Re: Mass Effect 3
I imported the savegame of my Shepard from Mass Effect 1 and 2. Then it doesn't even ask and automatically selects role-playing mode. The other modes are only possible for new games and in case of action mode the character generation is circumvented and the game is started straight away with the soldier class. Dialogue choices are automatically on the renegade side of the spectrum as far as I can tell, but I didn't play action mode far. There are some paragon choices as well, overall I'd say 55/45 renegade/paragon in my case. Didn't try story mode.
However, I noticed that even starting a new character with ME3 in role-playing mode is different than with an imported save. With my Shepard carried over from previous games I had more dialogue options, whereas my 'new' character would automatically select some options according to what the game determines has happened the first two games. It seems to be either randomly determined or by filling out the 'psychological profile'. For example: in a new game with an infiltrator I started Wrex was dead. In a new game of friend of mine, also as an infiltrator, Wrex was still alive. I guess the reason for this is twofold, to make replaying more interesting and to prevent a canon storyline.
About the RPG mechanics: I think ME3 is the best of the series. It has still less skills than ME1 but they are better. Let me explain what I mean: in ME1 there were plenty of skills according to class with lots of points, but they were just linear. Raising the level of pistols would unlock new skills at set points and my choice boiled down to get Assault Rifle to maximum as soon as possible and then put leftover points in more hitpoints and intimidation. The other weapons I never really used and there was no incentive to do so. Finding a cool sniper rifle with my soldier was pretty useless, since I had invested so much in my assault rifle skill.
In ME3 there are no weapon skills, which was already the case in ME2. Unlike ME2, it's possible to use any weapon regardless of class. However: depending on the weight of the weapons power recarge speed changes. Less and light weapons mean power use more often. There is no clear 'best' weapon, any weapon in the game has it's use for some build and some situation. Different assault rifles have different modes of fire (single, burst, full auto) and some weapons have specialties (exploding bullets, see through fog and cover). The skills for each class branch out after the first 3 levels. More weapon damage or more shields? More granade damage or larger radius of the explosion? Extra damage against stunned targets or 25% faster recharge? This makes it possible to specialize and pick skills according to party synergies.
Currently playing: XCOM: Enemy Within (PC), Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)