Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Assault Rifle Mastery – Mass Effect Multiplayer Challenge

I just completed the Mass Effect Multiplayer Assault RifleMastery Challenge on Silver.  So no banner for me!  But Assault Rifle Mastery is a fun challenge.  It reminded me that one of the things I’ve always liked about Mass Effect was the wide variety of all types of weapons and the ability to modify them.

Like most people I have a couple favorite assault rifles that I habitually use; the Harrier, Collector Rifle and Saber.  Doing the Assault Rifle Mastery Challenge forced me to use assault rifles I generally don’t use anymore and some that I never really used at all.

So here is my run down on the assault rifles I used.

The Best
Not surprisingly I thought the three best assault rifles where the Harrier, Collector Rifle and M-99 Saber.  I used the Harrier II and yes, I have Harrier X envy.  The Harrier is, I think, the best assault rifle in the game.  It is accurate, has low recoil and does the most damage.  The main drawback of the Harrier is that it holds a low amount of ammunition, 80 and 20 in the clip and has a high rate of fire.  The Harrier has a high rate of fire so your 100 rounds go quick and you are always looking for the nearest ammunition crate to replenish your rounds.  The good news is that you can generally kill basic enemies in less than 20 rounds.

I used the Collector Rifle IV and found it to be a close second to the Harrier.  Like the Harrier, the Collector Rifle has a high rate of fire.  The damage on the Collector Rifle IV is about equal to the Harrier I.  A big advantage of the Collector Rifle is that it holds three times as much ammunition so you don’t have to desperately know where every ammunition crate is relative to your position.  The Collector Rifle is accurate and has light recoil so you can hit the target with most of shots.

I really like the Saber.  I used a Saber V for this challenge.  The Saber is like using a sniper rifle that fires quickly.  The Saber is highly accurate, does damage on the level of a sniper rifle and has light recoil.  It holds a little over 40 rounds plus 8 in the clip.  Even though it has low ammunition I never feel like I am low on ammunition like when you use the Harrier.  Two to three rounds will drop any basic enemy.  The disadvantage is the low fire rate.  While much faster than most of the sniper rifles it is slow compared any assault rifle in the game.  Sometimes it feels like forever when you are one shot away in a close in fight waiting for it to reload and your biotics/shields are recharging.

Honorable Mention
I also used the M-8 Avenger X, M-15 Vindicator VII, M-37Falcon and Phaeston X assault rifles for this challenge.  All of these are decent weapons.  The M-8 Avenger is of course the classic Mass Effect assault rifle.  It is the base line for all other assault rifles.  As I’ve said in other posts you can’t really go wrong with the Avenger.  Damage is a bit light.  But it is lightweight so recharging biotics is good, holds lots of ammo and is accurate. 

The Phaeston X was much better than I remember.  It was my standard for a long time.  The Phaeston is another solid rifle for any map or enemy.  It is accurate, has moderate kickback, does moderate damage and holds a good deal of ammunition.  

 This was the first time I used the M-37 Falcon in multiplayer.  I must say it was pretty good.  The Falcon, essentially a grenade launcher, does high damage but has low a accuracy and a low rate fire.  Besides the high damage it also stuns enemies.  This is great when firing into a crowd or facing something like a Geth Pyro.  The stun gives you a chance to move out of range or pump in a few more shots.  It’s also fun to watch the enemies hit by the Falcon.  Sometimes they go flying through the air or their heads explode.  

 The Vindicator is one of those assault rifles I rarely use.  It turned out much better than I remembered it.  The Vindicator fires five-round bursts.  Its accuracy is moderate and has high kickback.  But the kickback is moderated by the five-round bursts.  So all in all its not too bad.  It does moderate damage, holds a moderate amount of ammunition and its weight is light, which is good for recharging.  Generally speaking all these assault rifles are all pretty good overall.

The Most Fun
The most fun was the M-76 Revenant X.  This rifle is fun to play with if you’re not seriously trying to outscore everyone on your team.  It has a high rate of fire, sounds awesome, good muzzle flash, holds a high amount of ammunition and does moderate damage.  It is not highly accurate and has substantial recoil.  You have to modify the weapon or use equipment upgrades to reduce the recoil to an acceptable level.  It is ok at close range targets but even at moderate distances it loses what little accuracy it has.  I found the Revenat to be more accurate if you fire it in short 2-3 second bursts.  The problem is it is hard to do this because it so much fun to just hold the trigger and watch it fire.

The Worst
The worst was without a doubt the Geth Pulse Rifle X.  It has three positives; it is accurate, has little recoil and holds a lot of ammunition.   The bad news is that you’ll need all that ammunition because its damage is so low it takes forever to kill anything.  It takes an entire clip of 80 rounds to kill just the basic Cerberus Trooper, Geth Trooper, Cannibal or Collector.  Just avoid this assault rifle.  I didn’t think I’d ever get to 100%.  Then of course I got to 99% just so that I could have one more game with this lame rifle.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Firebase Giant and Ghost Alternative Maps

Firebase Ghost
Looks like EA/Bioware added some new alternative multiplayer maps.  So that is total of three alternative maps that I've seen so far.  Today I played the alternative Firebase Ghost and Firebase Giant map.  Not as much as a change as the Firebase Dagger map was.  The alternative Firebase Ghost map is a huge rain storm, see video, that downpours, then stops leaving puddles of water and then starts again.  The rain doesn’t really affect visibility like the sandstorm does on Firebase Dagger.  It is also light wise darker than the normal Dagger map.  Perhaps because of the rain clouds blocking the sun or maybe it is supposed to be night rather than day like the original. 

The Firebase Giant alternative map is just more of a light show than anything else.  It doesn’t affect you unless you stand there and look at the lights.  There are some cannons firing into orbit that light up the sky and the map area.  I didn’t turn my recorder on to catch it as it wasn’t really interesting enough to cause me to stop playing and turn it on.

I came across the Firebase Giant alternative map playing multiplayer tonight so I turned the recorder on and captured a few minutes of video, see belos..  As you can see its a bit darker due to night time.  You can also see the cannons firing into orbit and the flash it creates.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mass Effect 3, Multiplayer: Retaliation

Mass Effect 3’s new multi-player downloadable content (DLC) "Retaliation" is now available.  So log on and down load that new content.  There some interesting things I’ve noticed just playing a couple bronze missions and not reading lists of stuff from the professional gaming sites.

It's free and it’s good.  Get it.  One of the first things you’ll notice is the menu screen is different with the addition of a challenge tab.  For you badge and achievement collectors your time has come.  There are to many categories to talk about but it appears EA/Bioware took a page out of “Call of Duty” and other similarly structured games where you can earn achievements in certain categories by doing certain things or maxing out a skill or item.  For example there is an Assault Rifle category where you need to get to 100% with each assault rifle in the game.  Not sure how they are calculating but I don’t think anybody will be finishing up the achievements tomorrow.

An old enemy is back to throw a wrench in our plans.  The Collectors who we spent a good deal of time fighting them in Mass Effect 2 and especially the climatic final “Suicide Mission” are back.  (See post "I Like Miranda and Won’t Apologize For It" for video of the "Suicide Mission.")  The Collectors even killed Commander Shepard in the beginning of ME2 filling us with self-doubt until we sorted things out.  It’s good to fight the Collectors again and get some more pay back.  It also adds more variety in the enemies you can fight.  The Collectors bring their usual techniques but have a few tricks up their sleeves.  At one point I came across a “Collector Web.” Not sure what it did I figured you didn't want to get caught up in it so I fired it up and destroyed rather easily.  Seeker Swarms are back and if you're in a weakened state and they attack you'll need to use a pack.

With the Collectors the Husks they control are “possessed” and they explode when destroyed.  If you happen to be in weakened state and one is destroyed next to you it is like a heavy-duty grenade going off.  Most likely you won’t make it.  So try not to let them close in on you if your shields are down.

Flipping through a Premium Sprectre Pack I saw some new ammunition; Drill Rounds, Explosive Rounds and Phasic Rounds to name a few.  I had a chance to use the Drill rounds and liked them a great deal.  I also picked up a new N7 Particle rifle that I didn’t care for.

I saw a Volus player, with a jet pack, not sure what class he was off the top of my head. Never seen a Volus move so fast, perhaps that fat boy had an upgrade?  lol There are also new alternative maps to mix things up.  The video above features the Firebase Dagger alternative map.  On this map visibility is cut short by a sandstorm. I believe there is an alternative map for each map, effectively doubling the number of maps.  (If I'm wrong someone let me know.)

I’m sure there are many new changes I haven’t mentioned.  These are just some I noticed after playing a couple of bronze games to check it out.  So log on and find them out for yourself.  Good luck with those achievements.