Expanding the Mass Effect 3 Experience

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Mar 14, 2012 in Videogames |

Mass Effect 3 Galaxy at War logo

If you’ve been following the site, it’s no secret that I’ve been looking forward to playing BioWare’s Mass Effect 3. Critics have praised the game and while some gamers have voiced concerns regarding everything from day-one paid downloadable content to the doctoring of stock, royalty free photography, I’m still enjoying my experience for the most part. I admit that I’m not a very social gamer but due to BioWare’s new interactive “Galaxy at War” system, you’re almost forced to deal with the multiplayer aspect just to improve your single-player campaign’s ending. Fortunately, there are a couple workarounds for those of you with an iOS device. More after the jump.

For those who aren’t too familiar with the “Galaxy at War” system, Mass Effect 3‘s online functionality requires you to connect to EA’s Origin network. Doing so gives you access to the game’s cooperative multiplayer mode, which primarily consists of squad-based battles against oncoming waves of enemy combatants, similar to Gears of Wars‘ “horde mode.” Participating in these battles ties into your single player campaign by raising your galaxy’s galactic readiness rating, and the higher your rating the better your chances of surviving the final confrontation with the reapers, subsequently resulting in a better ending.

Mass Effect 3 Galaxy at War Map

While its online gameplay can be fun and engaging, it also encourages gamers to spend money via microtransactions to improve their experience. The transactions aren’t required, but given that the points used to purchase enhancements via gameplay are awarded to players based on their performance, and those willing to spend their cash are more likely to excel. Opting not to purchase any items with actual cash could mean multiple sessions before a decent load-out would be available to you. So, if you’re not interested in draining your wallet a dollar or two at a time, what’s left?

Mass Effect Infiltrator Screenshot 1

If you’re fortunate enough to own a compatible iOS device, BioWare and EA recently released two apps that can help. Mass Effect: Infiltrator offers an interesting side-story with the same cover-based third-person combat that most Mass Effect fans are familiar with. You play a renegade Cerberus agent bent on revenge, and throughout the game, you can collect data to upload to the alliance in order to raise your overall galactic readiness rating. It’s short, but sections can be replayed and doesn’t require microtranscations beyond the initial purchase, though they’re made available for those who to purchase upgrades.

Mass Effect 3 Data Pad

The second option is the recently released Mass Effect 3 Data Pad app. It’s a free alternative that provides access to the entire Mass Effect 3 codex, along with the ability to receive messages from the characters in the game. It also offers up a fleet commander mini-game that lets you deploy your war assets and influence your overall galatic readiness rating. I should mention that doing so requires you to link both apps to your Origin account.

So, there you have it. Hopefully these options might save you from hemorrhaging cash for the sake of the galaxy.

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