As you’re probably already aware, Bioware’s latest foray into the Mass Effect franchise – that took five years and over 40 million dollars to put together – has resulted in one of the most divisive games of the year, possibly of the generation. I’m not talking No Man’s Sky-levels of out-and-out hate, more pointing and laughing at the state of the facial animations, feeling immense sorrow that this is what Mass Effect ‘is’ right now, then looking past that to find some immensely satisfying positives. Because after all, it’ still a great game! Here are 10 things we loved (and hated) about Mass Effect Andromeda.
The new scanning system
The new scanning system is shit. And it already was in Mass Effect 3 but they continued to use it which is really not good. In the old games, you just had to click on a planet that you wanted to scan and play a little minigame for easy rewards. In Andromeda, the basics of “go to a planet, scan, get stuff” are the same, but every planet, asteroid or ship are modeled in full 3D, and the game insists on you traveling between each of them, one by one, completely with unskippable ‘flying’ animations.
For a system that comes with 10 planets, 20 asteroids, and 5 ships it means a lot of waiting before you will be able to get your rewards. In addition to that, you are can only scan a planet once which also results in having to jump between planets literally a thousand times! After all, this Andromeda ‘Innovation’ will even get your crazy ass really tired.
A very limited conversation system
I personally really like the new style of the four-way conversation system; one for being Emotional, Logical, Casual or Professional. The problem this system has is, that you are still either a good or a bad guy. Most of the times you can already tell what is going to happen based on your choices.
All in one, it could have worked out if the choices you get wouldn’t be so limiting. But because of that limitation, it really ruins that unique sense of intergalactic player agency necessary for Mass Effect to function.
Solving disputes between different races
The problem with most of the conversations you have in-game is that they mostly are very flat and bare-bones. But in some scenarios, you have a pretty big voting right. That is coming in great when you have to meddle in anything from falsely-accused murder suspects to scanning artifacts for research projects, being interviewed for documentaries and anything in between.
Choosing a side and facing the consequences for it are a great upside of Mass Effect Andromeda. It really makes you immerse into the story even more than any other game is able to do. It’s even better than in Skyrim, trust me…
The landscape is beautiful
One of the best things about Mass Effect Andromeda is how truly beautiful and complex their landscapes and environments are. Like we have seen before in Dragon Age Inquisition, Bioware is capable of creating a sense of detail and atmospheric density that provides a huge amount of variety to each and every landscape.
Instead of generating each planet randomly like in No-Mans-Sky, Bioware crafted each planet with their bare hands and filled it with quests for you to complete. There really is a whole lot to explore and to find and if you are the right guy when it comes to exploration, Mass Effect Andromeda is the game for you!
The new Omni-Tool
It’s like the pip-boy from Fallout: One of the most beloved pieces of iconography from Mass Effect, subject of cosplays and goddamn essentially to the series. So PLEASE, why would you make it look like it has been designed within under an hour. In motion, the new Omni-Tool almost looks like one giant texture that hasn’t loaded properly, its forever-stuttering ‘interface’ being a mess of horizontal lines and sepia-tinged static.
Another Krogan to join your side
It really hurt me when I lost my Krogan teammate at the end of Mass Effect 2. I repeatedly said to me: “You shouldn’t have sent him this way, you dumb ass!”. With these feelings in my back, it made me really happy to hear that a new Krogan by the name of Drack will join your side in Mass Effect Andromeda.
Drack is that archetypal immortal warrior that’s ‘seen everything’ and has a lot of cutscenes containing headbutts to one-liners and sprinting into hordes of enemies before sending them flying.
The perfect loop of exploration, combat and dialogues
Last but not least, Mass Effect Andromeda can be very fun once everything gets going. It takes some time to fully understand what the Andromeda Initiative are, what a ‘Pathfinder’ is and just what you’re doing other than base exploration, but in a way, carving your own path through so much content and side-missions is the new Mass Effect experience.
After all, the human facial animations are hilariously atrocious, but they won’t get in the way of your overall enjoyment. But you should still see for yourself if the game fits your needs. Have fun playing!
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