Since the early access weekend offered through Origin/EA Access a few days ahead of the release, there have been haters and lovers of the newest installation in the Mass Effect franchise. Most of the complaints seem to stem from the expectation that Bioware should have made this AAA caliber game have better facial animations.
From terrible animations like the one of Scott Ryder (left) attempting to drink from a nonexistent cup, or the floating companion body on the bridge of the Tempest (right). Biowareis notoriously bad at having games with such animations. Where enemies are either under the game terrain, or partially submerged when the object should be pacing the surface. Even where faces appear grotesquely contorted, missing textures so you see the inner face features (horrifying), and many other (mostly) hilarious glitches. While you have the gamer(s) that expect more from a high profile game, said gamer(s) apparently aren’t familiar with Bioware or their work. (Seriously, look at Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO at some point. Glitches everywhere.)
Myself, I’m quite happy with the overall gameplay. I’ve encountered the occasional bad animation, the quest-breaking bug, and even the unending search for an object that’s ridiculously tiny and literally was right in front of you the entire time. (Seriously, that fucking knife on Kadara is damn near invisible. It’s fucking tiny!) However, the gunplay and story are actually decent.
While it feels somewhat… lacking … in the weapons department, you have to realize that you’ll actually be researching your weapons in the early game. You won’t see many new weapons until you start researching and crafting them on the Tempest. (I read that you have to craft them for certain levels to begin appearing as loot drops, however, I would just research a weapon and it would start dropping in the wild for me. *shrug*)
The introduction of some vertical action with the jump jet, and by extension, the hovering ability, really add some new fun to the game. It gives you the option to attack from a separate angle, or evade in a new direction. This extends to the multiplayer portion of the game as well, but I won’t go in to that in this post. Being able to dash evade and fly around the battle field just makes for a completely different combat experience than the previous Mass Effect games. It can be either good or bad, mostly depending on which side of the fence you fall on in the glitches argument.
The story doesn’t have the same feel to it that the Mass Effect games had originally. With new writers, and several customization options missing from the game, like different appearance options for your companions, it feels a little limited at times. You can customize your clothing/armor colors, as well as change your armor out, but good luck making them stick. The interface for said customization has no indication (on PC at least) of how to make the color changes save and apply. I spent 30 minutes attempting it in the early access, only to give up and Google the answer. (For the curious, on PC you save the color selection by tapping [Space] after selecting a color. Anything else will cancel the change.) Anyhow, back to the story.
While it definitely lacks some of the original feel, it also lacks in the facial reaction and voice acting departments. At times, the faces don’t match the emotion the characters are supposed to be feeling. Looking happy at times when it’s found out that a certain species is converting another species into the first species through genetic stuffs… And then the voice acting is terribly lacking at times, not to mention some of the poor writing choices. I mean, come on, I’m OK with cliche lines but some of them are just way overplayed.
Now, the story itself is actually pretty entertaining if you can look past all the other problems. I’m doing my best… Aside from the numerous side quests, loyalty missions, and “tasks” that float about and tempt you to avoid them because they don’t actually provide any clues on how to obtain/complete said “task,” the main story is actually quite short. I played through 80% of the story missions before stopping and attempting to do a few side quests. I’m actually still sitting on the final mission chain, working on getting the planets completed and whatnot. (Honestly, I’ve mostly been playing around with different profiles and builds, Explorer is my current favorite.)
I recently played a secondary loyalty mission for Liam, and this one mission was quite entertaining. Full extremely cliche moments, the mission was some lighthearted fun. Kind of allowed the characters to interact on a not-so-serious level and just cut loose, despite the mission starting off badly. I particularly enjoyed this mission, being that it was a completely different tone from the previous loyalty missions I’ve completed. Give this one a shot, it was definitely an entertaining mission, at least to me.
Overall, my story analysis: 6.5/10 stars.
Glitches and Other Bugs
On the whole, my experience hasn’t been that terrible with glitches and bugs. Nothing that broke a quest, or corrupted a save. Had a few moments where the game crashed to desktop, but had no memory issues or even major performance issues. One complaint I do have, on initial launch, it started with very basic graphics settings. Everything was on low, and even the resolution was set to an abhorrent setting. Can’t remember the exact one, but I had to manually change all the settings again, despite having set it all up previously in the trial.
What are your thoughts on Andromeda? Have any useful hints or tips? Or even some bad/good experiences with the game so far? Let me know in the comments!