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“Mass Effect: Andromeda” Tips and Tricks

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Poppy is the author of "A Bard's Lament" and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima, Japan, with her husband and young son.

Mass Effect: Andromeda was released in 2017, the latest and first PlayStation 4 installment of the open world, science-fiction RPG series Mass Effect, developed by BioWare.

This breathtaking franchise has won the hearts and imaginations of players worldwide, and though Andromeda got off on a rocky start thanks to animation issues in its initial release, it is nevertheless a gorgeous game worthy of its fans' appreciation.

If you are just starting a new playthrough of Andromeda, what are some things you should know to make the most of it? With such a large galaxy to explore, many in-game choices that affect the storyline and results, and a lot of aspects that can be initially hard to grasp, there are things that can be missed or wasted during your first playthrough.

Here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of Mass Effect: Andromeda.

1. Don't Stress Too Much in Character Creation

If you choose to customize your playable character, it can be easy to spend far too long perfecting the nose shape, choosing a cool hairstyle, and selecting the perfect shade for their eyes.

However, BioWare has since released a patch allowing you to change your character's appearance mid-game; you can do so on the Tempest. Due to the deceptive camera angles while creating your character, my female Ryder had far too large a chin for the first hour or so of the game. I had to cringe my way through several scenes of her massive underbite before I could fix it on the ship.

If you're eager to jump in the game, don't agonize over getting her features exactly right—you can do that soon after boarding your spaceship.

2. Investigate New Planets at Every Opportunity

Checking out a new galaxy can be a bit overwhelming at first, but not all of the little orbs on your map are explorable new worlds. As well as zooming in to examine these planets further, be sure to watch out for Suvi saying that she's spotted an anomaly.

Investigate these with probes; doing this can get you extra experience points, resources, and even develop some side missions.

3. Talk to Everyone

If you're the kind of player who is a completist and wants to try and finish every single quest in a game, then talking to NPCs is essential. Even those without a quest marker above their heads may have interesting things to say, and your response might affect the world around you.

For example, speaking to "Concerned Citizens" can calm down trouble brewing on the Nexus. Try to interact with everyone around you to open new missions, get a different view on the situation, and perhaps even calm down potential future problems.

4. Scan Everything

Scanning is essential! It gets you extra research points and is often a vital step in developing missions.

The game will often tell you when there's something important nearby to scan, but it is a good idea to get your scanner up whenever you enter a new place. Things like machines, people, and wildlife can boost your research data and tell you more about the worlds you explore.

5. Flirt Whenever Possible

Flirting and romancing is one of the things BioWare does best. Mass Effect: Andromeda has an impressive number of romanceable characters and since some of them don't appear until later in the game, you won't know who you like until you find someone who really sparks your interest.

Similarly, you might realize you like someone halfway through the game only to find out you've missed the opportunity. Avoid this by flirting with everyone whenever the opportunity arises. That way, when you've decided who you'd like to woo, you won't have to start an entirely new game to do so.

6. Sell All Salvage

When you're exploring alien planets and looting bodies and containers for treasure, you'll often come across items that count as "salvage." Examining these tells you that they can be sold to merchants for credits.

These items don't have any secrets or rewards for keeping them, so be sure to sell them whenever you run into a merchant or vendor. There is a handy "sell salvage" option to do this quickly and rake in the cash.

7. Check Your Emails

This is a task that easy to forget to do often, but an essential one. Emails can be read from the Tempest.

Emails can start new tasks and tell you more about other characters' relationships with you. If you're trying to romance someone, you might even get personal quests or sweet messages from them. Be sure to check your emails often, especially if you have just completed a storyline mission.

8. Pay Attention to Your Loadout Before You Go

Your loadout is an easy step to miss when you're eager to embark on a mission. Unlike many other games, where you can change weapons and armor from the pause menu, Mass Effect: Andromeda requires you to choose your equipment and teammates before you leave.

You can also change them from forward stations, but it's a pain to suddenly have to dash back to the checkpoint halfway through a mission because you brought the wrong person or forgot your favorite assault rifle.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is full of rich new worlds to explore, fascinating new characters to meet, and a new story to discover. These essential tips will hopefully make your experience of this thrilling RPG smoother and easier.

© 2018 Poppy