Last night, fall Xbox dashboard update preview owners got a nice treat, or in other cases, a leaked beta for Mass Effect 3. This beta is obviously not meant for release publicly as it is meant to be only internal and it shows. Some spots look pretty rough and unfinished as it got taken down by Microsoft and BioWare in a matter of several hours, but it is still playable with the sections it showed off. There is an earth level you start with, which is likely the beginning of the game, as you reunite with Captain Anderson to survive the Reaper assault and find survivors. The next segment of the single-player demo has been seen in press events as it takes place in the Salarian homeworld as more characters return from the previous games (Wrex, Liara, Garrus, and Mordin assuming they're alive by the end of the last game). Here, Shepard and Wrex have to save arguably the Krogans' last hope for survival from the Salarians except Reapers and even Cerebrus show up in attempt to ruin that.
The big reveal out of this beta for single player is that is three modes of approach to the final game as they consists of action, story, and RPG modes. It pretty much comes down to preferences how people would play the game as the story mode for example lets you play the game for the story and have an easier time in combat sections while those who like the combat sections would go with action mode. However, it seems to be that RPG mode is the one to go with if you played the previous games and want all hands-on on what's going from the dialogue trees and key story decisions. Gameplay-wise, it is still Mass Effect with the improved combat as you likely seen Shepard's improved abilities from melee attacks and rolling to evade. The recently revealed co-op, Galaxy at War, is also there in some way too, but there's not much to say with that if you read previews on various game sites.
Mass Effect 3 is still coming on March 6, 2012 and this beta leaking out reminds me I need to play the last stretch of Mass Effect 2 again to keep my vital characters alive for this finale (I did let one die, which sucked). More videos of this beta are blow courtesy of NeoGAF.
UPDATE - The videos are taken down for obvious reasons, but that's not all. This private beta did more damage than just leaking out as even a script of the whole story was leaked out as people were messing around with the beta's files. Yeah, the whole story of Mass Effect 3 is out there in the wild filled with spoilers galore. It still sucks that something as big as this gets leaked five months before release, but BioWare claims some of the story details in that script are not final. Those who read it though have a pretty good idea how the main game will play out now.