Mass Effect: Andromeda Review Roundup: Stellar Game Pathfinding In A Galaxy Of Lackluster Narrative
Welcome to Andromeda Initiative.
After five years, fans of the Mass Effect series will return to space to look for "golden worlds" in the much-anticipated sequel Mass Effect: Andromeda. After weeks of sneak peeks via gameplay trailers, the game will finally launch and players can explore the vast expanse of the Andromeda galaxy on March 21 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
But is this galactic adventure game stellar enough to shine through the hearts of the critics? Read the review roundup to find out.
Scott Butterworth of Gamespot justified his average rating of 6 for the game's lackluster writing and dialogues. He praised the world-building and combat, but he found they are not enough to compensate for the weak storytelling. He called the plot weak and predictable, while the characters are dull and one-dimensional.
For him, the new title missed the compelling "nuanced politics, morality, and storytelling" of the previous games, which for him are all about relatable characters and morality-defining choices.
"The game can't escape its shortcomings, but patient explorers can still find a few stars shining in the darkness," Butterworth wrote.
Dan Stapleton of IGN likewise gives a cookie to the game's gameplay and combat mechanics, but takes it back for the weak storytelling and its cast of alien characters without a "breakout star."
Gameplay-wise, he praised the game's fast-paced action, energetic combat, and fantastic sound effects befitting a sci-fi-themed game. But he did not like the lack of intuition in the game's skills and weapons swapping, which for him bogged the action.
However, his beef is with the game's rollercoaster writing. He cited the lack of consistency in harrowing moments that need moral choices.
Arthur Gies of Polygon did not mince any words, calling Mass Effect: Andromeda a problematic game.
"Mass Effect: Andromeda is a game with problems, both lightly floating on the surface and, sometimes, deeper, and they get in the way of different things it does well to varying degrees," he wrote.
In terms of graphics and world-building, he called the game "visually stunning." However, he found the game's space travels 10-15-second loading time cumbersome. Gameplay-wise, he praised the game's open world feel, which lent weight to the title's theme of exploration and path-finding. However, while he praised the gameplay's class and skills diversity, he did not like the lack of intuition regarding switching items and skills. He did however, loved the story and most of the cast.
Overall, he described Mass Effect: Andromeda as a game with "a lot of roughness" and distracting technical issues. "Andromeda succeeds, even if it stumbled getting there," Gies wrote.
Game Informer 8/10
Joe Juba of Game Informer gave Mass Effect: Andromeda an 8/10 score for fun factor, graphics, gameplay, world-building, and the game's "wealth of content." He found the combat truly engaging and action-packed, praising the fast-paced action and aggressive enemies for keeping him always on the move. He disliked the auto-cover system however, but the adrenaline rush brought by the game was more than enough to keep him shooting his guns and biotic powers.
Narrative-wise, the game offered a "boilerplate" of an antagonist, unlike the memorable villains of previous games. The dialogue choices also have unimportant results, which for him was a letdown.
Overall, Juba noted that Mass Effect: Andromeda was fun and worth playing.
"At the same time, I was often left looking through a haze of inconveniences and dreaming about the game it could have been," he wrote.