news\ Nov 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Here's everything you need to know about Mass Effect: Andromeda including combat and story details

That's a lot to take in!

Mass Effect: Andromeda was announced a REALLY long time ago and since the reveal, we've gotten little to no actual details on the game. We know the game takes place in the Andromeda galaxy after the events of the original trilogy and we know it's a brand new story with new characters. To celebrate N7 Day, Bioware finally lifted the curtain on the game and gave us a brand new trailer and allowed Game Informer to reveal a plethora of details.

NeoGAF user shinobi602 compiled a lot of the information released today and broke it down for everyone. Below you can read everything about the combat, plot, characters and much more! Bioware also revealed that the entire original trilogy is now available on Xbox One via backward compatibility.

Backstory

  • Around 2185, at the height of galactic progress, unaware of the impending Reaper invasion, several species band together for the "Andromeda Initiative"
  • 4 Arks, each carrying a different race, are built, housing thousands of individuals to chart a course to Andromeda
  • The Heleus Cluster is noted as having a significant amount of "Golden Worlds", or planets ripe for life
  • Each ark is led by a "Pathfinder"
  • The Pathfinder, recon teams and others onboard are in cryosleep, unaware of what transpires in the Milky Way after they depart
  • You play as either Scott or Sara Ryder, the children of Alec Ryder (pathfinder of the human ark)
  • Alec Ryder is voiced by Clancy Brown
  • Events at the start of the game occur that pass this role down to you, you are untested and unproven, unlike Commander Shepard of the previous trilogy
  • This doesn't mean Mass Effect is Ryder's story from now on, they want the game to feel like a complete story (while teasing other stories that could happen)
  • More customization options than previous games
  • You can customize your father and your sibling, though not as extensively
  • The "Nexus" is basically a forward command center staffed by multiple species that arrives in Andromeda early to pave the way for the Arks
  • The Hyperion (humanity's ark) arrives at an incorrect location that's volatile and loses contact with the other arks and Nexus


Inspiration

  • The (much improved) Mako of ME1, the loyalty missions of ME2, the multiplayer of ME3


Combat

  • Global cooldowns are now replaced by individual timers
  • Powers are instead hotkeyed for quick use, no longer pausing to bring up a wheel and aim
  • Dynamic cover system (ala TLOU)
  • Still a cover based shooter with a goal to get the player moving around the battlefield more
  • Jetpack allows for more movement variety; you can quick dash instead of rolling
  • Jetpack has a hover function that allows you to hit enemies seeking cover or survey your surroundings
  • Less emphasis on linear, clearly telegraphed environments that tell you a combat encounter is coming (though linear areas are still in the game)
  • Game Informer's hands on was positive, feel the game has a clearer identity in combat than previous games
  • You still queue up attacks, combos, order your squad, etc
  • All key elements are still intact but the studio wanted to encourage more experimentation and wider variety of abilities
  • Class system is gone; instead you have full access to abilities from all classes, you can mix and match skills from tech, soldier or biotics
  • Goal is to allow players to try different approaches to combat without being locked in at the start
  • However, you can still specialize once you invest enough points into a category of skills, you unlock a profile that can get you bonuses for your particular play style
  • This is where class names like "Vanguard" (invest in combat and biotics) and "Adept" (invest in biotics) resurface
  • Invest in multiple categories and you unlock the "Explorer" profile
  • There is a narrative reason that allows you to reconfigure your points throughout the game so that you can try out multiple gameplay approaches without making multiple characters
  • You can customize your helmet, chest, shoulders, arms and legs, more extensive than previous trilogy
  • -Many familiar weapons return, as well as new melee options like swords and hammers
  • The 'Kett' are the main enemy
  • The team wanted players to experience the first time encountering a new alien species vs already having it established in prior games
  • Rather than painting them as mortal enemies, BioWare wanted to make them feel foreboding but not ugly as they want you to also empathize with them
  • Instead of having "linear slices" of planets that you land on, you explore these planets from the surface to their underbelly
  • Critical paths, optional planets, major hubs, loyalty missions return
  • Your land vehicle is designated the "Nomad", and the team got special guidance from NFS developers on its handling.
  • The Nomad isn't sluggish and cumbersome like the Mako, it's very fast, still boosts and maneuvers much better
  • The Nomad doesn't have weapons, you can customize things like its speed and appearance
  • BioWare did not want to repeat having things like mineral nodes and multiple identical outposts scattered across planets
  • Points of interest include combat encounters, puzzles, narrative beats etc on planets
  • One planet, called 'Elaaden', is flagged as a possible habitat zone, however the surface is hazardous (no water, extremely hot); you can be pointed in this direction in multiple ways, for example, a Krogan can request the Pathfinder to find a missing colony ship or you can just choose to land on the planet yourself and see what you find
  • On planets, one of your priorities is to scout for drop zones for your crew that drop "forward stations" that establishes a foothold for you
  • These stations allow for changing up your loadout, fast travel point, etc
  • Planets can have multiple dangers like acid pools, burning wreckage, weather etc that can all kill you
  • Most planets have at least one major enemy base
  • Planets can have areas, encounters and "super bosses" that are too tough for you to handle at first, encouraging players to come back later
  • Since Andromeda is a new galaxy, Ryder can actively scan and discover things in the environments; that gets sent back for analysis and unlocks new technologies for the player
  • Scanning and discovering these things also allows you to obtain blueprints to craft weapons and armor for yourself
  • You can create a wide array of items, not just ammo types and weapon mods, items that haven't been seen before in the Milky Way (thanks to new alien tech)
  • Some plot threads and missions lead you across multiple planets


Squadmates

  • Peebee: Asari squadmate shown in previous footage. Went off on her own after arriving on the Nexus and described as having a "bubbly personality". She's smart and not concerned with social norms and "niceties".
  • Liam: Arrived with the Pathfinder, former police officer and described as having a "light attitude", bringing levity to situations


The Tempest (Your Ship)

  • Important to harken back to the Normandy as it was a fan favorite
  • There are no loading screens as you move through the ship
  • Galaxy map returns but rather than piloting a mini ship on a map, it is more immersive, you select a planet, the game gives you sense of traveling towards that planet, and when you back out, you're immediately at your destination
  • You don't pilot the ship manually, but it feels seamless as you go from planet to planet and see them from your bridge getting closer in the window
  • They wanted a seamless experience from picking a planet to walking down to your cargo hold, hopping into the Nomad and landing on a planet. There is a landing sequence and you get off the ship. No more loading screens and instantly popping up on the surface of a planet.


Relationships/Characters

  • There are more relationships in the game than any other Bioware game (as they noted fans make a big emphasis on romance in the games)
  • The squadmate with the least amount of lines in Andromeda has more lines than the squadmate with the most amount of lines in ME3
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