The first installment of the “Official Gameplay Series” for Mass Effect Andromeda has been released, and this one talks about the combat that we’ll see in the game. Over the years, some people have felt that Mass Effect games didn’t prioritize combat, that it was lacking in its implementation. BioWare must have taken this to heart, as the combat in Andromeda looks to be fast-paced, engaging, and full of depth. According to the video, it appears they’ve broken it down into a few different parts:
Movement – Andromeda is aiming for combat that is thrilling, explosive, tactical, and fluid. As far as movement is concerned, it has a dynamic cover system, jump jets that allow you to rapidly dodge, hover, and jump, and skills that allow you to teleport and dash. A comprehensive movement system is key in allowing players to exercise creativity when deciding how to approach combat situations. Giving them the freedom to move precisely where they need to be means that you won’t find many scenarios where a plan fails due to inability to move properly. This has strong implications for the replayability or staying power of Andromeda, as you will be able to implement entirely different playstyles as you try out different combinations of weapons and skills or perhaps as you play through the game a second time.
Weapons – There are five weapon categories in Andromeda: pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and melee weapons. In a nod to customizing your character to your playstyle, there are no class restrictions for who can use the different weapon types. Guns are divided into three different sub-types that create some diversity in their mechanics. The first category, Milky Way weapons, are projectile based weapons that use ammunition. They’re most effective against non-shielded targets. Remnant weapons are primarily accurate beam weapons that utilize an overheat mechanic rather than ammunition. And finally, Helios weapons are typically plasma-based heat-seeking weapons, but they’re slower. Some of them can also charge up to increase the power of their shots. Combining the different weapon types and technological backgrounds should yield a large variety of interesting weapons. And it looks like they’ve given a lot of attention to diversifying the melee weapons too. So far we’ve been told about swords, hammers, and shivs, each with different capabilities and characteristics.
Skills – Putting points into different skills and abilities will inform the way that your character plays on a very fundamental level. If you’re interested in focusing on weapons and gear, as well as things that will generally make you a better combatant, you’ll want to focus on Combat skills. Tech skills seem to be more about utility, with a fairly neutral balance between offense and defense. These skills will make it easier to take out targets by lowering their defense, raising your damage, or allowing you to do more damage to specific things, like shields for example. The third and final skill category is called Biotics. If this were a fantasy universe, this would be the closest thing to “magic”. These skills are focused on manipulating gravity to push and pull objects (or people), not unlike a Jedi. There are also some that do damage as well. All of the skills, regardless of category, can be upgraded and provide different upgrade options along the way. I’m not seeing a lot of skills that are groundbreaking or unique, or anything of that nature, but it does look like it will be a competent set of skills.
BioWare have obviously put a lot of thought and a lot of effort into the combat for Andromeda, and it looks very promising. If it lives up to the hype, and we get the same level of storytelling found in previous Mass Effect games, this could be a very compelling title. Mass Effect Andromeda launches in almost exactly one month on March 21.