Mass Effect, the gun-toting, decision-making, Shepard-following galactic trilogy of unprecedented proportions in the world of video games. Where else can you read for hours about fictional races of such absurdity (yet eerie believability) as the Hanar? What other franchise allows you to save a girl, sex her up real nice, and then ditch her for a hotter one in the sequel (I’m looking at you, Miranda Lawson)? When have you ever flown across the Milky Way to discover a bunch of cyber-zombified scientists, annihilating them effortlessly with a well-placed shotgun blast to the face, if not in Mass Effect games?
Simply put, the Mass Effect series has proven itself to be one of the most respectable, innovative, fun, and beautiful (aesthetically, emotionally, and narratively) of its kind in this generation. It sucks you in, pulls you into the lives of things that, in reality, are little more than a few lines of code some Canadian wrote, and never let’s you go. Hell, I’m still here, wondering how my romance with Liara will play out in the conclusion.
But wait, trouble sets foot upon the horizon: according to a forum post by Chris Priestly, Mass Effect 3 is going to feature a multiplayer component. So far, we’ve been told there will be cooperative play for up to four players, and you can choose amongst the myriad races of the Mass Effect Universe, fighting to raise “Galactic Readiness”, being the level of preparation that the good ol’ galactic civilization of Mass Effect has for the inevitable onslaught of the coming Reapers. Now, you may think this is bad, because you look at games like Dead Space 2 that had an utterly laughable multiplayer affair, and find this added component to be a waste of disc space and time on the part of Bioware, but there is a saving grace: the team that has traditionally developed Mass Effect, Bioware Edmonton, is still solely working on the single-player campaign. In fact, another team, Bioware Montréal, is working on the multiplayer. With such knowledge, we see that even if the multiplayer component is useless and atrocious, we still have the same great team working on the same great series, with nothing standing in their way. Though you may argue that the multiplayer component will take up better-suited disk-space, I highly doubt anyone from Bioware will keep this on one disc. In fact, I’m guessing that ME 3 will be three discs: two for the single-player (just like ME 2), and one for this new multiplayer mode.
Thus, even though you may not like the idea of roaming around the virtual Milky Way as a Turian, Krogan, Asari, etc. with your buddies, killing Reapers and whatever else may stand in your way, you’ll still get the full conclusion to the saga if you only play the single-player. Additionally, it has been confirmed that you don’t need to play this new mode to achieve the best possible ending, but it would help your chances if you messed up somewhere along the way. Nevertheless, it is not necessary, and knowing this, I for one am not at all dreading the multiplayer arrival coming when Mass Effect 3 ships. What I am dreading, however, is how little of a life I will have as I blast away Reapers in my own little world Bioware has created for me, you, and every other gamer that’s ever played Mass Effect. It’s a beautiful thing, what they’ve done, and so far, whether it be KOTOR, Jade Empire, or Mass Effect 1 & 2, they haven’t let me down, and now with more funding, more time, more teams, and a conclusion to boot, I doubt they’ll let me down here.