There's been a significant run of fresh information for BioWare's upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda, and it's time to start tying the pieces together.
Pre-load date - March 17th, 2017
North America - March 21st, 2017
UK and Europe - March 23rd, 2017
Takes place 600 years after the events of the original Mass Effect trilogy and set in the neighbouring galaxy Andromeda. The Andromeda Initiative set off on their long journey during the time of Mass Effect 2 taking place.
Representatives from the major Citadel races each commissioned their own Ark ships. We play as either the brother or sister sibling of the Ryder family, with our father - Alec Ryder - designated the Pathfinder for humanity, an N7 special forces officer. We explore the Andromeda galaxy to find humanity a new home.
The action in Mass Effect: Andromeda moves on from the previous games considerably as many aspects of combat get changed up and approached from a different angle. Firstly the old class system has been removed in favour of mixing different disciplines should you wish.
You will no longer be 'locked in' to the role of a soldier or an adept for example, but the core abilities and perks of such classes remain to be specialised in. Abilities retain their upgrade trees where the first three improve the ability before you must make trade-off choices for the remaining three. You are also limited to just a handful of abilities that can be used at any one time - possibly only three.
Chaining abilities together for combo bonuses also stays to really bring the hurt to enemies and combat can also get a bit vertical now with the jetpack boosting us up for a higher vantage. Special ammo types can also still be applied (cryo, incendiary etc.) but last so many shots before needing to be re-applied.
Many weapons are returning that fans will recognise but a new galaxy means all-new discoveries and technologies to unlock. We can eventually get to harness the firepower of our new adversaries.
Crafting, Research & Resources
BioWare has teased that we'll also be able to craft our own weaponry - ranged and melee- as well as name them. It's unclear exactly how this works but the crafting system in Dragon Age: Inquisition allowed a very similar array of options. Hopefully it will be vastly superior to the quite cumbersome DA:I.
We'll need crafting materials to make our uber weapons and that is handled by use of the NOMAD when we're driving around planets to pillage their secrets. We aren't going to be scanning and probing from orbit any longer but deploying 'mining probes/platforms' to cover our needs.
Research will unlock fresh new technologies or help improve existing ones through thoroughly scanning and cataloguing new flora, fauna and giant things wanting to digest us. This research is conducted aboard the Tempest, which is officially a science exploration vessel.
Similar to Mass Effect 3, the multiplayer experience in Andromeda is a peer-to-peer style system and not cross-platform. This means you'll have to battle alongside those sharing your platform. Unlike Mass Effect 3, the online component in Andromeda doesn't have any great significant impact on single-player.
These missions are effectively the work of the Nexus security forces, which are there to represent the overall Andromeda Initiative for all the Citadel species that came across and are looking to settle the Golden worlds. These are also 4-player horde mode-style co-op experiences, and not death match.
Companions & Crew
BioWare RPGs also have a selection of NPC companions for us to love and loathe in our adventures and Andromeda is no different.
Cora Harper - Human Squadmate
The operations specialist and a trained biotic for the Pathfinder mission aboard the Tempest exploration vessel. Considered second-in-command and the official successor should anything befall the Pathfinder (Alec Ryder).
Liam Kosta - Human Squadmate
Former law enforcement and current 'crisis response' specialist for the Pathfinder mission. Young and scrappy with an 'idealist' point of view.
Drack - Krogan Squadmate
Not much is known about Drack personally or why he comes to be a part of the human Pathfinder mission.
Peebee - Asari Squadmate
An asari adventurer who isn't much for living up to the diplomatic sterotypes of her species. Often quite brash and straight to the point, Peebee (her nickname) looks to get in the thick of things throwing caution to the wind.
Vetra - Turian Squadmate
Another non-human who becomes involved in the Pathfinder mission under the Ryder family. Little is known of her motives at this point.
Kallo Jath - Salarian Pilot
A crack pilot who flies the new player ship - the Tempest. He's certainly got the confidence to go along with his skills, but it's unknown whether he'll play a role away from the flight controls.
S.A.M. - Implant AI
Simulated Adaptive Matrix, S.A.M. is an AI that's implanted into the Ryder family as well as squad members part of the Pathfinder mission. This lets them communicate with each other easily as well as rely vital data back to the human Ark. It provides advanced situational awareness and in-depth analysis and problem solving. It was designed by Alec Ryder.
Standard and Deluxe Editions
• Pre-order bonus: Deep Space Explorer Armour
• Pre-order bonus: Multiplayer Booster Pack
• Pre-order bonus: Nomad Skin
• Standard Edition Bonuses
• Pathfinder Casual Outfit
• Scavenger Armour
• Pathfinder Elite Weapon Set (4)
• Pet Pyjak
• Digital Soundtrack
• Multiplayer Deluxe Launch Pack
Super Deluxe Edition
• Standard & Deluxe Edition Bonuses
• Multiplayer Super Deluxe Booster Packs