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Video Game Review – Mass Effect Andromeda

The Mass Effect series has a special place in the heart of gamers. Love or hate Mass Effect 3’s ending (most people hate it), it left a lot of questions unanswered. When Mass Effect Andromeda was announced hardcore fans of the series collectively popped a game boner. With a budget of $40 million dollars the promise of where the series could go on the next gen consoles sparked the imaginations of fans everywhere.

But then the game came out…

For those unfamiliar with the Mass Effect series all you really need to know is it’s a space game with aliens set in the future where humans have learned to travel faster than light. Andromeda is about a group of 80,000 humans and aliens called the Initiative who leave the Milky Way and travel 600 years in cryo sleep to the Andromeda galaxy to start over. Conveniently for the writers of the game, the Initiative leaves for Andromeda around the time Mass Effect 2 is taking place, allowing for the complete avoidance of the questions left from the ending of the original Mass Effect series. That should have been my first red flag.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is not a bad game, but it is in no way close a great game. Visually, the game is stunning and terrible all at the same time, something I didn’t think possible at this stage of gaming. While the level design and the environments are almost seamless, the characters themselves are often wonky and have a bewildered look in their eye. The best example is the stock female Ryder character. If you’re up for a laugh, check out the videos online. It’s as if they made a normal person for a character then decided to inflate the size of her head for no reason.

It’s things like this that are found throughout the game that can kill the gaming experience. This game truly has huge aspirations to be a journey of exploration fans have always wanted from the series, but in doing so a lot slipped through the cracks leaving us with buggy explosions, clunky menus, and funny looking characters that talk to themselves from time to time.

What Andromeda feels like is a classic example of groupthink and expectations from fans being higher than is actually possible to reach. It’s as if when the designers cut corners, they all told themselves it was ok because after all they made Mass Effect, one the greatest game series ever made.

The combat is fun and intuitive though, and with the right sativa you’ll sink into a planet-exploring zone that won’t quit until you end up making out with an alien because you made the wrong (or right) choice on the conversation wheel. It’s a bad Mass Effect, but a pretty fun game.