Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Beta Impressions
I Walked Away Impressed With the Multiplayer for Mass Effect.
The Mass Effect 3 beta is officially live, and the 4LOG crew has been playing the multiplayer portion for the past few nights.
When the announcement came that Mass Effect 3 would have multiplayer many people were torn. Some people thought it was going to be a huge mistake and take development time from the campaign, and others wanted to see just what Bioware could cook up to take the Mass Effect experience online. After some time Bioware dropped some details on the multiplayer which pretty much explained it was going to be a variation of Horde mode from Gears of War.
When I heard this news I definitely wasn’t jumping at the chance to play the new mode. It’s widely known that Mass Effect just isn’t my favorite game, and my reasoning is due to the shooting experience just not feeling as solid as I thought it should be, but I told myself to just give it a chance. So when the beta finally hit, the 4LOG crew fired up their Xboxes and prepared to blast some Cerberus to another dimension.
On the surface the multiplayer is an enemy generator, but the experience is pretty unique to anything else I’ve played. You have your usual options of different stages and difficulties, and the full version players will be able to switch what enemies they face. Each round consists of 10 waves that players must complete, and different difficulties award players with more experience and credits.
Playing the game is pretty simple. Find the enemies and destroy them any way you can. All of the classes and races have different biotic powers and unique weapons they can carry, so switching between classes just doesn’t mean you use a Shotgun instead of an Assault rifle. Each class has their own skill set that can be upgraded by gaining levels, and will make taking down the enemy much easier.
So after playing about 7 hours of the beta I can say that the multiplayer is fun, but there are some issues I have with it. I had a lot of fun blasting enemies with my friends and the unique classes and upgrades give you something to work towards besides a higher level. The leveling up system is very cool because you have some control over each upgrade. For instance you can upgrade your grenades to have a larger radius instead of a higher damage percentage. It really is kind of shocking to see how much depth each class has, and this is a feature that will keep many players coming back for hours on end.
Credits can be earned during some waves and lets players buy different packs of items to equip. Some items like Cyro Ammo only last one round. While others like Ammo Packs are single use only, and give you a quick boost on the fly. The different packs are also how players obtain new weapons, and weapon attachments. The items in the packs are completely random so obtaining new items and players can get addicted to buying packs to obtain more items.
The problems I have with the title go back to the issue I’ve always had with Mass Effect, the controls. For some odd reason it seems Bioware didn’t make any changes to the controls for multiplayer. There are ton of little things that frustrate me beyond belief.
Using you biotic powers is still mapped to the bumpers, but you can’t simply press the bumper, you have to tap the bumper. If you hold the bumper simply nothing happens because the game thinks you are trying to pull up the menu for your different powers, but the power selection wheel is disabled for multiplayer. The action in multiplayer is much faster than single player, and trying to hit a concussive shot in a tight situation with the awkward controls can be frustrating.
In the final version players will be able to switch what enemy types they are facing, which after 7 hours of the same 6 enemies (half of which are not in every wave) it can get really repetitive. Even being able to switch the enemy type is nice, but why not have multiple enemy types at the same time and have them fight each other during battle. Even having a random set of enemies between waves would keep the game play between waves fresh. (This could end up in the final version I’ve heard)
The overall control is still an issue for me. General movement still feels off, and trying to get in and out of cover can still be clunky. Sometimes I found myself trying to get into cover but my character just wouldn’t do anything but sprint head first into cover. Aiming and shooting still isn’t as smooth as I’d like, and sometimes trying to hit a moving enemy proved to be a problem.
After devoting a good chunk of time to the beta I was impressed with the amount of character and class options, and I was very surprised how addictive purchasing different packs to obtain new items could be. My issue is that the actual gameplay isn’t as polished as it should be, and the control is still the biggest issue with the series. Like I said before, Mass Effect has never been my game of choice and control has been my issue since the first game. Fans of the series will probably not have any of the issue I had with the title and everybody should give the beta a shot. In the end I walked away impressed with the multiplayer experience. I honestly expected to multiplayer to be a useless tacked on experience, but that is not the case at all. The question is if the title will have legs after the first few weeks, and the repetitive game play and lack of enemy variety might make the experience go sour fast. Sound off on your thoughts about the beta below!