Mass Effect Andromeda is an open-world action adventure third person shooter set in a stunning new galaxy filled with goldilocks planets (not so golden at the start), ancient technology and alien friends and enemies. Bioware’s Mass Effect series is well known and fans have been waiting five years to see what will follow the original trilogy. Andromeda is a beautiful game with an engaging plot, likeable characters and lovely game mechanics, but unfortunately, it’s still obscured by glitches, bloatware and a myriad pointless additions. It’s benefited from Patch 1.05, a huge patch that fixed many bugs and issues with animation in particular, but it still feels like an early version of a potentially great game.
I have spent many hours traversing new worlds, unlocking vaults to aid terraforming, finding opportunities to use its excellent combat system whilst sticking to its main quest line. Ignoring side-quests made a vast improvement to my experience, but the uneven delivery lets it down. I struggled through the first few hours – a slow, hesitant start – but once past the exposition, it’s open-world planets and combat mechanics won me over. It isn’t as good as I was hoping for, but it does have its shining moments.
Price: RRP £49.99 – £59.99, currently on Amazon for £42.99
About EA & Bioware
EA is one of the titans of the gaming industry and is responsible for a huge range of franchise from Simcity to Plants Vs Zombies and Battlefield. Bioware was acquired by EA in 2007 and operates as a unit of EA with its own branding. Bioware is best known for action RPGs including Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Dragon Age.
Mass Effect Andromeda holds the promise of a massive, beautiful open-world, crafting so extensive it seems limitless, flexible and varied combat skills that can be switched up at any time and some narrative and dialogue worth sticking around for. Although, I’ve already realised with that sinking feeling that half, if not more, of what I do is just wading through time sinks to get to the good parts. I highly recommend skipping the side-quests and sticking to the main quest line and objective to keep it an engaging and interesting experience.
The dev team is hard at work fixing many of its issues. Patch 1.05, has made significant strides and fixed a host of problems. Facial animation has experienced a massive improvement, saves not working properly has been addressed and my favourite: “Added option to skip autopilot sequences in the galaxy map”. Refreshingly, the patch also addressed dialogue with Hainly Abrams, a trans character that was not developed well originally, as reported by Eurogamer.
Non-combatant violence, sadism, torture, taking of hostages, executions, accepted discrimination where persecution is considered a part of the norm or condoned, violent death or threat of death to loved ones.
Andromeda’s uneven quality does not warrant paying full price for it. I would recommend waiting to buy until a significant discount becomes available. It feels like an early release game, but hopefully with a few more patches, it’ll keep improving until it feels polished and complete.
Platforms: PC (Origin platform – not available through Steam), Xbox One, PS4
Genre: Openworld sci-fi RPG
Length of game: 60+ hours (excluding most side-quests)
Number of players: single player and multiplayer
Difficulty settings: Multiple settings, including a narrative mode where combat is negligent.
System requirements (PC)
OS: 64-bit Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
Processor: Intel Core i5 3570 or AMD FX-6350 (minimum), Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD FX-8350 (recommended)
Memory: 8 – 16 GB RAM
Video card: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB, AMD Radeon 7850 2GB (minimum), NVIDIA GTX 1060 3GB, AMD RX 480 4GB (recommended)
Hard drive: At least 55 GB of free space
Mass Effect Andromeda is a game that could have been great. There are moments when light shines through its cracked veneer, but it’s uneven delivery lets it down. The most disappointing aspect though was neither the frequent bugs nor the dodgy animation, but its lack of imagination. It’s characters travelled 600 years to a new galaxy to give Mass Effect Andromeda a blank state. It has a new lead character, new crew, new alien species, a new enemy , new planets and a golden opportunity to create something awesomely novel. But boldness does not feature in its design and instead of providing many new experiences, it delivers something blandly similar to what came before.
It’s not all beige and boring though and what game before, particularly when thinking of the critical acclaim that surrounds Mass Effect 2, isn’t such a bad thing to resemble. Even at its blandest points, Andromeda still has a lot to offer. I can overlook many of its flaws because Bioware reeled me into this universe a long time ago and Andromeda is a definitive Mass Effect game. Many of the old pleasures resurface and combine with some great new features – the planets are open-world, the crafting is pretty cool (even if the mining remains dreary) and the combat system is incredibly fun. I’d happily recommend it to others willing to overlook its flaws, but at full retail price, there’s too many technical issues to make it good value for money. This is not a never-play-it-game, but also not a must-play-it-now game. I’d recommend waiting for the design team to fix some of the most prevailing issues (Patch 1.05 was an excellent start) and/or for a reduced price. There is enough substance and content to make it a worthwhile investment in the near future. Wait to Buy.
The review is based on the PS4 version of Mass Effect Andromeda (single player campaign) kindly provided by EA. This article was first published on 4 April 2017 and last updated on 12 April 2017.