FOLLOWING a controversial sendoff with 2012’s Mass Effect 3, many fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths following BioWare’s final entry into the trilogy. Many thought that would be the final nail in the coffin for the franchise, so it was a surprise to everyone when it was announced that a new Mass Effect title was to be developed with fan feedback in mind.
Fast forward to 2017 and Mass Effect: Andromeda is the culmination of this, featuring a brand new narrative, a brand new set of characters and, more importantly, a new galaxy for fans to spend hours exploring.
Platforms: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release date: 23rd March
Set in the Andromeda galaxy, the game follows new protagonist Ryder in their mission to explore the galaxy as part of the Andromeda Initiative, a program put in place by familiar species as they attempt to work together to make a new home there. Following their arrival, things don’t go according to plan, leaving Ryder to protect the fate of 20,000 colonists. Without spoiling anything, the game does a satisfying job of integrating its narrative with the original saga.
In terms of gameplay, Andromeda feels instantly familiar, blending a mix of third person shooter action with biotics, Mass Effect’s version of fantasy magic. A mechanic new to the series is the jump-jet, which makes combat more engaging as you zip around the planets while rockets fly by Ryder.
Outside of combat, however, things start to go a bit awry – characters tend to make unnatural movements at times, coupled with facial animations that might be considered worse than Assassin’s Creed Unity. At the time of writing, Bioware have announced there will a patch released soon that will hopefully fix these issues.
“Exploration, one might expect, is a big gameplay element – there are plenty of planets to visit, all created with unique environments and littered with their own quests.”
In terms of decision making, the gravity of paragon/renegade decisions don’t feel quite as heavy as with previous entries. However, that might be attributed to the lack of a threat as big as galactic genocide. Exploration, one might expect, is a big gameplay element – there are plenty of planets to visit, all created with unique environments and littered with their own quests that add hours replay value.
Andromeda is a game that does a good job of moving the franchise in a different direction. While there may be distracting bugs littered here and there, it’s not enough to break the immersiveness that the franchise is famed for. There are things, such as relatively easy-to-solve puzzles and a lack of character depth, that the game suffers from in comparison to its predecessors, but it’s all too easy to forget that this is a launching pad for what is essentially a new series. All in all, if you’re a fan of the original Mass Effect trilogy, this will be a welcome addition to your collection.