—–Some spoilers for Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3 are present—–
The slow information flow of Mass Effect Andromeda has left the fans thirsty for any bit of information available. Through information leaks and other sources such as Game Informer’s coverage, enough information has been granted for some to start forming opinions of what is to come. After a brief recounting of the major information and differences of the game that has graced the eyes of fans, a list will be compiled of all the Paragon and Renegade actions inflicted on the consumers by Bioware Montreal in the making of Mass Effect Andromeda.
With the change in graphics engine comes along changes in the gameplay. Although Bioware says the combat will still feel the same in many ways, they wanted a cover to feel less “sticky”. While the combat at heart will still be a cover shooter, more mobility has been promised. This means less time in cover and more time unleashing as many power combos as possible while shooting the baddies.
One way this change in mobility has been accomplished has been the addition of verticality to the combat. In Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 it was always a linear battle. Shepard always moved in basically one direction and the enemy just (briefly) stood in his way. The newest installment however at times has the player fending off enemies in all directions, including up and down. Hopefully, this proves to add a layer of strategy and difficulty, not just come across as a novelty that ends up being the same as the other games with just multiple layers of linear battle.
It’s no secret by now and hasn’t been shortly after the release of ME3, Shepard will not be the main character of this game. The main protagonist will be either Sara or Scott Ryder. Sara and Scott are twins and will be traveling off to Andromeda with their father Alec Ryder. Not only will there be a different lead in the series, there will be a full cast of new personalities for the fans to interact with. It has been confirmed that it will include a Krogan, an Asari, humans (obviously), and a Salarian pilot assisting Ryder in the quest to find a new home.
It appears that none of the original cast will be traveling to the neighboring galaxy. Whether or not that is a good thing remains to be seen. All of the new crew members will be less experienced than the crew that accompanied Shepard, and they will be quite a bit younger. The new group will be learning how to work together while learning about their new surroundings. Loyalty Missions will see a return with the upcoming release letting the player learn more about each party member.
Many expect how Ryder interacts to be similar to how Shepard has done it in the past games, but a Mass Effect without Garrus, Tali, Liara, or any of the members is a huge shake up. In fact, not all races will be in the game. It is unlikely a Quarian would be up for traveling to a new galaxy, since they are all needed on their fleet. Meanwhile, the Krogan are having enough troubles keeping their population up in the Milky Way, let alone sending a large portion of their population away. Hopefully, new races will be able to fill the hole left by races who are missing from the game, however, that remains to be seen.
Level Design Changes:
The fact that Bioware is bringing back the Mako, now called the Nomad, just about covers this section. The areas will span a much larger distance seen in previous Bioware games. Exploration is a major focus of the game, as the entire theme of the game is exploring a new galaxy. This means more optional missions, optional bosses, replayability, and hopefully more content. The real question is, will all the content be worth playing? Perhaps the project will be too ambitious and the final product will end up being as barren as an average world in No Man’s Sky.
With those changes in mind, how will this game compare to the original trilogy that was loved by so many? Can anybody replace Shepard? Will a Mass Effect game be playable without the snide remarks from Joker? Here is a list of the good and bad from my perspective to help formulate an opinion.
? Shaking up the Combat
? It’s about time something has been done here. Shooting has always been fun, but not exactly satisfying. An element has been missing ever since the first game. Even with the difficulty cranked most of the encounters get boring fast, repetitive, and stale. With the new mobile-centric combat, each battle should have the opportunity to evolve into something entirely different than the last encounter.
? Adding in Exploration
? One of the biggest shortcomings of the series to date has been the lack of discovery. Most of the discovery in the game seemed to be reading the Codex, or maybe bypassing an optional door and having a 2 minute optional conversation. Open world Bioware game? Yes please. Bioware is a master at intriguing their players even in a linear fashion, let alone opening up multiple worlds to explorer.
? Opening up power and weapon options
? It’s common knowledge, a Soldier cannot launch a combat drone, a Adept cannot snipe, and no one has any reason to be a Vanguard. This has finally been done away with. A player can choose to specialize in certain abilities, becoming an Engineer and so forth, but they can also choose to branch out. Finally an Infiltrator can lay down some biotic powers before cloaking and sniping. This is part of having a younger crew, they aren’t any class yet because they are beginning their journey.
? Multiplayer Microtransactions
? Multiplayer will be returning, and this is an EA produced game. This almost goes without saying: there will be micro transactions. Want better weapons? Well EA wants more money so prepare for some quid pro quo. Bioware said that this isn’t pay to win, and the players will be able to unlock everything without paying for it, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t going to be a glaring annoyance. After every mission “BUY THE NEW SPECTER N7 ULTRA LIMITED PLATINUM PACK!!!” Thanks EA…
? No Joker, No Garrus, No anyone
? Shepard is dead, fine. But I am pretty sure everyone else lived right? The game’s timeline puts it in between ME2 and ME3 so I understand it doesn’t make any sense for Joker to be on his way to Andromeda with Ryder, but all of these characters will be missed. Hopefully Bioware has found some way for them to be in the game somehow. Maybe Garrus’ brother is there, but I doubt it. This is a bit of a weak con to the game, but I feel that a good amount of the fan base won’t be able to connect quite in the same way.
? Possible Dragon Age Inquisition “Copy”
? Some readers may have been thinking while reading the list of changes “Hmm… a lot of these changes sound familiar….” Well that’s because it seems like a lot of what they are trying to do to this game is similar to what they did to Dragon Age Inquisition. To many, that is a scary thought. There have been concern through the ME Community that Mass Effect Andromeda will turn out to be Mass Effect Inquisition. This is a legitimate concern as there does seem to be many similarities forming, however Bioware stated that they did not look to Inquisition for inspiration.
No one can promise that this game will be great a major disappointment. All we can do is take the information given and take an educated guess. Personally, the game has great promise. Perhaps the pre-orders should be passed up as there is room for concern, but it’s still a safe bet to say it’s going to be one of my favorite games of 2017. March cannot come soon enough.