games

Game Review: Mass Effect: Andromeda

I did it. I finally finished the game I’ve been slightly struggling with since March. I’m a huge fan of the Mass Effect games so naturally I had to get Mass Effect: Andromeda the moment it came out. Actually, since it was available in Origin Access as a trial a week before the actual launch I also did that, because that’s just how excited I was. And well… Anyone who is interested enough to read this probably knows what a rough launch the game had. Bugs, weird animations, dead eyes and all that stuff internet yelled about. Personally I got lucky and actually didn’t have any issues with the game during the trial and I was interested enough in the story that I didn’t feel bad about buying it.

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The story of Mass Effect: Andromeda is basically this: Humans and all the other species in the Milky Way decide to attempt move to the Andromeda galaxy, which is a 600 year trip so everyone is put in cryo sleep. You get to create your own character who is one of the Ryder twins, son or daughter of the human Pathfinder (aka the guy whose mission it is to find habitable planets for humanity) and eventually end up as a Pathfinder yourself. You get your own spaceship, Tempest, and a fun little crew you get to hang out with and/or kiss a lot. Since nothing in Andromeda goes as planned, you get to spend a lot of time fixing other people’s mistakes and looking for hopefully semi-decent planets to set outposts on and try not to piss off the aliens that already live there.

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Despite actually liking the game it took me forever to finish it, for multiple reasons. The main ones probably being the first update temporarily breaking my game (it wouldn’t start at all, fun) and Persona 5 coming out only two weeks after Andromeda came out and completely consuming my life and after playing such a perfect game Andromeda just felt meh. After the beginning of the story the game also started feeling very very similar to Dragon Age: Inquisition with all the huge open areas with way too many side mission markers covering the map. The side missions were less boring than in DA:I, I’ll give Andromeda that, but after the first two planets I just didn’t feel like playing much anymore. I actually had to kinda make myself sit down and do all the side stuff so I could finally proceed in the story. To be honest, by the time I continued it had been so long since any previous main story missions that I barely remembered what had happened.

One good thing about taking my time with the game was that I really got to see the improvements of the game that have been added patch after patch (there have been at least 4 updates now I think). The first patch improved the way characters looked a lot. Then later they also added more things on the character creation and added the option to edit your Ryder’s face whenever you want on your ship. My biggest issue with the game had been that the character creation was really lacking and I just couldn’t make my Ryder look the way I wanted so that was the best update ever.

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The combat was pretty solid throughout the whole game and I had fun with it. Since it wasn’t as focused on staying in cover and shooting from there like in the trilogy I ended up being stupidly brave with my battle tactics sometimes and if I had played on any harder difficulty than casual I probably would have died constantly. I discovered the beauty of biotics (space magic) which I had never really used before Andromeda and whenever I got tired of trying to snipe my enemies from afar I took out a shotgun and just ran through the enemies shooting them as I go. Being able to name the guns you craft was also really fun.

My favorite thing in Bioware games is always the romances, and Andromeda definitely had plenty of good options. Aside from the usual boring human ones there was also of course a bunch of aliens and from what I’ve heard you can actually get some pretty interesting sex scenes with most of them. My Ryder ended up romancing the turian girl, Vetra, because turians are great. She was the sweetest and I definitely don’t regret going for her instead of Jaal for example (who was a completely new alien introduced to the Mass Effect world). Vetra felt a little like a female version of Garrus from the original trilogy, which I was very okay with because I love Garrus to bits.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda works perfectly well as a standalone game since everyone in the game has been asleep for the last 600 years and they started their journey before the events of Mass Effect 3, so they have no idea what happened during that time. Still, if someone wanted to get into Mass Effect games for the first time I would rather point them to the trilogy, because the story is great and starting from the very beginning makes understanding the world a lot easier (and makes Andromeda more fun because there are plenty of trilogy easter eggs). Shepard is a lot more badass than Ryder anyway.

Oh, and space is pretty.

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