Video Game Review: Mass Effect: Andromeda

 

Details: Released in 2017. Spent around sixty-three hours playing through the game on the PC. Purchased through Origin for around ten dollars. Official site is https://www.masseffect.com/

Score: 7.5/10

A year ago, Mass Effect Andromeda was released to a substantially negative reception. The Mass Effect franchise had a lot of a fans and the discussion on Andromeda was that the game was full of bugs and lacked meaningful decisions for players to make. It’s been about a year and I finally got around to playing Andromeda. In my opinion, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a satisfying, good game with some bugs, but nothing that took away too much from my experience. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s good.

Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place approximately six hundred years after the events of Mass Effect one, two and three. You play either Sara or Scott Ryder (depending on who you choose), the twin children of Alec Ryder, a pathfinder of the Human Ark. Six hundred years ago, humanity along with the other major races in the Milky Way galaxy decided to build space ships (called “arks”) with thousands of members of each of their species and travel to the Andromeda galaxy in the name of exploration and colonization. After six hundred years of travel in suspended animation, the human ark reaches its destination to find that nothing has gone according to plan. Now either Scott or Sara Ryder must rise to the challenge and help humanity — as well as the other races that made the journey — survive and thrive in this new, unexplored galaxy.

When Andromeda first came out, there were a lot of complaints about bugs. As I played this game one year later, I found most of the bugs minor. There were some visual glitches, the most annoying of which was discoloration during cut scenes. The game crashed a few times and some saves didn’t load, but this was minor as well because of the impressive auto-save system in the game. The game automatically saves very frequently and saves to multiple save files instead of overwriting a single auto-save file. The result is that even if a catastrophic bug occurs, you have many automatically saved points in the game to reload from.

I enjoyed the gameplay, though it would be nice to have some more enemy varieties. Gameplay is primarily of third person shooting mechanics. You gain experience as you defeat enemies and earn skill points to put into skills. There’s also ample loot in the game and you can find or craft weapons and armor. It’s reminiscent of the past Mass Effect games, but a little more complex with more options.

The strongest part of the game is ironically the story, which is also what a lot of people complained about when the game was released. I thought the story was good. Interactions with other characters and character development was also good. A lot of the decisions did not impact the game in any real way nor were most of them difficult to make. You can tell that any decisions made here were meant to play out later in downloadable content or sequels. Unfortunately, because this game performed so poorly, Electronic Arts announced that there would be no sequels or downloadable content and that the franchise was taking a break.

Visually, the game looks good… sometimes. Some character models look fine. Some don’t. The lighting is fine a lot of the time. A lot of the time, it’s not. My opinion is that visually, the game was mostly fine. Some scenes (particularly the ending sequence) was really amazing to see. Some character models made me question how much effort the artists and animators really put in to create these characters.

The audio is great. The music is classic space opera stuff, which means a live orchestra with some electronic elements. I enjoyed the music mostly.

Overall, this was a fun game that I’m glad I played. It’s a tragedy that Electronic Arts gave up on the game and that fans were so harsh because I would have loved some downloadable content or sequels to flesh out the world. Even still, the game was fun and well worth the ten dollars I spent on it.

Score: 7.5/10

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