More than a month ago, I wrote a piece about my love for the original Mass Effect Trilogy. I wrote it simply to reminisce about the good times I had with the series and, with EA re-releasing the games as a remastered package, get myself hyped as to why I loved the series in the first place. I loved the customization of the main character and how the choices you made impacted future games, making you think twice if the straightforward answer may be the best for you down the line. The weird thing is I never experienced the original Mass Effect games as that was the time when I would just be a backseat gamer and let my brother played them.
That isn’t the case for Mass Effect: Andromeda, though.
To say expectations were high for Mass Effect: Andromeda would be an understatement. At that point, it seemed like BioWare could do no wrong as they not only had the previous Mass Effect games as proof of what they can do, they also were the minds behind the epic Dragon Age games. You could say things were beginning to unravel for BioWare with Mass Effect 3 but we still had a lot of faith on them to deliver on Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Then the game was released and, all of a sudden, gamers all around the world realized we put BioWare atop a very high pedestal when we should have all realized they weren’t perfect. They could make mistakes as well. It was plain to see the lack of polish Mass Effect: Andromeda had. That’s, of course, putting it mildly. The game was riddled with glitches which, while may not have broke the game, have the potential to ruin the entire gaming experience for a lot of fans. The core gameplay was mostly fine but, when you can generate memes like the classic “my face is tired” in your AAA game, then you’ve messed up royally!
It’s been a while since I did play the game because, well, I couldn’t get over all of the glitches. So, once I finished Mass Effect: Andromeda’s main campaign, I never picked it up again. I didn’t really remember much about my experience and it might just be because I was influenced by all of the negative press, even though BioWare patched up a lot of the graphical glitches by the time I played it. Even the “my face is tired” was much better. It’s not perfect but definitely an improvement.
It’s because of this I recently decided to re-play Mass Effect: Andromeda. It’s been quite a while since I booted up this game and, with all the time that’s past since the game was lambasted mercilessly, I figured it was time for me to give the game a fair shake.
After playing it for some time, I would actually say Mass Effect: Andromeda, in its current state, is actually pretty good and worthy of a sequel.
First thing I noticed after loading the game is the added customization options for the Pathfinder, Ryder. BioWare must have come in and added some new options for the character creation option because, if I remember correctly, I couldn’t really put together a Female Ryder I was satisfied with. This has been the story of my life when it comes to creating my own character. One of the most glaring omissions from Mass Effect: Andromeda’s character creation menu was the lack of a pale skinned hero! As I’m incredibly pale, I always try to make my characters as pigment impaired, which I just couldn’t do before. Now, however, it seems like I can do just that! Not only that, it was definitely much easier for me to actually put together a customized character I was pleased with without having to rely on someone else’s settings! Look how cute she is! I’m so proud of myself!
One thing I did seem to gloss over in my first playthrough was the overall story. The first time I played it, I never seemed to get really hooked into the plot. Maybe it was because I didn’t really care for the characters then; this is basically how I feel for them now. However, none of them were really as bad as I remembered them to be. This is especially true for Peebee, who I did find pretty annoying my first time through the game. I guess BioWare wanted her to be the quirky, tough asari but she can still be grating larger doses.
As I mentioned before, one of the hallmarks of the Mass Effect series is how your choices impacts future events in the games. There were some choices in my second playthrough I would want to see regarding what’s going to happen. One of the main quests has Ryder and crew attacking a kett base and you find out the aliens are converting the beings they’ve captured into other kett. Basically, you might have been killing your very own people! You’re then given a choice to either destroy the base but killing those who have been captured by the kett or sparing the commander and the base, allowing the prisoners to be rescued but the base might become a future threat. This is never resolved in this game but I do wonder how this decision might affect future installments. Unless we get a sequel, I guess we’ll never know.
However, the thing which really sold me on the idea that gamers need to give Mass Effect: Andromeda a second chance is the combat and the way you can move Ryder throughout the game. Using the jump jets to move around is actually a very thrilling experience! It’s just fun to jump around to get to places as well as using the forward thruster to quickly move forward. This is not only great when you want to get to a location faster than just running; it actually seems slower since Ryder has to recover from using the forward propulsion. However, in the heat of battle, the combination of the two allows you to have a lot of control as to where you want to position Ryder during the battle as well as get to cover as quickly as possible.
Combat is actually really fun. I’m not really all that good at run-and-gun games but I quickly got used to Mass Effect: Andromeda’s shooting mechanics. I do like the cover system and the mix of weapons is really nice. Also, the special abilities can be very useful once you find several which works for you. Right now, I’m basically using all Tech abilities and assembled in such as way they work well. I generally use Incinerate since it primes enemies for a damage bonus. I then use Overload to activate the primer. Both these abilities auto-seek enemies so I don’t have to aim all that much. Finally, I have the Remnant VI so I can instantly have another squad member to help me out in every battle!
I won’t front and say Mass Effect: Andromeda is perfect. It’s still becomes a glitchy mess. There have been more than a few times when I couldn’t grab a ledge because I didn’t come at it at just the right angle. The game has crashed on me several times as well.
What’s really weird is BioWare and EA still haven’t fixed all the graphical bugs! There was a cutscene where one of the characters was missing; she was talking and the subtitles would appear but you wouldn’t know she was there because she wasn’t audible nor visible! Ryder would drink from a non-existent cup. There were also times where my squad would disembark from the Nomad but would start out floating high in the sky. The one which really freaked me out was that one time when Ryder did an Exorcist and twisted her neck around her body to talk to Jaal! That must have been very uncomfortable!
Even with all the problems I’ve encountered while playing Mass Effect: Andromeda, I did arrive to the conclusion it does need a sequel. I do want to see where things are going. I do want to see the other arks arrive and possibly see more alien races in the galaxy. There’s a lot of potential for future installments. Yes, I know the game did rather poorly because of how glitchy it was when it came out. However, if BioWare can just get their act together and releases a game that actually has a lot more polish and didn’t seem like a rushed hack job, I do think the fanbase would gladly take the plunge back into Andromeda… and love it the way it was supposed to.
Do you think Mass Effect: Andromeda’s story should continue? Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below!