Half a decade after wrapping up the original trilogy, Mass Effect Andromeda is finally here. It’s also absolutely massive, with a ton of different RPG and combat mechanics that you’ll want to dive deep into in order to get the most out of BioWare’s latest sci-fi epic.
Here’s our guide for playing through the game’s huge main story, and its side content too:
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Companions
As a Mass Effect game, the relationships with your companions is important. Not only does it flesh out the experience into something more personal and intimate than it would otherwise be, but it also results in the most engrossing gameplay experience.
On your ship, the Tempest, teammates will bumble about doing their own thing. Alongside accompanying you on main missions, they’ll also be doing things on their own. By speaking to them regularly, and keeping in contact with them in person, on the Nexus, and via email, they’ll offer some of the most interesting quests in the game.
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By completing these missions, and regularly talking to your teammates, you’ll earn their loyalty. It isn’t as binary as in previous Mass Effect games, but it strengthens their resolve and commitment to the Andromeda initiative, and that’s what you want, right?
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Profiles
Andromeda does some really interesting things with classes. Rather than pick a predetermined class at the start of the game, essentially resigning you to one play style for the entire adventure, we now have Profiles.
Basically these are gameplay styles that you can switch between on the fly, providing different buffs and boosts depending on what you want to do. They even offer exclusive special abilities, which you should 100% experiment with.
The Explorer profile, for example, switches your jump-jet evade move into an amazing biotic power that lets you phase-shift through obstacles. It means you can push forward from cover, safe in the knowledge that you can phase back through cover if you become overwhelmed.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Abilities
Similarly, the open-ended approach to class means you have access to the game’s myriad abilities. Across three major tenets – Combat, Biotics and Tech – you’ll be able to spend points on each one to unlock special powers that are useful when exploring the world. Pouring these points into certain types of skills also opens up the new Profile options.
Gone in this edition of the game is the power wheel too. While you can assign three individual powers button shortcuts, you’ll likely end up forgetting that you have a ton of different options at your disposal.
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You can switch your assigned powers at any time, even while in combat. And make sure you do; it regularly got me out of a tightspot, and also opened my mind to some of the game’s most awesome abilities.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – How to use the Jump Jet
This sounds basic, but going from a relatively flat experience of previous Mass Effect games to Andromeda’s verticality takes some getting used to.
The jump jet operates on a quick cooldown, and can boost you onto rooftops, or on top of the Nomad, or onto ledges you couldn’t otherwise reach. It also lets you bolt across gaps in the landscape, across a desert ravine, for example.
There are several environmental puzzles in the game, for which you’ll obviously need to use the jetpack, but it’s the combat scenarios where it really comes into its own.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – The Nomad and Mining
Exploring the game’s many different planets, you’ll use the six-wheeled exocraft Nomad to get across the terrain. But it’s also a vital tool for research and development. As you explore planets and establish forward bases that you can use as fast travel points, you’ll also highlight key mining locations on the planet surfaces.
The Nomad’s mining computer will spark up an alert when you hit a particularly rich pocket of terrain. Simply find the peak on a little resource graph that pops up when you activate the mining capabilities, and then set up a mining drone. It will deliver you a hefty dose of minerals that you can use to create new weapons, armour and modifications, and also provide access to some of the game’s rarest and harder to acquire materials.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Scanning planets for resources
This one took us a while to realise, but you can actually do system-wide scans from the Tempest by holding down the left trigger. These are different to the planet view scans, where you can discover landing points or surface points of interest such as volcanoes or algae deposit. Instead, these scans let you identify satellites, wreckage and huge deposits of Element Zero.
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This proves useful for quick boosts of XP, and for your R&D efforts. Chunky asteroids will deliver you tons of resources that you can’t easily find on planets, and that Element Zero can only be found in space. What’s more, the percentage completion markers above most systems won’t ping to the satisfying 100% until you’ve discovered what lurks out in open space. Who knows, you might even find some quests...
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Memory Fragments
One of most intriguing ongoing quests in Andromeda is your search for memory fragments. We won’t spoil the specifics – since they’re to do with the game’s opening setup – but searching for these across the game’s many different planets is vital to uncovering the game’s backstory.
There are key points on the map that you’ll stumble across while exploring; keep an eye out for them, they’re just a shining point of light with which you can interact.
As you uncover more, you’ll progress through ranks with SAM (your built-in artificial intelligence) and every now and then you’ll receive access to an entirely new memory to watch. They’re both interesting and a great way of delving deeper into the Mass Effect lore. Perfect for fans. Just remember to keep an eye on your progression and head back to the Nexus every now and then.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – How to manage side quests
In a smart quest design decision, many of your more lengthy quests in Andromeda will go through periods of inactivity at certain key points. This is cool since it encourages you to pace yourself through some of the game’s best activities, but it also means you should regularly check your journal for updates.
It’s possible to fail certain parts of quests – for example, a quest with your Turian squad mate, the awesome Vetra, went on hold for ages. I received an update at one point, a quick audio cue, to tell me to check my email for the quest, but I didn’t.
I ended up failing that part of the quest, but it seemed to be only a minor failure that didn’t mess anything up. It’s best to check regularly so you don’t miss anything really cool.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – How to quickly escape planets
Thirty hours into the game I realised you can extract directly from a planet’s surface to the Tempest. To do this, just hop into the Nomad and hold Y (or Triangle on PS4) and you’ll be beamed straight to the Tempest’s bridge.
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This is super-useful, and speeds up the process of swapping between planets, your ship and the Nexus. Navigation isn’t much of an issue to start, but dozens of hours into the game you’ll want to speed things up; the game’s galaxy map is painfully slow to transition between different places, and fast travelling from open space back to the Tempest just adds unnecessary steps to that process.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Research and development
Research and development in Andromeda is a little unwieldy, but you’ll soon get the hang of how it works. By scanning data and completing activities, you’ll earn data in three fields, which can be used to research new weapons, armour and modifications. By scanning planets and scavenging for loot, you’ll amass a ton of different materials and minerals that can be used to create them for your inventory.
You’ll find a load of different weapons, armour and mods simply by exploring and scavenging from containers and dead enemies, but some of the best options can be made. Our tip here would be to steer clear of making all the items you like the look of.
Instead, choose only a few items you think you’ll like and invest in the upgraded versions of them. This costs points, which are pretty valuable, so you don’t want an arsenal of stuff that you’re not going to use or find that your favourite weapons are underpowered.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Using the Nomad in combat
As well as a perfect traversal tool, the Nomad is the ideal portable cover. You’ll run into a lot of enemies as you explore different planets, most of them confined to individual pockets – around an ancient piece of Remnant technology, or a raider outpost – and the Nomad is the best thing to hide behind as you take the battle to the enemy.
The game’s sticky cover means that you can quickly dart in and out of safety, jump-jetting your way across the environment, shooting off a couple of biotic shots or quick sniper fire, before whizzing back behind the Nomad.
Be careful, though: you’ll find that some enemies can quickly show up behind you and are capable of taking you down fairly quickly if you’re not fully aware of your surroundings.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Selling salvage
A ton of the stuff you’ll find while out exploring the world has no real value to you in terms of consumables or research. You can, however, make good use of it by selling it for credits.
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Just head to any merchant and you’ll see a “sell all salvage” option by pressing X (or square) – and voila! You’ve essentially just earned yourself a ton of money for playing the game, and you don’t have to rifle through your inventory individually selecting salvage to shift.
Mass Effect Andromeda Guide – Weapon loadout and weight
You can carry up to four weapons at any time, plus a melee weapon. You’ll unlock these holsters as you go, but doing so increases the weight of your character. This isn’t a huge issue, and it isn’t like Ryder ends up overloaded, but it does have an effect on your cooldowns.
If you favour biotic powers, which you may well do seeing as they’re so damn cool, you’ll want to balance your standard weaponry with your biotics. There’s no point being a spell-slinging Pathfinder if it takes an age for your powers to recharge.
Got any top Andromeda tips? Let us know in the comments below.