We're approaching the home stretch. Soon, the end of Shepard's tale will arrive, and we'll be bringing everything we have in our fight with the Reapers. If you're the type who wants no piece of equipment unavailable for your battles, we have the comprehensive guide for promotional bonuses you can score for Mass Effect 3 after the break.
This is a running list of promotional items available to unlock before the launch of Mass Effect 3. We'll be updating this post as more information or promotions become available.
N7 Collector's Edition Bonuses
For ponying up an extra 20 dollars with your purchase, you can get the Collector's Edition. Plenty of goodies abound in this pack, in a shiny metal case and everything, but this edition also includes some extra gear to take into battle.
Part of the digital inclusions of the Collector's Edition is the N7 Arsenal Pack - a collection of weapons matching the aesthetics of this elite Alliance designation. The pack includes a sniper rifle, shotgun, SMG and pistol adorned with the familiar red stripes. No word on any stats or behaviors of these weapons, but we'll keep our eyes open.
The Collector's Edition also includes alternate appearances for your squadmates and an additional downloadable character and mission - similar to Zaeed from ME2. You can almost certainly get this content after release for a price, but currently the fancy version is the only confirmed way to get this bonus companion.
Unfortunately, the pre-order bonuses for ME3 don't carry the same "punch" as the Dragon Age 2 bundle. The "Signature Edition" bonuses for ME3 are all locked up in the pricier bundle.
On the other hand, unlike the "Signature Edition" offer that would have expired by now, these bonuses are attainable up until the day before release, March 5th. So, here's what you can attain for pre-ordering:
- M55 Argus Assault Rifle - Free with any Pre-Order
This rifle features increased range and accuracy over your standard assault rifle. The description in the video (seen below) describes it as "burst fire", meaning a few shots are fired with each pull of the trigger.
- AT-12 Raider Shotgun - Free with an Origin Pre-Order
If you want a weaponized punch to the gut, then pre-ordering from the Origin online store will get you a nice choice out the door. This shotgun boasts a wide spread and rapid-fire capabilities, making it an ideal close quarters weapon. Perfect for Vanguards or any Shepard who likes to get up close.
- N7 Valkyrie Rifle and N7 Defender Armor - Free with a GameStop/EBGames Pre-Order
For placing a pre-order with this behemoth of a games retailer, you can lock down a second assault rifle and a health and shield-boosting set of combat armor. The Valkyrie rifle features high-caliber rounds and a two-round burst, in what appears to place emphasis on placing precise shots over spraying rounds.
The Defender armor boasts bonuses that will make any weapon-favored class happy - boosts to health and shields, weapon damage, and ammo capacity.
On the forum FAQ for the Mass Effect demo, Community Manager Chris Priestly teased a future announcement of possible in-game rewards tied with the demo - which is set for release on February 14th. We'll update this part when that information becomes available.
Of course, EA would be remiss to miss out on this opportunity to create interest in some of its other games, as well. Similar to the Ser Isaac of Clarke armor featured in Dragon Age 2, we see another promotion in store for those who wish to test drive an upcoming Fantasy ARPG.
- Reckoner Knight Armor and Chakram Launcher - Free for installing/playing the Kingdoms of Amular: Reckoning demo before 3/17/2012
You've probably heard of this game before, due to the names attached. The developer was started by former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling, the lead designer is Ken Rolston of Morrowind and Oblivion fame, the story and lore are penned by prolific fantasy writer R.A. Salvatore, and the art is done by comic mastermind Todd McFarlane. This hack-and-slash adventure game is currently tied with our favorite space shooter, as the Reckoning demo will net you two bonus items for ME3.
The Reckoner Knight Armor comes from installing the demo and linking your Origin account with it (the download links are available here). No word yet on bonuses provided with the set, but it boasts a McFarlane design, and rings reminiscent of the Diamond Sword faction from the Tribes franchise (Shazbot!).
The Chakram Launcher is a weapon that becomes unlocked when you finish the Reckoning demo, which involves playing through the introduction and spending 45 minutes in the first open zone. We don't have any information on the type of weapon.
Other Product Promotions
Other Mass Effect gear is on the horizon, as well, including an art book and new action figures (no, they're not dolls). In addition to showing house guests how much you heart the franchise, these pieces of delicious shwag will also come with promotional items for boosters and items to use in ME3 as well.
- Mystery Items - Announced for Mass Effect: Infiltrator
EA announced a tie-in iOS game on 2/7, titled Mass Effect: Infiltrator. Developed by IronMonkey Studios, the game looks to add another option for attaining "Galactic Readiness" points to your single-player campaign, and will also unlock exclusive items for use in the game. We have no way of knowing what those items are as of yet, but we'll be looking to update this section as we learn more.
- Collector Assault Rifle - Free for Pre-Ordering Art of the Mass Effect Universe from Barnes & Noble - Free for purchasing any Mass Effect-branded peripheral from Razer
Dark Horse Comics is set to publish an art book based on Shepard's world, set to release on 2/21/2012. Pre-ordering the book from B&N will also include a promo code for a new assault rifle. According to the Dark Horse blog, this rifle comes with organs and everything:
The Collector Assault Rifle uses the same principles as a human assault rifle, but its organic components clearly set it apart. Its power source appears to be an internal organ with biotic capacitance; its ammunition resembles pellets of metallic enamel that strip shields off enemies with deadly efficiency.
Could be they're using the same language as the ME2 variant of the weapon, but it appears to be similar in terms of behavior as that gun - a little more punch than your starting M-8 Avenger, but with a slower rate of fire and a more stable recoil.
According to the Dark Horse page, there will also be "booster" codes available with this pre-order, allowing you to level your co-op character more quickly. These packs include temporary items to bring into co-op missions, new customizing options, and chunks of XP for a particular character in your lineup.
Announced on 2/16, these same bonuses can also be obtained by purchasing any item in Razer's Mass Effect line-up.
- Downloadable Gear with the Mass Effect 3 Action Figures
This addition is a bit of a mystery at this time. A few gaming sites (namely Destructoid and Gamefront), reported on a blurb at the Bioware store regarding its upcoming re-release of Mass Effect figurines. Gamefront posted the language verbatim:
These products contain codes that can be redeemed for a downloadable content pack for Mass Effect 3 multi-player. They are slightly randomized during the registration and could include powerful new weapons and new characters. The pack could also include character boosters, weapon modifications, and weapon upgrades to make your multi-player squad stronger. (Only supported on XBox360 and PC.)
So, it could be that, with these figurines, you can redeem weapons, mods, even new characters. However, there's no primary source for this right now (Destructoid sourced a link to the store, which doesn't work anymore). Likely, this blurb was put on the store page before Bioware was set to announce it, and has since yanked the language from its page.
In the meantime, you can pre-order the figures here. They come in at either $20 for one or in packs of 4 for $75.