The next thrilling instalment of the Mass Effect universe sees us hurtled through space to the Andromeda galaxy to start a fresh new life and what a place to set up camp.
So how did we get here? I’m glad you asked.
In 2185 humans discovered Prothean ruins on Mars, catapulting our understanding of science and technology forward hundreds of years. Within a handful of years’ space travel became routine, and humans were utilising Mass Relays to leap across the Milky Way.
While some dreamt of travelling to the far reaches of the Milky Way, for others their ultimate goal lies beyond anything anyone’s ever known, and in 2186 the Andromeda Initiative was founded. For these brave adventurers, their new lives begin in Andromeda.
After a 600-year journey, the inhabitants of Ark Hyperion arrive in the Heleus Cluster of Andromeda, and Pathfinder Alec Ryder quickly sets his team in motion to find a place for the Ark’s inhabitants to live.
Unfortunately, the so-called “Golden World” the crew expected to find is instead hostile, with no sign of water, vegetation or other resources. The Pathfinder team heads to the surface to investigate, but the teams’ shuttles are badly damaged and forced into crash landings at various points around the planet’s surface. Now it’s up to you, the younger Ryder to reunite with your father and the rest of the team and see if there’s any hope for the Ark’s residents in this new galaxy…
Once you take control you’ll quickly get the chance to acclimate yourself with some of the new tools you’ll utilise in Andromeda. First up is the scanner, which can be used to research technologies, resources, and more, even enemies. The scanner is a critical tool, and scanning items yields valuable research points which can be used to research innovative technologies that will help you survive the dangers to come.
On the planet’s surface, you’ll also get an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the jump jet. This device is essential for both exploration and combat, allowing you to reach new areas or quickly dodge out of the way of danger. Take some time getting a feel for the jump jet, as it will surely serve you well during your time in Andromeda.
So now that you’re all caught up, let’s take a look at how it stands up to the expectations of the fans and its predecessors.
The main two characters, the Ryder twins, are both fully customisable which allows us to put ourselves in their shoes. Sadly though, Andromeda leaves a lot to be desired in regards to the facial looks and expressions. The faces of the characters, especially the humans, have a very plastic look and feel which brings the whole experience down, but if you do power on you learn to live with it. This problem is not unique to one platform, but it is more apparent on PC (along with lots of glitches).
The conversation options you get have been expanded beyond Paragon and Renegade to provide a wider variety of responses. In conversation, you’ll be given up to four choices on your response, which break down into Emotional, Logical, Casual or Professional. You can mix and match tones as you wish, but the way you respond will begin to colour your personality, and ultimately how others view you and interact with you over the course of the game. While the outcomes may not be as overt as the previous Paragon and Renegade options, they will still play a role in your story.
New galaxy means unfamiliar places to explore and new enemies to fight. Led by the enigmatic Archon, the Kett are a mysterious race bent on overrunning the Heleus Cluster. While the Angara have bravely fought the Kett in an attempt to keep them at bay, their numbers are dwindling. It’s up to us to discover the Kett’s true motivations, put a stop to the Archon and ensure the species of the Milky Way have a chance to establish themselves in Andromeda. In addition to the Kett, you will also have to contend with the Remnant, a machine race with a connection to the Vaults that are scattered on the various planets around Heleus. Most Remnant devices aren’t inherently aggressive, but will immediately activate defence systems if you wander too close or attempt to interfere with their work. The Kett and Remnant aren’t the only dangers, as you will also need to watch out for Raiders, Outlaws and even some local wildlife
As you level up you will be granted Skill Points which can be used to upgrade a variety of powers and abilities across multiple areas. Your skills are broken up into Combat, Biotics and Tech, and you are free to spend skill points on any branch at any time. Upgrading these skills grants you access to profiles, which grant bonuses to specific attributes and other perks as well. As you spend skill points in the areas that most reflect your personal playstyle you will unlock more powerful versions of the profiles, or maybe entirely new ones. Best of all, you can swap between unlocked profiles at any time, ensuring you always have the right profile in any situation.
SOLDIER – Pure combat specialists, with a focus on weapon damage, accuracy and damage resistance. Equipping grants MARKSMAN’S FOCUS bonus
ENGINEER – Experts in offensive and defensive tech, Engineers get boosts to combo damage and tech constructs. Also, comes with a COMBAT DRONE that boosts various attributes
ADEPT – Biotic specialists who can tear enemies asunder with their minds, this profile ups the effectiveness of biotic powers. Unlocks BIOTIC ECHOES and BIOTIC JUMP & EVADE abilities
SENTINEL – A balance of tech and biotics, with enhancements to offence and defence. Grants TECH ARMOR ability, which can absorb damage that gets through shields
VANGUARD – Up close and personal combatants, featuring melee boosts and upgraded shields. Gains SIPHONING STRIKE and BIOTIC JUMP & EVADES
INFILTRATOR – Tech specialists who prefer to stay out of the line of fire, with enhanced weapon accuracy, stability and bonus damage for headshots and weak points. Infiltrators can utilise BATTLEFIELD AWARENESS and CLOAK EVADES
EXPLORER – A well-rounded profile with enhancements to combat, tech and biotics. Explorers can utilise BIOTIC BLINK to phase through solid matter and avoid damage
The profile system is great as it allows you to adapt on the fly to any situation that is thrown at you.
Mass Effect Andromeda’s co-op multiplayer pits you against some of the nastiest enemies the galaxy has ever seen, so grab a few friends, customise your loadout and show them what you’re made of.
- Wave-based, survival co-op for up to four players
- Customise your character before each round with unique weapons, powers, boosts and more
- Work with your team to maximise your rewards, with opportunities to upgrade your character and open post-match reward packs
- Complete objectives to unlock medals and earn bonus XP
- Keep playing and opening store packs to unlock new characters and rank up those you already have
- Complete custom missions to earn special rewards; check back daily for new missions
In addition to single-player and multiplayer options, you can also take advantage of the new Strike Teams to earn rewards and upgrade your Pathfinder. Send out Strike Teams either from multiplayer or from the terminal on the Tempest, and success results in Mission Funds or special rewards.
You may recruit up to six Strike Teams, each with their own unique level, traits and characters. As teams are sent on missions they earn experience, and will eventually be eligible for upgrades. Higher-level squads mean tougher challenges, but also the opportunity for even more impressive rewards.
Overall I would defiantly recommend Mass Effect Andromeda as the story, the characters and the multiplayer draw you in and ensure that your stay in the galaxy is as action packed as possible. Even though some of the graphics leave a lot to be desired, even looking slightly worse than its 2012 predecessor Mass effect 3, the adventure and the exploration is more than enough to make up for it.