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ARTICLE

Mass Effect 3: The Essentials

For many gamers, Mass Effect 3 is going to be the essential game of 2012. With the return of the Reapers only a few days away, we thought it was about time that we took a closer look at how Shepard and co are preparing for the inevitable invasion.

THE GALLERY

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MUST-SEE VIDEOS

There is a plethora of trailers, live-action sequences, announcement videos and slices of gameplay footage for you to enjoy. Here are the highlights:

The most recent trailer is the 'Fight' live action trailer.

This PWNED Special offers a mixture of interviews and gameplay footage.

Take Back Earth is an explosive gameplay trailer. Or alternatively, check out Against All Odds.

Some gamers prefer a different arrangement of chromosomes when adventuring with Shepard. If that's the case for you, then the Female Shepard Reinstated trailer is the one you want to watch.

For a look at some of the stars behind your favourite characters you need not look any further than the Cast Announcement video.

Want to check out some combat? Then why not take a look at the Squad Leader trailer.

And last, but not least, here's the Fall of Earth trailer from E3 2011.

Mass Effect 3

CAMPAIGN

The campaign for Mass Effect 3 is, in many ways, going to be business as usual. Gamers will be faced with a variety of moral choices, each outcome feeding into either the Paragon or Renegade meter. You'll assemble your team from across the galaxy and then, when you've gathered the right personnel (and maybe completed some side-quests), you'll take on the Reapers and, hopefully, save the known universe.

Watch: Bengt and Daniel discuss their first impressions after playing the first hour in this preview.

Read: There's a couple of previews to read. The first focuses on the the first hour of gameplay, the second is a bit more general.

Mass Effect 3

MULTIPLAYER

For the first time in the Mass Effect series there will be a multiplayer element to the game. It's strictly co-op, but the work you do in this mode will feed into the campaign, influencing events in the main storyline. It's by no means essential, unless you're a completionist, but it does add a new dimension to the series.

Watch: Jonas and Bengt give their first impressions of Mass Effect 3's co-op experience, and then check out Bioware Pulse, which takes a closer look at the multiplayer.

Read: Bioware detail Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.

Mass Effect 3

KINECT

For Xbox 360 users, Mass Effect 3 will be the first major release to support Kinect functionality. You can use voice activation to order troops, change weapons and adapt tactics. If you like shouting at your TV, then this is the mode for you.

Watch: Kinect Gameplay from CES 12 and the Kinect Sizzle trailer.

Read: Thomas doesn't think it will ever feel natural to yell at his Xbox 360. Read his Kinect ready preview here.

Mass Effect 3

INTERVIEWS

We've got a variety of interviews for you to enjoy. It seems that Bioware like to talk, and who are we to stop them? Here's the pick of the bunch:

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, the co-founders of BioWare, talk to us at E3 11.

At CES 12, Thomas talked to Bioware about Kinect, and how it will change gameplay.

And, after playing the first hour, Bengt wants some answers.

Mass Effect 3

THE RELEASE

Mass Effect 3 will launch across a trio of platforms (Xbox 360, PC and PS3). The release will be simultaneous, a first for Bioware.

The Standard Edition: You'll get the game and the codes you need to access the main content, but not a lot else. Pre-ordering the game will likely bag you a code to download an in-game weapon pack (N7 Valkyrie Assault Rifle and N7 Defender Armour), but check that with your local retailer.

The Space Edition: Bioware sent some copies of the game up into the atmosphere in weather balloons. Fans were able to track the progress of the games as they journeyed through the sky, and some lucky souls were able to get their hands on a copy well before release, by collecting them as they landed in various locations across the globe.

N7 Collector's Edition: This is the edition you want if you're after the complete package. It will include a series of exclusives, including; a hardcover art book, a collectable tin case, an N7 fabric patch, a 4x6 lithograph of the Normandy, an extended soundtrack and bonus in-game packs. Bioware are also throwing in a Dark Horse comic book, an additional mission and a downloadable character.

Mass Effect 3

MERCHANDISE

There is plenty of merchandise out there for those who want to further immerse themselves in the Mass Effect universe.

If you prefer a novel, then you are well catered for. Drew Karpyshyn has written three; Revelation, Ascension and Retribution are his offerings. And William C. Dietz penned the book Deception.

There is also a selection of graphic novels and art books. Art of the Mass Effect Universe was released only last week. There's also a series of graphic novels by Dark House.

Like ME2, Mass Effect 3 is supported by a range of action figures. Head over to somewhere like Forbidden Planet if you want to take a look at some of the figurines available.

Peripheral specialist Razer is releasing a range of Mass Effect 3 branded equipment. Each comes with a bonus DLC code. It's not cheap, but if you're feeling saucy you can head over to their website to take a look.

Mass Effect 3
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