Mass Effect is almost back in action, and these are the details to get you through to launch day!

The release of Mass Effect Andromeda will likely bring millions of gamers back to the beautifully intricate universe of Mass Effect. With an entirely new galaxy to discover and new threats to deal with, there is a ton of content here for players new and returning.

We still have a few weeks until the game will release, but until then we've put together a list of the things that you should know. It's time to get excited, but these should help to hold you over until March 21, 2017.

No more classes

In the earlier games, you were locked into a specific set of skills and weapons. That's all gone now in Andromeda. You won't have to pick the weapons and skills you'll use through the entire game as soon as you jump in. Instead, you'll be able to buy upgrades and switch between weapons at your own ease.

While purchasing a certain number of skills in a specific tree will let you access specialized perks, you can easily choose how you want to play the game.

More conversation options

Mass Effect Andromeda has done away with the Paragon and Renegade system that dominated the moral decisions in the original Mass Effect trilogy. Instead, things are a little bit more fluid. You'll be able to choose from 4 conversation options that revolve around agreeing or disagreeing in a different tone. It ought to add some layers of complexity to the conversation system, allowing for nuanced gameplay versus whether something is objectively good or evil.

Anthology

Another huge departure for Andromeda is that this won't be the beginning of a new trilogy. While there are games planned for the future within in the Mass Effect universe, each new game including Andromeda will have it's own stand alone story. You can probably expect to see a regular cast of characters in the future, but there isn't going to be an ongoing story across multiple games. While this might be a disappointment for some, this allows the writers greater freedom in delivering new and expansive plots within a gigantic universe.

New Game +

While you won't be able to port your character from Andromeda to games released down the line, you will have the ability to keep playing after you beat the game. You can run back through the story with some of the weapons, abilities, and stat increases that you earned in your first playthrough. You also have the option to switch your gender for the second playthrough. That's because the story in Andromeda revolves around two siblings, and no matter which one you choose to play, the other will pop up as a background character.

This opens up some really interesting options for gameplay. This could allow for a greater range of perspective about the events that transpire, as well as opening up locked romance or conversation options.

Exploration

Part of the beauty of Andromeda is how expansive the game will be. There will be dozens of different planets available for exploration and colonization. Unlike earlier planets to explore in Mass Effect Andromeda's are large, dynamic environments with plenty for you to do. I

In-depth environments and teems with life, optional boss-style monsters, and even forts that need to be taken over in order for you to expand your influence. Andromeda's creators have said that they took cues from The Witcher 3 in developing the planets and what is contained in them. This includes running into very nasty high-level monsters when you can't possibly defeat them.

In an interview, BioWare said (via ICXM) that: "One planet can be the size of Dragon Age: Inquisition as a whole. Not all of them, but some of them. But it gives you an idea of scale." We can only hope Dragon Age Inquisition's tendency towards pointless fetch quests is sidestepped.

Romance

Romance has always been a feature in Mass Effect, but its execution often felt wooden or overly scripted. Romance will feature in Andromeda, but it has gotten a pretty serious facelift.

Now, different characters will have unique romance options, and these will vary from character to character. Some characters want an actual relationship, while other might only be down for a casual hookup. Likewise, certain characters may not be interested in you depending on your gender. BioWare is aiming to give romance a much more organic feel, as opposed to just hitting the right conversation options in the right order, and waiting for the correct plot point.

New Villains

The Reapers are nowhere to be found in the Andromeda galaxy, and instead, there is a new baddie to get your attention. The Kett are a bony, rugged species that BioWare hopes you might still sympathize with, which definitely lends questions as to what kind of story they are involved in.

There's still plenty of mystery surrounding the Kett, and we don't have too many details as of yet. They were only revealed in the N7 Day trailer, and while they look mighty imposing, we aren't sure what their goal is, or even why they are your enemy. The only thing we really know is that the developers wanted to make sure this was a race that could be empathized with.

Crafting is here

As you explore new planets, you'll discover materials that can be used to create new items, and upgrade your current load out. Your Nomad buggy can harvest these materials for use in upgrades. The exact details on how crafting will work, and what it entails is still thin. However, early reports look like you'll be able to craft on the go, and that this is how you will be able to pump up the stats on your armor.

Your Squad

Mass Effect Andromeda includes a cast of 7 playable characters that you can have in your party. Each one has their own loyalty missions and special abilities. Right now we have the details on all but the last playable character available, and it's a pretty good mix. Everyone who fights by your side will be a race you've encountered in previous Mass Effect games, leaving the new races to be discovered as you colonize planets.

  • PeeBee: a female Asari
  • Liam Costa: Male Human
  • Cora Harper: Female Human
  • Drack: Krogan
  • Vetra: Female Turian

That's a wrap!

What interesting facts about Mass Effect Andromeda have you learned? Let's hit the comments!

Mass Effect Andromeda releases on Xbox One, PC, and PS4 on March 21, 2017.