Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

Mass Effect: Andromeda released to a mixed reaction from everyone. Some reviewers liked it while some hated it. The gaming community is same way. People hate it and people love it. Add the animation controversy to the mix and you’ve got the worst game of all time right? Read on to find out what I think of Mass Effect: Andromeda!

The Great: 

Gameplay:

Andromeda has the best gameplay that Bioware has ever produced in any of their games. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done and once I learned how everything worked I was zipping across the battlefield on my jet pack while sniping enemies in the head. It’s a lot of fun and I love experimenting with new builds because of how open the skill system is in this game. I don’t have to choose a class and be restricted to a few abilities. I can unlock everything in time and be a jack of all trades. For my first playthrough I stuck to my favorite setup. Invisibility, Sniper, and setting shit on fire, but when that didn’t work all I had to do was press a button on my keyboard and change my class to something else. The action isn’t the only thing that’s different in Andromeda. We can now drive around planets in a vehicle called The Nomad. The Nomad is pretty much the Mako from Mass Effect 1, but without the terrible handling. Every time I browsed a shop or went back to the Nexus I checked around to see if I could buy new paint jobs for my baby because I love driving around in this thing and running shit over. Traveling around planets was fun because it took me back to Mass Effect 1 and this game is more of a RPG than both Mass Effect 2, and 3.

Andromeda has a lot in common with the first Mass Effect game than any other game in the series. The only difference is the planets here are actually worth exploring. The scanning tool that Ryder has comes in handy because it allows me to scan different objects and find out more information on them. It’s also a essential item finder tool that highlights corpses, consoles, and remnant puzzles that can only be solved by playing Sudoku. At first I really hated the Sudoku puzzles, but once I learned how to play them it became second nature to me. There’s not many of them in the game so it never became a chore for me to do. If you hate Sudoku you can always browse shops for keys to automatically unlock them.

World Bosses:

Remember the dragons in Dragon Age: Inquisition? The world bosses in this game are like that. There’s only one per world and they can be hassle to beat if you try and fight one unprepared. They do a lot of damage and can even summon remnant to fight for them. I loved going up against these guys just like I loved going up against the dragons in Inquisition.

Ryder:

I remember criticizing Ryder on his appearance (I played a male because the female is terrible) and because he wasn’t a badass like Shepard. Well… I love Ryder after playing through Andromeda. He’s the glue that holds the story together and is the most interesting character in the story. Tom Taylorson did a excellent job at portraying a inexperienced, Captain Kirkish Ryder. I really enjoyed the dialogue, comedy, and inexperience of Ryder. He has no experience at being a Pathfinder and he’s just doing his best to secure the future of all of races on the Nexus. He’s intelligent, funny, and a badass too. Ryder grew as a character as the game progressed. He went from being a inexperienced explorer of planets to a leader by the end of the game.

The female Ryder is… mediocre at best. I don’t like the voice actress at all for her and her lines don’t have the same impact as male Ryder, but that’s just my opinion. If you hate male Ryder and love the female counterpart good for you. We’re all entitled to our opinions.

The Good:

Graphics:

If the character models looked as good as the world I was traveling in this could easily be bumped up to the great section. Traveling around the different worlds is a real visual treat. The planets look fantastic, the different abilities that I’ve used look fantastic, but the character models don’t look like the rest of the game. They’re good, but they’re good in a last generation way. Maybe it’s inexperience with the Frostbite engine or maybe the people in charge of the graphics department got lazy and cut some corners. The overall quality of the graphics, and particles effects is great though.

Story:

I’m not used to putting a Bioware story in any other category, but great. The story here isn’t horrible. Ryder carries this story quite well in my opinion and is the star of the show. The Kett (new alien race that doesn’t feel so new.) are the new bad guys in town and it’s up to Ryder and his gang to stop them. The most disappointing thing about the story is the lack of new alien species. There’s only two (three if you count the Remnant). The new species introduced aren’t bad. I actually really like them, but it’s really disappointing when you consider the fact that the first Mass Effect game introduced at least 10 species to the series.

The story starts off slow, but after the opening hours it gets better. By the end of the game I was glad that I stuck around because I’m genuinely interested in what happens next and I really hope we get some answers one day.

Sounds:

The sound quality is really good. Setting things on fire and hearing them screech in pain is a treat for the ears. The voice acting is really good for everyone on the Tempus, but not for every npc in the game unfortunately, but the thing that brings the entire thing down is the soundtrack. It’s not as memorable as the previous three games in the series. The soundtrack here is actually really forgettable. The first three games in the series is filled with great music that I can still remember clearly and Andromeda doesn’t have that. The only song I can remember is the main menu one and that’s only because the loading screen loads a little longer then I would like it too. The voice acting is fine. It’s actually better than fine. It’s really good and only a few characters that I ran into throughout my 80 hour journey gave poor performances.

Companions: 

I wanted to bump this up a category, but I’ll get into why I didn’t do that later on.

I enjoyed getting to know everyone. Drack is my new favorite Krogan, Jaal is one of my all time favorite Mass Effect companions, Pee Bee is the most carefree Asari you’ll ever meet, and Vetra is unlike any Turian you’ll ever meet. I even liked Cora and that only leaves Liam as the only weak link of the entire crew. I even enjoyed getting to know my engineer, pilot, and copilot. Everyone had nice stories to tell and I really enjoyed the entire experience. Another thing I really loved was how everyone interacted with each other. Drack, and Vetra will never be as close to Ryder as they are with each other. They’re best friends and have some really good dialogue between each other. Cora, and Pee Bee both like Ryder (if you’re a male) and listening to Pee Bee tell Cora what she’s going to do to him was hilarious. This group of companions felt more like a family then any other Mass Effect game in the series. You even get to sit down and watch a movie with your entire crew. That was awesome.

The romance (I chose Cora as my first romance.) was good, but it’s still really cheesy. The sex scene was definitely a step up by Bioware’s standards. It’s no Witcher 3, but that scene was pretty spicy.

The low point and reason why it’s in the good section is the loyalty missions. They simply can’t compare to Mass Effect 2’s companion missions or even Dragon Age’s. Liam (surprisingly) has the best loyalty mission while Drack has the worst.

Multiplayer:

If this game would just let me create my own multiplayer character and build him the way I want this could easily make the great section. The multiplayer here is just a horde mode. A team of four players team up to fight multiple factions of enemies for 7 waves and then extract, gain some xp, and (hopefully) get some pretty good rewards for all of your hardwork. It’s good, but could have been so much more if someone more creative was in charge.

The Bad:

Bugs:

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a buggy game. The biggest issue (for a lot of people) is the animations. When the game first launched it was possible to do some pretty hilarious things with Ryder while he/she was running. It’s been patched (unfortunately), but not forgotten. I didn’t experience any of the backwards gun, invisible gun, or companions stuck in floors bugs that other people experienced. “My” experience was pretty smooth and I’m approaching 100 hours of gameplay over two characters and some multiplayer. The bugs I did experience was a really annoying sound bug, and some animation glitches, but they were few and far between so it didn’t really impact my playthrough much.

No Paragon/Renegade Options:

At first I was really upset that there was no paragon/renegade options in the game, but as I played the game I came to understand why Bioware removed the system. Ryder isn’t Shepard and having him be this major douche didn’t fit their vision for Ryder, but I still wish this system was in the game. Nothing beats playing Mass Effect as a renegade.

Can’t Command Squadmates Anymore:

The A.I is pretty good when it comes to performing actions for themselves and setting up combos, but I like having control of my team in Mass Effect. I can’t issue commands to my squad anymore and that really bugs me. If I’m under fire from multiple enemies I can’t tell Cora to biotic charge that dude or blast him in the face. The only thing I can do is tell them where to take cover. That’s not tactics it’s just stupid.

No Day/Night Cycle:

Why make a big open world with no day/night cycle. It was the same way in Dragon Age: Inquisition and I hated it then too. I want to see the sunset on Eos to see if any different lifeforms only come up at night. None of that happened and I was incredibly disappointed. Do what every other open world developer is doing and give us a day/night cycle.

The Verdict:

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a Mass Effect game. That’s a good and bad thing. It hasn’t changed all that much from the previous games from last generation. The animations are dated, the locales are beautiful, but the characters are very last generation. What this game does do right is tell a good story, has a great protagonist, companions, and gameplay. The story won’t wow or surprise anyone, but it is entertaining. Bioware played it safe with this game and it shows, but I still had a really good time getting lost in the world of Mass Effect again and it’s a experience I wouldn’t mind having again.

80

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5 thoughts on “Mass Effect: Andromeda Review”

  1. I haven’t gotten too deep into Andromeda, I feel most who initially bad mouthed it didn’t go too far into it. I liked what I played initially, but haven’t had time to come back to it, hopefully soon I can pick it up again. But was glad to hear you say on one of the podcasts that once you are off the first planet, things pick up. Seems the more who stick with it, the better the reviews seem to be. Far from perfect and some glaring problems, but not as bad as everyone made it out to be. Can’t wait to get back into it, but I’ll think I’ll re-create my character, I agree, I’m not sure I like female Ryder

    1. I did the same thing. I was a big fan of fem Shep, but I can’t stand fem Ryder at all. The male is so much better and delivers his lines perfectly. I usually play male in my RPGs, but I like to experience the female side too and I can’t bring myself to get off Eos with Sarah Ryder.

      I hope you enjoy Andromeda. It really does get better as you play.

  2. Great review! I think you were quite fair in your assessments too. I like your point about the aliens…. there really needed to be more, especially if they were in a new galaxy populated by other spacefarers. I’d also jump at the chance to see them try a day and night cycle on a planet… the opportunities for variety would be huge. It’s something Bethesda games do well. 🙂

    1. The biggest issue for me is the lack of aliens in this game. They could have done so much more with this game and they played it safe instead. I can understand the criticism this game received from people, but I still really enjoyed it. I would love a day/night cycle like Skyrim’s. It would be glorious.

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