Phil vs Phil: Is Mass Effect 3′s Co-op Stupid?
Yes | No
Phil H: It’s More Mass Effect, So Quit Bitching
If anybody should be excited about more opportunities to exercise an unhealthy Mass Effect compulsion, it’s Phil Owen, and yet he wants to go all “purist” on us. Can we all take a step back here and realize we’re talking about a video game here? This is Mass Effect, not War and Peace. Yes, I love the story of these games as well, but I can recognize that they’re not going to be ruined by augmenting the experience with additional gameplay.
Hell, let’s talk about story for a sec. Consider the name of the (assumed) ARG/co-op thing, “Galaxy at War.” Let’s read it again. “GALAXY AT WAR.” A galaxy is a big freakin’ place, kids, and yes, I know we all like to do the whole Shepard against everybody thing in these games, but not only is it unrealistic, it’s kind of stupid. Of course there are other stories to tell here.
In fact, my impression of the plot of Mass Effect 3 is that it will include lots of the “run around convincing people to do things” missions that are Shepard’s primary occupation. What will you be convincing those people to do? Why, help you fight the Reapers, of course! And what will you be doing in co-op? Why, helping fight the Reapers, of course!
To assume that Shepard is going to single-handedly shut down the Reaper threat is sort of unrealistic (as well as really arrogant) given the scope of the threat. This is an End of the Galaxy scenario — so why not let Mass Effect allow us to influence the state of the galaxy and the war being fought from various angles.
There are other positives to be mentioned, as well. For one: Mass Effect even when in the company of other people. No more slinking off to your dark basement while your friends eat your food because you’re addicted to this game. No more turning down social engagements in favor of shooting Krogan mercenaries. No more ignoring your real-life significant other in favor of chatting up Tali or Jacob. Now they can play with you!
Plus you can play as a salarian! Why are you not on board with this?
Look, all along, Mass Effect has been a squad-based, multi-character game. You issue orders to your squadmates but you don’t really control them. They’re like other players. Now you can play with other players, experiencing bits and pieces of other characters’ experiences with the Reaper threat, using different classes and different races, and you can actually employ real strategy and tactics while you do it.
You’ve been playing co-op in Mass Effect all along. The only difference is, now the conversations aren’t fake and you don’t get a red Renegade indicator when you yell at your friend for failing to keep that geth from killing you.