Mass Effect 3 - Day Two

Technically, this is day two through day five, since I haven't had a chance to update my progress. But I'll make this brief, and again, spoiler free for those of you as far into the game (or behind) as I am. Which isn't far.

From what I can tell, I'm a fair chunk of the way through the main story, but there's so many side quests (as is custom for the series) that I keep finding myself going back and forth through certain planets and systems, picking off a quest here or there at a time. It's a good, even spread, and each quest feels like an important part of the story arc as a whole, to the point that character sacrifices and progress play a part. There's also a ton of new equipment and upgrades to find along the way, which makes things interesting.

One of the things I enjoyed from the previous ME games, the mini-game modes such as searching planets for minerals and unlocking doors by linking particular strands of data, are both missing this time around. I guess enough noise was made by fans who found both time consuming and annoying for Bioware to take them out, but I must admit, I kinda miss it. Then again, I can understand why they've been left on the cutting room floor this time, what with the faster pace of certain levels and the combat coming thick and fast, stopping to find enough Palledium or breaking into a certain room breaks up said pacing. Still, I have a soft spot for both, so it's a shame they couldn't have modified them a little instead of dumping both entirely.

There's a few smaller elements that have been added, however, to make up for the loss. Side quests can be discovered simply by walking past the right NPC's and overhearing a conversation. Strangely, you don't have to hear the entire string of dialogue for the quest line to pop up in your list, which can account for at least a handful of quests in my log where I stared at them for a second, wondering where they came from again.

Certain NPC's will also trigger an option for Shepard to butt in, taking the side of a character or making a suggestion to clear up an argument. I've seen a few of these in the Citadel, it's a neat distraction, but it's a little too easy to figure out which side is the right side, and which is wrong. Still, a few extra reputation points won't go astray.

There's a ton more upgrades to unlock as well, and a few of extra powers can be discovered after a conversation or two. The med bay now acts as an optional powers distribution service, allowing you to completely wipe your progress and start again, or purchase additional powers once they are discovered. I've added Warp Ammo to my traditional extras so far (incendiary ammo and Biotic Charge are my personal favourites, two I hope to bring into multiplayer at a later date.)

Unfortunately, the more I do delve into this game, the more technical bugs I do come across. Again, they aren't game breaking, but it's a shame that some of the cut scenes don't quite run at a decent frame rate when the action is too great, and some choppy or blurred textures pop in and out as certain sequences load. I would have thought Bioware could have cleared up these problems by now, three games into a series plus the advantage of extra development time after last years delay. Still, considering the content in the game even 10 hours in (i'm a slow player, so ten hours to me may be only two to others) and the amount of fun I'm having, it's a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things.

Check back soon for Day three, where I take on a handful more quests and return to the Citadel to catch up with an old flame, along with a rap on multiplayer soon and a look at the iTunes exclusive Mass Effect tie-in game, Infiltrator.

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