123Kinect.com was among the few lucky ones to receive early access to the Mass Effect 3 demo, and while the demo is a bit short, it allowed me to fully test out all of the Kinect features that Mass Effect 3 entails. With Kinect you can control all the actions of your teammates and yourself with voice commands, and you can speak out dialog options.  This sounds good on paper, but the question remains: Is Mass Effect 3 really a “Better with Kinect game? Or is it just a gimmick that everyone will forget about soon after launch. I gave the demo a whirl and found out the answer!

Keeping pace

The obvious benefit of using voice to control the actions of teammates is that it keeps the pace in the game: You won’t have to go into menu’s anymore to select actions you want your teammates to perform and you won’t even have to go into menus anymore to select your own equipment! I tested this extensively and I must say, it all works fantastically! The speech recognition detects voices perfectly and commands can be spoken very quickly or even slurred together. During my playsession with the demo I went into the quick access dial only once, to check out the abilities I had at my disposal and what I had to shout at my Kinect for my teammates to use them. So the speed of the action is a definite benefit to using Kinect, but little did I know there is one more benefit, one that is a lot bigger!

You are the commander

You know how you’ve always played with “Commander” Sheppard? Well, with Mass Effect 3 and Kinect you’ll feel more in command than you’ve ever have in any other Mass Effect experience. Right from the start when I gave my team commands to equip the right ammo and hearing them acknowledge my orders I was getting this really great feeling: I really was their commander! Then, when the battle started I totally got into the zone: I was just ducking behind cover, too involved in shouting out commandos to even fire at my opponents! Liara: Warp! Garrus: Attack! Liara Follow me! I was feeling just great and really had this sense of being in control and really being the commander of my team. It was really too bad the demo was so short because I’ve never felt so involved and engrossed in a virtual battle.

Dialog options

And then there is the option to speak out dialog options to select them. At first when I started doing this it felt very weird and awkward. To be honest I didn’t really like speaking to my TV and having Sheppard repeat after me. But after a while I kinda got used to it, and even further down the line (on my second playthrough) it started to feel natural and engaging. So if you have a chance to play Mass Effect 3 with Kinect and it does feel a bit weird to speak out dialog options…just give it some time to grow on you, I’m sure you’ll start liking it after a while!

First Impression

So yeah, Mass Effect 3 is definitely and without a doubt a “Better with Kinect” game. Not only does it do a great job at keeping pace in battles (no more menus needed)  but it give you a feeling of being in control and really being a commander. It’s hard to explain but playing with voice recognition gave me such a rush that I don’t think I ever want to go back to non-Kinect supported Mass Effect! Kinect adds a whole new dimension to the already epic game and this little teaser of a demo made me hungry for so much more. Really can’t wait for it to come out, especially now that I know how awesome the Kinect support really is!

Did you get to play the Mass Effect 3 demo too with Kinect? Drop a line in the comments about how you liked it!

Mass Effect 3 is out the 9th of March and you can pre-order it here!