What We Want Next
One of the most defining aspects of the Mass Effect franchise, and Bioware as a developer, is how they take the criticisms and suggestions from their fans and address them in later games. It’s a unique relationship between developer and audience that isn’t as prevalent as it should be, I feel. And here I want to make some suggestions of my own for the next installment of the Mass Effect franchise.
I can’t stress this enough, Bioware. The music in Andromeda is dreadful, please fix it. Look to the previous games, but also look to make it stand out. Andromeda is a new frontier, so it’s okay to take the score in a new, interesting, direction.
Refine The Weapon Customization
I didn’t get into this before, but the weapon customization system in Andromeda was a bloody mess. It took me forever to figure out how crafting guns and augments worked, and by the time I did I was so fed up with the whole system I just gave up on it. And even then I still had a ton of questions. Why can’t I have a ME1 heat sink on all my guns? Why can’t I make more of the same augments? Why are some of the higher level weapons I’ve crafted weaker than the ones I already have? It makes no sense. I hate crafting in video games as it is, it’s a gimmick that has long outstayed its welcome, but it should at least be fun on some level if you’re going to have it.
More “alien” aliens.
I found the new alien race, the Angara, to be rather underwhelming as a species. They weren’t that mind blowing as the first new race to be discovered in Andromeda, in my mind. Just another humanoid alien race to go along with all the other humanoid races. I understand that one of the reasons all of the alien races are all humanoid is because you’re motion capturing a human actor. And a ton of those motions are going to be applied to virtually all of the characters in the game. So making less human looking aliens means more work making non-human movements, but this is a new galaxy, with different aliens. Why not go nuts and make a squid alien that slithers around or has a ton of tentalces? That’d be cool, right?
Less “galaxy spanning threats,” more smaller stories.
I mentioned before that some of the best stuff in Andromeda was the smaller stories and side quests. I feel doing more personal stories and focusing on exploration and discovery would be more interesting than just another “giant alien armada with a power-mad leader who wants to take over the galaxy” plot. There are only so many space Nazis and Cthulhus you can overthrow before it gets boring. Do something new, change up the formula a bit. With the exploration angle you literally have limitless possibilities.
Better character creation
Yeah, I think it goes without saying. There’s the makings of a fun character creator here, but it just needs more work. And while I know it may be too much to ask… for the love of god let us play as the other species!
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a great step forward for the franchise. It reinvigorates the world with some new blood and ideas while also keeping true to the things that made the original games great. The gameplay is solid, characters are fun and interesting, and exploring Andromeda proves to be a real blast. However, it stumbles here and there. There are numerous technical bugs that keep it from being great, and the soundtrack leaves much to be desired. However, with a little work I believe that what we can expect in the future will be well worth those few minor issues.
We give Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5 nerds out of 5.