The quest to find humanity a new home in an entirely new galaxy is a tough one, and rookie Ryders will likely need all the help that they can get. Mass Effect: Andromeda is a reasonably deep and often complex game; its combat can be quite brutal and its numerous role-playing systems can be difficult to wrap your head around. Fortunately, after spending a large chunk of time with the release, we've pulled together some key tips on how to approach BioWare's latest.
Don't worry too much about side content
One of Mass Effect: Andromeda's biggest issues is that it's stuffed with filler. Batches of tedious side quests will do their best to suck away your time, peppering your map with objective markers in the process. As such, you may find yourself yearning for a more structured experience.
The good news is that if you really do get fed up with trekking all the way across a planet just to scan some ancient alien technology, you technically don't have to do it. The title may be bursting with optional content, but that's exactly what it is - optional.
It's very possible to cut out much of the fat in Andromeda and simply follow the main story missions and quests that are given to you by your squad. Granted, there are some pretty cool side quests here and there that you may miss out on, but you can always revisit planets if you find yourself craving the grind.
Remember to check in with your team
Veteran Mass Effect players will already understand the importance of this tip. Once you've taken to the stars aboard the Tempest - your sleek looking ship that also acts as your hub - you'll gradually build up a team of squadmates. Naturally, these allies are the most fleshed-out characters in the game, so there's plenty to talk about with each of them.
After spending a decent amount of time rummaging around a planet, make sure to head back to the Tempest and check in with your squad. More often than not, they'll have something new to say, whether it's insight into the mission or an entirely new scripted conversation.
So why is talking to your buddies so important? Well, unlike previous Mass Effect games, your team won't necessarily chase you down with their problems. As such, if you want to unlock their individual loyalty missions, you'll need to keep in touch with them. It's also worth noting that some squadmates will send Ryder emails asking for assistance.
Fortunately, the journal keeps track of all squadmate missions, so if you're ever worried that you're missing something, open your journal and check the appropriate section.
Experiment with different weapons
There are a lot of weapons to try out in Mass Effect: Andromeda. From standard assault rifles and shotguns to plasma cannons and even swords, there are loads of options to consider when it comes to deciding your loadout before a mission. It's an aspect of the game that can be daunting - especially if you don't have any experience with past titles in the series.
The best advice that we can give, then, is to experiment. There's no shortage of enemies to shoot in Andromeda, so try switching things up now and then to get an idea of what you're comfortable with. You never know - you may stumble across an immediate favourite.
You can change your loadout at any forward base that you establish.
Experiment with different skills, too
Alongside the vast amount of weaponry on offer, Mass Effect: Andromeda also serves up a huge number of skills, both active and passive. Ryder, unlike Commander Shepard from previous games, always has access to the three main skill categories: Combat, Biotics, and Tech. Needless to say, deciding how to customise Ryder can become a headache if you're not familiar with each skill and what it brings to the table.
At first, the easiest way to get stuck in is to simply unlock a few skills that sound like they'd be fun to use. Give them a shot out in the field, experiment with different combinations, and gradually try to figure out which ones you like best.
However, this approach will likely mean that you'll end up wasting points on skills that you don't actually want to use. Fortunately, there is a way to reset your skill points, and you can find out how that works by clicking through here.
If you're still struggling to decide on which skills to unlock, you may want to check out our Mass Effect Andromeda Character Builds guide for inspiration.
Make the most of your squad in combat
You'll spend a lot of time customising and tweaking Ryder for the best possible results in battle, but don't forget about your loyal squadmates. Each of them have their own set of skills, and they'll level up just like Ryder. Remember to distribute you squad's skill points so that they can keep pace as the game progresses.
Unlike in previous Mass Effect games, you can't manually tell your allies to use specific skills during combat - but you can give them general orders. For example, if you're up against an especially tough opponent, command your squad to focus their fire. This tactic can make surprisingly short work of even the hardiest enemies.
Likewise, if you find yourself cornered behind cover with no obvious way out, you can call your allies to your side and have them support you. This is particularly useful against groups of foes that are trying to flank or surround you.
Balance cover with mobility
One of Mass Effect: Andromeda's biggest improvements is its added character mobility. In combat, Ryder and friends can make use of jump jets to leap and dash around the battlefield. Dashes are fantastic for avoiding heavy enemy fire, while jumps can be used to quickly get yourself out of danger.
Naturally, jumps can also lead you to higher ground, allowing you to rain death upon your enemies from above. With a bit of practice, you'll soon find that darting in and out of cover is an effective strategy against almost any foe.
However, you need make sure that you don't overdo it. Evasive actions and boost jumps certainly look cool, but you can easily get cocky and zip straight into trouble. As such, it's best to find a balance. When things are looking a little rough, consider falling back to a safer position and taking cover. If your enemies use melee attacks, don't hesitate to use the jump jet in order to put some distance between you and your opponent.
Hone your skills in co-op multiplayer
It's safe to say that most people who play Mass Effect: Andromeda aren't doing it for the cooperative component. Much like Mass Effect 3's multiplayer offering, this co-op mode allows you to join forces with up to three other players as you take down waves of enemies and complete randomised objectives.
Fortunately, because Andromeda's combat is one of its best elements, the co-op is at least worth a try. In fact, it's actually a really good way to test out weapons, skills, and character builds. By pumping a few hours into multiplayer, you'll gain a better understanding of enemy artificial intelligence, what strategies work best, and how to get the most out of specific powers. You can then take all of this knowledge and apply it to the single player campaign.
Seriously, there's a lot to learn, and watching how other players go about their business can really give you a headstart.
Check out our Mass Effect: Andromeda character builds guide and Mass Effect: Andromeda romance walkthrough. We also show you how to reset skill points in Mass Effect: Andromeda and how to change weapons and armor in Mass Effect: Andromeda.