The success of Mass Effect 4 is crucial, considering that while the original Mass Effect trilogy is highly regarded as one of the best RPG series ever, the reception of Mass Effect Andromeda has negatively impacted the franchise. The combination of the series’ reputation, the disappointment surrounding Andromeda, and the absence of a new Mass Effect game for nearly six years places a significant burden on Mass Effect 4.
In order to ensure success, Mass Effect 4 should be open to incorporating certain gameplay mechanics or features from other contemporary games. One game that provides valuable systems to draw inspiration from is Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, which was recently released. One of its most beneficial features is the collectible mechanic.
The Mass Effect franchise has always excelled in world-building. Building on the success of world-building in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare applied the lessons learned during development to create its own Sci-Fi universe, which, for the most part, has been highly effective. Mass Effect’s world-building occurs naturally and seamlessly through dialogue and environmental design. These systems introduce players to the different civilizations, political landscape, and overall history of the galaxy without requiring them to exit the game.
However, for fans who want to delve deeper into Mass Effect’s lore, the Codex entries come into play. Throughout the Mass Effect series, players come across various collectibles that provide new Codex entries. The Codex is the central repository for the series’ extensive lore, divided into categories such as “Aliens: Council Races” and “Planets and Locations.” Spending hours reading through collected journal entries in the Codex allows players to gain a better understanding of the vast Mass Effect universe.
One significant issue with Mass Effect’s Codex system is its integration into the game. To access the Codex, players need to navigate through the menu to find their desired entry. While this process is straightforward, it is not the most engaging way to teach players about the series’ lore, especially considering that most Codex entries consist of lengthy texts filled with Sci-Fi terminology. Instead, Mass Effect 4 should adopt a similar approach to Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor refines the scanning mechanic from its predecessor, making it more immersive. When players scan an enemy, environment, or audio log in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, they unlock a new journal entry to read, just like in the previous game. However, it also provides a brief overview of the entry on the right side of the screen. Although players don’t get the complete picture of the journal entry, this summary offers enough information to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the lore, all while allowing them to continue playing the game without having to pause the action to read extensive text in a menu. Considering the vast universe and intricate lore of Mass Effect, Mass Effect 4 should certainly adopt this simple system from Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
It is worth noting that Mass Effect 4 is currently in development.