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Mass Effect 3: Revenge Of The Spoilers

Spoilers! Get yer spoilers 'ere! Only three quid a dozen! Howzabout that then ma'am, a punnet full of Mass Effect 3 details, yours for just a paaaaarnd.

Actually, I'm guessing these are not especially meaty ME3 spoilers, as rather than spoiling late-game plot stuff they document the status quo for Shepard and chums at the start of Bioware's next galactic opus - but if you really do want to go in totally blind you should look away now.

Game Informer has the first big scoop on the game, as only a magazine owned by the world's biggest game retailer could. The internet did its thing the second subscriber copies arrived, industriously reducing one poor bloke's carefully written preview feature to a list of bulletpoints. It's that how you really prefer to consume information, I can only direct you to Neogaf.

For my part, I'll just look at the basic setup and have a wee ponder upon it. Here commence spoilers, obv.

Shepard, who starts off on Earth, is the enemy of Cerberus, suggesting either that only one ME2 ending is canon or that there's a critical event early in ME3 to in theory make the other final choice match up. The Illusive Man remains a major player, unsurprisingly - his motives and origins were never entirely clear. I hope he's not completely tied into things (and isn't the main antagonist) however; much as I'm a big fan of ME2 there was something about the way the series' narrative suddenly got diverted to Cerberus' machinations that didn't sit entirely well. I'd rather the picture remained much bigger than them.

In terms of squadmates, most of the cast returns, depending on the state of your savegames or choices made during a special 'Previously on Mass Effect' intro comic. Hopefully that'll be better than the 'interview' with Shepard at the start of ME2 - I ended up with a world of differences from my ME1 choices, as I'd lost my savegames and that system wasn't anywhere near as flexible as we'd hoped.

If you left 'em all alive, you'll get to play with Liara, Ashley or Kaiden, Garrus and a new bloke called James. Wrex, Mordin, Legion and Anderson all show up, but may not be playable. Nooo, Mordin! Come back to me! Sing me another song!

The most positive news, if all of this is true, is that ME3 will restore a little of the RPG goodness that ME2 threw out in order to move into the guns'n'conversation genre. Bigger, more flexible skill trees and weapon mods are amongst the promises.

No multiplayer, however. I don't really mind about that, to be honest - this was always the tale of you-as-Shepard, and there's no need to diminish/broaden that for the sake of back-of-the-box features. We'll have more than enough game, I'm sure. I'd much rather as much time, money and polish was poured into the campaign as possible than have a strictly-shooty MP mode too.

All sounds pretty postitive to me, with the lone exception that the plot kicks off immediately following the most recent ME2 DLC, The Arrival. I'm not an enormous fan of an add-on released a year after I finished the game being plot-critical to this sequel, but I suppose it's good that the DLC isn't totally throwaway in which case.

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