I’m beginning to think I’m being a little hard on Mass Effect Andromeda. I was terribly disappointed with the reveal trailer and very underwhemled by what was shown of its gameplay. But none of the footage that’s been revealed so far has done much to change my feelings of equal parts gleeful anticipation and naked terror towards it.
There’s just too much focus on combat and not enough focus on what makes a Bioware game a really great RPG. Have you seen the Mass Effect 2 launch trailer? You should. The background score was incredible, the sense of mystery almost palpable, and it made me tingly in all sorts of interesting places. Even the trailers for Dragon Age Inquisition were fantastic because they communicated so much about the richness the world had to offer.
That’s not to say the new bits of footage are all bad – the opening is beautiful. Space, an asteroid field, and the Tempest weaving through them. A rocky, barren, hostile-looking planet and the Pathfinder standing on an outcropping looking at one of the most unforgiving vistas to ever grace a Mass Effect game.
That is all very promising stuff. That is exactly what a Mass Effect trailer about exploring a new galaxy should be showing off. That was the official communication put out about the CES reveal, after all – new gameplay, new environments.
But after the shot of the planet and our Pathfinder, invariably, the trailer devolved into, ‘oh, let’s shoot all of the things.’ Yes, Mass Effect is an action RPG. Yes, shooting all of the things is a big part of the game but … sigh. The original Mass Effect trilogy was so much more than guns and armour. And I wish Bioware would let me see more of that side of Andromeda.
Other good things in the trailer include a glimpse of the character progression system. All classes and abilities seem to be available at all times – something RPS and Eurogamer talked about a while ago. You can not only choose abilities from any class, allowing for a genuinely customizable playstyle, but also respec at different points during the game.
If nothing else, I’m looking forward to being able to play some unholy hybrid of Engineer and Biotic God.
For the record, I’m going to buy and play the game. It’s a Bioware production and I have great faith in the studio and their ability to tell wonderful, compelling, satisfying stories. But with each new soulless, look-at-all-the-splosions trailer that they put out for Andromeda, I find my faith dwindling just a little bit.
Here’s their latest, from CES.