A little over 5 years since the release of Mass Effect 3, one of the more polarising incarnations of the series, comes the latest release in Bioware’s massively popular franchise, Andromeda. Amid a furore of critiques surrounding the overly long production and inflated costs involved in it, the game did a soft release in the middle of March to very mixed reviews.
This list of problems with the game as a whole isn’t long but it is filled with some fairly important features to the game. First and most dominant in appearance to anyone who plays for more than an hour is the character models and animations. Instead of the clean and polished feel we have from other games with only the occasional glitch, Andromeda sets a new low precedent for facial structuring and animation in its key feature of conversations.
Add to that its unexpectedly ridiculous character animation for when NPC’s are walking or even when you run your own character around in the world it can be very disconcerting, and to a lot of gamers it can be a real mark against the title. Despite all of the good points it has to offer.
I could go on for a while about the problems that Mass Effect Andromeda suffers from but instead I want to focus on some of the highlights from my 15+ hours of exploring the new Andromeda galaxy.
Starting with the story, despite typically cheesy dialogue written by people who don’t seem to understand what idioms are and how they work, the storyline is compelling and fun. The concept of adding a pseudo open world element to the game, given how restrictive ME:3 ended up being, creates a huge number of worlds to explore and get lost in finding all the secrets of.
The bad guys are another trope, very similar in construction to the Collectors or even the Reapers from the previous games, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. With less than a handful of planets explored so far, I have only started to scratch the surface of the storyline involving the Kett, but so far, I have found them and their inherent surprises to be a bit underwhelming. I am having far more fun vault diving and trying to find the other Arks at this point.
The planet based exploration is a bit of a mixed bag for me, the Nomad controls well and in fun to fly off cliffs in, but the planets seems to have almost too much blank space between points of interest. When trying to set up all your forward bases to be able to fast travel with ease, it can get very tedious. Hopefully later planets will have more to look at as I drive around at unsafe speeds.
At the end of the day, as a fan of the Mass Effect series as a whole, I have not been let down by this game in the slightest. Mass Effect Andromeda, despite its quirks delivers everything I loved about the other games, in literally a whole new galaxy and that leaves me excited to play more.