Mass Effect: Andromeda, the latest game in the Mass Effect series from developer BioWare, drops Tuesday and it’s a notable release in the series for several reasons: it’s the franchise’s first move onto current-generation consoles and comes nearly five years after the initial trilogy wrapped up with Mass Effect 3.
But while Mass Effect: Andromeda has generally seen some positive reactions from critics, early reviews have been slightly muted over the game’s pacing and unpolished sections.
Mass Effect: Andromeda puts you into the role of Scott or Sarah Ryder, a military soldier who must find new worlds for humans to inhabit after a planned voyage goes wrong. Initially, Destructoid said the game struggles to adapt to this new and slower setting.
“Mass Effect: Andromeda struggles to find a foothold because it spends far too long without an easily-identifiable conflict. In Shepard's arc, the Reapers were out to purge all life and essentially reset the galaxy. Shepard and crew had to stop that. The threat was imminent and constant. It was easy to point to the Reapers and say "That. That's what we're fighting. That's why we're here. Andromeda isn't like that. It's so concerned with shrouding itself in mystery that it neglects giving us any real reason to trudge forward.”
iDigitalTimes said the game’s roster of characters you interact with stack up with past members in the Mass Effect series.
“Fans of the Mass Effect series will find many parallels between Andromeda and the original trilogy. The Mass Effect games are made off the interactions and relationships built with your crew members, and that continues in Andromeda. While some may not find the new characters as instantly lovable as, say, Wrex or Garrus, there are still more games coming to help flesh everyone out in only the way BioWare can. There are also some characters that hit that high bar of BioWare excellence immediately, like Drack and Jaal.”
While Mass Effect: Andromeda ’s facial animations were well-publicized, Gamespot found the game suffered from a lack of technical polish at times.
“Unfortunately, there's a dark cloud hanging over all of this: technical issues. Sure, the facial animations really don't look great, but the problems run deeper. On PS4, the framerate was all over the place both in and out of action. On both PS4 and PC, I encountered several audio issues, most notably multiple lines of dialogue playing at the same time, covering each other. I also saw other random glitches like characters that failed to load during conversations, exiting a conversation to find myself a room away from where I was previously, and enemies that fell into the level geometry. None of these issues rendered the game unplayable, but they were noticeable and pervasive.”
Polygon knocked Andromeda for some stilted design issues like cluttered menu mechanics, but praised the game’s more deliberate approach to building its characters.
“[Andromeda ’s cast] provided some new twists on my expectations of series staple alien races like the Krogan, Turians and Asari (and unsurprisingly, I was the least moved by human companions). In general, Andromeda’s characters feel less concept-driven — the repentant alien assassin, the biotic experiment gone awry — and more organic in their development. They’re parents and grandparents and children and friends and orphans, with very different views of the world they find themselves in — a world 600 years apart from the lives they’ve left behind.”