Gaming

Mass Effect Andromeda – A Retrospective Review

Andromeda is lackluster, stale and timid when compared to the trilogy. Fans of Mass Effect will find its characters boring, the protagonists forgettable and apart from the combat which is great, an overall disappointment when compared to Commander Shepard and his legacy. On it's own, its at most decent.

Mass Effect & It’s Legacy

Mass Effect is a Third-Person Sci-Fi Role-Playing Shooter Developed by Bioware. It originally arrived on the Xbox 360 in 2007 but then went on to be multiplatform. The series has often been described as many eclectic things, such as ‘Space Opera’ ‘Military Science Fiction’ in regards to the various themes it touches upon. As an RPG, the series has been very successful in amassing a huge cult following that tout the series as one of the best in the gaming universe.

To give some context, I have been a massive Mass Effect fan since I got into the series a little over 9 years ago (I initially played it in 2009 but couldn’t get into it), first on the PC, then my PS3 which now sits decorated with a Mass Effect 3 XcaliburUK casing as a housing and a reminder towards my admiration for the gaming series.

Andromeda Releases in 2017

2017 saw the release of highly awaited Mass Effect Game ‘Andromeda’ after 2012’s Mass effect 3 concluded the trilogy. Andromeda was highly awaited, especially after the controversial ending for ME3 left fans in disarray and forced Bioware in releasing an extended cut for the ending. Naturally, the fervor for the new game being released after such a long wait was astronomical.

Fans would finally know how the series would continue after ME3, all we knew before release was that it took place in between Mass effect 2 & 3 as opposed to a prequel or sequel. Sadly, it started off quite bad, fans like I, did not buy it straight away, even though I almost pre-ordered it, but hesitated and waited to see how it does at the start.

My predicament came true and I saw the initial reviews, facial animation glitches, poor visuals, performance issues plague/malign/scar this super hyped game, and decided for the patches to clear the game, up even though I was itching to play it.

After waiting almost 9 months, I finally bought two copies, one for me and the person who got me back into the series, Dr. Di Li, and we embarked on an insightful journey, which to summarise, was lackluster in terms of our expectations, but a necessary journey albeit, especially as Mass Effect Fans.

After sinking over 100 hours into Andromeda & having devoured all digital media, books, graphic novels, posters, coloring books, memorabilia on all things Mass effect, this is my take on Andromeda.

The Andromeda Galaxy | Mass Effect Andromeda Review

Story

Andromeda is a big letdown in terms of storytelling, let me say that first and foremost! The story is not as fleshed out or engaging as the trilogy, there are no moments of gasps, amusing intrigue, or epic showdowns, not “ enough” emotional or sentimental scenes of camaraderie, sacrifices as well. With Andromeda I expected it to be a new start in the Mss Effect Universe, ushering in a robust storyline to begin with, it did not.

Andromeda does not make a great timeline, either as a true prequel or sequel as I mentioned before, after finishing the game, even with very few reference’s from the past, it does not make for a great or even memorable experience.

Mass Effect Andromeda Review
“Massani” I could hear Zaeed’s voice in my head when i saw this!

Where Andromeda Shines

Moving on to the positives, although Shepard is absent in Andromeda there are references to older characters such as Liara T’Soni, Zaeed Massani, Garrus Vakarian which bring an ever so slight glimmer of nostalgia in this dull world. character and world-building with alien classes of Turians, Salarian, Krogan, Geth, Batarians which most pleasantly is a wonderful inclusion as musicale as it is!

These throwbacks and murmurings of older characters do add to the strengths of Andromeda and help to bolster a lackluster plot, which in effect definitely leaves so much more to be desired.

Listening to audio recordings of Liara were an absolute treat for me and one of the reasons I pushed through the game even though the main plot would seem at times, more like a grind than a mystery one cannot wait to unravel!

Mass Effect Andromeda Review
Some great backdrops | Mass Effect Andromeda Review

A Deep Dive Into Andromeda

In my pursuit of truly understanding Andromeda I went on to achieve the platinum Trophy on the Playstation 4 because in my pursuit to complete as much as possible in one playthrough of this game, I was able to achieve it ( surprisingly as its 0.7% and includes a LOT of playtime, although ME fans would not mind the time investment from prior experience).

As an ME fan, I owed it to myself to play Andromeda at least once to almost 100% completion so that I could not only know the new direction Bioware had taken, learn what Andromeda’s story was, any reference of Shepard, but also to look at all the criticism the game got.

My findings after 120 Hours of Andromeda are broken into the following points:

Mass Effect Andromeda Review
Image Credit : Wallpaper Central
  • The facial animation glitches & performance issues in the start really destroyed the games reputation and i understand the backlash, but since I played the game on the final patch, I did not suffer a single animation/visual glitch. I did although, face 3-4 glitches in my play-through where my character was floating in the air so the game required a restart of the PS4 console.
  • The story was underwhelming and I keep hammering this point as that as a strong focus with the first three games. Adding to that, so were most of the characters and their loyalty missions, However, Some new characters such as Jaal (also his race the “Angaran”), & Drack, were some of my favorites in Andromeda and I loved the conversations with them.. mostly. Lastly, having Kumail Nanjiani as Tann was a great addition, he fit the bill as a feisty diplomatic asswipe Salarian to perfection.
  • The antagonists, titular baddies, and their motivations were muddled and not that climatic. It lacked substance for me personally. I would also add that the exaltation process was very interesting and I liked it a lot, although it reminded me of indoctrination and there are similarities.
Mass Effect Andromeda Review
Mass Effect Andromeda Review
  • The origins of Angaran people was a bit of a pleasant shocker, and somehow reminded me of the Geth but on an organic level. Also their culture the “Angaran” so sacredly protected was SPOILER created for them. This was perfectly depicted by the dialogue and quite intriguing environment and mannerism of the Angarans. Moving forward seeing more of the Anaran’s would be great.
  • The Quarian Ark storyline would have been a good inclusion but got cancelled. The Quarian ark was such a tease in the end and now with no DLC after initial rumors, Bioware seems to have really annoyed fans. The lack of DLC, in general, is it NO as we all know how important they were especially ‘Citadel’ from Mass Effect 3.
  • The combat in Andromeda is one of the reasons I liked the game and was happy to play as “Vanguard” class and blast through the 120 Hours, most of them on Multiplayer. I also liked the ability to chose profiles and powers as and when I want. This was a super huge plus and one of the best things about the game.
  • No more patches for continued improvement and no more story DLC seems to feel Bioware abandoned ship! it’s 2020 and the moved on to Anthem which was an even bigger disappointment.
  • Huge Open World was a huge plus but left a void in Andromeda, A lot of time, it felt too many side quests were just simple fetch quests from Point A to B, replicated.
  • Multiplayer is really good! As a mostly single-player gamer, I surprisingly have sunk quite some time as it’s really good and as of now, is quite balanced, bug-free, easy matchmaking to name its strengths.
  • Thresher Maw-ish! Fans of ME will remember the equally beautiful and terrifying sight of a Thresher Maw which makes a small return.
The Crew| Mass Effect Andromeda Review

Verdict

Andromeda is an okay game when compared to the trilogy, as a Mass Effect fan I find it hard to recommend since it does not carry the legacy of N7 that well.

The combat is great, the story lackluster, the companions and crew – just okay, nothing like the trilogy. Andromeda excels at Multiplayer and open-world combat, it also allows changing profiles on the go, it throwbacks to loved characters from the trilogy, but in small doses, hence there is much to desire!

Play this game thinking of Shepard and you will be sorely disappointed, on its own, it barely holds its weight. Andromeda opens up new races, possibilities, enemies, and companions but falls far too short of being called a good Mass Effect game or even a good standalone game.

6.8

Mass Effect Andromeda

THE GOOD
  • Huge Open World
  • Excellent Combat
  • Fun Multiplayer
THE BAD
  • Lackluster Plot
  • Unforgettable Companions
  • Protagonist & Antagonist Are One Dimensional
  • No World Building
  • No Story DLC
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