In the original Mass Effect trilogy, you had the chance to take on the role of Commander Shepard, the legendary Spectre who (depending on your playthrough) united the galaxy against an armada of giant robotic space cuttlefish and (perhaps even more impressively) managed to bed all kinds of aliens with little to no regard to the potential perils of cross-species intercourse. With Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare’s upcoming continuation of the Mass Effect franchise, you get to play as Ryder, a Pathfinder for the Andromeda Initiative who is tasked with helping humanity find a new home in the Andromeda galaxy. Although Andromeda is set 600 years after the original Mass Effect trilogy, your actions as Commander Shepard will (conveniently) not have any impact on your actions in Andromeda, but you may notice that there are quite a few game mechanics and features that have been carried over and upgraded.

For example, even though Andromeda may be a Mass Effect game that has a new generation of audiences in mind, you will still be able to do things like pretending to pay attention to NPC dialogue and mindlessly mashing on dialogue choices to make your custom character/plastic surgery experiment seem more or less like a huge jerk. While the Renegade/Paragon system will be removed in favor of a more fluid reputation mechanic, your actions will still make an impact across the galaxy; NPCs will acknowledge the people you’ve killed, gossip about the individuals that you’ve grown suspiciously intimate with, and get into long debates about how many new strains of Space-STDs you’ve discovered. How morally righteous your Ryder is also determines what kind of dialogue interrupts are available to them, ranging from throwing people out a nearby airlock to politely reminding them of how Commander Shepard has some of the greatest dance moves of all time.

No Mass Effect game is complete without the ability to explore alien worlds, however, and given that Ryder is a Pathfinder, you will have plenty of time and opportunities to drive around and explore barren and unsettled worlds in one of Andromeda’s newest vehicles, the Nomad. This may bring back nightmares of trying to drive up mountains in the original Mass Effect’s horribly unwieldy Mako, but you don’t need to worry because the Nomad is not an exact duplicate of the Mako, but rather an upgraded version of the Mako. This means that instead of trying to figure out why your vehicle is always upside down, you can drive around for hours and hours (and who knows, you may even get to disembark and pick up an occasional collectible or lore item!) while your companions tell you their life stories. As an upgraded version of the Mako, your Nomad will also possess an array of user-friendly features (custom built for discerning space marines) to make your road trip more fun, such as a radio that only plays elevator music and a digital map that draws everything with annoying thick white lines.


Fun fact: Blue is a very popular color in the Mass Effect universe

Speaking of companions, Mass Effect: Andromeda will feature a diverse cast of alien and human companions who will judge you for everything that you do. Get on friendly enough terms with your companions and (as per Mass Effect tradition) you will be able to enter a relationship with them, spawning countless sexual innuendos involving Ryder’s name on top of unleashing a wave of click-bait content and forum debates about who is the best companion and who is the best companion onto the Internet. Become really friendly with your companions, and they may even reward you with the traditional BioWare gift of a short cutscene involving Ryder and your companion in their lingerie before cutting to black right as things start to get awkwardly animated between the two of them. Unlike previous Mass Effect games though, your companions in Andromeda will react to your not-so-private love affair, often vomiting in their helmets when you and your love interest start reciting obscure poetry to each other.

It may be hard to imagine, but Mass Effect: Andromeda will be the most immersive and breathtakingly beautiful Mass Effect ever, and that’s not just because it is the latest game in the series to be developed. Not only will your romance scenes have an extra 5 seconds of risque and suggestive touching compared to previous BioWare games, but all of the new worlds that you see will feature more shades of dirt, the aliens will sport more shades of flesh, and your companions will be able to calibrate all kinds of calibrations in real timeMass Effect: Andromeda may very well be considered a spiritual successor to No Man’s Sky, but with actual content right out of the box (and you can quote that, BioWare).

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Anson Chan

Staff Writer

You ever wonder why we're here? It's one of life's greatest mysteries, isn't it?