Features

Five ways Mass Effect 3 is better with Kinect and three it isn't

Voice control and Mass Effect suit each other, but could BioWare do more?

Mass Effect 3 is better with Kinect, and not just because the boxart says so. Details of the game's promising voice command features are beginning to surface following a round of - wait for it - "hands-offs".

In addition to annoying you with misplaced humour, we've roped together a few of the more attractive Mass Effect 3 Kinect possibilities ahead of a massive info-dump in our next issue. We've also thought of a few Kinect features that should be in the game but currently aren't, for what we hope are extraordinarily sound reasons. You may wish to refer to this provisional list of command strings before reading on.

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1. Fewer breaks in the action
Mass Effect's always handled its robust range of secondary abilities and squad options nicely, its pause-time hot-wheel enabling team tactics with a minimum of interfacial wrangling. But things get silkier still in Mass Effect 3.

No more will you accidentally give orders to one squad-mate instead of the other. No more will you bungle the timing when combining powers. Thanks to Kinect, the game's entire suite of biotic, tech and combat powers can be activated in real-time. Don't worry - the wheel's still there if you want it.

2. The easiest quicksave ever
Simply get into the habit of saying "quicksave" instead of humming, whistling or clearing your throat, and you need never worry about losing progress again.

3. Kinect isn't stupid
Mass Effect 3's Kinect implementation is pretty smart about context. If you've only got one biotic crewmate with you, and you yell "Warp", the game will deduce that the order was intended for your telekinetic accomplice, rather than the meathead you brought along to soak up projectiles.

4. Friends can help
Let's say you're pinned down with nought but a Shuriken SMG, blasting away at an armoured Krogan. One of your chums has an armour-nullifying power, but in the heat of the moment you've gone and forgotten. A flatmate/loved one/knowledgeable passerby might take this opportunity to save your bacon, leaning over your shoulder to murmur "Incinerate". It makes us wonder about the broader co-op possibilities.

5. Friends can get you killed
Let's say you've done Sun Tzu proud, confidently and meticulously tailoring a battle-plan to your squad's traits and abilities. You've hit each and every enemy weak point, anticipated every manoeuvre, without exposing weaknesses of your own. Now all that remains is to splatter the massive Marauder advancing from the rear. Ammo is scarce, so it's all down to your biotic and tech powers.

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But what's this? Some complete bastard of a flatmate/loved one/knowledgeable passerby has just lent over your shoulder to murmur "Liara, move". And now your top biotic is standing in the open, making puppy-eyes at a mountain of festering flesh. Attention, living room trolls: a new frontier has opened.

And now, onto the Kinect features they chose not to include. Explanations on a postcard please, BioWare.

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