So the reviews are out, the early trials are done, and people want to know whether their money was well spent or not.
I am waiting for 9pm PDT for the game to unlock, and find out for myself whether I will regret a 90$ preorder or not.
For most people, I am gonna say 9/10 people, think that Andromeda is/was developed by the very same studio that developed games like KOTOR, Jade Empire, Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Neverwinter Nights and its expansions, Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the Mass Effect Trilogy. I’m gonna tell you straight out, people who think that are not only 100% wrong, they are also willfully ignorant, and are tainting their reviews/critiques/criticism by that belief. Bioware Edmonton developed and created all those games you remember and loftily hold up as standards for a Bioware game.
Mass Effect Andromeda, was developed by Bioware Montreal, their first game for that studio. I’m sure people on that team have developed other games before, but as a studio Andromeda is their first and only game so far. The team worked on Omega DLC for Mass Effect 3. This means a different vision and design, writing, and different standards from your “typical” Bioware game.
It was also known for at least the 4 or 5 years it was in development that this was a Bioware Montreal game, and not the venerable Bioware Edmonton studio.
I am eager to find out myself how the game is, but from initial impressions (Victor Lucas from the Electronic Playground/Reviews on the Run/Judgement Day, who as been involved in the gaming industry and reviewing games since 1997,) it generally seems like a disappointment to most. However, I think it’s wise to reserve judgement until more people have played the game and see what the typical Mass Effect fan thinks. I say this because there is sometimes a fundamental disconnect on “Critical Reviews” by *cough* gaming journalists for a Mass Effect game in particular. When the reviews and judgments rolled out for Mass Effect 3 initially they were hugely favorable with the game being praised at excellent. However, these same reviews also happened not to mention the 3 colored, lots of questions for everyone, Buy More DLC endings that were present at launch. Pre-extended cut, of course. And many of the same reviewers, also continued laud and commend Bioware on the very disappointing vanilla endings we got as more and more people finished the game and were outraged about the rushed ending. An ending that was described by the Devs as not an A or B or C type ending and not an ending that would raise more questions than it would answer. Reviewers felt the need to defend their review score by marginalizing the outrage over the endings by claiming it was just a vocal minority and that people who did not enjoy the ending were being whiny, entitled, children who can’t or won’t appreciate the magnificence of the 3 colored explosion, lots of questions for everyone, Buy more fucking DLC ending we got.
Mass Effect games in particular are usually meant to be repeatedly played through, to experience the game as a different role, romance a different character, and make different choices. In your typical review, you don’t get a sense of this. They are just playing through as quickly as possible to get their review out first so more people click to read it or watch it on youtube. They are also usually click baity, more often than not, with the emphasis on getting out there first.
Review scores are often only useful for people on the outside looking in, in terms of gaming this means the mainstream, on whether what ever game is worth your 60$ USD, in my case 90$ CAD. In a mass effect fan context, review scores are less than useful, and only are worth it for pointing out glaring flaws, bugs, or question design choices.
I often wait to buy any game, until it’s on sale for 40$ or less. Games I’ve bought recently for these prices or less, are: Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Rise of the Tomb Raider, DOOM, Far cry Primal. It will also probably be the case for games like Dishonored 2, Nier: Automata, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, etc.
To me a Mass Effect game is not about combat, animations, multiplayer, graphics, or even gameplay. It’s about interacting with your crew, making difficult choices, creating a character, and relationships. All I care about in a mass effect game is story and characters.
All I’m hoping for from Andromeda, is a decent story with interesting characters and making impactful choices with actual consequence or meaning.
I’ll post again in a few days or a week to really discuss how I think Andromeda is or whether it was worth my 90$ CAD.
If you are looking for a recommendation or not, that is entirely up to you, but don’t let some meme bullshit about facial animations be your only reason to not try it out. If money is an issue, then by all means wait for a sale, there is no harm in waiting and you are often more than satisfied with your purchase when it costs 40$ or less.
As for me, I’m going to wait the hour and half or so, until my game unlocks so I can see if Bioware Montreal was able to successfully make a decent mass effect game and if the changes were positive or not.
See you on the other side.