In a story first posted over at the preternaturally quick-on-the-draw NeoGaf, the early test build of the new Xbox Live dashboard had an entirely unexpected surprise – a playable Beta of “Mass Effect 3”. Some image spoilers for “Mass Effect 3” follow.
It was pulled back into the BioWare/Microsoft fold in but the breath of a second, but NeoGaf’s crack internet ninjas were able to grab screens and post them to fuel the agonising wait until March 2012. There’s been a fair bit of internet negativity about the third installment – fans of the stats-heavy original RPG hybrid were dismayed by the combat emphasis of the second game and by how they felt it stepped away from the action-RPG genre and become a generic third-person sci-fi shooter – but I’m still confident that the third game will be a great conclusion to this trilogy.
Three difficulties are noted on the screens in NeoGaf’s thread – there’s a story mode, if that’s where your play style lies, which emphasises narrative progression and eases the difficulty of combat, an action mode which does the opposite and a more balanced, classic mode which gives you the whole enchilada (I’m going to pin my colours to that particular mast).
Nothing that I’ve seen so far has but me off this title – an evolution of the great stuff done in the second game, rather than a ‘throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater’-style unnecessary reinvention. Your mileage may vary, but I’m very keen to see what BioWare deliver with this game.