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BioWare | Official Site
RPG | Setting:Sci-Fi | Status:Final  (rel 03/21/17)  | Pub:Electronic Arts
Distribution:Retail | Retail Price:n/a | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:n/a
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Making a Good Game Better

By Michael Bitton on April 05, 2017 | Columns | Comments

Making a Good Game Better

Having spent considerable time with Mass Effect: Andromeda in both single player and multiplayer, the conclusion I’ve come to is that BioWare has created a solid RPG that’s significantly rough around the edges. This is no remarkable revelation, of course. Much ink has been spilled on the topic; but now that I’ve experienced it myself and we’ve learned what BioWare’s plans are for the game’s future, I felt it prudent to put those plans up against what I feel needs to be done to get the game in better shape.

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BioWare’s broader plans appear to be directed largely towards the game’s aesthetic issues, but Thursday’s patch will address numerous issues on the gameplay side of things as well. On Thursday, expect to see improvements to some of the oft -complained about facial animations and the weird looking eyes of asari and human characters, but further out, BioWare has also plans to add additional options to the character creator, improve player hair, and continue to iterate on cinematics and animations. These are all welcome changes, but like anything else, you kind of just get used to it after a while. I’m more interested in BioWare’s plans to address other issues with the game.

To that end, Thursday’s patch will make a number of quality of life issues, such as upped inventory space, and probably the most critical (at least for me), the option to turn off those painfully long galaxy map animations. There are also a number of bug fixes, including a fix for the dreaded missing “banter bug,” which managed to game hop over from Dragon Age: Inquisition, and hopefully some fixes for saves on New Game+.

What we don’t have a whole lot of information on, at least at the time of this writing, is what BioWare has in store for balance changes coming with patch 1.05. I’m eager to see what BioWare does here, but particularly with multiplayer. Single player appears to be OK enough, though augments like Bio Converter are probably a wee bit too strong. Multiplayer, however, is a bit of a mess. Power-based builds and combos are really not viable for higher difficulty tiers, with most players opting to either go full melee or run around with a Vanquisher sniper rifle.  Now that the game has been out in the wild for a little bit and BioWare has been able to see what players have been doing, I’m hoping they plan to hammer down on some of the larger nails, and make some initial efforts towards bringing up some of weapon types, skills, and mechanics that are lagging behind.

Aside from multiplayer, I’d really like to see BioWare work on some of the rougher edges in the RPG mechanics of the single player. Overall, there’s a really solid foundation here, but it starts to fall apart as you get familiar with the game. Many of the crafting options are fairly worthless and the best options (such as Bio Converter) are a bit too strong. The system offers a ton of potential for variety in builds, but now that players are optimizing, there’s way too much power concentrated in too few options. Additionally, loot is underwhelming on the whole. I’m at a point now where I really don’t care about killing things or finding huge loot boxes, because non-crafted weapons are worthless drops only good for deconstructing for resources. I’d like to see BioWare add a bunch of rare, named loot drops that offer interesting alternatives not tied to the crafting system, or even unique mods or augmentations that can’t be acquired through research. The gameplay is solid, but I pretty much stopped caring about loot (aside from potential resources) within the first few hours of the game. Not cool.

What do you feel BioWare needs to do to improve Mass Effect: Andromeda over the next few updates? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager.
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