Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Mass Effect Andromeda Details

Yesterday was Bioware's annual N7 event, the celebration of the Mass Effect franchise and fanbase. Yesterday Bioware used that to reveal the first story trailer for the new entry Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Along with this trailer. details are finally starting to appear about the game.

Time and Space

We know now that Mass Effect Andromeda takes place 600 years after Mass Effect 3. During the events of Mass Effect 2, the council decides that the reapers are too much of a threat to rest the fate of one Spector (Shepard) and so builds great 4 ark ships, one for each council race. Sending them far away from the Reapers and their Mass Relays. The plan is to investigate the "golden worlds" of the Heleus cluster. However the human ark ship "Hyperion" wakes up to find itself of cause and out of contact with the other ships or the Nexus a central command ship sent ahead of the arks.

The set up here nicely sidesteps the "ending" issue of Mass Effect 3 and removes the need for a canon ending. Bioware states that whatever the results of you Mass Effect 1-3 playthrough that is you canon. Which implies we won't see anything else Mass Effect from the Milkyway set after Mass Effect 3.

The Ryders

Alec Ryder in his N7 armour
Leading this mission is the "Pathfinder" Alec Ryder (star of the E3 trailer), unlike previous Mass Effect games the players won't be choosing Ryder's gender like they did Shepard. Instead, players will be picking (and customizing) between his son Scott and daughter Sera. Whilst Bioware has confirmed both the siblings Ryder will survive and not pull a Nate/Nora or Bethany/Carter but things look less... joyful for Alec as his title will pass to your Ryder. Speaking of Nate/Nora Andromeda will allow players to customize not only their choice of Ryder but also the sibling and father.

Scott and Sera Ryder in their AI armour
Player Freedom
Andromeda seeks to set players free from some artificial constraints from the first series (and the genre) so the first thing to go is the Paragon/Renegade system (it is unsure if the epic interruptions return) making that invisible should free the player to make more natural choices (we found this true for Fallout 4). Instead of a visible ranking affecting your interactions with NPCs instead, it'll be your actions and "tones" used in conversations. the goal here is to give you a more diverse way of expressing yourself without worrying about or being locked into a simple binary blue/red system.

Next up is the class system, instead of offering players an starting class to build up ME:A will be flipping the system on its head and letting players build their characters freely. There are however bonuses for following "traditional" classes so for example, unlocking multiple biotic powers will net you a bonus to your biotic prowess.

This new found freedom expands to combat whereas Mass Effect 3 had two "play styles" where you either played it like a Gears or "stop and go" using the power wheel. Andromeda is attempting to merge the two allowing for faster gameplay, this also involves removing the 'tactical' roll in favor for a jet pack dodge and leap, allowing you to avoid fire, get across gaps or to higher ground.

Bioware confirms this style of gameplay will transfer to ME:A's Co-op mode, which is expected to be similar to Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age Inquisition's. Which pleases us as we enjoyed both games attempt at multiplayer.


You know what? we missed the Mako, the hover tank was not the same.
The Mako is making its return to the franchise but altered to matched the feedback from Mass Effect 1. The new vehicle is called the Nomad and will allow people to explore the open terrain of the planets, which will apparently feature not only story missions but also side quests for the local populous. Bioware is making great pains to let fans know this isn't the same Mako it won't handle like the old ones, the sense of speed has been corrected and the camera will be a lot more compliant.

Unlike the Shepard Trilogy humanity is the alien invaders in Andromeda, the Hyperon is the only source of pink meat bags in this galaxy and the locals are not happy about the new guys. the new race

Whilst the Hyperon is the human ark ship it appears there is at least one non-human on board as players will be joined by the Asari Peebee who as you saw in the trailer doesn't appear to be like other Asari like Liara or Samara. (there is some rumour that she might have a human "father")

Peebee, part human or an Asari Teen (50 years old)
The End?
Bioware isn't talking about where this game will end, if it will feature multiple endings or if its the start of a new trilogy. The goal with Mass Effect Andromeda was to tell a "complete" story. Which gives us a sigh of relief as an increasing number of games are expecting to get the trilogy treatment and as such, we don't often get a clear ending.

Whilst Bioware isn't giving us a date outside of "spring 2017" but Dark Horse's tie-in comic is still coming "the same day as the game March 21st". Regardless Mass Effect Andromeda is available to preorder on Amazon. Mass Effect Andromeda is also confirmed to be PS4 Pro compatible which will see the game boosted to "near" 4k.

Abe's Take
I speak for most of us at GK-UK when I say "We can not wait to play this" as Bioware is building not only on the lessons learned from Mass Effect 1-3 but also Dragon Age Inquisition  

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