In 2017, CGI in movies like Avatar completely blew our minds, but let’s keep in mind that Mass Effect: Andromeda is a massive RPG video game where the experience comes from gameplay and storyline, not a character’s distorted smile. With that being said, Mass Effect historically has always had an emphasis on fantastic animations to capture NPC emotions, so this is a huge letdown, but facial animations are just a small mishap on such a large game.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is overhyped for a sub-par game, and if you are new to the Mass Effect series, this game is NOT for you. The game does not help explain or introduce the vast amount of characters and alien races established in the original trilogy, which can be off-putting for newer players. But even for experienced players of the series, the story isn’t all that interesting, and the atmosphere the game provides can’t compare to Mass Effect 2 and 3.
The story takes place in the Andromeda galaxy and starts you off by exploring planets, entering vaults, and attempting to manipulate the environment into something habitable for humans. But of course, conflict occurs as the Kett get in the way.
While the story is intriguing on a higher level, it gets old real quick as you spend the first 3–4 hours chit-chatting with your squad, and literally under 30 minutes in combat. Any gamer would find that to be extremely annoying, and even a few energy drinks couldn’t get our attention to hold like a brand new game should. Furthermore, the hype on the bad facial animations probably came about because you’re staring at the characters’ faces as they talk for hours.
When the combat does arrive, it makes you crave for more! From the multitude of abilities and weapons to the new enemies and boss fights, the action never gets repetitive. The controls are fluid, the animation is solid, and the playing environment is top-notch, so this game definitely exceeds its predecessors when it comes to gameplay. The auto cover system works seamlessly as well, which is new to the Mass Effect series. We easily give it an outstanding rating; the only problem is the gameplay happens so infrequently.
So, let’s finally jump into the animation and graphics since we’ve touched on it so many times. The environments range from freezing cold blizzards to scolding hot deserts and put us at awe at the beauty of it all. Additionally, the explosions and other visual effects were spot-on.
Now for facial animations—we definitely get it. There were problems here and there, but we were looking for it the entire time because of the articles we’ve seen online. However, compare it to any other MMO or current-gen game, and you’ll be deeply disappointed by how bad the expressions and stiffness of the characters really are. NPCs were emotionless in conversations, unrealistic hip-swinging, massive lips, and overall very amateur like. You’d think this was an indie game, not a Triple-A Developer like Bioware.
You know how we mentioned that the gameplay during combat was pretty awesome? Well, the multiplayer mode offers a whole lot more of it. While not having an actual Deathmatch-style online multiplayer seems pretty outdated, the “horde” mode with waves of enemies can keep you on your toes for quite some time. But since we are huge on multiplayer competition, and this fails to provide that, we give this the rating it deserves.
This game was overhyped and did not live up to expectations. From the bad facial animations, glitches, pathetic multiplayer, and (most of all) lack of gameplay, we had a bad experience with Mass Effect and hope that these new designers will not be the ones working on a sequel. They definitely dug themselves a hole with this release, but we won’t count them out quite yet. Bioware has made a comeback on series before (Dragon Age), so let’s be optimistic for something better in the coming years.
Overall Score: 6.25/10