If I were to estimate, I’ve maybe put in between 10 and 20 hours into the new Mass Effect game that was released now a week and a half ago. I’ve been waiting for this game a long time and I was super excited to finally get my hands on this game. And yet after a week and a half, I feel that play time should be at least double what it is and now I’m struggling to get myself to turn the game on and go through some more of the campaign.
My intention was to have this as a “First Impressions” article after my current run through the game. My thought process was that by this point I’d have clocked in about 30 hours of gameplay, would’ve gotten a good chunk of the storyline done and have some pretty solid thoughts about the game that could’ve been real helpful for those on the outside who want to know a lot more of what they’re getting into. Now this might still be the case, but not in the form I was hoping for.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW!!!
I’m just going to come out and say it. I am absolutely pissed off to no end that I’ve just landed on the third major planet in the game (not counting the tutorial planet) and I’ve already got my full squad…AND ONLY ONE OF THEM IS A NEW RACE!!! Sorry to spoil that for anyone, but you were warned. Yes, I’m nowhere near the midpoint of the game (I hope!) and my squad is already complete. Six people, two humans, a Turian, an Asari, a Krogan and an Angara, the new race of the series. I say new race, because I’m convinced at this point that other than the Kett, who act as the villains in this game, the Angara may just be the only other intelligent life I converse with. And they’re so uninteresting that it’s painful, they’re all almost devoid of emotion.
It really kills me that a game that was advertised as a game of exploration, going through a whole new galaxy, finding new worlds, new races, new everything…is reduced to a game that’s like “Hey…you like Mass Effect, right? Cool.” and that’s it. Upon hearing that the game is being fronted by BioWare Montreal and not BioWare directly and also being fronted by the person who made the call on Mass Effect’s 3 legendary flop of an ending…I start to see what happened. The game itself is still polished, it looked gorgeous, the combat’s still solid, but the core foundation of what made the series what it is, it has been completely shattered by this new team. Yes, I am aware that members of the team who worked on the trilogy are a part of this team, but it’s very clear that a new vision was put forward for this game and it was a poor vision.
Mass Effect: Andromeda was supposed to be a game that I intentionally watched and read absolutely nothing about it, so that I would come to every new thing I see as what it was, completely brand spanking new. I wanted to go into every decision without any bias, I wanted everything to come at me in real time, rather than knowing ahead of time a few things that could help me make a better decision. Instead, I’ve gotten a game that has shown me that I should never do something like this ever again, because had I read more material, perhaps I could’ve found something to keep me off the path of pre-ordering the game. Now granted, I followed my rule of only pre-ordering games with a proven track record, but I’ve avoided games of this level of hype before because I’ve seen something I didn’t like, aka games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Assassin’s Creed Unity and Fallout 4, though in the latter, most people still very much enjoyed it.
I wanted a game about exploration, about finding new things and being constantly surprised by something new. Within 10-20 hours, I feel like I’ve played the same game a hundred times. So many mistakes were made already, so instead of going on in paragraph form, here’s a nicely sized list:
- You’re an explorer. Within the first 5 minutes of being on the first new planet of this new galaxy, you’ve pulled your gun out and fired the trigger. This was a wasted opportunity, you could’ve had a training simulation for the fighting and saved the first battle for a few hours in. They should’ve made that first fired shot in Andromeda mean something.
- The main hub of the Nexus is very boring and uninspiring, it feels like a poor man’s Citadel. Granted, it’s an outpost and is after a revolt, but come on!
- Speaking of which, look…I understand a mission like this shouldn’t be easy, but holy fuck the game could’ve waited a couple planets before bringing on the depression and lack of hope. I feel like this might be a large part in why I’m not enjoying the game that much, because the whole part I was to enjoy is being portrayed as depressing and a constant flurry of troubles.
- The whole “Twin Creation” thing seems so pointless, especially now that I know he/she won’t even be a squad member. It’s a pointless sidestory that as of this point brings zero emotional response from me.
- Speaking of zero emotional response, other than my initial excitement and following disappointment, since Eos I have been pretty much in “Meh!” mode since. That is a real bad sign and it certainly explains why I’m having a hard time picking the game up and continuing from Voeld after I had finished Havarl.
- There’s a lot of empty open space in the open world, especially with Eos after the hazard levels are lowered later on. A lot and I mean A LOT of dead, open space.
- The push of a majority human cast continues to piss me off, because again in proves just how hard it is for us as humans to write a script that isn’t dominated by us. Why did we have to have four different arks for each race? Why not just have four fucking arks with an assortment of everyone?!
- Which also ticks me off, because a Mass Effect game without a single hanar, drell, elcor, vorcha, volus or batarians just feels so weird to me. Now I understand no geth, because the series technically starts before the first Mass Effect, so that’s fine, but the lack of races beyond the Council races is really perplexing.
- Oh believe me, I didn’t forget, this just deserves its own note. Ahem! …NO FUCKING QUARIANS?!!! I can have a fucking space monkey (pyjak) on my ship, but you couldn’t be bothered to put a single fucking Quarian in this game! Now I don’t know if any show up towards the end, but come the fuck on! Tali is one of the most popular characters in the series and you don’t even have a single member of her race around?! They’re fucking mechanical masterminds!!! Why’s one not in Gil’s place?!
- I’m a little put off by the clear push for “diversity” in this game, as it’s extremely obvious the team went out of its way to have every conceivable accent around. Hell, even a Salarian has a middle eastern accent going on. Which by the way, BioWare Montreal, um…why does any Krogan in this game not sound like a fucking badass? They’re all badasses, make them sound as such!
- The sidequests are mostly fetch quests and none of them have any interest in terms of a sidestory, it’s literally just time filler.
- Speaking of time filler, why the fuck can’t we skip the flying cutscenes?! I’ve seen the Nexus landing at least 10 times now already.
- The auto-cover is so bad to me that I’m not using cover now. Seriously, a core mechanic of the original trilogy and I’m barely using it. It’s to the point I’ve lowered the difficulty to Easy, because I can’t get myself to run into an auto-cover position.
So, long story short, uh…unless I can get myself to play it more and it really turns around (and by what I’m reading, it really doesn’t), um…this game is bad. Like really bad. Gameplay-wise, not bad at all, but for a series like Mass Effect, my rating is based on the story and the world and at this current juncture, I’m not happy at all with what I’ve found so far.
So for those who want a number put towards my current point in the game, here it is: 10-20 hours into the game, at best I can give this game a score of 5/10 and it pains me so much to give a BioWare title, let alone a Mass Effect title a score that low. I have basically no interest in the world and the characters, there isn’t a single character I’m way into right now, no one’s pushed into the forefront, they’re all just kinda sitting around, twiddling their thumbs. And most importantly, an exciting game about exploration and discovery feels depressing, pointless and has little in terms of new things to offer.
This is not what I signed up for. Not even close.