I have been a Mass Effect fangirl from day one, I even defended ME3 because that game was fantastic, until the last 15 minutes or so, things get blurry from there, I think my memory is trying to save me by blocking it out. I’ve read a couple of the ME books, I may own several pieces of clothing with N7 on them, and I will neither confirm nor deny the existence of some bad fan-fiction I wrote about 9 years ago.
Let’s just say, I’m a fan. But I understand that it’s most definitely not the type of game for everyone, it took developers until ME2 to make the combat mechanics seem like more than an after-thought. But it improved from there and the storyline stayed fantastic. And from Mass Effect 1 in 2007 until ME3 in 2012, we got to know and even care a bit for the relationships we developed over the years.
But it all starts over with Mass Effect: Andromeda, though you still get a lot of references and even hear from and about characters in the original series. So it’s not necessary to have played any of the original series.
The Andromeda Initiative is a collective of several races from the Milky Way Galaxy, who, for several reasons including depleting resources and the incoming threat of the Reapers from the original series, decide to leave the Milky Way and head for the Andromeda Galaxy to forge a new path for Milky Way-kind. Planets are scouted out, races get their own flagship and they head off in cryogenic on the 600+ year journey to Andromeda.
You wake up from cryo-sleep as either Sara or Scott Ryder, depended on which you choose, the son or daughter of the human Pathfinder: Alec Ryder. Pathfinders are chosen from each race to clear the path for their people to settle in Andromeda. Pathfinders are outfitted with an Artificial Intelligence that’s infused with their minds, which apparently upsets a lot of people that signed on who didn’t realise the Ai patches on their suits wasn’t just an acronym for the Andromeda Initiative.
But during the 600-year journey, something has taken over the Andromeda Galaxy and they awaken from cryogenic sleep to hellscapes instead of the paradises they had scouted out 600 years ago. The Scourge has taken over most of the galaxy and you soon find yourself as the new human Pathfinder, battling to find a place for your people in this new place.
You encounter two new intelligent species, one is a sort of minion of the Scourge, the Kett, and the other is an understandably somewhat xenophobic race known as the Angara. If you can convince the Angara to work with you against your common enemy, maybe you can take back Andromeda together.
The dialogue is so well done, I was impressed several times at the wit and humor. By the end of the game, the characters have inside jokes and your shipmates start to feel kind of like friends. My first walk-through, I choose the romantic story-line with human Crisis Specialist, Liam, and I found myself laughing out loud when he’d hit on me and once, I even blushed. The interactions were fun instead of dreaded and it made me really want to try out the other possible romantic lines.
The combat felt really good, taking cover, is as simple as walking up to something with your weapon drawn, but not so sticky that you couldn’t easily walk out of it. Movement is necessary for some of the larger battles to find ammo and health, and there are some enemy weapons that there is no cover from, but as long as you stay aware it’s not too difficult to evade. I put mods on my weapons that made them essentially grenade launchers and targeted enemies for my companions frequently and we usually made quick work clearing out the enemies.
But the game is not without its faults, a good friend of mine and many other people experienced so many glitches they didn’t want to play. While I understand that frustration, *I’m snake-bit on PC games, if there’s a glitch to get caught on, I will get caught* I experienced only two glitches in ME:A, and one was repaired by turning it off and on again. So like with many games, glitches are present, but in my walk-through, they were few and not big turn offs for me.
At 81 hours I have 98% complete of my first walk-through and having played through the epilogue and everything, I’m ready to report; THE END DID NOT SUCK. I had to get that part in for anyone who isn’t picking up this game because of the end of ME3. They set up the next chapter of the story quite nicely, while still satisfactorily wrapping up this episode, and there is definitely not some strange different colored cookie cutter video of the same ending no matter what you do.
I didn’t cry this game, but I was forced to have some feels for my team members that I’m sure will end in tears later; but despite knowing that, I’m still very much looking forward to it.
*TL;DR: You will probably enjoy this game, whether or not you played other Mass Effects, you will almost definitely love this game even more if you played the other games.
**Check back for multiplayer review soon.
Watch this video featuring the appropriately titled Rag n Bone Man track- Human, which you can hear on 106.3 Radio Lafayette!!