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Hands On: Mass Effect 3

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While at the press event for the Wii U, I decided to take a turn on Mass Effect 3... not because the guy demoing it was cute (though he was!), but because I was curious to play something that wasn't new. Everything I'd demoed for Nintendo's new system was a brand new experience. So I was curious to see how a game I'd already played would be on the Wii U. Turns out, it's pretty much the same!

The graphics look pretty much like what I remember seeing when I played it on my Xbox 360. And using the GamePad as the controller wasn't as awkward as I'd feared, even though it's much larger and wider than the 360 controller. There are power and weapon shortcuts on the touchscreen, though I kept forgetting to use it while in combat (hopefully I'll get used to thinking about using the touchscreen after playing the Wii U for a while...). There's also a map on the GamePad, and you can use it to control your teammates by tapping on them and moving your finger to where you want them to go. It's pretty cool. But what's even better is that Mass Effect 3 happens to be one of the games you can play directly on the GamePad! You'll have to give up all the bonus touchscreen controls, but it's still nice to know that when you can't commandeer the TV for a mission, you can still play!

Because the first two Mass Effects weren't on the Wii U, they've included an interactive motion comic that takes you through the storyline of the first two so that you can make all the same decisions that you would have — you know, like who to send on suicide missions, whether or not to save or destroy an entire species... that kind of thing. This way, you'll have made the decisions that will impact your storyline in Mass Effect 3. Also, the Wii U version contains all the extra DLC that's been released, like From Ashes, the extended cut, and all the multiplayer expansions. It's all on the disc. So it's the most complete Mass Effect 3 package you can get. Oh, and it also comes with an exclusive weapon: a six-prong rocket launcher that I found extremely useful during the demo! (Since the mission in the demo was the really annoying bit of the Grissom Academy evacuation)

If you've already played Mass Effect 3 on the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3, I don't know if there's really enough added here to make it worth playing through again. But if you haven't played it, it's an amazing game that would be a solid purchase for your new console!

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