previews\ May 9, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Mass Effect - 360 - Preview

E3 2006 First Look Preview

BioWare’s support of the original Xbox yielded excellent results in the RPG genre, from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to Jade Empire. Now, the company is bringing a brand new title to the table for their first foray onto the Xbox 360 with Mass Effect. Mass Effect, published by Microsoft, will be a huge sci-fi RPG set in the far reaches of space. The game will feature all the things that people have come to know and love from BioWare, namely expansive worlds, rich storylines and multiple paths to complete the game however you see fit.

Mass Effect takes place in the far future, with an age-old threat getting ready to change the fate of the entire universe. Around one thousand years in the past (well, the past from the future…?) the galaxy was populated by a wise and powerful race. However, they were stamped out by machines, and the known universe had to rebuild itself from the ground up. Flash forward to the future, where the machine threat is once again rising, requiring you to utilize your assets in order to save the galaxy.

Mass Effect screenshots

Just like in Jade Empire or KOTOR, a lot of what you do in Mass Effect stems from the interactions that you have with other characters in the game. By having conversations, you can not only learn about the events that transpire in the game, but also fish out secret information and mission goals from the NPC’s that you speak with. The conversation system is a lot more refined this time around thanks to the technical prowess of the Xbox 360. Characters will show a lot more expression, and you’ll basically be able to gauge how they feel by the look on their face. While speaking with people, each of your responses will be based in a separate emotion. For example, you’ll have a threaten response as well as a flatter type response, similar to the system last used in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The game gives you several different ways to communicate, and allows you to have real-time conversations with NPCs.

The combat in the game is a blend between real-time RPG fighting and some tactical third person elements thrown into the mix as well. You’ll be able to pull out your gun and shoot at any time, as well as switch between your characters on the fly. You can even stop time and position your characters around to flank an enemy’s position, as well as use the destructible environments against them.

Mass Effect is shaping up to be the next big RPG to hit the Xbox 360, and should appeal to a broad range of 360 players.

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