Following the massive success of the original Mass Effect trilogy, Mass Effect Andromeda has been one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year so far, but can the game live up to the hype?
Mass Effect Andromeda begins following a 600 year long journey to the Andromeda Galaxy where the crew are seeking out a new home for all of humanity. However, finding a new place to settle is certainly not going to be easy. The so called ‘golden worlds’ that were identified for colonization turn out to be hostile wastelands and it is down to the player – as protagonist Ryder – to take charge of the human effort to settle these new worlds.
The standout feature of the game is undoubtedly the dynamic combat system. In fact, some may even go so far as to say that this is the best combat in the series so far. There seems to be endless possibilities in terms of combinations and play styles and combat is fast paced and satisfying. There is also the same solid multiplayer that fans have come to expect from the Mass Effect franchise.
In the expansive explorable worlds, the Nomad is an essential tool to the Pathfinder and potentially one of my favourite elements of the game. The Nomad is a six-wheel all terrain vehicle that is endless customisable and makes the endless roaming of Andromeda entertaining.
One of the most obvious areas in which Mass Effect Andromeda lets itself down is in the number of technical issues that seem to be present on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms. There are some substantial frame rate drops and animation glitches which many players will find quite distracting. These glitches can occur at any time, whether you are in combat or simply walking around. Of course, some bugs are to be expected and BioWare have been issuing patches fairly rapidly, but it does seem as though the game has more than its fair share of issues.
Another area where the game is weak is in the consistency of the writing. There are moments that are reminiscent of some of the toughest choices from the original trilogy where players are faced with some fantastic morally questionable choices with a range of consequences and there are some compelling quests scattered throughout the game. However, the writers have failed to maintain those highs and it seems like there is a large amount of filler with lots of very wooden dialogue in the mix. If you have played previous games in the series, then you are probably going to be a little disappointed in the distinct lack of new alien races and the fact that there is very little in the way of companion customization.
In conclusion, Mass Effect Andromeda is an expansive RPG which is going to provide hours of enjoyable gameplay. However, although the game boasts some energetic combat and a strong sci-fi atmosphere helped a great deal by the killer sound effects, it is lacking in terms of consistency in the writing and has some serious performance issues. Fans of the series are also going to be disappointed by the lack of new alien races and companion customization. As a standalone game, Mass Effect Andromeda is a decent game, but in the context of the Mass Effect franchise, it seems to have fallen short of expectations.