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A Beginner’s Guide to the Nomad in “Mass Effect: Andromeda”

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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 is the latest in the exciting science-fiction role-playing video game series by BioWare. Though having a rocky start in 2017 thanks to some issues with the game's animation, Andromeda is nevertheless a fun installment filled with beautiful alien worlds to explore, new characters to meet, and dozens of side missions to dive into.

We follow the story of Ryder (male or female, depending on which you choose), the new Pathfinder of the Initiative trying to find a new world for humans after traveling in deep space for six hundred years.

Exploring a new planet is impossible without the ND1 Nomad, the impressive six-wheel vehicle you can use to quickly travel through the worlds. This car grants you the ability to tackle rough terrain, gives strong protection against unfriendly environments, and is, of course, a much faster alternative to walking.

Here are things you should know about the Nomad, such as how to use it effectively, to make the most of using it throughout the game.

1. Call Your Nomad at Any Forward Station

Though not entirely obvious at first, the Nomad can be called to your location from any forward station. Approach the pod and activate the "Nomad" option. The pod can also be used to change your loadout and offers a several-meter radius of a safe atmosphere. It also restores your health and life support and offers an increase to a planet's viability of 2% when first initiated.

You can see where the Nomad is on your map; however, summoning it to the forward station is handy when you've got the car stuck on top of a mountain or in a tricky area.

2. Go up Steep Hills by Switching Gears

The planets you explore are full of valleys, hills, and jagged rocks. The Nomad is excellent for tackling all of these, but not unless you utilize the vehicle's six-wheel drive.

There is an icon at the bottom of the screen while you're driving it. The button to switch gears depends on your console; on the PlayStation 4, it's L3. During six-wheel drive:

  • A light comes on at the back of the vehicle.
  • The Nomad can move (slowly) up a cliff.
  • The car's speed is lowered, so remember to switch back to regular drive mode when you're on a flatter, more manageable surface.

For a particularly tricky hill (there is a limit to what the Nomad can do), press square on the PlayStation 4 to give the Nomad a boost. If this doesn't work, try tackling the hill from a different angle.

The worst-case scenario is that you'll have to find a longer way around. For example, for the enormous mountain on Voeld, you have to drive around it (activated during a quest) to reach the peak. It is usually fairly obvious what the Nomad can and can't do.

3. Make Use of the Nomad's Powerful Life Support

Many planets have unfriendly atmospheres when you first land on them that even your suit can't fully protect you against. Some environments have extreme temperatures or a dangerous amount of radiation in the air. For these, Ryder and their party can only explore for a short time before being forced to head back to safety. If your life support runs out, you quickly lose your shields and health.

The Nomad has a powerful life support system, though it too will run out eventually. It is significantly stronger than your suit and is essential when exploring a planet you have yet to heal.

4. The Nomad Is a Quick Route Back to Base

You don't need to head to the original forward station to reach your ship. Your party can easily be extracted onto the Tempest by keeping your finger on the Extract button (triangle on the PS4).

It is possible to do this even in the midst of battle (unlike fast traveling) and is good for getting you out of a sticky spot or when you quickly want to leave the planet.

5. Don't Forget About Reverse

The Nomad is powerful, but it isn't immune to the possibility of getting stuck. Large rocks or even stations can have annoying crevices where the vehicle can get jammed. Fast traveling is a possible solution to this unless you're in the middle of a battle. Don't forget that the Nomad can reverse, and quickly too.

Simply keep your finger on the button that slows the vehicle down. The Nomad will move backward, hopefully clearing you from the tight spot.

6. Use Upgrades

The Nomad can be made even better with upgrades. Ryder can collect various blueprints for improvements such as improved suspension and vertical thrust upgrade (both of which come with the vehicle) and rarer blueprints that can be unlocked with leveling or completing certain missions. Some can also be purchased from merchants.

A handy thing about Nomad upgrades is that once you have the blueprints, they are automatically installed as soon as you get into the vehicle. Keep an eye out for blueprints on your travels.

This great video below goes into more detail on the Nomad upgrades.

7. Experiment With Paint Jobs

The Nomad can also be painted with various designs if that's your kind of thing. Skins come in types from Common to Ultra Rare. The rarest of paint jobs are Platinum, which you can get if you sign up to the Andromeda newsletter, and the Migrant Spirit, Midas Touch, and the Tuchanka gift, which are all only available to those with the Deluxe Edition or Super Deluxe Edition.

You can change your Nomad's skin by finding the Nomad tag on the loadout screen from a forward station or on the Tempest.

Drive This Bad Boy All Over the Galaxy!

It is enormous fun to discover new areas, bounce around, and squish annoying baddies on new planets in the Nomad! With these helpful tips on using it, you will quickly be able to master driving this bad boy all over the Andromeda Galaxy.

© 2018 Poppy


Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on December 04, 2018:

Thank you, George. The LEGO games were cute.

George Johnson from San Antonio, TX on December 04, 2018:

Fun article. You’re really in to video games. In addition to call of duty I really like the LEGO games.