Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 were great games, combining third-person shooting action with RPG character progression and a movie-worthy sci-fi plot. So, what can Mass Effect 3 do even better?
Here are the top nine things I'd like to see. Tell me what I missed (and got wrong!) in the comments section.
9. Bring Back Vehicles.
Okay, so the Mako segments in the original Mass Effect weren't exactly great. However, they did break up the shooting action, and with a little tweaking to the controls, they could be a perfect addition to Mass Effect 3. In a sequel, the goal should be to fix what didn't work last time around, not to abandon important parts of the game. And it doesn't have to be just the Mako, either: Halo: Reach and Red Faction: Armageddon included sections that were based on Freespace and Descent respectively, so the developers could continue the trend of modern games' paying homage to classic '90s space shooters.
8. Go a Little Deus Ex.
Despite the fact that they had huge game worlds, the action sections in the first two ME games were pretty much linear. It's time for Shepard to have a little more choice when it comes to tackling a mission, from stealth tactics to guns-blazing mayhem. We gamers will never get sick of running down a hallway and shooting stuff, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't appreciate a little more from time to time.
7. Control the Loading Screens.
The long elevator rides in Mass Effect were a little weird, but at least the recorded conversations usually kept the player occupied for the excessive amount of time it took the game to load. In the sequel, even the elevators were gone, leaving you staring at a stereotypical load screen. Ideally, BioWare should control the load times, but failing that, they should entertain us while we're waiting. These days, the worst thing about many video games is the time you spend playing them without actually, you know, playing them.
6. Tone Down and Improve the Mining.
Personally, I'm not a completionist, so I just stop mining when I get sick of it. However, more dedicated gamers no doubt would like a game with (A) less mining and (B) a mining minigame that's a little more entertaining. They're just rocks, people.
5. Give Us Better Boss Fights.
Yes, it's a cliché to have us fight huge monsters periodically, but the reason it became a cliché is that it's satisfying. Mass Effect is a sci-fi shooter with alien races in it, so the bosses shouldn't just be regular-sized enemies who can take lots of damage, which doesn't even make sense anyway.
4. Control the Cast.
RPGs are supposed to have huge casts of characters, but there were simply too many squadmates in Mass Effect 2. A large number of characters isn't nearly as impressive if we can't get to know all of them—and it's just frustrating when we can't even keep them all straight. Given that almost the entire cast can die in the first two games, BioWare has free rein to downsize next time around. It's time for a tight, focused team. If the developers want to create lots and lots of characters, they should focus on making memorable figures in the outside world rather than beefing up your core team.
3. Fix the Cover System.
Anyone who's played the first two games knows that cover can be kind of a pain sometimes; too often, you'll find yourself popping out of (or into) cover when you had no intention to. It's usually not that big of a deal, except on the higher difficulties, but it's clunky, and it really does need a tune-up. The Rainbow Six Vegas and Gears of War franchises both have great cover systems, and BioWare should look to them for guidance.
2. Send the Anti-Video-Game Lobby into Conniptions.
When the original Mass Effect came out, one video game critic claimed that it offered a full-blown sex simulator. It didn't, and neither should Mass Effect 3, but it's time to lash out at the double standard that prevails between movies and games. Mass Effect games are always M-rated, and, if for no other reason than to make a statement, BioWare should give us sex scenes like we'd see in an R-rated movie. Then let the censors explain why it's wrong for an adult to have Mass Effect 3 in his house, and yet it's perfectly okay if he has Basic Instinct.
1. Oh, and Show Us Tali's . . .
. . . face, you pervert.
By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*