Mass Effect Andromeda: Why it doesn’t deserve all the Hate

A look at the forth entry in the Mass Effect series: Mass Effect Andromeda. After about a month since the game’s release and Patch 1.05, does Andromeda deserve its widely spread initial harsh criticism?

Does it deserve all the hate?
Or is it deserving of your time?

I have and always will be a fan of the Mass Effect series. This is not only coming from someone who is obsessed with Star Wars, Star Trek and anything else sci-fi related but an avid RPG lover as well. The idea of space travel has always fascinated me and when you stop to think about how massive the universe is, your mind can start to wander and be filled with the unimaginable. So when I first laid eyes on Mass Effect gameplay I was greatly intrigued. I played the first Mass Effect game in  college on my friend’s Xbox for only about 30 minutes and was so hooked I purchased a copy for myself to play on PS3.

It was an instant classic and the more I played and learned, the more I felt compelled to continue my exploration of this AMAZING universe. The inhabitants: Salarian, Turian, Asari, Quarian, Geth and the Krogan – were these new and unique alien species that added such great complexity to the playing field that I was beckoned to learn more about them and the places they  inhabited. In fact I spent countless hours going through the Codex (which at the time was read by voice instead of just text like it is now in Andromeda) learning everything I could and letting the history and codex entries shape my understanding of where I was and the people I was interacting with.

The First Contact War between the Turians and Humans, the Rachni Wars that ended with the Krogan Rebellion. The Turians hiring the Salerians to create the Genophage that crippled the otherwise unstoppable Krogan (although the Saiyans from DBZ will ALWAYS be the original warrior race).

There was so much to explore.

However in Mass Effect Andromeda, at first, there was less to be excited about.

Let me explain in detail.

In no way is Mass Effect Andromeda a bad game … but it’s certainly no award winner in my books either. Sure I could go on and on about the facial animations, Ryder’s diagonal “walking” (if you could even call it that) while traversing stairs but we know these defects already. I’m used to playing Bethesda games and I can overlook “glitches” which can even be charming at times (how rare that may be) as long as those glitches don’t break the immersion.

To give you an example I was on Kadara running around and heard an intense, feral breathing close to my position. I was in between several tall rocks and thought whatever was making the noise would surely be around the very next corner I turned. It sounded like an Eiroch (Fiend) and for those of you who have dealt with one before know that they can be brutal, especially if you play on Insanity difficulty (which I do).  They are basically all claws, teeth, and muscle wrapped in thick armor that can kill you in one swipe if you’re not careful. I turned the corner, and THERE IT WAS!

A bright blue Eiroch that towered over me looking me menacingly straight in the eye. Not even my character’s eye, my eye the player.

I’ve faced plenty of Fiends before and, in general regarding combat, when your shield or barrier is down and you lose 90% of your health, that “OH S***!” moment is what makes the game compelling – it challenges me. That jolt of adrenaline that generally (should be genuinely in voiceover on video) makes you feel like you are in the actual world your avatar is in and are forced to put your skills to the test for survival.

However this encounter was absent of that moment, that “jolt” and you want to know why?

A Glitch.

A very specific glitch that froze the imposing enemy in place with all the normal sounds emanating from it, minus the basic standard behavior it would exhibit.

This is the perfect example of breaking immersion and upsetting a lot of gamers in the process.

Suddenly instead of dealing with this monstrous and deadly blue space gorilla that could tear me in two, I was left with nothing more than a giant, noisy … animal paperweight.

They’re brutal … when they don’t glitch.

In comparison …

Mass Effec: Andromeda -Eiroch
A glitched Eiroch from Kadara

A (much needed) Patch   

It may sound strange but I can deal with weird facial animations – gameplay and story is at the top of the list. Would I prefer not to deal with my character’s face looking like she (I chose Female Ryder) was allergic to bees and was recently attacked by a large swarm of them? Yes … yes of course but it’s all a matter of perspective. The more important thing as I said is story and gameplay in my opinion. Ascetics can always be updated and patched but the foundation of the game, the setting, the universe and what I’m running around actually doing in it, is what makes a game great.

Since Patch 1.05, I’m pleased to say things have been running quite smoothly. The facial animation, a central topic and source of admonishment from the Mass Effect community, have been improved (noticeably however subtle that may be) since I first loaded up the game. The patch really was Mass Effect Andromeda’s saving grace because as I’m sure you’ve read or perhaps even felt yourself, some negative things about the game. I haven’t run into any AI “freezes” and Fiends are fully functioning and out for my blood once again.  Zero general game crashes and quite frankly, I feel like I can focus on the important part of Mass Effect Andromeda now – the game itself as a whole.

There will inevitably be people who always find some degree of fault with any game. For Andromeda I’ve heard/read the following:

  • “The side tasks are monotonous!” – Ok don’t do them. They’re called side tasks
  • “Vetra isn’t as good as Garrus!” – Ok don’t take Vetra with you on missions
  • “Planet exploration is boring!” – Maybe skip that completely optional part then?

I am an RPG nut and ever since Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, I try and think of the big picture when it comes to my gaming experience. I spent … let’s just say too long playing that game, experimenting with different quest path options and playthrough builds, but that’s my point. Skyrim was plagued with bugs yet after some patches, was and still is, objectively one of the best RPG’s of all times. It stands as an example of what ambition, interesting setting and good storytelling can do to deliver a satisfying adventure.

Final thoughts

Mass Effect Andromeda may not be a 10/10 and I’m ok with that because it builds upon the foundation of an incredible series that will always be near and dear to my heart. So before you send another angry tweet trashing Andromeda, try this:

Think of the first time you played Mass Effect 1 or 2 (whichever you played first) and try to remember yourself drifting away into the incredible thought of exploring an entirely new galaxy with your trusty team of companions and very own spaceship.

The Tempest
The Tempest

YOU HAVE A INTERGALACTIC F****** SPACESHIP! You can’t really dislike the game that much.

That and you can blast enemies away with Jedi powers ( I know the game calls it Biotics but “the force” from Star Wars was imagined first).

I will say that I’m taking my time (as I do with most of my first play-throughs) and still have to get to the ending to give you a full, complete take on it but so far …  I really do enjoy the game and don’t think it’s deserves all the hate.

How do you feel about Andromeda? Did the patch fix what was bothering you the most? Is the community backlash justified? Be sure to comment down below and let me know your thoughts.

I post exclusively about the Mass Effect series and will be concentrating on Mass Effect Andromeda Gameplay, Builds and Discussions.

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Mass Effect Marty