Is Mass Effect: Andromeda Stuck in The Last Generation
The Mass Effect series has, in the last decade, been looked at as a shining example of not just why video games can make us emotional, but also an example of how sophisticated and innovative they can be when it comes to spinning a narrative.
It’s also a series that has been able to evoke fan reactions unlike almost anything else that has come before or after it.
Reactions to the decisions that players had to make during the original trilogy produced a volume of critical feedback that most games fail to see during the week of their launch. Mass Effect managed to transcend that, causing people to debate decisions like choosing either the Geth or the Quarians and sending Mordin to his death, years after the fact.
Playing through Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3 is just as emotional for many of us now as it was back then; we remember who we befriended and, of course, our views on the divisive ending to the trilogy.
So, with the release of Mass Effect’s brave new tale: Andromeda. Many of us wondered if moving to a new set of consoles and a brand new cast of characters, would help the series grow once more and possibly allow it to be endeared by a whole new generation of players.
Unfortunately though, it hasn’t made the greatest start.
The internet is a crazy place at times, but the absolute battering that Mass Effect: Andromeda has received from both reviewers and the internet at large, is something that I haven’t seen since the No Man’s Sky debacle almost a year ago.
Its EA Access trial, which allowed players to play up to a certain story point, opened the game up to all sorts of criticism, with much of the focus being put on the character animations, dead faces, and even having scenes where the gun is pointing the wrong way. All of which would go someway to explaining why the build-up to the game’s release, has been somewhat quiet in comparison to other big titles like Zelda and Horizon Zero Dawn which have recently released to much fanfare.
Perhaps the most alarming part of Andromeda, is that after five years’ worth of development time, the game – on a technical level at least – doesn’t appear to be too far ahead of the previous games in the series, at least to the naked eye.
The original games also featured a lot of blank and emotionless characters and awkward dialogue from NPC’s, especially from humans, and it’s these issues that we’re seeing yet again with Andromeda. But while the original Mass Effect trilogy was trying to be innovative with its story, narrative choices and setting, Andromeda is releasing during a time frame where Zelda is redefining what it means to be an open world and where Horizon is pushing the boundaries of both story telling and diversity.
Mass Effect: Andromeda feels like a game that hasn’t changed much in the five years since its last iteration came out. Since then, we’ve seen the introduction of new consoles, interesting and intriguing ways of telling stories across the medium and a plethora of new and innovative motion capture implementations, and Andromeda hasn’t taken advantage of any of them.
We’ll have our full review up shortly, but for now, Mass Effect: Andromeda isn’t winning many fans when it comes to being technically proficient. Hopefully, the game is strong enough to not just keep the fans happy, but to keep EA’s pockets lined with enough cash to see the team get another shot at revitalising Mass Effect.
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