Thoughts about Mass Effect Andromeda – I’m too old for this
Of course I played the trial for Mass Effect Andromeda. How could I avoid it after playing so much of Mass Effect 2 (much less of ME 3 though…). I don’t care much for combat but really enjoy the characters and stories in these games.
I played a lot of Dragon Age 2 too but barely finished Dragon Age 3 as I just hated roaming around in a huge world hoping for something interesting to happen while I should have stick to the main quest.
Sadly, it seems Andromeda is closer to Dragon Age 3 than Mass Effect 2. That’s not good news for me.
Well okay, they thought about people like me and they added a “narrative” difficulty level which is the “please don’t hurt me” difficulty level. It turns out I really need that difficulty level because you can’t tactically pause anymore during a fight to target the next enemy. The whole thing feels a lot like a console action game even if I never played one.
I like the charge ability (same as vanguard from Mass Effect 2) but when I use it in Andromeda I only end up getting myself into trouble as I’m having trouble moving to the next target in real-time. In ME 2 I would use charge then pause, look around what’s the situation where I ended up and could think about my next move. Not in Andromeda though… I charge and then frantically rotate around while wasting ammo.
You can pause during combat but then your view is locked the way it was before you pause so you can’t use this to make tactical decisions.
It’s a huge world with a lot of content
Andromeda is huge. A bit too much for my taste. How can it be a bad thing to get “more” of what I supposedly like? Well, after finally finishing some side-quest even before getting my ship (in the Nexus), I felt like I had enough already. I had to walk all around the Nexus just to resolve that quest and listen to way too many things characters had to tell me. In the end, all I got was some “readiness” points for the Nexus. I guess it will play a role later in the game but right now the whole thing feels really unsatisfactory.
Why bother at all with this side-quest then? Well, I like side-quests, I like some exploration and unlock new dialogues but when it goes on and on and on and you’re not sure when it will end… I tend to get bored easily but then I started it and it just seems silly to give up at that point.
I also like to get a “perfect” story. I like how rewarding it can be to know that what you did really mattered later in the story. For example, doing all loyalty quests in Mass Effect 2 to upgrade the Normandy really had a significant impact on the story (by preventing some characters to die). It felt great to know that “I got a 10 out of 10!”.
But you never know how a side-quest will really impact the story later on so you always risk doing some boring side-quest for nothing. Worst, you might end up giving up on side-quests only to realize that one side-quest in particular would really have affected the game in a way you wish happened.
Will that long boring side-quest I did in the Nexus really have an impact later? I don’t know. All I know is that now I don’t feel like doing more of these side-quests so I’ll probably miss stuff I would really enjoy. It sucks…
That damn vehicle…
I didn’t like the Mako in ME 1 and I don’t like the Nomad in Andromeda. Not that I hate the vehicle itself but I hate why it needs to be in the game at all.
I don’t care for a big open world in which I’m free to go anywhere at any time. Yes, I like to explore but I like to explore CONTENT, not empty spaces with possibly some side-quests I won’t care about. In my 10 hours playing Andromeda I got lost a lot. Yes, there’s a map but it’s still easy to get lost due to the terrain.
Oh, I needed to jump there! Oh, I can’t climb there because I needed to find that other path that is a bit hidden! Oh, that waypoint is just there but I need to get around to really reach it! And on and on and on…
The result here is that at some point I just get bored and just want to rush toward the main mission, once again missing some possibly great content because the game did its best to annoy me.
I don’t play much so when I do, I like to have some fun. Spending so much time running and driving around isn’t exactly my definition of fun.
Will I still buy the game?
It seems I don’t have much good things to say about the game but it still has the parts I enjoy (characters, dialogues). The problem is they are buried under a layer of things that tend to bore me. I had a similar problem with The Witcher. It’s a great game with a lot of story but I never could get past the action sword swinging that completely killed my interest. That and getting lost in side-quests until I couldn’t figure anymore what was worth doing.
What I ended up doing for Dragon Age 3 was to use a lot of spoilers to figure where my time was best spent. I already did this in Andromeda to solve some weird puzzle I didn’t care about and that’s probably how I’ll play the rest of the game.
What I’m realizing is that these games are not designed for someone like me anymore. I’m now enjoying more a game like Life is Strange (really amazing) than these big open-world games in which I seem to always get lost.