Nerd HQ Gaming Review: Mass Effect: Andromeda
By Nerd HQ Gaming
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Mass Effect Andromeda is one of this years most anticipated games and rightfully so. Mass Effect is arguably one of the best game franchises EVER and has a passionate following of devoted fans. Exploration, romance, friendship, lore and combat are at the core of all Mass Effect games and Andromeda isn’t any different. 600 years after the ending of Mass Effect 3 we find a new hero, Ryder, at the center of it all. As the pathfinder Ryder captains a new crew of aliens and humans alike as he/she searches for a new home. Paige Mount and Josh Monroe from Nerd HQ Gaming have only just scratched the surface of the new galaxy, here is our first look review:
What specific elements of the game really stood out to you?
PM: Andromeda is the first Mass Effect game that I feel has truly taken the “Open World” concept or shall I say open galaxy to the next level. Driving around in the Nomad I feel like I could spend hours on a single planet and still not see everything. For a completionist like me this is terrible for my free time but I feel like it has added another aspect to the game that can make each person’s gameplay personal and different.
JM: At the onset, this game feels like a Mass Effect game, a natural continuation of the original trilogy. This is both a good and bad thing, it’s good from a story perspective, but the graphics don’t feel any better than ME:3, this would be fine if Andromeda came out only a year after ME:3 but feels lacking for a next gen game.
How engaging was the game’s story?
PM: In the previous Mass Effect games it felt as if we started in the middle of this journey with Shephard, he/she was already a known character across the galaxy and you get hints of that throughout the first game. With Ryder it’s a different story, we are really starting at the beginning, you are having to follow in your father’s footsteps and prove yourself as the new pathfinder. This element adds a fresh take to the ME franchise that I’m eager to explore.
JM: Immediately, we are thrust into a new galaxy with new heroes and a big mystery. Who are these aliens, why are they trying to kill us, why are our habitable planets no longer habitable, and where are the other arks? It’s incredibly engaging and a great hook for a new Mass Effect: Adventure.
How did you find the controls and gameplay?
PM: The controls can be a little frustrating, the automatic cover gets in the way of the flow of the combat and controls that should be easy such as changing weapons are overly complicated in comparison to previous games. I am really enjoying one addition though and that is the “dodge” control, being able to quickly move in any direction has been extremely helpful when fighting powerful enemies.
JM: The controls are not *that* different from the first three games, but they are different enough to be infuriating. The entire first mission I kept hitting the wrong buttons because I was so used to the configuration of other games. However, the inclusion of the jump pack and the ability to dash sideways, forward, or backward is an excellent addition.
Were there any glaring problems with the game?
PM: The animation in the game would make you think this game was made ten years ago at the same time as the first Mass Effect and not for a next gen system. The facial animation seems dead and incomplete at times and I really missed those added animations that made small character moments so great in ME: 3. With such a strong voice acting cast I was really grasping for the animation to match.
JM: I’ve encountered several glitches with dialogue options not appearing to complete the required missions and waypoints sending me to the complete wrong area. However, the majority of my frustrations with the controls have faded as I have played more into the game.
What was the most exciting moment of your gameplay so far?
PM: The most exciting moment for me so far was definitely exploring the first Remnant Vault. The Remnant tech is so different from anything else we see in the Andromeda galaxy and the mystery behind the Remnant is something I find myself constantly trying to solve.
JM: The Nomad! Driving around the Mako was my favorite aspect of the first Mass Effect and a key element I thought was sorely lacking from 2 & 3. Returning to that “Exploration” feeling just makes sense as we venture into this brand new galaxy.
How likely are you to continue playing the rest of the game?
PM: I will 100% continue to play this game and squeeze every bit of story out of it as I can. I have only just begun to dig deep into the story of the Pathfinder and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
JM: 100%. Despite some technical glitches, the story and new characters are the driving force of this game. I am looking forward to seeing their stories play out and get a larger grasp of this entirely new galaxy to explore.
How would you rank this game?
PM: 7 out of 10 Ryder Romances
JM: 4 out of 5 new solar systems explored.
How does this game compare to other’s in its franchise (or other similar titles)?
PM: At its core Andromeda feels like a Mass Effect game, it has introduced us to a band of new characters and has given the player the hard decisions, dialogue choices, exploration and romances that made previous tittles so great. Andromeda has introduced a new story and while the stakes don’t feel as high and the gameplay isn’t as strong as ME: 2 or 3, this new story has peaked my curiosity and I’m excited to see where it goes.
JM: It’s certainly not as strong a game as ME:2, it feels most like ME:1 in regards to the fact that it’s a beginning of a whole new story, and while I don’t think it will win any “game of the year” awards, I believe it’s a welcome addition to this beloved franchise and I can’t wait to get more stories out of these characters.
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