What is Mass Effect: Andromeda?
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a sci-fi role playing game about an effort to discover new, habitable planets. After having survived a 600 year journey in cryosleep, the members of the Andromeda Initiative awake in a galaxy far beyond the milky way, to find a universe that's nothing like they imagined it would be. As the son or daughter of the Pathfinder - the leader of the exploration crew - it's up to you to explore a new galaxy, and deal with never before seen alien races, advanced ancient technology, and a powerful enemy that's out to stop you at every turn.
How do you play Mass Effect: Andromeda?
As a role-playing game, Mass Effect Andromeda is all about taking on the role of a character, and making your mark on the galaxy. Whether you're getting stuck into the main quests, exploring the galaxy on your own, or helping out the dozens of characters you meet along the way in countless side quests, it's up to you to carve out your own role. With a character creator that lets you customise your appearance, branching conversations that give you the ability to handle tricky situations in the way you'd want to respond, and a cast of characters that will react to the options you choose, you get to affect how the stories of Mass Effect Andromeda play out.
Played from a third person perspective, Andromeda's gameplay mainly revolves around two core concepts - conversations and combat. For some quests, you won't have to take part in any combat at all, as you instead take on the role of an intermediary of sorts, to solve a complicated issue. Take the character you find locked up in a jail cell, convicted of a murder he says he didn't commit - if you can head to the planet the murder took place on, you can examine the evidence, and find out the truth once and for all. Other missions are much more combat oriented, with the game turning into more of a third person shooter - ducking into cover, popping up to fire off quick bursts of ammo at your enemies, it's up to you and your team mates to flank your enemies, and make use of your biotic (effectively, magic) powers to win the day.
How easy is Mass Effect: Andromeda to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Mass Effect: Andromeda is aimed at experienced players, but has a hugely adjustable difficulty level that lets you tailor the game to suit.
Much of the challenge here is in the combat, where even on normal, you'll be facing off against very tough enemies that can absorb a lot of fire and keep going. The lowest difficulty here, however - known as "Narrative" - is specifically designed for people who just want to play the story, and makes a huge difference to how the game plays out. While you'll still get into just as many scraps as before, you'll find enemies that can only take a handful of hits, making them much easier to handle.
Beyond the combat though, the only other accessibility issue here comes in figuring out where you actually have to go. Important locations and quest objectives are marked on a horizontal compass at the top of the screen, but there's no way to get the game to mark a route for you - and with planets covered with steep cliffs, and bases set over multiple levels, it can sometimes be tricky to work out where your next objective is. It's also important to note that, while you can save anywhere when exploring a planet, there's no way to manually save while you're mid-quest. Instead, the game switches to auto-saves and a checkpoint system, which can sometimes mean you have to replay tricky combat sections if you die shortly after them.
While Mass Effect Andromeda is fully subtitled, and all the dialogue and story sections are fully voiced, being a strong reader would help a lot too, as there are a lot of "flavour text" pieces you can find, in the form of logs, diaries and other entries that help fill in the back story, none of which are voiced.
- Bradley, I know it's not your fault. I know she's supposed to be second wave. But I want a trail so that when all this calms down in a few years, we can get proper outraged about how long it took to reunite families.
- You were effectively "designated biotic" during your Alliance military tenure, assisting your cohorts with your ability to control Mass Effect fields.
In terms of mature content, Mass Effect: Andromeda contains nudity, moderate violence, and regular usage of bad language.
Sh*t, horse sh*t, pi*s and asshole are regularly heard in the dialogue. F*ck is also used, but only occasionally.
Violence and Gore
Combat involves both a range of weaponry (pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles) and what are essentially magical abilities, known in game as biotic powers. Most enemies you face off against in game are either aliens, or robots, and as such will either emit no blood, or a green goo. Some enemies are closer to humans, however, and these will give off moderate spurts of red blood when hit. Headshots also sometimes cause enemies heads to explode in a cloud of goo, or lesser cloud of blood. One scene focuses on an alien character digging a tooth out of a larger beast (presumably as a pendant). While little is shown, you hear plenty of squelching noises as he moves the knife around, before emitting a final spurt of blood when the tooth comes out.
Mass Effect games have always been famous for their romance options, and Mass Effect Andromeda is no different. Throughout the game, certain dialogue options will allow you to develop a closer relationship with certain characters, eventually leading to a sexual encounter. While no genitalia is shown, depending on the character you choose, both characters may be fully naked, with exposed breasts and nipples, kissing, and thrusting.