Mass Effect Andromeda might be my most anticipated game in the past few years. I was a devout fan of the original trilogy, having completed runthroughs across all three games multiple times.
However, in the age of internet outrage, I forced myself to stay in the dark about anything concerning this latest installment and try my best to keep my expectations low. That allowed me to have a pretty blank slate going in to Andromeda.
I didn’t like abandoning the Milky Way for a whole other galaxy, 600 years into the future. That just minimized the effects of the events in the trilogy.
But, I suspect there was really no other way to move the story past what had happened. Bioware was looking for a clean start and this was their way to do it.
That meant losing a lot of familiar characters and environments. Luckily, we kept a lot of other elements, including species, aesthetics, abilities and weapons.
It was a joy to see turians, asari, and krogan again. Equipping the valiant sniper rifle was like finding an old, comfortable sweater.
In that sense, Andromeda was able to attain that elusive goal of “feeling” like a Mass Effect game. To me, at least. Plenty of people seemed unhappy and unsatisfied. (That goes back to my comment about hedging my expectations.)
Gameplay-wise, the balance of RPG and FPS seemed good. The side quests were much more robust (perhaps with a bit too much planet hopping back and forth).
The main story was a bit lackluster, but still managed a few nice twists. The main antagonist wasn’t as iconic or fearsome as the Reapers. In fact, the nice easter egg of audio logs about the Reapers actually reminded me how intense and dire that situation was, and unfortunately dulled the current story I was playing.
Mass Effect though was always more about the characters and your relationships with them. This is probably where Bioware managed to shine the brightest. It was a tall order to ask players to love the new teammates and Ryder as much as Shepard or Liara or Tali. Outside of the supremely annoying Liam, I think they succeeded. Even characters I was skeptical about, like Peebee or Cora, eventually won over my affection.
As for the Let’s Play, it was a challenge to play such a long, sprawling game with the pressure of keeping it engaging and entertaining. It was easily twice as long as any other game I recorded. I’m still glad I did, and hope it comes across well.
Not sure where Mass Effect goes from here (Bioware resists hinting at a new trilogy), but I’m still along for the ride!