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My Review of Mass Effect: Andromeda

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E.B. Black is an author from California who owns two dogs and loves to play video games.


The Game We Waited a Long Time For

I don't know about you, but I am a huge Bioware fan girl. I waited for years for Mass Effect: Andromeda to be released. When I found out it was coming out and that it would be released at midnight a couple of days after my birthday, I made sure to reserve it as a birthday present to myself.

My husband loves Mass Effect as well, so we waited at midnight for our copy. As we counted down the minutes, I was jumping around excitedly. When the GameStop employees started opening the boxes and pulling out the shiny new games, I was clapping my hands and squealing quietly in excitement. I was so animated that the guy next to me started laughing about my excitement along with my husband.

I am happy to report that the game did not disappoint my high expectations. But was it perfect? No. There were a lot of things about the game that could have been done better.

Mass Effect Andromeda Trailer

My Thoughts on Character Creation

Character creation was one of my biggest disappointments in this game. I play Bioware games over and over again, so does my husband, but he always laughs at how long it takes me to make my character. It usually takes me a couple of hours every time because I want their cheekbones to have just the right placement and their chin to be just the right shape and their eyebrows to be only this high and no higher. I tweak it for a long time and it's a lot of fun to me.

But with Mass Effect: Andromeda, they give you a set of several pre-mades, which is cool. I always start with a pre-made and adjust it from there, but it turns out that your character is going to look pretty much like whatever your pre-made looks like. I kept changing the cheekbones and adjusting the eyebrows, but my options were limited. No matter what I did, my character's face didn't look that much different from the pre-made.

So you choose a pre-made and the pre-made pretty much decides what your character is going to look like in the end. This was incredibly frustrating to me. I handled it by giving my character bright purple hair, purple eyes, and a giant purple face tattoo, so she would look unique and feel personalized. She does look unique compared to all the female Ryder gameplays I've seen, but she still resembles the premade to a large degree.

This is why you'll watch a lot of Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplays and everyone's characters look the same. I didn't like it. This is hands down the worst Bioware character creation I've experienced.

Granted, there are lots of video games that give you no option for character creation or worse options. Also, they did improve it by allowing you to make your own eye and hair color by choosing what you want from a giant color wheel, instead of giving you limited options, but I've come to expect more than this from Bioware, so that made me sad.

My Thoughts On Combat and Leveling

Leveling is very different now. Instead of choosing a class first and then choosing talents in that class, the leveling for Ryder is much more open-ended. You become whatever you choose to level up the most.

For me, that was mostly guns and stuff, so I was more of a soldier than anything else.

I liked it because it meant I could experiment with biotics and tech more without plunging completely into them. It also allowed me to later change my mind if I decided I really did want to focus on biotics instead because at any time I could redo my skill points.

They took away leveling up of charm and intimidation and any story telling aspects. In a way, that was a relief. All dialogue options were automatically open. I love the storylines of Mass Effect, so I tend to level up those areas first before I level up my combat skills and that would always make me suffer eventually.

So leveling up has become simpler in my opinion and also more open-ended.

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It was also nice that they give you previews of what each move looks like and does in video form as you choose between them. That assisted me a lot when it came to picking my powers.

My Thoughts On the Glitches

There are a ton of glitches. More glitches than any other Bioware game and just so you know, I didn't play the game until after the first patch where they supposedly fixed all of it. For the most part, it was hilarious and a great source of entertainment for me.

I took pictures of characters who were standing in awkward positions as they talked to me or showed me quests and sent them to my husband. My Mom was watching me play one time when I was trying to talk to Liam and he kept running from me like he was scared and suddenly he leaped into the air and jumped outside the spaceship and started jogging in circles where I could see him just out the window. Her and I laughed pretty hard over that one.

There was also a ton of times where I was jumping up mountains and fell through them to my death. Of course, when I tried to re-enact this on purpose to show my husband, it didn't actually work out.

There were also a ton of times when people were walking through each other, while you're talking to someone or when you start getting attacking by remnant or whatever when you are talking and all characters seem completely unfazed by it.

Those glitches were fine and I didn't care, but there were some major ones that upset me.

For instance, my character being left out of part of the movie scene towards the end of the game was upsetting to me, since it was such an important scene. It takes you out of the moment when your character suddenly turned invisible and people are still interacting with her, but she's not really there.

The part that was more upsetting than that was that there were several quests that I couldn't finish because the game glitched and wouldn't allow me to either progress to the next step of the quest or turn the quest in.

Luckily, none of the quests were loyalty missions or main storyline quests, but it was still frustrating.

And there was one quest that was obviously unfinished, but they kept parts of it in the game anyway. I don't understand why this happened.

So yea, there are times when the glitches are hilarious and times when they are frustrating, but hopefully, eventually with time, enough patches will be released to fix all of them.

My Thoughts On the Storyline

The storyline had a very slow start. The first six to ten hours of gameplay were hard to get through. I kept saving the game and quitting after not much gameplay during that time.

But once you get past all of that, the storyline picks up a lot. I was addicted. Completely addicted and obsessed at that point, which for me happened around the time you meet the race of "friendly" (well, they are suspicious of you when they first meet you, but choose your side in the end) aliens in this new galaxy.

So Bioware definitely lived up to creating a new, great storyline that was as good as the storytelling they've done in the past.

This is what sets Bioware games apart from other video games for me. This is what makes them better. You don't just play their video games, you get invested and engrossed in them.

I was sad when the game was over and wishing the next game was out already.

My Thoughts On Gameplay

I'm thankful that I play Dragon Age: Inquisition before playing this game. Dragon Age: Inquisition was more open world than previous Bioware games and it got me accustomed to this idea before I played Mass Effect: Andromeda, so I was already used to it.

In the past, with the Mako, you drove around a world, but your objective was to get to one to three places on each planet and maybe mine a little bit and that was all. The Mako was more of a nuisance than anything. It was irritating when the Mako wasn't doing what you wanted it to do or when it flipped over. It might have made sense for Bioware to skip those driving parts entirely and let you just go straight to the mission points.

But in Andromeda, the Nomad is necessary. There are not just one or two places you need to go to on each planet, there are many quests in each place. The Nomad can't flip over (if it could, I would have done it by now) and is more powerful than the Mako. The point of Andromeda is exploration, not just getting straight to the next quest.

It's exciting, it's fun, and it's new.

You're exploring each world and they are all filled with a variety of unique things. They feel more like real planets.

It can be annoying to get to certain quests when you can't figure out how to get over a mountain or something to get there, but you can buy upgrades for your Nomad to make it more powerful and it soon becomes easy to get anywhere, as long as you are in the right mode.

It took a little while for me to adjust to how the maps work and how to work the Nomad, but once I got the hang of it, it became easy.

I also liked the addition of all the jumping mechanics and the scanner. It took me a little while to get those as well, but once I did, they became some of my favorite things.


My Thoughts On the Characters

I don't know what it is, but I was so attached to the old characters in the old Mass Effect trilogy that I was reluctant to get to know and possibly like this crew full of new people. I resisted it at first. They were all strangers to me and I wasn't sure I liked them.

But in typical Bioware fashion, the characters started tugging on my heartstrings with their thoughts on things and experiences with me. Now I love them all as much as the originals.

Mass Effect has always been great at making memorable characters that you get attached to and this game was no exception.

My Thoughts On the Romance Options

This is one of the things that have evolved and improved in Mass Effect. As the company has said, they've realized that all the romances in all the other games have followed a formula. You hit certain milestones with each romance character, always doing things the same way to win their affection over, and the romance is always concluded in the same way. Every character is monogamous, it's all uniform.

But in Andromeda, things are complicated. There are characters who want to commit with you and opportunities to just kiss or sleep with a character one time, even if you are romantically entangled with another character. You don't have to go all the way with any character, if you for some reason feel it is inappropriate. You can commit to a character and stop at just kissing them or maybe even not kiss them at all. You can flirt with pretty much anyone, even if they have no interest in you.

It still follows the formula in a lot of ways, but it's very open-ended and makes things more interesting.

I've watched some of the other romance options online and they are all pretty great.

Another Review

My Thoughts On Crafting

Some people seem to be getting enjoyment out of making armor and weapons in the game. I tried to do this some as well, but for the most part, it was pointless for me. All the weapons and armor I picked up traveling around was always better than anything I could make, so for the most part I ignored this aspect of the game and viewed it as unnecessary.

My Thoughts On the Ending

I have mixed feelings about the ending. On one hand, it was fantastic. You got to talk to your characters a lot towards the end. Get closer to them and see their opinions on things and strengthen your bond with them. Also, the final battle scene was long and epic and fun!

On the other hand, though, it was disappointing because very few questions that the game presented were answered by the ending. I was waiting desperately (and still am!) for the answers to those questions, but I didn't get them, which is partly why I am anxious for the next game.

In fact, the ending presented even more questions and problems then you had before the ending happened.

But it was still satisfying in its own way and well done.

My Thoughts On Multi-Player

I didn't play multi-player very much. Partly because I don't play Mass Effect to experience multi-player and also because I don't have a headset to talk to people with.

But what I did play was a ton of fun and I'd like to do it again.

It's nice because you finish the game and get sad. You want there to be more of it. At least that's what happens to me every time I finish playing a Bioware game for the first time. This gives you something to do after the game is over, something you could possibly do for years. So the game doesn't have to be over and that makes me happy.

Your enjoyment of this will largely be influenced by the group you are matched with. It's cool because you are a bunch of people working together to do something, but unfortunately, there are some people who do not want to be team players and will not help other people at all.

If you get matched with a good group, though, it's a lot of fun. It gives you lots of things to unlock and achieve and lots of places to go. I know I'm going to wind up playing it a ton more in the future and hope they implement multi-player in their future games as well.

My Overall Thoughts

I know I critiqued some things because no game is perfect, even a Bioware game, but overall, I thought the game was fantastic and had so much fun playing it. I can't wait until the next game in this series comes out and I recommend that everyone play Andromeda. Even if you haven't played the previous games and are too lazy to try, it's not a bad place to start and I think you'll like it.

I will probably be playing this game over and over again eventually, just like all Bioware games I've played.

If You Haven't Played The Game Yet, Then I Recommend You Buy It

What Did You Think?

If you have finished playing the game already, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.

© 2017 EB Black

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