It's been a long, five-year wait for the latest installment in the Mass Effect series, but Mass Effect Andromeda is finally here. The game, which stars Ryder, a Pathfinder charged with finding a new home for humanity, appears to be one of the most polarizing games of 2017.
Credit: Bioware / Electronic Arts
No two critics judged the game alike -- some praised it for its lovable cast of characters, others dinged it for poor writing. Some loved the exploration, while others hated clunky mechanics and bugs.
Here's what reviewers thought of Mass Effect Andromeda:
Pros: "Right off the bat, Andromeda earns a lot of credit for putting an imaginative sci-fi story front and center. Exploring a whole new galaxy is a brilliant concept, and builds up enough distance to make the events of the previous Mass Effect games almost ancillary"
"Each character has his or her own distinct personality, combat style and quest chain, and each one is worth spending some time with. And yes, you can sleep with pretty much any of them."
Cons: "While a passable villain does eventually show up, he takes his sweet time, leaving the plot feeling somewhat directionless for more than a dozen hours."
"Characters occupy an unpleasant area in the Uncanny Valley; lifelike enough to look realistic, but inorganic enough to take you out of the experience."
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Pros: "I found Andromeda’s combat changes to be for the better — previous games, at best, felt functional mechanically, and the additional versatility on hand now makes for something that felt much more capable, especially as I found more powerful weapons."
"It’s a crew of people that do things together, and grow to care deeply about each other across lines of race, gender, sexual identity and, since this is science fiction, species, in a way few games allow."
Cons: "The inventory system is still a disaster, with dozens of types of weapons and armor with additional tiers (I-VI) applied to them, along with weapon and armor modifications."
"Over my 80-plus hours with the game, I saw a number of glitches during conversations in particular — characters would often freeze in place while speaking, losing all animation in their body, or a background character would zip in and out of frame."
Pros: "On the whole, Ryder is a likable and well-acted character who can carry the story, and the idea of having the alternate-gender version of your character play a role in the story as a twin sibling is a novel idea and used to good effect."
"Ryder is fantastically mobile, with a supremely satisfying jump-jet that vaults you over nearly anything. Combined with the jet-dash move, it’s easy to get comfortable running out to flank enemies, giving combat a much more energetic pace compared to the cover-focused combat of previous Mass Effects."
Cons: "On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (I’ve yet to spend significant time with the PC version), it’s prone to major frame rate drops and hitches regardless of what’s happening on screen."
"I’m much more distracted by the texture pop-in that happens during conversations, where a character’s face will go from looking like a blurry mess to having visible pores midway through a sentence."
Credit: Bioware / Electronic Arts
Pros: "Andromeda compares most favorably to previous entries when the bullets and biotics start flying. This is the best combat has ever felt in the series."
"The wealth of content is impressive; you could probably get through main story quickly, but I logged about 60 hours to see everything that interested me, a significant part of which was ally loyalty missions."
Cons: "For the series that brought us adversaries like Saren and the Illusive Man, the primary foe in Andromeda is surprisingly boilerplate."
"Lurking beneath the ups and downs of the Andromeda’s gameplay and story is a baffling network of technical issues, clunky menus, and unexplained systems."
Pros: "As you might expect, pretty much all of them have individual storylines, most of which culminate in a multi-part loyalty mission. These missions seem to bring out the best in Andromeda's designers, which is reflected in more complicated setpieces."
Cons: "It takes a while to get going as Andromeda painstakingly introduces you to the mechanics of exploration in a drawn-out tutorial sequence."
"After three games of fighting evil aliens, it would have been nice for Andromeda's villains to be more complicated, even borderline sympathetic."
"Perhaps my biggest problem with it, though, is that it deemphasizes Mass Effect's traditional dialogue choices to the point of being nearly meaningless."