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How Well Will Mass Effect 3 Run On Your PC?

How Well Will Mass Effect 3 Run On Your PC?
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On March 6th, BioWare will launch Mass Effect 3, the final chapter in Shepherd's epic journey. We take the game's demo for a spin in anticipation of how this highly-anticipated title will behave on a broad range of graphics cards and processors.

BioWare is on a roll. Star Wars: The Old Republic is perhaps the most talked-about MMO launch in recent history, and EA just announced that the game is already sitting at 1.7 million subscribers. Fresh on the heels of that introduction, the developer is just about ready to release its third and final chapter of the Mass Effect trilogy.

Although Mass Effect is in no way as pervasive as Star Wars, it has shown how far BioWare could go with its own intellectual property over the past five years. The series doesn’t fit into any standard mold; it mixes role-playing and shooter mechanics, and your ability to affect the story through dialogue choices set a bar that no other studio has yet matched. It’s a truly interactive space opera, and we know that many enthusiasts are looking forward to seeing how it ends when the game ships on March 6th.

Come with me if you want to liveCome with me if you want to live

In the meantime, BioWare recently released a tantalizing demo that included a number of surprises, including three single-player game modes and a significant multi-player component.

Multiplayer classesMultiplayer classes

Mass Effect has always revolved around its single-player experience, so we were intrigued to find the multi-player content. BioWare put its own spin on a formula followed by most modern-day shooters, with different classes, upgrades, and weapons available as you gain experience online. We tooled around with the demo's limited multi-player settings, and it looks like it could be a lot of fun.

The new 'choose Your Experience' optionThe new 'choose Your Experience' option

The single-player game modes are a new addition too, allowing you to tailor the experience with three options. The Action experience allows for adjustable combat difficulty, but no dialogue selection. So, all of the character’s choices are made automatically and shown through cut scenes. Role Playing delivers on the classic Mass Effect experience, with adjustable combat difficulty and all of the dialogue trees. Finally, Story mode provides the interactive story without difficult combat.

It's not particularly clear how Story and Role Playing with easy combat differ, and it wasn't clarified in the demo. However, it was fun to dive in and play the Action mode without worrying about making decisions. I’m not sure I would play the full game that way, but running and gunning without weighing the consequences of a conversation is a blast.

Bioware subscribes to the J.J. Abrams lens flare philosophy: more = betterBioware subscribes to the J.J. Abrams lens flare philosophy: more = better

But how well does this epic story about one man's role in the fate of the galaxy play out on your PC? This is Tom's Hardware, after all, and we're here to explore the demo's performance, hopefully gaining some insight on what you can expect when the complete title is ready to play.

Awkward situations with former employersAwkward situations with former employers

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  • 23 Hide
    shin0bi272 , March 2, 2012 4:55 AM
    So wait this console based game thats running on the unreal 3 engine plays well on a pc with a quad core and even a moderately good graphics card? Im shocked!

    Dont get me wrong though Im still excited to play it... just not expecting it to be graphically demanding.
  • 23 Hide
    Sud099 , March 2, 2012 7:52 AM
    why the hell they don't initially develop games for PC and then port to consoles like Battlefield 3
  • 20 Hide
    rmpumper , March 2, 2012 4:53 AM
    I really hope that the highest setting in ME3 demo are like med-high in the full game.
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    slicedtoad , March 2, 2012 4:08 AM
    I'm hoping the full game has more customization. Either way, it'll be fun.
  • 17 Hide
    bak0n , March 2, 2012 4:32 AM
    I'd be really shocked if there are many people out there running Intel 2500k's with geforce 220's or radeon 6450's.
  • 6 Hide
    bartholomew , March 2, 2012 4:45 AM
    Can't wait to get this game. :D 
  • 20 Hide
    rmpumper , March 2, 2012 4:53 AM
    I really hope that the highest setting in ME3 demo are like med-high in the full game.
  • 23 Hide
    shin0bi272 , March 2, 2012 4:55 AM
    So wait this console based game thats running on the unreal 3 engine plays well on a pc with a quad core and even a moderately good graphics card? Im shocked!

    Dont get me wrong though Im still excited to play it... just not expecting it to be graphically demanding.
  • 9 Hide
    spp85 , March 2, 2012 7:05 AM
    Radeon HD 5770/6770 still Rockzzz.........
  • 7 Hide
    spp85 , March 2, 2012 7:11 AM
    Quote:
    I have phenom x4 9550 with 9800gt can i run this game at moderat setting at 1366x768 resolutions ?

    You can play medium to high settings on that resolution
  • 23 Hide
    Sud099 , March 2, 2012 7:52 AM
    why the hell they don't initially develop games for PC and then port to consoles like Battlefield 3
  • 7 Hide
    Th-z , March 2, 2012 7:54 AM
    For anyone who's familiar with ME lore, is the method how reaper ships attack earth surprised to you?

    To me it's more like Hollywood cliche than true ME lore, at least from the ideas of ME1. Despite the problem, I'm still interested in the game, because the story, characters, acting, and cinematography are still one of the best in video games.
  • 7 Hide
    LongpastPNR , March 2, 2012 7:58 AM
    Th-zFor anyone who's familiar with ME lore, is the method how reaper ships attack earth surprised to you? To me it's more like Hollywood cliche than true ME lore, at least from the ideas of ME1. Despite the problem, I'm still interested in the game, because the story, characters, acting, and cinematography are still one of the best in video games.That's not how a hyper advanced machine race wipeout an organicaccording to the ME loreNot a game to showcase graphical , but the acting, character, and story, theThe game won't support game pad, not that I want to play with a pad personally, but it's hard to imagine a game came out in 2012 and a big stud io doesn't support it. while small indie studios can provide multiple control scheme.

    ME1 was Great ! ME2 was a big big let down and ME3 will be far to hollywood and dumbed down beacuse of the Mcdonalds and Facebook gen sad really.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 2, 2012 8:25 AM
    There are a few other settings but they are not in the game. You have to use the configuration tool that's in the "Binaries" folder in the game's folder. Not sure if there is a shortcut to this tool somewhere (right-click on the game in Origin?)
    Most of these settings are at the max value by default though, so it's mostly useful for low-end machines, to disable additional eye-candy. One exception is Anisotropic Filtering which seems to be disabled by default (not sure).
  • 4 Hide
    Duzzi , March 2, 2012 9:16 AM
    2 x Radeon HD 6850 1 GB GDDR5 in SLI (page 2 Test System And Benchmarks)... or maybe it was crossfire? :D 
  • 2 Hide
    badtaylorx , March 2, 2012 11:22 AM
    this does not bode well for the game.....they're not pushing the envelope...they're PULLING it!!!
  • -1 Hide
    Onus , March 2, 2012 11:35 AM
    As many comments as there were about what a GT440 with GDDR5 might do, I can't help but wonder about a HD6670 with GDDR5; how much better it might have been.
    Another one is the HD7750. If similar to the HD6770, it looks like it would handle this game pretty well.

    I really like the FPS over time chart you are now using in these reviews.

    Unfortunately, as good as it looks (especially with the multiple ways to play), if Origin is a requirement, it appears to be a "pass."

    And, I'll bet there are LOTS of people with an i5-2500K and a HD6450; professionals who needed the CPU horsepower and added the GPU for movies or to add monitors (e.g. developers who aren't [yet] gamers, and Wall Street gamblers using multiple screens).
  • 10 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , March 2, 2012 11:44 AM
    1) Whoever complains about the Reapers attacking Earth like they do instead of orbital bombardment - don't forget they want to HARVEST the humans, not just kill them. That much was made clear in ME2.

    2) Yeah, graphics are not such a big improvement... I'm still outraged with low resolution armor textures. Faces are made really well (ESPECIALLY Wrex's face! So high-detailed!), but bodies...

    3) Multiplayer is FUN as hell. I recommend.

    4) Origin is easy to use, doesn't slow down your PC like some idiots claim and makes inviting people to multiplayer very easy. I like it. As far as "spying" goes, to hell with paranoia, all my info that I don't want to share on teh internets is simply not on my computer :p 

    6) My country gets N7 Collectors' Edition at half the price :kaola:  Great DLC "From Ashes" (DO NOT LOOK IT UP, major spoilers!) is included for free, as well as a bunch of extra weapons.

    7) Mass Effect 3: Playable On A Wide Range Of Hardware

    Mass Effect 3: made by BioWare's worst console/Apple fanboys team (Casey Hudson, Mac Walters, Preston Watamaniuk, Chris Priestly, etc.) who can't understand PC gaming for $h!t. Fixed...

    ...And I still love the series; it's that good.
  • 11 Hide
    Murissokah , March 2, 2012 11:48 AM
    Graphics are not the main issue with console ports. PC's will play at much higher resolution an can force filters such as supersampling that will make a wolrd of difference over the crappy console graphics.

    The controls and level design are what really suffer in the process. Things like Skyrim's quick list (troublesome and completely unnecessary when you have a keyboard) really take away from the experience. It also hurts to see a game such as crysis, which had a beatiful and believable enviroment get limited by the console's rendering capacity and turn into a much inferior level design that keeps the player confined in small areas. I hope we don't get that treatment again.
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , March 2, 2012 12:05 PM
    I Give up!!!!

    This has shown me whatI have been thinking for a while now, how pants AMD performance really is....

    a 2500k, literally CRAPS all over my Phenom x6 @ 4GHZ

    Screw it, moving to intel i7 2600k, refuse to play AMD any more....

    Anyone want a x6 and Asus Crosshairs iv, going for a steal!
  • 4 Hide
    bucknutty , March 2, 2012 12:18 PM
    LongPastPNRME1 was Great ! ME2 was a big big let down and ME3 will be far to hollywood and dumbed down beacuse of the Mcdonalds and Facebook gen sad really.

    I agree ME1 had a great story, ME2 had no story other than find some guy, or girl to help you, then help do some thing so he is loyal to you. Its like 40 hours of character development and 8 hours of story.
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