By the time Electronic Arts began its E3 2011 press conference, Microsoft had already shown one of next year's most anticipated games: Mass Effect 3. Not to be outdone, EA kicked off its presser by showing off a completely different part of the game. Mass Effect Executive Producer Casey Hudson took the stage to tell us that on March 6, 2012, war begins. The ominous galactic race known as the Reapers have carved a path of destruction on their way to Earth. Hudson stated that the action and tension of the series will be at their peak in Mass Effect 3 and that longtime players will be able to see what their choices up to this point might lead to.
The gameplay demo was an assault on a Reaper base. With the Normandy on standby, Shepard must target a specific point at the base for destruction. After a short firefight with a couple of armored Cerberus troops, Shepard marks the spot, and the Normandy, piloted by Joker, drops its ordnance there. Unfortunately, the walkway on which Shepard stands collapses, and he falls to a platform beneath. At this point, a fearsome image takes over the screen: a humongous Reaper rises up, its giant legs straddling the walkway as Shepard moves ahead, taking shots at more troops as they fly up from below using their jetpacks.
Shepard finally reaches a vehicle piloted by a Geth teammate (Legion, presumably) and leaps into place behind a turret. As the craft speeds away, Shepard takes aim at the gargantuan scorpionlike Reaper trudging threateningly toward him. After a few moments of shooting, the Reaper goes down in an eruption of smoke and flames. It's a temporary respite, however: the Reaper rises up a few seconds later and renews its chase. Shepard renews his shooting, and… the demo ends.
Hudson told the crowd that there would be more large-scale battles such as this one, in addition to the standard action and choice-making for which the series is known. It was a short demo, but enough to make us excited to see more on the E3 2011 show floor. In addition, BioWare is scheduled to show off Mass Effect 3 on GameSpot's live show on Wednesday, so be sure to tune in for more Milky Way mayhem then!