We’ve all heard the stories about the launch of Mass Effect Andromeda. Initial reviews for the game were absolutely terrible. We’ll go over why that was and still is later on. First I want to tell you why I like Mass Effect.
Andromeda is set in one of the best science-fiction settings of all time. When Bioware initially conceived this universe and delivered it to the masses with the original Mass Effect they had created an incredibly rich universe with an absolute ton of back-story that can be read in the main menu.
Mass Effect proved that you could have an incredibly deep story set in a third-person shooter. We had story arcs that reflected to a degree what decisions you made while you played as well.
Mass Effect 2 built on all of these things. It refined the combat to something a little less dreary (though in my opinion adding ammo to the game was the wrong thing to do and a step back in technology in the Mass Effect universe), the character models were highly refined and more detailed and character choices made a bigger difference including the choices you made in the previous game. Mass Effect 2 to this day is still my favourite Mass Effect game.
Mass Effect 3 refined what Mass Effect 2 had begun but did not improve the game in my opinion. The loading screens were uninspired, additional characters were not interesting (including one that you had to pay for even though it was on disc) and the story ended on a huge dud even after Bioware changed it. The only thing that saved the game in my opinion was the Citadel DLC. That DLC returned to the Mass Effect I enjoyed. Right down to the elevator loading screens from the original Mass Effect. It showed a more relaxed developer making something they actually wanted to make and it works fantastic.
Of course here is where everything goes wrong.
Andromeda instead of refining what was already a decent game and engine threw that all out the window. They began by using the Frostbite engine which I believe was not utilized to it’s best ability in Andromeda. If you want to see what Frostbite can do boot up Star Wars Battlefront. To be sure the game is incredibly pretty but none of it looks way better than Mass Effect 3. We have more detailed textures this time around and some more polygons but that truly is the extent of it.
Next we find out the game launches with some pretty incredibly bad bugs. Animations were going wrong or not working at all, facial expressions were odd at best and eyeballs were, well scary. Then we get in to the menu system. The interface initially looks very similar to the previous Mass Effects until you begin to use it. It is the most convoluted mess of bunk I have ever used. Nothing and I mean nothing is where it logically makes sense. There are menus buried in menus and options where you wouldn’t expect them. There are a million different currencies to deal with that offer you minimal perks during the game. And, oh man just talking about all this is ticking me off.
Playing missions is OK but the tracking mechanism is useless.
But WHY ON EARTH DID BIOWARE BRING BACK THE STUPID PLANET ROAMING WITH THE STUPID MOON BUGGY WANNA-BE. SERIOUSLY GUYS. THEY BRING THE THING BACK AND DON’T EVEN GIVE ME A FREAKIN’ GUN TO SHOOT THINGS WITH. Absolutely the worst thing Bioware could have done. PERIOD!
This all said I do enjoy the game to an extent but here’s the thing, I couldn’t put any of the three previous Mass Effect’s down. I had to play them all the way through before I played another game. That’s how good they were. Mass Effect Andromeda is an abomination compared to them and that’s just the problem.
If EA and Bioware had created the game in the Mass Effect universe but just titled the game Andromeda I think people would have been less inclined to compare it directly to Mass Effect. The funny thing is Mass Effect itself (the method of faster than light transportation in the previous trilogy) doesn’t even exist in the Andromeda galaxy. There are no mass relays so even using that name for the game was silly. The game should have been marketed as a game in the same universe but it should have not been marketed so hard on it’s Mass Effect origins. It should have been pushed as it’s own game.
I’m not saying that this would have greatly improved it’s reviews but I think for most people that play games this would have improved their feelings on the game. The original trilogy were absolute masterpieces to behold nigh unlike the Knights of the Old Republic games that came previous to them. To compare a game made by what is essentially Bioware’s backup studio is unfair. Should EA have allowed the farming out of the game to a B studio? No I don’t think so but it’s a typical EA decision and often why we see big game brands getting cancelled as we have now seen for Mass Effect. The next release has been put on indefinite hiatus.
All I can say is way to go EA in ruining yet another fantastic franchise. Every time they touch something great they seem to find a way to screw it up. It can’t be the bean-counters fault in this case since Andromeda had a huge budget.
What do you think made Andromeda fail in the eyes of so many?