Monday, 1 May 2017

Mass Effect Andromeda - Game Review

Mass Effect Andromeda
developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts

What is it about:
Mass Effect: Andromeda takes you to the Andromeda galaxy, far beyond the Milky Way. There, you'll lead our fight for a new home in hostile territory - where WE are the aliens.

Play as the Pathfinder - a leader of a squad of military-trained explorers - with deep progression and customisation systems. This is the story of humanity’s next chapter, and your choices throughout the game will ultimately determine our survival in the Andromeda Galaxy.

As you unfold the mysteries of the Andromeda Galaxy and the hope for humanity lies on your shoulders – You must ask yourself… How far will you go?

What did I think of it:
I absolutely love the original Mass Effect trilogy, featuring Commander Shepard. so I was both excited for a new Mass Effect game and apprehensive.

Still the trailers and screenshots looked cool enough I pre-ordered the game so I could start playing as soon as it became available.

First let's get the biggest flaw named and out of the way: the facial animations. Yes: the humans and Asari looked weird and bug-eyed. Then luckily the patch released and they all looked a lot better. And yes: I think another patch to fix up some more bugs might be needed, but the weird eyes and faces was the biggest of them all imo.

On to the rest of the game:

What I love about Mass Effect is that you can chose between playing a male of female lead. Yes, Male Ryder is apparently the default, just as Male Shepard was the default for the trilogy, but you can at least play a female lead if you want. So I created a female Ryder. Just as in Dragon Age Inquisition (which is also a Bioware/EA creation) there's not a lot of choice when it comes to hair when giving your character shape, but I managed to create a Ryder I liked.

After an introduction with voice over by Clancy Brown you are soon trust into action: having arrived in a new galaxy your ark is in trouble and you will have to land on an unknown planet to find a safe haven. This first mission is to ease you into the game play. It both works as a tutorial and to get you into the mood of the game.
I will confess I was hooked from the start. I really liked how you can chose how to play Ryder. Ryder can react logical, professional, emotional or casual to things in a conversation. This is a great way to give Ryder more personality and to give him/her a personality you think fits with the character.

The first part of the game is pretty straight forward and you just follow the general storyline of the game. After a while the galaxy opens up, and you get more room to decide whether you want to concentrate on the main storyline or if you want to explore the Heleus cluster some more. And let me say: I love the scenery and wildlife you encounter. There are some really stunning visuals in this game.

I loved the main storyline. It's full of action, bad guys and hard decisions. It's not as dark as the original trilogy, but that's not a bad thing. I liked the hope and perseverance that showed in this story.

Of course Ryder doesn't have to head out alone. There are a total of six squadmates you can add to your team and you're accompanied by two of them on your missions. Of the six there were two I absolutely loved and took with me as much as I could, one that I really liked, two I didn't care much about, and one I really loathed. Just my luck that the loyalty mission of that last character is pretty important.

As with the earlier games it's possible to start up a romance with some of your squadmates and other interested characters. I had a clear favorite and let my Ryder fall in love. The romance I picked was adorable and sweet. I can't tell you anything about the other romances, but there are plenty of choices (although the females in this game are more interested in getting in Ryder's pants than the males. There's three male romance options for a female Ryder and four female romance options, while for male Ryder there are two male romance options and five female romance options).

There were just a few things that frustrated me. At times it was pretty unclear where you had to be. There's a marker that shows you where you have to go to complete the next step of a mission, but with flat maps while the landscape isn't flat, but multi-layered, I was lost at times. And then there's the puzzles. I'm not fond of puzzles in my role playing games. There are even sudoku's to solve! I can't thank the gaming community enough for putting the solutions of those puzzles online so quickly after release of the game. And lastly: the Nomad! The Nomad is the vehicle Ryder drives to get from one place on a planet to the other. And yes: it's mandatory to use it. I thought I hated the Mako in Mass Effect 1, but the Nomad made me think the Mako wasn't that bad.

All in all I love this game though and you can bet I will replay it and will impatiently wait for any DLCs.

Why should you play this game:
It's a really cool SF Action-RPG

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