A good portion of the playable demos at the Wii U Preview Event were of third party titles that will either have a release coinciding with the Wii U’s version, or have been released beforehand on the Xbox 360 and/or PlayStation 3. One such title is still my choice for game of the year thus far, and one I’ve sunk way too much time in since its relese — Mass Effect 3.
The Gamepad offers a few neat tricks that helps enhance the experience with Bioware’s epic conclusion. In a nice touch, the player’s map is always visible on the Gamepad, which can help navigate certain areas with a bit more ease. Not only that, but squad powers are all available to use via touch. It’s a nice little addition, one that doesn’t feel intrusive, but does feel like a natural evolution of what was released earlier in the year. As with a number of Wii U titles, gameplay can be shown on the Gamepad itself, enabling players to continue playing their game, all the while the television set is used for something completely different [Or ME3 Multiplayer in the can? -Ed]. The controls themselves were exactly the same, so it’s easy to jump right into it if the player has an experience with the franchise, but it’s not so daunting that new players won’t be scared off.
Visually speaking, Mass Effect 3 looks nearly identical as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 incarnations, though it does seem just a step sharper than it was before. The animation falls under that same umbrella of comparison – looks the same, though seems just a hair smoother. About the only thing that is a downgrade (although it’s mostly a minute one) is when the gameplay goes from the players television to the Gamepad. Due to the lower-resolution screen, the quality is still there, though it’s just a little bit on the jaggy side and not as smooth animation wise. Honestly though, it’s not a detraction from the gameplay, and the fact that Mass Effect 3 can be played in this manner is a definite plus.
But the biggest question: If I were to purchase a Wii U, would I go for seconds and purchase a second version of Mass Effect 3? With just about everything intact already, in addition to a Wii U exclusive weapon (a rocket launcher type device), I could see myself purchasing this one a second time. The Gamepad additions are not mind blowing or intrusive, but they are augmentations that better aid players. And really, I could never have enough Mass Effect 3 in my life, especially in that multiplayer. Look for this one to drop within the launch window of the Wii U.