How Mass Effect 3's role-playing roots empower the multiplayer:
Filed under: Features, PC, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Action, Online, RPGs
This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity.
"I just want to see how this integrates with the single-player campaign," I thought, clicking on the multiplayer option in Mass Effect 3's main menu. I had no expectations of making it a habit. Like many people, when the multiplayer component was announced, I thought it sounded completely extraneous. Once I started playing, though, I fell for it, and have been putting more time into the multiplayer than the campaign.
Arguments about whether Mass Effect 3 is a role-playing game or not have existed since the first game's release. Regardless of which side you take in those, Mass Effect does include many components of role-playing games, two of which are essential to the multiplayer's success: world-building and character development mechanics. Of course, there are simple gameplay reasons to enjoy the co-operative gameplay of Mass Effect 3 online. The levels are well designed for dynamic changes within matches, and waves of enemies seem ideal for both difficulty and time. But those things aren't what make it special.
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