Mass Effect 3, which was the target of massive criticism, was a laughable conclusion to an otherwise beloved series. Everyone complained that the ending, which was unedited due to creative executives forcing their vision into the game, was terrible. They were probably right, but that’s the kicker. They couldn’t have seen how bad it was going to get. Mass Effect Andromeda proves all of their fans wrong, stating “that ending was not terrible, we’ll prove it to you by making the worst thing you’ve ever seen.”
Mass Effect is a series made by Bioware in the late 2000’s that focused on the main character, Shepard, stopping alien terrorists in a plot filled with open-ended scenarios. Similar to Heavy Rain, there’s a large concentration on story and characters, yet every line of dialogue the main character speaks is at the player’s command, giving the player an immense sense of immersion and relatability. The graphics were at the industry’s peak at the time, complimenting the third-person shooter-style gameplay.
Andromeda, on the other hand, is such a big joke that nobody is laughing. Immediately after accessing character customization, you are presented with a clumsy story with lacking dialogue, dialogue being the highlight of the series. The graphics are great, yet animations force the main character to walk like a constipated crab. Every other character seems like robots without facial awareness when they aren’t vanishing and reappearing out of thin air.
Accessing complicated menus for missions and weapons will confuse the player, while the blueprints and materials necessary for weapons will make the player ask “can’t I just buy a gun?” Oh right, this is now a sandbox game, so the need to collect materials to use any of the weapons crowding the menus is a necessity. Even so, making your way to and around missions functions the same way as trying to work an iPhone GPS while walking; forcing the player to wait a few seconds before telling them the wrong direction to go to, wasting their lives in the process. Most of the game is spent waiting: traveling to an inconvenient mission location, enduring the loading screens, waiting for the planet animation to end, and let’s not forget the awkward pauses in the cutscenes; it’s all waiting for the game to get good (which it doesn’t).
Big name voice actors are still there, at least, right? The combat system is still okay and enemies don’t spawn levitating 10 feet in the air, right? Random enemies and allies won’t die from falling damage from doing the equivalent of walking downstairs, right? This isn’t the most boring story of all time, right? The answer to all of this is, of course, no.
I realize I was hard on Ratchet and Clank for having a boring story and overall regression in every aspect except for graphics. I realize I said that Super Mario Run was a dumb, greedy cash grab that was an unexpected step backward. I realize I have little to no authenticity on game design nor the direction companies want to move their franchises. The only reason I realize this, however, is from seeing and playing a game that truly shows what happens when a company loses sight on what they were creating, resulting in a gross, uninteresting mess. Mass Effect Andromeda is the best game of all time because, for the next ten years when people talk about Mass Effect, they will be forced to shut up about a lackluster ending and laugh at everyone who thought the series couldn’t get any worse.