Unpopular opinion time: I loved Mass Effect: Andromeda. There, I said it. I get that the animations were a little wonky, and the eyes, oh the EYES. It’s hard comparing it to Dragon Age: Inquisition, where character creation was much better and the animations smoother from the get go.
But you know, I loved it enough to play it twice, once as Sara and once as Scott. The environments were gorgeous, and the combat was a blast. I loved evading and jump jetting all over the place; throwing down a barricade here or disappearing there. In previous Mass Effects I’d always been a soldier — grab a shotgun, get in the front line and take those hits. I was much more excited to try out different weapons and builds in this one, especially with the profile system. Mostly I ended up with a sniper rifle and some biotic skills, though. Magical.
Here’s where the game shone: companions. The Nexus was boring, for the most part, and I got sick of hearing the same conversations over and over again. The Hyperion was annoying to navigate (well, that’s par for the course with Mass Effect games). And the Nomad was…an adventure. Not QUITE as good as the Mako but equally likely to end up in stupid places. Plus, the party banter inside the Nomad was fantastic; you got to hear your squadmates bicker and make up and also give me a LOT OF SASS about my driving. Jerks.
I loved them each. The only squadmate I was neutral on was by the book Cora. Everyone else wormed their way into my heart fully and completely. There’s a moment near the end of the game where you’re about to start a tough mission. You gather in the loading bay with your squadmates, and the ship’s engineer (my beloved Gil Brodie) stands behind you, checking your armor, tightening the straps, giving you sass. They shone as people.
There are legitimate complaints. Sometimes the writing was stellar (hah. Stellar. Get it?) but there were times where it felt like they were relying on easy tropes to pull emotion. I’ve played too many games for that to work. The story line was cool, but needed some fleshing out.
But then you get missions like Liam’s loyalty mission (complete with Star Wars reference) and you realize it’s worth it. The less than amazing moments are worth getting through to get to those gems.