Digging into Andromeda / by Caleb Sawyer

It took a bit to get used to the new Mass Effect and all that came with it, but five plus hours in and Mass Effect: Andromeda has its claws embedded. 

Starting a new game has its ups and downs. New mechanics and systems take a little getting used to, even in brilliantly developed games. For Mass Effect, this is the beginning of a new era. New characters are introduced, new worlds, in this case a whole new galaxy. Straying from the traditional snap-cover based shooting mechanics, Andromeda seeks to make combat, and gameplay overall, a more fluid, visceral experience. I won't lie, I had my struggles. After trudging through the first engagements with the grace of a lanky teenager who hadn't quite mastered the use of their own limbs, it is finally clicking with me. A few hours of multiplayer with my friends later, I understand the new engine and its intricacies a bit more, and in a game as big as Andromeda, a little goes a long way.

...in a game as big as Andromeda, a little goes a long way.

Combat is just as pulse pounding as previous installments, without a doubt. But the lack of snap cover made the transition a bit harrowing. The first hour of play I died about as much as college girls (or me, if I'm honest) visit Starbucks. And while I repeatedly tried to do what I did years ago, Andromeda was liberal in serving size of punishment. Andromeda is unforgiving, both as a game and a galaxy. The enemies are smart. The Kett, the game's new primary antagonists, are unrelenting. Grunts are accurate, elites are smart, and shielded tanks walk right at you. Perhaps a testament to their implementation of a new cover system, hunkering down and fighting off waves of enemies just will not cut it.

As I said, I have only put in about six hours yet, but as soon as the scale and purpose of Andromeda made itself known, I was hooked. World exploration is interesting enough to make me drive away from my objectives hoping to discover new locations and missions. But it was calling in the first settlement that really locked it in. Mass Effect: Andromeda is about finding a new home for the human race. Establishing that first settlement, and the steps that led up to getting there, restored a feeling of wonder that I hadn't felt in Mass Effect since the first installment.

Caleb Sawyer