Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer

Mass Effect’s “new” multiplayer component was launched prior to Mass Effect 3’s release.  It has been out for sometime now and has had several updates to include new maps and weapons since it was launched as a demo with two maps.  Overall MEM (Mass Effect Multiplayer) is fun and I’m sure any Mass Effect fan likes it.  I also think it appeals to other gamers.  Perhaps players of Modern Warfare, Battlefield etc. might give it a try for a break from their usual gaming routine.

In a MEM game you play with three other peeps to form a four-man Alliance team.  You get sent to some off-world sierra hotel to complete various missions.   During the game you fight 10 waves of enemies completing various missions and then are extracted.

Characters are capped at level 20 and you get to distribute a generous amount of points into the various class’s biotic powers.  New updates have added new races and classes you can play such as the Geth.  I must admit that I find the Krogan Vanguard disturbing!  Lol  The enemies are either Cerberus troops, mutated Reapers or Geth.  Watch out respectively for the Phantom, Banshee and Prime opponents as they are the hardest to kill.

There are three difficulty levels, bronze, silver and gold.  You can really tell the difference between the levels as the aggressiveness and survivability of the enemies significantly increases as you go up in difficulty.  On gold level, the hardest, it is very difficult to survive to extraction.

The variety of missions is one feature that makes MEM fun.  The base mission is to kill the incoming wave of enemy.   Always fun just shooting anything that comes your way. The other missions entail killing four “high-value” enemy targets, uploading data from a computer terminal, fixing/reactivating four terminals/satellite up-links and finally the extraction itself.

The high-value target mission is fun.  You have a set amount of time to kill 4 enemy targets.  Each time you kill a target you get a little more time.  Don’t be surprised to find other enemies protecting the high-value target adding some difficulty.

The uploading data is essentially a hold your ground mission.  You go to a terminal and must hold your position for several minutes while uploading data to a computer terminal as enemies constantly attack you.  Remember the more of your team members in the designated area the quicker the download.

The fixing or reactivating mission sends you to four different devices on the map in succession to activate.  You have a set amount of time to activate all four devices.  Usually this involves fighting your way to the device and a little hold your ground.  When you get to the device it takes about 15 seconds to activate it.  If there aren’t any enemies around you can do this by yourself.  If not you’ll need a team member to keep them busy for the 15 seconds.

The extraction mission, which I guess you could say is the 11th wave, is another hold your ground mission.  You move to the extraction point and hold that area for two minutes until a shuttle arrives at the LZ to extract you.

My only real criticism of MEM is the awards system where you buy various packs of gear, increasing in price, Starter, Recruit, Veteran, and Sprectre to get better gear, ammo and power upgrades.  The problem is that the equipment in any pack on any given purchase varies so you never know what you are getting.  Sometimes an item you shelled out big bucks to buy in real money (Microsoft Points) or in game earned credits in a Sprectre pack might be found in the significantly less expensive Recruit pack. Say for example you have an Avenger II assault rifle and want the Avenger III.  You have absolutely no logical path to purchasing it.  You just have to hope that it randomly show’s up in some pack you buy.  Buying a Spectre pack or higher has no bearing on if the item you want will be in it.  For example I’ve wanted the Vanguard additional camouflage patterns for my character’s appearance for weeks.  No such luck.

Also the MEM contribution to your Mass Effect 3 single player game makes no sense.  As you play MEM you see some message that says something like “+ 1% to galactic readiness.”  This number goes up and down.  Log off and come back and you start over again.  How this gets added to your readiness in the single player game isn’t in the least bit obvious.  Not that you really need a couple percentage increase in readiness when you get to the end of Mass Effect 3.  So why even bother with this?

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