Mass Effect Andromeda PC Game Review: Page 3 of 6
Posted by Ransley Garrow on Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 8:00am
About the Game
After a brief introductory cut-scene which states that the Andromeda Initiative began in 2185 the game jumps 600 years into the future with the protagonist Ryder being awakened from cryosleep. They have arrived at their ‘Golden World’ a planet that from probes before launch are suitable for colonizing, in this case, a planet designated Habitat 7. Problems arise immediately as the human ark Hyperion strikes a dark energy cloud known throughout Andromeda as The Scourge, upon the recon team landing on Habitat 7 they find the air to be toxic and the planet itself is already inhabited by a hostile species known as the Kett. When the player character has their helmet break after a long fall their father Alec Ryder sacrifices himself to save them naming the player character the new Pathfinder.
Human ships leaving Earth on the journey to Andromeda.
Upon reaching the Nexus which is functionally The Citadel for this game Ryder learns that none of the Arks have made it to the Nexus, every golden world was uninhabitable, war with the Kett lead to losses and that they had been stranded for a year. Strife had also broken out in the Nexus with several colonists being ejected after a riot and the Krogan have left after their being mistreated by the Solarian whom basically used them to put down the riot. As they players explore they also meet another race called the Angaran which mistrusts outsiders due to their issues with the Kett. The primary antagonists for Andromeda, the Kett seek to learn the secrets of the Remnant technology in their bid to bend the Heleus Cluster in the Andromeda Galaxy to their whim. In an eventual plot twist, Ryder learns that Angaran, Kett and Remnant technology were all created by an ancient race known as the Jardaan which have long left the Andromeda system.
The story is fairly weak with some elements that break canon, the biggest example being the intro-sequence which states that the Andromeda Initiative starting in 2185 which places it in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. Despite this, there is no mention of the Andromeda Initiative in Mass Effect 3. With BioWare stating that development started in 2012 which is the year that Mass Effect 3 was released, it's not like the idea of easter eggs or references are unreasonable.
The Arks with Hyperion the human Ark in focus. Ryder's journey begins awakening from cryosleep on Ark Hyperion.
Another story issue is interaction with the Angaran and Remnant tech, the idea that the races on the Nexus could have learned the Angaran language in a year is immersion breaking even with suspension of disbelief. Moreso when you consider that the Angaran were hostile toward outsiders after years of war with the Kett and strife with internal factions which led to limited interaction with the Nexus. Yet this is pointed out in more than one conversation with Ryder translation issues are brought up. Ryder through SAM is also able to understand and use Remnant tech, despite the native Kett and Angara being unable to do so. Archeologists from the Nexus also had a year to study the technology yet Ryder is able to use the technology with greater understanding after mere weeks. In one instance Ryder is even able to control Remnant technology while the connection with SAM had been severed by the Archon whom is one of the higher ups in the Kett hierarchy.
Character development is weak, especially with the Ryder character, people seem to either like Ryder or go along with your actions. Even when Ryder makes a serious choice the consequences never seem to match the impact of the decision, in one case you have the option to rescue Salarians or rescue Krogans. The Krogans hate the Salarians for developing the genophage which was a virus that practically drove them to extinction and left infant birth rates at a single digit percentage. Yet if you choose to save the Salarians your Krogan ally whom had sent in the Krogan scouts basically shrugs it off.
The Kett, the main antagonists preparing for exaltation.
The writing for the NPC characters is no better, with some characters feuding for pointless reasons. One character in specific Cora Harper is a human that became an Asari Commando, as such, she is a powerful biotic, the problem is the writing for her character gives off the vibe of a bad fanfic. Even on the Nexus, they are running low on supplies yet the Salarians still used the Krogan to put down a revolt and then deny them a say in the Nexus affairs which causes them to leave to form their own colony. This creates hostility for the sake of hostility which is ultimately futile as nothing prevents Ryder from dealing with the Krogan colony or the exiles that were expelled from the Nexus.