Mass Effect: The Brilliant Multiplayer Time Sink of Doooom!

In my other post, I talked about one of my favourite hobbies, Magic: The Gathering. Now, we come to another of my favourites, video games. I figured the best way to start things off would be to talk about one of the best games I’ve played in a long time.

I’m going to talk about Mass Effect, of the 3 variety in particular. I’m not going to talk about the single player (maybe later), excellent though it is. I’m going to talk about the multiplayer. I’ve heard a lot about the single player online and from friends, but rarely do I hear people mention the multiplayer.

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For those of you who don’t own Mass Effect 3, or who do, but have never gone online, or even for those who tried it once or twice, then discounted it, I’m going to tell you why you should play it. I mean right now, (finish reading this first), go play it.

ME3 multiplayer is a horde mode kinda deal, where 4 players start in a map and 10 waves of guys from one of four factions, who they have apparently caused grave offence to, attempt to cause them as much harm as possible. It is a simple formula and Mass Effect is not the first game to use it. It is, in my experience, the best use of this formula. It isn’t without flaws, but no game is perfect and ME3 is about the closest we have right now in the waves of angry guys genre.

The magic (non-gathering related) comes from the huge variety of ways to shoot, explode, punch and throw across the map presented to you. At the start, you are given a choice of 6 classes, all of which are human. You can then go on to unlock 53 more combination of race and class. Then come the weapons, with approximately 7 bazillion different (okay, maybe that’s a lie, this isn’t borderlands) combinations of weapon and the two attachments each weapon  can have.

Then there is the equipment….

So you ask me, how to you get all this stuff. I shall tell you. This is where the game becomes a time sink, as each match completed awards credits (amount depends on difficulty, 4 difficulties available) and credits (or actual money, for people with more money than sense/free time, delete where applicable) are used to buy packs (7 different kinds available) and these packs have some stuff in.

This is where we get to one of the flaws and a bit of a barrier to entry to new players, as the contents of each pack are random. Added to this, each weapon has 10 levels, each equipment has 5 levels, each attachment has 5 levels and each character has 5 or 6 unlockable levels of customisation. I’m not sure how long it would take to unlock everything, but it could be well over 1000 hours of in game time. Starting to see the problem?

This does not reduce the fun of actually playing, and unlocking new, random items is a fun experience. But there is the knowledge that I’m probably never going to unlock everything puts me off a bit.

Despite this, I would encourage everyone to give Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer a try, or a seconf try if you already gave it one. The game has been out a while, so the price has dropped, the DLC is free and the single player is excellent.

The last thing I’d like to mention is that this was the series first foray into multiplayer and is viewed by some as a beta for the next game. In that case, its the best damn beta I’ve ever played and I’m very much looking forward to the next one.

And the doom? That was just me being dramatic…

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