When buying a new game, Lindsey and I usually rush to put up a review. When I first purchased Mass Effect 3, I knew I was going to take my time completing it. Like most fans of the series, I have been excited to see how the trilogy will end but also reluctant to finish my time with Commander Shepard. Little did I know just how tight of a grip the multiplayer would have on my soul and my free time.
The most notable addition to Mass Effect 3 is just the presence of multiplayer. In a franchise that used to be exclusively single player RPG, bringing on a third person, horde-style online experience seemed like a cheap way to have people keep their games instead of trading them in. While that may have been the case, the team at Bioware has found a way to thoroughly integrate the actions of that online experience into the single player game.
There are no spoilers here when I tell you that the events in Mass Effect 3 center around a galactic war. It is the player's job as Commander Shepard to acquire as many war assets as possible in addition to achieving 100% galactic readiness. Collecting the war assets takes place exclusively in the single player campaign, but increasing your readiness without going online can be really difficult. Being successful in the online component can make a huge difference in the end result of the story. The amount of online play and the resulting level of preparedness means a horrible story ending or a wonderful one.
Another aspect that really freaked me out was the achievements. I absolutely hate online achievos. There is nothing more infuriating than forcing me to be socially interactive when I just want to sit alone in my bedroom on a Thursday night. Luckily, the dev team predicted that there were enough people like me out there and every achievement that can be unlocked in multiplayer, can also be unlocked in single player.
I'm still somewhat on the fence about the multiplayer aspect of this game. Even though I'm unspeakably bad at third person shooting, I still find myself having a pretty good time when I'm playing with a relaxed enough crowd. And of all the games that suddenly incorporated this type of game play, I'm glad Mass Effect 3 found a way to be less obnoxious way to do it.