Played on the Xbox One S, Single Player Only.
Having played and loved the Mass Effect Trilogy, like most I was excited to get my hands on Mass Effect Andromeda. After playing 46 hours I’ve completed 54% of the game and I can confidently say, I’m not sure how I feel about this game, The game takes some great steps forward that improve the series but for every step forward the game trips over itself and falls flat on its face.
From the moment I hit play any excitement I had going in quickly dropped upon seeing the Character Creator or lack of one, I hadn’t expected a CC on the level of Dragon Age Inquisition but I was shocked by a CC that had fewer features than the first Mass Effect, after some trial and error I finally managed to make a Sara Ryder (Alison Ryder) I didn’t completely hate and started my journey into the Andromeda Galaxy.
600 years after the events of Mass Effect 2 our characters arrive in the Andromeda Galaxy and before I have a chance to get to know anyone our crew finds themselves in danger and the brother and father I’ve had no interactions with are placed in harm’s way and we are introduced to our lackluster main villain. By the time the prologue had come to an end I didn’t feel any real connection to my crew or the story luckily once the game opens up I started to bond and really care about my crew and the mission I was on.
Seeing as the game is about exploring new worlds, meeting new people and settling colonies, the real story comes from the many side missions you will find scattered across the worlds you visit, this is where you will meet some of the most interesting characters and story moments. I find myself wanting to clear the maps and do every mission I could find before heading off to the next world. I was surprised by the size of the worlds, each feels different and are fun to explore thanks to interesting settings and the new Nomad, a sturdy vehicle that is more likely to stay on its wheel than the Mako.
Next to the side missions the games Main Story and Villain feel weak in comparison, at times it feels like the only reason it’s there is just because they must have a main bad guy and a reason for you to get an end game boss fight, things could change but with 54% of the game complete I’m not sure.
Should the main villain turn into a bullet sponge boss battle at least they have greatly improved the combat. The addition of the boost jump/dodge and passive cover allow for greater movement across the battlefield, with combat profiles allowing a quick and easy way to adapt and choose the best powers for the battle, any chance I found to be in combat I took it. Being able to unlock any ability from the Combat, Biotics and Tech tree and setting favorite skills gave me a sense of freedom and choice during combat, no longer did I have to wait for a biotic teammate’s power to cool down when I could easily swap my grenade for a biotic throw along with the crafting system I was able to create a fast-moving character with powerful weapons and armor that improved all my combat and biotic skills.
Crafting is an interesting new addition, scanning objects around the worlds you visit grants Ryder research points that can then be used to buy blueprints that unlock new weapons, armor and augments. You can ignore this system and still find or buy new powerful weapons and armor however being able to build a new pistol and mod it allows for some helpful and at times overpowered weapons, is worth a try even if it can seem overwhelming at times.
A lot of what this game does can feel overwhelming at first, from menu design to the sheer number of quests and tasks you are first given, it took some time before I started to understand the different menus and systems and by that I mean what menus to just ignore.
While I’ve had a fun time traveling the galaxy meeting new people and getting into trouble I cant help but be disappointed by some of the technical issues, I don’t just mean the animation issues. While I noticed a feel odd faces during my 46 hours they never truly bothered me, what I found more annoying was the constant pop up issues while driving the Nomad or the disappearing characters, on two different occasions while on my ship, I started a conversation and went flying to the room my crew member was actually meant to be in and during a rather tense and important cutscene an enemy hadn’t been killed and spent the entire cutscene shooting me, along with other glitches from menus flickering, quests not loading to having helmet voice while not wearing a helmet, ruined my otherwise pleasant experience.
I’ve enjoyed my time so far in Mass Effect Andromeda and look forward to exploring as much of Andromeda as I can before the end but the sheer number of technical issues can’t be ignored, they are an unpleasant mark on what has been an otherwise good game. I am hopefully that the main story will improve and I’m sure that after every tweet and article about the many issues found in this game, BioWare will surely work towards improving the next game.
Until Next Time, Stay Safe and Keep Odd.