The “Mass Effect” series is beloved by millions, both hardcore gamers and casual players alike.
It’s a space opera like no other in video games; it shares more in common with the “Star Wars” films than it does with other game franchises.
The original trilogy followed the exploits of Commander Shepard, a player-created character who was shaped by your actions in-game. The male version is seen above (center), but you could also play a female version of Shepard.
Unfortunately, when the credits rolled on “Mass Effect 3,” the story was over: No more space opera, no more tales of heroic Commander Shepard.
That’s where “Mass Effect: Andromeda” comes in.
The next “Mass Effect” is out now — a $US60 game on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC! Here’s what you should know if you’re thinking about checking it out:
First things first: 'Mass Effect' is a third-person action-RPG series from Bioware (an EA-owned game studio).
In 'Mass Effect: Andromeda,' you'll be doing plenty of third-person shooting -- expect a lot of running to take cover, then popping out to fire shots off at various alien enemies.
But people come to 'Mass Effect' for the story, and 'Andromeda' is the beginning of a new epic. You're a 'Pathfinder,' tasked with finding a new home for the Milky Way's sentient life forms (including humanity, of course).
It's not as simple as showing up and planting a flag, of course. There's a new foe, called the 'Kett,' that stands in the way. They're a quasi-religious, bipedal, humanoid species, led by a guy named the 'Archon.'
In 'Andromeda,' you're either a boy or girl version of Pathfinder Ryder. You can create a custom character, or you can use one of the stock defaults (like the hunk you see below).
You're travelling with a crew of folks -- a standard in the 'Mass Effect' series -- each of whom have their own personalities and histories:
Your father is the initial 'Pathfinder,' but he meets his untimely demise right up front. You're quickly tasked with taking on the primary role in humanity's survival in the Andromeda galaxy.
When taking up the mantle of Pathfinder, you're given a ship (The Tempest) and an all-terrain vehicle. And you'll need both, as the thrust of 'Mass Effect: Andromeda' is exploring massive open environments. Like this ice planet, named Voeld:
So, how do you go from casual space explorer to battling an ancient alien race? There are some hints:
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