What I want to see in the next Mass Effect game
This article contains spoilers for Mass Effect: Andromeda
I’m going to be totally honest for a second and say that, despite my deep love for BioWare’s Mass Effect series, my initial reaction to the recently launched Mass Effect: Andromeda was…tepid, to put it kindly. I didn’t like having to move beyond the Shepard storyline from the original trilogy, the new game’s story campaign had a bit of a slow start (at least in my opinion), and, as I have already discussed, I really didn’t like some of the changes BioWare had made to the co-op multiplayer.
However, after a while Andromeda grew on me and I actually ended up getting heavily invested in the new story involving humanity’s journey into the Andromeda system and its first encounters with new alien races like the Angarans and Kett. As anyone who has beaten Andromeda’s story campaign knows by now, BioWare has left the door open for future Mass Effect games, which is why I’m here to discuss specific elements which I think the studio should take under consideration if and when it comes time to develop a new post-Andromeda Mass Effect title.
Continue The Ryder Storyline
Commander Shepard will forever be one of my favorite video game protagonists, but I found Andromeda’s Ryder twins to be pretty compelling leads as well, especially since they served as a viable way for BioWare to introduce both male and female main characters simultaneously while also bringing an extra dynamic of family and the ties that bind to Andromeda’s narrative. Since we learned during the course of Andromeda’s story that the Ryder twins’ mother is also alive, I think it’s pretty obvious that BioWare isn’t done telling their story.
In a future Mass Effect game, I’d love to see a system where the player could play as both of the twins in certain gameplay scenarios, maybe even having the second twin (the one who players didn’t choose to play as at the beginning of Andromeda) become a fully fledged squadmate. It was a little disappointing to have the second twin sit out most of Andromeda’s narrative, but there would certainly be plenty of opportunity to make up for lost time in a sequel game.
Bring In Both Old And New Squadmates
Speaking of new squadmates, I think BioWare should keep at least most (if not all) of Andromeda’s original team with maybe one or two new additions. I know it might get a little crowded on the Tempest, but there’s honestly not one single member of the original Andromeda crew that I would want to see removed from the roster in a proposed sequel.
Maybe BioWare could come up with some sort of system where only a certain number of squadmates were on the Tempest at any one time (this would also help to reinforce the notion that they have lives outside of serving under Ryder), or maybe certain squadmates could transition into ship-based roles and serve alongside crewmembers like Gil, Kallo, Lexi, and Suvi. Either way, I do think that BioWare should freshen up the roster a bit in a sequel game, but it also shouldn’t give up any of the chemistry between the original crew in the process.
Improve The Melee Combat
Considering how intuitive and expansive melee combat was in Mass Effect 3, its implementation in Andromeda was a pretty major letdown. Not only is there a drastically smaller pool of different melee moves spread across both single-player and multiplayer, but the actual attacks themselves just feel unwieldy and unsatisfying. I can live without active cover, but being forced to make do with a paltry pool of melee attacks, all of which have bad hit detection, just hurts my soul.
Expand The Multiplayer
The end of Andromeda’s story teased the return of races such as Quarians, Drell, Volus, and more, which means all of the above (and hopefully more) should make a return to the multiplayer component of any future Mass Effect game. I understand that the bulk of BioWare’s efforts likely went into crafting and refining Andromeda’s story campaign, but if it’s going to keep bringing back the series’ unique take on co-op multiplayer (and it should), it needs to not treat the mode like an afterthought.
In addition to a large variety of playable characters and races, other improvements BioWare could make include new mission types (maybe some linear gauntlet-like missions ala Dragon Age: Inquisition’s multiplayer), more in-depth character customization, and maybe even a new system which allows players to buy specific multiplayer items (characters, weapons, etc.) at a premium price along with the standard randomized item packs (I know that last one’s a bit of a longshot considering EA’s desire to turn a profit, but a guy can dream).
Mass Effect’s co-op multiplayer is one of the few multiplayer modes that I genuinely enjoy playing consistently, but any iterations which BioWare implements have to make it feel like it’s going forwards, not backwards.
Have your own ideas on how to improve any potential future Mass Effect games? Feel free to share them in the comments below!