Mass Effect: Andromeda ditches squad commands, static cover system

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Mass Effect Andromeda has some combat changes 2

Update: As pointed out in the comments below, players will still have the ability to command squad members around the battlefield and set them up for automatically chained attacks. The story has been updated to reflect that.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a few weeks out and previews have started dropping following an exclusive hands-on session media got invited to last week. The event gave outlets the chance to get their hands on the anticipated RPG for the first time. It confirmed a few features – such as the slightly tweaked dialogue system that doesn’t use Renegade and Paragon anymore – but also revealed some features that BioWare have failed to detail. Like big changes to combat, for example.

According to multiple outlets who got their hands on Andromeda, some of the series’ staple combat has fundamentally changed with the transition over to Frostbite from the Unreal Engine. Cover, for example is no longer static. Unlike previous titles where you’d snap into cover with the push of a button, Andromeda instead uses an adaptive system. That means your Ryder of choice will automatically take cover behind obstacles the game deems appropriate, while exiting when you move away from it.

That’s present in many other games already, but it’s a change for Mass Effect. And a change that is definitely subjectively good or bad based on your preference.

Andromeda differs even more in the way that Ryder has control over his squad mates. In previous entries Shepard could bring up a radial wheel and issues commands to two companions in the field. This included attack a specific enemy, taking cover or using a particular ability. In Andromeda, that wheel, and by extension the options to issues direct ability commands, simply don’t exist. In short, Ryder has limited control over his or her team members, aside from managing their inventory and commanding them around the battlefield (which tie into some special moves).

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According to Eurogamer:

“One big negative, however, is the removal of the powers wheel, and with it the ability to command squadmates to use specific abilities.”

Those are some big changes which BioWare excluded from its combat overview last week, and it makes me wonder what else they’ve changed in this new dawn for the franchise. They’re not inherently negative changes though, but it does seems like Andromeda is leaning heavily into a more third-person shooter focus if these changes alone are looked at.

Last Updated: February 24, 2017

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff's a bastard.

  • Umar

    “Ryder has limited to no controller over his or her team members”

    Sigh………..Making this even more of a shooter now.

    • Matthew Holliday

      Curious to see how teamwork with the AI is affected.
      Maybe its better with the improved AI, maybe its worse.

      It is a little strange though, theres always been some carry over between dragon age and mass effect in terms of game mechanics. Dragon age you could switch between characters, and mass effect had the power wheel.

    • Captain JJ

      Yea. I agree. Should’ve known they were just going to dumb it down ever more.

  • Matthew Holliday

    A month, Mass Effect is out in a month.
    This is going to be a tough month.

    • chimera_85

      I bought the game on CDkeys in December already haha so I have it but waiting for launch. Plus I am an Origin Access member so can play it on 13 March 😀

  • Captain JJ

    No Squad commands. Damn. That sucks.

    • Ir0nseraph

      It not like you have no control over your squad.
      Squad-mates can be ordered to various areas of the battlefield and given orders to defend, attack or rally. The player can also team up with them to use power combos which activate when a squad member to the player primes one or a group of enemies. This sets up the kill, allowing the player or a squad member to “detonate and finish the job

      I think this will work nicely.

      • Captain JJ

        Well, I’m not buying it on release (or any time soon), so I’ll see how it turns out.
        But Since ME:1 it seems like they’ve been simplifying everything.

        • HairyEwok

          I’m still questioning if this game is worth the R1000 price tag.

          • Captain JJ

            On PC. No way. EA is crazy for trying to sell a game at that price on Origin. If it was a special edition or something then maybe, but a base game for that price doesn’t even pop up on my list to consider.

          • HairyEwok

            Yup R1000 for the base and R1049 for the Deluxe. Then there’s this Super Deluxe Edition for R1399.
            Do not ask me what the difference is between the base, deluxe and super deluxe, seeing the prices made me just scroll right on past it all.

          • Captain JJ

            If the game wasn’t solely on Origin I’m sure you could’ve gotten it cheaper elsewhere, but EA likes to control the price very tightly like that.

          • HairyEwok

            Well there are those 3rd party stores, you know *whispers* G2A and Kinguin.

          • Captain JJ

            Hehe. I’ve actually used G2A quite a few times. Never had problems. They’ve really improved over the years. Still, I think I’d rather wait and see how this turns out…..also, I must admit: I haven’t played ME:3 yet.

          • HairyEwok

            I’d pay G2As price on Andromeda R634, but sadly It’ll be frowned upon if I purchased the game through them.

          • Captain JJ

            Wow. That’s actually a really good price. I would absolutely buy that if I wanted the game badly. Rather that than spend all that extra craziness Randelas they have on the Origin store just for a lekker increased margin in their pockets.

          • Original Heretic

            Super Deluxe comes with a cape.

          • Captain JJ

            XD

          • HairyEwok

            Digital Cape with extra whoosh sound to make it more awesome.

          • Original Heretic

            And maybe two guys wearing green suits.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c1d949e34cce52c690dc8dbaaa28cffaac255b78560014e533a70782242b1065.jpg

            Become a puppeteer they said, it’ll be fun, they said.

  • HairyEwok

    What can we say, AI have become quite smart over the years. I mean just look at this amazing AI.
    http://i.makeagif.com/media/2-24-2017/lt3wSK.gif

  • Dresden

    A shame about the power wheel, really.
    People have to keep in mind that this is an entirely new title and with that comes change. If it had kept the old combat system, there would surely be people complaining about that as well (not that I would though).

  • konfab

    Lies, Damn Lies and Critical Hit :p

    https://youtu.be/d3q_Nd5arZM?t=208
    https://www.vg247.com/2017/02/23/mass-effect-andromeda-video-shows-how-to-create-profiles-slot-favorites-and-command-your-squad/

    Squad-mates can be ordered to various areas of the battlefield and given orders to defend, attack or rally. The player can also team up with them to use power combos which activate when a squad member to the player primes one or a group of enemies. This sets up the kill, allowing the player or a squad member to “detonate and finish the job.”

    I think they have just made it a little bit more intelligent.

    • Ir0nseraph

      It does look like they wanted to make combat more fluid and faster, I like this direction but they needed to make a total mess of the game anyway for me not to get it 🙂

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      So you can at least order them around the place, but still can’t micromanage their skills. Thanks for this, updated (not sure why hands-on previews make it sound like this isn’t in there at all)

      • konfab

        Probably because the people doing the preview were the type of person who likes to show off their l33t micro skillz

        • Alessandro Barbosa

          I think the “oh there’s no more command wheel” gets lost in translation. Still like that you at least get to move your friends around, but I’d personally like a little more control over what they do. The automatic combo system looks interesting to test out though.

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    COMES TO ME !!!

  • chimera_85

    And now we are also getting BOOOOOBIIIIIES 😀

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