Mass Effect: Andromeda
I recently had the chance to play three hours of Mass Effect Andromeda. If you want in-depth impressions, you can find those here. However, there were also A LOT of details I noticed as a fan of the series that I thought were worth collecting, so here they are. All 50 of them.
1. Since our protagonist, Ryder, doesn’t have a military background like Commander Shepard, the character creator has a plethora of customization options for face and hair. Want a character with a pink mullet? Go for it.
2. You are not locked into classes like you were in the original trilogy. The training you choose at the beginning of the game just gives you a boost in certain skills.
3. The training options you can select are as follows: Security, Biotic, Technician, Leader, Scrapper, and Operative.
4. Outside of your player character, you’ll also be able to customize the look of your twin, who will play a large part in the story, according to BioWare.
5. We didn't see Ryder's father get customized, though BioWare mentioned during our cover story that would be an option. That doesn't mean that option isn't in the final version of the game, or some variation of it, but I didn't see it in action.
6. Before you get into the game proper, you can choose the gender of the Shepard you played in the original trilogy and it will affect Andromeda’s story somehow.
Combat And Loadouts
7. Enemies are still bullet sponges and the guns feel kind of weak as a result, but the powers you can use during combat are fierce and made me feel powerful.
8. Squadmates seem as, or more, competent as they were in the first three games, hurling their special attacks at foes and laying down cover fire.
9. Weapons from the original trilogy return, including the M-8 Avenger and M-96 Mattock.
10. As far as biotic powers go, old favorites like Pull and Stasis are back. However, there are new powers as well, including one that lets you pick enemies up and throw foes into each other.
11. Elemental ammo (fire, cryo) is no longer a power you can select, but instead a consumable item you find. Each use gives you three clips of elemental ammo before you switch back to normal rounds.
12. Certain enemies you come across can kill you in one hit (hi, yes, this happened to me).
13. The Kett look a lot like The Collectors from Mass Effect 2 and fight like them. I didn’t get any details about their background or motives during my gameplay demo.
14. The armor you wear out in the field is also customizable. You can customize it on your ship.
15. You can upgrade your weapons using a workbench on the ship; you cannot upgrade or modify them out in the field.
16. You can loot boxes for crafting materials and ammo, and the interface looks like a more streamlined version of the looting menu from the first game.
17. Putting a scope on your weapon forces your perspective into first-person mode whenever you aim instead of the typical over-the-shoulder view.
18. The jetpack Ryder wears not only lets you jump to hard-to-reach places, it also has combat functionalities. For example, you can make an enemy levitate helplessly in midair with a biotic blast and then leap toward them and unleash a devastating melee attack that sends them spinning into space.
19. You can combine your powers to do critical combo-specific damage to your enemies, like trapping a foe with a biotic power and then hitting him with a grenade or concussion round.
20. All enemies have life bars over their heads. I could not turn off the life bars in the options menu.
21. In addition to finding and adding firearms to your loadout, there are a variety of melee weapons you can switch between and use, including the fan-favorite Omni-blade from Mass Effect 3.
22. The autosave points seem generous, often restoring me back to a minute or two before Ryder died.
23. The skill tree is massive, granting you access to a number of powers you can mix and match during the course of the game to create different character loadouts for different situations. I mostly stuck to a mix of biotic/tech powers that let me disable enemy functionality and hurl them across landscapes, but it was clearly only a taste of what is available.
24. The Paragon/Renegade binary has been done away with. Instead, Andromeda opts for a more open-ended dialogue system that’s intended to let you build a complex character.
25. Interrupts aren’t gone but they’ve been retooled as "Impulse Actions." I didn't get to see or execute any Impulse Actions during my playthrough.
26. Before venturing out into the planet’s badlands, I explored a station on the planet that had a strong Mos Eisely vibe, populated with scrappers and pirates.
27. One sidequest I didn’t pursue (because of time constraints) would have had Ryder investigating a murder in the station.
28. The main quest on the station involved me having to interrogate a prisoner for the location of an item. I first had to get past his captor, who let me interrogate the prisoner on the condition I let the captor kill him shortly afterward. I could have contested that condition and been noble, but I decided to play my Ryder as a cold, calculating individual who will get her mission done at any cost. It was a branching segment that felt very in line with the sorts of side quests Mass Effect had in the first two games.
29. I didn’t hear Shepard’s name mentioned once during my preview time.
30. I didn’t see any Drell, Hanar, or Quarians. That doesn't mean they're not in the full game, of course, but I didn't see them at all during my preview.
31. The transition sequence of your ship flying to your destination and docking that was a mainstay in the first three games is still here. I saw a fair bit of the Tempest flying and docking.
32. On the Tempest, there’s a war room where you and your squadmates meet to discuss main storyline missions as well as sidequests much like the comm room in Mass Effect 2.
33. The Tempest feels a good bit larger than The Normandy.
34. The Nomad controls a lot like the Mako but less rubbery. You don’t bounce. Sorry, bounce fans.
35. For mountains and inclines, the Nomad has a second mode you can shift into that lets you scale them.
36. The Nomad didn’t have any turrets or projectile-based weaponry I could use, but it sure could run enemies over.
37. While in the Nomad, you can return to The Tempest at nearly any time by holding down the Evacuation button for a few seconds.
38. Doors take a long time to open. No, really. I often found myself holding the action button for 2-3 seconds waiting for a door to slide open. It might sound like a small thing, but it got annoying when I had to pass through two doors near each other.
39. The planet I explored had a varied environment, with plenty of floral life and nice environmental touches like geysers, as well as different kinds of wildlife roaming the plains.
40. Like previous Mass Effect titles, crewmates and squadmates are sectioned off into their own rooms and you can go visit them.
41. You can customize the clothes that Ryder can wear. I switched between a nice suit and a leather jacket complete with a scarf she could wear around her neck.
42. Vetra, the Turian squadmate, is rad.
43. The pilot of The Tempest is a Salarian named Kallo. In the brief scene I saw with them, they seemed a bit more concentrated and serious than Joker was in the original trilogy.
44. I could flirt with every squadmate I came across on the ship (Vetra, Liam, Jaal). That doesn’t necessarily mean a relationship can be born out of all of these during the course of the game, since in Mass Effect 2 Samara shuts you down after you flirt with her, but I did flirt with them.
45. I found the conversations I had with my squadmates to be just as engrossing and confessional as the ones from the original trilogy.
46. There are collectibles littered around the planets you explore that give you insight into the motives and beliefs of a certain other character in the game.
47. The clunky (but also somewhat endearing) animations that have been part of BioWare’s recent games are still here, especially when a character expresses frustrations by waving their hands about.
48. SAM (Simulated Adaptive Matrix) is the Andromeda-equivalent of EDI. He’s an A.I. that eventually bonds with your brain and becomes a part of you. When he isn’t functioning as your HUD or informing you about your environment, you can have philosophical discussions with him about existence.
49. I got a glimpse of the big baddie, The Archon, but he just stood there menacingly for a bit and I didn’t get any details about what he wants, though the Kett’s plans seem to involve terraforming or mining planets for their resources.
50. Party chatter is back. While I drove around in the Nomad, party members would talk about their lives before the Andromeda Initiative in conversations that ran the gamut from amusing to downright sad.
For more on Andromeda, you can check out my in-depth preview of the slice of game I got to play here. You can also check out our cover story hub by clicking on the banner below.