Mass Effect: Andromeda first impressions of a noob

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I’ll level with you all right now, I never play single player games. I try to, but then I realize all my friends are off playing World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike, or something that oozes friendship. It’s usually at that point that I completely give up and pack it in. If I had to be honest, I’ve played about five single players games to competition, and two of them happen to be Mass Effect 1 and 2.

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As I mentioned during my livestream yesterday, the Mass Effect series came highly recommended after I fell in love with Dragon Age: Origins. It wasn’t only Dragon Age that impressed me, but BioWare as a whole. Their ability to play out a game as if it was a movie was something new to me as Dragon Age was also the first game I actually played when I got my first PC. The idea of becoming immersed in a story, where your decisions are crucial, was everything I’d ever wanted and that’s what I got with Dragon Age and both Mass Effect titles. Mass Effect 3 wasn’t high up on my list, but I was excited to give Andromeda a chance thanks to the ten hour Origin Access.

Right off the bat I was once again in awe of the brilliant cinematics offered by Mass Effect, and was reminded of why I loved the first two iterations. I was thoroughly enjoying playing out a story until people started pointing out the terrible lip syncing and subpar voice acting. That didn’t deter me, for a while, so I kept at it and then a few problems presented themselves.

Combat

Combat felt clunky, and movement felt like a task. In the heat of battle if you missed a spot, or stepped to far, getting back into cover was always a bit of an issue. I don’t doubt, given a complete play through, that I would have gotten used to the movement and mastered it, but in the early stages (where you decide if you like the game) I got rather annoyed. The early stages you exist as a gunslinger, and it’s not until later on that your abilities really kick in. This means you have to be a great shot if you wish not die every two seconds, which was a clear struggle for me. Coming from FPS titles like CS:GO I thought it would be a walk in the park, but the combat itself presented a number of challenges for me.

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Carried by cut scenes

As I mentioned above, my favourite part of BioWare games, and the Mass Effect series, is that it plays out like a movie. What I personally felt, and soon realized, was that the cut scenes presented themselves as a distraction at times from the somewhat repetitive storyline. I only managed to complete one main story mission, but as soon as the second missions kicked off on Eos, it was the same. “Go to this planet, find some stuff and people…” followed by “Oh no! Alien life is here to kill you!” I don’t doubt that as the story unfolds there will be some diversity, but as I mentioned the first hour or two in a single player game is crucial to making the decision whether you’ll continue till the end.

It’s a beautiful world

What impressed me the most is just how beautiful Andromeda is. It gives justice to the “open world” idea and you’re reminded of that when traveling around the map. Like most BioWare games, the attention to detail is welcomed and you do play out in some beautiful zones. During my three hours played, I made a point to stop and look around, taking in all the landscapes and surroundings as they were just that  good. Graphically, it’s a beautiful game.

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landscape

Image courtesy of Rocket Chainsaw

Multiplayer

This is probably half the reason I was tasked with a livestream – to showcase the multiplayer. Multiplayer was added in Mass Effect 3 and it seems nothing has changed. Your co-op missions are similar to what they were back then – objective based four player maps. The big pull, of course, was that the gear you earn as rewards can be used in the single player, but is that enough to warrant a few hours spent lagging? The overall experience in multiplayer, for me, was not good. I sat there desyncing and lagging constantly because hosting was done via peer-to-peer. I can see the promise and the rewards being worth it, but for local guys wanting to jump into a quick match this is not ideal, even on a fiber connection. If you have a party of four friends who are keen to try out some multiplayer then there’s probably hours worth of fun to be had, but that’s not always possible. I sat for a good 40 minutes trying to find a stable multiplayer game which was not the experience I wanted.

Conclusion

My first impression of the game was good. It has an immersive single player coupled with beautiful scenery and the expected BioWare cutscene magic. The voice acting, dialogue and lip syncing is annoying, but once you’re out in the open world you’ll experience what Mass Effect is all about. Multiplayer sucks for South Africans, but if you find some friends you’ll be on your way to some rewarding friendship. And, if you’re wondering, I didn’t get to have sex with anyone.

Last Updated: March 17, 2017

  • Nick de Bruyne

    Nice, thanks.

  • konfab

    Any comments about the quality of the dialog and animations. These two issues have been floating around on the net and have me worried.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bdcc683728a04f15cd4b8de7ad614bb5fc266459c409761254e4e3980699bd7a.jpg

    • Those eyes really freak me out. I am hoping that they fix it.

    • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

      It’s like all the women in the game have down syndrome or were dropped on their heads as babies.

  • Shase

    Wait, so the game is obviously focused around combat, and for the combat section of this article you basically described it as “annoying”, but then said your impressions were good? I don’t understand how a game focusing on combat which has annoying combat can also be a good game?

    • Game focuses heavy on RPG and less so on combat. I would put it closer to ME1 than ME3.

      Hell we even got crafting and proper weapon modding back.

      • Captain JJ

        This is all very interesting. I enjoyed the heavier RPG elements in ME1

        • HvR

          First time in long time I’m having gaming FOMO

        • Same here as I came from predominantly a KoToR background with Bioware Mass Effect 1 was the better title of the 3 for me.

  • For the Emperor!

    “I didn’t get to have sex with anyone” – its because you played like a scrub lolz 😛
    First time I played ME I had what looks like the same struggles. I was not familiar with the play-style coming from more a RTS background with some UT mixed in. But if you use cover effectively it should get better.
    The lip syncing/animation during your stream did seems a bit “unpolished” – hopefully by the time I get the game (waiting due to the impending DoW3 and BattleTech games) that is all patched up lol. Was fun watching you rant at Liam when you died more than him. PS – I probably would have died more than the two of you combined 🙂

  • “but as I mentioned the first hour or two in a single player game is
    crucial to making the decision whether you’ll continue till the end.”

    Except with an RPG it is not 1or 2 hours but rather 20 hours plus that is crucial. Specially Bioware games as they are slow to ramp up. ME 2 and 3 suffered with this less because 1 established most of what you need to know. Since Andromeda basically resets Mass effect there is a ton you need to know and exposition gets as heavy as it was in 1.

  • Animation aside (The eyes of humans freak me out) the game is truer to what Bioware was known for. Heavy on dialog with some decent voice acting (at least that is what I thought) it feels like closer to ME and hell even KoToR than it does ME2 or 3. It does have some cheesy dialog at times and some of the voice acting is sub par. Liam comes to mind. He is my new Kaiden.

    All in all I played 4 hours and will finish up my additional 6 tonight most likely. I am so ready for the full release.

  • HvR

    How fascinating.

    As I was reading through the comments, I thought to myself, “this reminds me of the incessant, brain-dead, MSSA congratulatory nonsense spewed all over the comment section of MWEB GameZone that made me eventually not even bother visiting.”

    That comment section was so pathetically childish I would actually cringe while reading the same 2 commentators’ lousy attempts at politically correct banter.

    • Wot?

    • I’m lost, not sure what you are talking about there?

    • Captain JJ

      XD

    • huh?

    • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

      I read some of your comments as you were slumming it on their comment section – hahaha hilarious trolling lads!

  • Ouch.How can they fluff the voice acting when that was one of the strongest elements in the first 3 games?

  • Fnuik

    “And, if you’re wondering, I didn’t get to have sex with anyone. ”

    In other words same as in real life?? 😛

  • HvR

    Just what the hell were they smoking when doing the Korgan voice casting.

    I’m all for less gender stereotyping in games but a camp krogan is going too far

  • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

    I’ll just leave Vee’s video about Bioware’s character creation (lol africans in space)

  • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

    Derp face! Hahahahahahahahahahahah! Oh man, mass effect…. What the hell Bioware!!!?

    • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

      Compare Bioware’s facial animation and voice acting to Guerilla’s Horizon Zero Dawn – It just makes them look unbelievably out-of-depth!

      I’m just going to blame that idiot, Manveer Heir. Dumbass should have stopped tweeting and rather focused his attention on making the game better.

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