Video Games

Review: ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’

Gabe Young ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare‘s latest installment in the Mass Effect series, is a deeply flawed experience. The issue is that when addressing any one problem with Mass Effect: Andromeda, all the problems in the game must be inevitably addressed seeing as they are so endemically linked.

Take the story, for example. The Mass Effect universe has always been about the plot, characters, and dialogue. Sure, it was a pretty good third person shooter with squad-based combat, but it was more about the choice-based narrative and the interactions along the way. Gone are the days of Paragon and Renegade. There are no more split second moral choices or visual consequences for actions. The writing isn’t just problematic in the dialogue, it’s bad across the entire game. The plot, character background, and even the ideas that Andromeda explores are poorly

written and never thought out.
Image Credit: BioWare
Image Credit: BioWare

The writing is lazy, boring, easy and safe. Unlike the previous games and their promise of compelling and well thought out narratives, Andromeda takes the biggest selling point of the old series and throws it in the trash. The game is a boring open

world that points the player in one direction and asks them to open fire. It’s childish and barely passable, especially when compared to previous games in the series.
Andromeda is a vast wasteland. There is a massive amount of content in the game, but it’s all clutter, all fluff. It only serves to obscure the game’s clunky menus and fill the game with empty dialogue and meaningless side missions. The fact that this useless content is so prevalent in Andromeda is shocking. While it’s not inherently offensive on its own, the sheer amount of derivative point-and-shoot game play just detracts from the few good things in the game. It makes playing a chore, requiring the player to move methodically down a checklist till they have ticked every box, and even then, rewards aren’t guaranteed. The resource management system is so boring and pointlessly difficult that it puts the player off of crafting altogether. Without all these hollow elements in the game, sure, it would be shorter, but it would be more streamlined and enjoyable.
Image Credit: BioWare
Image Credit: BioWare
There is no reason for Mass Effect to be open world. No reason for it to include a poorly
designed crafting system. No reason for it to have utterly stupid, chore-like fetch quests. No reason for the upgrade tree to be so poorly made. It’s all lazy, copy and pasted. The worst thing about Andromeda is not its flawed story, mediocre gameplay, or even its infamous facial animations. The true flaw in Andromeda is lack of imagination. The Mass Effect universe felt unique through its characters and story. The science fiction elements felt thorough and fresh. There were marvelous little writing tricks and concepts that littered the game world and made it feel real. It made the old games have a spark to them that Andromeda lacks altogether.
That sums up the game entirely. There is nothing new, memorable, or exciting. Andromeda may not be the worst game ever made but there is literally no reason to play it. There is little in the way of compelling storytelling or gameplay. Where Andromeda doesn’t blatantly fail, it barely does average. It’s a disappointing title made all the worse by its legacy in video game history, its lost potential, and what it could represent for the future of the franchise.

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