Hello, I have many positive things to say about Mass Effect Andromeda.
Alright, yeah, I actually typed that.
I still haven't delved into the campaign, nor have I gone back into the character creator to work on the successor to my lizard-necked first try.
Last night, I dove into Multiplayer and I got my ass kicked. It's not particularly hard. It's blindingly different from ME3 multiplayer and all of by reflexes were actually betraying me left and right.
First, let me get into one of the irritations I posted about yesterday: power recharges. In ME3, you could pull up to 200% recharge speeds not counting class and gear based bonuses. I regularly play character that sling biotic doom, peppered with a few shots from an sub-machine gun or heavy pistol, or in the case of Cerebus Phoenix Vanguards, a shotgun.
There were a couple of major things could modify power recharges down in ME3: weight of the weapons you're carrying and whether or not you were using any of the defensive powers: Biotic Barrier, Tech Armor, etc, which slap you with hefty power recharge penalties.
In Andromeda, Biotic Barrier and Tech Armor are passives. They are always on. Everything has been rebalanced around the fact that players are tougher, at least when leveled up, by default. And I don't mean, high level. My Biotic Adept, is level 5 and I dropped a few spare points into Barrier thinking, "why not," and the results are pure "woah," because my survivability jumped several notches.
While that was a nice discovery, the biggest, and by big, I mean the new thing that completely changes the complexion of combat in ME:A is mobility. I played human Biotic Adept, Vanguard, and Sentinel, last night, so I don't know if this is the same for Asari, Krogan or Turian characters. I wanted to put that caveat there. The human characters have jet packs which give them ENORMOUS mobility. I'm talking air-dashing, perching and leaping off of out croppings of equipment or scenery, or dodging into the air, or just jetting along the ground for short distances. The center mouse button which triggers ground and air-dash, or what some players call "evade" is my new best friend.
The jet pack is important because two-dimensional fighting is out of the window. It's not as 3D as a flight simulator fighter, but up is now as important as left and right, especially if you're boxed in by something nasty. And there are lots of horrible, nasty, things, in the Andromeda Galaxy.
I am probably being unfair in a narrative sense, given that humanity and their allies are the invaders to this place, but in a visceral player sense, all these new creatures are monstrous. Since I haven't been playing the campaign, I have no idea "who" they sure. Sure the mobs have names, but they are just target designations. They might as well be combat group nicknames given to things I hate because they kill me so efficiently.
It's put a whole new spin on things for me. Except when I'm fighting renegades from the Milky Way Galaxy, (I admit I'm curious about what that's about, but not curious enough to begin the campaign), I'm fighting scary monsters and machines. It's a pure, terrifying bug hunt with moments, of "I'm shooting you! Why won't you die? Eat Shockwave! Run awaaaaay!"
Because I like preserving my recharges and my characters haven't leveled into better carrying capacity, I only go into fights with one weapon. I gave into my consumer urge and bough Andromeda Cash for random loot boxes out of the store, and it was worth it because I got a rifle light enough for my Biotics to use and a decent machine pistol with better ammo management than the rifles.
Oh, one of the things that irked me at first, well it still does, but not grievously, is the lack of sub-machine guns. They are still there, but they've been rolled into the "Pistol" category. So you can't carry two very light weapons, at least at the moment.
Ammo management is very important, because, you can run out very fast, and unless you know where the reload stations are, you will find yourself relying on powers, mobility and melee attacks to get by. Although, melee is fun, especially on a vanguard: Biotic charge in and punch them to death. Or, in the case of my Adept: Pull, and punch my helpless victim before its friends show up and eat my lunch and dinner.
To revisit power recharge in Andromeda, another change, and in my opinion another reason to rebalance recharges, is that at least for Adepts, Sentinels, and Vanguards, global recharge is gone. Each power has it's own independent recharge track so they can be very effectively chain activated. No more using one power and waiting for its recharge to finish before firing another. Now it's 1, 2, 3, or whatever order you wish, and then you're moving because staying still means dying. Well, unless you have a sniper rifle. Those players stake out a place and things start dying. Of course, we're running interference for them, but one shot kills can induce envy, until I levitate a small dinosaur and full it full of lead. Jealous goes away after that.
It's interesting playing the multiplayer without having any context for the conflicts. I feel like a mercenary because I'm just in it for the loot and adrenaline. When I actually do start playing the campaign, I'm totally going to play my Ryder as a burnt out merc with no patience, because, after starting with Multiplayer's bughunts, I'm going to feel like one.
I only wish I could record one liners. There are a number of terrible Milky Way jokes that should be made.