Mass Effect: Andromeda
- Developers: BioWare
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Genre: Action RPG
- Platforms: Xbox One (Reviewed), Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows
- Release Date: 21st March 2017
- Microtransactions: Yes
Veteran Of The Reaper Wars
I’m a full battle tested veteran of the Reapers wars. A former spectre for the Citadel. Liaising with the other species of the Milk Way. Asari, Turian, Hanar, Elcor, Salarians, Krogan, Volus, Humans, Quarians, Batarians. Broke down historical boundaries to make contact with the Rachni, Collectors and the long thought lost Protheans. Hunted Thresher Maws with Krogans, and had telepathic communication with the Reapers themselves.
First Contact happened with the Geth around 2183. Shortly after the Citadel was attacked by a lone Reaper. Our first taste of the potential destruction of our known galaxy.
The first game was great, with all of your interactions with the other species, building up the lore and at around 30hrs for my first play-through didn’t feel too baggy. The second game did me for 24hrs. Tweaks to the combat made the game a little more geared to that aspect. Added great things to the story, and one of the most devastating final missions I’ve ever played. Leading into the final game. This took me 20+hrs to finish.
Completing the trilogy with a character I crafted. With decisions made by me affecting future relationships throughout the games was special. Having bonding moments with some characters only for them to die in your story, but not in others. This added a weight to the choices you make. Add to that a morality meter swinging from Paragon to Renegade. Depending on which way you lean, would open different or extra dialogue trees. Again, adding to the illusion of player agency in the world and story.
At the end of my 70 something hours across the trilogy, I felt I’d had an effect. The lofty status I had, I’d earned. The ultimate end fell flat. But the rest of it was a quality piece of work.
Even with the terrible bugs, facial animation and clipping.
USS Franchise Killer
Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place 600+ years after 2185.
4 species from the Milky Way Galaxy have decided to send “Arks” with their people in. Salarians, Turians, Asari and Humans all have an “Ark”. Ahead of the Arks being sent, a hub for them sent first, the Nexus. This Nexus will arrive shortly before the Arks, and become the Andromedas make shift Citadel.
The Arks have been sent to populate 7 “Golden Worlds” once they arrive. That brings us to the beginning.
You play as Male or Female Ryder, a colonist that has been awaken because you’ve arrived at the Andromeda Galaxy, and all is not well. We come across strange gaseous tendrils in space, surrounding one of the “Golden Worlds”. We must investigate, because reasons!
Landing on the first planet you find yourself up against and new alien race. Whom you shoot, and kill. The game makes a small attempt at giving you a choice, but you really didn’t have a say. The world is having huge electrical storms, after I’d say an hour of wondering you get to a computer room, reboot the planet. hey presto the storms stop, surprise attack by the new alien race, and you’re back on your ship. But this time we have a bunch of reason and bullshit to give you an arbitrary title “Pathfinder!”. This gives you supposed authority.
We get to the Nexus. Quickly learn we are the only Ark that has arrived. Your told about a uprising on the Nexus, and how a large amount to the populace has become “Exiled”. You’re tasked with making planets safe to populate, and look for the missing Arks. 5 hrs in, we have finally been given a goal.
Ignorance Is Bliss
So the eagle eyed amongst you may have notice the date which they set off. They set off 2 years after the first reaper attack. This is rarely brought up, not an issue, no big deal. Let’s just crack on.
Now, I understand that hitting people with even more exposition right out of the gate would slow the pacing down. But at least have more than a handful of people mention it. It was a big deal, so big in fact it had a trilogy.
Something this game doesn’t do well, it’s introduce characters aside from Peebee, Liam and Vetra. Peebee because she’s fun, Liam because he is chill and doesn’t bug you every 3 mins, and Vetra interesting and pragmatic. I like pragmatic. Everyone else is an annoyance. Talking to you like shit, or just boring. I appreciate that this is a personal thing, but I didn’t have this with the other games. A couple of folk bugged me, but that became their charm.
Everyone you meet in this game, wants something from you, and more often than not its a pointless mission. Your mission journal will be bursting at the seams within minutes of stepping foot anywhere. They are ranging from, take this to X planet for me, or talk to X person on X planet. Your reward for these missions in mostly nothing…yep, nothing, you receive nothing.
Nothing, is also input you add to the narrative also. When having a conversation with some boring, poorly written Angaran. You sit and listen to all the shite that he’s talking, waiting for your response list. Only to find, the responses on offer, don’t veer the conversation in a different direction, or even have an effect on future missions. All to often I was trying to walk away from conversations because I’d already reached my personal threshold for fetch quests. Only for the NPC to give me the mission anyway…
At the loading screen (which you’ll see more than your children), the game says to pay attention and think about your responses because it can effect certain things. I honestly haven’t notice. Over 60hrs and haven’t noticed.
Player agency is a big part of what made Mass Effect so good. This game is missing it. The first 40 or so hours I spent feeling completely and utterly bored. The main quest was making some worlds safe, and doing pointless fetch quests for no reward. I felt fatigued, and as though I’m wasting my life.
I did one mission, as a stand alone fetch quest. I had to go from the Nexus to Eos. Leaving the Nexus caused a loading animation, enter the galaxy map, click on the system you wish to travel to, another loading animation. Click the planet to land on, loading animation. 3 mins to complete mission, then loading screen to leave planet, loading screen to leave system, loading screen to land back at the Nexus. Reward? Nothing, but boredom.
This boredom only made the minor annoyances boil and rise to the top. For instance, the facial animations, whilst I can accept that not every game is going to look beautiful, or even have perfect animation. We over look flaws when we are enjoying an experience. This game has many flaws, which I would normally overlook.
First off the character creation feels very limited, so much so, that I would recommend you just take the default design of either sex. I feel the facial animation for these would most likely work better. But when your in the middle of what the story is trying to make an emotional crisis point, and your character has a massive smurky pout on his face, it kinda undermines everything. Again, something I would overlook to a degree if I was engaged. But the dullness, makes these things stand out.
I’ve been booted back to my landing site 3 times, whilst I was trying to finish a Remnant level.
The scale of your ship the tempest is wrong. Whilst you’re inside running around, you get an idea of scale. You land on a planet, and stand next to your ship…nope, nope that ship is too small. Just look at where your cockpit should be.
I had to be told on Mass Effect: Andromedas Facebook page, how to set my helmet off, when on a planet.
During in game cut scenes characters that are talking are often not even there. Automated in game cut scenes kick in during combat, and you are still getting shot. I’ve dies twice, immediately after a cut scene because of this very issue.
Re-spawning enemies. I was fighting on a ramp. Killing remnant, they made a push. I’d killed most of them, but a Destroyer was left. I turned and ran down the ramp to get cover. Turned around…no Destroyer. Walked up the ramp, and every thing was back again. Nope! I’m not happy you stupid game.
Awful dialogue. Most often you have no impact on the conversations you’re in. This is the biggest game breakers for myself.
The auto-cover system is a frustrating fucker too.
Multiplayer is basically the same as the last game, mediocre horde mode. This has no affect on the main game, expect for unlocking some cash and bonus weapons.
It’s the multiplayer were we meet microtransactions. I walked away from multiplayer after a brief look. more pay to win shite.
The final 10 hours of this game is where the stakes seem to be picking up and you finally feel that you have a goal. You’re actually making progress towards something. For me it was to little to late, especially with the end boss. It was terrible, I felt no urgency other than that of me thinking “just get this done”.
The game struggles with it’s size. It’s flabby, to full of pointless shit which drags the game out. If the game was more concise, trim 40 hours off the run time. It would be better. It wouldn’t have felt so pointless.
The graphics are nice, the sound design is great. But I want my Mass Effect game to have choice, and consequence. Neither are on offer here.
Did the review feel long winded? could have been said in just this paragraph. Welcome to Mass Effect: Andromeda
- Pretty Graphics
- Great sound design
- You’ll learn sudoku
- To long for the story it tried to tell
- Poorly written
- Zero feel of player agency
- Side missions