MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA (video game) review

Hey hey, everyone, sorry for the tardiness on my other reviews. I don’t play many video games, but when I do, I get hooked like a fish. Film reviews will eventually resume, and I have a lot to catch up on, but I couldn’t keep this contained.

Also, I don’t often review video games… er, if ever, but this was a special case.

So quick background on me with video games. I’m not a “gamer” per se. I don’t play many other than the ones that have direct appeal to me, like say, if they’re a Star Wars game, or anything superhero. I keep up with the next generations consoles, albeit fashionably late to the party. So this should probably go without saying, I’ll be strictly reviewing my opinion of the XBOX One port of the game.

But a little info before going in. This game is developed by a video game developer known as BioWare, a company known for making some of the best games on the market and reliable in giving gamers a great and detailed experience that will keep them coming back for more. They struck mainstream popularity with their original XBOX game called STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC (2003), often considered to be one of the best Star Wars video games of all time, as well as maintaining its hold as my number one personal favorite video game of all time myself.

They didn’t revisit the sci-fi genre until 2007 with their next-gen XBOX 360 release, MASS EFFECT. This game was extremely popular and won over many gamers for its expansive and engaging story, it’s likable and memorable characters, it’s blended RPG (role-playing game) and third-person shooter elements, among a list so long that it would take you to the stars. Personally, I bought the game before I even bought the 360 console, I was that excited for it. The game was a huge hit, despite the game’s controversy of the protagonist character having an option to have sex with an alien and a disgusting lie about giving players the freedom to rape any female character. Yeah, this was a thing.

Mass Effect has an optional subplot where the player can develop a romantic relationship with a non-player character. If the relationship becomes more intimate, a cutscene containing partial nudity and sexual activity is shown. The scene first came under scrutiny in an article by neoconservative blogger Kevin McCullough, who employed statements such as “Mass Effect can be customized to sodomize whatever, whomever, however, the game player wishes”, and “with its over the net capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away.” The article was criticized by the gaming community and long-time anti-obscenity campaigner Jack Thompson, who said that “this contrived controversy is absolutely ridiculous.” Although McCullough ultimately issued an apology, he still considered the material offensive.

Similarly, a Fox News program by Martha MacCallum discussed the sexual content of the game. MacCallum stated that the game “leaves nothing to the imagination” and features the ability for players to “engage in full graphic sex.” Self-proclaimed psychology specialist Cooper Lawrence and video game journalist Geoff Keighley were also interviewed. Lawrence described sexual content in video games as teaching their active users to consider women as objects of desire valued solely for their sexuality. She added that the game’s player character is a man who decides how many women he wants to be with. Keighley focused on challenging the accuracy of her statements and asked her if she actually played the game, to which she responded “No”. BioWare’s parent company Electronic Arts requested a correction from Fox News, but they simply responded that the company had been offered a chance to appear on the channel.

After watching someone play the game for about two-and-a-half hours, Lawrence eventually retracted her earlier statements. She added that she had been told the game was similar to pornography, and noted that she “has seen episodes of Lost that are more sexually explicit.” In the interim, largely as a reaction from an offended gaming community, her latest book attracted many customer reviews on Amazon which rated it one star out of five. Many of these reviews satirically noted that they had not read her book, but heard from someone else that the book was bad, and thus voted low. Mass Effect was also banned in Singapore for a short time before it was lifted with an M18 rating. Censors in the country said that a scene with an alien and human female caressing was the main reason why the game was not allowed to be sold in video game stores.” – Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_Effect_(video_game)#Controversy)

But then another controversial move – granted, a much more self-contained controversy – came into play. Long-time thorn in every gamer’s side, EA (Electronic Arts) had partnered up with BioWare. To give you non-gamers an understanding, EA is that nightmare corporate studio that forces great gaming companies like BioWare to change things in any games that they develop. EA has a lot of money, you see, and they help finance any gaming venture. Sure, gaming companies get a bigger budget from EA, so they can expand or improve on what they already have established. Business-wise, it’s not a bad move on paper to partner up with them. But since EA is investing so much money into these projects, they occasionally – or always, depending on who you ask – interfere and throw in elements that otherwise ruin the game’s solid foundation by it’s original creators all in the name of maximizing profits.

And now we have MASS EFFECT 2 (2010). The game took a pretty dramatic overhaul and stripped nearly all of its RPG elements and the game mostly because a third-person shooter. Character designs, specifically the female protagonists, were overly sexualized when this wasn’t an issue in the first game, among other criticisms that gamers had. Having said all that, the game was a massive hit and is still incredibly beloved for its improved combat, better characters, top-notch voice talent, and so many other things. Personally, I loved it too.

Finally, MASS EFFECT 3 (2012), the end to the trilogy. Once again, a massive hit. Improved gameplay, violence, incredible story, and graphics, you name it. The only real issue many gamers had with it was its controversial ending. I won’t spoil anything, but while long-time fans of the franchise harped on the ending, I personally didn’t have a problem. I see where the complaints came from, but I was largely unaffected by it. Plus, DLC came along and fixed any issues I did happen to have. The Mass Effect trilogy was bar-none, my favorite series on the 360, and when it was re-released via the XBOX One’s EA Access app, I immediately replayed it in anticipation for their upcoming continuation of the franchise and the games still hold up.

Now for this game. Already, I was sold on the voice talent alone. Katy Townsend (FALLOUT 4 [2015]) was a big seller for me, but that’s not even mentioning the film and TV actors that joined the ranks. Clancy Brown (WARCRAFT [2016], THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION [1994], and TV show SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS), Natalie Dormer (THE FOREST [2016], THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 and 2, and TV show GAME OF THRONES), Kumail Nanjiani (FIST FIGHT [2017], MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES [2016], TV show PORTLANDIA, and the upcoming film THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE [2017]), and Jamie Clayton (THE NEON DEMON [2016], and TV shows SENSE8 and BOJACK HORSEMAN), how could you not be attracted to this title?

However, I have no real initial thoughts on the game to speak of for the most part. When it comes to titles that mean something to me, I try my very hardest to avoid trailers and articles that discuss them at the risk of possibly getting spoiled on plot points. I like to go into those as blind as possible. Yeah, all that build-up and I have only five lines worth of initial impressions. All I know is that the story is this group of spaceships of several different species from the Milky Way travel to the Andromeda Galaxy to create a new home. That’s about it and that’s all I needed to know.

This is my honest opinion of: MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA

(SUMMARY)

You are Recon Specialist Scott or Sara Ryder (voiced by Tom Taylorson and Fryda Wolff respectively). You are part of a massive cross-alien species organization called The Andromeda Initiative, to undertake a 600 year journey from the Milky Way Galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy and create a new home for one and all. 600 years later, you finally awaken from cryosleep, anxious to see the new “golden worlds” for the humans to settle. However, trouble immediately happens when the Hyperion Ark is disabled by a space force called the Scourge, causing your sibling to not properly wake up from cryosleep and rendered into a coma. As part of the Pathfinder team, lead by your father, Pathfinder Alec Ryder (voiced by Clancy Brown), a grizzled veteran soldier, you head down to one of the golden worlds, Habitat 7, and discover strange alien technology, as well as hostile alien forces, called the kett, that have no interest in talking to you. While you survive the ordeal on Habitat 7, your father doesn’t, and you return to the Hyperion, becoming the new Pathfinder. Intending to rendezvous with the other species from the Milky Way aboard the massive space station, the Nexus, more problems arise as you missed quite a bit before arriving, like riots that divided the Initiative, leaders dead and new inexperienced leaders take their place, and you must bring everyone together as you explore the new galaxy to find a new home for one and all, creating alliances with the other species of the Andromeda Galaxy and combat the kett and their powerful leader, the Archon (voiced by Robert Kazinsky).

(REVIEW)

I’ve clocked in about thirty hours, and have already completed one playthrough and working on my second, so here’s what I have to say so far.

It’s… disappointing. By no means bad, but it does fall short in some bizarre areas, especially for a BioWare product.

Story:

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Alright, right out of the gate, I could barely follow the first level. Okay, the Scourge disables the Hyperion, that I get. Habitat 7’s environment was fucked over by the kett via a weather machine. I get that too, but isn’t that an evil diabolical plan that cartoon villains have come up with? But… was the weather machine somehow tied to the Scourge? I think I missed that.

The remainder of the story is heavily recycled from the previous trilogy. The villain is a one-dimensional psycho who thinks his actions are above everyone’s understanding (like Saren), there’s ancient ruins to explore from a bygone civilization (like the Protheans), one of the enemy races you fight is robotic (like the geth), among other things.

***SPOILERS***

***

***

Okay, so pretty much the story is pretty damn predictable. The kett are basically mutated versions of the angara, but the angara aren’t aware of that. Or… maybe the angara are really kett… the details escaped me. Already I was calling it out that the kett were a close-relative species of the angara less than half-way through the game, so it’s kind of sad to see that I wasn’t too far off. Maybe guessing “they were them” would have been too obvious and I was grasping at straws for a little deviation from the original games, but this is that recycled element that I was talking about. A race of beings that take a species and mutate them into their own species. Just like the Reapers. I don’t know about anyone else here, but that’s really fuckin’ annoying and lazy. BioWare is usually reliable on their storytelling, or makes the size and danger feel very real. But the kett are such a discount version of the Reapers that even dollar tree discounts are making fun of them. About the only thing they’ve kept in shadows is this Prime/Primus kett leader that the Archon is disobeying. I’ve yet to encounter this Prime/Primus person, but I assume he’s going to get a big role in the future. Here’s hoping that this enemy will be more memorable and threatening.

***

***

***END SPOILERS***

Overall, if I had any hopes for the future, I’d say I’d like to see more originality with the story and less recycling. Maybe this is like what they did with STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015); doing the old stuff so later they’ll be forced to come up with something more original. Who knows?

Characters:

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As I said, the villain is boring and has a pretty silly design to him by comparison to his cohorts, but what really took me by surprise was how different Ryder is presented compared to Shepard. There’s quite a very dialog options that make Ryder out to be a smart-ass and a joker, giving him an actual personality. Although, the downside that many gamers may have is how that’s how Ryder may be intended to be as opposed to Shepard’s blank slate and you could model your own personality to him. This is probably going to be hit or miss for a lot of people. Personally, I do think it’s a negative, but not as big a one as it will be for most as I do find Ryder to be pretty damn funny sometimes.

As for side characters, you have six: humans Cora (voiced by Jules de Jongh) and Liam (voiced by Gary Carr), Peebee the asari (voiced by Christine Lakin), Vetra Nyx the female turian (voiced by Danielle Rayne), Nakmor Drack the krogan (voiced by Stanley Townsend), and Jaal the angara (voiced by Nyasha Hatendi). The obvious favorite for many will be Drack, and it’s hard to argue. Continuing the tradition of krogan being the most awesome thing to ever happen to gaming since wireless controllers, Drack is pure bad-ass incarnate and is a constant delight to have in your squad. He’s hilarious and awesome, being the one dude that rushes the enemies and smashes them with his krogan hammer. Love it.

I also really like Cora. She’s this former Alliance soldier who trained with asari commandos and is actually pretty useful on the battlefield and really holds her own when she biotic-charges enemies. A hell of a lot better than I could when I do it anyway. Of course, I probably like Cora because she looks uncannily like a former co-worker, so I’m very likely just bias. Objectively speaking, she is a weaker character, kind of whiny. She was under Alec Ryder’s tutelage and thought that is something were to happen to him, that she’s be branded the new human Pathfinder. But when the position goes to young Ryder, she gets a little bitter toward the player. Of all the arcs that someone could go through, this seems so… juvenile.

In fact, that’s a definite downgrade from the original games. Most of the supporting characters aren’t very interesting. Cora’s got an interesting foundation as an asari commando, but contributes little to complementing Ryder. Maybe Vetra is a little more interesting, as her past includes a father who abandoned her and her really young sister Sid. Took up smuggling to take care of her and has a wide array of contacts, allies, and enemies. But she’s loyal to and considerate toward the crew. But like Cora, Jaal, has a great foundation for good character, and even presents himself like Javik from MASS EFFECT 3; untrusting, with you only to kill the enemy, that whole thing. But as soon as you earn his trust, he suddenly turns into a turtle hiding in his shell and has little else to offer. But by far the most annoying characters are Liam and Peebee. Liam isn’t so bad at first, but when you do his loyalty missions and stuff, he ends up getting too reckless all in the name of trying to do the right thing, goes through less than legal channels to get things done, and winds up putting the entire Nexus in danger. I wish I wasn’t doing a playthrough as a straight-up good and kind person or I would have torn him a new ass for his stupidity. But give Liam some credit, he at least tries to make things right and asks for help when it counted. Peebee is beyond obnoxious. She’s basically Jack from MASS EFFECT 2 and 3 if she was written with the personality of a flower girl. She’s constantly on about, “Relationships are silly,” “I’m not about making friends,” “I’m a loner and I like it that way,” “Stop asking about me, I’m a mystery,” you know, that bullshit. Oh, but she’s not afraid to solicit sex “between two adults,” and “I can be discreet if you’re seeing someone on the side,” oh my god, I rejected her in a heartbeat. But not only that, her speech is a little too human, if you know what I mean. Take any asari that you’ve met throughout the series and they don’t say things like, “totally,” or “as if,” “whoa now,” you know, obvious human expressions and slang. It’s really distracting and I don’t plan to keep her in my squad in any future playthroughs if I can help it. Or at least, I won’t be taking her with me when I venture out if I can’t.

Summed up, only a couple characters are legit good, the rest range from okay to annoying. If I could recommend any improvements, I would say if these characters would return, give them a more in depth back story and real character arcs. Also it’s annoying to not be able to continuously talk to them or see them interact with each other between missions on the Tempest.

Gameplay: (the bulk of my review)

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One of the most welcomed additions to the game is that you can explore the planets that you can land on and have a decent amount of stuff to do. The closest that Mass Effect has ever gotten to this feature was the original game, but that was just a lot of long miles of driving just to get a mineral deposit. It was lame and occasionally frustrating. Fuckin’ Maroon Sea. Hated that system. Here, it’s overhauled. You can find enemy outposts, Remnant ruins and find some decent loot, new creatures to scan and fight, mining for resources with the Nomad, complete a ton of side-quests to keep you occupied for hours, it’s all much more in depth than any Mass Effect game prior. However, and I may be in the minority on this, the things you do can get old pretty quickly, especially if you have to travel back and forth from one place to another. Thank God for the fast-travel feature or doing side-quests would be unbearable.

And honesty, I really hate the Nomad. Give me the Mako any day because these damn vehicle controls are awful. Say what you want about the Mako, it was able to climb really steep hills and mountains, was able to take a significant amount of damage, and has a cannon that did a fuck-ton of damage. Granted the Hammerhead was paper thin and would break down if you sneezed at it, it had great maneuverability and speed. The Nomad? The right trigger is what makes it go? Really? Why not be as simple as before and just push the left joystick forward? Also, four-wheel drive isn’t a bad idea, but when you need it so you can travel up a small 45 degree hill, a feat that my real-world Nissan Hybrid can accomplish, you know something’s wrong with your damn rover. Yes, the boost is admittedly fun for making long leaps, but the actual jump jets on this thing are weak as fuck, even with the upgrade, almost making them completely useless if you need to get to high ground. And to make matters worse, completely weaponless. I mean, technically you can run over enemies and there’s an upgrade for when your shields get destroyed, the Nomad will release a shockwave, but I’m talking about anything like machineguns or a cannon. Hell, I hate the warthog from the Halo games, but even in that thing, you can have a partner fire their gun from the passenger side, or you could get in the passenger side and gun enemies down while an AI drives around in circles. I have a hard time understanding why Mass Effect didn’t try this out, especially with the defenseless Nomad.

andromeda-platinum-nomad-skin

Combat is probably the best part of gameplay. It’s arguably the most refined out of the rest of the games. In past games, you had to sprint to take cover behind something, or you had to hit a button. In this game, it’s all automatic. When your firearm of choice is out, you hide behind cover instantly and it reads very well and you never stick. So far, I haven’t found a single object that I couldn’t reasonably take cover behind when under fire. Also, blind-firing… so much fun. But also, the addition of the jump-jets – or biotic jump if you specialize in biotics, I discovered – adds a really fun level of play. Say you have a stubborn enemy that’s hiding behind cover, just jump in the air, hold the left trigger down to aim and hover for a short moment, and show that pussy-bitch that camping behind a rock is what makes you deader than dead. Awesome maneuverability to dodge on enemies which has saved my life more than a few times, getting me behind cover or to funnel my enemies into a more controlled position. I actually recommend investing in biotics so you can dodge through walls and get behind cover easier, but that’s just me.

I’ll swing back around about the character classes in a minute, but I wanted to talk about weapons first. Anyone else feel like they handle much worse than previous games, both in terms of controls and presentation? I mean, I don’t usually fancy myself a great shot, especially with sniper rifles, but in MASS EFFECT 3, I at least had my good days where I was as deadly as Isaac Newton. But here, the controls stick a little. Like, I have to jerk the thumbstick to get it to move in the direction I want, instead of the slightest movement right would aim the rifle slightly right, you know what I mean? Also, I don’t feel the punch of the gunshots. For the SMGs, that’s no big deal, they don’t do that much damage to begin with, but when firing a Widow, I feel like I’m firing a pellet rifle instead of this universe’s equivalent to an anti-material rifle. It’s really lame. When you fired a Widow in the previous games, that fucker felt like it kicked like a horse on a dozen kinds of steroids and killed most enemies who got a shot in the face. While the damage in this game remains intact, they don’t feel like they kick as hard.

Unfortunately, the AI on most of the enemies are pretty dumb. About the only ones that seem to have any semblance of intelligence are these creatures that can cloak and sneak up on you. They’re annoying, but at least they make sense. Beyond that, any AI with gun will pretty much just let you shoot them. I mean, okay, they’ll take cover and stuff, but if they’re shooting at you from a distance and you’ve got your crosshairs on them, they won’t duck. They’ll just keep their heads popped up so you can pop them off. They have good aim and some specific enemies will bum rush you, so it’s not the absolute worst AI, but the fact that this wasn’t better polished is a letdown and rarely provides a decent challenge. But I have to admit, fighting the enormous Architects is fucking awesome and deeply satisfying.

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Now let’s hear my two cents about the character classes. In previous games, you chose what kind of class you wanted to be, a soldier, biotic, or tech. They do away with that entirely and leave it up to the player to decide just how much they want to invest in each class. So you can have a wide array of abilities belonging to soldiers, biotics, and techs. I think the only downside is that you can only hotkey three of those abilities, which I find annoying. Probably more than a couple dozen abilities and you can only utilize three of them. You can’t even open up the combat wheel to select an ability you have, but not hotkeyed. I wager this is all in the name of encouragement; experiment with each ability and figure out which ones you like and find more practical. That’s fine for an extended playthrough, but if anyone’s like me and you tend to gravitate toward a specific set of abilities, then later playthroughs may be annoying that you can’t continuously upgrade the only abilities and powers you’ll ever use and have to invest in some you won’t.

Now for the crafting. This is a pretty cool new feature. Imperfect, but it makes sense for the game. So on board the Tempest, you craft at the “Research & Development” station. On the “research” portion, you can invest your “galaxy points” – which are earned from scanning machines from the Milky Way, Andromeda, and Remnant tech – and then you can invest in. Basically, this primes you for “development” and in the “development” portion is where you can invest X-amount of resources to make the desired weapons. While I like the potential of this feature, it’s still not quite spotless. I feel like you could get rid of the galaxy points altogether and just develop the weapons you’d want as you gather the necessary resources. Especially since in later stages you can probably find the maxed out weapons you’d want in random containers. That’s how I got my Hurricane V. Researched and developed it once, just to experiment and see how much I like it, and literally found the maxed out version on my first mission out with it. It’s more there just in case you want a guaranteed weapon, as a maxed out Widow, I imagine, is pretty rare to find.

It’s probably a good time to talk about the one interesting addition to the game: the APEX HQ app (downloadable to your Android and… I assume Apple products). When I was playing DRAGON AGE INQUISITION (2014), gamers will recall how you can tell your advisers to conduct certain non-interactive missions that grant you XP, loot, so on and so forth. One day, it hit me. Wouldn’t it be great if you had an app so you can check on the progress of those missions while you’re otherwise away from the game? Be informed when the mission is done, gather the rewards, and continue on to the next mission, all that good stuff. It wasn’t a complaint that this wasn’t a feature, and in time, I did forget about it. APEX HQ is pretty much exactly what I was thinking. On the Tempest, you can send strike teams to complete missions for rewards and what have you, but if you’re away from the game and going about your lives, the APEX app allows you to check on progress, collect the rewards, and select a new mission. While this is rudimentary, I do think it’s an incredibly dumbed-down version of what it could be. Actually, I take that back, the app works… fine-ish, weird framing issues with my chromebook, but this feature in the game isn’t nearly as detailed or as fun or rewarding as it is in INQUISITION. Granted, it allows you to jump straight into a multiplayer match, but you can do that from pressing the “start” button and then jump to multiplayer under the “game” section. In any case, this is going in the right direction, but the chromebook version of the app needs some polishing and some more to do with these strike-teams, or add something on the level of gathering a small amount of random resources.

Multiplayer:

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Um… I probably shouldn’t put this down as something I’ll review because… well, I haven’t played the multiplayer portion. This for a few reasons.

For one thing, I’m always a little turned off to multiplayer by nature. People taking the game way too seriously, throwing out insults over something so trivial, it just rides up on my own mental patience. A match lasts, what, twenty minutes and you can find other players to play with? No one’s going to remember that awful match in an hour, so why care so passionately now? I prefer a more grounded approach where no one cares about kill-stealing. In the end, one match, you could be way behind in pointage, another match, you can dominate. That’s always been the case with me in the MASS EFFECT 3’s multiplayer. I know this is actually more or less a minority of gamers and most are pretty chill and open, but it’s always that stigma that gravitates me away.

Second, I’m not good. Multiplayer is chock full of gamers who are so hardcore with their gaming that I always feel a little inferior, to which my self-confidence takes a hit. It’s entirely possible that I haven’t given it enough of a chance, and I really haven’t, which is why I’m not saying anything positive or negative about the experience. It’s just one I haven’t indulged into quite yet. In time…

Third, I have a group of old friends I’d prefer to play with rather than starting off with strangers whom I risk pissing off with my noob status. I tried to play a solo bronze match, but as I said before, I suck the big one. Barely lasted five minutes. Maybe if we get a few matches in and get a better feel for the ebb and flow of the game, and actually know what I’m doing, I’ll feel more comfortable with it, but as of now…

Controversy:

As many of us know, BioWare was recently hit with some serious criticism about the face-models on the characters, that they don’t emote or they are outright inappropriate to the context.

On the one hand, I totally get it. A BioWare has a knack for creating character-driven stories and if you have emotionless characters, then what’s there to invest in, right? On the other hand… I just don’t see it. I mean, okay, some facial animations are obviously bad, but isn’t that kind of standard in most games? I feel like every video game has those moments where the face-animations are wooden and lifeless. It just happens. Granted, some games do it a lot better, but I must not have a good eye for it. I just see the “lifeless acting” as calm, composed, and professional. And maybe it’s because I’m playing on the Xbox One and not PC, which I think has some embarrassing glitches that BioWare is going to have a field day with, the Xbox isn’t that bad. It might also be because I’m currently playing with a custom character and I could just be lucky with the animations, but I don’t have a problem with it for the most part. If anything, the emotions are a result of bad writing and therefore the animators have to work with what the script and story provides.

As for the glitches and bugs… they’re present, but again, I’m not overly bothered. Let me explain. It’s pretty clear I’m forgiving of these things, but let me give you an example of a game that drove me absolutely bonkers with its glitches: FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS (2010). Now, already, this should be a red flag for anyone. Fallout is an open world sandbox with a shit-load to interact with and a shit-load to do. Glitches and bugs are inevitable and should be expected to be frequent. Thing is, I don’t usually care about an NPC getting stuck in a wall, or hovering randomly in the air, or even funny dead-twitch animations. You can argue that’s part of the fun and charm of the game. My concerns are when the game crashes and I’m set back hours worth of gameplay after completing X-amount of missions and collecting a ton of loot, and I have to redo all that again. That’s the worst, in my opinion. Character stuck in a wall? I have no problems with it, so long as there’s an easy solution. Reload a last save point, or fast-travel somewhere. Easy. But crashes have a nasty history of corrupting save files and, in the case of the 360, you have turn off the system and turn it back on. At least in-game glitches can have quick and easy fixes and even the worst glitches on Xbox One don’t require you to turn off the console and back on. Just go to the main menu, open another app, like Netflix or Youtube, return to the game, and it’ll start back up.

I’m rambling, aren’t I? Point is, I haven’t encountered a glitch or bug that has made the game unplayable and I’m thirty hours in. Even if I did encounter that horrific a crash that caused me to hard-restart my console, and had a corrupted file, neither of which have ever been necessary since I bought it, it would be a first offense and likely wouldn’t be encountered a second time for a long, long while. So I honestly don’t mind.

Overview:

The game is flawed. Arguably the most flawed out of all of the Mass Effect games, and the fact that this is a new generation installment is very disappointing. Even the game as a whole doesn’t live up to the love I have for the original three. Having said that, I’m still playing this game. I do still like it enough to want to explore these beautiful landscapes, to discover new backstories to the lore of this new universe, and I am still a fan enough to want to see a sequel and see where the story will go. I definitely plan on buying any future DLC and will eventually give multiplayer a real shot, but as my single player experience stands, it’s not great, but it’s fun. At the core of any video game, it should be fun and that’s what keeps my controller glued to my hands.

My honest rating for MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA: a strong 3/5

PS: Now that this is out of the way, movie reviews will be back with a vengeance. Keep it classy, y’all.

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