Multiplayer has been unlocked this weekend for the Mass Effect 3 demo that was previously single player only. Now you and 3 friends can mix it up online in Bioware’s version of Horde mode. But is it any good? Check out my impressions after the jump.
It is no secret that Mass Effect is one of my favorite series in video games today. While I wasn’t one of the people who was furious over the addition of a multiplayer mode to my treasured single player RPG, I certainly had my doubts. I felt that maybe EA was pushing multiplayer which is something that Bioware really doesn’t have much experience with, outside of the new Star Wars The Old Republic of course. After getting my hands on it I’m pleased to say that my doubts have been soundly dispelled. I have had an absolute ball experiencing the new mode and I’m confident that most other people who enjoy co-op play will as well.
If you’ve ever played a Horde mode, which has become popular in games as an alternative to deathmatch, you’ll know most of what to expect from Mass Effect 3′s multiplayer mode. You’ll face waves of increasingly difficult enemies while teaming up with up to 3 other players to take them down. Every few rounds objectives will play into the mix which range from hacking a terminal to hunting down specific targets within a time limit. When one of your teammates go down if you get to them before an enemy stomps their head in, or before they bleed out, you can revive them. The player that has died will be able to mash on the A button in order to keep themselves alive longer and slow the bleeding. Basically it’s a nifty addition that gives the anxiously dying character something to do while waiting.
Before the round though is where the Mass Effect magic really happens. As you fight you’ll gain experience points which can level up a variety of skills depending on your race. The standard 6 classes are here along with the updates that ME 3 brings to the table. They function slightly different then single player though, as each class has multiple races to be selected and each race has at least one ability setting them apart and often more. For instance a Human Adept (my favored class) comes equipped with Warp, Singularity, and Shockwave; whereas the Drell race features Reave, Cluster Grenade and Pull. Each race can be switched between once you unlock them and you can redistribute your points as you see fit when you make the change.
To actually unlock the races you’ll need to earn credits and apply those towards packs that you can purchase. Much like booster packs of a collectible card game they come with several random things such as med pacs, emergency ammo packs, weapons, character choices, custom color patterns and more. Spending more credits will result in a package with more rare items. It’s great because it adds an additional level of customization and something to push you to keep playing, not that you’ll need much of a push if your anything like me. I’m not sure if the races will have to be unlocked in the final version or if they will come unlocked already.
Details and videos suggest that there will be additional story elements added to the mode and that your multiplayer experience will increase your galaxy readiness within your single player mode. What exactly this entails isn’t entirely certain, but you’ll be hitting reaper locations, battling Cerberus and all around aiding the cause. I dare you to watch the trailer below and not get excited.
See, what did I tell you? After playing the experience for over six hours in one sitting I can safely say that a mode I had no desire to play has become just another reason why Mass Effect 3 is my most anticipated game of 2012. The full experience hits March 6th in the US, March 8 for our friends in Australia, March 9th for Europe and March 15th for Japan.
I better call my boss, I’m already feeling a tickle in my throat that I can only expect will result in sick days come March.