Are You Worried About Mass Effect: Andromeda?
We’re just a few days away from the release of one of the biggest titles of the year: Mass Effect: Andromeda and the hype train is in full swing. While a few lucky souls on consoles will be able to get early access to multiplayer, the official release date is March 21 in the US and March 23 in Europe.
We first got a sneak peek of the game back at E3 in 2015. Back then, not much was shown off by the developers. We essentially got a short, in-game trailer, that showed us that the game would take place at a separate location from the original Mass Effect series, outside of the Milky Way galaxy in neighboring Andromeda. We also found out that players would get access to the rover, the Tempest spacecraft, and that the game would be based on story and exploration.
Not much more was revealed about the game until the beginning of this year, when the developers began releasing their series of different aspects of the game. We got segments, via YouTube, on things like combat, storyline and the vehicles that gamers could use. We also got an insight into Bioware’s story-driven plot. It’s clear that this game, like other Bioware games (including Star Wars: The Old Republic), will be based around a central plot.
Bioware Taking Cues From Witcher 3
Bioware are going to have to be careful, though. Gamers aren’t looking for boring, dull and repetitive MMO-style quests which don’t provide great rewards. They want everything to feel meaningful and action-packed. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Bioware developers say that they are taking cues from CD Projekt Red’s award-winning Witcher 3 – arguably the best RPG game we’ve seen since Skyrim in 2011. The Witcher 3 didn’t have players completing meaningless quests. Instead, like in Skyrim, everything felt like it had a purpose and was interesting in its own right, even if it wasn’t related to the main story. Bioware claims that they have managed to do the same in Mass Effect: Andromeda, and let’s hope for the sake of the series that they have.
A New Storyline
Most people aren’t happy with the way that Mass Effect 3 ended. It was the only real failure of an impeccably constructed game. Mass Effect: Andromeda isn’t actually related to the events of the Milky Way, however. Instead, it’s set 600 years in the future in an independent time and place, meaning that there shouldn’t be much of a hangover from the original game’s ending. That’s literally a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
This has enabled Bioware to essentially rewrite history from scratch. From the perspective of the Milky Way humanoid species, Andromeda is a blank canvas, just waiting to be explored. Andromeda could be a galaxy with all the richness of the Milky Way. But Bioware has made it clear that they want it to feel truly alien and have a strangeness about it. Players are going to be a long way from Kansas when the step onto these alien worlds.
The Bookie’s Favourite
Mass Effect: Andromeda had been the bookie’s favorite to win the coveted game of the year title. If you’re a betting person, you can click here to download an app and see for yourself. But with the reveals coming thick and fast on YouTube, many people are now not so sure that it will be as good as the trailers and Bioware suggest. Many have been left disappointed by the apparent childishness of the main female protagonist, and the highly annoying and dysfunctional conversations she has with her AI.
What’s worse, her artificial intelligence companion seems to be giving her glaringly obvious instructions about how to play the game, in effect, telling the player what to do outside of tutorial zones.
For many players who love the experience of the open world, this is going to feel stifling. They don’t want a constant tutorial to hold their hand through every aspect of the game. They want to be able to progress through their own efforts. What’s more, players don’t want annoying main characters. They want people with depth: not people who seem like they’ve just left kindergarten and are yet to fully mature.
If the snippets we’ve seen are representative of the game as a whole, expect a massive backlash on Steam and on Reddit – and against the mainstream tech press which invariably sides with major game publishers above gamers. We can only hope that Mass Effect: Andromeda will deliver. But don’t get your hopes up.