With the gaming industry collectively deciding to drain us of cash and energy with the stellar releases of Nier: Automata, Horizon Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild mere days from one another, the arrival of BioWare's #MassEffectAndromeda this week seemed like more of a curse than a blessing—except for those who've money and time to burn. However, what with critics having already galavanted around Andromeda and unleashed their consensuses on the new action RPG, maybe we'd be better off focusing our attention on the above as opposed to hopping aboard the ME explorer...
'Mass Effect: Andromeda' Reviews Paint A Disappointing Picture
Andromeda was to be the departure from Mass Effect 3's ending that many fans (and developers) desperately needed—BioWare essentially ran to another galaxy to avoid its controversies. In this newfound quadrant, we were to be reunited with races we fell in love with, meet some new friends, enjoy deep space politics, kick ass with futuristic weapons and explore massive open worlds.
And while elements of this new adventure have indeed been praised, Mass Effect: Andromeda seemingly can't live up to the remarkable predecessors that introduced us to one of gaming's greatest landscapes. According to a lot of these reviews, disappointment awaits.
The Combat Is Excellent, But It Can't Save 'Andromeda'
BioWare have seemingly put a great deal of effort into making Mass Effect: Andromeda's combat crack. It's an exhilarating experience that boasts a variety of special abilities which compliment the standard gunplay beautifully. But the situations that surround these bouts don't give them enough substance.
IGN, 7.5 rating:
Energetic combat and fantastic sound effects contribute to a potent sci-fi atmosphere. Without consistently strong writing or a breakout star in its cast to carry it through the long hours and empty spaces, however, disappointments like a lack of new races, no companion customization, and major performance problems and bugs take their toll.
Gamespot, 6/10 rating:
I also fell in love with the combat, especially later in the game. The core shooting mechanics feel stronger here than anywhere else in the series, and the flexibility of the progression system let me cherry pick cool powers rather than locking me into a set character class [...] However, in many ways, Andromeda feels like a vision half-fulfilled. It contains a dizzying amount of content, but the quality fluctuates wildly.
US Gamer, 3/5 rating:
Mass Effect Andromeda's various shortcomings culminate in a boilerplate finale that leans heavily on action game cliches—a far cry from the days when you could talk the final boss into committing suicide.
Storytelling, Dialogue And Characters Can't Live Up To The Mass Effect Trilogy
The greatest thing about these games are the relationships you can form, the elegant writing that floods the expanses of space and the conversation options that lead to substantial change. But reviewers have indicated that poor writing and narrative design have made Andromeda an awkward collection of our favorite elements.
PlayStation Lifestyle, 6/10 rating:
The BioWare team put so many great things in place, but the main story, the characters, and most of the writing keep the game from being great.
Eurogamer, no review score:
The combat crackles and the worlds are lush, but mediocre writing and tepid quests add up to what is probably BioWare's worst RPG yet.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun, no review score:
It is bad in many ways, from its madcap AI, poor character faces, dated design and most of all, horrible writing, but its biggest crime is just how unavoidably, all-encompassingly dull it is for so, so many hours.
Technical Issues Are Rampant In The Andromeda Galaxy
One thing we all hate in a new release are technical issues, and Mass Effect: Andromeda boasts them in droves. Eurogamer's review stated that it was one of the most uneven games in terms of performance they've ever played—a lot of others share that sentiment.
PC Gamer, 8/10 rating:
Incorrect audio cues, errant quest notifications and a persistent bug with companions being quiet during conversations speak to a much-needed quality assurance pass that never happened. Very occasionally I'd hit something more serious: Ryder's head spinning, exorcist-style, during a conversation. Enemies frozen in place during combat. They're the sort of problems a patch could and should resolve, but for the time being they make a lavishly-produced game feel cheap.
RPG Site, 7/10 rating:
While Andromeda is pretty to look at, sometimes exploring it is a challenge not by design. On one occasion I found myself sandwiched between walls and unable to escape. Then there were two other times in which I took damage from nearby enemies while stuck talking to an NPC. [...] Experiencing a game over screen because I'm bad isn’t a problem, but dying to glitches is one of the more infuriating ways to go.
Gamesradar, 3.5/5 rating:
In Andromeda, the voice acting and animations are… not great. At best, conversations are slightly awkward, either because they don’t quite flow properly or because Ryder’s response is too creepy, or cheesy, or plain weird. At worst, dialogue is immersion-breaking, as the camera totally focuses on the wrong person, or a character’s eyes shift manically from side-to-side as if they’re expecting to be attacked while they’re drinking space-coffee and chatting to you about their family.
Did 'Andromeda' Have Too Much To Live Up To?
In many ways, yes. In its attempts to surpass the magic of Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect: Andromeda lost the run of itself, electing to focus on too many things rather than perfecting its chore. Mass Effect: Andromeda isn't exactly a bad game, in fact some reviewers really enjoyed their time with it despite its shortcomings. But I think we all need to realize that this isn't the return to form we were hoping for. Once its technical issues are ironed out though, perhaps it'll be worth our time to venture to Andromeda—if you can get past the poor writing.
If you decide to venture to Andromeda, why not check out our guides?