Mass Effect Andromeda throws choices at you right from the get go. What kind of Pathfinder will you be?
Mass Effect Andromeda tells the story of Scott or Sara Ryder, a pair of twins who left the Milky Way Galaxy with the Andromeda Initiative. They've been in cryosleep for over 600 years, but now it's time for them to wake up and join the rest of the Ark Hyperion Pathfinder's core team in establishing a new home in the Heleus Cluster.
But before the twins can leap out of their icy techno-bunks, you have to make some decisions. First up, which one are you - male or female? What's your name? What do you look like? What's your training background? What does your sibling look like?
Most of these decisions you can answer for yourself; we sure don't know what kind of nose you feel is necessary to colonise a new galaxy. But there are some decisions that really matter, at least for the first few hours, so let's run through them.
Creating a character and choosing the best class for you in Mass Effect Andromeda
Once you've got the business of deciding on a look for your Ryder out of the way (don't forget to customise your twin, too!) you'll then be given a major choice: you'll be asked to 'Choose Training'. Choosing your training is the closest thing Mass Effect: Andromeda gets to picking a class - the game actually doesn't have a typical RPG class system.
Instead of classes, once you kick off the game Ryder will be able to access almost every single one of the skills in the game freely. You can turn your eye (and your skill points) to any skill you choose, and the skills you pick will then inform the game which 'Profiles' you can best fit into. You can switch your Profile at any time, and each comes with particular bonuses that grow depending on how you invest your skill points.
These profiles are named after and feature similar bonuses to the classic Mass Effect classes such as Soldier, Adept, Sentinel, Vanguard and so on. We recommend that you pick a particular type of combat expertise and focus on it, as doing so will give you a significant advantage in combat. There's enough XP in the main quests and story missions to easily max out one of the hybrid profiles, its two related profiles, and then begin exploring others, if you like.
But right at the start of the game when you select Choose Training, you'll be given a number of options - and whatever you choose dictates your starting skills, which you'll be stuck with for the first couple of hours. Here's what you get in each option.
Character Creation: Training Options - how to pick the right training for you
Concussive Shot (A heat seeking round that knocks enemies down), Turbocharge (A boost to weapon fire rate & ammo), Combat Fitness (Increased durability & more weapon slots) - most similar to Soldier in ME Trilogy
Throw (Hurl opponents into the air), Singularity (Create a vortex that traps, disables & damages enemies), Barrier (Defence buff) - most similar to Adept in ME Trilogy
Overload (Electric attack that deals high damage to shields and robotic enemies), Invasion (Infect opponents to weaken defences and damage their weapons), Team Support (Boost the effectiveness of your squad) - most similar to Engineer in ME Trilogy
Energy Drain (Drain enemy shields and restore your own), Annihilation (Create a mass effect field that damages foes over time), Team Support (Boost the effectiveness of your squad) - sort of similar to Sentinel in ME Trilogy
Charge (Launch at an enemy, slam them, regain shields and damage them), Combat fitness (Makes you more durable & allows more weapon slots) - most like Vanguard in ME Trilogy
Tactical Cloak (Become invisible and deal large damage bonus on your cloak-breaking attack), Combat fitness (Makes you more durable & allows more weapon slots) - most like Infiltrator in ME Trilogy
The abilities above are the 'key' abilities for each class, and the first of these abilities listed for each training option will begin already unlocked when you gain control of Ryder.
Don't worry if you get into your first fight and hate your power choice. Relatively early on, you'll be able to respec if you so desire. As soon as you have free access to the Tempest just head to the medbay where you'll find a respec station.
Next up, it's time to head down to Habitat 7 - the first world in Andromeda, and supposedly a potential new home for humanity.