The 2016 Game Awards have come and gone! With it we have a new influx of trailers and reveals for a bunch of upcoming games. Among them were some new reveals for the highly anticipated Mass Effect: Andromeda! In their last trailer Bioware promised fans some gameplay at the GA’s and we have not been let down.
So let’s walk through it, shall we?
The trailer is broken down into different portions that shows a glimpse of different element of gameplay. The first portion shows peeks of the different environments as the trailer scrolls across clips of planets that we will (presumably) explore. The landscapes range from red rocked desert looking climates to raining landscapes with dense foliage reminiscent of jungles. Throughout this segment the cinematic details are strong and each landscape looks beautifully put together. The narration ominously continues with:
“But in Andromeda resources are scarce. World are hazardous or outright uninhabitable. Every planet has its own story.”
Reminding us all that, while these worlds seem dazzling and beg to be explored, they are meant to pose a challenge and will likely be teeming with danger. The scene then cuts to a brief glimpse of a galaxy star chart that lists planets names. We assume this will be how you set a course for your ship and decide travel.
The next section of gameplay allows us to see a main area with NPCs as well as a cut scene of interaction. The player docks at a space station that is controlled by warring gangs. We see the female main protagonist Sarah Ryder disembark her ship with a female Turian and male Krogan companion, discuss speaking to someone named Sloane Kelly, and then head off into the station. This is the first time in a trailer that there are multiple races heavily present. Apart from our own companions we see Asari, Humans, Turians, Krogan, and other indiscernible characters in the background on the station. This helps to answer the questions many fans had as to what races from the previous games would we see return for Andromeda.
The cut scene with Sloane Kelly shows that the interaction wheel (seen above) is back, however it appears similar to the one seen in Bioware’s Dragon Age: Inquisition rather than the previous Mass Effect games. There are also quick reaction moment seen, in this case when Ryder has the option to disarm the Turian pointing a pistol in her face. These quick reactions and the conversation wheel no longer follow the Renegade/Paragon morality dynamic that the previous ME games were known for. Bioware stated that they planned to do away with this convention for Andromeda, so we do not know how responding to these reaction options will affect the story line yet.
Fans have shown concern over Ryder’s facial expression during this cut scene, saying they do not match up and the animation is a little off. But Bioware quickly reassured us that the game is still being worked on. Indeed, Creative Director Mac Walters stated: “We’ll be polishing the game until they take it from our cold, dead hands.”
The rest of the trailer provides what all of us really came to see: planetside exploration and combat! We have another look at our planetside all terrain vehicle the Nomad, as it cruises through some wide open spaces, and another look at Ryder in what looks like a side mission scanning a dead krogan before we are pulling up on a fight. The combat in the game looks superb. We see a few classes of enemies: Assembler, Nullifier, Adhi, Raider, Anarchist, Sharpshooter, and a giant mech that drop from the sky called a Hydra. All good fun!
The Ryder in this gameplay seems to run combat along the lines of an offensive biotic (Vanguard looking to those of you in the know). We see a range of useful abilities from a distance closing teleport ability to a protective shield. We also see the player will have access to a range of firearms and tech with specialized ammo, much like the original trilogy. Likely this is not the extent of the abilities available and the type of combat will change based on what abilities the player invests in. But so far, swoon!
The trailer then shows us a hint of what the game crafting system will look like and Ryder walking through the wilderness with items available for resource collection. The narration mentions that: “Almost everything else you need you’ll have to find, steal, or craft yourself. And that’s critical to your survival. These worlds have many dangers, from environmental dangers to hostile wildlife.”
A big beast called a Fiend then charges over the hill and engages the player. We see some environmental combat against an animal based enemy, who then overpowers us and promptly bites our leg off. But wow, does that make for a heck of a trailer.
Overall the trailer clocks in at barely under 5 minutes, but it is definitely worth the watch. The fact that the developers are planning to work on the game up until its release is encouraging. The release date is still ambiguously set as Spring 2017, but fans can at least be sure that what we see is not a final product.
So that is a very rough overview of the gameplay trailer. There was a ton of information that was concealed in it and, no doubt, more information to come. So what do you think? Are you excited about the game play? Is it too ambitious? Or is it going to be the epic space exploration journey we all want?