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.

Read Phil Hornshaw’s reply

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8 Comments on Phil vs Phil: Is Mass Effect 3′s Co-op Stupid?


On October 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Whats silly is the argument itself, bioware already states that co op will have no effect on single player when being able to experience all that there is.

Co op is just away to play with friends and experience a more social aspect of a great game.

so at the end of the day you have a choice of the two but nothing is being taken away from single player plus if you want more of a challenge you can even do co op missions solo. At the end of the day it’s a win win.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm


Co-op will specifically effect the single-player story by influencing the battle with the Reapers — but you don’t NEED to play co-op to complete ME3 in the same way. As Owen has mentioned, it basically gives you an avenue to cheat after screwing something up in your single-player campaign.

David Moss

On October 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I’ve gotta go with Hornshaw on this. It’s not that he made a more persuasive argument, it’s just that he looks more fearsome in that Street Fighter pic.


On October 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm


Ok, that was lame of me.

Dhalism is so scared that the fight between these two will bring about the end of the world that he’s cowering in the corner.


On October 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm

@ Luther

Your a retard.Watch the video where Hudson say you get the best ending by playing co op.Thats ing stupid.Just like your face!


On October 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm


Here are a couple copy paste’s from bioware posted by Chris Priestly

It is important to note that the system is entirely optional and just another way players can have control over your game experience – it is still possible to achieve the optimal, complete ending of the game in Mass Effect 3 through single-player alone.

What if I don’t like multiplayer – will my experience be negatively impacted?

Mass Effect 3 is a complete, standalone game that will deliver a satisfying story experience, even if you choose not to try multiplayer. The Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system and all of the individual components are meant to complement that amazing game and can be enjoyed on their own or as part of the Galaxy at War experience.



On October 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm


So this debate is basically an argument based on people that might cheat the system? I for one wouldn’t care if someone managed to play every possible ending within 30 minutes cause of this co op, it comes down to the player them self or you, would you use it to cheat?

I don’t think I would but that’s just me I guess?


On October 14, 2011 at 8:35 am

What I truly don’t get about the arguments against the co-op play, is that Mass Effect is and always has been about your own engagement with the story, the decisions you make in the game and the opinions you form of the characters you interact with. I have no issue with what other players wish to do, their ‘canon’ experience is likely to vary distinctly from mine. Will I play co-op? Yes, but I’ll play it only after completing the game on pure single player. If other people want to play their game in such a way then that’s their business and as long as it doesn’t detract away from my playthroughs, what is the problem?