You've barely laid eyes on the kett before you're looting their corpses, filling your pockets with gun parts, credit chips and omni-sellable "salvage" items wrapped in pointless flavour text. You've hardly swapped greetings with the angara - the friendliest of Andromeda's three new species - before you're running errands for them, dropping off lunch for resistance fighters or plunging through purple jungles in search of a scientist's mislaid revision notes.
If there's any genuine mystique to the idea of travelling 2.5 million lightyears to colonise another galaxy, BioWare's fourth Mass Effect smacks it over the head with a prospector's shovel and boots it out the airlock during the first few hours of play. You're left with a zesty but unsurprising third-person shooter, struggling through a soup of mundane chores - a game of mesmerising, gargantuan landscapes sabotaged by uneven writing and (at the time of review) an astonishing quantity of bugs. Perhaps above all, there's a shortage of drama or real consequence to Andromeda, apparently brought on by the shift to an open world template, that is sadly new to Mass Effect - a series celebrated not merely for its freedom of choice, but for making those choices matter.
The campaign is essentially a hybrid of Mass Effect 1's galactic whodunnit and the sprawling, state-building elements from Dragon Age: Inquisition. You play Scott or Sara Ryder, a youthful pioneer aboard the human colony ship Hyperion who is unexpectedly (well, providing you haven't played a BioWare RPG before) thrust into the role of "Pathfinder" - a being of unlimited extrajudicial authority, tasked with prepping planets for settlement by grinding side missions while probing the secrets of yet another vanished civilisation, the Remnant, and duffing up an armada of space fascists led by ET's edgelord cousin.