Last night I finished Mass Effect Andromeda and I have to say – it was quite an adventure! I had several months of a break from this game and I’m not sure why, to be honest. Those several months ago when I was playing it last time I really enjoyed it, so I guess something made me drop the game for a while or maybe I’ve had enough of it for that time because I overdosed it and just needed a break.
But, several things reminded me of Andromeda recently. First I watched Lost in Space, a Netflix show about a, well, space travelling family discovering new planets. Then I got to try out Defiance 2050 beta and I really liked it but I realized it strongly reminded me of Andromeda. And after the beta ended I wanted to play Andromeda more and more and finally I opened the game again and realized how much I missed it.
It’s my 6th Bioware game so I kind of knew what to expect but knowing how much people hate Andromeda I also expected a horrible game, so when I realized it is NOT horrible it was quite a nice surprise. I honestly don’t know why people complain so much on this game. I mean – on one hand, yes, there is a lot of things one can complain on: it’s laggy. The facial animations… well, this studio at this year should make them much better. There are some important things in the plot that were never explained. But I’ve seen other games with much more glitches and bugs and people still love them (like, say, Skyrim, which I love too). So maybe it’s because Mass Effect comes from Bioware so those mistakes shouldn’t have happened. Or maybe people are just salty because there is no Shepard (from Mass Effect trilogy) in this game? I loved Shepard’s story but it was finished and resurrecting her (or him) wouldn’t do any good for the series. Sure, they could just have named this game differently because it’s almost an entirely different story. Almost. And I’m not the right person to judge what the studio should have named their game. What I know is you love people (or things) not for something but despite everything and I do love Andromeda. Despite everything.
As opposed to the Mass Effect trilogy, where your character, Shepard, is a trained soldier from special forces, here in Andromeda your character is an explorer and adventurer (if you play a female character – before coming to Andromeda she was a scientist looking for ancient artifacts and if you play a male character – he used to be in law enforcement) who got basic combat training from their father. Obviously at the beginning of the game things go wrong and your character is supposed to become a leader against their will and despite a personal loss they just suffered. I think from the start it’s much easier to understand this character and connect with them emotionally than with Shepard who still is my role model, yes, but more like a monument. You don’t get to understand monuments’ feelings.
As in the other major Bioware’s games you can romance other characters in Mass Effect Andromeda. I haven’t tried all the romances (and I don’t think I will because the ones I’ve tried were the best thing ever. I mean, at least for me) but from what I’ve seen there are all the configurations possible, and it’s really nice you can also romance characters who are not part of your crew. I do hope all the romances are well written and give the players as many emotions as the ones I’ve picked gave me.
The overall game’s feel was reminding me somehow of Dragon Age: Origins, where you also play as normal (not a leader of any kind) person accidently getting into a kind of organization fighting the coming evil and at some point also leading their people. Also the setting of both games is pretty dark (and I don’t mean the Space!) and creepy. For some reason after I played Andromeda for a while I realised even my character in this game reminds me of my character from Dragon Age Origins, both personality- and appearance-wise. Additionaly – my character in DA:O was a stealth/dagger rogue. In Andromeda I wasn’t a fan of melee weapons and my build was a sniper at first but the closer to the end of the game, the more I was using my Ryder’s stealth too. What’s even more interesting – in some aspects Ryder’s love interest also reminds me of Cousland’s (my DA:O’s main character) love interest. So, even though obviously the threat and the universe was different in both games – a lot of things in Mass Effect Andromeda reminded me of Dragon Age: Origins. And you should know that Origins is my favourite Dragon Age game (yes, also despite everything).
I loved all the funny little things the developers put in Andromeda’s universe. Krogans’ notes across Elaaden were golden. There are Plants vs. Zombies and Dragon Age references to find in the game. The family-like relations betweenall the crew members melt my heart.
The game made me laugh, made me cry, touched me, made me swear, inhale loudly and sometimes watch the events in silence while covering my mouth. I really liked the story (even though I’m left hanging here because I still want to know who, why, how, what for, when and where). I loved my character who actually had a personality and I loved all the characters around her, too. These are the things I look for in games. And the animations not being good enough? Graphics and optimization that could be better? Controlling the character’s running and shooting that was horrible? I’ve played pixel games where the characters had maybe 3 face expressions at most and could move several squares per round and I loved them a lot. As long as you enjoy the game nothing else matters.
Andromeda is NOT a bad game. But it does have its flaws, just like any other game. I can’t guarantee anyone they’d love it or even like it. But if you’re interested you should at least give it a try instead of only depending on others’ opinions – everyone is different and enjoys different things. And Andromeda has an 8 hours trial on Origin that you can download for free, so why the hell not?