A galaxy full of new aliens to meet and shoot.
To say that Jennifer and I have been looking forward to Mass Effect: Andromeda would be a bit of an understatement. We both loved the original trilogy, despite the missteps that we felt they took at certain points, so having something new to play around with was a dream come true; even if it meant leaving Shepard and the Milky Way behind.
We both sat down to play through the trial of the full game on the 16th of March to get a feel for the game, and it’s safe to say that our expectations have been met so far, for better or for worse.
Bioware Made A Bioware Game
Mass Effect: Andromeda has some big shoes to fill, and Bioware appears to have stepped up to the plate to deliver a game that features some of the greatest strengths and weaknesses of their games. Considering that it has been five years since the release of the last game in the franchise, we were both taken aback by how little progress has been made in the technical department.
Perhaps it will be fixed in a Day One patch (ugh), but we both noticed multiple instances of texture pop-in or textures not loading at all, characters phasing into existence before our very eyes, and framerate drops in both cutscenes and in gameplay. That isn’t to say that the game doesn’t look nice; it does in fact. However, it seems like there’s a definite lack of polish. This isn’t something that is necessarily new to Bioware’s catalog of games, but it’s frustrating to see in a major AAA game.
Bioware seems instead to have put a heavier emphasis, like usual, on the characters and storyline. I won’t venture into spoilers, but the story takes an interesting turn right off the bat; which is good because it’d be boring to have everything go according to plan. I will say that I didn’t expect things to go as badly as they did for the Andromeda Initiative though, and Bioware has set up the board for a decent struggle to get to the bottom of the issues that have come up for the explorers.
The characters themselves exhibit many of the same issues that have been in Bioware games in the past as well, with odd animations and lifeless voice acting (though there’s marked improvements). It’s still early on, but it does feel like most of the folks you talk to sound bored.
It Looks Bleak At First
I know that this sounds pretty negative, but while there are some issues to wade through, Mass Effect: Andromeda is still pretty damn fun, once I finally got my connection to EA’s online service to work and I was able to play.
I’m glad that Bioware decided to keep the conversation style from Dragon Age: Inquisition, giving a tone as well as a summary of what you’ll say in the dialogue. It’s something that you can turn off as well, if you’d prefer to keep things a little more traditional. It’s a nice thing to keep from the other games, and it makes maintaining a certain tone for Ryder much simpler.
The leveling system has changed a little as well, making it possible to choose any skill from any of the three skill trees; Combat, Biotic, or Tech. It would seem a little overpowered, but the freedom is mitigated a little by the fact that you can choose to activate one of the seven “Profiles”. The profile names are borrowed from the original classes and an Explorer profile. These boost your stats in one way or another, reinforcing the abilities that each of those profiles prioritize.
Like the original Mass Effect though, things appear to get much better. The beginning segment (just like the first game) is just info dump after info dump, and shows you the cast of characters. Luckily, you don’t spend much time before you’re thrown into combat, and it’s gloriously quick. Ryder not only has the ability to use a jetpack to boost upwards, but also can use thrusters to rocket around laterally as well. It makes jumping in and out of the fray much easier, and also makes melee combat much more viable. Just think of it as making you into an even more powerful Vanguard. It’s total freedom of movement, and it rocks.
Taking The Helm Yet Again
Mass Effect: Andromeda doesn’t make a great first impression, and hopefully many of the issues are fixed quickly. However, despite the negative aspects of the game, I still feel compelled to play it. There are so many things I want to see answers to, and I want to play around with the new Mako. I’m ready to see a new galaxy, meet some interesting aliens, and possible kill a few of them too.
I’ll be finishing a full review as soon as I can, since I’m waiting on a full copy to arrive sometime in the next week.
And if you have any questions that are nagging at your mind, be sure to let me know. I’d be happy to answer!
Did you like this post? You should click “Like” if you did. Feel free to follow Falcon Game Reviews as well. You can also find me on Twitter and even send me a direct email to FalconReviewsBlog@gmail.com!