We now have a TON of new info on Mass Effect Andromeda. Space hammers?!

Yesterday was N7 day which means we got some more Mass Effect Andromeda info in the form of trailers like that one, and plenty of gameplay details which NeoGAF has helpfully collated. 

There's a lot to get through so let's organise it. 

The story

Here's the main plot summary: 

"Around 2185, at the height of galactic progress, unaware of the impending Reaper invasion (though after Sovereign), 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". 

So it's both a sequel and sort of a prequel as the crew have spent hundreds of years in cryo sleep, since before the events of the previous games, and are  unaware of most of what's happened. 

You play as a Pathfinder, a sort of scientist/soldier/leader, responsible for finding a habitable world. The player can choose Scott or Sara Ryder, the children of Alec Ryder, who is the pathfinder of the human ark called the Hyperion. That's apparently arrived in the wrong location, which is hostile, and lost contact with the other arks. There's also a base called the Nexus, described as "a forward command center staffed by multiple species that arrives in Andromeda early to pave the way for the Arks."

The Kett are apparently the main enemy and I'm assuming they are the guys in the trailer with handles on their heads. They've apparently been created to be a foe you can emphasise with, not just pure evil. 

Combat's changed

Combat sounds like a lot's different now, with a dynamic cover system, hotkeyed abilities replacing a wheel, and a dynamic cover system. There's also a more open level design that's less linear. The jet pack adds movement options like a quick dash instead of rolling and can be used to hoover for a higher viewpoint in battle. You'll still queue attacks and order your squad however. 

While plenty of weapons will be familiar, swords and hammers are now a thing. Space hammers presumably.

There are no strict classes any more


Instead you can now access abilities from all classes and mix skills from tech, soldier or biotics. That should open up more options and not lock you into playstyles. 

Specialism is possible though, as you can invest enough points into one skill category and unlock a profile that give you bonuses for certain skills. So there are still names like Vanguard for combat and biotic specialisation, or Adept for pure biotics, while Explorer is the new name for specialising in everything. 

You will be able to respec your character throughout the game as well so you're not tied down to your choices. 

Exploring planets is a big deal

Planets won't comprise of 'linear slices', instead you explore 'from their surface to their underbelly' using the Nomad, a new vehicle. This doesn't have weapons but you can customise speed and appearance. It's been designed with the Need For Speed developers helping out on the handling, and is meant to be a lot faster, maneuverable and with a boost. 

There'll be no mineral nodes or identical outposts this time, with a focus instead on combat encounters, puzzles, narrative beats and so on. One example planet is called Elaaden and features a hazardous surface with high temperatures and no water. Other dangers mentioned include acid pools, burning wreckage and lethal weather. There's also at least one major enemy base on each planet as well as a potential for 'super bosses' that you might have to leave and return for once you've leveled up more. 

You can explore freely or take mission suggestions, with examples including a Krogan requesting you find a missing ship, or scouting for drop zones needed to establish forward stations to help establish your presence. 

You'll can craft and customise your gear

You can scan to discover resources and blueprints that you use to craft armour and weapons, as well as ammo, mods and new alien tech. There will apparently be more options than previous games, letting you customise all the Ryders including helmet, chest, shoulders, arms and legs, more extensive than previous trilogy. 

There's a new ship

The Tempest is your new ride these days and will call back to the Normandy. You won't be piloting it manually, rather selecting planets on a new interactive map. The idea is to create a more seamless sense of traveling and disembarking with less (hidden) loading. 

Morality and choices have been revised

There's no Paragon or Renegade now, with Bioware wanting more 'nuance and subtly'. Dialogue options now include heart, head, professional and casual. You can still interrupt conversations but again, rather than red or blue choices, it might be a clearer prompt like 'shoot'.

Relationships are still a thing

Romance is still a big deal and this will have more potential relationships than any other Bioware game so far. These relationships now won't just end in a sex scene, with talk Bioware wanted to capture more 'shooting bottles with Garrus' moments. Some characters however can just want to just have sex while others will want something more long term.

Multiplayer sounds... interesting

Multiplayer now uses a card-based economy to earn XP and credits. Mission funds will also lets you buy items directly rather than via random card packs. Modifiers will let you alter the game in various ways. So you could play with less health and get more rewards for example, and vice versa. There will (obviously) be microtransactions but nothing will require real money to unlock exclusively. There's also a prestige system that will earn prestige XP on top of normal XP and can be used to upgrade all the characters of a certain type or class. 

Multiplayer enemies will use different approaches that will require certain tactics, so heavy shields, lots of biotics etc. There will be some single player advantages for playing multiplayer but nothing apparently critical to the ending.

The ending(s)

All Bioware are saying here is that "it's a surprise" and "it's different than the trilogy". 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In former lives Leon's been a scientist, a musician and teacher, stints that included a shoe full of liquid nitrogen, a small tour of Germany and oh GOD so much marking.
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