Phil vs Phil: Is Mass Effect 3′s Co-op Stupid?
Our VS. series is a new recurring feature that pits two Game Front writers against each other as they take opposite sides on a topic and have at it.
BioWare this week announced that Mass Effect 3 will have co-op, and it’s got everyone talking, including Phil and Phil. Will it be stupid?
Yes | No
Phil O: I’ll play Mass Effect 3, of course, but I’m not going to play this stupid co-op
I love Mass Effect. I would wager that I love it far more than you do, because I’ve logged a couple hundred hours in the first two games. In fact, it would probably be safe to say I’m obsessed with it. I even played it some this week! We’re in the middle of AAA season, and I’m playing Mass Effect 2. What the hell, man?
It is precisely because I love Mass Effect so much that I’ve got only negative feelings about Mass Effect 3′s co-op. BioWare says that the co-op will be a part of a new game mode called Mass Effect: Galaxy at War, in which you play co-op missions to gain “galactic readiness points” in order to achieve a better ending than the one you earned in the main story. And that just rubs me the wrong way.
The beauty of Mass Effect, for me, is that each time I play I feel like I’m telling a unique story, and all my actions have consequences. With the Galaxy at War game, my actions will not have consequences, because I will be able to cheat my way to victory against the Reapers by taking part in these co-op side missions.
I’m sure there are people out there who are fine with this and will greatly enjoy playing Mass Effect with their friends for the first time, and more power to them. I wish them all the happiness in the world and a great gaming experience.
But there are also a ton of people like me out there, for whom it feels like the integrity of my single-player experiences is at stake. I’ve spent the better part of the last four years telling stories about Commander Shepard, and if I were to play the co-op missions, I would be making it so that those stories came to conclusions they did not earn, and I cannot accept that.
Look, I know this whole thing sounds silly. I’m talking about the integrity of a video game story here, and that’s just ridiculous. But I play games for the stories, believe it or not. And when all is said and done I want my Mass Effect story to feel whole, and I know it won’t if I play these co-op missions and get an ending to Commander Shepard’s story that I didn’t earn. And that’s all there is to it.