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- Mass Effect Andromeda
Mass Effect: Andromeda is one of the biggest titles of 2017, and thankfully we won't have to wait much longer to play it.
While we're hoping that this generation of hardware will allow for Bioware to try new things previously impossible, we also want to see if they can rekindle the flame that caused many to fall in love with the series to begin with. Mass Effect 2 and 3 were great, there's no doubt about that, but they did away with a lot of features that many cherished in the original.
Similar to the original Mass Effect, Andromeda is a fresh start for the series. Here are five things the upcoming game can learn from its much more antiquated predecessor.
5. Open-Ended Exploration
Sure, Mass Effect 2 had mining, but it did little to satiate the feeling of warping to a planet and exploring an open space with some side quests and enemies sprinkled around.
The exploration sure had its flaws with mostly empty areas and a ragdoll-like Mako, but with the power of this gen’s hardware, Bioware has the ability to rectify this and fully realize what they attempted 10 years ago.
Bioware can keep the idea of limiting the explorable areas to just a portion of specific planets, but filled to the brim with detail, life, side quests, secrets, and more. With the Mako’s successor confirmed already for the game, it seems that this is certainly going to happen.
Another feature watered down for the sequels were explorable hub cities. From the Citadel to Noveria to Feros, the cities in the game weren’t extremely large but they were certainly bigger and more interesting than what came later. Not only would it be great to have hubs like those, but it would add to the depth to see outposts and towns scattered around the planets where you can trade and complete some of Mass Effect’s signature story-driven side quests.
4. A Sense of Wonder
Mass Effect was impressive by taking what worked really well with Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic and applying it to their own hand-crafted universe. Going into the first game with no idea of what’s going on, who is who, and thrust into this vast galaxy created a sense of wonder that very few games have even come close to replicating for me in the last 10 years.
Arriving at the Citadel and watching its arms open up and let me in, looking up and around at the artificial beauty of the Presidium, and warping through a mass relay for the first time are just a few of the awe-inspiring moments that filled Mass Effect.
Bioware has the unique opportunity to recapture that feeling again with Andromeda. Much like the original, we are going to land in a brand new galaxy with hidden dangers, new species to meet, and entire systems to explore. Bioware can utilize this opportunity as a sort of soft reboot by subverting our expectations of what the series is and once again wow us.
3. Progressive Themes
It’s surprising what can change in the world in just 10 years. Back in 2007, Mass Effect debuted to a very different social environment. However, that did not stop Bioware from making commentary and bold moves that other developers had not yet dared to try.
One of the central themes of the story was how humanity was just taking steps into the larger picture, united against racism, jealousy, and hate by the more established space-faring races like the Turian. Also, the game allowed for homosexual relationships, something not seen in most RPG’s at that time. These themes were progressive, most of which reflect current issues that we are still working through in this world.
It would be interesting to see what Andromeda has to say now in 2017, be it a continuation of what Mass Effect started or new commentary on society and what’s going on currently in the world.
2. Focused Story
Before the Reapers and impending galactic doom, we had the rogue operative Saren and our mission to bring him to justice. It was a tight, more simple story that allowed for smaller, emotional moments throughout.
Most certainly not the last game in the widely successful franchise, Andromeda doesn’t need to jump to a Reaper-like galaxy destroying race. It can take its time getting there with a more focused story. Saren was a well-written and twisted antagonist, proving that Bioware can create a just as, if not more, memorable villain for Andromeda. This will allow for a more organic introduction to the new galaxy, much like Mass Effect.
1. Vast Customization
The Mass Effect series has consistently improved upon its skill and ability tree in each installment, but the same can’t be said for the rest of the customization options. The amount of different equipment that can be bought or looted has dwindled considerably since the first game. While the modifications in Mass Effect 3 were a first step towards fixing this, Andromeda has the chance to return to its RPG roots.
The game’s longevity and depth could really benefit from dozens of different armor sets, weapons, and perhaps even accessories that all change how your character looks and performs. Embracing the exotic nature of a mysterious, unknown place could help create a healthy range of unique and interesting loot.