What We Need in Mass Effect: Andromeda

The Mass Effect trilogy is beautifully crafted and one of the must-have franchises to own from the last console generation. With a look and feel similar to films and television shows such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Battlestar Galactica, the Mass Effect trilogy hit the mark with both visuals and storytelling. Having said that, the story of Commander Shepard had its high a low points that left players on either the edges of their seats or scratching their heads. And while many were disappointed with the ending, Shepard’s story is now complete. Since then, players look at the franchise a bit differently.

At E3 this year, Bioware finally revealed the first trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda. The fourth installment is visually stunning, but it should be reminded that this sci-fi franchise is all about storytelling. From atmosphere to characters to story, given how Shepard’s journey ended, Mass Effect: Andromeda will have to do quite a bit to redeem the franchise. So with that in mind, here are a few things Bioware should do.

Like any game, the first installment introduced players to a whole new universe. There was new species, new technology, new sciences and even new ways of space exploration. When the game launched in November 2007, Bioware put a fresh spin on the sci-fi genre. The game was flawless and set up an epic journey for Commander Shepard to defeat the Reapers. In order for Andromeda to succeed, the game will have to capture the essence of its predecessors.

Character interactions and dialog options were the focal point of the trilogy. Having Shepard get to know his crew members in the first installment brought out back stories that were not only intricate but interesting. From Wrex’s tales of the Krogan Genophage, to Ashley’s back story about her military family, the small group of characters Shepard could interact with was intimate, which was for the better. In the second installment, however, the developer added a plethora of new characters that were hit or miss and overall and lacked the depth compared to the original crew members. Not to mention that the the original crew members were reduced to cameo roles. If the new Mass Effect series continues past Andromeda, it would be nice to see the main character grow with a smaller group of crew members rather than be replaced by a new cast with each installment.

As far as storytelling goes, the first two installments were tremendous. Difficult choice after difficult choice, each game had it moments. But when it was time to wrap up Shepard’s journey, all those choices fell apart. If we’re talking specifics, the plot point with the Rachni Queen appeared to be quickly thrown together and not thought out. Andromeda will need to be more consistent with its storytelling and have more than just one ending.

Mass Effect: Andromeda will sell a lot of copies, but to keep the franchise from crumbling, Bioware will need to include a few aspects to regain the respect it once had from its fans. Whether that is keeping a small group of crew members throughout the new series or being more consistent with story elements, Andromeda has a lot to live up to. The game could either make or break the franchise.