First Impression: Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017)

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a vast open world space exploration which will be familiar to fans of the series, but somewhat daunting for newbies.

Mass Effect: Andromeda, to say the least, looks incredibly vast with a crazy amount of elements to explore. BioWare’s latest release, which has been five years in the making, promises open world exploration, an expansive storyline, memorable characters, intense combat and deep character progression. From what I have played so far, it looks like it’s not going to disappoint those who are already fans of the series. Although, as someone who has not played a Mass Effect previously, I’ve realised a little knowledge of the previous games will go a long way.

The story begins after your character, Sara or Scott Ryder (or one you can make yourself – which can have hilarious results), wakes up from being cryogenically frozen on a spacecraft called the Hyperion Ark, having made a 634 year journey to the galaxy of Andromeda from the Milky Way (more than 2 million light years apart – I’ll let you do the maths on that one…). This is made possible due to the finding of advanced technologies in ruins on Mars, allowing distant space travel Star Trek style to warp across space.

With current real life ambitions to get to Mars hoping to send humans by the 2030s, this is a fantastically believable storyline and your character’s job, as what is called a ‘Pathfinder’, is to help find a habitable world to settle on. This game really is about exploration which is pretty clear from the first five minutes and they really want you to get into every nook and cranny possible in its open world. In your first mission you can explore alien structures – a sign of things to come I hope – which are pretty cool and find arrays of items are littered about the maps.

In the storyline you’re immediately confronted with difficult choices in dialogue which is of course an integral part of the series. How you act affects how characters see you and interact with you and your story. The apparent bad guys that you face early on are introduced with one such decision. They are the Kett (an underlying theme is that drugs are bad, kids). Whether these are the only enemy however, I’ve yet to discover. I have only been on the one planet so far, but with a whole host of planets with a variety of climates and terrains I’m excited to see what else is in store.

When it comes to combat, it certainly seems intense and I’ve died a few times early on. Yet, it also seems to be fairly clunky. This, I hope however, is more than likely just a case of getting used to it. With a multitude of unlockable abilities to help you fight in a certain way and increase abilities such as damage and accuracy, I imagine the combat potential being a lot more precise and tactical. There are a variety of profiles for you to choose from – allowing you to fight in certain ways. I think these could have done with more explanation, personally, as someone new, but it appears you just have to try them out (unless you have experience of previous Mass Effect games) and find the best way of dealing with enemies for you.

Overall however, I can safely say that though early on there is just so much information to take in, particularly for newer players to the franchise, the galaxy is your oyster to explore and discover. There are already many ways to play and make your experience unique. The multitude of side quests which is already apparent after a few hours of playing shows the expanse of the game and I am also excited to try out multiplayer which is cleverly intertwined into the single player, if you so wish to do it (you can earn extra XP and rewards). Essentially we’re in for a lot of time in Andromeda and I cannot wait to delve further into the unknown worlds of the galaxy.

A full review will be live once we’ve experienced all the game has to offer.

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