Mass Effect: Andromeda is a fun and gorgeous new beginning for BioWare's beloved sci-fi role-playing series, but the it can also be overwhelming. With its vastly upgraded combat system, massive open worlds and intricate crafting system, Andromeda gives you a dizzying amount of stuff to wrap your head around as you attempt to settle down in a brand new galaxy.
Fortunately, we've spent an inordinate amount of time exploring Andromeda for ourselves, and we're ready to help. From combat and multiplayer basics to falling in love with your fellow crewmembers, here are 14 tips for making the most out of your time with Mass Effect: Andromeda on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
While there are some exceptions, you should generally always seek cover in combat if you don't want to get ripped apart fast. The game's new cover system works automatically, meaning all you need to do to is walk up to whatever object you want to hide behind.
You can swap the game's camera left to right by clicking the right analog stick on your controller or pressing U on your keyboard, which is crucial to getting a better vantage point while in cover. Pro tip: Your Nomad vehicle makes a fine piece of cover, so be sure to park it strategically before hopping out to kill bad guys in the game's many open worlds.
Andromeda switches up Mass Effect's gameplay by giving your character a "jump jet," which allows you to jump high up, float in the air and quickly dash to evade attacks. Mastering and combining these new moves is key.
For example, to cover more ground, you can dash while jumping, or you can make shorter, more precise jumps by tapping the jump button instead of holding it. Holding the aim button while in midair will let you hover and take out enemies while under cover, but be careful not to expose yourself up high for too long. Finally, don't forget that you can use the melee button while in midair, which results in a delightfully satisfying ground pound.
Andromeda lets you freely unlock and equip a ton of combat, tech and Jedi-like biotic abilities, many of which can be combined to devastating effects. For example, using biotic power Pull to drag an enemy out of cover and following up with Throw to knock your foe out of the sky is a classic power combo. There are plenty of even more devastating, and fun, combinations that you can create as you gain more skills.
Investing in skills will eventually unlock Profiles, which give boosts to your combat, biotic and tech abilities depending on which one you pick. Be sure to experiment often with different skill and profile loadouts to see what best suits your playstyle, whether you want to be an aggressive melee fighter, a biotic wizard or a tactical soldier.
The game doesn't do a good job telling you this, but once you've found a few Skill/Profile loadouts you like, you can save up to four of them for easy access mid-battle. To save your current loadout, open the Skills menu and hit the Favorites button to assign it to one of four slots. Then, when you're out fighting, you can open the weapon wheel and select Favorites to go from an acrobatic biotic warrior to a tech-heavy engineer with the press of a button.
Photo: Electronic Arts
Andromeda's research and development system is daunting, but you can use it to craft some pretty awesome weapons and gear pieces. You get research points mainly by scanning objects and corpses in the game's various worlds (so scan often!), and you can spend those points on blueprints for weapons, armor and other items. You'll need to accumulate a variety of materials to develop these blueprints into useable items, which is where the grind begins.
Selecting any main planet from your Galaxy Map will show what materials can be found on that world, and deconstructing unwanted items from your inventory will also yield materials. When you're out exploring on the Nomad, be on the lookout for resource-mining zones on your map. You can also get research points and development materials from Strike Team and Cryo Pod rewards, which we'll get to in a bit.
Talking to your crew on the Tempest in between missions is optional, but it's pretty much essential if you want the full Mass Effect experience. These discussions will unlock side quests, important loyalty missions and, if you play your cards right, steamy romance sequences — and is it really Mass Effect without intergalactic lovemaking? Perhaps most importantly, chatting with your crew adds lots of interesting backstory to the game's very likeable supporting cast.
When you first touch down on one of Andromeda's fully explorable planets, one of your first priorities should be establishing Forward Stations. These mini-bases let you reload, change weapons and squadmates, and call in the Nomad, but more importantly, they serve as fast-travel points. Once you have a lot of stations established, you can instantly travel across Andromeda's huge areas with the press of a button. This will come in handy once you find yourself needing to trek to the far reaches of a planet to finish a quest.
Bonus tip: want to leave a planet immediately while driving around in the Nomad? Just hold the Y or Triangle button.