Mass Effect: Andromeda

aka: Contact, ME:A
Moby ID: 85797
Windows Specs
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Description official description

Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place some 600 years after the events in the trilogy. Alien races from the Milky Way galaxy, including Humans, Asari, Krogan, Salarians, and Turians, dispatched several arks toward the Andromeda galaxy after discovering several suitable planets for new colonies using deep space scans based on Geth technology.

After modeling your protagonist, male or female, and setting some very basic info in regard to the original trilogy, basically just setting whether Commander Shepard was a male or female, you start the game by being awoken from a 600 year cryosleep. Due to malfunction, your twin sibling (brother or sister, opposite of your character selected sex preference) didn't wake up and ended up in a comma.

The arks have reached the Andromeda galaxy and it is time to visit those promised new worlds. However, it turns out that none of them is habitable as the climates changed in the last 600 years, some naturally, and some due to terraforming by an AI-like race of machines known as Remnant. Their technology is far beyond anyone else's, but their goal is unknown and other races you meet in the Andromeda galaxy all seem eager to unravel the mystery behind Remnant technology. Things didn't go as anticipated upon your arrival to Andromeda galaxy, and your father, the Pathfinder on your vessel, is tasked to find out new worlds that could be colonized. But after giving his life to save yours, you end up being the next Pathfinder and hope for mankind.

Following the plan to regroup at Nexus station, which is basically a smaller version of Citadel from previous Mass Effect games, you find out that none of the other arks were heard of and that Nexus is in dire need of food and supplies - which initiated riot and fight among militia and other personnel. Not many are eager to put faith in you, being new and unrefined Pathfinder, but you are assigned a spaceship called Tempest, and a crew to help you search and explore uncharted new worlds.

Similar to previous games in the series, in between missions your crew may have new things to talk to you about, and you can try and pursue a romantic relationship with some of your crew. You can upgrade your character's skills, you can trade weapons and items at various merchants in Nexus, and travel between planets.

Mining is not done in a typical way, and you only send a probe when you have an alert of possible minerals in the area or some stranded ship or some other phenomenon. Moving between planets and asteroids is done completely in 1st-person perspective (not free movement, but navigating pre-set paths) and can be skipped.

Research and development is also supported, but this time you have technologies from different galaxies that can be researched and developed. Weapons also support mod slots which vary from having bigger ammo clip capacity to doing more damage or having better stability. Armor works in a similar way to before, and also support removal of your helmet during cut-scenes, assuming you're not in a hazardous area which requires a helmet. While on board the Tempest, you have your personal outfit which can support full color radius change, though you can only change your own outfit while in your captain's room, and not the outfit of your crew.

While your armor has the ability to act as a semi-jet-pack, in order to explore the planet in full you will also be given a rover, similar to that in the original Mass Effect game, which has the ability to jump, boost speed, or make itself more capable of traversing steep terrains. It can also have different paint jobs if you don't like the default white one.

The rover also gives you additional protection from the planet's hazards such as radiation or extreme cold. But this time, exploring planets isn't just for gathering resources and materials, but also for building colonies on a suitable places. You can select what type of colony you wish to build, whether it should be military outpost or a scientific colony, but make sure you don't leave your colonists unprotected against the Kett, a new hostile alien race you will first encounter in the Andromeda galaxy.

Aside from weapons, the Pathfinder has a scanning tool which helps you scan objects and people and it also interacts with SAM, an AI that is part of every Pathfinder, and can help give you necessary information almost instantly.

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Credits (Windows version)

2,102 People (2,003 developers, 99 thanks) · View all

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Critics

Average score: 69% (based on 55 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 1 reviews)

An uninspired and disappointing sequel

The Good
Mass Effect: Andromeda consists of various open planets with a lot of quests. I have to admit, clearing quest markers which don't require any thinking is very relaxing. Combined with the good and fast combat system - a jetpack is always a nice addition - makes the initial sweep of every planet an almost rewarding experience. Because combat becomes pretty easy after a short playing time (on normal difficulty), I could kill dozens of enemies without even using cover. This is what a power fantasy looks like! It gets a bit old towards the end, but all in all the combat is enjoyable.

The Bad
The obvious best part of Mass Effect was the fantastic lore. So what is the obvious next step for a sequel? Throwing most of it away in order to replace it with the blandest new universe possible. The original had a multitude of interesting alien species, while Andromeda introduces only two new: the Angara (more or less humans with a slightly changed Prothean model) and the Kett (the evil faction which is not fleshed out). Not even the planet visuals are inspiring: they are much less interesting than the gorgeous environments of Dragon Age Inqusition. The lore and the world are a big disappointment.

Unfortunately you will see much of the planets because of the awful quest design. The number of interesting quests can be counted on two hands and the rest is just farming quest markers. This isn't as bad in the beginning when there is a lot to do on each planet, but becomes dreadful later when a planet has to be visited for just a single conversation which adds a new quest marker on a different planet. This is made even worse with the movement between star systems: every time, a cutscene has to be watched. Over and over again. I modded out as much as possible and it was still unbearable.

The writing is mostly inadequate as well. There is so much pointless dialogue it almost hurts when every obscure NPC tells Ryder their uninteresting life story. The quest dialogue is mostly pointless chatter, but when the writers want to include moral choices, it becomes worse. One false dilemma after another. However, I appreciated the companions and their many short conversation quests which flesh out their relationship with the main character - but it is all ruined by the above mentioned slow movement between planets.

Besides the basic combat system, the supporting game mechanics are pointless and cumbersome. The game has a war table variant (too simple and rewards only unnecessary resources), crafting (makes the player overpowered too fast and is a pain to use), a perk system (even more unneeded resources), badly designed role-playing elements (all useful abilities are unlocked after the first planet and afterwards new levels are only interesting because of the new crafting recipes) and so on. They all have to be navigated in a UI which is horrible to operate with mouse and keyboard, and I can't imagine it works significantly better with a gamepad.

The game is a also a technical mess. Over the years, I played the game on three PCs and it frequently crashed on all of them. The UI is buggy (for example, after the first few quests the journal tab can't be cleared anymore). After the game's release there was way too much discussion about facial animations and BioWare patched it considerably back then, but I still have to briefly talk about them. Personally I didn't mind them much even then, but especially the laughing and frightened expressions look so bad they hurt the atmosphere.

The Bottom Line
Mass Effect: Andromeda is simply too long and is bogged down by too much mediocre content and mechanics. I'd like to say it could have been salvaged by cutting out most of its content and then polishing the remaining stuff better, but even then it would be an uninspired and frankly unnecessary game at best. All in all, Andromeda is a mess and can't be recommended at all. I never was a huge fan of the original trilogy, but it didn't deserve this.

Windows · by Patrick Bregger (299645) · 2021

Trivia

Awards

  • The Dragon Awards
    • 2017 – Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game – Nominated

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by mars_rulez.

Xbox Cloud Gaming, Windows, Xbox One added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: MAT, Havoc Crow, Plok, Harmony♡.

Game added March 21, 2017. Last modified February 13, 2024.