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.

Back to Phil Owen’s thoughts

Phil Owen and Phil Hornshaw are on Twitter: @philrowen and @philhornshaw.

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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?