Besides the intro on Earth, the writer played three missions: Mars, the Sur'Kesh one with the krogan female, and one on Tuchanka (the one shown in the VGA trailer). Nothing new as far as Earth goes except this: the writer was playing as Femshep and the kid was still male, so that tanks the theory that it's a hallucinatory version of young Shep (though not the general "It's a hallucination" theory).
Moving on, apparently Vega initially isn't too happy about just abandoning Earth. Also, before you've left the solar system, Hackett gets in touch and asks you to go to Mars. The research team studying the Prothean ruins (which if you'll recall, came up in the CDN) has gone silent, and they may have discovered something related to the Reapers. Once there, an incoming sandstorm threatens to cut off communications with the Normandy, and you run into Cerberus troops outside who are interested in the same info. Shortly thereafter, you run into Liara, who was apparently called in to consult. She tells you the info was about an anti-Reaper weapon that was never completed.
Then we get some details on combat there: in one encounter the Cerberus troops will run off and cut off your pursuit, forcing you to go around. Cover is more appropriate to the location: couches, overturned tables, etc. There's a running battle on a tram system, and you have to abandon your own at some point and jump on the Cerberus one. After that part, we get introduced to the shield-carrying Guardians. If you manage to shoot and kill one through the little vision-slit in the shield, you unlock the "Mail Slot" achievement/trophy.
At the end of the mission, you learn there's a reason they've been keeping the Cerberus troops covered up in promo material: apparently, husk-tech has been adapted by Cerberus and used on its soldiers, resulting in glowing eyes and disfigured faces. The writer had Kaidan alive, and notes that he reacts to this by asking if Shep knew anything about Cerberus doing stuff like this. I.e., complete trust is not yet there (please feel free to rage about this somewhere else).
You then get to chat with TIM via hologram, and he warns you to mind your own business. You can ask what he's up to and he'll say he's after "What I've always wanted." In this case, he's not looking for a way to simply destroy the Reapers, but to tame them for (what else) advancing the cause of human dominance. TIM also declares that Shep isn't needed anymore, and we catch a glimpse of someone else in the room with him. The writer asked Casey Hudson who this is, and didn't get an answer, but was told that Shepard was given "a clearer foil" in ME3. Kai Leng seems like the obvious candidate to me.
After that, you learn that Cerberus had one of its own on the research staff, a woman named Eva, and she's been using this time to grab the data and she starts transmitting it. There's a chase sequence and it turns out she's been cybernetically enhanced (and heavily so from the sound of it). You chase her and she makes it her shuttle, but Vega saves the day by smashing into it with some kind of vehicle (article doesn't specify). This has the side-effect of wrecking the comm gear she had on her. Unfortunately, it doesn't kill her, and she attacks Kaidan, nearly killing him. Shep takes her down for good, and it's off to the Citadel.
The writer just skips over it. Annoying. I'm positive he could have provided some new details.
This is the mission we've seen on the galaxy map footage called "The Shroud", and it's basically the sequel to the Sur'kesh one. Basically, your goal is to get the Genophage cure finished and distribute it. First off, the salarian government has learned about this, and has made an offer to Shep. What you get isn't clear (probably their support in the war), but they basically want you to fake distribution of the cure. The writer chose to not to take the deal. It not clear if you're also forced to tattle on the salarians if you decide to go along, but that can happen.
Anyway, you get attacked, separating you from Mordin, Wrex, and the female, ending up in some catacombs that lead to the City of the Ancients. Once there, you run into an old painting of the uber-Thresher, which was apparently given the name "Kalros" (sure it means something suitably bad-ass in Old Krogan or whatever). You run into some Ravagers (the husked rachni) and some Marauders (the husked turians). Eventually, you make it to the Shroud: the giant glowy tower seen in the VGA trailer. Seems to be some sort of old weather-control device or something. In any case, you'll use it to distribute the Genophage cure into Tuchanka's atmosphere.
But as you know, there's a Reaper in the area. Mordin and Wrex come up with the idea of luring Kalros in, reasoning that it'll be just as unhappy about a Reaper on its turf as we are. The writer claims the thresher wins, though based on older information, it's only a temporary victory. Also, the Shroud has been badly damaged by this point and probably won't hold up for much longer. Mordin volunteers to go in alone and disperse the cure before it is too late.
The writer then explains that this is just one of a few outcomes to this mission, so I don't know if this death is inevitable. In fact, it's not clear that it's a death at all because he just stops his summary with Mordin volunteering.
There's a sidebar about the various game modes. RPG is of course your standard ME experience. Story is RPG with really easy combat. Action automates the dialogue. All old info. The new bit is that in Action mode, the game selects a mixture of Paragon and Renegade choices.
For some reason, the writer is still under the impression that geth are the ones who make all the husk varieties.
He said Casey Hudson looks and sounds really tired. Also, there will apparently be a full interview with Casey on the website, but it's not up yet.
The first image in the article shows Shep and Liara behind cover, and Shep's wielding the Widow, while Liara has a Revenant. Weird seeing her with that kind of weapon.
The article confirms that these images from the Origin pre-order trailer:
are on Mars. Also, this promo shot that's shown up in a number of places is apparently in the research facility there:
There's another image that shows a Reaper attacking a moon with a planet in the background with visible fires on the surface. Could be Palaven, but given that the images in the article match up to the locations described, I think it's our moon. I'm guessing we get to see this during the Normandy's escape or something.
didymos1120 on the BSN
Also from the same thread:
"British video game magazine called GameMaster also had exlusive preview of Mass Effect 3 in their latest issue. Basically nothing more than in GameInformer (they only saw Earth & Mars part of singleplayer), but there is some new interesting things. Enjoy smilie:
"(...) James Vega. We're told his personality is based on Sawyer from the Lost."
"A new reputation system rewards those players who'd rather not conform solely to Paragon or Renegade Shepard. Now playing it straight - sympathising with some people and snapping at others - will also grant you some unique dialogue options. Importing old saves will mean you start with extra reputation as well..."
"Fed up of your dying when you're off gallivanting around space? Well fret no longer: somewhere in the world is... [drumroll] an automated fish-feeder! It's like our prayers have been answered."
"(...) as you play ME3 you'll collect 'War Assets'. These are the people, places and armies you befriend along the way, and each one has a numerical value associated with. Asari Justicar Samara might be worth, say, +25, while a squad of soldiers is worth +65 to your asset total. Add them all up and you have your 'Total Military Strength' value, which is then multiplied by your 'Readiness Rating'. We're told all the external experiences - the co-op multiplayer mode and the social games - feed into this Readiness Rating to let you win with fewer assets. Plug in the numbers and out pops your 'Effective Military Strength' value - a total figure that seems to let you trigger the endgame once you hit a threshold. In a interesting twist, not every 'good' choice is going to bum your Assets.""
It also appears that the info in this article is in line with the leaked script. Make of that what you will.
It's been confirmed via Twitter that it is 6 hours of Single player.
Hat tip to the BSN for pointing this out!
There's also another ME3 article in OXM. It's supposed to be out right now, looking for info and scans on that!