Nvidia’s CES keynote gave us a brand new look at Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay, including some peeks at the in-game menus and skill trees. This isn’t the first we’ve heard about the game’s menus and level up system, but it is a deeper look at them in action. From what we saw, the menu system in Andromeda looks like it holds a ton of information, and we’ll be spending quite a bit of time in them.
The first shot we see is of course the overall pause menu of the game, which includes many of the categories you’d expect from Mass Effect. There’s save game, inventory, a journal that probably chronicles your quests, and codex which holds all the lore and information you need. There are two interesting categories, however, featuring Profiles and Skills.
Mass Effect: Andromeda will do away with the more stagnant class system of previous games, instead opting for a larger overall tech tree. This Profiles option in the menu, when selected, brings up folders for all of the classes we knew in previous games. To the right you can see a description of the profile and some of its stat boosts.
During the gameplay, the player selected one of the profiles, marking it with a checkmark and presumably equipping it. Already, you can see there’s a ton of information to wade through, and the mass of text and menu options look immediately full.
The more confusing part comes with that other new category, Skills. When this option is selected, as seen below, it once again brings up multiple folders with options for Ryder’s combat, biotics, tech, and then separate options for the squad.
Of course, diving one step deeper brings up a plethora of updgrades. Various options sit in a long, scrollable menu to the left, with the dots next to each category likely corresponding to the level or rank of that ability. To the right for each, the screen is filled with numbers, percentages, and other details. The two-minute trailer only provides a brief glance of the menu system, but the overall design, including the sheer number of options, seems far more dense than that of previous Mass Effect titles. The folder design on the menus are reminiscent of a PC desktop, which may be exactly the design that Bioware is going for.
The most confusing aspect right now is how Profiles and Skills work together, something that we just don’t know at this point in time. Unless you stick to one profile, experimenting with multiple ones seem like it’ll create quite a bit of menu browsing for players. Depending on how this is all delivered in the final product, the system could turn out a bit off-putting.
The positive aspect to all this, of course, is that Andromeda certainly looks like it has a deep leveling and upgrade system. Fans looking for those RPG elements in Mass Effect are sure to be pleased with the assortment on display. It looks like player’s really will be able to adjust Ryder to their play style, and try new things on the go. However, the new look we got does make you wonder just how much time we’re going to be spending in menus.
A fair amount of menu navigation is expected with any RPG, but hopefully Andromeda really has a way of streamlining the whole process. The core gameplay of the title seems so fast-paced and action oriented that having to pop into the menus for extended periods of time might bog things down. It’ll be easier to judge just how things work as we find out more on the game closer to its March 21 release date.
What do you think of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s menus? Do you think they look overwhelming, or just right? Let us know what you think down in the comments below.