Mass Effect Andromeda: Is It Worth Playing in 2024

Is It Worth Playing Mass Effect Andromeda in 2024, is the story, multiplayer, gameplay, and combat good compared to new releases? The game received mixed reviews in 2017 as the fourth installment in the Mass Effect series.

Mass Effect Andromeda Is It Worth Playing in 2024

Mass Effect Andromeda is a 2017 action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. It is the fourth installment in the Mass Effect series, and the first to be set outside of the Milky Way galaxy. Players take control of Ryder, a Pathfinder tasked with finding a new home for humanity in the Andromeda galaxy. In this article, we want to re-examine Mass Effect Andromeda with an open mind and answer the question, is it worth playing in 2024?

Is It Worth Playing Mass Effect Andromeda in 2024?

Mass Effect Andromeda was a highly anticipated game, but it was met with mixed reviews at launch. The game was praised for its open-world exploration, jetpack traversal, and combat system, but it was also criticized for its technical issues, repetitive quests, and lack of direction in the main story.  With N7 day upon us, and a potential new entry into the series, was Mass Effect Andromeda that bad, or was its critic group think that plague this game?

The Problems

Mass Effect Andromeda Metacritic Reviews
Source: Metacritic

The main issue with Mass Effect Andromeda was the development crunch brought on by executives at Electronic Arts (EA).  The game had a massive reported budget of $100 million with a development team of over 200.  Entering pre-production around 2013, with a massive budget, a lot was on the line for the publically traded EA, and they most likely wanted a quick return on investment.

The game had originally intended for the sprawling planets and cities to be procedurally generated.  This would provide near-limitless possibilities and exploration options for the player.  However, like what Starfield is finding out, this technology is very hard to implement.  Moreover, having a sprawling city with minor variations isn’t enough to keep the player busy or immersed.

In 2015, with nearly one and a half years to go, the team at BioWare reversed course and scrapped the core idea of procedurally generated planets and worlds.  What you have left, is a 1.5-year scramble from the development team to cram as much content, and polish as possible into a massive game with high expectations.  What you end up with, is an unpolished version of what could have been the best exploration-based RPG Action game from EA.

Story & Setting in Mass Effect Andromeda

Mass Effect Andromeda Story and Setting

Mass Effect Andromeda begins between the events of Mass Effect 2 and 3 when the four Citadel Council races plan to populate new home worlds.  With the threat of the Reapers upon the Galaxy, the series sets out to expand into new territory with new enemies.  Mass Effect Andromeda is a story about sending 20,000 citizens on individual starships called Arks.  These Arks traverse the cold distances between galaxies, intending to reach the Andromeda galaxy in start anew.  With a 600-journey ahead of them, this is a one-way trip.

The biggest problem with the story and setting was the lack of the former main protagonist, Commander Shepard.  Moreover, the antagonist in the series, the Kett, seemed uninteresting, lacking in galactic power, and brought nothing new to the table.  You end up with a lighthearted, watered-down version of Commander Shepard who isn’t likable in the same way.  The inspiring leadership qualities, bold strategic planning, and sheer force of will of Commander Shepard are gone and left with Ryder who seemingly jokes a lot to lighten the mood.

However, not all the new story is bad, with a whole new set of planets, problems, and solutions, the player’s agency to affect change is on a global, galactic scale.  And that’s the strength of Andromeda and what makes every playthrough fun.  Your player can influence change on a planetary, and even galaxy-spanning scale. 

Each planet acts as a “quest hub,” typically with one city or settlement full of quest givers. Some of these quests are your typical “fetch” variety, go here kill 10 rats, etc.  However, there is an underlying mystery and temple puzzles that need to be solved on each planet.  Upon solving the main puzzle on each planet, the player is left with a choice.  Do you keep or use dangerous Artificial Intelligence?  Do you destroy valuable information, or use it with the future potential of disaster?

All these micro and macro-level decisions unfold, and the planet, solar system, and individual characters react to your choices.  While Ryder may seem lifeless to some players, the volume and depth of the decisions you make provide uncanny immersion into an unknown imaged galaxy.  If you’ve ever dreamed about encountering another galaxy and colonizing it, this game is worth a playthrough for that alone.

Gameplay & Combat in Mass Effect Andromeda

Mass Effect Andromeda Gameplay and Combat

When you think of the Mass Effect franchise, vibrant storytelling, incredible graphic fidelity at its time, and decent combat were its core strengths.  Mass Effect Andromeda leaned into the fast-paced more acrobatic type of gameplay by introducing jetpacks.  The player has a third-person perspective, and the addition of jet-packing added a vertical dimension to an already popular gameplay system.

Your character could choose core classes and skills and diversify your build into a variety of areas. Biotics, Tech, Combat, etc., were the typical archetypes but players had the flexibility to instantly change on the fly.  Progression was somewhat more complex with multiple skill trees requiring heavy skill point investment earned by leveling.  With a New Game + system, you could repeatedly progress and unlock more and more skills. 

Combat in Mass Effect Andromeda was its biggest strength.  You felt fast, with your actions, and skills having quick response time.  The player was no longer able to pause the game and select abilities, giving you a much more realistic gameplay experience.  The mobility increased with the jetpack made the game feel so much faster, making it hard to replay Mass Effect 1 without it.

Multiplayer in Mass Effect Andromeda

Mass Effect Andromeda Multiplayer

Mass Effect 3 had a robust multiplayer community that is still active today. I have myself spent over 300 hours in the game alone due to the fun multiplayer.  Mass Effect Andromeda improved on an already stellar system. Unlike other third-person shoots, Andromeda doesn’t have Player vs. Player or PvP, instead multiplayer system was squad-based, with scores for kills, objectives, and rounds.  Once all the rounds are completed, you need to extract each teammate to get the maximum amount of points.

What made the multiplier so fun was the variety of characters, builds, and races you could play and experience.  Use a Krogan Vanguard heavily focused on Biotics.  Turians, Batarin, Salarian, Human, Asari, and so on, the customization, progression and build crafting is near limitless.  And with over 40 weapons, you have a variety of equipment progressions and customizations as well.

The downside of this the multiplayer is lack of population.  As you can imagine, Andromeda isn’t a popular meta shooter, so you’re likely to wait in lobbies or play with the same core group of 10 players. However, if you find a group of friends, the speed, pacing, and synergic combos are very rewarding.

Patches and DLC

In August 2017, BioWare announced that it had stopped supporting, and patching, and would no longer release a single-player DLC for Mass Effect Andromeda.  This was a considerable shock to the community, considering this was less than 6 months after the release of the game.  Originally, the developers planned on introducing the story of the Quarian Ark, but this never came to fruition.

Our last update, 1.10, was the final update for Mass Effect: Andromeda. There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content.

The Mass Effect Andromeda Team

Instead, BioWare published three novels: Mass Effect Andromeda Nexus Uprising, Mass Effect Initiation, and Mass Effect Annihilation.  While these books did their best to fill in narrative holes, the story remained discombobulated, and missing the Quarian piece that so many loved from the series.

The game received 10 minor patches with no major updates.  The modding community on Nexus Mods stepped up and solved some of the problems with the game. However, that community is sparse in comparison to Skyrim and other popular RPGs that are still alive and well.  Even without the full modding community support, and the rush to development, Mass Effect Andromeda delivers fast-paced combat and rewarding decision-making.  There’s a current game that makes a great comparison and that’s Starfield.

Starfield vs. Mass Effect

Starfield Unknown Planet Environment Preview

You can draw many comparisons and parallels between Mass Effect Andromeda and Starfield.  Starfield too had a monster budget and development team spanning many years.  But unlike Mass Effect Andromeda, Starfield’s procedurally generated worlds are a reality.  But does that make the game any better?  Not really.

Starfield’s main appeal was the main systems added to the game, specifically the “over 1,000 planets.”  Todd Howard’s dream of procedurally generated content with enemies, random animals, structures, and so forth, was now a reality.  But in that reality, what you get is a highly repetitive fetch quest and uninspiring dialogue.  The same complaints were made about Mass Effect Andromeda.

The difference, however, is that Mass Effect Andromeda rewards the player for decisions.  What you choose to do on the planet, impacts not only your story, but the planet, and galaxy.  You see the impact of your decision immediately and subsequently in similar ways. Not at the scale of Baldur’s Gate 3, but with some similarities.  And this is where Mass Effect Andromeda is much better than a 2023 monster release from Bethesda.

Additionally, there are many more systems involved in Starfield.  Spaceship build, traveling the galaxy, weapon crafting, and housing.  However, most of these systems are simply designed to keep you busy.  Take outpost building, what’s the point? Sure you can store materials, but your outpost rarely gets attacked, if ever.  There’s zero threat, even though you are on an alien world that is mainly a massive ball filled with sparse details. 

I preface this to make you think about the difference between Starfield and Mass Effect Andromeda. Would you rather have 1,000 planets with nearly anything on them or very few planets that felt alive and impactful when you decided on something?

If we examine the combat between Mass Effect: Andromeda and Starfield, you would think Starfield was released in 2017, not Andromeda.  Mass Effect Andromeda gunplay, customization, build crafting, variety of weapons, and skills give the player near-limitless re-playability.  Additionally, the inclusion of multiplayer allows you to experience the combat and gameplay elements with friends, while Starfield doesn’t have the option.

Is It Worth Playing Mass Effect Andromeda 2024

Mass Effect Andromeda isn’t a perfect action-based sci-fi RPG. However, the combat, space roleplaying, and multiplayer are its strengths.  It suffers from a weak protagonist, uninteresting enemies, and developer crunch. However, if you’re a Mass Effect fan, and you’ve never played the series, this is the time to try it.

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