Mass Effect Andromeda marks Bioware’s fourth adventure in the universe of Reapers, angry AI’s and sexy blue ladies. Unfortunately for Andromeda, this project was hit with numerous delays and interoffice tomfoolery, resulting in most people having a negative impression of the game before we even saw any content.
So with this in mind let’s cut the bull and look at the game itself, Gaming Dad style!!
Our quest begins as most stories do, with an idea. An idea that mankind’s future lies beyond the Milky Way galaxy we know as home. This brings us the Andromeda initiative – a multi-species endeavour to establish a permanent colony in the Andromeda galaxy. This is no small feat, so after raising as much money as possible and stealing some tech from various companies (including the elite N7 project), our travellers make like a popsicle and chill out in stasis for 600 years.
Now comes the typical hardship any pioneer should surely expect. We awake to find that our ship has been hit by a giant glob of space jizz we will henceforth refer to as The Scourge. This sadly is only problem one. We also find that the Citadel rip-off we sent before us, to get everything ready for our merry band of travellers, is barely functional and the people living there have had to deal with mutineers. Both of these things are unfortunate, but who cares – we have all those lovely planets to colonise, right? Wrong. It turns out The Scourge has played holy hell with the atmosphere of the five Golden worlds, pre-selected back in the Milky Way, rendering them uninhabitable.
Looks like we have our work cut out for us boys and girls. This opening to the game mirrors Mass Effect 3 in the sense that it immediately sets the scene that you really are fighting an uphill battle from the very start. There is a sense of urgency established and you feel that you really do have the weight of countless lives on your shoulders.
I will do my best to round things up without being all spoilerific, so stick with me here. You are immediately sent out into the Andromeda Galaxy to find a new home for your fellow would-be colonists, which sees a great return of the Galaxy Map system and your very own rip-off of the Normandy from the original trilogy. The franchise’s very own marmite makes a triumphant return as the Maco for all your driving needs and we find ourselves once again fighting an angry race of lepers for a place in the stars.
Here is where I ran into some problems. I don’t mind that they made a smaller version of the Citadel which looks incredibly like the first one and I didn’t care that your ship is the Normandy MK3. My issue comes with the midpoint plot twist which was so easy to see coming because they used the EXACT SAME plot twist in Mass Effect 2! We also find ourselves scouring the galaxy for the tech of a long dead alien race with technology far superior to our own in order to ensure the survival of our Initiative. At this point, it isn’t hard to see why people have called the game unoriginal in places. At times it feels like I’m playing Mass Effect 1 Anniversary Edition.
Classic bad guy pose
Ryder, our protagonist can be pretty much whatever you want him/her to be, no longer burdened with the Paragon/Renegade system, we can be as dickish or as saintly as we feel, with little to no consequence which for me was a nice touch. We’re all about the outcome here, baby – morally grey is where I make my camp. The combat system has been refined further from the winning formula started with the original trilogy and feels seamless in your control of Ryder. The problem, as with the previous instalments, comes in the form of keeping your squad mates under control. You have the option of ordering them to take cover, attack a target or (my personal favourite) move over there, also known affectionately as “get out of my way”.
To summarise we have a game where an at times bi-polar spaceman assembles an utterly useless multi-species team of cannon fodder, fights a leper colony with a predictable plot twist for control of the grandparents key to the universe, but god do I love it! That sounds mental I know, this game has some serious issues, I won’t shy away from that and I can’t help but feel they did a JJ Abrams wherein they repackaged the original trilogy and called it a sequel, but it’s bloody good fun. I found I couldn’t wait to see what strange creature I would see next or how I would finally solve the problem of the giant black space jizz. And yes, I skipped boring dialogue because I couldn’t wait to get back into the field and shoot things in the face with a combination of my crafted death guns and my futuristic space magic. It saddens me to hear that the series has been put on hold indefinitely – I was genuinely looking forward to seeing how Bioware would push the series forward now that they have set up a new chapter, much in the same way I’m looking forward to the new star wars. No, this isn’t a perfect game, but I can’t help but think with another crack at it without all the problems they had in the making of Andromeda, a truly magical piece of gaming history could have been produced and it saddens me that may never happen.
- Combat System Flows Nicely
- No Locked Class System
- Boring Dialogue
- Stupid AI