Mass Effect 3 Demo Impressions: Cooperative Multiplayer, PC Version
Mass Effect 3, the end to the Shepard trilogy in BioWare’s science fictional universe, is dropping on players in just a few weeks. In leading up to the huge game’s launch, BioWare gave gamers a Valentine’s Day gift of sorts: a demo of the game that includes the much-discussed but barely experienced cooperative multiplayer mode.
While the single-player content in the demo was mostly old hat for those of us who saw and played demos of ME3 at E3 2011 and San Diego Comic-Con 2011, the multiplayer features of the demo are all new. Alas, only players who purchased Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3 and redeemed the multiplayer online pass through an Origin account have access to multiplayer until Feb. 17. But a few of us at Game Front have gotten hold of the brave new step in Mass Effect’s evolution, and fresh from the battle, we’ve got a few impressions for you.
We’ve also tried out the first hands-on PC play with Mass Effect 3 thanks to BioWare’s demo, and have a few thoughts on it, as well.
Multiplayer in a Single-Player RPG
We’ve been hearing about Mass Effect 3′s cooperative mode for a while now. BioWare insists the game mode will fit the larger narrative universe of Mass Effect and will be a worthwhile endeavor for those of us who are deeply engaged in the game’s story. The multiplayer mode will be a major part of Galaxy at War, a portion of the game that will tie into other media (like a mobile game) and lets players take on different portions of the greater war with the Reapers around the galaxy. Completing co-op missions adds to the player’s rating in Galaxy at War, raising the galaxy’s readiness to defeat the Reapers; when the player comes to the end of Mass Effect 3′s story, their galactic readiness will have an effect on the ending they reach.
The demo represents the first time we’ve actually gotten to see any part of Galaxy at War at work. What’s on offer consists of two maps, each fairly large, “strategically important” human bases. Both have players fighting off wave after wave of enemies from the Cerberus organization — the pro-human terrorist group that saved Shepard in Mass Effect 2. It’s not unlike Gears of War’s Horde mode, except that certain intervals, players will have to find and eliminate, disarm or otherwise interact with certain items on the level, or kill specific targets within a time limit. As you might expect, enemies get harder and hard to kill the longer the game goes on.