When it comes to Mass Effect 3 the last thing I think about is online multiplayer. Mass Effect 3 is known for its in-depth story mode. I was amazed at how well put together the online portion of this game was. For those who haven’t played ME3 let me combine a few titles that are popular among the online community. Lets see……How about we throw Gears of War‘s horde mode along with MW3‘s spec ops mode and a dabble of fire fight from the Halo series with a in-depth weapon/leveling system and BAM! you have the ME3 multiplayer mode! How could anyone possible beat that? Lets jump in to the meat and potatoes.
I have probably spent a solid 24-hours playing the online portion of this game, so I am able to give you the best understanding possible. I have promoted 2 of the characters to the front line of the galaxy war (reached the maximum level). I am currently working on a third and most likely will try to max out every character at least once.
When you first load up the game you have the option to start a new game, play multiplayer, game options, extras, kinect tuner, and downloadable content. If you hang around the same screen for a while you will notice that there are messages that scroll to give you updates and things of that nature. So the first thing I did was go ahead and hit the multiplayer option. Once you hit multiplayer it will bring you to the multiplayer screen which displays your character, your level, credits, galaxy at war percent, quick match, create new match, character, leader boards, and finally store (if its your first time you will have to create a character). This is the basic hub for all of your multiplayer needs.Lets start at explaining what exactly galaxy at war percent means
It has been said on many different forums that this percentage can affect your offline story in different ways. I am not sure how exactly but I do know that you are only able to raise the percent by playing a lot of multiplayer games. My percentage is at 100 but it took me a while to get it there. It also decreases daily if you don’t continue to play games online. It has also been rumored that it only affects the last 2 hours of game play. If your one of those people who have to have the best possible ending than I suggest you keep this at 100%. It makes you want to play every portion of this game instead of just one part.
Next I would like to talk about the Store option and what it has to offer.
The store is the only way you are able to obtain different weapons, characters, health items, support items, attachments, outfits and other things of that nature. I have notice that ME3 took a different approach to obtaining new weapons besides reaching a certain level or picking up any weapon on the ground. they developed a system that keeps your curiosity piqued. What you have to do is play multiplayer matches and when you complete them or simply play them, you will get a certain amount of credits based on how far you made it in your match. You then take those credits to the store where you can purchase three different packs that have different variables of rare weapons and items. The first pack is the recruit pack. It says, “A great way to upgrade and unlock your basic weapons, mods and characters. Includes 5 random items or characters, with a small chance for an uncommon.” This pack cost 5000 credits, which is pretty easy to obtain. The second pack is the veteran pack which says “Advanced hardware and training for experienced operatives. Includes 5 random items or characters, with at least 1 uncommon or better.” This pack costs 20000 credits or 80 Microsoft points. Yes, you are able to purchase these with cash from your pocket as well. The recruit pack is the only one you can’t purchase with Microsoft points. The last and final pack is the spectre; it’s the best but most expensive, it says “The best equipment for the galaxy’s best operatives. Includes 5 random items or characters, with at least one rare or better.” This pack costs 60000 credits or 160 Microsoft points. Personally I have spent $60 bucks in purchasing the spectre pack. I did this in the beginning, so I had no idea if I had anything good. Turns out that I obtained rockets, health items, character unlocks, exp, and only a few weapons that really don’t matter much. I realized the I received the best weapons when using the credits that I won from playing the online matches. My advice is, just play the game and use the credits that you earn.
Let’s take a look at the character option.
The character option is the dashboard for your powers, weapons, appearance and equipment. I will just touch on these for a second or two. The power option is the place where players can allocate the points that they obtain from leveling your character class. Every Character has five different attributes that you are able to spend your points on to obtain greater power, health, shield and make different abilities stronger. This is what makes each and every character different and unique.
The next option is weapons. This is where you can equip two different type of weapons, unlike the story where you can equip up to five. This is also the place that you can add different attachments to your weapons to give them little boosts in different areas.
Next is the appearance tab, this allows you to change the color of you character. Most of the options are grayed out because of the fact that you have to get a special item in one of the three packs that allows you to change the pattern, color and many other aspects of your characters looks.
Last but not least we have the equipment option that allows you to add different armor bonuses, weapon bonuses and ammo bonuses that you obtain from the three packs that you can get with your credits. I was not kidding when I told you that the packs are one of the most important parts of the online mode. That is where you get all of your stuff to help your character during the waves of nasty enemies.
Let’s discuss the leader board.
Much like any other game, this game has a leader board where you can compare yourself to your friends and find out how you rank against the world. The ranking system in this game is not exactly based on what level you are, but more along the lines of how often you play the game. They call this ranking the N7 rank. My current rank is 97 and the top ranker as of 11:46am 3/11/2012 was 504. I am pretty sure that N7 rank doesn’t stop. Yes, you are ranked a number out of how many people are playing but that’s not important now (mine sucks), what is important in that N7 number. You can get more N7 rank by playing matches and finishing waves along with allocating the points you obtained by leveling up. We cant forget that you get +10 N7 rank for promoting your maxed out character to the front lines (which is lvl 20). You almost get N7 rank for doing anything in the online portion of the game. I am kind of glad that they just don’t base the rank off your kill-to-death ratio. This game is not meant for solo players. Even on the easiest difficulty this game is super hard to play.
Let’s move on to setting up the game and get into the actual game play of the online portion.
When you’re at the multiplayer menu, two of the options are quick match and create a match. I usually only use create a match when I am trying to wait for a buddy, so I set the room to private, add them and then change the game back to public so that any one can join. When you click the quick match option it will take you to a screen where you can set up what type of match you will join.The first option you can change is the location. There are six different locations that you can choose from, you can also choose any which will randomly choose one for you. They are all very fun except for one level and that’s Fire Base Reactor. Its dark, cold, and very small. My favorite is Fire Base White, there is a lot of room to roam around and many different places to grab cover if you need it. It was easy to choose the one I did not like, but super hard to choose the one I really like. Besides one, they are all good maps. I hope they plan on putting out extra content for the multiplayer part of this game.
The next option you have to choose from is what type of enemy you want to fight. There are three different options excluding the “Any” option. One of the enemy options is Cerberus. These guys are a pain in the ass. I recommend that any armor-piercing items you have are equipped. The enemies in this class are based of mechs and stealth. They are a real pain if you are not well -prepared. They have Atlas, which are big Mech’s with a lot of armor. They also have a few other enemies that have a good shot and can be invisible.
I don’t want to give away all the surprises and secrets when it comes to each class of enemy, so I will just touch on them and move to the next class of enemy. Another choice of enemy is the Geth. Now, the Geth enemy is one of my favorite enemies to fight. Don’t get me wrong, they are hard, but not as hard as the others. These guys are an organic mixed with a little mech, so they have decent armor mixed with high fire power. They have flame throwers, Hunters, along with Primes which are big huge enemies that shoot an energy at you that can easily kill you. I suggest you use a lot of cryo rounds (freeze) and make sure you have at least one infiltrator in your party that has the ability sabotage so you can gain control of the enemy for a short amount of time.
The last option you have is the Reapers…….I HATE THESE GUYS! If I had to pick an enemy to never see in a game again this would be it. If you like a challenge pick these guys in the fire base reactor map. The hardest thing EVER! Not only are they hard all around, but they have cannibals that eat their own kind to give them a power boost. They also have the well-known Banshee who is an asshole! If she grabs you, it is instant death. I haven’t played against these guys much so I don’t have any strategies due to the fact that these guys suck to play against.
The last option you have to choose is the difficulty. When it comes to the difficulty, there are only three different options excluding the “Any” option. The first difficulty that you have to choose from is the Bronze difficulty. If you are a veteran player, Bronze is not for you. I am at the point where I never play the Bronze difficulty. You get the least amount of exp as well as the least amount of credits to buy your packages with. If you are new to the multiplayer portion I will recommend that you choose this option.
The next difficulty is Silver. This is the difficulty that I normally play. It’s challenging but possible and it’s rewarding. You don’t always win, so it gives you that challenge factor.
The last option is Gold. I have yet to play a game on the Gold difficulty. All I hear is that it is impossible. Most of the time when I search for a Gold game, I either can’t find one or it puts me in a room with one other person which is most likely an automatic FAIL! I would recommend that you put all the options on any except for the difficulty – place that to silver. Even low-level characters have a good chance if they are in a good party. The more options you have set to any means the more bonus exp and credits that you will receive.
Let’s finally move on to the game play.
Once you have finished getting your character set up the way you want, you will be ready to actually start a game. Hopefully you start a game with good teammates. This game focuses on team cohesion and communication. You must work together to beat all 11 waves of enemies. Now, during the game play you will have 11 waves to beat, about every 3-4 waves you have certain objectives that you have to complete. Some of these goals can be a pain in the ass and some can be as simple as setting up shop in a certain parameter while information is being uploaded for about 4 minutes. There are 4 different types of objectives that will show up randomly in the game play. The first is eliminate the enemy target. All you will have to do for this one is destroy which ever target is assigned. The second is hack the computer, this is where you have to defend a certain point while data is being uploaded for about 4 minutes. the third is called……Well, I forgot what it is called but this is where you have to active 4 different terminals on the map in a certain time frame in order to complete the objective. There is a time limit on these different game types and if you fail to complete them in the time limit, the game is over. So it’s not an option, you have to do them. There is one last one but this one happens on the 11th wave of every game and is always the same. It’s called extraction. This is where you have to get to the extraction point and stay alive for 2 minutes. At the end of two minutes you are picked up by you transporter and the game is complete. At this point in the game you have a crap-load of enemies coming for you and this is where you usually unleash hell. I usually save all of my healing items and rockets for this portion of the game.
I suggest your whole party has a means of communication whether it be cell phone or a gaming head set. Communication is crucial in this game. I have noticed the players are stuck on the MW3 mentality. “You stole my kill”, “You took my care package”, things like that. At the end of the game everyone gets the same amount of credits. This game cannot be played solo. Yes there are certain achievement you can get for pulling your part such as 25+ head shots, 10+ assists and things like that but at the end of the day the goal is to complete the waves as fast as possible so you all get more points. I have a feeling they made the class cap 20 so that people don’t have to worry about needing those kill to further advance your character, much like MW3 and BF3 rely on.
Personally, I find the game play addicting and has a certain replay value that reminds me of one of my favorite games (Phantasy Star Online). I keep needing more so I can buy more packs and find out what awesome weapons are out there. I have already promoted 2 characters to the front line and i am still playing the online mode. One complaint, and it is very minor: the one thing that i had and still have an issue with is the running controls. Everything is almost perfect except for that one minor thing. When I hold the A button to run and revive or run to get away, a majority of the time I end up grabbing some cover by accident. When moments are intense and you need to run, I recommend to try to shoot right for the middle. If you even come close to a wall, your character will hug to it like it has no chance of survival unless it hugs the wall. Other than that I think this game was a solid build and have no complaints besides the one minor control issue. I am excited as well to start diving into the story mode of the game.
If you readers have any comments or issues please feel free to express them in the comment section. Even if you want to throw in your two cents or cover something that I missed from the online portion of the game. Thank you all and I really enjoyed reviewing this for you guys!