These past two weeks I spent about as much time avoiding Mass Effect: Andromeda as I did playing it. I know why I did it, but I’m still disappointed that I did. I bought a PS4 Pro for Mass Effect. Sure, I knew I’d play other great games on it, but when I knew the Mass Effect Andromeda release date is when I committed. I tried and tried to look back: what was it about the Mass Effect trilogy that I loved? And why didn’t Andromeda live up to expectations?
- Character creation is a bit... wonky... due to some story line limitations. I found a way to approximate a character I was happy with, aka a character that looks sort of like me and less like the twink that came standard. Representation in video games matters! I like that my Ryder has a more boyish, immature personality than Sheppard did in the original Trilogy.
- I played a lot of it pre-patch, and the game was four kinds of effed up. I casually encountered game breaking glitches multiple times, including one where I got stuck in a state where I couldn’t interact with objectives and one where squad members wouldn’t resurrect. This was on top of many visual glitches/pop-in that occasionally took gameplay from annoying to unbearable.
- Adventuring turns into a slogs. Fetch quest objectives turn the gameplay same-y very quickly, and sometimes the story isn’t there to save it.
- The controls are generally good; your typical crouch, sprint, and shoot commands return. I’d have liked a quicker way to switch between profiles and powers
- There might be just a tad too much depth to items. I get it, you should only be able to carry so many weapons... but crafting individual tiers to guns and armors is a bit much. I’d have liked to have it peeled back a bit to something where you have upgrade-able sets rather than constructing new ones each time. And only having to collect each piece once.
- The Angara are fine, and I like the idea of a very ‘emotional’ race. It contrasts a lot of the other races we’ve gotten to know. I’m giving the lore a pass here for now. I just find it weird that they have very human butts.
- As a gay man I’m disappointed by the romance options, but that’s a whole can of worms in and of itself. Others can and will disagree. Representation in video games matters!
- The map screen is barely helpful. Not being able to rotate it and it’s psuedo-3D-ness makes tagging and finding objectives hard.
- The open world is a double-edged sword. Coupled with same-y enemy encounters and the lack of interesting set pieces makes exploring boring.In Mass Effect 3 I might have been funneled through corridors, but at least the corridors had character. On the other hand sometimes the driving in the untamed wilds and wandering across outposts for a quick gun-down scratches an itch. Maybe we’ll find a happy medium in the future.
Looking back it took me a bit to get into the original Mass Effect too. The RPG elements were unwieldy and something about the visuals was off. That’s what happened here. Mass Effect 2 pulled me in immediately, so maybe the follow up will polish up the franchise in the next-gen and-a-half way it deserves. If not maybe we’ll at least get a 4K Remaster of the original trilogy.
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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here.