Galaxy at War – Multiplayer Preview
It shouldn’t have come as such of a shock. Mass Effect is one of the few single-player focused franchises that have held off on adding a multiplayer component—something that seems almost necessary in this day of video games and console. It was only a matter of time before BioWare caved.
But BioWare isn’t just adding multiplayer for the sake of having another bullet point to add to Mass Effect 3’s game case—they’re pitting the entire Galaxy at War. It’s an experience that BioWare hopes to be as satisfying as the award-winning formula used in their single-player campaign. And from what we’ve seen—although still early in development—has the potential to do that and more.
The entire galaxy is your lobby: Mass Effect 3’s Galaxy at War system is a large, inter-space map with battles raging on throughout. Teams of 4 players will enter individual battles taking place to co-operatively defeat wave after wave of different challenges. These waves are combat-focused, but also objective-based, and increase in difficulty and scope with each successful completion of a wave.
Neither you nor your teammates will take the role of Shepard, and instead will build a player from scratch using one of the six races in Mass Effect 3. Characters start off bare-bones, but as you earn experience points through kills and completing objectives, you can power-up most anything just as you would Commander Shepard in the single-player campaign.
Multiplayer gameplay is much like the single-player—proper use of weapons, tech and biotics are key. Selecting teammates whose abilities compliment a well-rounded assault is equally important. Using combined skills, your team will take on a variety of baddies, ranging from Assault Troopers to massive mechs, while attempting to complete objectives such as defusing bombs.
The demo I played through was early, you could tell. It was a little glitchy (the debug unit crashed on me twice within 30 minutes or so) and very difficult. But seeing what's already there and knowing the level of polish and detail BioWare brings to the Mass Effect universe, multiplayer is bound to be out of this world when the game releases on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 6th, 2012.