Electronic Arts began preloading Mass Effect: Andromeda today on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for those who have preordered the game. It is a good thing too; according to users on Reddit, the file size on both consoles is over 42 GB. That is huge. Just for comparison, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which was also considered enormous, was 38.86 GB. Mass Effect on Xbox is 42.19 GB, and on PlayStation, it is 42.9 GB.
Those who have preorders are going to appreciate that Electronic Arts went ahead with preloading because even with a very fast 100 Mb/s connection, 42 GB is going to take around an hour to download. Those who wait to buy the game after release are going to be tortured with having to wait even longer to play.
Mass Effect: Andromeda officially releases on March 21, but according to GameSpot, Xbox One and PC players will get to play the game for 10 hours on March 16 if they have an EA/Origin Access subscription. Sorry, PlayStation 4 users. Electronic Arts does not have an early access option for you.
Because of the big move from the Milky Way galaxy to Andromeda, some fans of Mass Effect have expressed trepidation that the game will be too different from previous iterations. There seems to be a fear that the game will not hold the same charm as its predecessors due to the new setting and that developers might be trying to change the game too much. While fans of any franchise always desire fresh and new content in a sequel, they also want the same familiarity that made them love the game in the first place. Relocating the game to an entirely different galaxy seems too big a leap for some players.
While discussing the risks of the change in setting with Rolling Stone, BioWare creative director Mac Walter said, “I think there’s some risk there. There’s also opportunity, and one of the things we’ve been really focusing on is trying to be forward thinking. Mass Effect was successful originally because we weren’t spending any time looking back.”
General manager Aaryn Flynn also added, “We really wanted to reestablish what we loved about Mass Effect 1, with that sense of exploration, that sense of newness, that sense of wonder. The story flows from that.”
Early trials of the game by industry journalists have confirmed that the game seems to be sticking to its roots. Jake Dekker of GameSpot said his time with the game was enjoyable and familiar, but with a few new mechanics to learn. His only complaints about Electronic Arts blockbuster were technical in nature, e.g. audio syncing issues.
Mass Effect: Andromeda has a lot of new aspects, but so far they all sound like welcome additions and changes. For example, the class system is much more flexible. If you start off as an engineer but later decide you want to become an adept, you simply spend your points accordingly when leveling up. Any class can spend points in any tree.
Electronic Arts is also adding a multiplayer mode to the game. Multiplayer for some of the purists is probably not anything to be excited about, but it is going to be separate from the campaign mode. There should be no reason to worry about your single-player experience being ruined by a griefer.
However, those who do like a multiplayer experience should be very excited. The multiplayer mode will have “over 25 character sets to choose from ‘at launch,’ suggesting more are coming later,” said GameSpot.
The character list contains beings from both galaxies (Milky Way and Andromeda), and there will be over 40 different weapons at your disposal since any class can use any weapon. All are upgradable, and developers plan on adding more weapons down the road. There will only be five maps to play at launch, but Electronic Arts will be releasing more as “free DLC” later.
GameSpot did not have much to say about multiplayer competitions, but it is safe to assume that multiplayer will feature all of the standard match play you would find in any other MPS: capture the flag, deathmatch, etc. However, they did mention that there will be “multiplayer Strike Team missions.” These are multiplayer cooperative missions accessed through the ship’s hub. Rewards gained during Strike Team missions are usable in single-player mode.
Electronic Arts Mass Effect: Andromeda releases March 21, so there is still seven days to put in a preorder if you want to get the preload started. Don’t forget to subscribe to EA/Origin Access if you own an Xbox or PC so you can start playing on March 16.