Meet Ryder

WARNING – This post contains spoilers for Mass Effect: Andromeda. Check out the Mass Effect website for more information on the game.

Well, my total playtime yesterday ended up being 28 minutes, because it took about 3 1/2 hours for the game to update. I hit a wall at 1.30AM, which is probably just as well because it means I got 5 hours sleep and can actually function today.

Of course I wanted to customise my own Ryder, and I was amused to see that, despite the move to the Frostbite engine, the haircuts remain terrible. I picked one of the preset heads, but the game didn’t seem to want to let me customise further. I assumed that was one of the things locked for the trial and moved on. Off the back of the time I did play, the only thing that really grates is her immovable helmet-hair :/

Is that the official Pathfinder pose? Looks uncomfortable.
Class is now Training, and the training backgrounds have new names. A brief look at the descriptions shows that these are broadly the same skills (Biotic corresponds to Adept). I’m guessing, given the word is that there is more flexibility in the skill paths in Andromeda, that the idea is to shake up any preconceived notions for those of us who played the previous games. I chose Scrapper (analogous to Vanguard judging by the Charge skill) as I want a feel for how the combat works before I try anything more overtly tactical. 

Next up was an option to customise your twin (that answers that question). Customisation of the preset head models was an option here, so it’s possible I skipped through character creation for Ryder too quickly. I think I’ve managed to make them look like they’re related (I forgot to grab a screenshot), but I guess we’ll see when they meet in-game.

The only other decision to make was a name. I had a list of possibilities lined up, but none of them suited my Ryder. I settled on Esme – I’ve been reading a lot of Terry Pratchett lately. Since I couldn’t see an option to change the twin’s name (surely it’s there somewhere?), there was also the advantage that it works with ‘Scott’.

I’ll report on the prologue in my next ME:A post, but I want do want to mention a couple more things:

First, a quick note on the difficulty levels. They’ve kept the ‘story-only’ option introduced in ME3, but added in a Casual level too. I’m not sure if that means they made Narrative mode easier, or Normal harder. I’m sure I’ll find out pretty quickly. There are now 2 higher difficulty levels instead of a ‘story-lite/combat-heavy’ level like in ME3, so I guess the feedback on that wasn’t too positive. 

What no sarcasm button?

Regarding the dialogue wheel, more nuanced means 4 options, instead of 2. That said, in the few interactions Ryder’s had there have generally only been 2 options open to us: logical vs. emotional, and casual vs. professional. My initial impression is that it’s not massively different from the old system (though not tied in to Paragon-Renegade), but it will be interesting to see how interactions play out further into the story.

On which note, onward!