You know what's strange? Mass Effect really hasn't been off the market that long, and yet it spans our entire understanding of the last generation of gaming. The entire Mass Effect 3 debacle only went down in 2012, and no more than three years later, right off the tail of Dragon Age Inquisition, we get the announcement of Mass Effect 4: Andromeda. That said, the games industry, both in terms of hardware and cultural sensibilities, has changed a lot. In that sense, will Mass Effect: Andromeda really fit in with the modern gaming landscape?
Mass Effect fans are likely in a state of two minds about Andromeda. Some would like the series to push on into the future, continuing to push the bar for western RPGs, while others would rather this game refine and perfect the formula so brilliantly laid out by the original trilogy. Let's take a look at some of the features that could make or break the series with Mass Effect: Andromeda!
A Smaller Story
One of the things Mass Effect 4 has going for it is the fact that it isn't looking to complete the Mass Effect story; but is rather looking to start a new one. The initial trilogy stumbled in making its scope absolutely huge, and failing to provide a satisfying conclusion. When trying to answer something as weighty as the Reaper crisis, you're kinda forced to boil it down to three colors.
Perhaps Andromeda would benefit from employing a story of lower stakes, rather than having to solve a universe-ending threat in one game. Don't think it can be done? Just look at the range of comics, novels and side quests that make good use of this format all the time!
Mass Effect romance options have always been strange. On one hand, they're some of the best examples of pathos and complex character building we've seen in AAA gaming, and on the other, the experience of playing them is sometimes no different to an anime dating sim. It all boils down to how you play them, I suppose. If you approach them naturally, with them simply happening within the game, some truly spontaneous and heart warming stories can emerge. It's when you start looking up the right answers to get you laid that it all becomes a little awkward, especially if you play as Male-Shep and hit exclusively on the more traditionally attractive female crew members.
Hopefully, by the time we reach Andromeda, the technology will have advanced enough to the point where games can nail the variability and spontaneity to actually reflect the feeling of a real burgeoning relationship. Until then, we may just be stuck with a dating sim in space!
Tangible RPG Elements
The Mass Effect trilogy notoriously streamlined its RPG elements as the series went on. Where the first game involved a complex series of stats and boosts that you could cater just right to your play style, the third game had a level up system that very nearly played itself, with most player choices becoming a case of killing things faster and looking good while you did it.
RPG implementation is a tricky thing, for the developer has to craft a complex meta-experience of stats and growth, while making the in-game elements seem tangible and relevant to a player's choices. Put simply, if I choose the phoenix armor, I want to benefit from it, not the game's decision to benefit me. If Mass Effect Andromeda can weave together the story and RPG elements that elegantly, we'll be in for a fantastic Bioware experience!
It was the little moments in the Mass Effect trilogy that really made it for me. Forget about being a Spectre, or discovering an ancient conspiracy. While all that is cool, it was the moments of landing on uncharted planets and discovering little tidbits that really brought home the sense of scope and depth of this universe. Unfortunately, these planets were few and far between, and many of them were pretty much barren, with barely a square mile to be explored.
Perhaps, after all this time, Mass Effect 4 will be able to give us a truly vibrant and interactive universe, full of things to discover in the far flung reaches of space. Hell, [No Man's Sky](tag:2684052) is doing it. Why not beat that to the punch, and give fans an authentic Star Trek experience?
For more on Mass Effect: Andromeda, click right here! What are your thoughts, hopes and fears for the game? Let us know with a post here on MoviePilot, by voting in our poll, or by leaving a comment below!