March 22, 2019 at 12:52 AM #817
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Rating: 3.5 – Good
Is it a POSITIVE Mass Effect or a NEGATIVE one ??
Let me preface this review by stating one observation, and that is that I feel most reviews for this game were tainted by the disappointment people felt concerning the ending of Mass Effect 3. How often does a major game release get a REWORK of the ending sequences ? I was in agreement over the lack of discernible differences based on what decisions you had made during that game, but I feel it has unfairly biased people towards this latest installment. I was torn between a 7 and an 8 score for this title, but since GameFaqs lists an 8 score as "Great", I felt inclined to retreat to a 7, since this is a GOOD game, but not a GREAT one. How I arrived at this conclusion is as follows :
GRAPHICS – 3 out of 5
The game does have some great visuals, from planetary environs to weapon and explosion effects. The game employs an over the shoulder point of view, but since ‘Gears Of War’ was released a year before Mass Effect, I believe it correct to say the point of view and cover options were derived from the Epic release ( but perhaps by coincidence ). But again, keeping the game from greatness were some nagging issues. First, the Nomad rover vehicle was a hot mess trying to drive. I constantly had to click the right button to straighten out the view, which seemed to insist on spinning out of control and flipping and turning around your vehicle like a whirling dervish (whatever those are). It bordered on becoming nauseous at times, I kid you not. Second, just like other Mass Effect titles, there were graphical hiccups that proved detrimental to gameplay. Some instances of this were suddenly stopping whenever you tried to go up the first step on a staircase, like you had stubbed your toe and needed a second to let it wear off. Also, the aforementioned Nomad vehicle would stop mid thrust while the graphics engine could "catch up" and continue the animation. And don’t get me started on the space travel sequences … boring would be too kind a word to apply to the generic slogging — launching probes — and planetary discoveries. The helmsman (or would it be helmswoman ? ) would announce something about an ‘anomaly’ and then I’d discover either minerals, a destroyed probe or spacecraft, or (really?) the exciting announcement of finding a river, or a volcano, or a crater impact. Tedious and about as exciting as washing clothes. You had the Nomad back, and I would have LOVED a return to Mass Effect One and battle some giant worms. A wasted opportunity, but maybe that’s what real space exploration would be like. " Anomaly Detected — Probe Launched – I’ve found something – It’s ANOTHER boring whatever " And one final tidbit regarding character models … why does EVERYONE in all the Mass Effect games walk like they’ve been riding a horse for the past couple of days ? They are all squatting like they need to use the bathroom ALL THE TIME !
GAMEPLAY – 4 out of 5
This is Mass Effect Andromeda’s saving grace. The battles are exciting, fast paced, and really fun. You can switch between different loadouts (called Profiles) that really have diverse abilities and bonuses. Combined with the ability to create variations in your weaponry, and you really can pattern your character to the playing style which compliments you best. This is combined with fighting mechanics which really reward you for attention to detail regarding your ability and weapon choices. Granted, the opponent AI is somewhat lacking (like as I just headshot the guy next to you with my sniper rifle and you failed to react), but overall behaves competently in varied battle situations. Definitely the best part of the game was directing your team to flank opponents, etc. I just wish that when left on their own, they wouldn’t stand IN FRONT of cover while blasting away like they were in Rambo, First Blood ! Another of the detriments witnessed in this game (as in many similar titles) were the monotonous side quests. Why when you meet an alien species for the first time do they figure you for a courier ? Can’t you deliver that yourself ? Can’t you find that fellow alien better than I could, being new to this planet ? I guess you always have to earn your rewards, can’t just give me that stuff as a show of friendship.
SOUND – 3 out of 5
Why a three? Because I can not remember anything memorable about the music or the voice acting. Some of the cutscenes were amusing, but nothing really memorable. Likewise, the music was exactly what it was designed to be, background music. I cannot recall any sweeping orchestrations, rhythms, or vocals that left any lasting impressions. The majority of the voice-overs were repetitive, especially during battles, but I really wished they had scaled back the AI computer in your head CONSTANTLY reminding me whenever the temperature got too hot, too cold, or back to normal. It gets old FAST.
OVERALL – 3.75 out of 5 ( or a 75% )
There were definite things I enjoyed about my playthrough with Mass Effect Andromeda. The battles were exemplary, and your ability to direct your teammates seemed spot on. The visuals were done well, and except for some nagging technical issues were implemented nicely. The story line delivered as well, with a solid antagonist ( although the lack of a final boss fight with this individual seemed like a missed opportunity ) and a well thought out sequence of events unfolding as you find yourself in a new and hostile galaxy. I would view this game as a welcome addition to any gamer’s library, it just wasn’t the blockbuster that everyone was hoping for.
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