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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Guide/Review: Sarcasm Edition

Warning: Vulgar language, adult jokes, and copious amounts of sarcasm ahead!

By now I somewhat expect everyone has formed their opinion of the single player campaign of Mass Effect 3...and while in my opinion the game is 99% awesome and 1% wtf-ending!? Some have argued that it is not worth its price. Thankfully for me, Bioware thought to include a multiplayer function, which actually is one of the more fun multiplayer games I have played in a while.

In short summary, it's a "Horde" or "Firefight" (Failfight?) sort of game with 4 players which fend off progressively larger, tougher waves of enemies from one of three enemy factions (Cerberus, Reapers or Geth) on one of six maps. Its a team game, with each player getting the exact same amount of XP and credits at the end of the match, meaning Goblins will hate it (though I have yet to encounter many "M&S"). There are three difficulties; Bronze (the LFR of ME3, everyone wins), Silver (Normal Mode, requires some skill/coordination), Gold (Hardmode; requires team cooperation and a good combination of classes, but will likely induce rage) and the rewards scale up with difficulty. Each player picks a class, and in each class are 3 subclasses (split into races from the game).

So off we go, complete with Resurgence DLC update!

Meet the Classes: Not the classiest bunch

Soldier: The human versions of this class are very versatile but you can tell exactly how effective the one in your game is going to be by looking at what weapon they are using. The Krogan version is a walking bullet-sponge that usually gets killed often later in the game at higher difficulties when the enemies start finding his health pool hilarious. The Turian version looks cool and can turn most rapid fire weapons into laser-bullet-streams of death...but he can't roll which paints a giant target on him. DLC Update: The Batarian soldier is basically the Krogan with a lower BMI; he shoots SPIKES but his FALCON PUNCH heavy melee makes it very clear why his race nearly got wiped out by the Reapers.

Adept: Human Adepts? What are those? Oh right the things no one likes cause they have the worst combinations of abilities. Meanwhile the Asari and Drell both bring powerful tools, and who doesn't want to run around as a frog-man or blueberry? Drell are especially fun because the sound-effect from their Reave power is basically nails-on-chalkboard and will enjoy a 90% uptime. DLC Update: Another Asari!? Well who doesn't love the blueberries...this one makes bubbles that put her sister adept to shame and hits the enemies with Reave Space AIDS.

Engineer: Basically the Adept except all their powers are "Tech" oriented instead of Biotics..oh and their drone is ADOWABLE and annoys the crap out of the enemies. The Salarian variant can create a holographic image of himself so he can live out his self-cest fantasies. He also steals enemy shields which is leading to the belief that Salarians are all "Dirty rotten thieves". You could also play the Quarian, but most people like being useful to the team. DLC Update: The Geth have arrived, their engineer may as well be made of paper but his turret can be the star of the's also 34% cuter than the Quarian version.

Sentinel: Their signature Ability, Tech Armor, has this unfortunate side-effect of increasing the cooldown on your powers while providing a slight damage reduction increase...someone at Bioware did not think this one through. As a result many human/turian Sentinels will re-spec out of it...Krogan will keep it, because it's hilarious to make yourself even more of a tank. DLC Update: The DLC added the Batarian Sentinel, a four-eyed fish man who shoots nets and breaks every OSHA regulation about blades on his armor. Like most Sentinels his role is really not defined by his class, and he tends to fare well as a CC/Bruiser....just don't mock his mustache.

Vanguard: Vanguards come in two varieties; dead and awesome. Arguably the most risky-rewarding class to play, the human Vanguard requires close contact with enemies and usage of one's own Barrier defenses for damage. Good Vanguards learn to stay near their team, play the enforcer and will remember that they have 3 teammates. Bad Vanguards will die early, often, and become a huge liability to your team. Of course they will expect you to revive them and somehow save their ass from the kerfuffle they get themselves into. DLC Update: The most anticipated DLC character, the BROGAN Krogan Vanguard...he's basically the human Vanguard but the tissue paper that comprises his armor is not yet soaking wet so he gives the illusion of survivability.


Infiltrator: The token SNIPZOR class, like Vanguards the Infiltrators come in two varieties: Awesome and useless. A good infiltrator is a boon to your team because he/she will be killing enemies constantly, while resurrecting fallen teammates and taking objectives. Bad infiltrators will talk about their sexual escapades with your mother and verbally wank about their score. DLC Update: The Geth Infiltrator...I should note that if you want this class you will never see it in a pack. Capable of seeing through walls, laying mines everywhere and being generally obnoxious, his main ability tanks his defenses meaning he is most often spotted lying on the ground screaming for a revive.

The People trying to kill you

Contrary to popular belief this topic is not about your own teammates.

Of the three factions there are about 5-8 enemy types, with Cerberus being a well-rounded bunch who each have a weakness and some strengths, Reapers being a bunch of walking bullet sponges that do way too much damage and appear to have been torn from your nightmares, and the Geth who just swarm you with close-combat troops that kill you in 2 seconds then tease you about the inadequacy of your organic reproductive organs.

Below I have selected out a few of the more notable ones:

This is a Phantom; she is here to ruin your day. When she is off-duty, she likes to steal Christmas and talk in the theater. Your job is to send her to that "Special" hell before she sticks that sword through your chest. If the sword doesn't work, she has a BFG9000 built into her right palm and she'll happily blow you back to the stone age if it's rainy out she gets bored. Also, I hear she hates puppies.

Ain't she pretty? Source
Meet the Banshee. If the Phantom exists to ruin your day, then the Banshee is there to throw your day into a wood-chipper and mock the result. Ripped straight from a fantasy of H.R. Giger, she can teleport forward quickly, has a huge AoE that strips shields, a "HADOKEN!" that will leave a painful, near fatal DoT...and I feel like I am forgetting something....OH RIGHT she can instantly kill anyone she gets into melee range of (or anyone who lag determines was too close, leading to a phenomena known as "Magnet Hands"). Sad to say but the Reapers turned your Blueberry Waifu into a 10 foot tall "FUCK YOU" Signed, Bioware. There is good news! She announces her arrival in the same way your Ex did; by concocting the most obnoxious noise known to galactic civilization and screaming it out at the top of his/her lungs...until killed.

Unit F.U.C.K.U-1 Source
A Geth Hunter, the Rogues of Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, they like to sneak around the map partially invisible and will pop out of nowhere; stick their shotgun up your nose then video tape it as they laugh at your corpse while the plasma does terrible things to your brain. All too often they will show up with a handful of their friends and Geth Pyros to initiate a "clusterfukken" that makes a riot look like a quiet gathering.

The Weapons

At this point there are somewhere around 40 or so weapons in the game, with at least 5 in each slot...but you wouldn't know it because only about 10 of them ever see any use (and if people were able to buy specific weapons only 5 would see use). Really it is the random nature of weapon drops that keeps weapons in circulation...but most people, when presented with a choice, use the Carnifex, Geth Plasma Shotgun, Black Widow, Mattock AR, or....well no one in their right mind uses SMGs.

The rapid fire weapons often feel somewhat nerfed because of an "Armor" mechanic that subtracts a flat amount of damage from each incoming shot (and it is based on difficulty). This means heavier hitting weapons do great against armor while rapid fire guns...well you may as well be throwing pennies at them. In theory the rapid fire weapons do more overall DPS and more damage to shields/barriers but the problem with that is that so few enemies HAVE shields and barriers, combined with those defenses usually being quickly torn away by powers or people with heavy hitting weapons and many guns end up under-performing (Hi Geth Pulse Rifle!).

Not that some classes use their guns anyways...Adepts, Engineers and Sentinels use them as fancy back decoration...while Vanguards occasionally resort to their gun...if something has gone HORRIBLY WRONG.

This leaves; Soldiers who no one wants to bring to groups anyways, and Infiltrators that use mainly sniper rifles (and the suicidal bunch that use shotguns and hope for revive-happy teammates).

Last Details

New weapons and classes are unlocked by a Collectable-Card-Game style store method where you spend the in-game credits to buy "packs" that have random chances of equipment, one-time bonuses/ammunition and possibly new weapons/characters. These sound interesting on the surface and are a nice shift away from the "1-50 with a gun each level" method that Call of Duty and Battlefield are in love with. In truth it is cool; but I must say my computer has been at serious risk of landing in the drywall when I get the Eviscerator (a useless shotgun) for the 7th time and another Human Adept customization when I have them all already.

That and they have "Events" every other weekend that will reward a "Special" pack which contains one of 4 special of which happens to be the best Sniper Rifle in the game. Yeeeeeeah..not cool.

I also find it amusing how willing people are to try and revive...even if it is a TERRIBLE IDEA at the time, such as when a turret is standing over your dead body. A friend of mine even pondered a game of "get killed in bad places" in which he would try to die in the most inopportune places to see if teammates would still, like lemmings, desperately try to save him.

On that topic, the game is designed to fit comfortably in the button-squeezed console market, leading the designers to make "Space" (or whatever it's analog is on console) the default button for EVERYTHING. Want to revive a teammate? Space! Want to take cover? Space! Want to sprint? Space! Want to wipe your ass? SPACE! This has on more than one occasion earned a controller a place in a drywall because a person has attached to cover when they wanted to revive...or when they wanted to run/dive away.

In truth it's quite fun, and easily makes up for some of the loss of value from the disappointingly unreplayable single-player experience...I've put plenty of hours into the MP so far and expect to do more. Here's hoping they continue to support it.

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