Mass Effect: Andromeda Impressions By A Mass Effect Fan

Mass Effect: Andromeda is only days away, and many are hoping it redeems the franchise after many were disappointed with Mass Effect 3’s conclusion to the original trilogy's story. There is quite a bit of excitement surrounding the game, our thoughts are separate from that hype, only going on how the game stands on it’s own.

We’ve managed to put in quite a few hours and want to provide some impressions as we work to complete the game for our full review.

A mixed opening. Andromeda’s opening isn’t the bundle of excitement you’d expect. Instead, it’s a calm first few hours that lead up to a rather hollow emotional plot point. It sets up the game for a lot of promise, but it throws too much at you in the beginning, leaving a lot to be desired.

A promising story. The narrative is one my favorite parts of the game. Several groups of colonists take 600 years to travel to the Andromeda Galaxy only to find planets that are nearly uninhabitable. I won’t spoil anything about your specific interactions with the individual planets, but the overarching narrative has me invested.

Satisfying combat. While many of its RPG elements are intact, Andromeda does have a strong focus on action. The combat feels like a tame third person shooter, similar to the Gears of War franchise.

Exploring is now scanning. A big part of exploring in Andromeda involves scanning, switching your visor into a different mode and gathering details on different objects and creatures. It’s a really boring and unimaginative way of getting story information, mission objectives, etc. Not a welcome change in my book.

A better-than-nothing cover system. Like other Mass Effect games, Andromeda doesn’t give you the ability to press a button to drop into cover. Instead, most of the cover is simply waist high, allowing you to crouch and gain cover. It’s hard to get used to when many other fantastic third person shooters take advantage of a stick-to-the-wall cover system. It was one of the things I had hoped Bioware would address in this iteration, but it remained unchanged.

A little murky at times. I’ve had some trouble with dark and murky textures over several planets and the game's version of the Citadel, it just doesn’t look as good as it should. While it definitely is eye candy, the dark tones and somewhat foggy locales really take from the general visuals.

What is wrong with your face? It’s become a big story around the web because it’s true, the facial expressions are incredibly odd and distracting in most conversations. Right from the get go most of the supporting cast stared at Scott with wild eyes, it got so bad that I nearly forgot what they said while their stare pierced my very soul. BioWare will need to patch this or it’ll become a big part of the games legacy.

I know him from somewhere. The voice acting has been wonderful so far, one of the best parts of the characters. It’s funny how much Kumail Nanjiani and Natalie Dormer stick out, though. It’s hard to separate their characters when they sound so familiar.

The formula still works. The different alien races are still as interesting as they were during the original game, and seeing them work cohesively together on this colony initiative is a strong point of the game.

Familiar, but not better. From my experiences so far, I don’t think Andromeda will be the revival that the series needs, it hasn’t changed anything radically or added any great innovations. But besides that, it’s an epic space adventure that most people will enjoy, especially if you know what you’re getting into.

Our full review will be available on Monday.