Published on May 1st, 2017 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Mass Effect Andromeda
Summary: A third-person action RPG and fourth entry overall in the series. It no longer follows the story of Commander Shepard, now you play as either Scott or Sara Ryder, an inexperienced military recruit.
Concept: With the main trilogy over, the story complete and plenty of time to reset itself, Mass Effect Andromeda was supposed to take the series to a new level. It was supposed to be the ultimate merger of BioWare’s crisp, imaginative story telling, with RPG-style character (and race) choice, blended with epic, open galaxy exploration. What we get is genuinely poor writing, really bad characters, presented in the exact same systematic formula. The atmosphere of the previous Mass Effect games is dead.
The only thing more awkward than this moment was sitting through the banter.
Graphics: Not to harp on the issues that have already gone viral, but the character animations are so bad, they’re actually comical. You can’t play the game without the characters throwing you awkward smiles, twisted cringes stray pupils, weirding you out in the most serious situations. It’s either funny or creepy. The whole look of this game is slightly more cartoony and plain than it’s predecessors, further losing its charm. A bright spot is some of the planets have some fairly nice deep-space horizons thanks to some cool lighting and sun flares.
Gameplay: Hurrah, the gunplay has slightly improved with better character movement, which was necessary with open areas to explore. As this game becomes less “BioWare” and more “EA”, there’s less cover-based shooting and more Battlefield-style open gunning, which means less and less strategy and tactics. Characters seem to move more fluently with less stiffness now. But the new quick jetpack boosts gives a rancid aftertaste of Titanfall and COD multiplayer shooters, and does not fit in a game like this. I’m also stunned that we’re still “exploring space” with tedious nav setting planet scans, and copping out of flying and landing with cutscenes. To make things even worse, the crafting system and overall user interface is unnecessarily messy and clumsy to sift through.
“Kiss me, I’m yours!”
Sound: The mistakes continue to drop with poor voice acting from the miscellaneous cast of nobodies who sound more out of synch and bored than the player playing the game. The music is also way off the mark, with generic space tunes that instill no sense of its traditional atmosphere and even the occasional pop-rock ballad, which should never, ever, be in a Mass Effect game.
Multiplayer: Multiplayer is basically swords instead of guns, with multiple team and solo versus modes. In team games, when you lose one man in battle, you’ve pretty much lost the game each time. That said, if someone drops out mid battle, a tough AI bot will fill in the shoes. In-game currency rewards are “steel” and it’s handed out in tiny portions like pocket change from a homeless guy. This leads many to buy gear using their own real dosh.
Combat is a little better. That is something.
Awesomeness: Mass Effect Andromeda was put together by a team of people who seem to have no idea what made the original trilogy so special. Most key figureheads from the original BioWare have moved on, taken over by EA hotheads with strange agendas, and the result is a hot mess. The entire point of reviving the series was to take this game to the next level of space exploration, but right now it’s gone so far backwards that it’s almost unsalvagable.
Final Word: The excellent platform was supposed to have evolved. Instead, it has badly regressed on every front, with no innovation, and that is hugely disappointing. The story is amateurish, the characters are unlikable, the female characters in particular look like they were sculpted using Blu-Tack, the atmosphere is dry, the RPG elements watered down, all strategy has drowned, exploration is aimless, conceptually it’s poor, the romance options are weak, and there’s not even any incentive to play. To everyone involved, thanks for destroying a great thing. RIP BioWare.
Score out of 5 Bugs