Mass Effect 3

The Mass Effect 3 demo gives players a taste of what to expect when Mass Effect 3 finally drops on March 6, 2012.

The single player portion covers what happens in the first moments after the Reapers invade Earth.  Commander Shepard has been brought in by the Alliance military following the events of Mass Effect 2.  The leaders of the Alliance are apparently as indecisive as the Council and still aren’t sure that the Reapers exist.  That is, until the Reapers land and start destroying everything in sight.  This kicks off Shepard’s next great adventure to save the universe.

While the story and single player sets a grand stage, the draw for most is the addition of multiplayer.  Multiplayer is very similar to the Horde Mode from Gears of War.  A group of four players must survive 11 waves of enemies.  The enemies can be changed in the final game, but are limited to Cerberus agents in the demo.  It’s not as simple as surviving the eleven waves and getting extracted.  There are objectives that must be completed while fending off the waves of agents who want nothing more than your head on a stick.  Fail to complete an objective and the game ends.

Players pick their gender, race, and class exactly like they would in single player, except for the race.  Also like single player, characters level up and gain abilities to be used in multiplayer.  Completing objectives rewards players with credits to be spent on booster packs.  These packs can contain one-time perks like special ammunition or medi-gel packs or new characters and weapons.  It’s a fantastic system that will keep players playing as there are a plethora of class, race, and gender combinations to level up.  In addition, the grab bag of weapons instead of buying the exact set you want makes it exiting to see what comes out of the booster pack.

A lot of people have been clamoring for a multiplayer component to Mass Effect.  I wasn’t convinced that the game needed it.  However, after playing the Mass Effect 3 demo, I’m hooked.  It’s a far superior version to Gears of War 3’s already fantastic Horde Mode.  The RPG elements of leveling characters and upgrading weapons is something that I would love to see incorporated into more games.

Mass Effect 3 was already a strong contender for game of the year.  The addition of multiplayer may have guaranteed that.