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‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ defines wasted potential

Most+the+exploration+on+a+planet%27s+surface+is+done+in+this+vehicle%2C+the+nomad.+Photo+credit%3A+Ulises+Duenas
Most the exploration on a planet's surface is done in this vehicle, the nomad. Photo credit: Ulises Duenas

Most the exploration on a planet's surface is done in this vehicle, the nomad. Photo credit: Ulises Duenas

Most the exploration on a planet's surface is done in this vehicle, the nomad. Photo credit: Ulises Duenas

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I would say the “Mass Effect” trilogy has built the best, most immersive Sci-Fi world in video games. Five years after the release of the third game, the series got a “soft reboot” in “Mass Effect Andromeda.”

Years of setbacks during development left “Andromeda” in rough shape and it released to mixed reviews and sales that disappointed its publisher, Electronic Arts. This led to the series being put on an indefinite hold and when that happened, I decided it was finally time to see what was up with “Andromeda.”

The story is that during the events of the original trilogy, the species of the Milky Way Galaxy embarked on a journey to colonize the Andromeda Galaxy. The journey took 600 years and in that time, the galaxy has fallen into chaos. The beginning of the story is interesting and establishes a brand new world full of intrigue and possibility. The ending of the story answers lingering questions and ends on a satisfying note. The bulk of the story in the middle, however, is a tiring slog through repetitive missions with characters that don’t stack to those from the originals.

The main selling point of “Andromeda” is exploration. A new galaxy means dozens of uncharted planets ready for study and colonization. Only a few of these planets are designated as “golden worlds” and they make up the bulk of the environments you’ll see throughout the game. The problem is that the surface of all these “golden worlds” are full of nothing. They’re mostly made of flat valleys with little to look at, and a bunch of boring mountains with little vegetation or wildlife.

Combat has gone through some changes. Instead of having to commit to one class throughout the whole game, you can switch to any class on the fly. Jump jets add a new level of verticality to combat, but overall combat feels floatier. It lacks the sense of impact and weight that the previous games and other third person shooters have. Having a wide variety of weapons and powers to use helps, but combat gets tiring when fighting the same brain-dead enemies over and over again.

When “Andromeda” first came out it was blasted for having bad character animations and loads of bugs. Updates have been released to fix some of these issues but there are still a ton of technical problems. Some of these are forgivable, but when characters have flat facial expressions during cutscenes and when the screen just cuts to black for no reason, it ruins any sense of immersion the player could have. A couple of times I was put into a situation where I had to reset the game in order to progress.

“Mass Effect Andromeda” has some good things going for it but they’re outweighed by numerous, glaring flaws. The story and combat have potential, but it’s the lack of good follow-through that gives this game three stars.

[Final Score: 3/5]

Ulises Duenas can be reached at [email protected] or @OrionUlisesD on Twitter.

Glossary

Soft reboot: A game or movie that sets up a new series in the same universe of older entries but with little to no reference to its plot or characters.

Jump jets: Like jet packs but they only give a quick initial boost before you fall back down.

Golden worlds: Planets designated as being the best places for colonization.

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The student news site of California State University, Chico
‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ defines wasted potential