By: Corey Lack
Mass Effect Andromeda was the fourth game of the Mass Effect series and it is considered even more infamous than the ending of the third game. When it was released, Andromeda was absolutely lambasted by longtime fans of the series and critics alike. But I have to ask was it really as bad as people made it out to be? I would say that it was not. Was it a perfect game? No. Definitely not. Could it have used a bit more polish before release? Absolutely. I don’t think that it was nearly as bad as they made it out to be.
First, let’s discuss the plot. This game focuses on an entirely new cast with the player character being one half of a set of twins. Prior to the events of Mass Effect 3, every race created an “arc” where some of the best and brightest of their species were put into crystasis and the arcs headed to the titular galaxy to colonize locations officially for the purpose of exploration and scientific research. The player is the child of the human “pathfinder,” essentially the one charged with finding a suitable colony location. As one might expect, things aren’t a simple as they thought it would be a hundred years ago when they left the Milky Way galaxy. Many of the critics of the game were especially harsh towards the characters, claiming them to be dry or not as good as the characters from the first three games. While I have to agree that the characters weren’t as interesting as the ones of the original trilogy, a lot of the most loved characters were developed over the course of three games, so the new characters weren’t given the time to really be developed like the older ones were. Sure, some of the characters weren’t all that interesting, but a majority of them had the potential to be as good as the older ones if they were developed over the same amount of time.
Next, let’s talk gameplay. Honestly, there isn’t much to say about this. It wasn’t much different than in the previous games save for two big differences. There wasn’t a designated class system, so players could develop their character however they wished. I enjoyed the chance to combine attacks and skills in a way never offered before and I felt that it worked. The other big difference was the absence of the paragon/renegade system, a mechanic that had been a staple for the past three games and was a good way to develop the player character. This, I feel, was a mistake on the part of the developers as, like I already said, it gave a chance to really develop the player character in a more subtle way.
Finally, let’s get into the part most people hated the most: the graphics. This aspect of the game is where it would have done best with more polish and attention. The facial features of the characters would occasionally malfunction. Characters would sometimes merge in the middle of cutscenes. The list goes on. That said, I want to be clear that these, in any of my five playthroughs, did not happen often enough for me to consider quitting. They were just little quirks that popped up every now and then.
So, was this game as bad as people made it out to be? In my opinion, no, not even close. Was it perfect? No, but it had potential. The problem was that Bioware clearly hurried it out in order to start focusing on their next game Anthem and didn’t give this one the love and attention the previous three games got. I think that, while it wasn’t as good as the original trilogy, it was still a very entertaining game. I’d give it 7 dead archons out of 10.