Mass Effect: Andromeda is less than three weeks away, and BioWare is still filling in a few of the blanks regarding some of the newer features this new collection of games will offer. As the Pathfinder, your ultimate goal is to find a cluster of planets to ensure life beyond the Citadel continues, as you and your team wake up cryo-stasis trapped crew members and build your Helix on a path of colonisation. But some planets aren’t going to be as welcoming as you might expect.
Exploration is key in determining which clusters of rocks you can live on, and that means ensuring that life won’t be threatened on them. Climate, dangerous wildlife and terrain all factor into this, as do some of the locals who already call it home. As an example in the trailer below, a clan of Krogans will need to be appeased before they allow you to start building landing bays and docks on their ground, which means you need to venture off into the horizon solo before that can happen.
Thankfully you’ll have the Nomad, the “this is better than the Mako” all-terrain vehicle you’ll have access to early in the game. While being customisable and fast, the Nomad also allows you to reach parts of the map otherwise inaccessible. You’re able to call down supply pods too, which give you an in the field chance to stock up, change load outs and replenish environmental hazard protection stats, which keep you safe from extreme climates.
Being able to travel almost anywhere on both land and space will ultimately lead you to some secrets, many of which are encased in hulking monoliths from an ancient time. These small dungeons of sorts offer up challenges in terms of platforming, combat and puzzle solving. They look like the sorts of blips on your map that you rush towards first, if only to discover what sort of fancy loot they might hold for you and your crew.
These are the sorts of features that get me excited for Andromeda again, which has been feeling a little off for a while now after such a strong focus on faster, less controlled combat. It’s set to drop in a few days, so we’ll know for sure if this new Pathfinder story gets this new universe off to a good start.
Update: An earlier version of this story mistakenly referred to Andromeda as a new Pathfinder trilogy. Although BioWare hope to make new games in this universe, they are planning for Andromeda to be a contained tale. The text has been changed to reflect that.