It’s hard to forget the disappointment No Man’s Sky brought to thousands of gamers back on release. The blatant lies from Hello Games’ main man Sean Murray with the promise of discoveries such a huge mechs and the ability to create bases. I avoided the hype surrounding No Man’s Sky so fortunately I didn’t feel as disappointed with the unfinished product. Fast Forward to March 2017 and Mass Effect: Andromeda finally got released in to the wild gaming jungles, namely many living rooms and game rooms alike. As I type this Mass Effect: Andromeda is sitting at a Meteoritic average score of 74 (critics score) and a 4.8 user score. That’s around a 25% difference between the two review groups which is startling. So why is there a large difference between the score groups. User scores/reviews are from the hardcore Mass Effect fan base or so it seems. A lot of attention has been paid to details such as naming specific NPC’s. If you care about details then Mass Effect: Andromeda may not be for you. In fact don’t buy it. If fluid animations and life-like textures contribute towards your gameplay experience then stay away from Mass Effect: Andromeda. It is clear from reading the user reviews of Mass Effect: Andromeda that it’s been a serious issue.
Last week, Bioware released patch 1.05 that really boosted the facial details on NPC’s and overall eradicated some of the blocky animation of the characters facial expressions. You can see it here from Twitter user Shinobi602:
The patch provides a significant boost but there’s still a long way to go to flesh out the characters in Mass Effect: Andromeda. How many more video games will go through this? Seemingly un-finished aspects of video games? No Man’sSky will forever linger in our minds as a highly anticipated title that fell flat on its face as soon as gamers realised key features were missing. Whilst Mass Effect: Andromeda is nowhere near as bad but it certainly feels un-polished in many areas. I question why this poor animations were not adjusted the the development. I’m shocked at Bioware’s apparent lack of attention to detail.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a huge game that takes place somewhere between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. We take the role of Ryder and get to choose between playing through with ether Scott or Sara (siblings). At first I tried to observe the cut scenes and get to grip with the story but I list interest after a couple of hours. After this I started to skip all of the free flowing dialogue. The story did not grab my attention like Mass Effect 2 did. Sad but true.
It’s actually not bad
Mass Effect: Andromeda actually does a lot right. That’s hard to believe considering you’ve just read about the questionable animations and half polished release. I’m really enjoying the game despite not paying attention to the story. What that tells me is that Mass Effect: Andromeda’s gameplay mechanics are good enough to keep me popping that disc back in to my PS4.
The combat system is decent. Switching between weapons is easy enough and the loadouts seem comprehensive. Navigating the menu’s can take a couple of hours to adjust to but that’s a minor detail considering most of my time was spent wading through missions. Some players complained about frame rate dips and screen tears which I can confirm. What most people don’t tell you are that these are very minimal. Mass Effect: Andromeda is by no means riddled with graphical flaws. It’s a solid seven out of ten for graphics and let’s remember the Dragon Age series. Graphically Dragon Age lacked too. Poor textures, blocky animations and screen tears. Perhaps we should celebrate this as a Bioware trademark?
Naturally there’s a core group of Mass Effect fans that have been defending the games’ slating’s. I’ve read a lot of comments on YouTube videos in which people are able to see past the flaws in Mass Effect: Andromeda. It’s great to see the Mass Effect optimists defending their game. At times we can often become entrenched in too much negativity surrounding a game. Is this wrong? It can completely deter gamers from diving in to a game and therefore completely missing out. I’m glad I’ve had the pleasure to experience Mass Effect: Andromeda but admittedly it was a game that I was considering skipping given the negative press. Has the Mass Effect franchise changed? Of course it has. Resident Evil changed. Silent Hill changed. Metal Gear Solid changed. More often than not changes within a gaming franchise can be good. Mass Effect: Andromeda brings about a new experience with new planets and galaxies to explore and providing you can get past the semi-bad animations then you’ll be in for a treat.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a great game. It has flaws; perhaps a few too many graphical flaws for some tastes but if you decide to boycott this game then you're simply missing out. Mass Effect: Andromeda is huge, combat is stable and the world feels buzzing. Are you one of those people who like the sound of that? If not then I'd suggest waiting until this game drops in price. If you have some spare cash floating around that I say go and grab yourself a copy of Mass Effect: Andromeda now.
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We're well in to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and more recently the Nintendo Switch eras of gaming. Graphics had never looked so smooth and gameplay had never flowed so fluently. Let's not forget the triumphant last Generation of gaming with the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii; all of which I have a lot of time for.
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