WHAT UP INTERNET?!
NoScope and I just returned from the 2017 incarnation of PAX East and the crème de la crème of the entire convention was getting to play one round of the cooperative multiplayer experience the title will contain. If you’ve spent any time with the multiplayer component of its predecessor Mass Effect 3, the objectives and character classes were instantly recognizable, albeit with some slight modifications. If you’re like your TruBro and spent countless hours exploring the galaxy in all three Mass Effect titles before this, this one precious 20 minute experience contained a wealth of information and new experiences to breakdown, so let’s jump right in!
Character movement is greatly enhanced with the addition of a biotic-aided jump and quick rocket boost for evasive maneuvers a la Halo 5. Striking another similarity to Halo 5, if your character jumps and does not clear a particular ledge, provided they are close enough they will automatically latch onto and climb up to reach the higher point. The added layer of verticality makes both map navigation and exploration a breeze, and not the drudge traversing larger maps in Mass Effect 3 could become if a new enemy wave spawned on the opposite side of the map. Additionally, being able to quickly boost away from/towards a group of enemies is not only an invaluable tactical maneuver, but it also adds a quick jolt of agility to keep the game from feeling too slow. My only gripe with Mass Effect 3 is occasionally the action felt a bit dragged, however this is absolutely no longer the case. The gameplay is immediately recognizable and familiar, but the entire experience feels sped up just a smidge, which is a welcome change in this humble Bro’s opinion. BONUS: YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO PRESS A BUTTON TO GET INTO COVER. Your character simply pops into cover when they’re in proximity to an object and although it took a moment to get accustomed to, it made the entire combat experience feel more seamless and organic.
I was slotted to play as a Soldier which is completely at odds with my predilections. Despite the unique arsenal contained in Mass Effect 3, the Soldier always felt slightly underpowered to me due to the sheer force of biotic/tech powers such as Warp, Singularity, or Overload. However, my Soldier was equipped with a grenade launcher which absolutely tore through the opposition. Additionally, the powers (the frag grenade and I BELIEVE concussive shot) absolutely shredded through the opposition, in a manner which felt tank-y but not overpowered. While my biotic-fueled compatriots were securing objectives or zones, I was able to provide robust cover-fire and actually felt as if the weapons I was carting around made my character both useful and competitive.
NoScope played as a human Vanguard and although she didn’t feel as if her assault rifle was particularly strong, her biotic charge and shockwave were great for both creating and closing space between enemies and causing significant damage. I’d surmise the power discrepancy between (basic, unless we were using upgraded weapons) weapons and powers present in Mass Effect 3 has been diminished, meaning players who prefer to wield weapons as opposed to powers will immediately feel as if they’re contributing to the war effort.
Overall, the multiplayer component of Mass Effect Andromeda was exactly what I’d hoped for-immediately familiar but not merely a carbon copy of its predecessor. The weapons felt distinct, the powers felt recognizable yet not recycled and the fundamental changes to character movement made the entire experience feel both familiar and new. I for one cannot wait to see the myriad of enemies and customization options offered up by both the single and multiplayer components of the title. Needless to say, when Andromeda drops it will be the only title I’m streaming.
Until next time, Bros!