As you've undoubtedly heard, the third installment of BioWare's Mass Effect trilogy hit shelves last Tuesday. Being one of the year's most anticipated launches, it's no surprise to see it with an aggregate review score of over 90. As with previous entries, Mass Effect 3 is built using Unreal Engine 3. In other words, it's a DirectX 9 title. As such, there are no fancy tessellation, additional dynamic lighting, depth of field or ambient occlusion effects. Although ME3 probably won't win any awards for being the best looking PC game of 2012, fans have generally approved of the way previous titles looked, so they shouldn't be too disappointed this time.
Besides, there are some benefits to sticking with the UE3 engine. For starters, its performance must be highly optimized by now. The developers say these tweaks have allowed them to improve everything, from better storytelling methods to better overall ground pics and cinematics. They also say the extra performance has allowed them to display more enemies at once, making for a richer and livelier experience.
We've benchmarked Mass Effect 3 across three different resolutions with two dozen GPU configurations -- including AMD's new Radeon HD 7000 series. We'll also see how the performance scales when overclocking an eight-core FX-8150, along with benching a handful of other Intel and AMD processors.
This is Mass Effect 3: The Reapers have come, just as Commander Shepard spent two games trying to warn everyone they would. Most species' homeworlds are burning, all around the Milky Way. This still-mysterious alien race is a genuinely existential threat, and the odds of full victory against them are inescapably slim.
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