Friday, May 24, 2024

A look at the Mass Effect Andromeda Trailer

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The Internet, or at least certain parts thereof, are abuzz with the recent gameplay trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda. It’s the most substantial glimpse into the actual meat and bones of the game that we’ve seen so far. And personally, I don’t blame the developers for being cautious with information – the fandom has a rather unfortunate way of descending on everything like piranhas. So, what can we see in the trailer?

Let’s start from the top. The narrator tells us that we’ll be exploring a new, alien galaxy. We knew that. We see Ryder and her companions land near a settlement, that’s apparently made up of outlaws. One of said companions seems to be a female Turian. That’s pretty great, since the number of female Turians in the series is otherwise three – if we count that one multiplayer kit. They ship they’re moving around in is suspiciously similar to the Normandy, I’ll note.

My impression soured a bit when I saw what Ryder was there for. An audience with a crime lord. That’s… repetitive, to be quite honest. We’re exploring a brand new galaxy, and we’re still doing the “tense negotiation with a mob boss” routine? Complete with Krogan bodyguards. It feels like more of the same thing, when the designers promised us a brave new world.

Unsurprisingly, the video cuts before we see the result of the negotiation and moves on to some exploration. There’s a vehicle that I pray to the God-Emperor on his Throne will be more maneuverable than the Mako. Ryder also uses a scanning tool on a crime scene. Seems Witcher 3 is rubbing off on the genre. I’m not complaining. We knew exploration was going to be a major feature, but investigation is new.

Then the fun part begins – the combat. It starts out with a bang, as Ryder uses their jetpack (there seem to be different versions in different scenes, so I’ll use “they”) to get aloft and then performs a biotic charge. What can we infer from those few minutes of combat?

First off, there’s a lot more maneuvering that we’re used to. The jetpack plays a role, but Ryder doesn’t spend as much time in cover in general. Partly because of the biotic shield they project at times. In the final section of the trailer, we see Ryder drop a tech-looking cover. So it seems to be a running thing. Which is good, as it makes combat encounters less reliant on chest-high obstacles.

Later on, we see a big monster just grab Ryder and gobble them up. I’m not a huge fan of instant-kill animations, so I hope they’re not too prominent. They look nice on trailers like this one but tend to be an arbitrary annoyance in actual play. Especially multiplayer.

Last but not least, we see Ryder pick up some resources in-between the combat scenes. The commenter also mentions crafting. This fills me with dread, and I do hope we don’t need to pick every resource with our own two hands. And that the crafting isn’t aggressively superfluous. Having to assemble our own equipment definitely fits the theme of exploration, but it can be very exasperating in execution.

So that’s what we’ve got. My impressions are mixed, but I’m hopeful in general. It looks like Andromeda is going to try new things, even as it holds to certain staples of the series. Which is a good sign.

Image courtesy of Bioware

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