Three Steps Back - A Mass Effect: Andromeda Review
I am an AVID fan of BioWare and the Mass Effect franchise ranks high on my list of absolute favorites. However, after better than 36 hours of gameplay, the current iteration of this franchise has me scratching my head. How does a game of this quality get such HIGH praise? I would have thought the furor among Mass Effect fans would be so loud as to drown out the hype. Ever since the debacle that was Mass Effect 3, BioWare seems to be walking on eggshells (socio-politically and publicly) trying not to offend ANYONE and by doing so, alienating their largest PAYING demographic. And we waited FIVE YEARS? For this?
Landscapes. These are some of the most beautifully rendered landscapes I have seen. They are certainly on par with if not better than games like The Witcher 3 and Tomb Raider. If only the people working on the landscapes were tasked with the character models as well.
Combat. Well, I almost forgot to include it here so that obviously speaks volumes. The thing is, the combat has not really changed much, except for some new controller mappings that extend a little bit of a learning curve. So there really is nothing to say in this category.
THE BAD - It is a pretty long list
Mass Effect: Andromeda opens with the narration of the where, when, what, why and how you have come to this place across Deep Space: the Andromeda Galaxy. You are awakened from cryo sleep in what seems to be the animation of someone trying too hard to go to the bathroom, more like a constipated dog in the back yard. Your character’s face is distorted and contorted in such a way that is so laughable it makes one want to cry. And that is in only the first five minutes.
Soon after the laughable horror that is coming out of Cryo, we get thrust into a position we did not earn and all those “higher ups” just have to accept the fact that we now outrank them. The dialogue is, how do I put this, juvenile at best. I know ten-year-olds that are more mature than the dialog in this game. If it was meant to be humorous, that mark was missed entirely. You do not have to be stupid to have a good sense of humor.
Then there is the movement. I honestly do not know ANY human that walks or runs like these characters. It has the grace of a gorilla walking on its hind legs. No, that would be an insult to the gorilla. Other times, it looks as though a child is playing with an old marionette but is not in any way skilled at the movements.
Should you decide to use the character creator, you will not be able to create a Caucasian character. The skin tones do not go light enough even for Asians, unless they are from regions closer to the Equator. And while the male character face models all look OK (certainly nothing to write home about), all the females look like a cross between a human and a troll doll. Understand, I am not saying “ugly,” I am saying “unnatural.” The fact that they look nothing like the models used to create them really has no bearing here. This is more like looking at that face puzzle that asks what is wrong with the picture and it turns out the eyes have been swapped left to right and the lips have been turned upside down. For example, the Asari race has been known throughout Mass Effect cannon to be the warrior goddesses of the galaxy. Now, they all have the same face (it belongs to an eight-year-old boy), massive chest and back end. Their striking beauty is no longer; thrown out with every other logical idea of "form." The developers, it seems, took parts of different models and playing Doctor Frankenstein tried to mash them all together to make one cohesive being. I cannot romance that; it is just plain wrong.
Finally, there are the side missions; the never-ending slog of side missions. It reminds me of every LEGO game I have ever played except worse. But this is not a LEGO game. How could any developer expect playability, let alone re-playability, when the overwhelming surge of side missions just hammers you in the face? Even after all the hours I have put into this game, I still have not “completed” the very first planet. OK, yes, I like to explore EVERYTHING but, that is what Mass Effect is truly about, correct? It still should not take this long to CLEAR a location, though.
Summing up: stunning landscapes and SSDD combat are not enough to rescue this game from the hole in which it threw itself. The extremely poor character graphics and animations alone are reason enough to leave this game on the shelf. This is supposed to be a AAA game. Whether or not this game was assigned the "Junior Varsity" is moot but the product they produced should cost EA and BioWare the franchise. They have certainly turned it into a stinking pile that has lost my devotion, completely. Maybe, it was their intention was to kill the franchise? If not, they have certainly taken three steps back and produced a game of far lower quality than the original Mass Effect.
Mass Effect: Andromeda did not live up to its hype. This game is a RENT ONLY title at best until it comes way down in price (I am thinking US$20 at most). Do not pay full retail for this game; you will feel beaten and left for dead in a ditch, there are already enough of us here. Alas, our culture has become one that no longer cares about the art and until gamers speak LOUDLY, this is what we can expect from ALL AAA titles. Thankfully I still have "The Witcher 3" and the "infection-free" CD Projekt Red.
Posted by Eagle41
on 30 March 17 at 18:37
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