Continuing their gameplay video series on Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare have released more info about the various planets and star systems you’ll be exploring on the Tempest. The Helius Cluster is a section of the Andromeda Galaxy filled with hundreds of planets, with a handful of fully fleshed out worlds for Ryder and his crew to land on and explore.
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Each of the planets that you can land on have their own stories, challenges and peoples for players to interact with. For the sake of the video, BioWare have chosen just one planet to act as an example of a typical planetary excursion. The planet in question is a desert world, where water is scarce and giant Remnant artefacts dot the landscape. Before you land on a planet, you can actually look out the windows of the Tempest to see stars and celestial bodies float past your window.
Elaaden is occupied mostly by Krogan, who are deeply distrustful of Ryder and the Initiative, so players must find some way of getting them on side should they wish to develop the planet further. While you can start with dealing with the Krogan, the Tempest’s AI maps out the main areas of interest on the planet before you land, giving players a fair few options to start their exploring.
With Elaaden being a desert planet, the Nomad proves vital from driving from location to location. As you scout the planet’s surface, you can put down special forward operation stations to create fast travel points and mark important locations. You can change your weapon loadout at these stations and also recall the Nomad, should you lose it or it gets too heavily damaged during your investigations.
The more you help out on a planet like Elaaden, you can gradually increase its viability as a habitable planet. Increasing a planet’s viability allows for an outpost to be built there, as well as helping upgrade the Nexus. A planet will need to get to 40% viability before an outpost can be set up, which requires players completing missions, pacifying hostile wildlife and solving environmental problems.
For Elaaden, increasing your relationship with the Krogan will increase the planet’s viability and allow you to expand the Nexus some more and wake up more frozen colonists. You can actually choose which colonists you wake up, with certain people adding different bonuses to Ryder and the Tempest.