"Affecting the Effect" Mass Effect: Andromeda review.
Unless you've been living in isolation for the last few weeks, you more than likely know that Mass Effect: Andromeda recently made it's way to PC and consoles. The game has been more than a little divisive with critics and gamers alike ripping on it's abundance of bugs and facial animation issues. YouTube compilations and social media rage posts seem to gravitate toward this game but, is it as bad as many are making it out to be? Well, I have taken upon myself to ascertain the reality of these claims. Ok, were we go........
78 hours later.....
Ok, um, wow.....that felt a wee bit unpolished.
Let me start by saying this game has so much potential and the combat is very fun but, there are definitely some glaring issues here. Yes, the bugs exist although they are not as bad after the day one patch (a patch which was claimed wasn't gonna happen but did anyway) this still does not erase the fact that throughout my 78 hours of gameplay with 90% completion that I witnessed way too many bugs than are acceptable in a finished AAA title. We are talking poor hit detection from time to time, non-moving or missing characters during cut scenes, getting stuck in the walls and other parts of the world, and constant popping in and out of textures this greatly detracted from my overall enjoyment of the game.
Technical bugs aside, it also feels like some corners were cut while making this game, particularly in the form of the Asari. Now, I know that the Asari are essentially made to fill plot tropes about sexy alien women but, should we really act like all of them, except for party member PeeBee, look exactly the same? It really seems like every other Asari in this game is some variance of your ship's Doctor Lexi, not sure what is going on there since the Asari seemed more varied in the previous trilogy but, it raises a few questions. Also, this game has a very wonky menu interface, there are submenus to submenus of main menus. The once simple task of looking up mission objectives has now become a guessing game of which submenu has the mission that you would like to highlight and complete, this became a little easier with time but, it really could've been a lot more user friendly.
Another glaring design issue is the fact that some missions require you to check emails to follow up on the mission's status, problem is that while most of the missions take place on the planet that you've landed on you often find yourself having to return your ship to check said emails which wouldn't be much of a problem if not for the fact that returning to your ship means sitting through a take off cut scene of your leaving the planet. Yes, you have to leave the mission planet, go into orbit, check your email, and then return to the planet. Keep in mind that both leaving and landing on a planet requires that you sit through a cut scene every time, not game breaking but definitely annoying. Lastly, my other gripes include my missing the radial menu for using powers and techniques as well as commanding your team and wishing that the paragon/renegade system were still present. Now that the negative is out of the way, let us get to the good stuff.
For starters, this game has some damned pretty environments, a lot of love obviously went into making these worlds. The exploration gameplay and controls feel very fluid and using your jetpack is fun and intuitive. I mentioned the combat earlier and it is great, the mobility gained from utilizing your jetpack make for a much more fast paced and immediate experience which lends itself well to the very fun multiplayer aspect. The story is pretty standard Mass Effect fair; you are Ryder, a man given the title of Pathfinder and the responsibility of helping thousands find a new home in a new galaxy.
As this is a BioWare game, you can be assured that it is littered with characters, character development, and character relationships. Thankfully most of the main characters are well written and the friendship/romance missions really do help you feel connected to them as if they were actual living, breathing people. It should also be mentioned that there is actual nudity in some of the romance scenes which isn't terribly important unless, of course, you've ever wondered if the Asari have nipples.....they do, now you know. By the end of the campaign I did feel very satisfied overall, there were a lot of ups and downs but, I felt that it was a worthwhile experience.
Overall, this is a fun game with a lot of potential for another beloved trilogy but, technical bugs combined with some questionable design choices sully the experience which means that some will be put off by it's sixty dollar price tag as they may feel that what amounts to a steam greenlight release isn't worth that much. So, sadly this game gets the grade of C+ as it just isn't quite finished yet.
Thank you for reading and be sure and follow me on twitter at twitter.com/Jakaal84 for announcements and updates about this page. Until next time.