Stay on target
The Mass Effect franchise debuted last-gen and quickly made it into my top three series of all time. As odd as this may sound, it was the Star Trek game I always wanted to play. I was able to travel to exotic locales and talk to all manner of interesting (and sometimes scary) aliens. It also had a lore deep enough to be on par with other science fiction and fantasy works.
It should come as no surprise to find out that I’m extremely excited for Mass Effect Andromeda (which will release on March 21). Yes, even though Mass Effect 3’s ending left a lot to be desired, my love for the space-faring series hasn’t diminished one iota. Like many of you, I absolutely cannot wait to jump back into this universe once again.
We only know a few details about Mass Effect Andromeda at this time, but here are a few reasons why you should be as excited as I am.
A Whole New World
As you can tell from its moniker, Mass Effect Andromeda takes place in the Andromeda galaxy. This means that players will have an entirely new galaxy to explore — one filled with never before seen planets, aliens, and civilizations. Though it is sad to know that some familiar elements from previous games won’t be present, a completely fresh start will make for a nice change of pace.
While the galaxy is different, most of the game’s main characters still hail from the Milky Way. This means that we can expect some of the same dynamics between alien races pop up even in the new setting. This will provide a good anchor to the old Mass Effect games, meaning that Andromeda isn’t a complete departure. It will be interesting to see how long rivalries last when everyone has to struggle to survive in a dangerous new galaxy.
Larger Galaxy to Explore
Mass Effect games have always contained a variety of different worlds for players to visit. However, most of these were nothing more than intricately detailed hallways. The first Mass Effect allowed players to land and drive around on strange worlds, but most of these were basically rock planets with different hues.
Mass Effect Andromeda promises to have a much bigger galaxy to explore. Each of the explorable planets will have a greater degree of diversity when it comes to scenery. Some planets will even have minor puzzles and challenges to solve. On top of being able to traverse landscapes in a bad-ass vehicle, players’ built-in jetpack will open up new areas to explore. There will be so much to see and do that some players may not even touch the main story for long stretches of time.
I loved the fact that the story of Mass Effect was told over the course of three epic games. As great as it was to see my decisions carry over from game to game, I’ll freely admit that knowing Andromeda has a stand-alone story that won’t end on a cliffhanger and isn’t dependent on a previous game is exhilarating.
Reports suggest that, for now, Mass Effect games will be anthologies. While there will be elements that carry over from game to game, each new title will be an independent entry. This will allow Bioware to experiment further with characters and stories. The games’ writers will not be constrained by what came before. The Mass Effect universe is vastly rich in lore, so seeing different sides of it will give players a greater appreciation of the universe as a whole.
One aspect of Mass Effect that is often overlooked is its combat. While it isn’t doing anything revolutionary as far as cover-based shooters are concerned, I’ve always enjoyed how the traditional combat mechanics are interwoven with the cool science fiction-y powers that you and your comrades can toss out.
We haven’t seen too much combat from Mass Effect Andromeda, but what little has been shown looks promising. In fact, it appears that the new game will be faster paced and have players rely less on cover. The videos we’ve seen could’ve been tailored to be all about high-energy action, but if this is the direction that combat will take, then that is fine by me.
An important thing to keep in mind is that the old character classes have been ditched in favor of skill trees. This means that players will be free to pick and choose different types of abilities and create characters more suited to their play style. Personally, I think this can be great if implemented correctly. At the same time, I do hope we can still make pure Vanguards, Soldiers, or Biotics.
Romance has always been a consistent (and sometimes controversial) component of the core Mass Effect games. As fun as it was to make a character fall for you, the whole system did feel a tad artificial. This is something that Andromeda is going to change so that romance feels more natural (or as natural as it could in a video game).
Not only will players have more choices when it comes to romantic partners, but they’ll see that not all relationships are the same. While some partners may want a deep and long-lasting relationship, others may want nothing more than casual hook ups or even just a one night stand. Trying to figure out the different sensibilities of each of the romantic options should be an interesting mini-game in and of itself.
We’ll no doubt learn more about Bioware’s upcoming space epic in the next two months. But even with the few nuggets of information dropped on us, it is enough to get me excited.
What about you all? What things about Mass Effect Andromeda are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments down below.
You can pre-order Mass Effect Andromeda from Amazon.