Finally, the space-faring adventures of Mass Effect Multiplayer lets gamers explore the exotic human homeworld: Earth. Better known throughout the galaxy as The Planet of the Space Humans! With the upcoming DLC pack appropriately called “Earth”, players can fight off hordes of bad guys on home turf for us hairless monkeys.
The free pack includes three new locations for multi-player battles. These are Firebase Rio, described as “Home to the N7 training facility”, along with Firebase Vancouver (Of course the Reaper invasion will begin with Canada), and Firebase London which actually was a major location for the single-player story.
There are six new playable characters to unlock, one for each of the classes. These are also all presumably humans as indicated by the “N7” designations. They are the N7 Demolisher Engineer, N7 Destroyer Soldier, N7 Fury Adept, N7 Sentinel Paladin, N7 Shadow Infiltrator and N7 Slayer Vanguard.
There are three new weapons, a shotgun, assault rifle and pistol which give a good balance of new firepower, but Infiltrators loose out with no sniper rifle. These and all other previous weapons can be enhanced with the twelve new weapon upgrades that become available in Earth.
For gamers who’ve maxed out all of their characters and are looking for a new challenge, there is a new extra-hard “Platinum” difficulty level that will make it even harder to get a squad safely through a mission. Presumably these platinum missions will have a healthy reward for completing them too.
A highly questionable addition to the gameplay formula is the addition of new Escort missions that will pop up randomly on waves 3, 6 and 10 and force players to “keep a targeted agent alive by protecting and escorting them to a designated extraction zone on each map”.
While this does mean that there will be a bit of variety added to the now months-old formula, escort missions are usually terrible in video games. On the bright side, the Mass Effect series has generally good AI, so these escorted agents are likely to carry their own weight when making their way through the battlefield.
This is the fifth piece of DLC for Mass Effect 3, including the launch day single-player From Ashes, plus the Resurgence multiplayer Pack in April, the Rebellion Pack in May, and the much ballyhooed Extended Cut in June. That makes one new chunk of free content for the game since launch, which is an impressive show of support for what some fans feared would be a tacked-on multiplayer mode.
Paid single-player DLC has been teased, and recent rumors imply that a new set of story-based mission called Leviathan will arrive in the near future, although this has not been officially confirm as of yet. With the extended Cut finally done, Bioware can now devote their efforts to providing players with more single-player DLC and hopefully Leviathan will be the first of many new morsels of Mass Effect content.
Earth will be available as a free download for PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation3 this Tuesday the 17th in North American and on Wednesday the 18th in Europe.