Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

CritialGaming

New member
Mar 25, 2015
2,170
0
0
Now I know I said I was gonna finish up Nier this week. But the shit storm around Mass Effect: Andromeda was too much to ignore. So Nier is gonna have to be a bit late. You guys don't mind right? I didn't think so.

Here we go.

Mass Effect: Andromeda (ME:A) has some mighty big shoes to fill. Regardless of how you felt about the ending to the original triology (it was shit), Mass Effect has a legacy of great characters that we've all grown attached too. At least if you have played the ME games before, if not, then I doubt this review even concerns you. So a new ME game set in a new universe with a whole new cast of characters all trying to be just as good as the originals is just about impossible, especially when you consider the way the story turned out for the original characters.

But on paper ME:A sounds like a great idea to continue the franchise without having to work out all the fine details. Which is an interesting statement when you consider just how many fine details were "overlooked" in ME:A. The premise is, the major races (not the minor ones because fuck them the reapers can have those worthless shits) created migration ships called arks and sent them off with a decent starting population to a new galaxy. The races figured that the fight with the reapers was gonna go belly up, so this served as a nice back-up plan to keep the plague of their existence going. And all told, it's a really good concept. It gives us a plausible reason to not only have a new galaxy to explore, but also make yet another game with all the same lovable races that we've grown to love in the first games.

The problem is...it's only a good idea on paper, because in practice the writing throughout ME:A is dogshit. The characters are fairly shallow, with highlights here and there, the tone of each character varies on a whim or plot convenience, it's like a bunch of 13-year-old school boys all got together to write a massive Mass Effect Fan Fiction, but forgot to talk to each other to make sure their stories inconnected in a natural fashion. So you end up with a clunky story with a lot of random atmosphere to it. You team members will ask a question about what happened to a ruined outpost, then immediately answer their own question as if they suddenly got struck with a lightning bolt of clairvoyance.

Not that it really took me out of the game however. You see, even though it is sloppy, I found myself enjoying the story because the premise still remains very good throughout. It's like watching a really bad movie, still fun and enjoyable even if you spend most of your time laughing at it. When you consider that the gameplay hasn't really changed much from ME-3's enjoyable combat, you have enough of a fun experience to keep you going despite some cringy writing here and there.

Let's talk for a second about the black cloud that has hung over the game since previews started popping up online. The animations are shit. However when you are playing the game, you are paying more attention to the story and deciding your dialog options than REALLY focusing on the jank. Facial expressions have never been Bioware's strong suit, and it is hard to real expect them to suddenly be CD-Project Red. What you do notice is the sheer amount of bugs through the game. Whether you character's walking animation breaks after landing on a rock that makes him/her look like their doing the studder step, to gameplay mechanics breaking. I had an issue with the climbing mechanic just randomly stop working completely for no reason, forcing me to shut the game down and reboot it to get Ryder to sudden remember that you can grab onto ledges. Enemy AI breaks to the point where they'll get knocked down and just lay there while you murder them, or get stuck in walls which always yields that fun gameplay element where they can shoot you but you can't shoot them.

As I played the more I felt like I was playing a Bethesda game. Mass Effect by way of the kings of weird open-world RPG's. Say what you want about Bioware's animations, I never personally saw any bugs in the original trilogy when it was made by people who actually gave a shit.

Never-the-less there is something I quite enjoyed about ME:A and I find it really hard to shut the game down completely.

Objectively, the writing is hit or very very very very miss. The side missions are mundane, the "tasks" or "Side side misssions" are incredible trash, the scanning mechanic is annoying for how important it is, the crafting system is cluttered and unfriendly to use to the point where I only ever used it to craft upgrades to my weapon of choice the Assault Rifle.

However, the worlds are beautiful and watching a world transform into a livable planet as you complete objectives on it is really satifying. The Nexus growing as you increase it's capability to support more and more people feels good as well even if it isn't as cool as the Citadel. The Mako doesn't handle great, but it is way better than it was in the first game.

ME:A does everything the original trilogy did to try and get you attached to it. Character relationships, Mako driving, planet scanning, if you did it in a previous game, you are going to do it here. Sadly the writing is the most important thing in an RPG like this, and the writing is so up and down in it's quality that the game loses a lot of its potential. You don't end up caring about your companions as much, because they aren't written as well as old favorites. Not that they aren't unlikable, they just aren't good enough to strike those same chords.

In the end though the concept was enough to get me through ME:A. Like watching a fun but terrible movie, there is fun and enjoyment to be had here. All credit to them, there is actually a ton of content here as well, but most of it may not be interesting enough to compel you to do it all.

ME:A is a solid 5/10 for me. It's a good time, if you don't take it so seriously and you don't try to milk everything out of it. I'd easily say it's worth playing if you can get it cheap, if for nothing more than to get through the main story.
 

FakeSympathy

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 24, 2020
801
88
33
Country
US
I also found the exploration of new areas to be almost identical as Dragon Age: Inquisition. The way you unlock new areas, places to find, and items to collect is almost same as DA:I. Now, I actually like DA:I and this method of exploration, but still thought there could've been an improvement. ME:A does not do this.

Multiplayer is kinda dogshit as well. Once again, like DA:I it tries to tie in the multiplayer to the main game, which rarely works IMO. Why they decided to abandon previous multiplayer design and aim for a much smaller 4-player co-op is beyond me. EA has also once again forced the microtransaction, just like DA:I.

This is literally DA:I except in space, with aliens instead of fantasy races and biotics instead of magics.
 

Danbo Jambo

New member
Sep 26, 2014
585
0
0
sgy0003 said:
I also found the exploration of new areas to be almost identical as Dragon Age: Inquisition. The way you unlock new areas, places to find, and items to collect is almost same as DA:I. Now, I actually like DA:I and this method of exploration, but still thought there could've been an improvement. ME:A does not do this.

Multiplayer is kinda dogshit as well. Once again, like DA:I it tries to tie in the multiplayer to the main game, which rarely works IMO. Why they decided to abandon previous multiplayer design and aim for a much smaller 4-player co-op is beyond me. EA has also once again forced the microtransaction, just like DA:I.

This is literally DA:I except in space, with aliens instead of fantasy races and biotics instead of magics.
Bugger. I hated DA:I with a passion. Absolute mind-numbing MMO style fetch quest gumph.

I hate this new direction that "RPGs" are taking. All they've become are Shoot-em-ups or Beat-em-ups padded out with utter gumph & dull questing.

Dragons Dogma was another great example. Fun experience, but not enough depth or RPG/Story elements to be classed as a true RPG, and too expansive, long winded & full of filler to be classed as a tight beat-em-up experience.

Wish that games would revert to their more traditional forms. Either far tighter beat-em-up/shoot-em-up experiences, or genuine RPGs with a fleshed out story that carries weight and is drenched in emotion.

Fuck ME:A, fuck EA, fuck Bioware, fuck everyone trying to turn RPGs into copy-paste, tick box, MMO type games right in the ass.
 

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
16,925
887
118
I went and picked it up. And it's not as much a trainwreck as I initially feared, BUT it's still a rather tepid experience.

I will say this, the pacing is certainly a lot better than that of DA:Inquisition. Which is a good thing, because I must've restarted this game at least four times due to the horrible character editor. I was finally able to craft a decent looking Ryder, but I still gasp in horror on occasion when a particular kind of lighting hits her face.

And this feels like the biggest problem with the game's visuals; The lighting makes every human face look like a combination of clay and paper mache.

The characters are pretty limp as of yet, with Drack taking the cake. God he's the lamest krogan I think I've ever seen. It's like he switched personalities with that of a 14-year old girl that thinks she's tough.

The writing can also be quite ghastly at times.

I'm sort of enjoying the space adventure for what it is, but just the fact that I had to discribe it like that ('for what it is') probably says enough.
 

TheMysteriousGX

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 12, 2020
3,158
914
118
Country
United States
sgy0003 said:
Multiplayer is kinda dogshit as well. Once again, like DA:I it tries to tie in the multiplayer to the main game, which rarely works IMO. Why they decided to abandon previous multiplayer design and aim for a much smaller 4-player co-op is beyond me. EA has also once again forced the microtransaction, just like DA:I.
I don't really have anything to add regarding Andromeda's similarities to Inquisition, but I feel obligated to point out that they didn't abandon previous multiplayer design so much as reintroduce ME3's with Andromeda's mechanics. It was always four-player co-op.
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

Muse of Fate
Sep 1, 2010
4,691
0
0
CritialGaming said:
The problem is...it's only a good idea on paper, because in practice the writing throughout ME:A is dogshit...

As I played the more I felt like I was playing a Bethesda game. Mass Effect by way of the kings of weird open-world RPG's.
ME:A is a definite no-play for me then. What I loved about Mass Effect was its focus, all the missions/quests were usually solid and impactful. I don't care about fluff especially in my RPGs when they already have too much fluff 99% of the time. When probably half of Mass Effect is dialogue/character/story and the writing is shit, that means about half the game is bad basically. I like Mass Effect combat well enough but it's not the core reason I play the game.
 

go-10

New member
Feb 3, 2010
1,557
0
0
I hope you don't mind me asking but how do you reach your point system when awarding the review?

What does 5 out of 10 mean for you? Usually 5/10 I would read as, the mechanics and game functions as it's meant to but overall the game's just average.
 

CritialGaming

New member
Mar 25, 2015
2,170
0
0
GZGoten said:
I hope you don't mind me asking but how do you reach your point system when awarding the review?

What does 5 out of 10 mean for you? Usually 5/10 I would read as, the mechanics and game functions as it's meant to but overall the game's just average.
1 - fuck this shit (Digital Homicide games)
2 - terrible (Ride to hell retribution)
3 - bad or waste of money (1-2-switch)
4 - mediocre but fun when drunk (Shadow Warrior 2)
5 - Solid but heavily flawed (ME:A)
6 - Good but requires taste to enjoy (Zelda Breath of the Wild)
7 - Very good, a fun experience all around but nothing stand out (Rise of the Tomb Raider)
8 - Great, umm...great? (Horizon Zero Dawn)
9 - Awesome (Nioh)
10 - Amazeballs! No game is perfect, but 10/10's give me orgasms when I play them (The Witcher 3)

hope this helps.
 

Redryhno

New member
Jul 25, 2011
3,077
0
0
Casual Shinji said:
I went and picked it up. And it's not as much a trainwreck as I initially feared, BUT it's still a rather tepid experience.

I will say this, the pacing is certainly a lot better than that of DA:Inquisition. Which is a good thing, because I must've restarted this game at least four times due to the horrible character editor. I was finally able to craft a decent looking Ryder, but I still gasp in horror on occasion when a particular kind of lighting hits her face.

And this feels like the biggest problem with the game's visuals; The lighting makes every human face look like a combination of clay and paper mache.
Lighting just gets worse the further you go into it honestly. Been having drinking nights with my flatmates playing it and some of the planets were not tested with the game settings. One moment you can barely see a damn thing because it's Twilight Jungle planet, the next you're on a desert world where you have about a dozen reflections bouncing off your damn armor and lens flares no matter where you look. You shouldn't be forced to go into your settings because the devs couldn't be bothered to refine some basic things.
 

Imre Csete

Original Character, Do Not Steal
Jul 8, 2010
785
0
0
CritialGaming said:
The characters are fairly shallow, with highlights here and there, the tone of each character varies on a whim or plot convenience, it's like a bunch of 13-year-old school boys all got together to write a massive Mass Effect Fan Fiction, but forgot to talk to each other to make sure their stories inconnected in a natural fashion.
Yup, whenever I see some gameplay footage the dialogue reminds me of this:


As for the inevitable Dragon Age: Inqusition in Space, they straight up told us DA:I will be BioWare's reference for future games. Atleast from what I hear they won't DLC the ending cliffhanger this time.

Welcome to the complete edition bargain bin category BioWare.
 

The Raw Shark

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes.
Nov 19, 2014
241
0
0
Imre Csete said:
Yup, whenever I see some gameplay footage the dialoge reminds me of this:

As for the inevitable Dragon Age: Inqusition in Space, they straight up told us DA:I will be BioWare's reference for future games. Atleast from what I hear they won't DLC the ending cliffhanger this time.

Welcome to the complete edition bargain bin category BioWare.
You hit the nail on the head to the scariest degree.

The characters have skipped the nuances of building actual relationships with the already dull Ryder in favor of just skipping to the buddy-buddy parts that Citadel gave us. Thing is the characters had to earn that peace of mind in the other games, not just have it handed to them after hours upon hours of fluff (And even that was arguable).

And seriously? Where'd they say they were gonna use Inquisition as the base? Because if so then I'm officially done with BioWare, they had my respect for all the good memories with KoToR, Jade Empire, Dragon Age: Origins and the original Mass Effect Trilogy but they're quickly replacing that with absolute contempt for what they are now.
 

Imre Csete

Original Character, Do Not Steal
Jul 8, 2010
785
0
0
The Raw Shark said:
And seriously? Where'd they say they were gonna use Inquisition as the base? Because if so then I'm officially done with BioWare, they had my respect for all the good memories with KoToR, Jade Empire, Dragon Age: Origins and the original Mass Effect Trilogy but they're quickly replacing that with absolute contempt for what they are now.
Well not base, but behind the corporate talk they said there will be similarities because of the shared Frostbyte engine.

Quite old [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.819351-Mass-Effect-4-and-Dragon-Age-Inquisition-to-Share-Core-Systems]

Not that quite old [http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/02/03/bioware-says-mass-effect-4-wont-be-like-dragon-age-inquisition]

"We've been enjoying building larger areas that you can explore with less friction, so that'll be there as well" - so the new IP will be this kind of sandboxish stuff aswell. And with EA wanting online component in every of its games, MP is a safe bet. Although we can still hope for a well integrated multiplayer campaign instead of separate MP component.

Maybe it's just doomsaying on my part, but so far they given us nothing to be hopeful about.

P.s.: Thanks for the proper embed trick.
 

The Raw Shark

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes.
Nov 19, 2014
241
0
0
Imre Csete said:
Well not base, but behind the corporate talk they said there will be similarities because of the shared Frostbyte engine.

Quite old [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.819351-Mass-Effect-4-and-Dragon-Age-Inquisition-to-Share-Core-Systems]

Not that quite old [http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/02/03/bioware-says-mass-effect-4-wont-be-like-dragon-age-inquisition]

"We've been enjoying building larger areas that you can explore with less friction, so that'll be there as well" - so the new IP will be this kind of sandboxish stuff aswell. And with EA wanting online component in every of its games, MP is a safe bet. Although we can still hope for a well integrated multiplayer campaign instead of separate MP component.

Maybe it's just doomsaying on my part, but so far they given us nothing to be hopeful about.

P.s.: Thanks for the proper embed trick.
Thanks for the links, and no problem for the embedding, I got confused at first as well.

But yeah the future looks pretty bleak as far as the games are concerned.
 

Redryhno

New member
Jul 25, 2011
3,077
0
0
The Raw Shark said:
Thanks for the links, and no problem for the embedding, I got confused at first as well.

But yeah the future looks pretty bleak as far as the games are concerned.
To be fair, the gameplay is sorta a more action-y ME3, so it's not great, but it's fun enough. If only their writers gave half as much of a damn as the Frostbyte coders I'd honestly say this is half decent.
 

Elijin

Elite Member
Legacy
May 10, 2020
1,695
474
88
sgy0003 said:
I also found the exploration of new areas to be almost identical as Dragon Age: Inquisition. The way you unlock new areas, places to find, and items to collect is almost same as DA:I. Now, I actually like DA:I and this method of exploration, but still thought there could've been an improvement. ME:A does not do this.

Multiplayer is kinda dogshit as well. Once again, like DA:I it tries to tie in the multiplayer to the main game, which rarely works IMO. Why they decided to abandon previous multiplayer design and aim for a much smaller 4-player co-op is beyond me. EA has also once again forced the microtransaction, just like DA:I.

This is literally DA:I except in space, with aliens instead of fantasy races and biotics instead of magics.
What? Its literally the exact format used in ME3MP. Its amazing how many of these 'forced microtransactions' games so many of us seem to play without ever using a microtransaction though!.

I mean the MP is dogshit. But its because of terrible P2P network, awful login server stability and hard crashes. If those issues get resolved the MP is fun, just like it was last time.
 

votemarvel

Regular Member
Legacy
Apr 11, 2020
1,353
2
13
Country
England
Elijin said:
What? Its literally the exact format used in ME3MP. Its amazing how many of these 'forced microtransactions' games so many of us seem to play without ever using a microtransaction though!.
For every one person like you who doesn't drop money on the microtransactions there are two or more that do, if people didn't buy them then they wouldn't be in the game.

That's the problem with optional DLC, it's never intended to be optional. The publisher wants you to buy it, drops rates are put on just the wrong side fair in order to make people think "oh I've got a few dollars left on my Microsoft account, may as well use them."
 

Ravenbom

New member
Oct 24, 2008
355
0
0
Every generation gets their KOTOR II and Neverwinter Nights 2. Only this time we can't point fingers at Obsidian.


In general, there's just a complete lack of polish. I don't hate it, but it made me go back to Horizon Zero Dawn so I can platinum it first before I spend more time on Andromeda.

In shops I get single items of salvage that say they're rare and items that say they're uncommon or common and they all sell for the same amount. Sprinting on Nexus means you keep running 2 seconds after you stop pressing forwards. Matchmaking sucks in multiplayer and you can't reconnect automatically.



This game is like that movie Passengers. They're on a voyage to a new deep space colony and the game woke up too early. Both the movie Passengers and Andromeda could have been so much better. I don't hate either one, but I would never recommend them to someone else.
 

Elijin

Elite Member
Legacy
May 10, 2020
1,695
474
88
votemarvel said:
Elijin said:
What? Its literally the exact format used in ME3MP. Its amazing how many of these 'forced microtransactions' games so many of us seem to play without ever using a microtransaction though!.
For every one person like you who doesn't drop money on the microtransactions there are two or more that do, if people didn't buy them then they wouldn't be in the game.

That's the problem with optional DLC, it's never intended to be optional. The publisher wants you to buy it, drops rates are put on just the wrong side fair in order to make people think "oh I've got a few dollars left on my Microsoft account, may as well use them."
I mean, that's wrong. Microtransaction systems are built to catch whales. Its more like, for every 100 people like me who don't spend a cent, there's one guy who spends 1000 dollars, or 100 dollars a week or something silly.
 

votemarvel

Regular Member
Legacy
Apr 11, 2020
1,353
2
13
Country
England
They aren't just designed to attract the whales. The publishers spend money to come up with ways to get people to drop money on microtransactions.