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Mass Effect: Andromeda's cosmic exploration

Who is the main evil genius in Mass Effect: Andromeda, I could easily say, even without finishing the prologue. The stunning blonde from the crew of the space ark, flying to a new promised land, does not hesitate to show her blatant madness from the very beginning, but at the same time functions perfectly as a full-fledged astronaut and fighter. It’s these types that stir up all the trouble.

In one TV series about a funny doctor, they once treated a psychopath. Not for a mental disorder, but for something else, traditionally mysterious-unknown for the series. By the way, our funny doctor told an interesting joke – that many people instinctively fear psychopaths. They may not know the person, but literally with their skin and a couple of special points on the body, they can sense whether the encounter is good or suspicious. Well, exactly this scenario happened to me with the very first partner introduced in the space adventure. Those eyes. That expression. That confident voice. She knows, she knows in advance, into what hole we flew, because she personally controlled the flight program for the entire fleet of colonists. She will annihilate an ancient alien civilization with the hands of the main hero, then seduce him, and when he finally relaxes and stops noticing that a crazy witch is next to him, she will launch him into open space without a spacesuit.

According to a bold assumption supported by the argument of a special “eye” patch, in reality, it’s not the colonists who have gone crazy, but rather a software flaw sneaked into the release client. A small flaw, unnoticed by beta testers. Apparently, the latter had seen so many animation horrors that they no longer take simple screen psychopaths. Plus, you know, the deadlines are pressing, and after the reputation fiasco of No Man’s Sky, it’s scary to not deliver anything at all. EA will probably shut down the studio for ruining the brand.

Alien landscapes in Mass Effect

The original Mass Effect trilogy was undeniably an excellent epic space drama up until its very last moment. Galaxies shone on gamers’ screens, brave heroes and heroines lived and died dramatically, new worlds were discovered, and everything was great. The ending of the third installment (and consequently, the overall story) spoiled the whole celebration, as the writers stumbled upon a completely nonsensical conclusion. In the best traditions of old-school role-playing games, Bioware painted the same finishing line in three different colors and pretended that the Odyssey had three distinct epilogues, which were clearly different from each other. Seriously, the first one is highlighted in blue, the second one in red, and the third one in green. They are impossible to confuse!

As it is known, any decent corporate colossus, when it stumbles, falls slowly. Sometimes, very slowly. The giant named Mass Effect seems to be among them. In Andromeda, this hidden catastrophe is visible in more than half of the content. Oh, how many things went wrong in the release version purely in technical terms, and how much nonsense is being overlooked creatively… But a colossus is a colossus, and now, several years after the fiasco with the ME3 epilogue, we are witnessing not a failure lying in the mud or even a series rehabilitation process, but a slow descending flight.

In simpler terms, this means that the series is deteriorating. In terms of quality control, that’s for sure, and arguing about it is pointless. If in the second installment of ME we were shown close-ups of the combat brunette’s body parts in the cutscenes, there was no doubt – from a dramatic directing point of view, the camera angle may not have been obvious, but it was clear that it was not without reason. We were consistently advertised, um, a potential love interest. And other delights. But if you look into the deranged eyes of Andromeda’s statisticians, you even get lost in how this happiness passed Bioware’s quality control.

But, again, for now, the flight continues, which means that Mass Effect has only gotten worse in comparison to its own self of n years ago. On average, in the current RPG hospital, the new adventure holds up well.

Interstellar journey in Mass Effect

But gamers were finally allowed into the big cosmic sandbox. We were missing, oh how we were missing stories about emergency prevention of apocalypses, exploring forgotten godforsaken desert plateaus, caves, and other corners of the galaxy. Sometimes you land on a planet engulfed in total war, conduct a frantic evacuation, and you yourself wonder – what’s there, beyond these burning ruins of a scientific outpost?

For the greater good and to satisfy the gamers’ hunger for a good “Mass Effect,” representatives of the old good space UN launch a whole caravan of frozen settlers into the Andromeda Nebula (or something like that). Frozen, because the journey took six hundred years, and experience shows that if you give a company of humans, asari, krogan, and salarians a reason, it won’t be long before they start fighting.

Smoothly, nothing can happen in any story, so the caravan disperses in different directions, and the new systems turn out to be not as suitable for life as the settlers had hoped, and so on. But it can’t be that in the new cosmos there are only rocks and radiation, and anyway, something needs to be done. Especially since we, the ship of planetary pioneers, scouts, and all-around heroes, arrive a year late.

The nominal vanguard of nomads developed a cunning plan, thanks to which the ship with the main scouts was supposed to arrive at the already built space station and established planetary outposts. A beautiful plan, it seemed, but for some reason, something went wrong, and neither the space base was completed nor the new lands were colonized. It’s as if there were no responsible ones for reconnaissance and exploration on site. Unlucky, we’ll have to take matters into our own hands.

And it turned out that, indeed, in unexplored galaxies, there are not only rocks but also cats. I mean, kett; you get distracted from the subtitles, and you still hear “cats.” At first glance, the new aliens don’t resemble our smaller brothers, they lean more towards the next gloomy aliens with ashen skin. You won’t believe me now, but it turns out that in Andromeda, the kett are busy exploring the ruins of an ancient, extinct, yet technologically advanced civilization. And they don’t welcome guests.

Engaging in futuristic battles

In order to not lose momentum, when meeting the Kett, the jokesters-animators are joined by the jokesters-screenwriters. Comrades do not hesitate to immediately use heavy artillery: it turns out that our pioneers have no plans in case of meeting new green beings. The main hero/heroine and their companions have trained, studied, and prepared to work in uncharted worlds, yet they are still unable to produce anything other than panic, “Wow!” and “Let’s wave our hands at them” upon first contact.

You see, neither humans, nor Asari, nor Salarians, nor Krogans, nor any other participants in the conflicts with the Reapers have ever encountered aliens before.

Or wait, something is wrong with the previous line.

Fortunately, the aliens do not let the pioneers make fools of themselves and immediately shed the first human blood. It seems that two brainless squads have found each other. After such a positive start, it becomes obvious that there will be no serious negotiations with the Kett in the next few hours. All the classic tough diplomacy of Mass Effect in Andromeda is intended for internal use.

Because there is no more useful activity in space odysseys than to have a full-blown argument in the face of mortal danger. We land on our native ark, and it’s as if 600 years haven’t passed since the end of ME3. It was a mistake for the settlers to decide to sleep through the journey in cryo-pods. Maybe the old conflicts would have settled down, but as soon as the guys arrived in the new galaxy, they kicked the Krogans out of the station. Or maybe the people would have had time to fight on the way, and they wouldn’t have to suffer on the spot.

If you’re not aware, Krogans are the local orcs. Warcraft-style, strong, warlike, organized into clans. They don’t like anyone, but they especially dislike the “advanced” alien Salarians. The latter almost successfully sterilized the former at one point, and… well, it’s a long story from the original trilogy, echoing throughout the galaxies even 600 years after the supposed resolution of all that.

However, the old themes help the screenwriters feel back in their element. Scandals, intrigues, investigations – as if there was no funny prologue and ending of the third part. Everything around is in danger again, without resources, divided, but the reincarnation of Commander Shepard is morally and physically ready to navigate the ships sinking in the vacuum and finally build a big new home for the company of intelligent but perpetually clueless beings in Andromeda.

Unveiling mysteries in Andromeda

Everything would be fine with quests, but once again, my eyes, tongue, and lips see and feel the old cactus. But I would like to conquer a new cactus, a new one! In general, to your humble servant, through the press releases of Andromeda a year ago, it seemed like a truly different universe. You know, a universe free from the impending Ragnarok, open to new, relatively carefree adventures. All the reapers are long gone, it’s time for carefree rodeos, excursions to abandoned green humanoid worlds, and other pleasant pastimes. It can be without drama; even better.

No, again, everyone I meet is on the brink of death, and strangers are burning down their own homes. I admit, the degree of drama has decreased. But in my case, it means that the cactus is not just old, but also cold. The passion to save everyone and everything is gone, and the new space action hasn’t arrived.

That’s why there is not much joy from healthy sandboxes. The first hour in the first healthy desert passes in one breath, and then Mass Effect starts following the beaten path, only instead of moving through locations by means of meditation, hyper-engines, and loading, we personally drive the rover everywhere.

Moreover, the first lively ride somewhere beyond the mountain reveals that the sandboxes are run by crooks. And the local radiation is not just a stupid atavism for video games (because there is radiation in space!), but our beloved invisible wall. Only the opposite. Before, we would hit our heads against it, but couldn’t break through, and now the heroes don’t crash into the intangible fence, but they die from contact with it. The interface shows the first level of local radiation threat and blatantly lies. It’s not the level of threat, it’s the level of story access to content.

Why, one might ask, is such a game platform needed? They took and castrated the main joy of open worlds. They took and closed it. Do you envy “The Witcher” and “Fallout”? Either envy silently or copy properly.

Let me repeat a familiar chorus. It’s worth wiping the dust from your eyes, abandoning hopes for something truly new, “burying the idea of Mass Effect without borders,” and a kind formula appears before us, familiar from previous parts. Excursions to foreign territory, endless scanning of every first alien brick, digging in quest findings, simple puzzles – nothing is forgotten, no one is forgotten and sent into retirement. The old mechanics work like clockwork, which probably even comforts many players. But not the angry and picky ones, when it comes to games for $60, like me.


They left the cooperative multiplayer completely untouched. Only it kept crashing on me on the release day, and I was too lazy to check it further.

Yes, I know, they patched it. They also patched the crazy faces. After some days or weeks. And you know what? I still don’t like it when games work like crap on the release day. It turns out I gave Bioware money on credit. Okay, after three patches and a month, you returned it to me. But where are my interests then?

Beat me with sticks, but Mass Effect: Andromeda, overall, doesn’t deserve more than a banal 7.5 points. The game is good. But with every first attempt to get an “excellent” rating, it falls into a puddle and barely maintains the old level.

There is more interesting content now. Along with that, there are more unnecessary tedious clicks, annoying camera flyovers, invisible barriers, and inconvenient menus. ME stumbled and is flying, forgetting to spread its epic wings in panic. It’s flying, I repeat, slowly, resisting gravity, but the overall trajectory is still not pleasing.

Mass Effect: Andromeda
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Adventure, RPG, Co-op
Electronic Arts
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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