BioWare is known for making epic RPGs, and Mass Effect Andromeda is no exception. "Epic" comes with a price, and you'll pay in free time. All the side quests, character development, and sweaty romance scenes tack dozens of hours onto your play time. That might not be palatable if you're already pressed for gaming time in between friends, family, and work responsibilities.
With a little luck and a lot of focus, you can shave hours off your time with Mass Effect Andromeda and still sample most, if not all of the game's best characters and story content.
Story Missions and Side Missions
Mass Effect Andromeda consists of eight chapters. Each of those chapters offers a wealth of main and side missions across numerous planets. Logically, the fastest route through the game is one that includes few extracurricular activities. Stick to the story beats and you should finish up in roughly 25 to 30 hours.
If, however, you believe that the journey is more important than the destination, you should know that proceeding from beginning to the end without straying from the main path will cause you to miss out on some of the most memorable yet optional character arcs and stories.
Here's the thing: you're not under any pressure to finish Mass Effect Andromeda as quickly as possible. Think of it as a book you keep by your bedside, reading a page here or a chapter there. Like a good novel, BioWare games are meant to be savored. Consider taking the scenic route. There's more to see, more to do, and more to enjoy.
Even though Mass Effect Andromeda's primary missions will answer the game's biggest questions, a large number of side quests expand on details that you'll miss out on if you skip over them. For example, you might start out liking a companion character because of the firepower they provide during shootouts, only to develop a deeper interest in their background and motivation over time. Glossing over side missions will deprive you of the opportunity to learn more about your favorite characters.
If unlocking achievements (or trophies) satisfies some deep-seated desire to mount virtual trophies to your virtual wall, you'll need to accept the fact that you're in for a long haul. Many of Mass Effect Andromeda's achievements are only doable if you go off the beaten path and do side missions. On top of that, many achievements present a fun challenge that you'll lose out on doing because you were too set on racing to the finish line.
Reviews estimate between 60-70 hours to colonize every planet and polish off every side mission. To check off every achievement, plan on committing at least 30-40 more.
Now that you've made the right choice to see all that BioWare's RPG has to offer, visit our Mass Effect Andromeda guide for information on wooing characters, re-specing your characters, and loads of tips, strategies, and walkthroughs.