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Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

Rating: 5.00/5 (1 Vote)

I love Mass Effect. I remember spending countless hours into the first trilogy that seems like an eternity ago. Creating the character of the Commander Shepard, and exploring the galaxies and quests and completing combat missions aswell as gathering data and a range of collectibles across each planet. I couldn’t honestly tell you which one was my favourite out of the original trilogy, because I enjoyed them all so much. Being backwards compatible has also been great as it` s enabled me to jump back on them and carry on the saga.

When Mass Effect Andromeda was revealed at EA Play`s conference last year, I literally was buzzing with excitement. Even though we didn’t get too much of a preview, it left me with a feeling that it was going to be incredible and fantastic. Forward down the line 9 months and we have the release of Mass Effect Andromeda. I couldn’t wait. I was about to jump into the next part of one of my favourite franchise on the Xbox 360, and after around 12 hours of game time, I must say I`m absolutely loving it.

 

Mass Effect Andromeda tells the story of the Andromeda Initiative, a program designed to populate new home worlds in the Andromeda Galaxy. You take control of either Sara or Scott Ryder (Dependent on your character choice at the start of the game), a military recruit who joins the Andromeda Initiative, and wakes up in Andromeda after a 600-year journey. Their father, Alec Ryder, is the humanitarian pathfinder, and is his call to find new colonies and homes for their people. After Alec dies on an early mission in the game, your character will then be tasked with taking over the role of Pathfinder, and exploring a range of planets, and early on in the game, you`ll be having to gather your crew which consists of Alec`s  second-in-command Cora, a biotic specialist, Liam, a security expert, Peebee, an asari gunslinger, Nakmor, a Krogran warrior, Vetra, a turian mercenary, Jaal, a resistance fighter of the new angara race, Kallo, a Salarian pilot, Lexi, an asari psychologist (And is also voiced by the most well-known out of the cast, Game of Throne star Natalie Dormer) and SAM, the AI that communicates with all the squad.

The game is a completely new game, and unlike Mass Effect 2 and 3 where you could choose to carry over your actions from the previous game to the new one and continue a story, Andromeda is a complete new experience and doesn’t give you that option, meaning that every single person is going to have the same starting experience. From the opening mission where you are tasked with going with Alec to Habitat 7, the game feels nice and fluid and is very similar to the previous instalments. Andromeda is actually running a new game engine, EA`s Frostbite 3, which EA have used with their recent titles FIFA 17 and Battlefield 1, but it does feel incredibly similar to the previous games and it doesn’t feel completely different, which I love. I`ve seen games released that haven’t had a release for ages and on a new engine and have completely ruined the game, so the fact that they haven’t changed anything dramatically is a really welcomed sign.

The one thing with Mass Effect that I always seem to find myself foul of doing, is getting side-tracked. It was so easy to do in the previous Mass Effects, and it carries on the same in Andromeda. Interacting with a range of characters are going to trigger quests and missions to do, and although you may be completing the main mission, it`s going to become very easy to get carried off with something else. I`m a regular culprit of it. The first planet alone, took me around 3 and half hours to do the quests and missions that I kept triggering. There`s going to be a lot to do and explore, as some of the planets are massive, and combining the quests you`re going to trigger and do and some of the collectibles you`re going to want to get (Such as SAMs memory triggers – These are memories of Alec Ryder, the father, and will explain a little bit more of the backstory to Andromeda later on), you`re going to be in for quite a while on each planet.

But of course, you`re not going to be exploring every planet that easily, and you`re going to come up against the creatures and inhabitants that are going to make it difficult. Killing enemies and creatures will then enable you to pick-up anything they may have dropped, and will enable you to use them later on-board the Nexus in exchange for goods at the merchant.

Something that does carry over from the previous Mass Effect games which was one of the most well-known features of the game is the character conversation wheel, where you can decide from a range of answers and questions what you`re going to say. Each answer is related to an emotion, that you can decide how you answer the question. Are you going to answer it logically? Professionally? Emotionally? How you respond is going to trigger the conversation in one way or the other, so think about it. How you communicate with people is going to develop friendships and with certain characters, romantic relationships.

Over the game, you`ll gather skill points for all of your crew, that you can use to rank up your character. You have complete control over all the crew and you can use them to your benefit. For example a character that has a sniper or shotgun loadout, you could upgrade the sniper and shotgun stats to max offering them full utilization of that tool. You`re also going to want to look at Stamina and health. It`s something though that you have complete control of and the more quests you complete and play through, the more and more points you`ll have to use.

I`d read somewhere earlier in the week that some had complained about patches in the game that were broke and how some of the animation and characterization of some of the characters didn’t look right. Well, I`m not too sure what they mean. Unless something`s been patched before I started playing through this, I can`t say I honestly have noticed too much. Perhaps I hadn’t spent too much time looking properly and specifically for glitches or bugs, and more actually playing the game. So, perhaps there are bugs and glitches, but I certainly haven’t found anything that stands out.

So, Mass Effect Andromeda is a great addition to the franchise. Now while some would argue that it perhaps doesn’t live up to the same hype and have the same story that the original trilogy did, it`s a game that is going to offer you hours and hours of gameplay, as there`s so much to do and explore in each planet, and it`s going to be impossible to not be side-tracked. But the long wait from the initial trailer to the game release has been worth it in my opinion, and I`m loving it so far.

A huge thank you to XCN and EA for providing us with a review copy of Mass Effect Andromeda.

Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Website: Mass Effect: Andromeda
Twitter: @bioware / @EA / @masseffect

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