We’re getting close now. Mass Effect 3 drops on March 9th and we are getting our anticipation on.
Wugga and I just got our mitts on the 360 version, this time with Kinect. For the most part, ME3 is more of the same, only better. The action, the dialogue… it’s the Mass Effect we know and love.
This third iteration adds a few features that make the experience just that little bit better; the cover mechanic includes little indicators telling you what will happen if you bail off in another direction, ala Gears of War. It’s not intrusive, and can make things a little less awkward when diving from cover to cover.
But it’s the Kinect implementation that we’re most interested in here, and you may be shocked to hear me say it, but it works really well. It’s all about the voice commands, and Bioware have obviously worked hard to make it as streamlined and convenient as possible.
You can use voice commands for almost everything. There are things like opening doors, which are kind of superfluous. It’s a deal easier – and faster – to just hit the A button. But when you’re in the heat of combat and you want Liara to bust out a singularity? Just tell her. “Liara, singularity!” And if she isn’t on cooldown, BOOM! There’s your singularity. “James, move,” I say, and the dude moves where I’m pointing. It’s not perfect, but it’s reliable enough that you can use it in combat without the infuriating problems that plagued earlier voice-controlled games like the reviled Tom Clancy’s Endwar.
In the first two Mass Effect games I made very little use of the squad commands. It was, simply, too much bloody hassle. But with voice commands, it’s suddenly easy and convenient. I found myself making extensive use of it within a couple of minutes of picking up the controller.
Even a PC purist like myself can appreciate the convenience of Kinect in this application. It genuinely adds to the experience without making anything annoying. And that’s a key point here. Endwar was almost unplayable, relying as it did on a poorly executed voice control system. ME3, on the other hand, remains completely playable with or without Kinect. You can use it as little or as much as you like. Personally I found it excellent for squad commands, whereas I preferred to use the standard controls for things like changing ammo and, y’know, opening doors.
I’m given to understand that the PC version won’t support Kinect (though that’s not the official word, to my knowledge), but I would totally use it for this. If the price is right. And rumour has it that PC Kinect will be a deal more expensive than the Xbox one. That’s not what we’re talking about though.
Simply put, ME3 with Kinect is pretty much a good thing.