While the rest of the internet has been bashing the game for it’s janky animations, ugly characters, and immersion breaking bugs only that last one really stood out to me. I’ve made it perfectly clear in previous reviews that I typically don’t care if a game looks like a PS2 game despite it being on a high end PC, as long as the gameplay is fun and/or the story is great. And the same goes for Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Yes, I found the character creator to be rather lacking, especially when compared to other games that allow you to make your own character. Even then, I managed to make Ryders who were rather pleasing despite the limitations. It never bothered me, and compared to the previous games’s character creators I argue that Andromeda’s is more or less on par with the others. Whether or not you feel that’s unacceptable is up to you, I personally didn’t find it to be that big of a deal.
I did have issues some of the bugs I ran into. More than once I would end up clipping through the environment and be forced to reboot the game just to keep going. The most frustrating example of this was when I was hacking Exiles up with an Asari sword, which allows you to do a small teleport to your target to get a good blow in, only to get stuck in the rock the Exile was standing on. That one made me want to stop playing for a while.
There were also numerous instances where enemies would spawn in midair and get stuck up there, or would get stuck in terrain and not allow me to finish combat. Which can be very irritating given you can’t fast travel if you’re in combat (a feature that should be eradicated from all future games featuring fast travel, it’s a stupid thing to have, period!).
And the same thing would occasionally happen with my squadmates whenever I’d exit the Nomad. It was actually rather humorous to see because they’d just randomly fall from the sky and then get to work fighting enemies. However, I have to side with the internet trolls on these issues, they’re just not acceptable to see in a game coming from a developer like Bioware. We expect better of you for a reason.
However, the most annoying glitches had more to do with the game’s audio. There were numerous instances of sound simply not playing or dialogue getting cut off. I’d be listening to some fun banter between Drack and Vetra as I was driving the Nomad, only for SAM to butt in because he wanted to tell me, for the millionth time, that I could scan for minerals in the area I was currently driving through. Or I would be trying to have a conversation with an NPC, only for said NPC to then start having two separate conversations with me at the same time. And given how dialogue heavy a game like Mass Effect can be, this was one of the more serious issues I found.
Some other, minor, gripes I had with the game included the pacing. There are numerous places where the game feels like it’s dragging its feet. None more so when you’re exploring the Heleus Cluster’s star map. It seems like the developers wanted to give the game a cinematic feel by making it so that every time you zoom into a planet it’s a drawn out process where the ship has to fly a course to your intended destination, pause to make some picturesque shot with a sun or black hole in the background, and then let you get on to scanning the planet. And it does this for EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. PLANET. And it gets old very fast.
All these issues pale in comparison to the game’s music, however. Fact of the matter is that the overall score was boring as hell. I have the original trilogy’s soundtrack and listen to it quite often. I don’t plan on doing the same for Mass Effect: Andromeda’s soundtrack. And the most damning example of this is the game’s galaxy map theme. If there’s one song that stands out as the most iconic in the entire Mass Effect series, it’s the original trilogy’s galaxy map theme. It conveys the wonder of exploring the galaxy so brilliantly that the very idea of it not being in a Mass Effect game is unconscionable. And I’m sad to say that Andromeda’s galaxy map theme falls flat on its face. I actually resorted to playing the original theme on my laptop whenever I was exploring Heleus just to get the chills I used to get when playing the original games.
Music seems to be an issue that many games have had as of late. I feel we all should reiterate just how important a good score is to making a game, or film for that matter, even better. And here, Mass Effect: Andromeda’s score feels generic and bland. Not once did it pump me up for some epic fight, or make me feel a sense of wonder as I explored Remnant tombs. In fact, there were numerous times where the game was just dead silent. Something that, sadly, I cannot overlook, and it drastically effected the game’s overall score.
Which brings us to the final leg of the review…