February 20, 2012

Experience: Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Demo

Having able to finally get my hands on the Mass Effect 3 Demo, I decided to wait out for the multiplayer access. The wait's worth it as I give out my impressions of the multiplayer mode.

Mass Effect 3 Demo Title Screen
I have covered a summary of the Mass Effect franchise earlier in my post of the action figures they were going to release. For now, I'll cover the third game's premise. Mass Effect 3 is the third series in the Shepard Trilogy where Commander Shepard has to build and lead an army against the invasion brought out by the Reapers. Aside from the single player mode, you'll also be to play cooperatively with three more players in defending attacks from the opposing forces.

The multiplayer game plays just like the single player campaign with some unique features:
  • You'll be able to play with up to three additional players online.
  • You'll be able to play the standard six classes with the chance to play as the different species of the Mass Effect Galaxy.
  • Your actions will contribute to the "galactic awareness" that will dictate whether a part of the galaxy is well prepared for any invasion.
  • Your skills are limited to three active powers and two passive powers, encouraging teamwork among different classes.
To get started, you'll need to log in and play the game via EA's Origin digital distribution service. Once you're connected, you will prompted to create your first character.

Character selection screen

You need to provide a name for your character but you'll actually see other player's Origin/EA usernames while in-game and in the mission lobby. Your options for character customization is limited by a few parts to recolor to your tastes. Unlocking the other parts will require the purchase of "packs" from the store. We'll cover that later.

Character customization options
Once you're ready to join the action, you'll be taken to the main multiplayer screen, where it shows your character, menu options and the "galactic awareness" status. You can get started started by either entering a quick match based on your search criteria or hosting a game. You can also access the store and your character's powers, equipment, weapons and appearance.

In quick match, you can search for any open game (and in progress games if the hosts sets it) and join inside a random host's game. From there you can get ready for the game, access the store or your character's overall settings.
Quick Match screen
Once in-game, you'll need to survive 10 waves of enemies and accomplish important objectives. After the 10th wave, you'll need to be in the extraction point before or by the time the shuttle arrives to "win" the match. You get EXP by racking up kills, performing certain types of kills a number of times, surviving waves and winning the match. You'll also earn credits by accomplishing the mission objectives that pop up from time to time. Credits are used to purchase packs to earn more consumable items, weapons and even characters.You still get EXP and credits if you lose the match.

During a match, you'll need to kill all hostile targets to clear a wave. You'll be replenished of your ammo, shields and health after surviving a wave. If you end up dying, you'll need to be revived by a living teammate in order to continue. If you don't get revived on time or you have been "stomped" by the enemy, you'll be unavailable to continue the wave further. If any surviving teammates clear the wave, you'll be revived as well. If all of your players are unable to revive, the match is lost but you'll still get the EXP and credits gained. As for ammo, you can find ammo creates around the map to replenish your supply as enemies don't drop ammo (or what they call thermal clips). There are special objectives that occur in random between waves that must be accomplished in order to earn credits. These objectives range from killing designated targets, interacting with objects while being at risk to open fire and "defending" a spot in order to upload data. You can get bonus credits if you are able to accomplish the objectives quickly.

In character progression, you can level up to earn points to unlock and improve your powers. Also, your level remains the same when you decide to select a different character to play with the same class. The only difference between similar characters in the same class are the skills they possess, giving (a fixed) variety of skill combinations.

Character screen
The store allows the purchase of packs containing consumable items, weapons, modifications and characters. Consumable items include per mission buffs and items best when in extreme emergencies. You can also earn new weapons and upgrade your existing weapons. The same thing goes with modifications as well. For characters, you can either unlock new characters to play or unlock more customization options for your existing characters. Character cards will also provide EXP to either newly unlocked or existing characters. The acquisition of these items is purely random, with different packs offering varying odds of receiving them.

You'll never know what you're gonna get...
The leaderboard allows you to check out the ranking between you and your friends, globally and by country. The score is based on the levels you are able to reach for all your characters.

Ranking by Country. We're recognized!
For the record, this s the most enjoyable experience I had in a multiplayer shooter. Given with the fact that I am a Mass Effect veteran, it was really amazing how the gameplay worked well in a multiplayer experience. Although the new cover and rolling system does annoy my tactics from time to time, it didn't ruin the enjoyment of multiplayer.

I look forward playing multiplayer as often as I can to make the most out of the "galactic awareness" system. Plus, I'll be able to play as an Asari with this mode! Or even a turian, krogan, drell, salarian or quarian! :D

Character Card Get!
As always, check my tumblr for bigger pics! Here's a video of a winning match with me on the microphone as well! :D Will make one ASAP.

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