Mass Effect: Andromeda was released on 21 March in the US and 23 March in the UK. It's out on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
How much does it cost?
How can I play the free trial?
If you're unsure whether Mass Effect: Andromeda is for you, you'll be happy to find out that BioWare has announced that the 10-hour free trial available prior to the game's March release has made a comeback for all platforms.
The trial gives potential customers ten hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda game time across single- and multiplayer game modes, providing a decent overview of the game. And, if after the 10 hours of gameplay, you decide to buy the game, your progression will be transferred to the full game. What's not to like?
Those interested in taking a look at the Mass Effect: Andromeda trial should head over to the Mass Effect website and apply.
Thanks to the game's slightly lacklustre sales and critical response, Mass Effect: Andromeda won't have any single-player DLC - despite initial plans - though it will have multiplayer updates.
"Our last update, 1.10, was the final update for Mass Effect: Andromeda. There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content," BioWare announced in August 2017, before going on to add that there would still be new missions, character kits, and N7 Day content for the game's online multiplayer.
Meanwhile the game's story will continue to expand through the tie-in novels and comics, so that's where to go if you're desperate for more from the Andromeda galaxy.
Will BioWare fix the in-game facial animations?
While Mass Effect: Andromeda is a great game, there is one area where it falls on its face: facial animations. Even before Andromeda was released in March, there were signs that the facial animations were a bit... questionable.
During a gameplay video released months before launch, protagonist Sarah Ryder pulled a few interesting faces during a conversation with squadmates. BioWare said at the time that facial animations were important to the game, and that it'd be fixed before launch.
However, as we all know, it wasn't. The game is full of awkward facial expressions, walking glitches and a other issues that make the game feel a little unpolished. Although BioWare initially stayed quiet on the issue, BioWare manager Aaryn Flynn has penned a blog post talking about the feedback that gamers have provided, and what the company plans on doing about it.
In short, bugs will be fixed - in time. Flynn noted that the company is releasing an update to the game that fixes a number of bugs and improvements requested by fans, including the ability to skip ahead when traveling between planets, extended inventory limits, better eyes for human characters and more. The update should include preliminary improvements to the facial animations, although deeper improvements should be roll out by the end of May 2017.
What's new in Andromeda?
There's a lot in Mass Effect: Andromeda that's carried on from the original trilogy, but there's just as much that's new.
Characters & story
The protagonist is once again human, and you play as either of the Ryder siblings, who becoming a Pathfinder, tasked with leading the way in exploring the new Andromeda galaxy to find habitable planets.
As with the earlier games, you also have a new team of adventurers to "work with, learn from, fight alongside of, and fall in love with." You can meet a few of them in one of BioWare's briefing videos. It's a good look at the default models of the Ryder siblings, along with some of their crewmates:
Andromeda is a new galaxy which you'll be able to explore while piloting the new and improved Mako (see below). It looks like you'll be able to jump between planets at the touch of a button. The game will take place in the Heleus Cluster, a group of hundreds of star which is four times the size of Mass Effect 3's galaxy map.
You can see more of that exploration in action in BioWare's Exploration & Discovery video, which among other things shows off the fact that there are over 100 planets - though only "a handful of beautifully crafted worlds" are explorable, with unique characters, side quests, and missions.
Mass Effect: Andromeda also sees the return of the Mako, a six-wheeled vehicle used in the first Mass Effect game, now called the Nomad. The good news is that it's being tuned to be speedier, thanks in part to input and fine-tuning from a dev team who worked on the Need for Speed games.
You can see it in more detail, along with new ship the Tempest, in another Andromeda Initiative video. Along with showing off the Nomad's boost, jumps, and customization, it explores the various rooms of the Tempest, including the new bridge and the player character's private quarters.
The game's combat system is one of the areas given the biggest revamp for Andromeda, making it faster and more dynamic, not least through a new cover system that sees you automatically take cover whenever you go close to an appropriate barrier.
There are no class restrictions on either weapons or skills, allowing you to build your character however you'd like. You can also create different combos of powers, and quickly switch between those sets on the fly for the most possible combat flexibility. This can be done using hotkeys or a radial menu on console.
There's also no level cap, meaning that it is in theory possible to max out your character with every single skill - though you'd likely need to roll a New Game + in order to do so.
One of the big new features added to Mass Effect: Andromeda is weapon crafting. Not only can you craft and customise weapons and armour, but you can also name them, and for the first time the single-player campaign includes melee weapons beyond the 'omni-tool' from the original trilogy.
There are a couple of multiplayer options in Mass Effect: Andromeda. The standard multiplayer bands four players together with the aim of surviving wave-based combat with varying objectives. You’ll have to take our targets, protect NPCs and survive an all-out assault before you can be extracted.
There are also Strike Team missions. These offer the same sort of cooperative combat, but are typically harder, and with good reason: they offer rewards and upgrades not only for your multiplayer character, but also for the main single-player campaign.
What are the PC requirements?
Below are the recommended requirements for 1080p gameplay on PC, as provided by Nvidia - if you want to run the game in Ultra HD then the firm says you should opt for a GTX 1070, 1080 or 1080 Ti.
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD FX 8350
- GPU: GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, or GeForce GTX 970
- RAM: 16GB
- OS: Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (64-bit versions)
- HDD: 55GB free space
- DirectX: Version 11
The trailer below was originally shown during the EA Play press conference on 12 June 2016. It looks gorgeous, but didn't give away too much in terms of actual gameplay.
Then, in November 2016, BioWare finally unveiled the official Mass Effect: Andromeda cinematic reveal and *spoiler alert* there are some pretty big aliens involved.
In December we were treated to new gameplay footage at The Game Awards, shown below.
CES 2017 brought with it yet more footage, in the form of a two-minute video highlighting the game's combat customisation options and showing off the Tempest, Andromeda's equivalent to the Normandy, your ship in the original trilogy.
BioWare has also released another cinematic trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda. The trailer gives us a look at Kett Archon, and a better understanding of just how volatile and dangerous space exploration can be. The trailer can be seen below:
The final trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda came just a couple of weeks before launch, and teases a bit more of the game's plot, highlighting just how dire things have gotten in the Andromeda galaxy:
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