About a month ago, Microsoft began accepting applications for the beta of their new "Metro" styled XBox Dashboard. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the program, and just a couple of days ago, my system was registered with the program. On Friday night, some people in the beta found an unexpected gift in the pre-release channel of their LIVE Dashboard: a Mass Effect 3 Private Beta. Naturally, pants were shit. The demo gives a look at both the single player and the multiplayer portions of ME3, and there are screens and videos out there for the curious. It seems this is a true beta, with sound and graphical glitches abounding.
According to this Joystiq article, there are now 3 distinct "modes" available to players. Although why you'd want to play on anything other than RPG mode is beyond me. The modes are as follows:
Action Mode: For those who want to emphasize action and combat and minimize story management. Action mode will set automatic replies in conversation and a normal difficulty.
Story Mode: For those who want to emphasize story immersion and minimize combat pressure. Story mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a minimal combat difficulty.
RPG Mode: For those who want to explore both realms of story and combat. RPG mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a normal combat difficulty.
As of this writing, it is not yet apparent whether this Mass Effect 3 beta was meant to be released to Dashboard Beta testers, or if someone at Microsoft flipped the wrong switch. Either way, the cat's out of the bag, so if you wanna know what Mass Effect 3 looks and plays like, it's out there. I prefer to wait. I mean, I haven't played 100+ hours of my renegade-ass Shepard to NOT use him in Mass Effect 3.