Bioware's highly anticipated role-playing game, Mass Effect 3, will debut as a playable demo on Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network on Feb. 14.
Personally, I'm psyched to get my hands on ME3 because it's going to put the wraps on what has been a really cool, well-crafted story thus far. Bioware has made its name on strong, story-based titles and Mass Effect certainly delivers as you get to play as an interesting, complex human character surrounded by aliens who prove to be valuable allies and cunning enemies. And Mass Effect's political atmosphere is also appealing to anyone who enjoys a good story as the whole aliens vs. humans bias, as well as man vs. machines resonates with issues that are commonplace today.
What's significant about this particular demo is that it will give gamers a chance to dive into the co-op multiplayer mode, which is a first for the ME franchise. The other two games were single-player only.
I wouldn't bet against Bioware succeeding here. There were huge leaps between the first and second ME games in terms of the way the action unfolded. The second game featured a much more streamlined experience, with a greater emphasis on a more straight-ahead shooter mechanic. This ticked off some RPG purists, but I for one didn't agree.
According to Bioware, the demo will let players experience the opening scene in which the machines, the Repears, attack Earth. And besides the multiplayer feature being included in the demo, full voice recognition functionality for the 360's Kinect is going to be included in the Feb. 14 release, as well.
“We are excited to be able to give gamers an expansive demo that will put them right on the front lines of this all-out galactic war,” said Casey Hudson, executive producer of the Mass Effect series. “The entire scale of the game is bigger than anything we’ve ever done. With its intense action, deep customization and raw emotional power, Mass Effect 3 will deliver a spectacular action RPG experience to fans of the series and newcomers alike.”
Players who want to try the co-op mode will be able to do so on Feb. 17, or by qualifying for early access to the co-op portion of the demo as of Feb. 14. Early access is available if you have activated a Battlefield 3 online pass. However, Bioware says "other opportunities" will be announced "in the near future" at its Website, www.masseffect.com.
Mass Effect 3 hits stores on March 6 in North America for the 360, PS3 and PC, while Europe gets access on March 9.
For more information on Mass Effect 3, please visit masseffect.com, twitter.com/masseffect or "like" the game on Facebook at facebook.com/masseffect.