Leveling your character is satisfying, though with the reduced number of abilities you can carry compared to Commander Shepard, you usually end up maxing out almost every skill tree. The level cap is 20, and once you've reached it, you get the option to "promote" your character to the Galaxy at War, increasing Shepard's effective force rating. It's nice, I suppose, but I was able to max that meter out without much trouble. Once you've unlocked other races, I'd recommend trying them out - each has different abilities. My human Sentinel was able to make evasive rolls, but didn't have the Overload ability that I craved, so I switched to a Turian, which had the skillset I wanted at the expense of mobility.
Credits are used to buy one of three levels of booster pack: Recruit, Veteran and Spectre. Each contains five random items, such as medi-gel or rockets, or even new weapons and characters. A good baseline strategy is to buy several inexpensive Recruit packs to round out your arsenal before saving up to buy the higher tiers, which give you increased chances to get more powerful weapons, characters and supplies in higher quantities. For those of you who like burning money, you may also purchase the boosters using whatever currency your platform favors, but be warned that the contents of the boosters are randomized, so you may end up dropping $2 for an item you already have. (Just play more co-op guys, it's okay!)
While writing the above, it may seem that this is just another by-the-numbers horde variant, but the beauty of the system lies in the character classes. Combining biotic/tech powers that complement each other is one of the keys to doing massive damage, and that always requires pairing off with other players who have those abilities. Good coordination will almost always result in success, and the mode does little to reward lone-wolf players (unless they're a high level Vanguard, which is totally overpowered).
When playing with friends (or anyone using a headset that isn't rude), I can honestly say I had more fun in Mass Effect 3's co-op than I normally do when I play other modes of this type, even the venerable Horde mode. There's something hilarious about having a friend pick a Krogan character and do nothing but headbutt their way to victory while their co-op partners clear a path. I can certainly see myself coming back to this mode in the future, and hopefully Bioware will release some new content for it.
While some people just cannot be pleased, I'm very happy with Mass Effect 3. I found the conclusion to the trilogy to be satisfying on many levels (just not that final few minutes), and I had genuine emotional reactions to several of the story beats. The co-op caught me completely off-guard with how fun it is, and I'll definitely be playing it for the foreseeable future. Highly recommended.
This Co-Optimus review of Mass Effect 3 is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Players can choose from a variety of classes and races, form an elite Special Forces squad, and combine their weapons, powers and abilities to devastating effect as they fight together to liberate key territories from enemy control.This is part of the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War meta system within the game.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.