So anyone who is a big fan of the Mass Effect series so far would have probably been grinding their teeth at the announcement that multiplayer was going to be included in the third installment. It isn’t all doom and gloom though, as details have been dripping about what the multiplayer will involve it seems that Bioware are taking care not to ruin the single player in any way.
There have been a few sequels recently where games have added multiplayer components into what has traditionally been a single player game. Some have been done well and enhanced the experience. Others… well if it’s done poorly it really does take a lot away form the experience. A recent example of how it’s done right would be Dead Space 2, now the actual game is not part of the original, but the multi player mode is completely separate from the single player game. And the single player was definitely the main focus in development, while not quite as good as the original in my eyes it still is a blinding game. An example of multi player taking away from the experience, as much as it pains me to say, is Resident Evil 5.While a fantastic game on it’s own, and so much fun with a friend. It lost that experience you got from all the other games in the series, the struggle to survive, you against insurmountable odds. And games just aren’t that scary when you’ve got a friend to hold your hand. In that respect it lost something. In short, sometimes a single player experience is sometimes left being a single player experience. If you want to add multi player it kind of needs to be a separate element to the main game.
So what approach are BioWare taking then? Well they’ve already made it abundantly clear that they don’t want the multi player to take anything away from the experience of the single player game. It is entirely optional in fact, you never have to try it out at all if you don’t want to. You won’t be controlling Shepard or any character available in the main single player game, but that means you can take on the role of turians and other species. The Galaxy at War, as they are calling it, does have a slight effect on the single player game however, gives you alternative ways to be successful in the main story, which is the thing I’m a little unsure about. The thing to remember here is that it is entirely optional, you can play the game relying on the co-op features to help you progress or you can just enjoy the classic single player campaign as is. I know I’ll be playing through on my own for the first play through at least, but this will allow other plays who enjoy it as more of an action game to progress too, so they’re opening up their audience in a way.
Quite a clever way of adding a multi player aspect, time will tell if it pays off.