The new multiplayer mode drops you into a game with three other players. The Mass Effect series has traditionally been a single-player experience and the game has relied on compelling storytelling and creating a cinematic experience to draw gamers in. It’s a formula that’s worked exceptionally well so far, with the original Mass Effect game earning a score of 91 out of 100 across 74 reviews and its sequel earning a score of 96 out of 100 across 98 reviews.
Mass Effect puts players in control of Commander Shepherd as he tries to fend off an ancient alien race called the Reapers. In the final installment of the trilogy, the Reapers have taken control of earth and Shepherd has to rally the forces of the galaxy to take back the planet and destroy the reapers. It’s an over-the-shoulder shooting game that features role-playing game elements, such as earning experience for completing objectives and becoming more powerful over time with better skills.
When entering the game, you can choose your race (among others, there are the massive Krogan and the powerful, psychic Asari races) and class, like a Sentinel or a Soldier, each of which has different abilities. You then face off against waves of enemies while trying to defend strategic locations across the galaxy.
Successfully completing those missions contributes to Shepherd’s “war assets” in the main story line — the more assets you have means you get a better and more complete ending. BioWare added multiplayer to the game to make use of its new team in Montreal and to give players an alternative way to build up their war assets in the game, Mass Effect series executive producer Casey Hudson said. Players can still get the best ending by playing through the game in a single-player campaign, but now they have an alternative way to build up their war assets.
“This is really the best place to start playing the Mass Effect series, this is the beginning, middle and end of the whole galactic war,” he said. “You’ll be able to take control of characters you have never been able to play before — you’ll have access to all the different classes and many of the races.”
Hudson said it made the most sense to add multiplayer to this title, which tells the story of an all-out galactic war at a huge scale.
Mass Effect 3 will come out March 6 next year.