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New 'Mass Effect' Details, Most Expensive DLC Ever
With Mass Effect 3 is only a few months away, more details on Bioware's changes and plans are emerging. Among the more interesting news is that Big Fish games will be offering four series of four Mass Effect figurines, each of which will come with "access to downloadable in-game content." The figures are being sold for $17.99 each, or $67.99 for a set of four; making this almost definitely the most expensive pieces of DLC ever released. In addition, German magazine GameStar has quite a bit of new info, including some interesting story bits.
Currently, Big Fish has the first two sets of figures available for pre-order. The first series includes Tali, Thane, Grunt and Shepard; the second has Miranda, Mordin, Legion and Garrus in series two. Each figure will include a card with a code for DLC. According to the listing on Bioware's site, the DLC will be "slightly randomized," and can include powerful new weapons and new characters. The pack could also include character boosters, weapon modifications, and weapon upgrades to make your multi-player squad stronger."
Whether or not that will be worth the price ($271.96 for all four sets) for those less action figure inclined is yet to be seen. The DLC will only be available for gamers playing on the PC or 360.
GameStar scored a veritable buttload of new info, and a user on the Bioware forum was nice enough to compile it online. SPOILERS follow, I feel like they're fairly minor, but you've been warned.
Mars will be an important location in the game, with Shepard arriving there to look for a Prothean "secret weapon." Casey Hudson thought it was important to note that the weapon isn't a "McGuffin that will win the war," but about "searching the whole galaxy for pieces of useful knowledge and war assets." Liara will be returning, and will join the team on Mars.
Reapers will be able to control territory. At the beginning, the people on the Citadel believe the war isn't their problem, but this will change as the Reapers scoop up more systems. If Shepard flies though a Reaper-controlled area, you might be pursued and will have to do some kind of minigame to escape. Reapers will control more and more territory as the game progresses, but only after major plot decisions. With this in mind, you'll probably want to finish up optional missions before main ones, as certain big story events can lock you out of them.
More than ever, Shepard will be balancing the wants and needs of the various Mass Effect species. All missions will increase your reputation with NPCs, and various factions and team members will have Paragon or Renegade leanings, as well as obviously loyalty to their species. No matter what happens to characters like Grunt and Tali, there will always be a Krogan and Quarian on-board the Normandy who will be personally affected and comment on Shepard's decisions. And in true Mass Effect fashion, many missions will have mutually exclusive decisions, affecting the fate of civilizations and the loyalty of NPCs.
If old teammates are dead, certain story arcs may be lost. Sometimes though, a replacement character will be available, and "sometimes the story will develop in a totally different way." The Collector base decision at the end of ME2 will become important at some point as well. Shepard will definitely be returning to the Citadel (which will be "bigger than ever"), and there will be many characters from the first two games making appearances. They'll be making an effort to tie up loose ends, including the mystery of the Keepers.
The big, big overall gameplay mechanic seems to be a sort of "war assets" system. Characters you meet and factions you befriend can contribute all sorts of things to the war effort, from fleets to single people. There will be a "menu listing everyone's contributions to the war assets." Something like getting the loyalty of the Quarian fleet will be worth a lot of points, while "an entry for a single guy you've met in a bar and convinced to join the army" might be worth a single point. In addition, everything Shepard does in the game (story missions, sidequests, minigames) will affect the war in someway.
And ENDING SPOILERS, there will be no "Reapers win" ending, because Bioware believes such an ending is unsatisfying enough that players will simply reload an earlier save anyways. There will however be endings that result in the destruction of many worlds (including Earth), and entire species going extinct.
Mass Effect 3 will hit consoles and PC on March 6, 2012.