Mass Effect 3 is the first game in the series to have online multiplayer. It might seem strange for the RPG franchise to suddenly go co-op, but as long as the main campaign is what fans of the series expect, online modes shouldn’t matter. However, PC Gamer has reported what you do or don’t do in Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer affects the ending of your solo campaign. These are three reasons why this is a terrible idea.
What about those of us who don’t play online multiplayer?
I’m not a big online gamer. I might check the multiplayer out, but I’d rather play the main campaign. This is especially true for story and character driven games like Mass Effect. BioWare is known for its single player experience. Gamers are fans of the company because they’re good at making RPGs. Having to play online in order to up your Readiness rating or collect enough War Assets for a proper ending is a huge disappointment. Also, consider the gamers who play through the main campaign before touching the multiplayer. It seems Mass Effect 3 just assumes everyone will dive into the online mode even before experiencing Commander Shepard’s final journey.
What about the two console house?
I have two Xbox 360s and one copy of Mass Effect 3 that came with one online pass. The pass went to my son’s 360. Therefore if I really wanted to play online, I would have to buy another pass. This is in addition to the release day DLC, From Ashes, that features a new mission. Having multiplayer that affects the end of the main campaign, plus the online pass and day one DLC is a bit much for a two console household. There should be a way to share online passes and DLCs between Xbox 360s that are owned by the same person.
What if other companies start copying this?
Imagine playing GTA V only to discover you need a certain amount of experience points from multiplayer in order to unlock a feature in the main campaign. The single player experience and online modes must be kept separate in most games. It might work for a multiplayer heavy game like Call of Duty, but not for story or character driven titles. When you’re engrossed in the campaign, it seems unnatural and unfair to leave it in order to affect the story for the better. If other companies start tinkering with the main campaign like this, it will only frustrate and anger gamers.
The PC Gamer article does mention that you can get a better ending by only doing the solo campaign. Although, it seems players will have to do tedious side missions you might not do otherwise. While it’s normal for RPGs to have many different endings, it is not fair that the outcome of the single player is influenced by online co-op. Hopefully EA and BioWare will understand how upset fans are, and never try this again.