Mass Effect: Andromeda, where did it all go wrong?

Where to begin, the things that actually went right with Andromeda is a much shorter list but that isn’t what this post is about, no, it’s about the exact opposite, what went wrong with Mass Effect Andromeda. It was such a highly anticipated game for 5 long years, it was set to be one of the biggest releases in the whole of gaming in 2017, and it was, until it was actually released and the disappointment began to set in thick and fast. What should have been one of the best games of the year quickly became known as one of the worst, a true dud, so where did Bioware go wrong?

I will start with the obvious, the amazing team behind the Mass Effect trilogy was ripped apart, quite literally. They took the geniuses behind the series and put them to work on their newest IP known as Anthem. But who did they get to take over the work on Andromeda? A bunch of newcomers of course, almost as if that was the most obvious course of action to them, it wasn’t a obvious cause of action Bioware, it was a truly stupid one that resulted in the near death of one the most loved franchises in the gaming world, a brilliant Sci-Fi adventure RPG turned into a mediocre game at best when in comparison to the trilogy. The inexperience of the team was crystal clear throughout the entire duration of Andromeda. Before I do dive head first into all the things that needed work let me first stress that I did enjoy the game, no it wasn’t to the standard I was expecting but I still found it to be an enjoyable experience when I stopped comparing it to the trilogy.

The animations were nothing short of a disaster upon release, I mean, come on it was horrendous! Gave me a good indication of how little experience the team actually had with the frost bite engine the game was made with. Even after numerous patches the animations were still lacking to say the least, what should never have been a problem continued to be one despite how easy it should have been to fix. As for the characters themselves, what does Bioware have against women!? How awful was it to look at Sara Ryder, bad enough that it hurt my eyes and ensured my playthrough would be through the eyes of her twin brother Scott, even your own creation for Sara looked bloody awful, as did several of the female characters featured throughout the game (Addison anyone?), the female leads have never looked this bad in any other Bioware title so why start now?

The story was Meh, by that I mean yes there was a story and it was easy to follow but it became boring in places and quite frankly I lost interest in what was going on at various points of the game. Some of the story I enjoyed, meeting Jaal and his people was an interesting experience, I enjoyed learning about this new species and their place within the Andromeda galaxy, if we flip the coin and look at the other side I found myself struggling to give a damn about a couple of members of my crew to the point where the missions associated with them felt more like hard work than anything else and as time progressed I felt the game became very samey, each planet shared very similar missions when it came to improving the vitality of the planet, there were some that were on the more unique side but not enough. I may have enjoyed doing these for the first 2 or 3 planets but after that I simply didn’t want to continue this repeating cycle anymore.

The Kett left much to be desired as the primary antagonist of the game, I felt they lacked any real umph, they certainly don’t qualify as an intimidating foe nor do they qualify as ‘oh my god I just beat an extremely powerful foe’. The worst antagonist of Mass effect series so far without a doubt, Saren with the Geth, the Collectors and of course the Reapers I felt to be much more intimidating, they posed a greater challenge and I felt I had to truly fight to beat the odds. I never felt that with the Kett, they were just another obstacle to overcome in this new galaxy we are supposed to call home.

Some of the characters had the personality of cardboard, they were just so… bland. All throughout the trilogy we met interesting characters, having some very unique squad mates who all had a past, a past that was interesting to learn about. Learning about Characters such as Cora was just so boring, maybe it’s just her dull personality, I’m sure there are many of you out there who liked her but for me personally I couldn’t stand her, she was the perfect example of the boring squad mate who had very little to offer. Let’s look at Miranda Lawson, Jack and Ashley Williams shall we, three human female companions that we have over the course of the trilogy, now love them or hate them they all had a story, a unique one to them that was interesting to hear about. With Jack and Miranda you begin to understand them more as characters after learning more about them, you realise why Jack is so aggressive and Miranda is an ice queen. Learning more about Cora adds nothing more to her character for me personally.

While I am on the subject of characters lets discuss the romance options…. I chose PeeBee hands down, I knew she would be my romance option since I found her to be the fun companion, I will however acknowledge that for some she may have been seen as annoying and that’s fine too but for me she was one of the most enjoyable characters in the entire game making a romance with her easy. The other romance options were not quite so appealing to me, except for Vetra another character I find myself actually liking. Bioware have become known for the in game romances, normally I feel spoilt for choice, of course I have my favourites for each title but I’m always happy to give all romances a go at least once (except for Jacob in ME2) but with Andromeda I obviously had no interest in Cora, I didn’t play as a female but I can safely say that Liam was not on the romance list either. I would romance Jaal simply for the trying something new side of things, can’t knock it till you try it right. The romances are something that I usually enjoy experiencing in an RPG because they tend to be so different but with a less than impressive cast of characters it becomes harder to choose one because you actually like them, much less be dedicated enough to give them all a try.

The multiplayer was something I found myself looking forward to, then I never played it because it was no improvement on ME3 multiplayer. I thought PVP might have been brought into, with all the different abilities available to us in this game I think it would have been a lot of fun to have some PVP elements, needing to adapt to the oppositions tactics would have made for some fun and challenging multiplayer. The defeat waves of enemies thing with the odd objective just isn’t as enjoyable to me these days, I killed enough of those enemies in the damn game thanks. I do like however that certain strike missions can be played in multiplayer, makes getting the gold loot boxes a lot easier if you are good at the multiplayer.

WE HAD NO QUARIANS!!!!!!! AHHHHH!!! Words do not describe my disappointment in not having any Quarians in Andromeda, a popular race amongst fans of the trilogy I can’t believe they weren’t img_1397featured in the game especially since they are tech geniuses. I know that they were meant to be released in DLC surrounding the Quarian Arc but thanks to all the hate Andromeda received any single player DLC was cancelled meaning the Quarians will never step foot in Andromeda and this upsets me greatly! Instead I get to read about it in a comic, yes it is a good comic and at least something is better than nothing but that doesn’t change the fact that the Quarians should have featured, knowing that their DLC was cancelled because of all the hate the game got is just ridiculous, why not release the DLC but make it great, implement improvements with it and prove that Andromeda is not a lost cause.

There are some other minor things that could be improved upon should we ever get to see a new Mass Effect title but that doesn’t look too likely these days, here’s hoping for a remastered version of the glory days. I know I teared into this game a fair bit but when I don’t compare it to the trilogy I do enjoy it, there are some things the game has done well and perhaps I will do a post on the positives of Andromeda such as the variety in environments, the combat and the good side of the story. What did you think of Andromeda? Was is a disaster or perhaps judged too harshly?

24 thoughts on “Mass Effect: Andromeda, where did it all go wrong?

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  1. By all means Andromeda was a mediocre game in the same way the Last Jedi is a mediocre movie. The problem is that compared to the work that came out before it ME: Andromeda is trash, the fans were a little harsh with it although things like the animations and flat characters kinda deserved all the criticism. There were good parts like combat and customization but of the game has a meh plot and characters that no one cares for then the product as a whole isn’t too good.

    As far the franchise being dead I would have to somewhat agree with the people that say that. For a lot of fans Andromeda left so much of a bad taste in their mouth that they might not come back. This isn’t helped by the fact that Bioware scrapped the DLC, which is one of the few things that could’ve shown that they really wanted to improve the product.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly it, when compared to the previous games it has no hope, it is the low point of the series by far. I do think it was judged too harshly in certain areas as there were good qualities as you say but when a plot and characters are bland and don’t capture the interest of the player you know there will be serious problems.

      I think the best hope they have of saving the series is to release the trilogy remastered. If they had released their DLC to a high standard they may well have redeemed themselves, the fact that they didn’t was the final nail in the coffin.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Releasing a remastered version of the first three games wouldn’t necessarily save the series because the fans are going to love the original trilogy regardless the same way Halo fans like the first 3 main Halo games. If they want to save the franchise then they would’ve had to fix Andromeda because from this point the fans won’t trust any new content regarding the Mass Effect games.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. True but it would still be nice to see, I’m sure there are many fans out there who would love a remastered trilogy especially if it is the last Mass Effect related release we could have.
        Fixing Andromeda would definitely have been the way to truly save the series, which they had the chance to do. It’s such a shame that Bioware didn’t really fight to save their iconic series. I would be willing to see what new content they released should they ever dive back in, but as you say I wouldn’t trust them much.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m only a little way into it but, as a fan of the original trilogy, I agree with lots of what you’re saying. Some of the characters are just so crushingly dull! It feels like too much hard work doing loyalty missions or… god forbid even talking to them. I’m still playing it though. And I like he multiplayer even though there’s no electric slash!!! Give me my damn electric slash back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem is when characters are so dull to the point where you dread talking to them it becomes so much harder to become invested in that game. I do think it is worth completing, it’s just such a shame to think it could have been so much more! If they brought the electric slash back I would be more inclined to give the multiplayer another try!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Andromeda killed me! I just went through the main story, barely exploring because nothing interested me and put in probably the bare minimum amount of Horus, something I have NEVER done on a Mass Effect game! I loved the trilogy, less so the third instalment but as a story out together over time it was great, the characters were great along with everything about it but Andromeda just lost touch to everything that made Mass Effect and turned it into a space exploration game instead. They built too much hype round for the game so that’s maybe why we’re so disappointed, plus we’ve lost a lot of what we loved about the trilogy (Shepard and the crew) but it felt like no attempt is made to bring that back and form a new kick ass crew we will fall in love with again. My final thing has to be they’re in a brand new galaxy, right, yet we only see a couple of new races! Andromeda should be FILLED with races, in fact make it similar to our galaxy with them all working together but with say a handful trying to throw a war and the species from our galaxy just end up in the middle of all this war? Already just made a more exciting story that whatever Andromeda was.

    Ps great writing, loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even the main story was unfortunately lacking, i forced myself to do all the exploration and I didn’t mind it for a time but it became stale pretty fast. The story and characters of the trilogy were great, I enjoyed learning about they galaxy, races and characters but as you say they dumbed Andromeda down to what felt like a space exploration game. I think you might be right, they was a lot of hype surrounding it only adding to the already high expectations people may have had. I completely agree!!! The lack of new races was poor, we should have been discovering new species left right and centre, yep that would have made for a more entertaining story than what we had.

      Thank you! and thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It was bad. Noticeably bad. Undeniably bad. But I found myself loving it because of the badness. Sara’s facial expression after hearing her father died was priceless; I have yet to laugh so hard. And you’re totally right, the romances felt bleh in this game, just like most of the characters felt bleh. The bleh-ness just so happened to be hilarious.

    Did you get any glitches? I got a ton of glitches, none game-breaking, but all of them immersion-shattering. I saved more than 30 captures of glitches in Andromeda, just so I could re-live the unintentional humor. The giggle-train never stopped with this game.

    So I would never say this is a great game, but I have to say, I did enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must admit I found quite a lot of the facial expressions throughout the game to be amusing! I’ve never met a more unenthusiastic bunch of squad mates ever! You are right though it definitely made for some amusing moments.

      Yes! My best glitch was I started floating with my legs still moving! Looked like I was doing the moon walk 😂 the time I go stuck in a rock with only my head sticking out was hilarious to see!

      It did have its moments and when set apart from the trilogy I found myself enjoying it more.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I would say that it wasn’t the best in the series, but I do think that people were riding it a little harder then it deserved.

    I hated all the bugs and, like you, had an issue with the animations, but I still had some level of enjoyment playing it.

    I spent a ton of time trying to max out every planet and even tried to get all of the collectables on the various worlds.

    I know that they couldn’t make a second one, but I feel like everyone was really hard on it because of the legacy that the first three had.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely agree, it received a lot more hate than it deserved, it was far from perfect on release but given the right attention and time the bugs and animation could be corrected.

      I managed to get maximum vitality on every world, I just found it to be very samey by the end. But I by no means had an awful time with it.
      The chances of a sequel are highly unlikely, perhaps if they had continued with the planned DLC they may have been able to save it.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m as guilty as anyone for judging Andromeda harder because of its predecessors – I played it through once (though it was to near completion, a few jobs needed to fully inhabit various world left out) and then traded it back in. But that being said, it is a pretty *meh* game.

    I was so excited about the Quarians so the lack of DLC is a major reason why I won’t bother returning, and I also didn’t like the change in the way the skills/powers worked. I loved picking a class and sticking to it throughout, making each playthrough a little different, whereas switching between classes and powers depending on the situation had me thinking a little less creatively about my team and about taking on certain enemies.That’s just personal preference, of course.

    When the release date is pushed back, you expect more, not less. We definitely got less.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it is a natural reaction for people to judge it based on the previous games.

      For me the Quarian DLC could have been the true redeeming factor for the game, any DLC if it was done well was only ever going to help Andromeda get a better reputation. I liked the combat and the new abilities, I actually liked being able to mix and match but having said that I understand what you mean, it can make the squad mates a little redundant knowing you can switch classes to suit your current situation.

      Absolutely, there wasn’t really any excuse for the way Andromeda turned out especially with the extra time they took on it.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I think I was one of the few that really enjoyed Andromeda. It wasn’t the best Mass Effect but by no means was it the worst. The animations were a bit off in places, but I wasn’t effected by any of the major animation issues that I saw videos of.

    My biggest issue with the game is that it’s one of the few games I would love some DLC for, and would willingly pay for, yet it’s one of the few games that has no DLC. They blatantly set up Andromeda to have DLC, but didn’t provide it, leaving so many unanswered questions beyond the main story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were some enjoyable moments, and I agree that it isn’t the worst game out there. I must admit you got lucky avoiding those major animation issues, if I could have avoided those I may have found it to be a slightly better experience.

      That is one of my biggest issues with the game too. I was actually quite eager to see some DLC, in fact I was ready to pay for at least the Quarian DLC they had planned. There were several DLC opportunities and it’s such a shame that they have left some questions unanswered.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well-written and bloody well said. While I didn’t hate Andromeda as much as many other players did, I wasn’t enraptured. I am still reeling from the emotional turmoil that was ME2 with the Suicide Mission. I am still angry about Mordin and remember replaying the final mission constantly so I wouldn’t lose Legion, Grunt or Jack. As for the story, like you said, it wasn’t terrible but it sort of followed the blanket route that the trilogy followed with no real improvements. It is like, say hello to the Kett, another race of demented alien life that wants to transform other species into more of them as opposed to killing them all off. The one real interesting gameplay element/story element was the different variations of Kett-fused aliens like the Krogans and such. And don’t even get me started on the Quarians, they should have tweaked the story and released it regardless, it may have brought many people back to the game. Super annoyed.

    Liked by 2 people

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