Evolution of a Shepard.

I didn’t read many reviews of Mass Effect 3, didn’t need to, I knew I was going to buy it. What I haven’t seen much of –other than in passing comments– is how incredible the graphics are in this game; I mean, it’s more than a modest jump in improvement, it’s as though they shoved the graphics engine through a Mass Effect relay. That sort of jump.

As evidence, here are screen captures of my Shepard from the three episodes of the game. I remember watching some of the cutscene sequences in Mass Effect 3 and being profoundly impressed by the high fidelity and detail of the signal being sent to my retinas, but comparing these screenshots really slams home the magnitude of the improvement.

I really didn’t mind the ending of Mass Effect 3, but more on that in another post; regardless, I still can’t help but admire the improvements (not just the graphics) which BioWare keep bringing to their section of the genre, improvements which seem to have been generally overlooked or dismissed due to the unfortunate backlash which has occurred.

I hope BioWare continue to stick to their beliefs and make the RPGs that they want to make, because, my goodness, they seem to be getting exponentially better at it with each and every release.

4 thoughts on “Evolution of a Shepard.

  1. Eliot

    Well, I do look forward to that other post.

    I’ve noticed that ME3 really made the women’s faces a bit less angular and a bit more reasonably defined. A shame that the actual model got a bit worse; personally, I’ve always been fond of the way that Shepard looked below the neck in the first game, as it managed to hit that beautiful point of “attractive but within the realm of reality” that you so rarely find in video game women. Or video game men.

    The thing is, I can understand why it hasn’t been mentioned much, because the game feels like such a smooth member of the franchise that it’s not immediately noteworthy. As I was playing through for the first time, I found myself thinking that it looked and played like an expansion pack for Mass Effect 2 with some added layers of complexity. It was only after going back and playing that game again that I noticed how much better things looked in 3. Despite the upgrades, everything looks right, nothing looks out of place, and so while you’re in the midst of it it’s easy to miss.

  2. Melmoth Post author

    I think it’s the character designs which got the major upgrade; the conversation cutscenes really impressed me with the sharpness and clarity of the textures along with the detail of the character models.

    I certainly agree that they’ve kept the design of the franchise true to itself though, and this does obfuscate the various improvements which have been made over time.

  3. moonmonster

    The evolution from 2 to 3 is the classic one in videogames. The one you barely notice when it happens, with maybe a comment that ‘hm this looks and feels a bit better’. Except when you go back to 2 it hits like a brick wall ‘oh my god what happened, 3 is soooo much better than this’.

    Not that 2 is bad, but it feels … slower, heavier. Characters and weapons don’t feel quite as cool to level up. Conversations feel a little less cinematic and the environments feel a bit less real.

    I really wonder where they’re going next. They have such a smooth, polished engine and a franchise that, despite the (unwarranted, imho) bitching about the endings, has millions of fans. It’s almost inconceivable for EA to leave that on the table and go do something entirely new. But the story/universe feels very… complete. Done. Finished. So I’m very curious.

  4. Melmoth Post author

    I must admit going back to my old screenshots was definitely a ‘woah’ moment, as I too hadn’t realised the magnitude of the improvement until I was able to compare the two.

    I think there are number of options available to them if they wish to continue with the franchise, prequels being the obvious avenue. There’s also the option to switch to a new protagonist, perhaps from one of the other races, and to tell their story during The Great War; if they can use your Shepard-based save games to make it such that events that happened in ME1 to ME3 are interweaved with the new protagonist’s story, that would be doubly splendid.

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