I defended Mass Effect Andromeda but now …

After a 90+ hour, 93% complete, insanity difficulty campaign with my Female Sentinel “Agatha” Ryder, I have an extremely bad taste in my mouth and it’s probably not why you think.

Mass Effect: Andromeda - Star Gazing

About a month ago I wrote a blog post about how Mass Effect Andromeda didn’t deserve all the hate. At that time Patch 1.05 had recently come out and helped with a good portion if not all of the glitches and facial animations that caused such outrage from the Mass Effect community. In the time between then and now, Patch 1.06 and 1.07 have both continued to improve components of the game – mainly cutscenes and random glitches. However the “Sam-Email” glitch happened a few times when I came back to Tempest after 1.07, which in the grand scheme of it all isn’t that bad, but I digress.

*FULL SPOILER DISCLOSURE – DO NOT READ UNTIL GAME COMPLETION*

Okay it’s not so much the ending that bothered me so much, it was one specific aspect of the ending but more detail on that later. Like I said, I recently finished a 90+ hour, 93% complete, insanity difficulty campaign with my Female Sentinel (logical instead of renegade?) Agatha Ryder. I did all major side quests that resulted in 100% Planet Viability for all four planets creating outposts on each, completed each and every crew member loyalty mission, and defeated all Four Architects.  It was a fun journey with plenty of content yet after completion, I have an extremely bad taste in my mouth.

It’s not from the story, which I will say was VERY slow to get going. It wasn’t the crew which were all enjoyable yet few (I said few not none) grabbed my attention like the previous games. It wasn’t even the ending itself, which granted felt more like the ending of a Marvel Superhero Origin Story. It was without a doubt … the absolute uninspiring, unoriginal, anti-climactic, lazy, and downright DISAPPOINTING End Boss Battle. I am still going to defend Andromeda like I did before but I cannot, I repeat CANNOT defend that pathetic excuse for a final confrontation.

Before going to Meridian, which is the final location of the last main story mission, I thought to myself what/who the final boss would be. I had assumed it would be the Archon, who up until that point was a pretty lame antagonist, but I was excited to learn how the writers were ultimately going to use his character to challenge my Pathfinder.

Screenshot_20170523-150304
The Tempest entering Meridian

I thought to myself of all the cool creative ways the writers could have done it. Maybe they were going to play on the DNA-Exaltation angle and the Archon would be rapidly mutated in front of me by the DNA of the exalted species and transformed into this mega strong monster, similar to Saren in ME 1 just without synthetic components. The strength of these enhancements could have tied into your choices you made throughout the game (ie saving Drack’s Scouts VS. the Salarian Pathfinder or Saving the Moshae VS. Blowing up the Kett Facility) that would play into the strength of the end-game Archon. So for instance if you saved the Salarian Pathfinder instead of saving Drack’s scouts or if you saved the Moshae instead of blowing up the Kett Facility, the Kett would have had more time and subjects to study/exalt and would have ultimately resulted in a stronger mutated Archon in the end.

Anything like that? Nope, none of it. I understand that sort of goes against Archon’s obsession with the Remnant but I was just thinking of all the story elements that could have been used.

Another option could have been that if you chose the opposite of the above mentioned actions (Saved Drack’s Scouts/Blowing up the Kett Facility) the Archon would have been forced to rely more on the Remnant technology possibly fusing and creating a new, more dangerous Archon-Architect. The reason being was because of the first time I encountered an Architect. The enemy was done so well and I reminisced back to that scene in ME 2 during Grunt’s loyalty mission with the Thresher Maw. I thought “Oh man, I can only imagine what the final boss is going to be if this is just an optional side boss.

Either idea would have been a nice alteration to the game that came down to giving the players a much more comprehensive cause and effect to their actions that they could actually see and experience. That’s not to say there isn’t ANY cause/effect in the game. For instance (keeping with the above choices), if you instead save the Salarian Patherfinder intstead of Drax’s Scouts, you have to deal with Behemoths during the final mission. However most of the major decisions you make in the game don’t really have too much of an effect on it this adventure and we most likely won’t see those effects till a sequel. But aside from the whole “meaningful player choice” aspect I was simply looking for a solid ending with a final challenge to overcome in the form of a satisfying end boss battle.

What we received, well what I received in my opinion rather, was a complete and utter letdown.

Did we get a super smart/strong/electrical powered Salarian-Krogan-Angaran-Kett Mega mutated Archon or –a maybe a Giant Fused Ultra-Kett Archon Architect of Doom?!

Kinda on the second one.. sort of … a little bit? No, not really.

I had completed this new addition to a beloved franchise of mine, an expansive adventure and it was finally time to face the last mission and the inevitable Final Boss. The final boss was in fact the Archon, with whom we don’t actually directly fight. Instead he was apparently a living electrical outlet that remnant technology “plugged into” in the form of Doc Oc mechanical limbs from Spiderman – I’m not joking, 100% serious.

Archon-Spider2
I will crush you Spider Ma…. I mean Pathfinder!

I had a giggle and proceeded to what I can only describe as an incomplete Architect battle. The Archon is on loudspeaker trash talking you, throwing standard Remnant enemies at you along with an Architect as you attempt to hack certain terminals during. Here I am thinking “Ok so this is phase 1 of the battle. Let’s get through this to pha … Wait WHAT??!?!!”

No phase 2. The Archon unplugged from the Doc Oc Remnant arms, dropped to the ground and died.

That’s it.

I didn’t even have to shoot at the Architect which when objectively compared, made the other 4 Architect battles seem WAY more difficult and much more of an accomplishment than the Final boss of the game.

After so many hours invested into this game and after everything I’ve done, I wanted my skills and character to be tested in a grueling, epic, satisfying climactic final battle. I think to one of my favorite recent games Bloodborne and how every boss battle was this immense challenge to overcome and how accomplished I felt, like REALLY accomplished, after I defeated each one (I’m looking at you Father Gascoigne). Now I think comparing any two games can be a bit dicey mainly because each game and therefore experience is unique. So I will not compare these games as a whole, I’ll focus on one aspect– the boss battles.

For the most part, I enjoyed the boss battles in Andromeda. The Ascendant was fun when I first encountered it (him/her?) but little by little got less exciting after each time I faced that same boss model. The Behemoth (Exalted Kett Krogan) was a great battle and was even more special because Granddaddy Drax was along for the ride. He tried his hardest to get the enemy to stand down, which obviously didn’t work but was an entertaining battle regardless. The last (regular) boss was the Archon’s Sword which was basically a different textured “Destined” enemy with a LOT more health and a few remnant thrown in. Come to think of it, the Behemoth was the exact same scenario but was a different textured Krogan enemy with a lot of health but the Behemoth was just … so cool so it gets a pass.

The Behemonth (Exalted Kett Krogan)
The Behemonth (Exalted Kett Krogan)

The battles that really stuck with me were the Architects – loved, loved, LOVED them – the battles were challenging and memorable. However Architects are not a necessary challenge, they are optional bosses meaning if you aren’t feeling it, you don’t have to fight them. I make this comparison because in Bloodborne, every boss battle was challenging, unique and memorable, hell there were even a huge number of regular Bloodborne enemies that met that criteria; the side bosses sometimes even more so. I felt like I had a personal vendetta against most of them … mainly because they killed me so many times but you get the point. I was challenged, I lost and then when I finally triumphed, had this incredible sense of accomplishment – and with that last sentence you understand where I am coming from.

That feeling was utterly absent after the Archon fight.

Video games are the one form of media that will punish you and restrict access to the rest of it if you aren’t skilled enough to complete the next challenge. Did I feel challenged playing Andromeda on insanity? – absolutely. Was the overall experience positive? – absolutely. Here is what it comes down to: I felt more accomplished after defeating literally any boss in Bloodborne as opposed to the way I felt after beating the Archon in Mass Effect Andromeda, most likely because the Archon was the LAST battle.

The Final boss doesn’t necessarily make or break a game but I think we can all agree that they are supposed to represent something important and special to us gamers. However in Mass Effect Andromeda, the final boss only represented the lethargy of EA and BioWare to get this game out sooner rather than later without a thought out and engaging ending challenge.

I am still a huge fan of Andromeda and said before that this installment acted well as an origin story, setting the stage for more content and (hopefully) a sequel or two. Let’s just hope that after this game, EA and Bioware learn from their mistakes and put a LITTLE more creativity into the final confrontation for future games.

 

What did you think of the final battle? Was it a let down or were you satisfied?

Comment below and let me know what you think ^-^

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Mass Effect Marty

8 thoughts on “I defended Mass Effect Andromeda but now …”

  1. Yup. All of that. I just went, wait that’s it? Fucking serious? AND we don’t even get to explore Meridian. Total BS…

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  2. Although it’s not an excuse, but I think the next game add on(s) will bring us to the real boss battle which hopefully will be much more rewarding. I was very underwhelmed with the Archon, probably because they rushed to finish the game.

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  3. I, too am in agreement with your assessment. Very astute observations. Usually I am the guy having to make multiple attempts at normal and when it was over after the first attempt, I was stunned. Like that song, “Is that all there is?”

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  4. OK, haven’t played, and don’t have time to but a lot of final “boss” battles in CRPGs aren’t that hard. Reason: If you have completed most of the quests then you tend to be pretty overpowered by the finale time. Same with Dragon Age: Inquisition (after completing 2 DLCs). It is better to just focus on the story by the end. Don’t know if you can easily change this, but this is the way it generally is.

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    1. Very good point with DA. They just did such a good job with the combat, one of the games strongest aspects, and I figured they would really test you as a player with a challenging boss battle at the end. I was around level 58 when I finished and felt they could have been a bit more creative using the STORY elements they had working for them.

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