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BioWare | Official Site
RPG | Setting:Sci-Fi | Status:Final  (rel 03/21/17)  | Pub:Electronic Arts
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I Wanted Mass Effect 4 But Got Something Better

Written By Catherine Daro on March 20, 2017 | Comments

I Wanted Mass Effect 4 But Got Something Better

Before I press on to an actual review, I want to ask this. Do you love Mass Effect series as much as I do? Have you re-played the trilogy in preparation to the latest addition to Mass Effect family and fought the urges to get all the spoilers so you can see it all play out in the game itself? If so, this review is tailor-made for you. However, if it cannot be said about you, the review you will find below comes from someone who is somewhat biased towards the series and was and remains very demanding to Andromeda, both as a game and a story.

Considering the amount of fresh memes, rumors, animation witch-hunts and more Andromeda has faced before it has even seen the light of the day, I hope it helps to set your mind at ease and decide whether the game is right for you or not.

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The Mass Effect Feel

Upon getting started with the game, players get to see a small cut-scene showing off the Andromeda Initiative leaving Milky Way for a new home. First time controls of the characters are handed over already happens 600 years after any event of the trilogy, including the Reaper invasion.  However, that does not mean that all ties to the trilogy are totally cut. Attentive players will easily find many NPCs, texts, audio-logs and much, much more that shows off the trilogy events or characters and even couple Dragon Age Easter eggs.

The game definitely feels like Mass Effect, despite a very different setting and lack of Mass Relays. The atmosphere is not as depressing and hard as in Mass Effect 3, but the feeling of exploration from the very first Mass Effect? It is here, right under the fingertips, mixed with hopeful anticipation and wish for a new, better start. In addition, just between us, the Nomad is still that very same whacky MAKO with just a bit less craziness and additional pair of wheels that you can activate or de-activate on wish for additional friction. The soundtrack is amazing and closely matches the theme of original trilogy. Sometimes you expect that a certain track would take couple different notes and you will hear the familiar music from previous games.

Andromeda also has many environments to offer. Radioactive desert, checked. Active volcano, checked. Low gravity planet giving a hilarious Nomad exploration time, double-checked. The rest is for you to find out about.

Meet the Squad

Characters are a big point in all of BioWare games, and Andromeda is not an exception to the rule. Many relatively small and un-important NPCs have heartfelt stories to tell, including their reasoning for moving to Andromeda if the Pathfinder was to ask (nobody is going to suddenly start telling you’re their life story without your asking, don’t worry). Running away from old life? Hoping for a new, better, brighter future? Losing everything and trying to move on in the most drastic way? You will find all of that and much, much more in the game.  

Now comes the big point that I cannot stress enough: Andromeda is NOT Mass Effect 4. By that, I mean that the game is not centered on an all-destroying war spanning across the whole galaxy. The characters’ behavior is the best indicator of that. The diverse bunch that follows Ryder into his or her search are not seasoned veterans showing off battle scar and accomplishments. While trained and experienced in their chosen fields, most of them are young, hopeful and hilariously funny (except Drack, whose awakening suddenly increased average age of the galaxy by fair amount). The game will offer a variety of personal quests including but not limited by the Loyalty mission Mass Effect 2 style. If you loved shooting bottles in the Citadel with Garrus, you will love these, I promise.

Among this bunch is your character, Pathfinder Ryder, who was pushed into position they did not want and were not prepared for by circumstances. One of the most endearing points of Andromeda for me was the ability to choose emotional response of the character (those who played Dragon Age 2 would immediately know what I am talking about) over the Paragon / Renegade options. It is up to you who Ryder will grow to be over story: a hard-ass commander who all but cut ties to their family or a charming adorable troll with a touchy-feely side. Voice actors did an amazing job to portray that. Special shout out for Fryda Wolff and her incredible portrayal of goof ball Ryder (who is the best Ryder out there).

Now comes the point I’m surprised to having to address. The Internet’s biggest gripe with the game and the reason for petty witch-hunts: animation. Despite what you might have heard up to now, it is not that bad. Really. Occasionally, there might be a slightly weird facial expression or a stiff look another character gives you, but mostly it is people making a mountain out of molehill. In addition, let me be frank here: if you play(ed) Mass Effect and / or Dragon Age for graphics, you’re doing it wrong.

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