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Let’s talk about Mass Effect Andromeda’s story and tone

24 Mar

Mass Effect: Andromeda’s story is satisfying but tonally frustrating. Let’s talk about why.

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I was really glad when Brenna said she’d review Mass Effect: Andromeda. It was a bit of a weight off my mind – I was 50 hours into the game and still had no idea of what I wanted to say. A few days later and I feel obligated to write something – I’m a Mass Effect mega-fan, and back when Mass Effect 3 came out I wrote a gushing editorial about how the game really did feel like saying goodbye to old friends. With that fandom in mind, I’ll reveal that Andromeda was a bit of a rollercoaster for me.

I’m going to talk about story a lot, and while I’m not going to go into detail there will be minor spoilers.

I loved the first hour or so, then hit a bit of a brick wall immediately after the intro: something felt off. As the game progressed, things got better and better. The improvement was significant: characters who felt hollow before suddenly began to spring to life and feel incredibly likeable. The game’s energy in general seemed to shift: it felt like Mass Effect again.

“If you stick with it long enough it earns the Mass Effect name – though yes, there’s a dangerous feeling early on that you’re playing the straight-to-video sequel version of Mass Effect that gets made when none of the original cast want to come back.”

Say what you will about the bugs or structural problems since they’re there and undeniable. I don’t quite get the complaints about Andromeda’s writing, however. People have cherry-picked bad lines for snappy twitter clips, but I’m not going to pretend that the trilogy was any more free of the occasional clunker. Mass Effect has always been more like the pulpy nature of Star Wars than a science fiction masterpiece, though rose-tinted specs might cloud that.

If you stick with it long enough it earns the Mass Effect name – though yes, there’s a dangerous feeling early on that you’re playing the straight-to-video sequel version of Mass Effect that gets made when none of the original cast want to come back. The game eventually throws off that feeling, and thank god for that: nobody wants to be Kindergarten Cop 2 (yes, it exists) or that weird sequel to Donnie Darko. Eventually Andromeda steps into its own, though it arguably happens too late: I’ve seen a lot of media, youtubers and message board folk chatting about those early hours as if they represent the whole game: they don’t.

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“I loved returning to some of the overarching species-related plots that made the trilogy interesting, but in a sense it feels like a misfire: wasn’t the point of Andromeda to discover something new?”

With that said, there’s a generally troubling thread that runs right through Andromeda, and it’s all to do with that setting. Andromeda promised things that were wildly different and new, but the game seems mostly focused on trying to put the status quo of the original trilogy back in place: the same races, working in the same ways. The fact the game teases that the missing Milky Way races such as the Quarians, Hanar and Drell are also on the way is a mission statement of sorts, and it’s a theme that persists throughout the game.

The first encounter with the villainous Kett is masterfully handled, with the simple decision to let you manually control with regular combat controls if you approach with guns drawn – or with hands up – a great representation of how first contact could actually play out. It’s a different type of choice for Mass Effect: actively controlled rather than passively selected from a menu. It feels poignant. First contact with the new friendly Angara also starts out well, tension-filled and exciting, but the game is keen to move you on: there’s a native language but quickly your AI is translating everything and they’re all speaking English. The tension evaporates.

The new Remnant race don’t really offer much narratively – it’s another set of ancient aliens, but without a touch like the strange short story narratives that accompanied Prothean ruins in the original Mass Effect they’re fairly devoid of personality. The game rushes you along: hurry, hurry – and when it does stop for breath, it’s to underline the old conflict between the Salarians and the Krogan or to navigate other politics back with races we already know well.

In a sense it’s hard to complain about this: all the stuff that the game does drag to the forefront shines. The reason that Andromeda returns to those wells is because they were all fantastic. They still are here. Indeed, probably the reason we’re in Andromeda at all is even if you disregard Mass Effect 3’s divergent endings and select a canon one, many of the conflicts are resolved. If the genophage is fully cured, is Krogan aggression as interesting?

I loved returning to some of the overarching species-related plots that made the trilogy interesting, but in a sense it feels like a misfire: wasn’t the point of Andromeda to discover something new? The Angara are a start, but it doesn’t feel like there’s enough. It felt like a race to get to the most iconic images of the trilogy. I can hardly blame Bioware for that, but I also have to wonder.

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There’s a similar sort of tonal misfire around Scott or Sara, Pathfinder and protagonist. One thing I love about this duo is that they are definitely different from Shepard. While you shape the tone of Shepard or Ryder, they’re still characters in their own right. Shepard is a badass that doesn’t stop. Good or ill, they always have a sharp response ready. The Ryders are unsure, awkward. It’s personified best in a team meeting situation aboard the ship: where Shepard commanded absolute attention and respect, the team don’t wait for Ryder to dismiss them before walking off. Ryder is left incredulous. It’s a funny scene.

The problem comes with that title of Pathfinder. There was a lot of talk around ‘space Jesus’ in reference to Shepard, but I always felt like like they earned it: In the original Mass Effect they become Spectre by way of force and they’re consistently doubted, grounded and forced to act alone. In Mass Effect 2 the official powers continue to ignore you, but one man who might well be crazy believes and pumps money your way. It makes sense. By the third game, Shepard is validated and he is space Jesus. Everybody turning to him makes sense.

“How much new Andromeda offers is a disappointment, but here’s the flip-side: when it doesn’t halfway-house it and sips from the cup of fan service unrepentant it is at its best.”

Scott or Sara are nominated as Pathfinder by their father, and while there’s some early resistance around it being seen as nepotism that quickly drains away. Everybody is ecstatic to see you: you’re the pathfinder! This is the space Jesus thing turned up to eleven, except it doesn’t feel like you’ve actually earned it. All you did was have the right dad. Even the Angara quickly transition from ‘these aliens could be diseased’ to ‘this is the pathfinder, from the Milky Way!’ The whole thing rubs me the wrong way, especially when rapidly you’re not even the only pathfinder… except the others seem fairly useless, standard soldier types with access to their own AIs. I don’t feel sold on why the Ryders are special, even if I like them, and it feels like their status mostly exists as a rush to push back to Shepard-status so the player feels empowered – but I just end up questioning it.

The same is true for the tone – the Ryders are funny and quippy in a way Shepard wasn’t. This is likeable, but the way they and the rest of the crew are often feels at odds with the life-or-death predicament ongoing in Andromeda. The tone is weird.

How much new Andromeda offers is a disappointment, but here’s the flip-side: when it doesn’t halfway-house it and sips from the cup of fan service unrepentant it is at its best. I nearly fell out of my seat when in a video log a character related to a major trilogy player began to recount tales of certain trilogy events. When the game teased involvement of a shady third party that was “scared for the Milky Way” in funding the Andromeda project I got impossibly excited about who it probably was; these are the sorts of things that likewise made me excited in Mass Effect 2 and 3.

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Basically, the game is perhaps better off when it focuses on being a simple expansion of that universe rather than, as pitched, something of a reboot.

While Andromeda itself doesn’t feel new enough, the game succeeds in other areas: its cast, for instance, are charming and successful twists or inversions of ideas from the trilogy. Peebee shares the fascination and talent for science with Liara, but where Liara is at first a nervous, innocent and unsure student and later a bad-ass commando, Peebee is a punk. Drack is better compared to Grunt than Wrex: if Grunt is an expression of a Krogan as a teenager, Drack is a grandpa – and a brilliantly written one. Every one is taken in a new direction. Hell, I even like Liam, even if it’s got a big mouth and needs to close it more often.

Perhaps all this was necessary. Mass Effect 3 backed Bioware into a corner and Andromeda has provided a solid out. By the end of the game I was absorbed into this new galaxy and its characters, if a little perplexed it didn’t offer more new. I don’t really care about that now, though: what I now want are more stories.

The basic framework of Mass Effect was ripe to support more stories back in the Milky Way, and if Andromeda just gives us a place to explore these same themes and ideas divorced from the bluster of the trilogy I’m okay with that. I just wish it hadn’t taken ten hours of play-time to get there.

Anyway. In spite of these gripes, Mass Effect: Andromeda is pretty damn good. It’s better, I think, than a lot of the discourse online is giving it credit for – but it’ll take a bit of digging to really understand why. Be patient – it’s worth it.

The best horde mode zombie shooter is free to play this weekend on Steam and PS4

24 Mar

There is no excuse not to check out Killing Floor 2 this weekend.

Killing Floor 2, the zombie shooter from Tripwire, is celebrating the release of new content with a free weekend and a big sale. From now until March 28, the game will be free to play on both Steam, as well as PS4 for the first time ever.

The free trial can be downloaded in any region, or from Steam if you’re on PC. It offers unrestricted access to the content. The game is also on sale both on the PlayStation Store, as well as Steam for 33% off and 50% off respectively.

Earlier this week, the game received a big content update titled The Descent, bringing two new maps and weapons. This is Killing Floor 2’s second free update this year, after Tropical Bash in January.

I named Killing Floor 2 one of the best shooters of 2016, a no-fuss zombie shooter that focuses on pure, satisfying mechanics above all else.

Watch the trailer above for the latest content update if you’re unfamiliar with the beautiful carnage of Killing Floor. The game supports six players in co-op, or 12 in the Versus mode.

The best horde mode zombie shooter is free to play this weekend on Steam and PS4

24 Mar

There is no excuse not to check out Killing Floor 2 this weekend.

Killing Floor 2, the zombie shooter from Tripwire, is celebrating the release of new content with a free weekend and a big sale. From now until March 28, the game will be free to play on both Steam, as well as PS4 for the first time ever.

The free trial can be downloaded in any region, or from Steam if you’re on PC. It offers unrestricted access to the content. The game is also on sale both on the PlayStation Store, as well as Steam for 33% off and 50% off respectively.

Earlier this week, the game received a big content update titled The Descent, bringing two new maps and weapons. This is Killing Floor 2’s second free update this year, after Tropical Bash in January.

I named Killing Floor 2 one of the best shooters of 2016, a no-fuss zombie shooter that focuses on pure, satisfying mechanics above all else.

Watch the trailer above for the latest content update if you’re unfamiliar with the beautiful carnage of Killing Floor. The game supports six players in co-op, or 12 in the Versus mode.

Mass Effect Andromeda guide: Elaaden, 100% viability and The Journey to Meridian

24 Mar

Mass Effect Andromeda is building to a climax – and we don’t just mean in the romance system.

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The Journey to Meridian contents

Objectives and mission flow

Boss: Destroyer

Boss: The Archon’s Sword

Elaaven secondary quests

Endgame secondary quests

This chapter of Mass Effect Andromeda takes us to a point of no return, so if you’re the sort who likes to get all your side questing done before the big climax, now’s definitely the time to get moving on that.

The priority op itself, The Journey to Meridian, is pretty straight forward, although it does involve some great battles, including two major bosses.

Reaching this mission progress most “on hold” secondary quests to the point of completion. Of particular note is Know Your Enemy, which updates with a last email as you begin The Journey to Meridian. This quest leads into another called Dissension in the Ranks, which can decrease the difficulty of the final priority op, as well as being narratively satisfying. Be sure to grab the email and proceed to Voeld to complete the quest chain before you kick off the main mission.

You won’t have many more chances to clear out side content once you get properly started with The Journey to Meridian, so if you want to be as prepared as possible for the very final battle, there’s a lot you should get done. Hitting full viability on all planets is a good target, and can be achieved without ticking off every single quest. As such, we’ve also included a list of all the content on optional planet Elaaden on this page.

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The Journey to Meridian objectives and suggested missions flow

Find more tips, tricks and explanations in our Mass Effect Andromeda guide and walkthrough.

As mentioned above, this mission is something of a point of no return for Mass Effect Andromeda. Although you will still be able to play after the final priority op, some secondary content will close or alter to reflect the end of the main narrative. Additionally, you won’t have a chance to increase your Andromeda viability once you get moving.

We’re stressing this a lot now because we want to be sure you don’t miss the message: get everything done. Check your email. Talk to everyone. Go everywhere. Look at everything. Sure, you can do it later, and it’s not like the galaxy’s gonna blow up if you don’t, but since you have the chance to make a perfect run on it now, why not do it?

Alright then, here’s how we suggest you tackle The Journey to Meridian. The only tricky bit in this mission is a branching path where you need to visit each destination – a pair of towers, one in the north and one in the south. Each includes a boss battle, and one of these is with a Destoryer, a new enemy type you won’t have seen before.

The mission culminates in a major boss battle with The Archon’s Sword and transitions immediately to Meridian: The Journey Home.

  • Optional: visit the Nexus, Hyperion and Tempest to update conversations and side quests
  • Optional: collect Elaaden side quests (see list below)
  • Optional: clear all available side quests and planet scanning
  • Optional: Achieve 100% viability on all outpost planets
  • Meet with Nexus Leaders
  • Speak with your sibling
  • Interact with the terminal in the Tempest Research Centre
  • Call a crew meeting on the Vidcon
  • Travel to Meridian in the Civki system
  • Explore the Remnant City
    • Use the console
    • Cross the bridge and use a second console
    • Use gravity well and fight through Kett and Remnant
    • Investigate the North Tower
      • – Battle through the Remnant
      • – Activate the console to open the door
      • – Enter Exploration Systems
      • – Activate the four consoles: NW, NE, SW, SE
      • – Activate the final console
      • – Kill the Destroyer mini-boss
    • Investigate the South Tower
      • – Battle through the Kett and Remnant
      • Optional: solve the Remnant Decryption to loot a treasure room
      • – Activate the console to open the door
      • – Enter Research Sector
      • – Battle through the Kett and Remnant
      • – Kill the Ascendant mini-boss
    • Return to Core 17
    • Battle the Remnant and Kett on the bridge
    • Use the gravity well
    • Activate the central command console
  • Kill The Archon’s Sword boss

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The Journey to Meridian mini-boss: the Destroyer

Encountered in the North Tower as a mini-boss, the Destroyer unit actually turns up a second time during this mission, so get used to it now.

The key to a Destroyer encounter is to use the environment to your advantage and stay mobile; distance will keep you out of its annoying area of effect attacks, but you’ll need to evade its main cannon, and hunkering down behind cover is a bad idea – it has an explosive response to that tactic.

You must control the adds. Your first priority should be to take down all the Assemblers, to stop them building more units, and then the Nullifiers. We found it easiest to point our squaddies at the Nullifiers while we whipped around clearing up the smaller mobs.

When you’re ready to face the Destroyer itself, go for its most obvious weak spot – the two turrets. Although dropping the turrets makes the Destroyer more mobile, it also prevents it unleashing one of its attacks, and significantly eats into its shields. Critical damage bonuses help a lot here.

Once you’ve dropped both turrets, just keep your distance and dodge when the main cannon fires, and you’ll win the war of attrition, As ever, consumables will help you hit it harder and faster.

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The Journey to Merdian boss: The Archon’s Sword

The proper boss of The Road to Meridian is sort of like a Destined on steroids, except that Destined rarely call in so many adds you want to throw your controller at the screen.

Add control is so, so important here and it’s the constant spawns that really make this encounter challenging. Since there’s so much going on it’s very difficult to order your squaddies about efficiently, so if you are good at clearing large numbers of adds quickly, you might want to leave Drack and Cora at home and bring those more at home with distance battles, like Vetra and Jaal, and point them both at the Archon’s Sword while you do mob duty.

High ground is very important in this encounter, and you can really help yourself out by using the environment to funnel enemies into chokepoints. You will have to face Anointed and a Fiend as well as the squishier Wraiths and Chosen, so you definitely need to think about something to smack down shields as well as punch through armour. Ability wise, anything you’ve got for controlling groups is great, and if you’ve specced your powers to detonate with radius damage you can really benefit from combos here.

If you only have limited disruptor ammo consumables, save them for the Archon’s Sword himself, as his shields are a bother. Whenever the Archon’s Sword gets a bit sore he’ll cloak and wander off, usually calling in a bunch more adds. Keep track of him by watching for that weird swirly cloud Destined generate, and make sure you don’t let him flank you while you’re coping with the mess.

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Elaaden secondary quests

Elaaden is a dry and dusty planet, and home to New Tuchanka, the outpost established by the Krogan after they were kicked off the Nexus. This planet is entirely optional, but there’s heaps to do. You can set up a new outpost, even.

  • Elaaden: A New World
    Enter the Tempest after visiting Kadara to view a cutscene unlocking this mission and the planet Elaaden.
  • Settling Elaaden
    Land on Elaaden to unlock.
  • Conflict in the Colony
    This is the main Elaaden mission chain and unlocks after you visit the planet and enter Paradise.

    • Parlay with the Krogan
    • Investigate the Remnant Derelict
    • Search for the Stolen Remnant Drive Core
      • If you give the Drive Core to Morda the Krogan and Nexus resume friendly relations and you can build an Outpost on Elaaden.
      • If you keep the Drive Core for the Initiative you’ll receive 1,000 Remnant research points and 2,000 Credits in addition to standard mission rewards.
  • The Flophouse
    This is the main base mission of Elaaden, and is tackled during the quest chain above.
  • Architect on Elaaden
  • This battle becomes available if you establish an outpost on Elaaden.

  • Taming a Desert/Making This Dust Bowl Livable
    Approach any of the three Elaaden monoliths.
  • Water Supply
    Use the console in the Flophouse.
  • The Mind of an Exile
    Unlocks with a comm from Lexi after you enter Paradise.
  • Gray Matter
    Unlocks sometime after completion of The Mind of an Exile.
  • Hard Luck
    Speak to Nora Tallis in Paradise Sands.
  • The Rebel
    Speak to Kent Halsey in Paradise Sands.
  • Save Dr. Okeer’s Krogan Research
    Speak to the Krogan geneticist at New Tuchanka.
  • Rising Tensions
    Speak to Shaman Kortik in New Tuchanka; must have unlocked Parlay with the Krogan.
  • The Search for Ljeta
    Speak to Rorik in New Tuchanka. Unlocks after resolving the main Elaaden mission chain.
  • Crisis Response
    Acquired from a datapad in the Flophouse.
  • Aspirations
    This sidequest marker is in the southeast of the map. The door won’t open until you’ve interrogated Vehn Terev in Hunting the Archon.
  • Task: A Flower for Kesh
    Unlocks after completing Drack’s loyalty mission. Speak to Vorn to begin.
  • Out of Gas
    Drive around the north of the Elaaden map until the Nomad breaks down.
  • Dismantled
    Acquired by approaching map icon Remnant ruins.
  • Task: Cache Flow
    Scan a Remnant device at any Remnant site.
  • Task: Little Mouse
    Collect a Little Mouse datapad in a random encounter.
  • Task: Volatile
    Destroy a volatile container in a random encounter.
  • Task: Infection
    Scan an infected outlaw corpse in a random encounter.

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Other endgame secondary quests

There are several secondary quests that open up during the final few priority ops of Mass Effect Andromeda, or when you touch down on planets and systems you won’t have visted unless you’re pursuing other secondary quests. Here are some that are easy to miss if you’re not checking in regularly:

  • Life on the Frontier
    You’ll receive an email from Sid sometime after reaching Aya.
  • Contagion
    You’ll receive an email from Captain Dunn when you return to the Nexus after Kadara first becomes available.
  • Task: Investigating Embezzlement
    Speak to the dock manager in the Docking Bay area of the Nexus after opening Kadara.
  • Task: Beer Run
    Speak to Wilma just outside Kesh’s office on the Nexus after visiting Kadara.
  • Taks: Outpost Supplies on Elaaden
    Talk to Merixus at the docks on Aya after building an outpost on Elaaden.

Incoming search terms:

Mass Effect Andromeda guide: Hunting the Archon

24 Mar

Track down your enemy, and take the fight to him.

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With the Angara race joining your cause and giving you some native Heleus Cluster knowledge at the end of the Trail of Hope quest, Mass Effect Andromeda‘s priority ops main quest rages on: and now you’re on the attack in Mission 4, Hunting the Archon.

Find more tips, tricks and explanations in our Mass Effect Andromeda guide and walkthrough.

The same basic rules apply at the start of the Hunting the Archon quest line as in any other time you kick off a new quest in Andromeda: you should take some time out to check in with each of the crew on the Tempest and also head back to the Nexus. If you’re really feeling brave, consider also heading back to Eos, Havarl or Voerl – as each major story planet tends to unlock a few more side quests as you progress the main overall story.

Don’t forget that all the quests we previously listed on Aya, Hvarl and Voeld are still available for you to tackle if you so wish.

With Hunting the Archon unlocking a new solar system, Govorkam, becomes available – and it’s home to a major story planet, Kadara. More on that in just a moment. Other new solar systems become available throughout this quest too.

Compared to A Trail of Hope the Hunting the Archon quest is remarkably simple – you more or less have everything you need to begin the process of an assault on the Archon – a little more intel and you’ll be golden. For that you’ll be heading to Kadara – but Kadara brings with it some challenges all of its own, including a slew of new sidequests and missions. Kadara also has new shops with new gear.

We’ve listed all of the sidequests that unlock on Kadara during this mission below, but do be aware that they don’t all unlock at once. In fact, throughout the course of Hunting the Archon many new quests will unlock: this quest is a launching point for many major piece of side content, from loyalty missions through to new sidequests on other planets. Everything is listed here – so let’s get to it!

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Hunting the Archon objectives and suggested missions flow

  • Optional: visit the Nexus, Hyperion and Tempest to update conversations and side quests
  • Travel to the Govorkam system and land on Kadara
  • Meet with Shena at Kralla’s Song in Kadara Port
  • Talk to Sloane Kelly about the Traitor
    • If you fail to convince Sloane Kelly by being honest or refusing to be complicit in the killing of Vehn you will have to break into Vehn’s cell and break him out. He’ll then be handed over to the Angaran resistance.
    • If you’re honest with Kelly and agree to the execution she will allow you to meet him in order to get the information you need – but he’ll later be executed.
  • Interrogate Vehn Terev
  • Find the Kett Transponder from the Kadara Badlands
  • Speak to Gil aboard the Tempest
  • Find the Kett Flagship, the Verakan
    • Head to the Tafeno System
    • Scan for the flagship
  • Board Ark Paarchero
    • Patch SAM into the Ark computers
    • Locate the Salarian Pathfinder Zevin Raeka
    • Identify the dead Salarian
    • Locate the dead Salarian’s Stasis Pod
    • Revive the Salarian Pathfinder
  • Infiltrate the Kett ship
    • Patch SAM into the kett ship’s systems
    • Survive the ambush
    • Make your way to the Archon’s private chamber
    • Escape the Trap
    • Find the Relic
    • Kill the exalted Krogan and the Kett
  • Escape the Kett Ship, Rescue the captive Krogan / Salarians
    • If you choose the Krogan, Drack will be pleased and the Krogan will help you in a later mission. The Salarian pathfinder will die and they must choose another, however.
    • If you choose the Salarians, the Krogan scouts will die and Drack will be upset, but Zevin Raeka will live.

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Hunting the Archon Boss: The Behemoth – the Exalted Krogan

Before you reach the Exalted Krogan boss you will have another encounter with a Ascendant enemy who is functionally the same as the Cardinal as you encountered back in A Trail of Hope mission. If you need strategy for this shielded enemy and his annoying ball of energy-firing tech that accompanies him, be sure to check back on our guide pages for A Trail of Hope and the first Cardinal Encounter. There’s a second Ascendant towards the end of the mission also.

At the end of this mission you’ll have to face off with a powerful new enemy – the behemoth, a first pass at an exalted version of a Krogan. The Krogan are deadly to begin with, but with Kett technology this guy is fierce. It has lots of armor, so you’ll want to use slow-firing weapons such as pistols or shotguns. Fire attacks are also vital, so equip yourself with some inferno ammo and make use of skills such as flamethrower. Ice effects are a good second option, too – bit biotics are much less useful.

As you’d expect, the behemoth will use its Krogan size to try to get in close, so try to duck and weave around it. Watch out for its gun, too – it explodes with electrical damage that rips down shields in no time. This battle is a war of attrition, so just be careful and take it slow.

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New secondary quests on Kadara

The following sidequests unlock on Kadara throughout the Hunting the Archon quest. Some of these quests are found in the slums, others in the city, and others out in the open world wasteland below.

  • Murder in Kadara Port
    After interrogating Vehn for Hunting the Archon, scan the corpse in Kadara Market.
  • A People Divided
    Complete Murder in Kadara Port, then speak to Reyes in the slums bar.
  • Precious Cargo
    Complete A People Divided, then speak to Reyes in the slums bar.
  • Modern Medicine
    Talk to Dr. Ryota Nakamoto in the Kadara slums – he’s operating a clinic out of a storage crate.
  • Counting Bodies
    Right outside the slums in Kadara’s open world are Saneria and Drexel – chat to them to start this quest.
  • Out of the Frying Pan
    After interrogating Vehn for Hunting the Archon, talk to Grayson Wessler in the Kadara Docks.
  • Behind Enemy Lines
    After interrogating Vehn, talk to Kaetus in the Kadara Outcast HQ, near Sloane Kelly.
  • Mind Games
    Find a small building in Haafel in Kadara’s open world – chat to the exile inside.
  • Mixed Messages
    After interrogating Vehn Terev, talk to Jim in the prison area of Kadara Port.
  • Something in the Water
    Find the settlement that’s home to many dead Angara in Kurinth’s Valley. The quest kicks off automatically when you approach.
  • A Packaged Deal
    Find the Windfarm in Kadara and talk to the Turian on its second floor.
  • Emergency S.O.S.
    Drive through Kurinth Valley. You’ll get an SOS from some… interesting gentlemen.
  • Old Skinner
    Once you’ve settled Kadara, talk to Christmas Tate within the settlement outpost.
  • The Baryte Rush
    Inside the slums bar, look on the first floor for a gangster-looking Salarian. Talk to him.
  • The Collective Base
    Find the cave in the south-west of Kadara – the Sulfur Springs. Tralk to Crux in the Collective Base.
  • The Charlatan’s Charlatan
    After completing ‘The Collective Base’ mission, talk to Crux again.
  • Task: Broken Family
    Chat to a woman sitting on the porch of a building in Haarfel on Kadara.
  • Task: Cold Hard Cache
    South of the Spirit’s Ledge Forward Station is wreckage of a crashed shuttle. Head there and this mission begins automatically.
  • Task: Kadara’s Ransom
    Kicked off by picking up a datapad in a bandit camp – you’ll then have to hunt out more bandit outposts.
  • Task: Outlaw Weapon Crafting
    Talk to the ‘Disillusioned Outlaw’ leaning against the outer wall of the slums bar.
  • Task: Searching for Morga
    Speak to the Angara Jataa near the shops in the Kadara market.

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New secondary quests on Eos

The following sidequests unlock on Eos when the Hunting the Archon quest kicks off – as soon as you’re officially started on that quest, you can go get these quests started too.

  • Making an Impression
    Chat to Hainley Abrams in Prodromos. Discover the deadly source of earthquakes on Eos and fight an enormous optional boss.
  • Drone Recovery
    Check the terminal near Jacob Mittney in Prodromos. Recover some lost Nexus tech.
  • Supply Loss and Recovery
    Found on a terminal indoors in Prodromos. Recover some lost loot.
  • Waking up to the Future
    Found on another indoor terminal in Prodromos. Reunite a family.

New secondary quests on Aya

The following sidequests unlock on Aya throughout the Hunting the Archon quest. Hop back to Aya at any time to grab them.

  • Laws and Customs
    Chat to Arbiter Renaav in Aya’s market place once the city is open to you.
  • Local Cuisine
    As you walk through Aya’s marketplace Lexi will come on the radio and ask you to scan some fruit in the city.
  • Messages to the Nexus
    You’re pointed to this quest as part of Laws and Customs – chat to Enroh Bosaan in the Agara governor’s office on Aya.
  • Test Subject
    As you walk through Aya when you have full access, an Angaran will scan you. Chat to them.
  • The Angaran Initiative
    Once the embassy is founded on Aya, chat to Nexus representative Ambassador Rialla in their Aya office.
  • The Nexus Exchange
    When you speak to Rialla as part of the Angaran Initiative she’ll give you this quest too.
  • Safe Journeys
    Talk to Maariko in the Aya dock control room once the city is open to you properly.

Mass Effect Andromeda guide: Hunting the Archon

24 Mar

Track down your enemy, and take the fight to him.

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With the Angara race joining your cause and giving you some native Heleus Cluster knowledge at the end of the Trail of Hope quest, Mass Effect Andromeda‘s priority ops main quest rages on: and now you’re on the attack in Mission 4, Hunting the Archon.

Find more tips, tricks and explanations in our Mass Effect Andromeda guide and walkthrough.

The same basic rules apply at the start of the Hunting the Archon quest line as in any other time you kick off a new quest in Andromeda: you should take some time out to check in with each of the crew on the Tempest and also head back to the Nexus. If you’re really feeling brave, consider also heading back to Eos, Havarl or Voerl – as each major story planet tends to unlock a few more side quests as you progress the main overall story.

Don’t forget that all the quests we previously listed on Aya, Hvarl and Voeld are still available for you to tackle if you so wish.

With Hunting the Archon unlocking a new solar system, Govorkam, becomes available – and it’s home to a major story planet, Kadara. More on that in just a moment. Other new solar systems become available throughout this quest too.

Compared to A Trail of Hope the Hunting the Archon quest is remarkably simple – you more or less have everything you need to begin the process of an assault on the Archon – a little more intel and you’ll be golden. For that you’ll be heading to Kadara – but Kadara brings with it some challenges all of its own, including a slew of new sidequests and missions. Kadara also has new shops with new gear.

We’ve listed all of the sidequests that unlock on Kadara during this mission below, but do be aware that they don’t all unlock at once. In fact, throughout the course of Hunting the Archon many new quests will unlock: this quest is a launching point for many major piece of side content, from loyalty missions through to new sidequests on other planets. Everything is listed here – so let’s get to it!

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Hunting the Archon objectives and suggested missions flow

  • Optional: visit the Nexus, Hyperion and Tempest to update conversations and side quests
  • Travel to the Govorkam system and land on Kadara
  • Meet with Shena at Kralla’s Song in Kadara Port
  • Talk to Sloane Kelly about the Traitor
    • If you fail to convince Sloane Kelly by being honest or refusing to be complicit in the killing of Vehn you will have to break into Vehn’s cell and break him out. He’ll then be handed over to the Angaran resistance.
    • If you’re honest with Kelly and agree to the execution she will allow you to meet him in order to get the information you need – but he’ll later be executed.
  • Interrogate Vehn Terev
  • Find the Kett Transponder from the Kadara Badlands
  • Speak to Gil aboard the Tempest
  • Find the Kett Flagship, the Verakan
    • Head to the Tafeno System
    • Scan for the flagship
  • Board Ark Paarchero
    • Patch SAM into the Ark computers
    • Locate the Salarian Pathfinder Zevin Raeka
    • Identify the dead Salarian
    • Locate the dead Salarian’s Stasis Pod
    • Revive the Salarian Pathfinder
  • Infiltrate the Kett ship
    • Patch SAM into the kett ship’s systems
    • Survive the ambush
    • Make your way to the Archon’s private chamber
    • Escape the Trap
    • Find the Relic
    • Kill the exalted Krogan and the Kett
  • Escape the Kett Ship, Rescue the captive Krogan / Salarians
    • If you choose the Krogan, Drack will be pleased and the Krogan will help you in a later mission. The Salarian pathfinder will die and they must choose another, however.
    • If you choose the Salarians, the Krogan scouts will die and Drack will be upset, but Zevin Raeka will live.

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Hunting the Archon Boss: The Behemoth – the Exalted Krogan

Before you reach the Exalted Krogan boss you will have another encounter with a Ascendant enemy who is functionally the same as the Cardinal as you encountered back in A Trail of Hope mission. If you need strategy for this shielded enemy and his annoying ball of energy-firing tech that accompanies him, be sure to check back on our guide pages for A Trail of Hope and the first Cardinal Encounter. There’s a second Ascendant towards the end of the mission also.

At the end of this mission you’ll have to face off with a powerful new enemy – the behemoth, a first pass at an exalted version of a Krogan. The Krogan are deadly to begin with, but with Kett technology this guy is fierce. It has lots of armor, so you’ll want to use slow-firing weapons such as pistols or shotguns. Fire attacks are also vital, so equip yourself with some inferno ammo and make use of skills such as flamethrower. Ice effects are a good second option, too – bit biotics are much less useful.

As you’d expect, the behemoth will use its Krogan size to try to get in close, so try to duck and weave around it. Watch out for its gun, too – it explodes with electrical damage that rips down shields in no time. This battle is a war of attrition, so just be careful and take it slow.

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New secondary quests on Kadara

The following sidequests unlock on Kadara throughout the Hunting the Archon quest. Some of these quests are found in the slums, others in the city, and others out in the open world wasteland below.

  • Murder in Kadara Port
    After interrogating Vehn for Hunting the Archon, scan the corpse in Kadara Market.
  • A People Divided
    Complete Murder in Kadara Port, then speak to Reyes in the slums bar.
  • Precious Cargo
    Complete A People Divided, then speak to Reyes in the slums bar.
  • Modern Medicine
    Talk to Dr. Ryota Nakamoto in the Kadara slums – he’s operating a clinic out of a storage crate.
  • Counting Bodies
    Right outside the slums in Kadara’s open world are Saneria and Drexel – chat to them to start this quest.
  • Out of the Frying Pan
    After interrogating Vehn for Hunting the Archon, talk to Grayson Wessler in the Kadara Docks.
  • Behind Enemy Lines
    After interrogating Vehn, talk to Kaetus in the Kadara Outcast HQ, near Sloane Kelly.
  • Mind Games
    Find a small building in Haafel in Kadara’s open world – chat to the exile inside.
  • Mixed Messages
    After interrogating Vehn Terev, talk to Jim in the prison area of Kadara Port.
  • Something in the Water
    Find the settlement that’s home to many dead Angara in Kurinth’s Valley. The quest kicks off automatically when you approach.
  • A Packaged Deal
    Find the Windfarm in Kadara and talk to the Turian on its second floor.
  • Emergency S.O.S.
    Drive through Kurinth Valley. You’ll get an SOS from some… interesting gentlemen.
  • Old Skinner
    Once you’ve settled Kadara, talk to Christmas Tate within the settlement outpost.
  • The Baryte Rush
    Inside the slums bar, look on the first floor for a gangster-looking Salarian. Talk to him.
  • The Collective Base
    Find the cave in the south-west of Kadara – the Sulfur Springs. Tralk to Crux in the Collective Base.
  • The Charlatan’s Charlatan
    After completing ‘The Collective Base’ mission, talk to Crux again.
  • Task: Broken Family
    Chat to a woman sitting on the porch of a building in Haarfel on Kadara.
  • Task: Cold Hard Cache
    South of the Spirit’s Ledge Forward Station is wreckage of a crashed shuttle. Head there and this mission begins automatically.
  • Task: Kadara’s Ransom
    Kicked off by picking up a datapad in a bandit camp – you’ll then have to hunt out more bandit outposts.
  • Task: Outlaw Weapon Crafting
    Talk to the ‘Disillusioned Outlaw’ leaning against the outer wall of the slums bar.
  • Task: Searching for Morga
    Speak to the Angara Jataa near the shops in the Kadara market.

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New secondary quests on Eos

The following sidequests unlock on Eos when the Hunting the Archon quest kicks off – as soon as you’re officially started on that quest, you can go get these quests started too.

  • Making an Impression
    Chat to Hainley Abrams in Prodromos. Discover the deadly source of earthquakes on Eos and fight an enormous optional boss.
  • Drone Recovery
    Check the terminal near Jacob Mittney in Prodromos. Recover some lost Nexus tech.
  • Supply Loss and Recovery
    Found on a terminal indoors in Prodromos. Recover some lost loot.
  • Waking up to the Future
    Found on another indoor terminal in Prodromos. Reunite a family.

New secondary quests on Aya

The following sidequests unlock on Aya throughout the Hunting the Archon quest. Hop back to Aya at any time to grab them.

  • Laws and Customs
    Chat to Arbiter Renaav in Aya’s market place once the city is open to you.
  • Local Cuisine
    As you walk through Aya’s marketplace Lexi will come on the radio and ask you to scan some fruit in the city.
  • Messages to the Nexus
    You’re pointed to this quest as part of Laws and Customs – chat to Enroh Bosaan in the Agara governor’s office on Aya.
  • Test Subject
    As you walk through Aya when you have full access, an Angaran will scan you. Chat to them.
  • The Angaran Initiative
    Once the embassy is founded on Aya, chat to Nexus representative Ambassador Rialla in their Aya office.
  • The Nexus Exchange
    When you speak to Rialla as part of the Angaran Initiative she’ll give you this quest too.
  • Safe Journeys
    Talk to Maariko in the Aya dock control room once the city is open to you properly.

Overwatch update 2.08 brings back Capture the Flag, out now on PS4 and Xbox One

24 Mar

One more Overwatch update before the weekend.

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Blizzard has released a new Overwatch patch on PS4 and Xbox One. This is a small patch, meant as a follow up to update 1.9, the big one released earlier this week.

The new update, version 2.08, readjusts Orisa by slowing down her movement speed when firing, and brings back Capture the Flag mode. See the full patch notes below:

General

  • [PS4] Capture the Flag maps and mode have been reactivated

Bug fixes

  • PS4/XB1] Fixed a bug that prevented background music from playing
  • [PS4/XB1] Fixed a bug that prevented the Damage Amplified value from being displayed correctly
  • [PS4/XB1] Orisa’s movement now slows slightly while firing in midair

Here’s what Blizzard had to say about the Orisa change: “Much like D.Va’s Fusion Cannons, Orisa’s Fusion Driver is intended to slow her movement while she is firing. However, unlike D.Va, there was an issue that prevented this slow from working while firing from the air.”

There is no similar update on PC since some of what it brings is already available there.

Destiny: Xur location and inventory for March 24, 25

24 Mar

Come see if Xur’s inventory is worth getting excited about this week.

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Xur: Agent of the Nine, the Exotics vendor in Destiny, has returned to hopefully tempt you with a new batch of gear and weapons. Xur takes Strange Coins, so make sure you’re loaded up on those before checking out his stack.

Xur has been spotted by the large door near the Speaker. You have until 9am GMT on Sunday, March 26 to grab what you want.

Take a look at what he’s got this weekend below:

If you’re considering Thunderlord, you should definitely get it. It’s not unmatched, but it remains a pretty good choice.

Next week with the release of the Age of Triumph update, Xur’s inventory could look different. For now, the usual four items take the spot.

The best weapons in Mass Effect Andromeda: our favourite assault rifles, shotguns and more

24 Mar
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Mass Effect Andromeda’s best weapons

Mass Effect Andromeda fields a huge variety of weapons. Why slog through all those boring menus to find a good one, when we’ve listed the best weapons right here?

The “best weapon” will always be subjective – maybe you like how one weapon handles, even if its damage is a bit lower, or perhaps you can’t deal with slow reload speed on an otherwise fine bit of kit. But we’ve selected these weapons based on their performance for particular, specialised roles, and explained our reasoning with each one, so you should find something to catch your eye.

It’s important to sort out what weapons you favour early in the game; you don’t want to be investing precious research points and crafting materials in a less than stellar boomstick, do you?

If it’s all too much, don’t worry: if you stick to the examples we’ve provided here, you’ll be well set up to tackle whatever Heleus throws at you – no matter your playstyle.

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Best Assault Rifle for spray-and-pray: M-8 Avenger

Choosing just one of Mass Effect Andromeda’s many assault rifles is a difficult task. Although the assault rifle is usually the weapon of choice for those who just want to play a straight shooter and not think about the RPG aspects of the game, there’s so much variety in this class that it’s easy to go wrong. Some of them are actually grenade launchers or lasers, or shoot in burst fire, or need charging before they let loose.

So in choosing a best overall assault rifle, we had the run-and-gun Mass Effect Andromeda player in mind: one who wants a gun that behaves as they’d expect from this class of weapons, with fully automatic fire and no fancy tricks to distract you. That leaves us with just three choices: the Cyclone, the M-8 Avenger, and the Thokin.

All three of these weapons deal comparable damage, but it’s the M-8 Avenger – a starter weapon, for goodness sake – that wins out with the best balance across clip size, accuracy and rate of fire. It’s a fantastic all-rounder. Get the highest rank blueprint, augment it, mod it up and combine with consumables for a deadly multitool suitable for any occasion.

Also try: the Thokin has comparable stats except that it needs reloading more frequently – but its projectiles track targets, which is pretty cool.

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Best Assault Rifle for headshots: N7 Valkyrie

If you don’t mind trading in high rate of fire for extra accuracy, Mass Effect Andromeda fields a range of semi-automatic and burst assault rifles that favour precise shooting, for those who like to take down their foes with surgical strikes to weak spots.

Of the four weapons in this paradigm, the stats show the N7 Valkyrie is supreme, with exceptional damage, rate of fire and accuracy, and a decent clip size of 16. It’s only slightly heavier than the Mattock, a close runner up, but otherwise outclasses it slightly in every category.

The only other burst-fire assault rifle that should give you pause is the Sweeper, which makes up for its lower damage with a higher clip size and a heat-sink style reload system – but since you can craft and augment an N7 Valkyrie to gain this effect if you like it, we don’t consider it a serious contender.

Also try: the Sandstorm has a low rate of fire and small clip, but it’s super accurate with high damage and has a built-in scope – it’s almost a sniper rifle.

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Best Assault Rifle for heavy damage: M-37 Falcon

If you’re playing a big soldier type who can carry heaps of heavy equipment, consider throwing an M-37 Falcon in your spare weapon slot.

Although it’s called an assault rifle, the M-37 Falcon is Mass Effect Andromeda’s grenade launcher. It has, as you’d expect, the absolute highest damage output of any “assault rifle”, and it’s reliably accurate, too.

Oh sure, it’s slow as heck and you have to reload after six shots, but this is the gun you pull out after you’ve knocked the shields down with a lighter, more rapid-fire gun. It’s the gun you point into the Architect’s mouth after you knock a leg conductor out. It’s the gun you rely on when the Fiends come calling and you want to take that armour bar down, fast.

Also try: honestly, nothing in the assault rifle class matches this baby for raw power. A Cobra RPG consumable or combat power like Omni-grenade is the closest you’ll get.

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Best Shotgun for primary use: N7 Crusader

There’s a fair bit of variety in the shotgun category, although not as much as in assault rifles, so for our first shotgun category we’ve elected to focus on shotguns that follow the model you’d expect from the class: workable clip size, low rate of fire, and lovely high damage.

By these standards, there are two shotguns that stand out as absolutely the best in Mass Effect Andromeda, and the N7 Crusader has a very slight edge over the runner up, the Disciple. Its damage and accuracy are just a little bit better, and they have identical weight, clip size and rate of fire. It’s only drawback is its narrow focus – it hits the target in front of you, not a group.

Like other shotguns in this class the N7 Crusader has a slow reload speed, so as a primary weapon it favours those who like to get in and out quickly, and use powers and melee as often as rifles. It is the vanguard’s best friend, and well worth the effort of crafting up.

Also try: the Disciple really is the only comparable weapon. As well as fitting in with your Asari aesthetic, it fires spread projectiles which can hit groups rather than single targets, which you may prefer.

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Best Shotgun for high damage: Dhan

If you want to pack a shotgun for use not as a primary weapon but to hit very, very hard at close range, and potentially get you out of an emergency situation, Mass Effect Andromeda has you covered.

Of the two most powerful shotguns in the game, our pick is the Dhan. It only holds two shots per clip, but if you’re playing smart, those two shots – or maybe even just one of them – will be all you need. This baby packs a mean punch.

Like the N7 Crusader the Dhan fires a straight projectile with no spread, so it’s great for beating up that one guy right in front of you rather than blasting away when you get swarmed. Get in close and pull it out after you drop an enemy’s shields to eat into that health bar most satisfactorily.

Also try: the Ruzad has comparable damage and boasts a three-shot clip with spread – but it’s also significantly heavier. Your choice.

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Best SMG for eating shields: Equalizer

SMGs have been lumped into the pistol category, but there are loads to choose from if you go looking. These rapid-fire weapons are fantastic for taking down shields before you whip out something heavier to do actual damage, and they’re lighter than assault rifles, making them a great choice for those who favour heavy power usage.

Since damage is pretty standard across the whole category, what we look for in an SMG for shield work is a high rate of fire and a nice big clip. The Equalizer is the winner here, on balance: while it doesn’t have the highest rate of fire in the class, it has excellent accuracy to make up for this very small shortfall, meaning you waste fewer shots. The Equalizer is also the lightest of the higher-rated SMGs.

The only consideration here is that the Equalizer uses a heat-based reload system, meaning you have to let it cool down. If you don’t like that, look elsewhere.

Also try: the N7 Hurricane is still an absolute beast. It has the best rate of fire and a nice big clip; just be wary of its lower accuracy and higher weight. It is permitted to sing “rock you like a Hurricane” into the mic whenever you use this weapon.

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Best Pistol for heavy damage: Scorpion

If you want to do heavy weapon damage without lugging around assault rifles and shotguns, a heavy pistol is your best friend. These slow firing, hard-hitting, highly accurate hand guns are the perfect complement to a nice SMG. They come into play when the shields are down, the weak points are exposed, and you are ready to do a murder.

Our favourite weapon in this class is the Scorpion. It has very high damage for a pistol class weapon, and it fires sticky grenades. Sticky. Grenades.

There’s only one other weapon in the pistol class which approaches the Scorpion for all round performance, and that’s the Talon – but the Talon is a shotgun-style handgun, meaning it only works at close range. The Scorpion allows you to stand back and dish damage from safety.

Also try: newcomer the Ushior is an Angaran pistol with just one shot in the clip – but what a shot! Exceptional damage and accuracy make it a fantastic last measure, but its comparatively high weight will see it regretfully left behind by many an intrepid explorer.

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Best Sniper Rifle: Black Widow

Sniping in Mass Effect Andromeda is a bit tricky, since it’s much harder to get your squadmates to run interference, and encounters rarely involve nice long sightlines. But if you’re the sort of skilled player who can make a sniper rifle work when you’re on the go, you have options.

The Black Widow remains best in class. Its damage is only fractionally lower than its rivals, and alone among the high damage snipers it holds three shots. That’s going to be important in Mass Effect Andromeda’s run-and-gun playstyle, which makes it difficult to take your one shot and then reset.

The Black Widow is also lighter than the others, with identical accuracy. Don’t get the Black Widow mixed up with its also-ran cousin the Widow; that heavier variant has just one shot and a lower rate of fire.

Also try: the Isharay has the highest damage in the sniper rifle class. It’s heavy and one shot only, but with a good multiplayer crew for support it would be deadly indeed.

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Best Melee: Asari Sword

Melee weapons come in all sorts of shapes and sizes in Mass Effect Andromeda, and fall into various classes. Daggers and biotic amplifiers do light but fast damage. Omni-tools are a little slower, but hit harder. Gauntlets are slow with low damage, but have an elemental effect. Hammers hit very hard, knock enemies down, and are relatively fast. Swords tend to hit hard, but be a bit slow to wind up.

But the Asari Sword? The Asari Sword is a thing of beauty. It has the highest damage output of any melee weapon in the game, and there is no reason to give even a single shit about how slow its attack windup animation is, because you will blink out of existence during the biotic animation, making you briefly invulnerable. It. Is. Glorious.

The image shows one we crafted up to complement a vanguard run, by the way. You can do some really special things with augments, if you’re focused on a particular build.

Also try: the Krogan Hammer also has a unique animation and very good damage and attack speed. A fantastic second choice if you’re not an Asari fan.

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Best weapon to pack because why not: Sidewinder

There’s really no excuse to put the Sidewinder on a “best weapons” list, except that it’s super fun. This six-shot gun has a classic revolver aesthetic, and you are welcome to ask everyone what time it is before you unholster it, so you can then inform that it is high noon.

Sidewinder is a pretty average gun. It does better damage than an SMG, and its rate of fire and accuracy are more than reasonable. This doesn’t really make up for its small clip size, but in an emergency it’s really cool to pull it out and fan the hammer. Maybe those six shots are all you need?

As another bonus it weighs very little, so if you’ve got the space, hey: why not pack it? It is super cool.

Also try: if you’re looking for a very light weapon that behaves differently from others in the class, the Razerad is a weird gun that increases its rate of fire as you hold the trigger down. It has a huge clip, too.

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Leaked Destiny 2 poster reveals September release date, pre-launch beta

23 Mar

We may have our first look at promo art for Destiny 2.

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Leaked Destiny 2 posters and artwork have popped up online, revealing a September 8 release date. The poster, likely originating from an Italian Retailer, was posted on NeoGAF.

It mentions the release date at the top, as well as confirm that a beta will take place. The full sentence is cut off, but it probably refers to the beta as a pre-order bonus. Either that or pre-ordering gets you early access to the beta.

Here it is:

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Since then, Italian website League Network posted two other posters, sporting the same artwork. They’re watermarked, so we won’t include them here, but you can hit the link to see them.

Sadly, other than offer a different angle, they don’t reveal much else. That said, it’s worth pointing out that the poster header carries the same PlayStation blue accent seen around game covers whose publisher has a marketing deal with Sony. This was the case for the original Destiny and its expansions, and looks like it will continue with the sequel.

Bungie recently said that the next game will be such a big leap forward most of what you gathered in the three years of Destiny will not carry forward.

Destiny 2 has long be rumoured to be built on a new engine, with a PC version reportedly also in the works. At the time, some reports predicted the game would miss its usual September slot. At least for the time being, this appears to not be true.

The new Overwatch player reporting system is exactly what the game needed

23 Mar

Overwatch is setting an example once again. This time, it’s for something as simple as implementing competent anti-abuse measures.

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If you frequent the Overwatch sub-Reddit, or any forum that regularly discuses the game, you will have no doubt ran into many reports of players getting abused by others during matches, especially in Competitive Play.

The reasons for such offensive comments can be as small as someone not agreeing with your character pick, to people straight up losing it every time they hear a feminine voice. Like many games, Overwatch does include a report feature that’s about as typical as you’d expect.

Unfortunately, despite Blizzard repeatedly reassuring players that reports get investigated, the reporting tools just weren’t up to snuff for a game as complex as Overwatch. This often lead to people using the report button for things it wasn’t designed to do.

Good news! It looks like this is about to change. The game’s PTR currently has an overhauled player reporting system. This system is already a huge improvement for a couple of reasons.

As you can see in the GIF above via Redditor Arsenal2454, there are now seven, very distinct reasons for reporting a player.

You have spam, abusive chat, cheating, griefing, inactivity, bad Battletag (username), and poor teamwork. Whenever you go to report a player, you will be able to tell Blizzard exactly why you think they should be punished.

The other reason this system is very promising is that it gives a clear explanation of the type of actions each category covers, and what it does not. For instance, you can report a player for poor teamwork if they’re not pushing the objective, not when they pick a hero you don’t think is appropriate for the mode.

Hopefully, Blizzard will act on the reports received and all players will get to enjoy a less toxic environment.

Mass Effect Andromeda Naming the Dead visual guide – screenshots and map locations for colonist bodies

23 Mar

Mass Effect Andromeda has a quest called Naming the Dead, and it is a pain in the arse.

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Early in Mass Effect Andromeda you’ll probably stumble across Task: Naming the Dead. This (extremely) secondary mission has you finding and scanning deceased colonists on Eos. The quest is triggered the first time you find one.

This is such a minor quest that we’d normally recommend just ignoring it, along with 95% of the “Task” section of Mass Effect Andromeda’s quest journal, but Naming the Dead is hugely annoying if left unfinished because every time you wander around Eos Ryder will talk about it, even if you’ve already scanned the dead colonist they’ve spotted (and you probably haven’t; Ryder can see through walls, apparently).

So do yourself a favour and finish Naming the Dead as soon as possible. It’s still best to do it after you’ve cleared the Eos vault and advanced the main Mass Effect Andromeda plot a little, to clear the radiation on Eos. That makes exploration much less of a chore.

Unfortunately, there are no map icons to guide you to the dead colonists’s bodies. That’s where we come in: without further ado, here’s where to find every dead colonist in Mass Effect Andromeda and kick Naming the Dead right out of your quest journal so it never interrupts a vital audio prompt ever again.

Naming the Dead colonist body locations

1. Promise: Theo J. Harwell
Visit the Eos settlement ruin called Promise and search behind the buildings near the big circular structure for this body. If you’re back on Eos later in the game, there’s a merchant right nearby.

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2. Resilience: Gordanus Trenitus
Head directly south from Theo J. Hartwell’s body until you reach Resilience, the second Eos settlement ruin. Go down to the lower level. The body is in an area with Kett mobile cover barriers. For some reason, it tends to bug out and vanish after scanning, so our screenshot shows the location, but not the body itself.

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3. Resilience: Thysa Ylar
Move further south from Gordanus Trenitus’s body and search along the balconies and stairs around the cluster of buildings to find this body.

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4. Resilience: Porter M. West
Search the gully east of the lower Resilience site for this body.

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5. Northern monolith: Tegan C. Avante
This body is by a big rock by the road that goes past the monolith where you meet Peebee.

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6. Central monolith: Amira S. Pavlov
There are several bodies at the second monolith. Pavlov is on her back with one arm stretched out.

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7. Kett Research Centre: Darin T. Anton
Head to the Kett facility at the southernmost monolith and look for the autopsy room on the north side of the central complex; the body is on one of the tables.

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Note that you can always return to scan a body a second time to check the name, if you’re not sure which ones you’ve done so far. Except for that damned Turian in Resilience who vanishes! Truly, he is the final boss of Naming the Dead.

All the Mass Effect: Andromeda romance scenes we’ve come across so far

22 Mar

The culmination of all the flirting in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

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Romancing love interests has always been an integral part of roleplay in Mass Effect, and Mass Effect: Andromeda is no different.

Depending on whether you choose to play as Scott or Sara Ryder, your available romance options will vary. This, in turn, affects the romance scenes you’re going to get in the game.

We’re going to list all the in-game scenes for both male and female Ryder as we come across them. Here’s what we have so far:

Some of these videos contain minor spoilers, not mention they’re probably NSFW.

Scott Ryder

Cora

Vetra

Peebee

Gil

Reyes (story spoilers)

Sara Ryder

Peebee

Liam

Jaal

Suvi

We’ll update the story with more videos as they appear. For now, you should definitely take a look at our updated romance guide. All you need is there, including how not to lock yourself out of certain romancing certain people.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Guide – Into the Vault, clearing the Eos radiation and founding Prodromos

22 Mar

We’re going deeper underground.

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Down into the Remnant Vault on Eos – A Better Beginning

After meeting Krogan grandpa Drack and activating the remaining Remnant Monoliths scattered around Eos, something big happens: the monoliths appear to power up one final ancient building. A new navpoint will be marked on your map: a bunker that’s out in the middle of the large lake that dominates the currently exploration friendly section of the map. Well, that’s interesting.

You can get to the vault either by fast travelling to a nearby forward station (you should’ve dropped a few across Eos by this point) or simply by driving there – it isn’t far, and you might discover some quick combat encounters that’ll reward EXP and possibly hide loot boxes along the way. When you get there it looks hopeless – there’s a big gap between you and the newly-opened bunker-type structure. But… approach.

A bridge forms up in front of you as you drive. An invitation, of sorts. Head on over. Here you’ll meet up with Peebee and see some cutscenes – if you want to perform the narrative action with RT/R2 here you can, it has no ill effects – you just look like a slightly reckless badass.

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Exploring the Vault

You’ll now find yourself down in the vault, a dark, mysterious mess of corridors and neon lighting. At first here you’ll have another remnant console which you’ll need to scan (you guessed it) and follow the cabling. Scan the console where it leads to get the password, then head back up to the console and use it. Don’t forget to scan liberally down here, as there’s lots of remnant tech that rewards remnant research points.

After a cutscene Peebee splits off from the group leaving you with a party of 3 once more. Take a look around – note there’s a room to the West you can’t access right now. On your way out of the vault you’ll be able to get in here and open a container later if you care to make the effort.

From here on in the vault is a pretty linear set of passages and open rooms, and it’s not really worth us exploring the thrill of exploration – you can make it through on your own. As a rule, however, you should be looking, scanning and climbing everywhere you can, as there are a few containers littered around here with decent loot. This loot is welcome but not be-all end-all, so if you just want to get out of here you can forge ahead without it.

As you go you’ll encounter remnant guard units. Some of these can actually be bypassed with stealth if you so wish – voice work will clue you in as to when. If you sneak or not is your choice, but remember that unlike Mass Effect 2 and 3 Andromeda actually rewards you EXP for every single encounter in the game, so if you take the time to fight these remnant you’ll get a decent EXP boon for your trouble. These encounters add up, so if you want to level up fast take every chance you can to fight.

After you cross paths with Peebee again your next destination is a door on the right, but if you continue past it you’ll find a container with loot.

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Clearing the Eos Radiation

Once you head through the previously mentioned door prepare yourself for actual combat. At the end of the hallway you’ll be fighting Assemblers and Observers plus a turret. Observers should be your top priority – they have a powerful laser beam and shields, but they also have a very obvious glowing eye that is an irresistible weak point. Hit them there and hit them hard with a rapid-fire weapon like an assault rifle or SMG, then mop up the assemblers and any other units they’ve assembled while you took on the observer. There are also consoles you can hack in this room – one turns a turret to your side, the other creates cover you can use to protect yourself.

Sweep this area for loot as there will inevitably be some, then use the gravity well in the middle. You end up in a new room – but there’s a water leak. Once Peebee arrives, scan to fix the leak then use the console. That opens a door. Search to the north before you leave to find a chest with some loot inside – a new melee weapon.

The next room is a large chamber with various terminals you must interface with in order to raise and lower platforms. White glowing lines indicate what each terminal will impact, with the currently active section lit up brighter in a glowing white. This room might seem complicated at first glance but it really isn’t: the waypoint shows you where you need to go, and you simply need to wind your way through the area activating terminals in order to build the necessary platforms to get there.

As you go you’ll face off against enemies – mostly Observers and Assemblers. As before, prioritise the Observers as they can tear through your shields very rapidly indeed. Don’t forget as you explore this area to go off the beaten path – most often, there’s a chest. To the south of the area there’s one chest with some static loot – an armor mod that vastly powers up one aspect of your skills while vastly damaging another aspect. You’ll know when you hit this one as it requires solving a Decryption Puzzle.

When you pass the giant plants, scan them for some research data. Keep pushing on through combat. When Liam remarks how cool the plants and self-building bridges are, you’re close. When you enter a room with a giant glowing laser light of bright white in the middle of the room, you’re at the end of this vault-slash-dungeon.

You’ll want to take a moment here: once you activate the vault, you can never come back in here again. If you want to head back and sweep for optional chests, this is your one and only opportunity to do so short of starting a New Game+. (As a note, the door from earlier still won’t be open… more on that in a second.) Once you’re ready, activate the vault.

Escape from the Vault

As soon as the vault is active, run! As you approach the entrance of the dungeon again you’ll pass by that room you couldn’t get into from very early on – it’s now open. Duck inside and grab the items inside, but be damn quick about it!

Once you escape the vault fully, the vault’s purpose will be revealed: it’s a terraforming facility, and over time is going to make Eos much more habitable. The viability of Eos will raise by 50% – but if you leave the planet and return later you’ll see a serious improvement over time, which in turn will open up other areas of the planet that couldn’t be explored before due to radiation, thus unlocking more sidequests.

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Settling Prodromos: your first outpost

Once you’re out of the vault, hop back into the Nomad and head to your latest waypoint: a suitable site for a new settlement, away from the mess of Site 1 and Site 2. You can either abuse fast travel or not to get there – your choice.

Once you arrive you’ll find Drack is present and causing a ruckus – fighting a bunch of Chosen and a few Anointed Kett. Anointed have shields and big guns, so abuse shield-restoring powers such as charge and cover in order to defeat them. Remember for tougher enemies you can use the D-Pad to instruct your allies to target specific enemies – you should have everyone focus fire on the anointed.

Once the kett are cleared out, you can now settle Eos with a new settlement that’ll be called Prodromos. This will give you +10 viability but also once the settlement is down offer up a bunch of new quests from the new settlers. But… you’re also faced with a question. Science or Military?

First outpost: Science or Military?

As with every Mass Effect game, Andromeda features some big choices. This is arguably the first big choice you face in Andromeda: If you should make the Prodromos outpost into a science-focused settlement or a military base style settlement. You might find this choice difficult to make.

Let us make it a little easier: Don’t sweat it too much. While this does have an impact on dialogue and the way some NPCs will react to you, the overall outcome for this particular choice is the same. This is more intended to introduce you to big choices – but soon enough you’ll have to make some where those hard choices do matter a lot, so be prepared.

Here are a few new quests you can grab on Eos post-vault:

  • Shock Treatment: access the audio terminal inside the research building. You’ll find entries that lead to this quest on this terminal.
  • The Secret Project: head back to Site 1 (Promise) and find the datapad inside the ground floor of the two-floor building.
  • Pathfinder Armor Crafting: this quest is gathered from Jacob Mittney, a settler in Prodromos.
  • Waking up to the Future: Found on a terminal at Prodromos after it’s founded.

Drack will join you, too – but for now, we recommend not taking on these quests. Instead, take the Tempest towards space and back to the Nexus for a return visit to catch up with Nexus brass and to pick up some new side quests.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Guide – Character Creation: Training, Classes, Profiles and Starting Skills

22 Mar

It’s time to wake up. Andromeda awaits.

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After leaving behind the Milky Way (and the incoming nightmare of the Reaper Invasion) in between the events of Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, the Ark Hyperion arrives in the Andromeda Galaxy. It’s one of four arks and part of a larger expedition designed to take the races of the Milky Way Galaxy to a new home – but all isn’t going as planned.

Mass Effect: Andromeda kicks off in earnest when Scott or Sara Ryder (your choice) is awoken from cryosleep. Your first task as player is to decide which to pick: and that involves going through a typical RPG-style character creation system. This is a natural place for our guide to start, so let’s talk about building a character.

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Creating a character and choosing the best class for you in Mass Effect Andromeda

Once you’ve got the business of deciding on a look for your Ryder out of the way you’ll then be given a major choice: you’ll be asked to ‘Choose Training’. Choosing your training is the closest thing Mass Effect: Andromeda gets to picking a class – the game actually doesn’t have a typical RPG class system.

Instead of classes, once you kick off the game Ryder will be able to access almost every single one of the skills in the game freely. You can turn your eye (and your skill points) to any skill you choose, and the skills you pick will then inform the game which ‘Profiles’ you can best fit into. Profiles can be switched between at any time, each carrying bonuses that grow depending on how you invest your skill points.

These profiles are named after and feature similar bonuses to the classic Mass Effect classes such as Soldier, Adept, Sentinel, Vanguard and so on. We recommend that you pick a particular type of combat expertise and focus on it, as doing so will give you a significant advantage in combat.

When you choose to customise Ryder and then Choose Training, you’ll be given a number of options. Here’s what skills they begin with as default. You’ll be stuck with these skills for the first couple of hours but relatively early on will also be able to respec if you so desire – as soon as you have free access to the Tempest just head to the medbay where you’ll find a respec station.

Character Creation: Training Options – how to pick the right training for you

  • Security

    Concussive Shot (A heat seeking round that knocks enemies down), Turbocharge (A boost to weapon fire rate & ammo), Combat Fitness (Increased durability & more weapon slots) – most similar to Soldier in ME Trilogy

  • Biotic

    Throw (Hurl opponents into the air), Singularity (Create a vortex that traps, disables & damages enemies), Barrier (Defence buff) – most similar to Adept in ME Trilogy

  • Technician

    Overload (Electric attack that deals high damage to shields & robotic enemies), Invasion (Infect opponents to weaken defences & damage their weapons), Team Support (Boost the effectiveness of your squad) – most similar to Engineer in ME Trilogy

  • Leader

    Energy Drain (Drain enemy shields & restore your own), Annihilation (Create a mass effect field that damages foes over time), Team Support (Boost the effectiveness of your squad) – sort of similar to Sentinel in ME Trilogy

  • Scrapper

    Charge (Launch at an enemy, slam them, regain shields and damage them), Combat fitness (Makes you more durable & allows more weapon slots) – most like Vanguard in ME Trilogy

  • Operative

    Tactical Cloak (Become invisible and deal large damage bonus on your cloak-breaking attack), Combat fitness (Makes you more durable & allows more weapon slots) – most like Infiltrator in ME Trilogy

The abilities above are the ‘key’ abilities for each class, and the first of these abilities listed for each training option will begin already unlocked when you gain control of Ryder.

Next up, it’s time to head down to Habitat 7 – the first world in Andromeda, and supposedly a potential new home for humanity.

No Man’s Sky patch 1.23 improves frame-rate on PS4 Pro, adds option to lock or unlock the frame-rate

22 Mar

No Man’s Sky continues to get improvements, and this time the additions benefit the PS4 version.

The recent No Man’s Sky patch, dubbed the Path Finder update, brought PS4 Pro and 4K support, but it wasn’t without its issues.

Which is why the new patch, version 1.23, is good news to players on Sony’s console. First of all, the patch improved the frame-rate on PS4 Pro when running in 4K mode. Players of the PS4 version, even on the base console, can now also lock or unlock the frame-rate.

Digital Foundry spent some time with the new patch and concluded that up to 5fps have been added to the 4K mode on PS4 Pro, making the frame-rate much more consistent at 30fps when locked. For HDTV owners, the 1080p mode produces “flawless” 60fps.

As far as unlocking the frame-rate on the base model, the site found that some sections of the game actually ran at 60fps. On planet surface, performance drops to 30fps at the lowest point, but generally manages 30-50fps. In this case, the report recommends capping the frame-rate rather than suffering the drops.

Patch 1.23 also came out on PC, bringing some general fixes for many of the bugs introduced recently.

Mass Effect: Andromeda – BioWare looking at patching “lots of issues”, wants to “strongly support the game”

22 Mar

Expect more Mass Effect: Andromeda patches in the future. Whether or not they fix the stuff that bugs you is another story.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda has been catching a lot of flak for being generally unpolished, but the biggest sticking point cited repeatedly has to do with how janky the character animations are.

People made fun on it, and reviewers have similarly not been kind. Although BioWare previously said it has no immediate plan to fix them, fans continue to ask the developers to promise a fix of some kind.

The latest batch of these were directed at lead designer Ian S. Frazier. “As a majority of the mass effect fanbase is upset about current state of the facial animations, and the studio aware of the issue. Could we expect a patch or something down the line to fix these issues?” asked one Twitter user.

Frazier did not comment on the animations problems directly, but he did promise that many issues are being looked at. “We’re looking at patching lots of issues and want to strongly support the game moving forward. I can’t say more just yet,” he said.

Many also felt the character creator didn’t provide the depth they expected, and some asked Frazier whether an update will be made to the creation tool anytime in the future.

“Can’t promise anything yet, but we’re currently evaluating various options for making it better,” he told one Twitter user.

“No promises, but I’ve got it on the list of things we’re looking at potentially fixing/adding for character creation,” he told another, referring to more beard options in the character creator.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is out now in North America. The rest of the world follows tomorrow.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Guide – A Better Beginning and Activating the Remnant Monoliths

22 Mar

It’s time for some alien sudoku, some fighting, and a bad-ass Krogan.

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A Better Beginning: Activate Remnant Monoliths

Now you’ve activated the first monolith and met Peebee in the process, you now have an idea of what to do on the planet: these big alien monoliths are doing something, and you are unique in that you’re able to interface with them and use them. It’d be rude not to make use of this, wouldn’t it?

If you look at your map you’ll have waypoints to guide you to the next monolith, which is handy, but it’s worth noting that each of the monoliths also fires a bright white laser across the sky of the planet. These lasers converge on one point that seems to lead to a whole lot of nothing right now, but you can trace the lasers back to the monoliths you need to find if you want to track them down in a more organic way.

We’re going to focus on the main quest here, and while in the last part of this guide we did tell you to mostly stay in the Nomad and make your way very specifically from story point to story point it might be worth hopping out if you pass anything of interest along the way – you might find some Remnant robots to fight, or some Kett, and many of these places also hold containers that have loot for you to grab.

When you reach the next monolith you’ll have to fight to clear it of enemies – easy enough, just remember to take cover as needed and don’t forget to spend your skill points from levelling up to enhance your powers. When you’re done, you’ll be faced with a console and another little puzzle.

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Reactivating the second Remnant Monolith & solving its glyph puzzle

The first thing you’ll need to do is attempt to decrypt the Remnant Monolith sitting in the middle of this area. When you do it’ll toss up a puzzle screen: it’s immediately clear that this one isn’t as simple as waving a hand and activating it as with the last. You can’t complete the puzzle, however, since you’re missing some of the glyphs.

To get the glyph, pop open your scanner and look at the console. Follow the cabling that comes out of the console underground and watch where it goes: you’ll see it goes up high, but in the same direction as the cable you’ll see another console. Interact with this – platforms will rise, allowing you to use your jump-jets to boost your way up to where the cable leads.

Once you’re high up, activate your scanner again and look around – just as at the last remnant site you’ll find a glyph. From this vantage point you’ll be able to see a second glyph too, so scan them both. Now we’re talking!

Jump down and hit the main console again. The puzzle flashes up: and this time it’s doable! We’ve got a dedicated page that explains to you just how this monolith decryption mini-game works, so if it confuses you and you want to do it legitmately head on over there and read those tips. Basically it’s sudoku, though: each grid and line can’t contain the same icon more than once.

If you want to cheat, well, here’s the answer:
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After you activate the monolith some concerned Kett soldiers will show up – take care of them.

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A Better Beginning: The final Monolith & the Kett Base

Once the second monolith is activated our job is to head to the third, obviously. This one is a little bit more complicated still – it’s surrounded by a force field that you can’t penetrate and is surrounded by a Kett base. You’ll need to storm this base and kill the Kett inside in order to deactivate the force fields and reach the monolith. Head south-east following your waypoint to reach the base.

The base is symmetrical, with one entrance that splits into left and right pathways that are more or less identical. Park up the Nomad and begin your siege. This is your first major combat challenge, so use cover properly, don’t forget to keep moving using your jump jets and don’t rush – be patient and take out the Kett in small waves rather than by rushing too deep into the base.

Don’t forget to scan absolutely everything new that you can for research points. Power generators scattered along the pathways will deactivate cover that enemies use, making them more vulnerable.

Once all the Kett are dead you’ll need to scan for one last power generator – it’s at the far end of the base, right near the force-field that prevents you from getting inside. Deactivate it and you’ll be treated to a cutscene and meet a new character. That old grandpa is cool.

Activating the final Remnant Monolith

With this done, head to the final monolith. The score is the same here as before: whip out your scanner, scan the console, then follow the cables to find the two glyphs. They’re both on the roof of nearby pillars. Once scanned you can interact with the main console.

This time there’s no puzzle – you’ll mercifully just be given immediate access to the monolith and activate it. Once this monolith is active, major changes are afoot here on Eos. It’s time to check out whatever it is the monolith activated. Prepare yourselves…

Incoming search terms:

Mass Effect: Andromeda guide, tips and walkthrough – absolutely everything you need to know

22 Mar

You might be an explorer, but that doesn’t mean you need to get lost: here’s our complete guide to Andromeda.

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It’s hard to believe that five years have passed from Mass Effect 3, but here we are: and we now finally have another entry in the Mass Effect series that’s far disconnected from the threat of Reaper-induced extinction.

Mass Effect: Andromeda has proved to be a polarising game for many, and though we found that it has a heart of gold that’s worth fighting to find, you might have to do some digging to get there. It’s scored a fair bit lower than other Mass Effect games, but we still think it’s pretty good and well worth a look.

One of the things that might make the rougher aspects of Andromeda a little easier to handle is knowing where you’re going, what you’re doing and how to best tackle its various systems. After over 100 hours of play across the VG247 team, we’ve got some strong feelings on some of Andromeda’s mechanics: so here are our tips, tricks and other guide assistance for would-be pathfinders. Good luck out there!

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Tips, Tricks and other vital information

All us to help you get started.

  • Frequently asked Questions answered

    How to change armour, your first outpost, respec, best training and more covered in this guide to some of the most commonly recurring questions during the early hours of the game.

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Main Quest Walkthrough

Fight your way to a new home but keep the stress-levels low.

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Other Notable Pages

Mass Effect Andromeda Patches & Updates

Got any questions about Mass Effect: Andromeda we haven’t answered here? Drop us a comment and we’ll see what we can do.

Fallout 4 VR will be at E3 2017, is it going to be this year’s ‘It’s out right now’ moment?

22 Mar

Fallout 4 VR is going to be something special, according to Bethesda, and we’ll be seeing it at E3 2017.

Bethesda announced a fully-fledged VR version of Fallout 4, dubbed Fallout 4 VR, at its E3 conference last year. We weren’t shown any footage, but the developer promised at the time to release the game within 12 month.

Fallout 4 VR will make an appearance at this year’s E3, it’s now been been confirmed. Bethesda’s Pete Hines told HipHopGamer (video above, via GameRant) this little tidbit in an interview.

The YouTuber asked Hines for an update on the the game, Hines relayed the excitement game director Todd Howard had the last time they spoke. “Fallout 4 VR is the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen in your life,” Hines said, relaying Howard’s words.

“You can’t even imagine what it’s like, playing in VR and how realistic it looks and everywhere you turn your head. It is going to blow your mind. It is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen.”

Now that we know the game will show up during Bethesda’s E3 2017 conference, the company may pull another one of its “and it’s available now” moments and release it by the time the showcase ends.

If the game is indeed that far along in development, this outcome won’t be too far fetched.

Fallout 4 VR was announced for the HTC Vive, but it’s unclear if it’ll come to other PC headsets (or PSVR) at some point after the initial release.