Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

Review Mass Effect: Andromeda | The Mass Effect trilogy on Xbox 360 left me with a bitter and fantastic feeling. The characters, exploring worlds and fighting enemies with biotic was such a great experience. The bitter taste comes from how disappointing the ending was for Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 3. Let’s take a look in this review what long time fan Dae Jim thought about Andromeda, is it a good fresh start? Or is the new adventure cutting short? 

THE GOOD

  • One of the strong elements from Mass Effect are the characters. The same can be said about Andromeda, you get to know a bunch of strong characters that each deserve a spot in the spotlight. They really grow on you too, and just like Shepard or Wrex from previous Mass Effect games you love and hate how some characters are. It is one of the few games were I actually care about additional side-characters. This is without a doubt the biggest achievement that Bioware achieved, all characters are believable and contribute something in the game story or even in real life. The conversations with Scottish lady Suvi about religion and science are interesting and heartful, something you don’t immediately link with an action game.
  • The ongoing mystery story about surviving a new galaxy and new enemies is deep and fantastically told. Having first-contact moments, issues with crew and much more make the story one of the most intens I have ever played. Dealing with some moral choices and really feeling the entire weight of the human ark (main ship from the humans) on your shoulders, seriously, I can’t imagine how hard it was for Bioware to pull everything together.
  • A huge positive step has been made with the combat system, it’s great that you aren’t limited to one kind of ability path, you can literally change your abilities in the heat of the battle. (You do have to pause the game and click on a lot of menu’s) The auto-cover and improved mobility makes the game a lot more fun. It feels less stiff and more rewarding than previous Mass Effect games.
  • Having a great cast of characters is one thing, the next hard part is having a good enough voice cast and Andromeda totally delivers in that aspect. Alien voices feel natural and emotional conversations are guided by some excellent voice acting.
  • (Online) Mass Effect: Andromeda is a beautiful game and the online maps look even better. The lighting engine is extraordinary and provide a lot of “I need to take a screenshot from this” moments. In the heat of battle and having multiple enemies on-screen, performance stays pretty good.
  • (Online) The four-player survival online mode isn’t much different from Mass Effect 3. Andromeda’s online is a lot more chaotic though, enemies come from everywhere and have more special abilities that can surprise you. Giving an overall more engaging and challenging experience. Working together with friends or randoms to perform combo-attacks is a feat that never becomes boring. Mass Effect might be considered a single player experience, but it would be a mistake to overlook the online mode!
  • The strength from Andromeda’s gameplay is the mystery behind some unknown forces. I have played all Mass Effect games but the mission from Andromeda on Eos was, without a doubt, the best mission that I have played in the franchise. Overall, most quests have that “mystery” feeling that make Andromeda enjoyable and fun to play.

MIXED FEELINGS

  • Some quests aren’t logical, for example: visiting a planet, talking to someone, forced to go back to your ship, wait for an E-mail and after reading it forced to go back to the planet. Don’t they have a freaking smart phone for such an advanced human race? It’s one big waste of time with several loading screens and unnecessary cut scenes.
  • I’m glad that most alien species from the previous Mass Effect games are still in it (Not all of them though) but it’s a big and massive disappointment to see only a few new alien species in the Andromeda galaxy, more would have been welcome.
  • (Online) Content-wise you don’t have that much for online players. You only have a handful of maps and alien races to choose from. Leveling up each and every alien class will take you a lot of hours though.

THE BAD

  • Mass Effect: Andromeda can be a technical mess sometimes. Truly destroying a lot of the game’s magical moments. From pretty big frame drops to annoying graphical pop ups while driving the Nomad car. Just like  Final Fantasy XV, you have some kind of blurry filter on environments and objects in the distance. I understand that rendering the big worlds from Andromeda is an impossible task but still..
  • Laughable facial expressions and extremely buggy animations ruin what Bioware tries with Andromeda. Providing gamers with a Star Trek experience and really feeling a part of the game. My girlfriend got annoyed multiple times with some terrible facial expressions and I understand why. Ryder, the playable main character just went through a big emotional event and the characters face was on a neutral expression. This happens frequently and makes the emotional conversation unbelievable.
  • Unclear and overwhelming resource managing, researching and developing new armour or weapons is even more challenging. Everything is behind a million illogical menu’s, a shame because I’m sure a lot of the players will be scared away with such a slow and complex way of getting new gear.

Score: 84% | Despite a few flaws Mass Effect: Andromeda is still a wonderful science fiction story with some memorable moments. It is without a doubt one of the best single player experiences on Xbox One. That said,  it would be a mistake to overlook the online mode because the frantic shootings with friends is a great thing to do!

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