Friday, April 14, 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda

I had a countdown for this game starting three weeks out. I love the Mass Effect series more than anything else. And yeah, I read all the pre-release news and lowered my expectations accordingly.

To call this game Dragon Age: Inquisition in space is not an unfair assessment. Honestly, how much you liked one game is probably a good indication of how much you'll like the other. And I really liked Inquisition. It was a little too massive, and the story and villain really weren't all that great, but I kept coming back for the characters.

That being said, I still haven't finished Mass Effect: Andromeda. Not because of the overwhelming amount of content, although that is a factor. I simply haven't really been playing it all that much. I'm maybe 60% through the main storyline? It never hooked me and grabbed me the way that I expected it to. I don't really have the urge or the need to play it. I've found myself playing other games or watching TV instead.

I've been trying to figure out why, and I think that it comes down to the cast of characters. The crew is fine, don't get me wrong, but I haven't found a single character who sticks out to me like Garrus, Thane, or Wrex did. I really like Suvi, the Scottish scientist that I'm in the process of romancing. She's awesome, and Ryder turns into a nervous, blabbering mess around her, and it's freaking adorable. (Poor Kallo. "Kill. Me. Now.") Reyes is this game's version of Dorian or Zevran, both of whom I adore. And the crew is starting to feel like a close knit family of misfits who all care about and support each other. But there's no one that I would put in the Top 10 of my favorite Bioware companions.

The story doesn't get off to that great a start either. It's essentially a very long, extended tutorial until you unlock the vault on Eos. Once you get past that, the galaxy does open up at an almost overwhelming speed. But the main storyline still hasn't really given me a reason to care about it. The kett are a hostile race that shoots on sight and does horrible, inhumane things to the angaran. Okay. Cool? It doesn't have the same threatening oomph that the Reapers did.

Again, I haven't finished the story, so maybe I'm being too hard on it. Maybe it'll blow my mind at the end. But that would still not make up for the very lackluster beginning and middle. Especially since there are some genuinely wonderful tidbits of story hidden in this game. The mystery surrounding Jien Garson's death and the Benefactor is intriguing, and probably set up for the next game in the series. (Although if it ends up being the Illusive Man, I'm going to scream.) There was also an awesome moment on Eos when I was trying to divert water to the outpost and ended up awakening this huge, flying Remnant beast. It ended up being this massive battle, and I was grinning the whole time.

It's also surprisingly funny. The original trilogy was much more straight-laced and serious that Andromeda is. I like the shift in tone. It fits the idea that Ryder and her team is making this up as they go. That they're young and inexperienced, but hey, they haven't blown anything up yet, and that's a big win. It gives Ryder a little more personality than Shepherd had.     

The combat is more fluid than in previous games. With the removal of strict classes, I can finally be the all-powerful biotic stealth sniper that I've always dreamed of being. I like the added mobility that jumping and hovering can give you. You don't have to wait for enemies to poke their heads out of cover anymore; you can jump and pick them off mid-air. That being said, you can only have 3 abilities equipped at any one time. The only reason why I'm sticking skill points in more abilities than that is to level up the profile that I'm using. But I'm never, ever going to end up using them. Theoretically, you can change out your active abilities whenever you want, including during combat. There just hasn't been a reason for me to do that yet.

The dialogue system has also changed. Gone are the paragon and renegade options. Instead, you have 4 separate choices: emotional, logical, casual, and professional. So far, I've picked two choices and stuck with them all the way through. I get the feeling that you're supposed to mix and match them all 4 of them in order to create a more rounded character, but that'll probably happen for whatever ends up being my canon run through.

Yeah, that's right. I'm still planning on another run through. Two more, in fact. One with Scott Ryder, and then my canon play through. Even though I still haven't finished the game, I'm still enjoying it. It just ended up being something that I play more casually as opposed to completing it in a 6 day marathon.

Random Thoughts


There are a few quality of life things that don't really make sense. You press 'M' to open the map, but you can't press it again to close it. You have to press 'Esc' twice. Who thought that that was an okay idea?

No matter where you are in the cluster, you will always see the same three creatures. It's kind of lame. 

I've only played the female Ryder so far, but from what I've heard, both siblings have very good voice actors. 

Speaking of, it's kind of cool that your twin sticks around. They don't just disappear into the void. 

I know everyone made fun of the facial animations, but they really aren't as bad as everyone made them out to be. Granted, I'm also playing this on my laptop, so all of my graphic settings are set to "Super-Ultra-Mega Low." 

If you're a biotic, your jumps and evades will be biotically powered as opposed to jetpack powered. That was a nice touch. 

I keep expecting SAM to turn evil or something along those lines. 

I'll post additional thoughts once I actually finish the game. Maybe some of my opinions will change. 



Is it as good as the original trilogy? No, probably not. But then again, I never really liked the first Mass Effect all that much anyway. 

7.0 out of 10

~An Honest Fangirl 

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