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.

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.


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.

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.

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

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.

Be sure to *subscribe* so you don’t miss any of the blog’s content and thank you so much for stopping by!


Mass Effect Marty