Mass Effect: Andromeda, this title will make some peoples eye’s twitch; I can only apologise. The game has a disastrous launch with its less that polished facial animations, glitches and bugs. It was a massive gamble to take with an existing franchise that was so beloved by many.
The hopes and dreams of so many people built a large amount of hype for the title, which did eventually come back to bite the developers hard.
The initial outrage was shocking, considering the outrage has never dissipated after the historically remembered “Mass Effect 3 ending outrage”. This was a further gamble with a franchise that Bioware should not have been taking, though I imagine the overlords at EA will have been pushing for the franchise to feed them more money.
This is the shocking turn of events that happens when a developer is bought over by a company that cares more about share prices than it does customers and fan base. Much in the recent news that Bungie have split from Activision; while being able to keep the rights to Destiny. This move might just save the franchise which has screwed fans over more times that they should be allowed to.
The point in this article though is almost like a return look at the game, well it would only be a return if I had played the game at launch; its more like my thoughts, long after anyone cares. I have been stuck in a rut with games recently, not being able to concentrate on something for more than an hour at a time. I decided to venture into my old “go-to” genre, the classical and life consuming RPG.
This genre has been with me through the best and worst times of my life, giving me stories of hope, tragedy and life while allowing me to create, customise and play as some of the strangest and most compelling characters ever thought.
The pile of shame had me picking between Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect: Andromeda, ironic I know. I decided to go with Mass Effect just because I was preferring Sci-Fi over Fantasy, this led me to booting up the game I bought at launch and never bothered playing. Also the tech video for Digital Foundry – Xbox One X comparison video had tempted me to see what the game performed like now its been well patched.
I booted up a relatively stunning looking game, which brought me some appreciation to the team who built another wonderful sci-fi universe for me to explore. The design of the games assets is to be admired, though the characters in the world do feel wooden and static compared to older titles like The Witcher 3 (had to mention it somewhere) and that is something that should not be happening.
Games should be progressing past what made other games fantastic, the scale and story should have used Mass Effect 2 as a bench mark to beat.
The point of Andromeda was a new start, for the series and the story. This is clear with the departure date taking place before the ending events of the original trilogy, this also means that the events of the ending would not affect the story of Andromeda at all; this was a clever work around to the issue.
The gameplay was a slog to begin with, the first few hours of the game were a tad boring. This should have been different; the new technology and mechanics should have been exciting and pulled in players; instead we were left with a half-hearted tutorial mission that was overly complicated by a heavily compounded story.
I felt confused and turned around a few times on this opening mission, I felt the new interface was not really introduced in a thorough manner. The new movement mechanics also didn’t help as the game felt alien straight away if you were expecting the Mass Effect of old.
Though after the first few hours, once you are given your own ship and left to explore the universe; this is when the game developed its personality. I found this more familiar and enjoyable, this is when I found myself being sucked into the story of the game, enjoying the mechanics and exploration.
The Nomad may be clunky, but that does not make it bad for explorations; it feels robust and sturdy, it really does fit the purpose in game.
The Tempest is also a very well-designed hub space to converse with your crew, though explanations of where all your stations may have been better explained. The research and development station should really be unlocked later in the game and given a more in-depth explanation. The point in game where you are introduced to it is an information heavy section, players are thrown a lot of information and I found myself switching off because it was explaining too much at once.
The thing I am loving the most is exploring the worlds and the side missions in the game, returning to EOS once your story mission is finished was refreshing. I had only scratched the surface of what the game was offering me with Planet exploration. The worlds are vast and lots of missions to discover simply by stumbling across areas you wouldn’t find if you just blitzed the story.
I am sad they dropped all ideas for story DLC once they reacted to the negative feedback, this was a petty decision because they didn’t want to try and win fans over. Mass Effect 2 has some of the best DLC I have played in a video game, yet this opportunity was squandered with Andromeda. The lack of sequel any time soon might either allow fans to revisit and re-appreciate this game in the meantime, we have no chance of another instalment before the forecasted 2023/24 initial release date.
I will continue to play the game as I am about 25 hours in, while it is nowhere near the best entry of the series, it might have been an excellent first game in a brand-new IP. The need to make it a Mass Effect title is its own biggest downfall, it might have faired a lot better story wise if there was not an entire codex of lore developed for the original trilogy with deep histories of Aliens races, galactic politics and a dedicated fan base.
If you want to know more about XBLG, then head on over to our About Us page.
You can also follow me on Twitter – @Cetrie