I’m sure I’m not the only one, but for the last couple of weeks I’ve been living in the Andromeda Galaxy, helping the Pathfinder Initiative establish a new home for humanity. Or at least, my version of Scott Ryder in Mass Effect: Andromeda has, exploring new and exotic worlds, completing difficult and harrowing quests, and “befriending” vibrant alien life, in true Mass Effect style.
Along the way, though, I’ve also been trying at the various powers and abilities available to players in this new iteration of Bioware’s celebrated saga, and I’ve put together a few YouTube videos on my channel about the Combat, Biotic, and Tech skill groups. This post is essentially a follow up from that, bringing you a little more detail about my three personal favourite powers from each of the groups.
Let’s check out the Combat powers first. If we’re honest with ourselves, the Combat skills are easily the most boring – its not that they’re terrible powers (because they certainly aren’t), its simply that they don’t possess the same “WOW” factor that psionically throwing someone across the map or having a robot-buddy flamethrower someone does.
That said, the Combat group does contain the power I’ve probably used the most during my play-through: Concussive Shot. Its the very first power you start out with in the Andromeda Galaxy, and is a throwback and personal favourite power of everyone’s favourite Turian: Garrus Vakarian. Concussive shot fires a target seeking round, which deals significant damage and might knock your enemy over if they lack armour and shields. Curving around small walls or short barriers, its essentially a fire-and-forget bullet for dealing with enemies quickly and with minimal fuss. Its also an awesome combo detonator due to its speed; if you’ve already got an enemy primed, e.g. floating in the air due to Pull or Annihilation, Concussive Shot is wonderful for finishing them off.
Next up, Flak Cannon. I like to think of Flak Cannon as a big-explosion-shotgun-style-you-die-now power; it essentially involves you wandering up to enemies and unleashing an insanely damage inducing shell on them, which then in-turn explodes into further mini-explosions. Firepower. If you invest points into it, Flak can become an awesome power for really burning through an enemy’s health, although Concussive Shot’s fire-and-forget nature makes it better for me. Flak Cannon’s main pull, though, is the massive explosion that occurs when you hit an enemy: damn satisfying.
If you’re investing skill points in the Combat group, chances are you’re going full ‘Soldier’ archetype; little-to-no Biotics or Tech, very much on the weapons. If that’s the case, or you just like your guns, then Turbocharge is a must have. Ryder makes a little ‘whirly’ motion next to your gun, and all of a sudden your weapon firerate, clip size, and damage have all increased for a short time. Facing a group of tough enemies or a single tank foe? Suddenly you’re a one Pathfinder army for all the bullets you’re laying down. Turbocharge works best with already high firerate/large clip weapons, but its a beast in any situation.
For more information on these three choices, or the other Combat powers, check out my YouTube video on the subject.
Moving on from the Combat skills, lets head into probably the most popular group: Biotics. Essentially Mass Effect Jedi powers, Biotic powers let you use psionics to toss enemies across the map, create energy shields, or blip yourself across a distance to slam a foe.
Speaking of ‘blipping’, Charge is, in my opinion, a deceptively boring power. On the face of it, you’re simply charging at the enemy, rather than lifting them up and hurling them like a psionic bad-ass. However, Charge deals a decent amount of energy to your foe, with a nice level of additional force. Plus, it recharges some of your shields, and detonates combo primers on impact, for some solid versatility in combat. Got an enemy shooting you from a distance, knocking your shields down? Bam, suddenly your omni-tool blade is through their gizzard and your shields are back up to full. Its not flashy, but it is deadly.
If you’re tastes lie toward the flashy, though, Pull is probably your best bet. Ever wanted to wander around a firefight with a couple of your enemies floating around beside you? Well now you can! Upgrading Pull with Biotic Drain means your shields will even regenerate whilst you wander, and pairing Pull with the Throw power to lob your enemies across the map once your done with them really adds to the Darth Vader vibes. A solid, classic Mass Effect Power.
Final Biotic power now, and I’m going to punt for Backlash, with an honorary mention to Singularity in the Bad-Ass Biotic Powers award category. Look, Backlash is simply an awesome power, especially against enemies who are going to throw a load of damage at you in a short space of time. The power throws up a biotic shield which blocks enemy fire in front of you, and is mobile, unlike the Combat skill group’s Barricade. No more cowering behind cover when you can reflect enemy fire straight back at them, killing them with their own bullets – “biggest justice”, as they say.
For more information on these three choices, or the other Biotic powers, check out my YouTube video on the subject.
We’re onto the last skill group now, the Tech powers, which use energy based (i.e. fire, cold, or electricity) abilities to case irreparable and grievous harm to anyone pointing a weapon at you.
My personal favourite Tech power, though, is one of the two abilities which provide you with a temporary robot friend: Remnant VI. You’ll have to go the extra mile to help Peebee – your resident, Asari, Remnant-expert crewmember – with a quest in order to unlock the power, but oh boy is it worth it. Using Remnant VI spawns “Zap”, a Remnant Observer who floats around the map shooting your foes with a laser beam (and missiles if you choose that upgrade). Its such an awesome power, probably my favourite in the game, let alone the Tech group, and is far better than the alternative tech construct, the Assault Turret, which lacks Zap’s mobility or subtle personality.
Up next, Flamethrower. Shoot fire at your enemies and burn them to death. Pretty much says it all really, but for a little more detail, I’ll explain that I love powers which apply lingering damage to my enemies. If you’re fighting a whole group of foes, it can be difficult to focus on them all at once, but what if you had a power which slowly did damage to enemies, killing them even when you aren’t paying attention? Well, Flamethrower is not only bad-ass in the “let’s burn these ****s” satisfying kind of way, it also sets them on fire (also satisfying) to add burn damage. Essentially: much burning, much setting on fire, much awesome, ultimate ‘fire-and-forget’ power (see what I did there?).
The last power I’m favouring is not one everyone has, and that’s because it probably isn’t the best power for everyone. Overload is great, for me, for two reasons: first, it works excellently in combo with Concussive Shot, for the detonator reasons I mentioned earlier. Both powers arc around cover, and Overload will also stun group of enemies, holding them close together for Concussive Shot to take out at once. Second, its ‘super-effective’ against Synthetic type Pokemon/enemies. Considering the number of Remnant and tech foes you bump into, having a power which deals them extra damage is insanely useful. Same goes for shields; lots of enemies use them, and Overload works great against them.
For more information on these three choices, or the other Tech powers, check out my YouTube video on the subject.