During PAX East, Bioware ran a press preview of its upcoming cooperative multiplayer mode for Mass Effect: Andromeda, and while there I was given the chance to hop into a four player cooperative match and see how the multiplayer aspect of the new series works.
For the purposes of the demo, each player was given a pre-built character to jump straight in. In the full game there will be a series of human or alien species to choose from, as well as different classes to differ in play styles. In the demo I was given an Asari sentinel which was a bruiser style character armed with a shotgun and heavy pistol.
The shotgun had a great sense of power to it, dealing a massive amount of damage while up close, and scattered light damage at range. The pistol also had a nice heavier blast to it, but really did function as more of a last ditch sidearm. The sentinel also has a nice force blast capability to throw enemies around and disrupt their attack. This combines with a stealth ability that will hide both your character as well as players directly next to you. These abilities are also customisable in the full game but really worked well together as a combination to assist with the survivability of the team.
The 4 of us were placed into seven waves of combat that took place in a tightly packed spaceport full of shipping containers as cover. There is also multiple catwalks and more verticality over previous titles with a new jumping mechanic. The waves consisted of mostly eliminating a set number of enemies with gradually tougher mini-boss type enemies appearing. In between these waves were also two rounds that consisted of enemies constantly spawning til the objective was complete. One round was a beacon activation round where the team would work together to reach and defend while one payer activated the beacon. The other different round consisted of holding a capture area until all three were held and the next wave would begin.
Overall the battles progressed to become more and more challenging. The teamwork aspect became increasingly essential as we neared the final round. The last wave of enemies that come during an extraction phase were very difficult and felt very similar to Left 4 Dead in how outnumbered the team quickly became.
Cooperative multiplayer was a nicely polished take on previous attempts in the series and is looking to attempt much more feasible long term playability for a series so well-known for its core single player campaign. This mode played with good communication may have some lasting-ability beyond a few months. As long as the progression system for character customisation holds up this could make multiplayer for Mass Effect more than what previously felt like an afterthought.