How to Master Combat in 'Mass Effect: Andromeda'

A perfect blend of classic cover and modern action. 

Nicholas Bashore

While Mass Effect: Andromeda does truly feel like a Mass Effect experience that’s is on par with its predecessors, Andromeda’s game mechanics have been overhauled. Many core gameplay systems have been rebuilt with a new focus on dialogue and crafting, but no single change has been more profound than BioWare’s completely redesigned combat system.

Previously in Mass Effect, players relied on the tried-and-true third-person cover system brought into video games by Gears of War on the Xbox 360. In every combat situation, you’d run up to the nearest cover point and lock yourself to the surface before engaging your enemies. After things cleared up, you would push forward and the process would simply repeat again. It was tactical and functional but lacked any sort of movement where you could outflank your enemies quickly to shake things up. Naturally, that’s changed in Andromeda, and whether you like it or not, it’s here to stay.

But just because combat has been overhauled with the introduction of a jet pack and automatic cover — along with a few weapon and ability changes — that doesn’t mean Andromeda lacks the same challenge previously seen in the original trilogy, especially on the harder difficulties. Here are a few strategies to help you master Andromeda’s new, highly mobile combat system:

Nicholas Bashore

Use Favorites

Because of Andromeda’s new Profile and skill systems, you’re essentially able to create four different preset ability loadouts that you can swap between in combat depending on the situation at hand. Every preset you create contains a set Profile, which offers passive bonuses depending on combat style, and three main abilities from any of the skill trees present in the game. While it may be tempting to stick with one good preset with the Profile and abilities you enjoy the most, it won’t do you in favors when it comes to combat. Accessing different presets which best fit the combat situation you’re going up against can mean the difference between life and death in Andromeda, so don’t forget to play around with a few combos that work for you.

Nicholas Bashore

Don’t Forget About Cover

Even though Andromeda doesn’t really imply that you need to use cover throughout the game, you should get in the habit of ducking behind it when things start to take a turn for the worse. Doing so provides a bonus to your accuracy and shield regeneration rate, both of which are needed during difficult fights. Due to the game’s new automatic cover system, certain positions in the environment may work against you, but those same obstacles can also work in your favor. Use round objects for cover to get angles with your sniper rifle you wouldn’t otherwise have access to, or use blocks of cover against enemies to trap them in with Trip Mines as you float above with your jetpack raining down gunfire.

Nicholas Bashore

Always Be Moving

While using cover to lock groups of enemies into a place where you can easily eliminate them or protect yourself while your shields regenerate represent a valuable part of combat in Andromeda, don’t let it become the only way you approach dangerous situations. The great thing about Andromeda’s new combat system is that it puts just as much emphasis on movement as it does cover, meaning you should actively be using both options to work through every possible scenario. Enemies you’ll encounter will move just as much as you do, and if you sit in one spot for too long, you’ll quickly find yourself cornered with nowhere to go. Use your jump-jet to maneuver in and out of cover quickly or hover above enemies to get the drop on them, swapping between ability presets while you do.

Nicholas Bashore

Modify Your Weapons

Whenever you obtain a new weapon in Andromeda from looting, crafting, or as a quest reward, you’ll notice it has a set of performance stats alongside a rarity rank depending on how hard to obtain it is. Different weapons are obviously good for different combat scenarios. You should get used to equipping whichever one helps get the job done best, but it’s worth noting that you can heavily modify them if you have the parts to do so. Each weapon can hold two modifications, and while they may seem useless at first, higher-quality mods can turn an assault rifle into a long-range weapon with perfect accuracy or a sniper rifle into a canon you can use in close to medium range encounters. Always be on the lookout for better modifications to help you customize your loadout the way you see fit. The more options, the better.

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