Mass Effect: Andromeda Review
Mass Effect: Andromeda Cover Art
System: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Dev: BioWare
Pub: Electronic Arts
Release: March 21, 2017
Players: Single player campaign, four-player online
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Violence

When all the AAA, RPG-lite trimmings one would expect are this troublesome, coupled with major technical issues, you better believe Mass Effect: Andromeda makes a poor first impression. The whole thing just feels dated and clumsy. Even moving around in the hub worlds feels off. Protagonist Ryder runs with a sluggishness and otherworldly momentum that makes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild feel like a technical masterpiece, despite its own issues. The combat is fine, but it’s still the same stuff from the previous games. Only now, there’s a worse camera and this weird focus on a jetpack-like jumping function that doesn’t bring much to the table besides weird platforming segments and banal jumping attacks. Some of the biotics are cool, and combat is notably fueled by a super-flexible skill tree. If you can stomach sifting through menus, Mass Effect: Andromeda is definitely the most flexible experience in the series. Even when you pick your background, you’re still open to blur the lines between the designated character classes.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Screenshot

I wish that flexibility extended to the flow of conversation and how you interact with the story. Considering Mass Effect’s position as one of the biggest profile choice-based video game out there, I don’t feel like I’m having much of an effect on anything happening in Mass Effect: Andromeda. There are a few instances where the wool fell over my eyes a little, but this is no The Walking Dead. Most of the dialogue consists of choosing the tone of your response, but not really the response itself. Much of an effort was made to lighten up the mood, compared to the original trilogy’s cast of mostly stuffy, military types. The intent seems to have been to give the characters more, well, character, but it feels more like the writers were on a big Joss Whedon kick, and decided to make everyone a bunch of indistinct, quippy doofuses when they aren’t puking out exposition. It doesn’t help that much of the dialogue is stilted, awkward, and doesn’t feel organic. It makes much of the cast really difficult to relate to, and much of the drama feels unearned as a result.

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There’s a decent game in here somewhere, but Mass Effect: Andromeda feels like a collaboration from Mass Effect fans rather than a group of known and established developers. It’s like that cool thing everyone loves, a decade-plus removed from its creators and pushed down an assembly line. Mass Effect: Andromeda didn’t need to reinvent the wheel, but the wheel needed to have that special sheen that’s evidence of five years of polish and care. Instead it feels well meaning, but sloppy. There are little things to appreciate here and there: gorgeous environments, fascinating alien technology, and a healthy dose of Nolan North. But the majority of the experience is a head-scratcher. So much went wrong in so many places you wouldn’t expect from a game with such a pedigree,. But alas, Mass Effect: Andromeda is ultimately a disappointing reminder that sometimes the games industry attributes more value to a brand than the individuals who created it.

By
Lucas White
Contributing Writer
Date: 03/22/2017

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.5
Graphics
There are stellar environments and creative sci-fi elements, but distracting human animations and technical issues.
3.0
Control
Serviceable combat segments are marred by bizarre camera problems and awkward movement in hub areas. Trademark Mass Effect synths power the soundtrack, but the voice acting often sounds phoned in.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Trademark Mass Effect synths power the soundtrack, but the voice acting often sounds phoned in.
4.0
Play Value
In terms of volume, the content is bountiful and should fuel dozens of hours of play time.
3.0
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Be the Pathfinder - Chart Your Own Course in a Dangerous New Galaxy. Unravel the mysteries of the Andromeda galaxy as you discover rich, alien worlds in the search for humanity's new home.
  • The Mass Effect Universe you Love - Lead the First Humans in Andromeda on a Desperate Search for our New Home. In this new chapter of Mass Effect, meet and recruit all-new, interesting characters caught up in an epic space saga filled with mystery and galactic conflict.
  • Battle Like Never Before - Fight with your Pathfinder Team In Battle Against Terrifying Enemies and Creatures. New additions like destructible environments, boosted jumps for added verticality, and all-new weapons and Biotics make combat more thrilling than ever.
  • Build a Formidable Hero - With Amazing Weapons, Powers and Tech - and a much more flexible skill and weapon progression tree - you can replicate your play style to make you unstoppable against new, powerful alien enemies.

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