invented the series, after all.) Those super-terrific, BioWare-written voice messages from Ashley and Kaiden. The decision to make an official FemShep, however rocky the route to the final decision was. The inclusion of male same-sex romance, which had been an odd omission in an otherwise wonderfully inclusive series. (And hey, at least one of the guys working on the game is on the record saying that video games would benefit from more diversity.)
And then there's the game's director Casey Hudson telling The Telegraph:
A lot of the changes in Mass Effect 2 people really liked, but what we do really want to do is listen to the feedback. A lot of the systems could have allowed you more intelligent decisions to make about how you actually play, so we've gone a lot deeper on that.
Sounds good, and sounds like they really are listening to feedback.
A lot of worries about Mass Effect 3 seem to be that it will be "dumbed-down," or "just another Gears of War game." But hey—let's not forget that in a genre affectionately referred to by our friends at Rock, Paper Shotgun as "Guns and Conversation," the guns do factor as 50% of that equation. So all the better that they really have improved the guns part of that equation.
While I doubt that Mass Effect 3's action-overhaul will be nearly as significant as the changes between ME1 and ME2, I'm still looking forward to seeing what another couple years' worth of mechanical refinements will bring. What I've played so far at hands-on events has been promising. The game's gunplay most likely still won't quite be as smooth or satisfying as Gears of War 3, but let's not forget that better combat can really only make the game more fun.
Hoo boy, was Lair of the Shadow Broker good. So good, in fact, that I'd place it alongside or even above the very best missions in Mass Effect 2 itself. Shadow Broker had everything: a great story, development of a character I cared about, fun action sequences, humor, romance, a cool (and non-arbitrary) new type of enemy, and a bonus payoff that felt entirely in line with everything I love about Mass Effect.
The DLC also felt a bit as though it had been made in response to folks who were bummed that we didn't get to see more of Liara in Mass Effect 2 proper—and if this is how BioWare addresses fan complaints, we have got a lot of great stuff to look forward to in Mass Effect 3.
Here's the thing: Mass Effect is not Dragon Age, and Mass Effect 2 was certainly no Dragon Age II. (Also hey, some people do like Dragon Age II, and they are very eloquent when talking about why.)
At any rate, a few complaints aside, I gotta say that Mass Effect 2 was a bloody good time. I was swept away to a degree that I haven't been by many games since.
And while it's all well and good to hold Dragon Age II up as a BioWare cautionary tale, let's not forget that the two games are made by different teams. And aside from the fact that the guys behind the Dragon Age franchise are saying some okay-sounding things about their own third entry (weird-sounding multiplayer notwithstanding), the Mass Effect team has already proven that they know how to make a great sequel. Now all they have to do is... do it again.
So there you have 'em: Some good reasons to feel hopeful about Mass Effect 3, even though you may also have some doubts. It's okay to feel two ways about something, after all. To quote the late, great Mitch Hedberg:
"I played in a death metal band. People either loved us or they hated us. Or they thought we were okay."
It's tough to say where Mass Effect 3 will end up, though of course, we here at Kotaku bring you more impressions of the game as we get closer to its release date. For now, the only thing to feel certain about is that one way or another, the damn thing will be released soon and we can all finally find out whether our hopes (and fears) were founded after all.
I, like so many other video game enthusiasts, am something of a Mass Effect fan. I love the stories, I love the characters. I love the music, I love the constantly improving gameplay, I love my many Shepards. More »