Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First impressions of Mass Effect 3 DLC Retaliation and playing on Gold

I've been playing Mass Effect 3's DLC Retaliation for multi-player for a couple hours and here's my initial take and review. Plus I talk about succeeding on Gold at Firebase White.

The New Enemies

You've got new foes. The main bunch are the Collectors from Mass Effect 2. And they are a challenging bunch. I played this game on the Silver difficulty level and it felt like Gold. The foot soldiers spawn all over the place and have a Collector assault rifle that is rapid firing. Then there are the bosses. The slow moving Scions are here. Then there are the Praetorians. I call them floating tanks They still have the dual laser beams that will tear you apart. I did not see the temporary invulnerability but on Silver, they can attack in pairs. New to this enemy class is a web that you can get caught on. And then there are the Swarmers. If you recall, these are the flying insect like creatures. When you are enveloped by them, you lose your ability to fire off powers. If all this sounds annoying, it is.

The Geth get a new weapon. It's called the Bomber. It's a flying drone and fires cluster grenades. It has shields and armor. While it can get distracted by the Salarian Engineer's decoy, it also destroys the decoy more quickly than other enemies.

The New Allies.

There are Turian classes. One of them has a jet pack. I haven't tried them yet because I was too busy trying to analyze the enemies.

There are also the Volus. Yes, the short, rotund aliens. The engineer of group has mines. There's a recon mine which will highlight enemies for the squad. You know who's around the corner. Proximity mines are also part of the inventory. And they cause huge explosions.

Modifications to Maps.

Two major additions or modifications were made to Firebase Reactor and Dagger. Now, the originals are still there but there are modified versions for you to play. There are hazards involved. Your reward is more experience points.

The big modification to Firebase Reactor is the Reactor. It's now active. You'll know you're on this modified base by the golden haze. If you get caught in the reactor when it's firing, the doors close and you get fried. Sounds awful. The goal is to try to lure the enemies into the reactor.

Perhaps the worst of the modifications is to Dagger. The hazard here is a sandstorm. Your visibility is only about two meters. Fun? Well, if you like having your teeth drilled without novacane.

Firebase White was changed. Hallways have been added to areas behind walls on the old map. The biggest change has been to the lower interior control room. This is the area where players would set up on Gold and Platinum to make a kill zone. There has been added another hallway which allows another entrance to this room. More on this later but if you don't play on Gold or Platinum here, it won't mean much to you.

Challenges. A new feature has been added. It features individual player challenges, involving weapons and kills. You can see another players medals on the game lobby. Your N7 number will flip showing the medals., times you promoted that class and the N7 ranking.

Hints for Firebase White on Gold with the Retaliation DLC. I was able to complete Firebase White on Gold after the Retaliation DLC and the October patch. Here's my strategy for successful complete extraction on this map and difficulty.

The map is still Firebase White. After the changes, you still run downstairs to the interior control room. But EA seeing that players do this, have added another entrance to this room via a hallway on a back wall. So now you can be flanked from another direction. It's a little harder but the new difficulties also can be used in you favor. The additional hallways can be used as escape routes.

The enemy is Geth. Yes, they have hunters and the new annoying bombers. But you don't have single kill enemies such as Phantoms or Banshees. Plus Geth are still distracted by decoys. That leads us to ...

The squad. You should still have a Salarian engineer. He has the decoy. When we played it last night, we used two. One decoy for the back hallway and one for the main control room. We also divided the squad in two. Two guys for back hallway and two for main control room. N7 Demolishers and Destroyers are welcome. Build the Demolisher to spam grenades.

Weapons. On Gold and Platinum, it's advanced assault rifles. Revenant. Harrier. Typhoon. You must put tons of suppressive fire on enemies from a distance. The Harrier deserves special mention here. Unfortunately, it's hard to upgrade due to the paucity of weapon upgrades and it has a small ammo magazine.

So even with EA's attempt to make life more difficulty on Gold, you can still complete it with just a little more effort. Just remember to follow the same strategies for the challenges. You know. One guy goes for the Enable-Retrieval challenges. Decoy saves the squad on Escort.

Conclusion. Look EA has made the game more difficult with the October changes. Unless weapons are made more powerful, the multiplayer part of this game becomes harder and less fun. Look, EA should realize if a player wants a challenge, he can play on the Gold or Platinum difficulty levels. The new changes just make the game annoying.

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