For eons, mankind has always adored the infinitely vast world of the stars that it was only natural for humanity to head towards space. Beyond the darkness of the night, towards unknown heights, and changing so many tears into the seeds of new dreams. Mass Effect: Andromeda does just that, it takes you for a ride into a vast galaxy outside the milky way to explore the worlds it has to offer.
This is my first entry in the Mass Effect series having never played the trilogy and it is a game where you can easily get lost in and enjoy that fact. You begin by awakening from a long cryogenic sleep where you discover the new golden world that was promised. Only to find out that before you can start colonizing it, there would be some obstacles in store for you and your crew of star travellers. Through some twist and turns, the next time you wake up, you have apparently been named the new pathfinder. The complete head honcho of your arc where what you say is law and must be obeyed. The game does ask for counsel from your allies at times but ultimately it is your decision that will be followed by everyone so be prepared for any consequences even in the early stages of the game as they have the potential to impact the later parts of the game.
Your role is to be the beacon of hope for the entire crew of your arc by finding new worlds that your people can call home. And in order to do that, you will need to terraform planets, uncover the vaults of the ancients, fight off ancient machinations from past civilizations, come in peace and form relationships with new races, fighting off a powerful alien fleet bent on enslaving your crew and uncovering the very vaults you’re after. These are just to name the most important things you’re tasked with because there are plenty more than just that to do. Though most of the time, you’ll just be scanning nearly everything you see before you. You don’t have to do everything alone though, since you have your trusty AI partner, a ragtag party and your own spaceship to cross the galaxy with and a rover to roam around the planet’s surface. Your crew is pretty much a lively bunch. They move around the ship and the cities a lot so you can never find them in one place for too long. There’s also a lot of things to talk and learn about them but the dialogue is still limited compared to a true dynamic conversation. Too bad their customization combat wise isn’t as diverse as yours.
Despite having many planets that are shown in the map, only a handful are truly explorable. For most, you can only check to see if they have some anomalies on them which would usually just result in some materials for crafting or research. It’s akin to ours where many planets just aren’t hospitable enough or just have bad weather to make a proper landing. But for the few worlds that you can explore though, they are very detailed and have some wildlife to spare as well as plants and minerals to discover. You can pretty much just spend your time exploring every nook and cranny of these worlds with your Rover. While learning about the worlds, you will also have to deal with an alien overlord and his entire race bent on killing your crew and are also after what you want that is held within the vaults. They are a truly evil race that have the power to do things worse than torture. So it’s up to you and your allies of alien races to push back the malevolent force of these antagonistic aliens.
Combat is one of the funnest things you can do in this game. With so many possible combinations to create your perfect Pathfinder soldier, the possibilities are vast. I myself pretty much created something like a space shaman that shoots guns. Having jetpacks are also real game changers compared to how combat is like with other games, that evasion and looking down on your enemy has never been so fun. The only thing that I personally found lacking in combat was the lack of a true melee class. The game pretty much just focuses on shooting or range. Going melee is hard to even accomplish especially with the lack of upgrades for it and the barrage of bullets your foes shoot you with. You don’t have to worry about ammo though because nearly every combat area has a fresh stack of ammo caches. Even the vaults which have not been accessed in eons have a lot to spare. It’s also fun turning your weapons like a shotgun to a plasma gun or an assault rifle to a sticky grenade launcher.
The game has a lot to offer and it is admirable how detailed all of it is but it isn’t without its woes here and there. I’ve come across several delays, fps spikes, significantly delayed load times and even rendering problems like the minerals floating in midair in a 90° angle despite playing this on a PS4 Pro with Boost Mode on and on a 1080p TV. Even some NPC’s pushed me while I was conversing with one. Though the game still suffers from these performance issues, it does not truly affect the experience on a grand scale and they are fixable through patches. The interface is also something I found confusing personally. It took me awhile to figure out that I needed a checkpoint to change my equipment. Also unfortunate is that we are locked to just being a human pathfinder when creating characters despite having a diverse cast of races with cool racial traits. There’s also a personal issue I have that the maps have a barrier which prevents you from going beyond its boundary to explore more of the world.
Andromeda is vast, immersive and just fun to play and get lost in. There will be a lot of things you can do in each planet and making them a viable place to live for everyone is actually pretty fun. You can even just spend time flirting with your crew or some NPC’s hoping to get some romance whether it be with humans or aliens. Whether it’s for fun or just plain serious will be up to your discretion. So try it out and get a taste of what an intergalactic adventure would be like.
Played on a PS4 Pro.
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