It would be silly to think that with a brand new series of Mass Effect there wouldn’t be significant changes to a formula that mostly worked in the past. Following on from the trailer earlier this week, Game Informer has started pumping out their exclusive coverage of the space faring RPG, detailing a host of changes that BioWare has baked in. Many rework traditional systems from the ground up.
Classes, for example, are getting the boot. Previously you were locked out of specific upgrades and branches from the get go, but Andromeda isn’t going to be taking that approach. Instead, you’ll have the full upgrade tree open to you, allowing you to craft your Pathfinder with a variety of attributes from different trees. You’re still going to get a class name for focusing on a specific one, but it’s not set before you’ve even tasted it now.
Cover-based shooting is still going to be a large focus of the gameplay, but even that has been tweaked significantly. Cover is dynamic instead of static (think The Last of Us), while pausing the fights will no longer allow you to issue commands to your party. You can still stack those commands in real-time, but BioWare seem to want players to experiment with abilities as the action is happening. Game Informer also noted that areas feel less like corridor shooting galleries, which is a nice improvement.
The other major facet of Mass Effect from years past that is getting a change is Morality. Like many other aged RPGs, Andromeda is getting rid of its positive and negative systems (Paragon and Renegade), and instead replacing it with a system that is more morally ambiguous. That means conversations will now be split into four different areas of response, much like Dragon Age: Inquisition. I can’t say I’m sad to see the system go either – with previous titles encouraging you to go all in on one side rather than actually role-play.
There’s a host of other smaller changes that Game Informer have managed to suss out in their lengthy piece (summarized nicely in this also lengthy NeoGAF post), and I’m a little more excited for Andromeda now. But perhaps that’s because Monday’s trailer really didn’t sell what this new voyage was really about.