While the series was acclaimed for its ground-breaking story, the universe, and game play Mass Effect 3’s ending was both controversial and final, with no room to recover. Fans were left with unanswered questions and desires to return. In 2017, Humanity got to see the aftermath of Shepard’s legacy while forging a new path in a galaxy far away, in Mass Effect Andromeda.
In the final moments before the end of Mass Effect 3, The interstellar community sent arks to the Andromeda Galaxy, to find new planets to continue life away from the Reaper threat. 500 years later, Ryder, wakes up to see the planets chosen as new homes leave a lot to be desired. With their farther killed in the first mission. Ryder must now assume the role of Pathfinder and resume her father’s work. But with drama from a long-forgotten civilisation and the current war between the existing nations, Ryder finds out that their work is cut out for them.
A lot has been revamped since we last played Mass Effect. The Paragon/Renegade system has been given an overhaul; you now chose to approach conversations professionally, compassionately etc. While the game doesn’t reward or penalise you for your choices, it’s up to you to decide how Ryder will respond to the situation. The class system is given an upgrade, allowing you to switch between the seven classes, and finding the mixture that works for you. What is great is that you aren’t limited to certain powers based on the class you pick. With this system, you can quickly adapt and survive whatever Andromeda throws out at you, even on the harder difficulties.
With the colonisation efforts in dire straits, it is up to you as Pathfinder to settle outposts, meet new civilisations. The planets you explore are diverse and imaginative, with a real emphasis to make every location looking spectacular. Frozen tundras, desert wastelands, and lush jungles await. There is a real joy to explore these worlds, finding glyphs to solve labyrinthian monoliths to improve habitability or the myriad of side quests that breathe life in the strange new worlds. We are introduced to three main new players in Andromeda, The Kett, aggressive alien who are obsessed with the Remnant (an ancient long-forgotten race with killer robot replacements) and the Aya the main presence in Andromeda who are initially cold to outsiders. You’re not alone, as your crew do a good job in both providing a tactical advantage, and a fresh perspective on the situation. There’s only six of them that allows for some more intimacy. They each have personal backstories and as expected the option to romance, further adding roots through an already extensive story.
Starting a new life is hard, but by building on what led the old entries to be a success, Andromeda recaptures the charm with a new look and location. Either in combat or conversation, Ryder is armed with many ways to solve a problem that allows for a lot of play styles, along with that same game play that resonated for a generation. Mass Effect Andromeda may start a little rocky, but like in the game, it lays the foundations for greatness.
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