Humanity's new home isn't all it's cracked up to be. Mass Effect Andromeda starts here.
Waking up aboard Ark Hyperion
After character customisation and choosing your starting skills, Mass Effect Andromeda kicks off with a little light conversation and exploration onboard Ark Hyperion.
There's no time pressure here so feel free to explore and chat for as long as you wish, or just dash through; we'll point out key conversations, optional objectiuves and any goodies as we go.
Your first job as Ryder is to get familiar with the conversation wheel. There are no more Paragon and Renegade choices, but you'll often find yourself with two to four tone options. These allow you to dictate whether Ryder takes a casual tone, a professional tone, a logical tone or a heartfelt tone. This follows through right the way through your play-through, so get used to the concept of it here. See our Mass Effect Andromeda conversation guide for more information and to help you distinguish between tone choices and more mechanical dialogue decisions.
Once you're on your feet you'll get your first optional objective: to check on your twin. If you want to, head over to where the doctor who woke you up is standing. The doctor, Lexi, will have another chat to you - and then you'll be sent on your way.
In the next room there'll be a small explosion that means the doors won't open. Open your scanner (down on the D-Pad) and use it to scan the orange-glowing objects on the left of the room. Once that's done, reset the terminal that had exploded (also on the left, halfway up the stairs) and then continue on.
Story sequences abound here - but once done, you'll find yourself heading down to Habitat 7: a potential new home for humanity. Unfortunately, things don't look great for setting up shop in this locale.
Mission 1: Planetside - Floating Rocks
Did you notice the rocks are floating? The game really wants you to notice this. Liam and Ryder really want to talk about it, repeatedly, forever. The path here is honestly pretty linear, and so there's little point in me telling you to 'push forward' over and over again for the whole of this mission. So let's just say it once: push on.
When you reach first contact, you'll be given a choice: to follow the rules of first contact or to expect the worst from the new aliens. What you say to Liam actually doesn't matter as much as your actions - either pull out your weapon and engage them in combat or approach them without doing so. The game will acknowledge if you or they attack first later on, but the ultimate outcome is combat either way.
Once the enemies are down, check on Fisher. For an optional objective, scan the corpses of the two aliens you just killed with your scanner using the same method you used to identify the fault back on Hyperion. Do the same to the nearby shuttle wreckage to check it for supplies. There are some crates and containers around here containing basic loot, too.
From here things open up: there are a variety of things around in different locations, and while the game makes your next objective quite obvious for story purposes if you explore a little you can find some extra items and tick off an optional objective to explore, which alters some upcoming dialogue. You basically want to visit every map icon before visiting your main objective. Here's a checklist from our play-through:
- To the North you'll find another member of your squad, Kirkland, under attack from more of the aliens. It's too late for Kirkland whatever you do, but you can avenge him. Inspect his body for a story scene. You can also scan some stuff around here - items you can scan glow orange when viewed through the scanner, and will give you research points, which you'll come to treasure.
- The path to the north-west of Kirkland's position features a new enemy. Kill, scan, keep moving.
- To the north-east as flares go up there are platforms you can jump jet across (Ryder asks 'what do you think is down there?'). There's more to scan down here, plus a cave with a captured animal and a tree. Scan!
- Continuing on from the cave towards the West will lead to a crashed enemy ship with more enemies. Take them out and explore and scan.
- A tower symbol on the map designates the position of an alien facility. This is in the north-west before the flares. Access the 'weird alien machines' inside to turn on the lights and power up a door to a sealed room on the left of the exit from the building. Investigate this room.
- Greer is found under attack from more aliens in a cave in between the two alien tower icons on the map. Hug the giant pit as shown on the map and you'll find the entrance around the halfway point of the pit.
Habitat 7: One final push
With these optional objectives tidied up, head to the clearly indicated flare waypoint. This will lead you to Cora and company. Here you'll need to hold off a few waves of enemies - easy enough, since this level is nice and simple - and then you'll get a chance to meet up with your dad.
Papa Ryder has a plan. Listen to him and when he executes it do as you're told - stick close to him, as he's a badass N7 and absolutely annihilates enemies as he goes. You can take out the enemies if you want, but your dad basically dashes on ahead cutting a path through them. Grab any goodies from crates as you pass through the room, but don't both staying to fight all the baddies - there's no need whatsoever, and you'll miss out on seeing the Pathfinder preview a stack of cool profiles if you don't follow close behind.
When the game tells you to order Liam and Cora to two opposite sides, this isn't optional, so do it. Nothing is going to happen until you do this.
The following combat encounter is the most tense yet, but simply help out one squadmate on one side and them the other - be methodical and it won't cause any problems. When enemies begin to retreat, simply head back to your dad. Watch the story sequence - and when you wake up again, you'll be waking up into a very different world... it's time to head to the Nexus and see how the rest of the Andromeda Initiative went.