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Mass Effect 3 (Preview)

Mass Effect 3 MPIt’s easy to get upset when it’s announced that a primarily singleplayer game like Mass Effect is getting a multiplayer mode: The Mass Effect games are epic singleplayer RPGs, why would you need or even want multiplayer?

Perhaps to convince those who would ask that question, EA and Bioware have released a portion of the multiplayer to all. Multiplayer in Mass Effect 3, or at least in the demo, is basically a combination of Gears of Wars’ Horde Mode and the progression system from Call of Duty. Added on top of that is a somewhat random loot drop aspect and of course all the combat tropes you expect from Mass Effect.

Class types carry over from singleplayer, so you’re free to stick to whichever you’ve become comfortable with. Species however are locked, these are randomly unlocked via reinforcement packs which are purchased via the in-game store (using in-game credit too). In addition to random character unlocks these packs also replenish supplies such as medi-gel while occasionally providing weapon mods and upgrades too.

Each species has only three powers from their specific class branch, meaning playing as a badass Drell isn’t the only reason you’ll want to unlock the new species. You may find his specific set of abilities perfectly fit your play style. While it is a shame the unlocks are random, it does encourage experimentation with classes you may not have tried before. Upon unlocking a Female Quarian Engineer with a bonus XP boost (allowing you to level up her abilities right away), why wouldn’t you try her out? Or if you just got a super powerful Sniper rifle that doesn’t quite fit your current character, why not change to an Infiltrator for a bit?

This is probably the most enticing part of the Mass Effect multiplayer experience. While the random element may seem tedious to some, I found it incredibly compelling. After only a short time with the demo I found myself staying online till the wee hours trying to get a few more credits for another pack. If the contents of that pack ended up being disappointing it didn’t discourage me, it just made me want to try again. For all I know the next pack could have that Krogan Sentinel I’ve been waiting for!

Once everyone has chosen their class and outfitted them with weapons and equipment it’s onto the battlefield. There are 11 waves to tackle, most of which simply ask you to survive while killing your attackers. Scattered throughout are a handful of objectives which will pop up in certain waves. Which objective is random, they range from downloading data from a terminal to simple elimination of an specific target within a time limit. They do a good job of forcing you to move around the map, as inevitably everyone will choose a spot to huddle up in and make a stand. They also require a little more team coordination as there are usually quite a few enemies between your team and the objective.

Considering the story orientated nature of the singleplayer it is a little disappointing that the multiplayer is so heavily action based. Especially with Biowares recent release of Old Republic, which proves they can tell a story in a multiplayer setting. That said when the multiplayer has turned out to be so engaging and fun its hard to stay disappointed for long.

Originally published on Square-Go.com

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