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 it, 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 featured 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 it a disaster or perhaps judged too harshly?