Like I mentioned in my last post, I played two games on my PlayStation 4 while waiting for the release of Persona 5. One was a fantastic surprise, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The other was a huge disappointment and I’m sad to say that the disappointing one was Mass Effect Andromeda.
First thing worth mentioning is that Mass Effect Andromeda is by no means a bad game, it’s just a big let down. Considering how incrementally better each of the previous games were I think it’s safe to say fans were expecting it to be at least on the same level of Mass Effect 3 (minus the ending). And this is on my opinion the biggest fault of this game, as aside from a few things, it feels worse in every way.
I was going to start by saying what I think this game is good at but even when it shines I have some preferences as things were done in the previous games.
The combat for sure is fun. Your character is capable of much more movement, a quick dash is now available, you can jump and even climb structures during combat. This was one of the saving graces of the game for me however now you can’t give orders to your characters, so be ready to see them using their abilities at the worst possible time, getting killed a lot or just being useless.
Since this is the first Mass Effect using the Frostbite Engine, famous for its use in Battlefield and recently Star Wars Battlefront, probably the developer, Bioware, decided to give the combat more room, make it more open and I certainly appreciate it. My personal problem with it is that I personally prefer the close quarters combat the original trilogy has. Sure the original games had some big arenas too but they felt more compact, more strategic and when things got chaotic, fights would be more tense as there was less room to maneuver and you had to pick what abilities to use and conclusions to bring with you more carefully especially on harder difficulties.
Talking about the engine, we have the graphics. When looking at landscapes, scenarios, lightning and textures it all looks great but not so much better that it stands out from Mass Effect 2 and 3. The real shame here are the characters. They look weird, lifeless and act like speaking dolls. I played the game a few weeks after release so I fortunately had my game patched and the characters were already disappointing but the way they behaved before the patch made the game almost unplayable.
If those were the only problems… Characters are mostly uninteresting, the dialogues are bad, especially of your main character which half the time sounds like a goofball. Of all the characters of the game I think my favorites were the pilots and the doctor and that just made me think how disappointing your crew is.
The other issue of the game is the plot. I’ll not even try to compare to the plot of the first game because just a small arc of any of the first three games is better than the story of this whole game. The idea of going to a different galaxy, years in the future is good in a way that it gives more freedom to the developers but instead of being creative they do the opposite.
If you start second guessing some events I could pinpoint a bunch of inconsistencies that make you wonder how some events happen and when you think for more than a minute many things stop making sense altogether. So I advise anyone playing to simply let you critical skill go in order to have a little more fun.
Another issue with Mass Effect Andromeda for me is this horrible trend in gaming to try and make everything open world. However instead of trying to make things fun and engaging, like The Witcher 3 or the GTA series, let’s make them as repetitive and boring as we can, just like Assassin’s Creed. In my opinion, while the idea of exploring different worlds if a great one, perhaps in Mass Effect it should be left to another time as so far the strong points of the series have been its characters and storytelling and being honest, doing both a compelling narrative and sidequests at the same time is not as easy as it seem and here it seems both suffered because of it.
I was going going to say the perfect word to describe Mass Effect Andromeda is disappointing but inconsistent is also among my choice of words. Some times the game looks good, yet some other times it looks horrible (when people decide to speak). Sometimes the gameplay is great, until you remember you can’t order your squad to do anything and they start getting themselves killed. Same exact bosses recycled all throughout the game. Music is fine but pretty forgettable.
In the end this game is not as bad as people are making it out to be but it is a huge disappointment, not just taking the previous games of the series into consideration but as it’s own it’s pretty lackluster overall. Would I recommend this game to anyone? Not really, not even to fans of the previous games as there are much better options released recently and some to come in the near future there are certainly better alternatives but if you would still like to play it, just don’t expect much from it and you might have a good time.