Getting into a game is simple. Choose offline (single player only), System Link / LAN, or Online / Live. Choosing the online route grants you the choice of hosting a public match, hosting a private match, or matchmaking - basically, finding any random open slot. A customization menu allows you to choose either one of four characters or simply “random”; if you specify a character, then matchmaking will try and get you into a game where that character is available. Otherwise, you get randomly assigned a different skin (each game is allowed one of each skin). Since they all have the same abilities and weapons, this is not a dealbreaker at all.
Once a map loads, you have several seconds to quickly map four weapons to your d-pad, and to specify a Nano Forge ability (pretty much limited to different shockwave-type attacks that recharge). After that, you get a quick countdown timer, and the walls come alive with Martian bugs for you and your partners to squash. Seeing the Nano Forge in motion is a blast, and the magnet gun is a thing of beauty (think: tether launcher). There aren’t many things more entertaining and exhilarating than seeing a lumbering Berserker alien get pulled away into the depths of an underground mine, or better yet: getting swiped off a ledge by a surge of rubble. Should your aim be off and the Berserker manages to pummel a co-op partner into the ground, you can revive them up to six times. Doing it quickly is important, though, because they are on a timer...and they can be finished off by enemies.
Infestation maps (which are quite detailed and larger than they initially seem) have one of two objectives: Survive, and Defend. Survive is as simple as it gets, but in Defend maps you’re tasked with keeping designated structures from being destroyed. The blessing here is that it distracts enemies from just attacking the players. The curse is that there’s more than one way to fail. Honestly, though, keeping everyone alive is trickier than keeping the structures repaired, which literally consists of aiming your reticule and tapping a button to send a burst of repairing Nano energy at them.