I had a chance to go hands-on with Andromeda and have mixed feelings thus far: the game’s far too big to really get a grasp on how some of its more significant changes have influenced the experience.
Mass Effect fans have been clamouring for any and all information about Andromeda, and there’s been quite a bit of focus and intrigue surrounding the game’s squad system.
Let’s get the negative out of the way: there is no powers wheel in Mass Effect Andromeda. This means you won’t be able to command squadmates to use their abilities.
BioWare kind of touched up this in my interview with them, although I hadn’t played much of the game before the interview, so a lot of our discussion had to do with class systems and how the studio simply wanted to make a faster, more streamlined, flexible, and free experience for the player. I can see how that philosophy was applied to the squad system, too.
There are six new squadmates in Andromeda, and combining the game’s complex new relationship system and dialogue wheel, it can be quite the challenge to establish trust with one while managing hostility with another.
The action in Mass Effect Andromeda can get fast and frantic, and the combat is slick and fast. Squad AI thankfully seems competent enough, with my initial squadmates — humans Liam and Cora — working well using their powers at will and promptly listening to my directives.
Lacking a powers wheel, it took me a while to really come to terms with the different ways to control and dictate the terms of conflict. I can’t say that it doesn’t work, but it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves and expands the further into the experience you get.
Mass Effect Andromeda launches March 21 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.