Mass Effect: Andromeda ‘Gameplay Series #3: Exploration’ video

A look at the moistureless, sweltering Elaaden.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

The third video in Electronic Arts and BioWare’s Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay series focuses on exploration.

In Mass Effect: Andromeda, you can navigate star systems using the Tempest’s galaxy map. From planets to moons, to anomalies and star ships, wherever you are, you’ll be able to see everything that exists outside the ship’s main windows in real time.

There are over 100 planets to discover and a handful of worlds you can land on. Each world you visit has its own story, characters, and challenges.

In the video, you’ll get a look at a planet called “Elaaden,” where heat is deadly, water is scarce, and mysterious ancient artifacts dot the landscape guarded by dangerous remnant creatures. Krogans live here and don’t trust anyone from the initiative. Before setting out on the planet, your AI will point out the planet’s key locations. The choice of where to go will be yours.

You can travel around the planet the using the all-terrain rover, the Nomad. You can upgrade the Nomad with a series of functional upgrades designed to give you better turbo boost, higher jumps, better handling, and more.

While exploring, one of the key objectives will be to discover locations to call down Forward Stations, which you can use as a fast travel point to change your loadout, resupply, as protection from environmental hazards, and to call your Nomad.

Each planet you visit has localized and / or global hazards. The Pathfinder and the Nomad are separately outfitted with life support systems that help protect against these hazards, but once you run out, you’ll need to find a safe location or Forward Station to recharge.

As you travel, you’ll find new areas to explore, new characters, and new stories. Ultimately, all of these will help raise the viability of the planet. Increasing this allows for the creations of outposts and upgrading the Nexus, the Andromeda initiative’s space station. Before a planet can support an outpost, you’ll first need to get its viability to at least 40 percent by pacifying threats, allying yourself to locals, solving environmental problems, and accomplishing specific tasks related to that planet’s story. For example, in the case of Elaaden, your relationship with the Krogan will determine if you can build here or not.

Your exploration and discoveries will also earn you Andromeda Viability Points. Reaching thresholds will allow you to upgrade the Nexus and awaken more colonists from cryosleep. Who you decide to awaken will determine what perks and advantages you’ll receive. Scientists will give you an edge in research and development, while military specialists will give you an edge in combat, and merchants will give you a leg up in trading.

The Andromeda universe also hosts a vast network of ancient vaults. Figuring out how to access these vaults can take you across an entire world. Once inside, you’ll need to rely on skills on every element of Andromeda gameplay, including exploraiton, environmental navigation, puzzle solving, and combat to get them back online and get out alive. Resolving the mystery of these vaults may hold the key to survival in Andromeda.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is due out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 21 in North America and March 23 in Europe.

Watch the footage below.

And here’s a bonus. If you want to spoil the first 13 minutes of the game, IGN has the video:

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