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Mass Effect: Andromeda – Five Small Changes With Big Benefits

Joe Juba
 

BioWare’s newest installment in the Mass Effect series is now available, leaving Commander Shepard behind and putting players in control of a new hero in a new galaxy. Response to Mass Effect: Andromeda has been mixed among fans and critics (read our full review), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. However, with a few tweaks, appreciating what the game does well would be a lot easier.

The point of this exercise isn’t to list everything we wish Andromeda did differently (like fewer glitches and a more compelling villain). Instead, the focus is on a handful of minor adjustments that could make the game more enjoyable without overhauling the core experience. Easy Profile Swaps Though you can technically switch Ryder’s active combination of three powers (and the associated profile), the system has two major problems.

First, you have to do it through a couple menu layers, which disrupts the otherwise fluid nature of combat. Second, all of your powers go on cooldown when you swap from one profile to another (even powers that are shared between the two builds), so your strategic opening often passes while you wait for your skills to become available. If you’re in a biotic-focused build, switching to a tech-focused build to take out an advancing enemy’s shields doesn’t do you much good if you need to wait 10-15 seconds for the Overload ability to be ready.

This clumsiness certainly doesn’t live up to the promise of effortless flexibility that Alec Ryder demonstrates on Habitat 7, but being able to swap between a selection of ready-to-rock profiles at the tap of a button would address the issue. If that makes it too easy to spam explosive combos, put the profile-switching function itself on cooldown, not the individual powers. Streamlined Scanning Conceptually, the idea of scanning your surroundings in a faraway galaxy is cool.

In practice, having to switch back and forth between the scanner and regular exploration is a hassle. You move slowly while scanning, most of the things you scan are generic pieces of tech without interesting context, and the process trains you to sweep areas…

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