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Join Us For A Day Of Mass Effect: Andromeda

Game Informer staffers are streaming Mass Effect: Andromeda for six hours, starting tomorrow at 11 a.m CT, and running through 6 p.m. Since we already showed off the opening moments of Ryder's journey into the Andromeda galaxy, we're showing off different content in this live stream, including a look at new planets, different companions, as well as a deep dive into multiplayer. Joe Juba, who just released his review for Mass Effect: Andromeda will be on the entire stream, guiding us through this massive RPG.

Joe and other Game Informer editors who have played the game will answer as many questions as they can on both YouTube and Twitch. We hope the stream illuminates you on what Mass Effect: Andromeda has to offer, without spoiling too much of the adventure. See you tomorrow!

You can click the banner below to watch the stream on Twitch or Youtube, or just tune in here using the embedded video below.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Join Us For A Day Of Mass Effect: Andromeda

Game Informer staffers are streaming Mass Effect: Andromeda for six hours, starting tomorrow at 11 a.m CT, and running through 6 p.m. Since we already showed off the opening moments of Ryder's journey into the Andromeda galaxy, we're showing off different content in this live stream, including a look at new planets, different companions, as well as a deep dive into multiplayer. Joe Juba, who just released his review for Mass Effect: Andromeda will be on the entire stream, guiding us through this massive RPG.

Joe and other Game Informer editors who have played the game will answer as many questions as they can on both YouTube and Twitch. We hope the stream illuminates you on what Mass Effect: Andromeda has to offer, without spoiling too much of the adventure. See you tomorrow!

You can click the banner below to watch the stream on Twitch or Youtube, or just tune in here using the embedded video below.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Get Ready For Our Mass Effect Andromeda GI Game Club

Mass Effect Andromeda is almost here, and we want to play through the entire game with you. If you're not familiar with the GI Game Club format, we break up a game into multiple chunks and then discuss each segment in detail on The Game Informer Show podcast while reading off emails from the community that are sent in to [email protected]. We're looking for all types of emails, from lore-hounds to funny little things you might have noticed.

The first discussion will air on The Game Informer Show on March 30th, and will cover everything in the game up to the completion of the main story mission on the second planet. If you watched our live stream, you know that there is also a short introductory planet and we're not counting that one. So please send in your thoughts on anything/everything in the game up until you've finished the main story mission on the planet after the planet named Eos.

If you're looking for some discussion points to get the ball rolling, here are some suggestions:

- What do you think of the Ryder twins? How do they compare as a protagonist to Commander Shepherd?
- How well does the game build a sense of wonder about exploring a new galaxy?
- How important is it to understand the backstory and racial politics among the species from the original trilogy?
- What gameplay changes have you noticed, appreciated, or hated?
- Which character has made the biggest impact on you?
- What's your favorite moment or sequence so far? 

Once again, send your emails to [email protected]. We're really looking forward to playing through this game with you, so please subscribe to The Game Informer Show podcast and get ready for a lot of fun discussion on BioWare's next game!

To get caught up on previous GI Game Clubs, click through the links to hear us discuss the following games in exhaustive detail: Final Fantasy VIIUncharted 4: A Thief's EndDeus Ex: Human Revolution, BioShock, and Pokémon Sun and Moon.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Get Ready For Our Mass Effect Andromeda GI Game Club

Mass Effect Andromeda is almost here, and we want to play through the entire game with you. If you're not familiar with the GI Game Club format, we break up a game into multiple chunks and then discuss each segment in detail on The Game Informer Show podcast while reading off emails from the community that are sent in to [email protected]. We're looking for all types of emails, from lore-hounds to funny little things you might have noticed.

The first discussion will air on The Game Informer Show on March 30th, and will cover everything in the game up to the completion of the main story mission on the second planet. If you watched our live stream, you know that there is also a short introductory planet and we're not counting that one. So please send in your thoughts on anything/everything in the game up until you've finished the main story mission on the planet after the planet named Eos.

If you're looking for some discussion points to get the ball rolling, here are some suggestions:

- What do you think of the Ryder twins? How do they compare as a protagonist to Commander Shepherd?
- How well does the game build a sense of wonder about exploring a new galaxy?
- How important is it to understand the backstory and racial politics among the species from the original trilogy?
- What gameplay changes have you noticed, appreciated, or hated?
- Which character has made the biggest impact on you?
- What's your favorite moment or sequence so far? 

Once again, send your emails to [email protected]. We're really looking forward to playing through this game with you, so please subscribe to The Game Informer Show podcast and get ready for a lot of fun discussion on BioWare's next game!

To get caught up on previous GI Game Clubs, click through the links to hear us discuss the following games in exhaustive detail: Final Fantasy VIIUncharted 4: A Thief's EndDeus Ex: Human Revolution, BioShock, and Pokémon Sun and Moon.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Updated: Come play Mass Effect: Andromeda with us at 3PM EDT

Learn more about how BioWare makes open-world games and how they’re grappling with the technical challenges of Mass Effect Andromeda today at 3PM EDT. …


Gamasutra News

Mass Effect: Andromeda Review – Adapting To Harsh Frontiers

In the Mass Effect universe, the Andromeda Initiative is a bold and ambitious program. Looking for a future in uncharted territory, its volunteers leave the past behind and search for a new home in a faraway galaxy. However, despite all of the planning and preparation, cascading complications make it difficult for the Initiative to accomplish its mission beyond the Milky Way. In this way, Mass Effect: Andromeda is like the story it tells. It is a fresh start for the franchise and invigorated by a renewed sense of exploration, but a variety of problems prevent it from reaching its potential.

With Commander Shepard out of the picture, players control Ryder, a young explorer who inherits the role of Pathfinder – the one charged with finding humanity a home in Andromeda’s Heleus Cluster. Ryder has just the right mixture of confidence and uncertainty, so you feel capable while improvising in strange situations. Whether you’re brokering peace with a new race or uncovering alien technology, you and Ryder are figuring things out together. You make some tough calls along the way, but the focus isn’t on choice and consequence this time, so just about any response can feel correct.

You and Ryder have a lot of work to do. All of the potential settlement worlds have catastrophic problems, the arks carrying the Milky Way’s other races have gone missing, and the conquering kett race is waging war on the natives. These looming mysteries and threats provide a fantastic foundation for Andromeda’s story; the opening 10 hours set the stage and build anticipation, and I could not wait to begin my Pathfinder duties in earnest.

By the 40-hour mark, the big questions like “Does Andromeda have habitable planets?” and “What do the kett want?” reach predictable conclusions. Seeing the story unfold is still cool, but you learn the Heleus Cluster isn’t as full of mystery and novelty as you thought. For example, I like the designs of the new alien races, but they would look right at home in the Milky Way. Mass Effect fans are already used to bizarre creatures like krogan and hanar, and the new races don’t push boundaries to fulfill the initial promise of encountering truly foreign life.

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For the series that brought us adversaries like Saren and the Illusive Man, the primary foe in Andromeda is surprisingly boilerplate. He barely gets any screen time, and his goals are exactly what you would expect from an evil alien overlord. Your confrontation culminates in a confusing final mission in which everyone’s lives are at stake, but I cannot tell you precisely how my actions were preventing disaster, which drains the tension and triumph from the ultimate victory.

The main story isn’t the only way you learn about your surroundings, since Andromeda’s other activities bear significant narrative weight. The open-world structure lets you pursue the stories you find interesting, putting you in charge of your journey into the unknown. These threads are where I found my favorite stories in Andromeda, and I had trouble choosing which interesting tasks to tackle next. Should I track down the Initiative’s missing arks, help the crew organize a movie night, or unlock the pieces of a mystery involving the Ryder family? Seemingly inconsequential filler like going around the map to place seismic hammers can lead to big surprises, encouraging you to leave no stone unturned. I even enjoy cruising between objectives in the Nomad, since it emphasizes how large and untamed the worlds are. Cresting a ridge after a long drive and seeing an alien landscape on the horizon and the ruins of an ancient civilization below you captures the essence of exploration in Andromeda.

The wealth of content is impressive; you could probably get through main story quickly, but I logged about 60 hours to see everything that interested me, a significant part of which was ally loyalty missions. Instead of one-off excursions, these are now full quest threads. They usually begin with a conversation, steer you toward objectives spanning a couple locations, then culminate in a mission of personal importance to the character. I love this approach to fleshing out the crew, because it feels more like developing a relationship. The loyalty missions contain some excellent exchanges and scenarios that I won't spoil here, but learning more about your teammates' backstories is satisfying. Though I have my favorite companions (Jaal and Drack), Andromeda's cast isn't as memorable as its predecessors' – though that isn't as damning as it sounds considering the high bar BioWare set with those titles.

Andromeda compares most favorably to previous entries when the bullets and biotics start flying. This is the best combat has ever felt in the series. The controls are responsive, the action is fluid, and the focus on mobility leads to more dynamic encounters. You aren’t just hunkering down under the same crate to shoot at distant foes; different enemy types keep you moving by flushing you out, at which point you dash and jump to a new location. Though the auto-cover can be frustratingly inconsistent, you are never in the same place for too long, and using a combination of powers and weapons to buy yourself breathing room leads to many thrilling moments.

While the battles are mechanically solid, the systems feeding into them don’t scale well, and ultimately make your options feel limited. Ryder isn’t restricted to a particular class, so you can choose from a broad array of combat, tech, and biotic skills. At first, I was dazzled by possibilities, like draining shields with Overload before tossing off a Pull-and-Throw combo to trigger a biotic explosion. I also like the concept of profiles, which provide different static bonuses depending on how you spend your skill points. However, with dozens of options, why you should invest in one power or profile over another is unclear, and your ability to experiment is constrained since you can only equip three powers at once. You can technically switch to other power/profile sets in mid-combat, but all of the powers need to cool down once you switch, which makes it an impractical solution – especially since you can only switch powers, not weapons. Combat is at its best when you pick a small range of abilities and passive bonuses and invest in them exclusively.

Fans of Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer will also have a good time with Andromeda's online offering. It uses the same combat fundamentals as single-player, but like Mass Effect 3, it has more directed progression thanks to predetermined power sets. This keeps the action distilled to moment-by-moment survival as you fight off waves of increasingly difficult foes, ideally communicating with a team of capable squadmates. It generally works well (though I ran into some lag issues when playing on pre-release servers), and I like its unobtrusive ties to Ryder’s main campaign. But like any multiplayer mode these days, its long-term success depends on BioWare’s ability to optimize stability and provide a steady stream of new content to keep players engaged. I’ve had plenty of fun already, and I’m looking forward to diving deeper in the coming weeks.

Lurking beneath the ups and downs of the Andromeda’s gameplay and story is a baffling network of technical issues, clunky menus, and unexplained systems. Finding and tracking your quests is needlessly complicated, crafting is a convoluted and multi-step affair that is rarely worth the hassle, and the limited inventory system has no reason to exist at all since you can’t access your unequipped weapons and armor in the field. Stuttering framerates and audio bugs are frequent enough to be distracting. I also encountered a handful of bizarre animations, visual glitches, and broken quests that forced a reload at worst, so they didn’t bother me as much as the other more persistent problems. However, all of this contributes to an overall lack of polish that gives the impression various components are not fitting together properly.

When taken as its own journey (and not in comparison to Shepard’s saga), Mass Effect: Andromeda is fun, and the important parts work. The narrative isn’t astounding, but keeps you invested and drives you forward. The combat is entertaining whether you're in single-player or multiplayer. The crew isn't my favorite, but I like them and they have some good moments. Even with its other problems, these are the largest forces shaping your experience with Mass Effect: Andromeda, and they make it worth playing. At the same time, I was often left looking through a haze of inconveniences and dreaming about the game it could have been.

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Four Things To Know About Mass Effect: Andromeda

Bioware's highly anticipated return to its science-fiction RPG universe marks both a familiar and new direction for the series.

There's both good and bad to be had with the latest Mass Effect, and Joe Juba outlines some of those facets of the game. For our review of Mass Effect: Andromeda, head here.

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For another video like this one, follow the links for videos on Horizon Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nier: Automata, Halo Wars 2, and Torment: Tides of Numenera. It's a new video
format we're trying out, so please give us your feedback in the comments
below!

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Get Ready For Our Mass Effect Andromeda GI Game Club

Mass Effect Andromeda is almost here, and we want to play through the entire game with you. If you're not familiar with the GI Game Club format, we break up a game into multiple chunks and then discuss each segment in detail on The Game Informer Show podcast while reading off emails from the community that are sent in to [email protected]. We're looking for all types of emails, from lore-hounds to funny little things you might have noticed.

The first discussion will air on The Game Informer Show on March 30th, and will cover everything in the game up to the completion of the main story mission on the second planet. If you watched our live stream, you know that there is also a short introductory planet and we're not counting that one. So please send in your thoughts on anything/everything in the game up until you've finished the main story mission on the planet after the planet named Eos.

If you're looking for some discussion points to get the ball rolling, here are some suggestions:

- What do you think of the Ryder twins? How do they compare as a protagonist to Commander Shepherd?
- How well does the game build a sense of wonder about exploring a new galaxy?
- How important is it to understand the backstory and racial politics among the species from the original trilogy?
- What gameplay changes have you noticed, appreciated, or hated?
- Which character has made the biggest impact on you?
- What's your favorite moment or sequence so far? 

Once again, send your emails to [email protected]. We're really looking forward to playing through this game with you, so please subscribe to The Game Informer Show podcast and get ready for a lot of fun discussion on BioWare's next game!

To get caught up on previous GI Game Clubs, click through the links to hear us discuss the following games in exhaustive detail: Final Fantasy VIIUncharted 4: A Thief's EndDeus Ex: Human Revolution, BioShock, and Pokémon Sun and Moon.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Mass Effect Andromeda Companion App Launching

Mass Effect Andromeda has a companion app for the game's multiplayer mode, allowing players to keep track of their progress, adjust their active character's loadout, send out strike teams, and more.

You can also use the app to check how you're doing in multiplayer challenges, spend skill points or respec your active character, and even send feedback on your Andromeda experience.

The app is already out in Canada, Ireland, Romania, and Singapore, and launches worldwide on March 20.

For a full list of the app's capabilities, click on the source link below.

[Source: BioWare]

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Science-Fiction Weekly – Mass Effect Andromeda, Star Wars Rebels, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Starbucks is to thank for a planet name in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. During a SXSW keynote, the film's director Gareth Edwards said the planet Scarif came from a Starbucks barista hearing his name wrong. The barista wrote "Scarif" on his drink instead of Gareth. He also said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy suggested Rogue One's bloody ending, but he didn't think it would stick. He  thought Disney would change course to different conclusion. "I kept waiting for them to go back on that decision," he said to the SXSW crowd. "Until the last week, I still waited for that little 'no,' but it never came."

Star Wars fans will want to tune in to Disney XD on March 18 at 8:30 p.m. to watch a Star Wars Rebels episode titled "Twin Suns." As the name so clearly highlights, the setting is Tatooine, and it just happens to be the battleground for another lightsaber fight pitting Darth Maul against Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, he's old Ben now, and no, Maul will likely never die.

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I don't think I need to remind you that Mass Effect Andromeda is just one week away (just a few days away for EA Access subscribers). My journey is well under way, and I even sat down with Suriel Vazquez to play through two hours of the game for your viewing pleasure. The footage you are about to see chronicles the entire opening of the game up through the first planet, called Eos. You'll meet companions, get a brief taste of open-world exploration, and learn everything you need to know about leveling and combat. We even show off conversation choices – nothing huge, mind you – but you'll get a good idea of how Ryder's brain is wired. I'm finding Ryder to be a much different character than Shepard, showing a little more youthful enthusiasm and a lack of experience. It'll be interesting to see if players take to this younger, more family-driven character than the battle-hardened Shep.

My early thoughts on Mass Effect Andromeda are all over the place at this point. I'm enjoying the story immensely. The Andromeda system is proving to be an exceptional canvas for discovery. I love how nothing in this sector of space is defined until another species or a document tells you what it is. We instead see humans trying to decipher what they are seeing. That's a fantastic little touch. BioWare also nails the pacing in the early moments of Andromeda. If you want to take it slow to soak up the lore, you can take on a number of side missions and activities to keep you occupied for hours. If you want to blaze through the campaign, you can bypass those moments and keep moving along the critical path – meaning you won't run into big lulls like you did on Citadel. The new hub world, called Nexus, is nicely designed with most waypoints grouped together tightly. There is a tram ride that takes a few seconds, but again, the destination you seek is usually close.

The lull you'll likely run into is tied to world exploration. Each planet I've landed on has been huge. For those of you who want to explore every little cave and camp, you could spend an entire day on one planet. If you just want to stick to the story beats, get comfortable with the idea of driving vast distances and having to navigate rocky terrain to reach your objective. You are the "Pathfinder" after all. The Nomad controls well, and is an absolute beast when you kick it into six-wheel drive. I haven't unlocked any weapons for it yet, but the base controls are solid. Frustration comes from figuring out how to navigate mountains and uneven terrain. Not everything can be climbed. I'm enjoying the exploration and Nomad moments, but these aspects are where Mass Effect Andromeda slows down to a crawl.

Combat is enjoyable and challenging, but again has some issues. I'm not a fan of the auto-cover design, which makes Ryder take cover when standing next to any flush surface. I much prefer having that action handled by a button press. The Force-like biotics are good fun to wield (as they always have been), and are ridiculously powerful, even in the first couple hours. Enemy A.I. sometimes seems smarter than usual, showing the ability to rush or flank when they have numbers. I have run into a few foes who were defeated by the environment, either struggling with the pathing to reach their destination or thinking they were in cover when they were in fact almost fully exposed. Ryder's companions are aggressive and capable of finishing off foes. They are also quite interesting when you get to know them. So far, I haven't run into a character that is a wholesale ripoff of someone from Mass Effect 1-3. They all stand out in different ways.

That's my early take on Mass Effect Andromeda. Keep in mind, I'm still early into the adventure, and it looks like it's going to be a long haul. I'll have more on my journey next week, along with Game Informer's official review, penned by Joe Juba. For my full take on the first two hours, watch the video below.

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The 10th season of Doctor Who launches on April 15, and it looks absolutely bonkers. It even has a robot speaking in an emoji language. This is Peter Capaldi's final season as the good Doctor, and odds are we'll see who takes over for him in his final episode. Before that day, he may meet a beloved character from the past if actor John Barrowman has any pull with the show's creators. Barrowman played Captain Jack on previous season's of Doctor Who and Torchwood, and would like to see what happens when the Doctor meets Jack. "The Doctor's a little bit older, perfect – Jack's matured a little bit," Barrowman said on The Doctor Who Fan Show. "Would he think, 'I'm not sure about your cape there, sir. What happened to the coat? Why a cape? Why have you gone all Dracula on me?'"

I'd love to see Captain Jack return. Torchwood was a wonderful show, and Jack proved to be one of the series' most interesting characters (both in the present and future). I also want to see David Tennant return as the Doctor. I know that goes against the spirit of the show (not to mention its lore), but he was so damn good. He should be forced to play that role until the end of time. Again, I don't think season 10 is a good jumping-on point for newcomers to the series, but take a look a the trailer below to get an idea of just how much science-fiction variety this show offers in just one season.

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I don't like saying something is great before I see it, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is going to be great. How can it not be? I laughed through every trailer and think the casting is as good as it gets in Hollywood. The latest clip from Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards reaffirms my stance on this forthcoming film. Get ready to laugh, people. Poop jokes are the best.

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