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Mass Effect Andromeda: First Impressions

A Fantastic Game with a Brilliant Space Sci Fi Story!

Mass Effect Andromeda is a game that many, including myself, have been waiting for for years. As a huge fan of the original trilogy it’s a daunting task for bioware to get me and long time players to care about a new lead character and a new galaxy. They manage to pull it off however while making a pretty solid gaming experience.


 

Story

In the original trilogy Shepard starts off as an already proven warrior given the honor of first human spectre very early on. In Andromeda Ryder is a character whom the player grows as a person therefore making the character connect even more. The further in the game you get Ryder becomes even more of a character that you shape with the new dialogue system, this system replaces the renegade and paragon system and focuses more on emotions and tones when making dialogue choices. This change is very welcome as it opens up a new way to build your characters personality other than just Good or Bad. The button prompts in cutscenes from 2 and 3 still carry over so be ready to press those trigger buttons when given the option, these also have emotional undertones and various effects on scenes and a characters response.

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Gameplay

The Gameplay in Andromeda is fantastically done and feels very smooth. The new cover system will take some getting used to at first but it quickly becomes more natural to use with the environment playing as the cover in Andromeda which is a better take than the conveniently placed walls and pipes of before. Maneuverability has never been more front and center in a mass effect game before. The jumpjet changes how you approach firefights and exploring the world drastically. For example, If an enemy is being pesky and hiding behind cover then you can hover with your jumpjet and shoot him or use a skill like a grenade or throw to flush him out of cover. A change to gameplay that I found awesome is the change to skills like the biotic barrier. Instead of it being a skill you used manually in a pinch it now acts as a passive skill that will reinforce your shields whenever you have them. Couple this with the skill backlash which projects a physical biotic shield and even at the lowest level you become a light tank. The new skills are great such as the aforementioned backlash or the lance biotic ability which is a super fast, hard-hitting bolt of biotic energy, along with the new ones existing skills like Nova and Charge have returned and been improved. There’s also now platforming in Mass Effect and it is pretty fluid thanks to the jumpjet and the smoother gameplay. That being said it does take some getting used to but just like the cover system it becomes more natural as you play.

As a long time player of the trilogy and RPGs in general i was worried about the ability to change between classes like infiltrator and adept on the fly. However It works out pretty well with the much faster paced combat this time around and thankfully you still need to unlock the different classes with skill point investments so they aren’t all unlocked from the start. When you’re discovering various worlds planetside your main means of transportation is the new Nomad vehicle. If you’re like me and was worried about the Nomad handling and driving like the Mako of Mass Effect 1 then worry no more because it drives great. Bioware added in a smart mechanic with the Nomad where you can switch between four-wheel drive and six wheel drive on the fly as you explore. Four wheel drive makes the Nomad extremely quick and nimble so you can outrun enemies or traverse planets quickly. Six wheel drive or all terrain mode makes it so the Nomad can climb even the steepest of hills and over rocks or obstructions.

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Graphics

First, I’ll address the elephant in the room which is the facial animations of the characters. These animations can be rather weird-looking and a bit jarring at times and it’s a shame these issues won’t be addressed in the day one patch for Andromeda like it was eluded to. There’s also some weird walking animations at times and frame drops during some cutscenes but nothing that has personally taken me out of my 57 hour playtime. It is still however an issue worth noting and hopefully bioware will have some way to fix it. That being said as you play and get involved the story you won’t notice the issues and the rest of the game looks gorgeous, in particular the worlds you explore have been given very good attention to detail. Color vibrancy and variation reigns supreme in Andromeda and it’s a fantastic decision that makes the Heleus Cluster and its planets feel genuinely alien. Mushrooms glow with a weirdly alien blue glow, huge pieces of foreign alien tech springs from the ground and caves are filled with strange new plant life and wildlife roams around the landscape or sometimes flies gracefully through the air as you explore. The improved color palette exists in all fronts of the game as well including character customisation for both the single player campaign and multiplayer modes. The visual cues and effects of skills are also notably better this time around as well. Seeing enemies cower and squirm as you set them aflame with your flamethrower or incendiary rounds is great or alternatively using your cryo beam to freeze them solid is just as satisfying to see.

Conclusion

So far Mass Effect Andromeda has been a stellar game if you look past the weird face every now and then. I haven’t even touched outpost building, weapon and armor crafting, modding, Andromeda Viabilty Points and how to get and use them, Research points and blueprints and development, collectibles and so on. These are all things that I’ll be covering very soon. My first impressions of Andromeda are if you’re a die-hard Mass Effect fan then get it definitely, if you’re a gamer who likes space sci-fi and open world RPGs that promote exploration then its a very very strong buy for you. It isn’t a perfect game by any means but no game is, it blends together many mechanics in open world games nowadays beautifully and still manages to keep that political draw and emotion that is quintessential Mass Effect.

Let us know here at PlayBackGaming.net if this first impressions article has informed or helped you in anyway with a comment below. There’s no need to sign up or anything of the sort in order to do so.  Make sure to keep it tuned here for upcoming Mass Effect news and tips and tricks. As always everyone thank you greatly for reading and have a brilliant day!


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About Dale "LordZeroILP" Vanfossen (57 Articles)
Dale is a hardcore gamer and nerd at heart. He played his very first game at the age of three and fell in love with the hobby ever since. Dales a huge destiny fan and is part of IronLordsPodcast.

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