The first Mass Effect trilogy is often noted as the Star Wars of videogames (original, not the prequels), and it isn’t hard to see why. The games featured a truly compelling story, companions who felt real and authentic, and some of the most tense and heart-breaking scenes ever featured in a videogame. It’s easy to see why Bioware have been acclaimed for producing some of the best RPG’s of all time. With the release of Mass Effect Andromeda just around the corner, here is a list of features I hope will be included in this highly-anticipated release.
1) An Epic Story
Bioware is known for creating a huge overarching story in their videogames – just look at the Dragon Age franchise for an example. But it was the Mass Effect series that truly took the videogame world by storm. Playing the role of Commander Shepard, you would travel across a huge galaxy to thwart the plan of some of videogames most notorious villains – the Reapers: a technological advanced race which seek to wipe out all life in the galaxy every 50,000 years… Sounds cheery. From playing the games, you could feel the intensity these games created, and the stakes had never been higher in a videogame. Despite the controversial ending which many felt was underwhelming to say the least, the Mass Effect trilogy proved that playing a videogame was about enjoying the journey and not just the destination – and what a journey it was. We already know some details revolving around Andromeda’s plot: the game takes place over 600 years after Mass Effect 3, and features an entire new galaxy to explore (hence the name Andromeda). Although most parts of the story are still unknown, here’s hoping Bioware creates a game where the plot rivals that of its predecessors.
2) Interesting Companions
The Mass Effect series has produced some of the most memorable characters we’ve seen in videogames – from eccentric scientist Mordin Solus, to the best alien bro in the galaxy, Garrus Vakarian. The three games allowed us to have special moments and bond with these characters, and we learnt a whole lot about who they are and their backgrounds. The moments I spent with each companion in every game felt poignant, and fighting alongside them in missions felt like fighting alongside my best friends – and I probably know more about these characters than I do my own family. We have already had a glimpse of our companions in Andromeda: we’ve seen Peebee – a character who isn’t your typical Asari, but in fact she seems quite the opposite; and Drack, who seems to be your typical Krogan – wreaking havoc and thumping his chest, and he’s described as a veteran. It may be hard for these new squad mates to even hold a candle to those who came before them, but here’s hoping Bioware manages to pull this off.
3) Meaningful Choices
One of the main staples regarding any Mass Effect game are the choices we got to make. Although some choices we made as Shepard had significance, for example choosing either Ashley or Kaiden during Virmire, others really seemed completely irrelevant – I’m referring to the ending of course, which basically just felt like choosing your favourite colour instead of an actual ending where previous choices mattered. Yet despite this, nearly all choices we made in the previous instalments seemed to have some payoff. I remember allowing the rachni queen to live in Mass Effect 1, which resulted in her being a powerful ally in Mass Effect 3. I was amazed how a choice I made had purpose. With Andromeda, I’m hoping the stakes are higher than ever before, and some choices will hopefully require some serious thought into what decision to make, instead of the old boring binary choices. Maybe a similar choice to the Ashley and Kaiden scenario? Or something entirely different.
4) An Actual Working Vehicle
Yes, I know that Bioware have persistently stated that the Nomad is not the same as the Mako, but c’mon who are they fooling – it’s basically the Mako 2.0 – and if it is anything like the Mako from Mass Effect 1, then I will be sorely disappointed. I despised it; it could hardly traverse any open terrain, despite being labelled “versatile”, and don’t get me started on its use in combat. Fortunately, the Nomad does seem a lot better than its predecessor, with much more fluid navigation and faster travel speeds. It is set to make travelling easier and more accessible, and I’m always open to customization. As an avid Mass Effect, I can easily say I am ready to drive this vehicle into the horizon – or whatever it is these planets have.
5) Throwbacks and Easter Eggs
It would be such a huge shame if Mass Effect: Andromeda was an entirely clean state, and didn’t feature at least one call back to an event or character that occurred in a previous instalment. I’m aware that this product is Bioware completely moving away from the events of the original, but it would be hard to not hear at least one mention of my blue babe Liara. However, I am also aware that great storytelling requires moving away from something everybody loves, and starting fresh with a brand-new story and characters to focus on. Everyone who has played the Citadel dlc knowns that Bioware is astounding at fan service, so here’s hoping we get something where the quality is on par with that – even if it is just a small nod to those who came before it.
I think it’s safe to say that Bioware knowns what they’re doing in relation to Andromeda. They have been working on this for nearly 5 years now, so they have had plenty of time to create something truly spectacular. But let’s not hype this game up too much, as the release date is just around the corner. I for one am excited to get my hands on a brand-new game related to one of my favourite franchises – and regardless of whether it’s good or bad, I’ll be pleased just to finally play it… except if it’s bad; Bioware please don’t let that happen.