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Here's How Exploration Works In Mass Effect Andromeda

Previous installments of the Mass Effect Andromeda gameplay series focused on combat, but today's video is all about exploration, which BioWare's narrator calls "the heart" of the game.

As one of the Ryder twins, players will have free reign over the Heleus system, and it all starts with your mothership, the Tempest. As in previous Mass Effect games, you'll be able to select your destination via the ship's navigation computer—however, in Mass Effect Andromeda, you'll also be able to view your surroundings in real time through the ship's massive windows.


In addition to shipwrecks and other anomalies, Mass Effect Andromeda contains over 100 planets to check out, with "a handful" that players can land on and explore. Once you dock on a planet's surface, your ship's artificial intelligence will highlight areas of interest. From there, you're free to hope in the Nomad, Andromeda's all-terrain vehicle, and explore at your own pace. Every planet has its own set of environmental hazards—the planet featured in the video has extremely high temperatures, for example—which will need to be dealt with, and which make exploring a lot more dangerous.

While poking around, you'll be able to set up stations at predetermined locations, which serve as fast travel points and act as hubs where you'll be able to change your weapon loadouts, recharge your health, and retrieve the Nomad if you happen to forget where it's parked.


As you discover new locations and characters, eliminate threats, and complete quests, a planet's viability rating will rise. Once a planet 40% viability, you'll be able to establish an outpost. In addition, raising the total viability of the Helios system will allow you to free colonists from their cryogenic naps, giving you special bonuses based on which types of settlers you wake up. For example, thawing out soldiers will make combat a little bit easier, while populating the system with merchants will give you an advantage during trading.

Finally, mysterious vaults are scattered throughout the galaxy, which offer two distinct sets of challenges. Getting inside the vaults requires in-depth exploration of the structures' homeworld, while inside, you'll encounter puzzles, platforming challenges, and combat missions while trying to get the vaults online.

Like other open-world games, Mass Effect Andromeda looks like it'll be crammed full of things to do, and should keep players very busy when it comes out on March 22, 2017.