What a week this has been! Trying to finish NieR: Automata while playing as much Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds as possible without ignoring Mass Effect: Andromeda is quite a feat for a gamer. But since I did get to talk a bit about Automata and Battlegrounds in the past weeks I’m going to focus on Bioware’s latest intergalactic exploits.
Andomeda’s technical problems are all over the internet by now but I’m going to stop and comment this game that can’t find a middle ground between good and bad elements. For someone who has given this series a good amount of time in the last decade, Andromeda is a sensible subject. Over time I did lose my trust in Bioware but not my expectations. So, I wanted Andromeda to succeed in being a better game and learning from the mistakes of Mass Effect 3 or Inquisition and surprisingly it did, but at what cost? Mass Effect: Andromeda has taken the semi-open-world recipe of Inquisition and improved on it by adding variety in the tasks required for map completion, adding actual quests and more generally more content which isn’t only about walking around to collect and discover. Another step forward is the combat system and character progression tied to it, which comes with some issues, but it’s generally better than what we had in the past. Shooting feels fluid and there are plenty skills available to make some interesting builds. I have to admit that things sound good so far but it goes straight downhill from here. While the Andromeda does have the visual and technical capabilities of a 2017 game, it is riddled with horrible animations and other issues which chip away from its graphical fidelity. But this wouldn’t have been such a big problem if what made Mass Effect a successful series was still in the game, quality writing. The series has had its ups and downs in terms of storytelling and companions, but this fresh start is quite hard to digest. I’m a fan of RPGs and I put a great deal of value on story, companions, dialogues and choices, yet in 30 hours of Andromeda I’ve found little quality in any of these defining criteria.
The game is taking a lot of heat at the moment and there’s a split in the community between those criticizing the game and those valiantly defending it. But I don’t think there is much ground to stand on when trying to defend this Andromeda. The improvements might be great but are they really welcomed knowing their costs?