“Mass Effect: Andromeda’s” Rough Launch Doesn’t Break Its Immersion

BioWare Scrambles to Patch Technical Issues Identified by Outraged Fans

By: Rami Tabari

While Mass Effect suffered from severe technical issues on launch, the game still manages to immerse you into the mysterious galaxy of Andromeda. The smooth gameplay and cheesy but lovable dialogue entices you in a world you want be a part of and explore.

In “Mass Effect: Andromeda” you take control of one of the Ryder twins, male or female, as they wake up from being in stasis for over 600 years after traveling from the Milky Way to Andromeda.

As the pathfinder, Ryder must go in search of new worlds to find a home for the colonies that traveled there and are now stranded because of a mysterious threat that has been destroying planets’ ability to sustain life.

Andromeda opens with the thrill of crash landing onto an uncharted world surrounded by unidentified lifeforms, unexplained physics, and the only person around is a guy cracking cheesy jokes and theories with you. What BioWare does so well is allow you to be an adventurer rather than another forgetful character in a cover-based shooter.

Unlike the previous Mass Effects, Andromeda strayed away from the “good versus evil” conversation wheel to develop relationships. Instead it uses a more complex, but simple dialogue wheel that labels your choices with symbols that indicate a logical, emotional, professional or casual response.

This develops an area where the characters can act and respond realistically rather than black and white. It’s also rather helpful that the romantic options are now labeled with a heart symbol unlike previous iterations where we had to play a guessing game of which dialogue option is more romantic based on a short phrase.

BioWare takes the gameplay from the original series and mashes it all together, giving the player access to all of the abilities without having to create a new character. With that and the addition of the jetpack, it creates the dynamic for an inventive fast paced sci-fi adventure.

At its core, Andromeda is a wondrous game filled with immersive adventure, but on its surface is where fans became outraged.

When starting the game you have the option of choosing the default character or customizing your own. The character customization system is a significant downgrade from any of BioWare’s previous RPG titles. No matter how much you customize, every character’s face looks mutated or deformed except for the default male character.

The biggest complaint among fans are how the character’s eyes look: it either makes the characters look like emotionless robots or creepy psychopaths. This is especially apparent in the default female character when she tries to mimic any human emotion.

The first thing a player does when he runs out of ammo: melee, but in Andromeda the button is in the most inconvenient spot and there’s no way to change it. On top of that, the same button used to melee is also the same button to revive teammates. This creates an awkward scenario where you’re punching the air while the person in front of you is dying.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the gameplay is the lack of stealth incorporated into it. Especially when there’s a whole class dedicated to being stealthy. An addition of line of sight, noise detection, and a crouch button would make gameplay more complex and lively.

The fact that these are such simple additions goes to show that BioWare wanted to push this game out as fast as possible.

When first playing an online match, it felt like no one play tested the multiplayer. The online gameplay is drastically different from the single player. It’s clunky and unresponsive to the point where it almost feels like they rehashed the animations used in “Mass Effect 3’s” multiplayer.

For some reason, someone thought that separating male and female characters in multiplayer would be a good idea even though they have the same exact move sets. The only purpose this actually serves is to antagonize the player when they don’t get an upgrade on the character they’re working on.

For example: you’re leveling a female soldier, but you get an upgrade pack for a male soldier so you have to switch characters because one is more powerful. A simple solution around this is to combine the characters and add a tab in the customization screen to change genders.

The Andromeda galaxy is simply unpolished and can’t even meet the visual standards that the original Mass Effect set in place 10 years ago. Between wonky animations and absurd facial expressions, BioWare was fully aware it was releasing a half finished game to its fans with the idea being that they could patch it later.

While they may improve their game in a future patch, it won’t change the current user ratings across multiple critical websites.

Still, die hard Mass Effect fans should steer clear from the negativity because in reality: Andromeda is everything we’ve waited for and more. BioWare has already released a patch updating the eyes and there will be plenty more to come.





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