Mass Effect Andromeda is the most recent installment of the Mass Effect series. It received a lot of bad reviews compared to the trilogy which I just recently finished playing for the 6th time. I have played Andromeda once before, but it was only a few months after the birth of my most recently spawned dragon and my world was still a bit foggy. I recall enjoying the story and loved it conceptually, but it did have its problems. Still, I liked it. I started it after my recent completion of the trilogy and was immersing myself in it and using the same aggressive and methodical style I play the trilogy with. This kind of game requires commitment, time, and emotional investment. It’s hard for me to find pockets of time in my life to save the galaxy, and therefore I want that time spent on something I enjoy immensely. I did not have an enjoyable experience with this play through of Andromeda. Part of me began to hate it.
The Mass Effect trilogy is one of the greatest game experiences I’ve ever had and upon multiple play throughs, it never diminishes the joy or the experience. I am not feeling that same joy with Andromeda. It’s not all bad, but being as objective as possible and approaching this play through with enthusiasm I’m more than disappointed.
The story is set in a galaxy far, far away. It’s in a realm where exploration and the unknown are your future and you must survive. It begins with your choice to play Scott or Sara Ryder. You come out of stasis early on your trip to colonize the Andromeda galaxy. It was is a way for part of the Milky Way races to survive the pending Reaper invasion. Things aren’t as they imagined and suddenly you are in the middle of warring unknown races, full-on invasions, political meandering (again), the survival of all the species as it were, and then, of course, a giant conspiracy behind the Milky Way races even being in Andromeda at all.
The first time I played I was ready for some wonky and distorted faces and even some broken gameplay. But it wasn’t as bad as I think initially advertised. Bioware clearly released the game before all bugs were worked out. Inn fairness, Bioware fixed a lot and they fixed them fast. Bad guys respawning after you killed them was probably the most frustrating. Along with chests disappearing. The gameplay itself wasn’t as smooth as other Mass Effect games either. I didn’t enjoy the rocket boost, customization of guns, the item wheel and customizing your crew was pretty lackluster in comparison to other games.
The truth is the standards for this game were way higher because it had Mass Effect attached to it. If it were just a space game it may not have held to such high standards. But, that’s the price you pay when you say you’re giving me another Mass Effect game.
The Story and Character’s
The narrative and conceptualization are fantastic and fun, but the characters are atrocious. Save Jaal and Drack (because if you mess up a Krogan you should be lobotomized) they are little more than inventive skid marks. My fem Ryder has a schoolgirl’s voice and is all teehee, and the rest of the characters feel like I’ve traversed into high school space travel. It’s all pretty bungling for what is a pretty gruesome predicament and verse we’re exploring.
I am not interested in killing Kett with Gossip Girl and co. The trilogy was dark, edgy, and full of depth. Even the more transparent characters (Kaiden and Ashley) were still decent. In the early stages where I was setting up my base on EOS, I hadn’t elevated to hate for my characters, but l simply had no connection. When I get the option to tell Addison she’s being a super-bitch (or something like that) my Fem Ryder says it like, “So, like why aren’t we friends? I’m trying to be your friend.” Terrible voiceovers and dialogue! It’s unforgivable really.
You take that, some broken gameplay and mechanics and it’s really hard to emotionally invest in the narrative, which is pretty awesome before they start screwing it up with characters and dialogue, and suddenly you don’t care about your character’s choices, and moreover you don’t get the experience that they are extension of you, which is part of the joy of this kind of game.
Effects and Visuals
No complaints from me here. It’s gorgeous to look at and the sound is equally profound. If there is anything that will keep you interested it is the visuals and effects. Each planet is unique and beautiful or terrifying. The trips on your ship and driving around the nomad are challenging and fun. The Nomad is really on a level of quality as far as it’s driving ability is concerned, which is great, because it is the main piece that you will be exploring the verse in.
I think part of what Andromeda suffered was a rush to get it out before it was ready. Bioware should take a note from Rockstar. Us diehard fans don’t care how long we have to wait if you’re striving for perfection. Their rush resulted in a lot of the bugs that were extremely frustrating throughout. The choices on characters and voice actors didn’t help the rest of the problems. Clearly, Bioware opted for more youthful choice of voice actors and were pandering to a more youthful audience rather than the loyal fan base they already had. Even in that spectrum, I don’t know that it was successful. If I were a teenager and were represented that way, I’d have been pretty pissed off that I was thrown in that stereotype.
I, cannot see myself playing this ever again. I had to push myself through to the finish, and at times I lost interest and just wanted to quit. The completionist in me wouldn’t allow it to end that way, but that’s pretty much the only reason I made it to game end. My first playthrough I probably would have given Andromeda 3.5/5 stars. On this one, I’m going to have to go with 2/5 stars and I’m completely bitter about it.