The original Mass Effect trilogy was beloved by so many of us gamers here at MGL (except for the ending of 3, but lets not go there). With it’s memorable characters and cinematic story, it became a well-loved franchise from Bioware is close to peoples hearts. So with this Mass Effect Andromeda review you get not one but two opinions including mine and that of fellow editor, Respawn Rossco who has his section along with my main opinions too.
The series has moved far away from our familiar Milky Way, and across Dark Space to the Andromeda galaxy. A new story is set to unfold based on principles of exploration and finding a new home.
There has been a lot said already, some of it rightly some on the harsh side. Here we look in-depth at the game and give our final verdict. Is Mass Effect Andromeda a good start to the new story? Or will nothing live up to Commander Shepard and the original trilogy? It’s all very controversial, use the Comments Section at the end to leave your thoughts at the end
Look and Feel – “We made it!”
You’ve probably already seen all the articles about the facial animations, but they’re not as bad as people make them out to be. Sometimes they do seem off, but it’s nothing that will pull you out of the game.
What might pull you out of the game however, are the bugs here and there that are noticeable and sometimes, progress halting. This doesn’t happen to everyone, it certainly didn’t happen to myself, but there are reports (some of us on the MGL team included) of things going wrong that could stop your space adventure in its tracks. Like being unable to talk to NPC’s and infinite loading screens.
The fact that they are there is quite a disappointment to those who are the unlucky ones. The bugs I did encounter were only small ones, like walls not loading quick enough on my ship and I’m staring into the nothingness of space. I also experienced framerate dips while running around on the ship later on in the game. However, this corrected itself quickly and I carried on with what I was doing.
Onto more positive points, the game is a good looking game. The environments are impressive and huge. The Andromeda galaxy has some beautiful planets, and I enjoyed every second exploring them, trying to uncover their secrets and do every quest I could find.
I would have preferred a day/night cycle on these planets, but as they were in another galaxy it makes sense that the days and nights would potentially be longer than those here on Earth. Personally, my favorite planet is called ‘Havarl’, which is a planet overgrown with a lush jungle/rainforest that has glow in the dark plants.
It reminded me of the movie Avatar which, say what you want about it, did have some pretty environments.
Story and Gameplay – “You are that explorer now.”
You begin the game as one of the Ryder twins, Scott or Sara. Like previous Mass Effect games, you can customise your own character, as well as your sibling. Once you arrive in the Andromeda Galaxy, things go horribly wrong and it’s up to you, as the Pathfinder, to find a homeworld and to discover the secrets of Andromeda, all while trying to protect your new home from a mysterious, dangerous new race of Aliens.
The voice acting of the main characters is great, I was playing as Sara, and she showed a lot more emotion in her voice than Femshep ever did. This more human approach invested me even more as the things that she said were delivered in a way that I’d expect them to be said. Even Scott sounded like a real relatable human, unlike the robotic line deliveries of Mark Meer.
The voice acting of other characters ranges from the same quality as the Ryders to the woefully bad Liam who is this game’s Jacob. But each of the supporting cast have their own personalities and backgrounds. Natalie Dormer, who previously played Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones, did an amazing job at voicing Dr Lexi T’Perro. Not many TV celebrities can take to voice acting very well (cough Peter Dinklage cough). But I think she did an awesome job, and didn’t once sound like she was simply reading off a script.
The characters you have in your crew, loveable as they are, do feel too familiar and safe however. Only one new member is from the new alien race, the Angara. You have the usual male and female human, the Turian, the Krogan and the Asari, just like in the original Trilogy. In a new galaxy I would’ve liked to have seen a few new species.
This is a setup to new things that will potentially come later on, similar to how Mass Effect 1 was. The romances also make a return, as you’d expect with Bioware games. You know the drill, sweet talk one of your crew members and you get space-sex. The difference with this game is that there’s full frontal nudity in sex scenes. With female characters anyway, because showing a space dongle would apparently be too much!
That Familiar Feeling
Speaking of similarities to previous Mass Effect games, this new galaxy also has advanced technology left by a mysterious race called the Remnant, who have disappeared. These Remnant were interesting, but I did think it was a bit similar to the Protheans, though I am excited to find out more about them in the next Mass Effect games.
The combat in this game felt perfect. Being able to run behind a wall or shield and automatically get into cover without any extra button presses felt really smooth, and it was one less thing to worry about when you’re surrounded by enemies and using all your ammo and powers.
The jetpack, which is a new addition to Mass Effect, felt quick and responsive. Pressing B while moving in a direction will make you dodge, and you can also use it mid-air. This came in very handy many times for me and it fits in really well with the game as you can also use it to explore worlds and not just in combat.
The multiplayer hasn’t really changed since Mass Effect 3. There are little improvements (like the cover system), but it feels pretty much the same as 3’s ‘Horde Mode’ multiplayer. That’s not a bad thing however, as it means it’s still addictive and fun, and you don’t have to play it to get the ‘best ending’ either, which is a bonus.
It’s also kept the unlocking system of 3’s multiplayer, so you better play lots for those credits and hope that you’re lucky with your packs if you want to play as that badass Asari huntress.
Mistakes That Could Easily Have Been Avoided
Rossco here, as a big Mass Effect fan I couldn’t help but chip in with Natalie on this review. Her points here are all very valid but one thing that really stands out about Mass Effect Andromeda and holds it back is a number of avoidable mistakes.
Glitches, unnecessary travel sequences between planets in the galaxy map and no option of the classic power and squad wheels. These are things that true playtesting and final polishing would have corrected. It’s not as bad as people have claimed for me, but there is so much in the detail that could have made this very good game to the standards set of the original trilogy.
More from me on this on MGL next week but certainly this game is worth playing. But in my opinion EA should have allowed Bioware to work on this another 2 months at least before launch.
Mass Effect Andromeda has a few bugs and mistakes along your journey. But after a slow start the story picks up and becomes more and more interesting and it kept me hooked right up until the credits were rolling.
The voice acting, locations, and exploration make it a super fun game that I highly recommend you experience for yourself. I spent hours and hours engaged in this wonderful galaxy and although some elements felt too safe, I will absolutely start another playthrough to experience it all again.
This is just the beginning of an epic storyline, and I’m excited to see where it will go from here. Hopefully with a lot more polish and proper testing before it releases next time. Check out my scores below and drop me your thoughts in the comments section.