Mass Effect Andromeda: HANDS-ON IMPRESSIONS & NEW DETAILS! – The Know Game News
(Intro sound) Ashley: Welcome to The Know, I’m Ashley Jenkins. Jon: I’m Jon Risinger. Ashley: Previews for Mass Effect Andromeda are finally hitting the web. It’s about time! We’re finally, FINALLY learning a lot more about the game after a insanely long period of silence from Bioware. Jon: Yeah. So recently, the developer held an event for a lot of publications to get some hands on time with the preview build of the game. So, now we’ve learned a lot more about its plot, gameplay, cool details like the fact there is no level cap and your character’s abilities are fully customizable. And most importantly, initial impressions about whether or not Andromeda carries the torch of the previous Mass Effect games. Ashley: Alright, so, let’s dig into some impressions that people are getting from the game. Outlets were given access to Andromeda’s first mission plus a slice from the middle of the game that gave just about free reign to the Tempest, Andromeda’s ship hub, will never ever be as cool as the Normandy but we’ll take what we can get to learn more about squadmates and mission structure.
Jon: So different publications took varying amounts of time. Eurogamer spent 4 hours, for instance, while RPG Site took 3, Polygon spent 90 minutes etc etc Ashley: Following Eurogamer’s time with Andromeda, they said the game’s first mission will address fan’s fears that this won’t be a proper Mass Effect game. It’s opening sequence introduces all the important characters who are all, well, of course, immediately in danger. Jon: You play as Ryder, who’s part of colonisation mission of tens of thousands of colonists, on their way to their new home, Andromeda. You wake up from a 600 year old cryo sleep and your job is to find out if the new planet you’ve arrived at is habitable for the 100 000 other travelers who are along for the ride. Unfortunately, the new planet turns out to be a lot more hostile than expected. And you’re quickly alone in a strange, new land. Ashley: Yeah, hate it. Don’t you hate it when you turn up to a planet and someone already lives there? Jon: Yeah! Ashley: Do you- Have you plagged? The environments you’ll be exploring are pretty vast. One planet can have a map that’s bigger than the entire map of Dragon Age Inquisition.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun reported that but Bioware’s trust that Andromeda is not a sandbox game. You will have a vehicle to explore and there’s usually a specific goal, which means there won’t be a lot of free roaming on its own. Jon: Good. Cuz I roam so much when games allow for that and I realize I haven’t like advanced the main story at all for like 10 hours. Ashley: Is your- Is your RPG or open world strategy to do everything until there’s nothing you can do except advance the story? Ashley: That’s generally what I do.
Jon: I did that with Fallout 4, and it just kind of got really deep. As you learn more about the new world, your character will be learning right alongside you. Producer Fabrice Condominas said in a Q & A that the protaganist will have the same level of knowledge as the player to avoid players feeling overwhelmed. That also means that you’ll be on a journey of growth, right along with your character.
Ashley: Oh man! My people are in so much trouble! Jon: Yeah! Ashley: If they only have the same knowledge base I’ve got. Jon: My character’s gonna be dumb! Ashley: “Alright, who wants to sit on the ship and watch Charmed?” (Jon and off camera crew outburst in laughter) Ashley: The game also retains the familiar species of the franchise. There’s Turians, Krogans, Salarians, Asari, but uh with a new game come new conflicts, considering that everyone is on their way to a brand new life in a brand new universe with no way back. Jon: You’re also pretty quickly introduced to the game’s new races including the Kett, who are invaders, the indigenous Angara, and the ancient Remnants. Your interactions with these races harken back to one of the key themes of Mass Effect, how humanity fits into an already crowded universe. Ashley: Which brings us to combat! Because it’s not gonna be peacefully. Jon: Yeah. Ashley: That’s the short version. VentureBeat noted Andromeda’s moved to dynamic cover, but said that it initially it feels imprecise compared to Mass Effect 3’s snap to cover feature. Whereas in other games, you can hug a wall with just the push of a button, in Andromeda, you just go up to a barrier and you fire.
Once you move away, you move out of cover. It’s more fluid but will take some getting used to, for sure. Jon: As for your conversation decisions, while talking to other characters, Andromeda has removed the moral flavour to that process. While you used to be able to choose Paragon or Renegade reactions when having a discussion, this game switched to a system without any sort of morality to your responses. So, get out there and feel free to speak your mind. You know. Ashley: No judging. Jon: Work with the space. Ashley: As for character customisation, you can pick any one of 9 pre set heads of a variety of races and genders and then change your skin tone, your eyebrows, other features. You can also get pretty ridiculous with your clothing, your hair colour, your make up… All that stuff. Jon: You can spend hours on that. You can also pick your character’s background training such as Operator, Scrapper, Leader, Security Technician, and so on.
But there’s no strict class system so you can mix and match skills from all of the categories which allows for some interesting hybrid creations. Ashley: Now, speaking of experience, PC Gamer mentions that there’s no level cap in Andromeda which we noted earlier. Which means, that you can theoretically max out every single skill in every single tree. If you want to spend the time, that is. Lead designer Ian Frasier said that should take you until about level 123. So, go for it. Jon: Who needs a life? You got it. But enough about Ryder, let’s get back to the squad. RPG Site says that the game’s new approach to dialogue focusing on tones rather than Paragon/Renegade, makes for some interesting moments. “In loyalty quests and the like, characters will face off against each other, and it sounds like there’ll be less catch-all solutions to every problem simply by passing a speech check: you’ll be forced to make hard decisions and occasionally lose.” Ashley: I don’t wanna lose! I just wanna pick my red, and I wanna pick my blue, and I wanna be safe, and I wanna get my skills high enough that I get the extra special one.
Andromeda places a really big emphasis on interaction with the squad and features a ton of dialogue, both directly and indirectly. And when I say a ton, I mean a ton. Game Informer said, “Squadmates often chatter amongst themselves when you’re out exploring places. I took Vetra and Drack, the squad Krogan, out on a drive and they chatted about a mutual friend and boasted about their own combat skills in an amusing manner.” Jon: The squadmates are particularly chatty. According to Bioware, the developer confirmed at the event that even the quietest squadmate will have as many lines as Shepard did in Mass Effect 3.
Ashley: That’s a lot of lines. Jon: Yeah, get ready to listen to lotta banter and do lots of interacting. Ashley: While they talk about mutual friends. And don’t invite you to brunch. Jon: This got real. Ashley: Another key point of the early previews had to do with exploration, something else you’ll be doing a lot of in Mass Effect Andromeda. While the early preview sessions only gave access to one story planet, a planet that hosts activities for the main quest line, outlets mentioned that this planet was packed full of meaningful side quests, a variety of locales, and fun enemy encounters which can all be done by hopping in the Nomad, a hopefully…hopefully, less shitty version of the Mako.
Jon: So, between those main mechanics, Bioware’s focusing on one particular aspect from each of the Mass Effect games. According to producer Fabrice Condominas the design of Andromeda was influenced by a focus on the exploration of Mass Effect 1, the relationships of Mass Effect 2, and the gameplay of Mass Effect 3. Ashley: That is actually not a bad way to focus things. Jon: It’s a good hybrid. Ashley: Yeah. So does Mass Effect Andromeda actually live up to the space magic of the original series? Well, that much isn’t clear just yet. These were hands on previews, after all, not full on reviews, but so far it sounds like the game is heading in a positive direction which is definitely a relief considering just how little we’ve heard about the game up until this point.
Jon: What do you guys think of Mass Effect Andromeda so far? Will you be picking it up? Let us know in the comments. Ashley: And for all your Mass Effect Andromeda news, as it continues to trickle in, be sure to ‘like’ this video and subscribe to The Know. I was trying to figure out how to make a “bang a space alien” joke but- Jon: You don’t know what hole to put it in. Ashley: I- I can’t find it. Jon: Or maybe there’s too many holes? Ashley: Right. Like, what if there’s an impolite hole? Jon: What if the impolite hole’s right next to the good hole? And it’s like just a gamble. Ashley: Yeah, that’s like Ashley: (whispering) That’s like humans. Jon: Mmm, some humans..
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