REVIEW – After so many years of waiting for the new Mass Effect, the game finally is here, and so is our review. If one word could describe the game the best way possible, it’s perhaps the word: “controversial”. Not because of it’s content, not because of nudity or sex scenes (which caused a scandal back in 2007 with the first Mass Effect), but because so many issues the game has – some of them are even funny. Oh man, where to start. I can’t decide. Let me try to do this step by step.
A new Mass Effect! This is what kept me going. I didn’t care about any of the trailers. I didn’t watch any of them. The mere fact that there’s going to be a big new entry in the series was enough for me. Yes, I know that Mass Effect 3 was considered one of the worst in the series, both from gameplay and narrative side, but I guess the expectations were too high. I was a sucker for Mass Effect 1 and 2, and can remember what the third part was about. I remember how the released an alternative ending after a few months when nobody cared about the game anymore.
So Bioware! Let’s see what I think about you. You released some epic games in the past, but Dragon Age 2 and Inquisition were under the belt. Then your MMO was nice, but the MMO aspect ruined the whole core essence you can so well do. Based on this, I hoped that Mass Effect Andromeda would be some carefully designed and written masterpiece.
Well, it’s not. Far from good. But it’s also not that bad.
Let’s get these whole “animations are bad” thing out of the way first. Yes, they’re terrible. And I mean it. They had 4+ years of development, and even the most basic animations and behaviors look like they were done during one weekend by some wannabe animator. I mean the damned Dragon Age Origins had better animations, and the game came out ages ago (excuse the mild exaggeration).
I don’t really care about body animation, but as the game keeps you most of the time engaged in conversations, the facial animations being this bad will leave a mark. But, after a few hours of playing the game, you will learn to live with them, and they will stop being annoying. Also, there was a patch that allegedly fixed these problems, so don’t let this take your enthusiasm away. (The patch wasn’t there at the time when the article was written, but after the patch, I didn’t notice any drastic change to be honest – BadSector)
Let’s talk about text
Now let’s get the whole “the game has the worst dialogs ever” straight. Yes, there are some very cheesy and boring dialogs in the game, but it’s not true that the game is filled with these. So let’s just all calm down. The voice actors are a bit weird here and there, and there are some forced accents that were meant to make the characters more interesting… this quite failed. But again, if you play the game a lot you learn to live with it.
Story wise there is not too much to say. It’s a decent story that is indeed filled with twists and turns. I really enjoyed most of the story moments and was awed multiple times by the build-up and overall presentation of multiple events. I liked this story more than the previous “OMG THE REAPERS ARE COMING” narrative. It’s not far from that, but at least you get way more on the plate.
The Mass Effect series were always seasoned with a wide variety of characters that were part of the story, combat or erotic elements. Mass Effect Andromeda has its share of characters as well, and while they’re not that strong as previous ones, they do have a certain charm to them.
Except maybe Liam who keeps appearing topless in multiple scenes and the game forces me to have a romantic relationship with him, and I am more Turian oriented. The characters will help you during the journey; they will fight with each other or make strong bonds, and so on. You got the whole drama channel in there. The good part? You can ignore most of it; the game is not forcing you to interact with them. (Well I am sure, I will once again try to interact with every female character in the game, haha… BadSector)
Now, here is a Mass Effect game that has a strong “Open World” feeling. The planets are huge and they can be explored. There’s not too much around, and most of the times even if you find something it’s Mission related or it’s just placed there to ignite your combat or exploration instincts. At one point I didn’t even bother to check my Mission Journal as all the Missions are marked on your map. It’s fun to explore, to mine, to fight and to complete missions. The game has a lot to offer if you’re patient enough and check every corner.
Space, the final frontier
Space is a big part of the game. As in previous installments, you will be able to explore galaxies again, and you can approach individual planets to scan them, hoping to find something new. They offer points, lore bits, and resources most of the time. You also have something like “the Citadel, ” but I don’t want to spoil too much.
Combat is what you will frequently do, and though in the beginning, it looks sloppy, as you advance further you will gain new weapons and abilities that will make the whole experience more engaging. It’s fun that you can order your companions around, and most of the time they are doing something meaningful apart from firing back at the enemy without any feedback.
Crafting and Research. This part is so confusing that the only advice I have here is to keep trying and you will figure it out eventually. It took me hours to figure it out, and I’m still not sure what I am doing.
Apparently, there’s multiplayer, but I tried it out, so there’s nothing to say.
Time is the essence
Ending advice: Take your time to explore the game. It has a lot to offer, and it will open up soon after it begins. It is confusing at the beginning, the game doesn’t really offer a tutorial, but it’s not that hard to pick it up. Every time you find a new place, make sure to walk around and check who you can talk with. Not all the Missions are highlighted on the map, but they will become highlighted once accepted.
It’s not the best Mass Effect game, but it’s not the worst either. I guess people expected something bigger. (Or better… BadSector) The developers keep promising they will fix everything, but by that time people either get bored of the game and finish it.
+ Mass Effect feeling
+ Huge galaxy
+ Many skills, combat is well done
– Animation and other bugs
– Characters are rather boring and cliché
– Voices are mediocre
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release date: March 23, 2017