Five years after the release of the final climatic installment of the original Mass Effect trilogy, Bioware is back with the much anticipated Mass Effect: Andromeda. The story of Andromeda begins around the same time as the first Mass Effect game, as tens of thousands of the diverse Milky Way races (human, asari, turians, salarians, and krogan) depart their home galaxy for a 600 year journey to the Andromeda galaxy.
The player is Ryder (inspired by Sally Ride, the first American woman in space), a human Pathfinder who is charged with helping humanity find a new home in Andromeda. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan, and Ryder and a crew of loyal companions soon find themselves stuck in a galaxy where all the planets they had hoped to settle have been made uninhabitable by a dark matter anomaly called the Scourge.
They discover that they are not the only ones with an interest in this new galaxy. The Kett, a malicious race bent on subjugating all other races, have already arrived and start making life very difficult for the Angara, the indigenous race of Andromeda. As Ryder, the player must render these worlds more inhabitable by unlocking ancient technology that can terraform the worlds in order to establish settlements for the Milky Way pioneers. Easier said than done when you have the Kett to contend with, as well as political strife from your own people.
Mass Effect: Andromeda brings back familiar cover-and-shoot gameplay that was the hallmark of the previous games, while finely honing gameplay to make combat seem more active and seamless. Where Andromeda differs from the other Mass Effect games is its focus on exploration and settlement of new worlds. Unlike the story of Shepard, which followed the Commander through their war against the Reapers, Andromeda places less emphasis on war (something that die hard fans of the series will either love or hate) and more emphasis on discovering new worlds and developing political alliances that will help the races of the Milky Way establish their new home in Andromeda.
Personally, I find the change of tone refreshing. As a fan of open-world games like Skyrim, where you can go anywhere and do anything, Andromeda feels much more open to exploration than the planets in the original trilogy. While there are plenty of quests to advance the plot and increase the viability of each planet you explore, you don’t have to visit them all to complete the main story. You can just hop in the six-wheeled Nomad and go road-tripping around an unexplored planet if you want to. The overarching plot can seem lacking compared to the urgency of the original games (and the Kett, a rehash of the Reapers of old), but Andromeda still has plenty of playability and interesting player choices.
As with the previous games, players have a group of diverse companions that accompany you on your journey. Each companion is unique with skills that will compliment your own during battle. You can choose to have two companions with you as you journey throughout the numerous exotic locales, and can switch them out at any drop point. My go-to group is Jaal or Vetra, and Drak (you just can’t say no to a grizzled grandpa Krogan). As with the previous games, you can romance certain characters as well which is always fun. You gain their affections by choosing romantic dialogue options, completing personal quests for them, and if you’re lucky at winning their heart, you are rewarded with a steamy love scene.
If you’re looking for a game that lets you explore a new galaxy, settle new worlds, navigate political intrigue, and enjoy a little romance on the side, Mass Effect: Andromeda is for you. Mass Effect: Andromeda is available on PS4, XBOX ONE, and PC and you can find it in our stores. If you would like to call ahead and see if we currently have it, visit our store page to find your nearest location and the contact info.
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