Sci-fi dungeons and 4 more big takeaways from Mass Effect: Andromeda's exploration trailer

BioWare continues to expand on Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay as we inch ever closer to its March 21 release date. We've seen how combat and squad skills work, now it's time to dive into what happens when your Pathfinder actually goes… you know, path-finding.

A new trailer helpfully takes us on a tour of Andromeda's new features in this area, and you can watch the whole thing right now, or skip ahead for the good stuff:

As you can see...

The views from up here are lovely

This may seem like a minor thing, but one of the coolest aspects of being an explorer - especially in space - is all the otherworldly sights you'll come across. While you'll be able to see plenty once your boots are on the ground, you'll also be able to observe planets, nebulas, and more from the viewing window of the Tempest. Will this significantly alter the way you play? Probably not. But it sure is pretty.

The Nomad plays a big, customizable role

BioWare has said from the beginning that the Nomad is not just a simple replacement for the Mako from Mass Effect 1, and here we get to see how it differs. Not only does it look like the physics have improved (meaning no more bouncing around like a giant, metal balloon), but you'll be able to upgrade and customize the Nomad both in terms of appearance and abilities. Want to get where you're going faster? Sink resources into improving the boost. Plan to use it as a tank? Upgrade the shielding.

Some weather we're having, huh?

Just because a planet is habitable doesn't mean it's hospitable. Torrential rain, intense heat, and other environmental hazards can interfere with exploration. To counteract this, you'll need to lay down forward stations at pre-designated spots. These not only act as fast travel points where you can resupply and change your loadouts, but will even protect you from the harsh climate.

Planets can level up, your base can level up, everything can level up

The whole point of the Andromeda Initiative is to find humanity (and other Milky Way species) a new home. But not every rock you land on will be a perfect fit - you'll need to do some work to make them viable homes. Exploring, completing objectives, and undertaking story missions will help raise a planet's viability level. The more viability points you earn, the better your Nexus (Andromeda's version of the Citadel and your home base) can become and the more colonists you can wake up. Colonists determine your perks, which will make raising the next planet's viability level easier, which will help you level the Nexus, which will lead to waking up more colonists, which will… *drifts off into infinity*

Andromeda has dungeons, even if they're not called that 

Andromeda wouldn't be an RPG without some dungeon-delving now, would it? Of course, being that this setting is sci-fi and not fantasy, they're not called dungeons - they're "vaults." No matter what you call them though, they look like challenging obstacles that will test your abilities in combat, exploration, even platforming and puzzle solving.

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Sam Prell

Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.