Let’s process our complicated Mass Effect: Andromeda reveal feelings

By Brenna Hillier, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 08:03 GMT

Mass Effect: Andromeda, previously the merest flicker of a fin, swam into view overnight. Let’s dive right in.

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As VG247’s official Mass Effect Nerd, it given to me to dwell thoughtfully on the N7 Day Mass Effect: Andromeda reveal and make some sensible, coherent observations.

I was fully prepared to meet this brief – before I started fangirling harder than a wind farm. All my cynicism and concerns have gone right out the window. Sherif and Alex are in no better state. “Of course one must wait and see,” we told each other gravely, before proceeding to gibber and frisk about like children six cans of Dr Pepper and a kilo of twizzlers into a birthday party.

Okay Brenna, deep breaths: let’s just sit down calmly and go through this in a sensible fashion. First, let’s watch the Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer:

“I want to stand at the edge of the galaxy and be weighed down by the immense fragility of human life as aptly illustrated by great looming robot bastards, or whatever, and fear for my life and that of my friends.”

Well, that’s certainly exciting stuff – but I am a grown up, and proof against the wiles of highly edited trailers. We’ll need to see the Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay reveal at The Game Awards next month before I get really excited.

But there’s more to see today. There are some new Mass Effect: Andromeda screenshots to ponder. We can go laugh uproariously at the ridiculously expensive collector’s editions, and quietly and hypocritically weigh up the deluxe editions.

Our next stop is to sign up for the Mass Effect: Andromeda multiplayer beta. During the sign-up process, BioWare will ask you how long you spent playing Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. Maybe you’ll log into N7 HQ to check. Maybe it will be 139 hours and you’ll feel your face go completely still in wonder before you’re carried away on a wave of nostalgia.

Perhaps you’ll then remember logging back in some time later, after you’d finally started playing action multiplayer games regularly, and were horrified by how clunky it all felt compared to modern games. Remember jumping over a fence six times because it was on the same button as “revive my teammate”? Amazing scenes.

Oh hey, while we’re signing up for things, we better finally join this Andromeda Initiative thing BioWare’s been pushing so we can scour the website for interesting details (like where Mass Effect: Andromeda fits in the franchise timeline). Join, log in, and fiddle with it enough and you’ll get to see a couple of extra Mass Effect: Andromeda videos.

The first one is a bit blah: rising orchestral strains, the triumph and wonder of humanity, like, whatever. It takes more than that to get an emotional response from me.

But then there’s this one:

This, cats, is where I lost my shit completely. It turns out that exactly what it takes to get an emotional response from me is the Mass Effect music which kicks in about 1:38. The first few bars are okay, but then that beat comes up – By the time it peaks at 1:54 I knew I’d pre-order, like a chump, like part of the problem, gods dammit.

That synthetic beat that is just pure Mass Effect. It burrowed right through my ear and into my brain, clasped two little electric hands around my central nervous system, and then it squeezed. I think a life flashed before my eyes, but it was Shepard’s life instead of mine, and I wanted to play a new Mass Effect game so badly I kicked my chair over.

I want to go back there, you know? To Mass Effect. But also I want for it not to be over, to not be playing with the knowledge of what’s to come. I want to stand at the edge of the galaxy and be weighed down by the immense fragility of human life as aptly illustrated by great looming robot bastards, or whatever, and fear for my life and that of my friends. I also want to kiss space faces without thinking about party composition because I don’t already know everyone’s bonus skills.

Clearly, Mass Effect: Andromeda is our best shot at achieving that.

There’s a lot more to talk about with regards to Mass Effect: Andromeda, but I’m reluctant to do it until we’ve got the primary sources in front of our very own eyes. There are some amazing bits of information out there, if you go looking – the number of squad members and relationships, specific changes to controls and combat, exploration details, how the multiplayer has evolved, some plot points – and it’s going to give you a lot of feelings if you’re a big old Mass Effect or BioWare nerd like me.

To temper this excitement, I will note that this comparison worries me:

I’ve written at some length on why I’m pretty glum about the prospect of Mass Effect becoming Dragon Age: Inquisition in space, and nothing I’ve seen or read today has gone anyway to dispel my worry that we’ll get exactly that.

But just as I did two full, all-missions play throughs of Dragon Age: Inquisition while hating every generic fetch quest and eye-rolling through combat, I’m balancing my cynicism about Mass Effect: Andromeda with anticipation. We all know what BioWare is capable of, don’t we. I’ll put up with almost anything for it.

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