Before I start this review, this is the first Mass Effect game that I have played. It was deemed as one for newcomers to the series, so thought I would give it a try. When I say this is the first Mass Effect game I have played, this is the first one that I have plunged hours into. I have played the others, but didn’t really get far in any of them. Mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t overly keen on the story and they didn’t drag me in.
In mass Effect: Andromeda you play either of the Ryder twins, this is a choice that you make at the start. The very first mission, I wasn’t overly keen with, it was one of those tutorial style missions to get you into the game and teach you the ropes. You get a brief introduction to characters and before you know it you find yourself on an alien world after crash landing. Your main job here is to find your crew and regroup, and if I’m totally honest I found this mission to be quite slow and maybe needed a little more, as I found myself just trying to get through it to see whether the next stage was any better. I will say that I am glad that I stuck to it and stayed with the game, because I am currently loving it so far. Once you get past the first mission and play through the next part, the game opens up into a world of it’s own, other missions start showing up, planets become explorable and you can search the galaxy for other survivors/arks, planets and so much more.
The world that you can explore is so vast it’s amazing, and each of the planets that you can visit are so well detailed and designed, each with there own unique elements. EAch one has so much for you to do on it as well. You can clear out the Kett (enemies) in a range of little missions and side missions that are on the planets, you can help to colonise the planet to make it habitable for the people who are still on the Nexus (main base bringing the remnants of humans and other life forms to find new planets to live on). Each planet is vast, and it’s good that there are fast travel points that you can unlock while travelling around, whether that’s by foot or through the Nomad (All terrain vehicle that has six wheel drive).
The Nomad can help you quickly get to destinations (that haven’t been unlocked through fast travel) and it can climb most surfaces. You can switch to all terrain drive with the press of the L1 button, this will help you get up steeper terrain that the normal driving mode (which is used to get a better speed) will struggle with. Each of the planets also have a mining areas where you will be able to get different minerals to help with research, as well as building weapons and armour.
I mentioned above about colonising a planet, when you have done this you have a choice of what to do with the planet, whether it is a scientific research centre or whether it is going to be a military base to help defend against the Kett. When you do this for the first time, it does have an effect on the game, the choice you make with the first base, which for me was on Eos, will show what type of leader/pathfinder you are going to be and also sets a statement for the Andromeda initiative. My first choice was scientific, being able to understand the new worlds that we are bringing to life was the most important aspect for me. We had defences available already, so research was my choice!
Speaking of having an effect on the game, the dialogue plays a pretty important part as well. It doesn’t shape whether you are a good or bad person, but more the type of person you are. When in dialogue there are different options available which such as a logical response, emotional and others. These will shape the type of person you are, but then depending on the situation will depend on your answer. Maybe? I guess everyone’s answers are going to be different which is what will make this game unique to you.
The combat side of things is very tactical, planning your moves, being able to send your team where to go during the heat of battle, whether you want to send both down the middle or whether you want them to flank, this makes it a lot more interesting, especially when the fire fight gets tough and there are missions where there is a lot of Kett coming at you from all angles. I had one mission where there was an alarm blaring out, I didn’t know what to do with this, didn’t know how to get to it, and Kett just kept spawning in front of me. Nice load of XP there while I figured out what to do!
There are lots of other elements to the game as well, such as earning XP, ranking up your character an squad. For my squad mates I just auto upgraded them, seemed the easiest thing to do. I wanted to concentrate more on my character. (Which i picked Sara)
You can also research elements so that when you have the materials, you will be able to make weapons and items. This will all come from exploration and the more areas you explore and planets you colonise, this will get easier as the game goes on.
One thing that I did want to touch on is in regards to the animations. Now, from the reaction when the game was released you would have thought that it was a complete mess. On the contrary, you can hardly notice any problems with the animations, sure there are times where I’m thinking, why is she smiling this is meant to be a sad/serious scene, but there is nothing that was off putting or overly noticeable like most people were making out. Sure, a few things here and there need to be tweaked, but there isn’t much wrong with the animations.
For a game I was apprehensive about trying, the different elements, the open-ness to the worlds and the freedom that you have the explore, discover and enjoy, I am so glad that I did, and I have a feeling that despite the 20+ hours I’ve put in already, I’m no where near finishing my journey.
A Solid 8!