So I played a good bit of ME: Andromeda yesterday. I finished the first colonization of Eos. The best way I can describe it is: itís like all 3 mass effect games in one. I can see elements from each and some of its own, both with their perks and flaws.
For you lore nerds:
The story is you are part of an initiative that left the milky way galaxy during ME2 (so reapers are not a thing, Humans are equal, etc) with the intention of colonizing the Andromeda Galaxy. 5 "Ark" ships (1 human, 1 asari, 1 salarian, 1 turian, and 1 quarian) with colonists along with a space station were dispatched and put into cryo sleep for 600 years. So technically this does take place after ME3 but with the same tech level as before. After some first contact shenanigans, the Human Ark is the only one to check in with the space station. Everything that could go wrong, has. You are a "Pathfinder" and it would seem no one can pull their head from their ass without a Pathfinder. So your job is to organize and help colonize the galaxy. There are 2 things standing in your way; All of the habitable planets that was picked out before launching this expedition are now no longer habitable, and there is a mysterious hostile alien race that fight you whenever you arrive on ancient tech ruins on those planets. I wonít spoil much of the intriguing planets and main plot as they are just amazing. You truly feel like an explorer. The new ship looks like the Normandy was crossed with a concord jet and the new land rover handles way better that the old mako. What is also different is there really isnt any military presence as far as the council races are concerned. Its like they just sent 5 colony ships and a space station. You all are on your own.
Now onto the game:
The combat is very tight. I will say the controls are a bit awkward at first but I chalk that up to the fact I played ME1-3 on the xbox with a controller and now ME:A is with keyboard and mouse. I got the hang of it in no time and probably could have just hooked up my controller instead. The addition of a jump jet makes everything fun and exciting. I found myself trying to use it while on the ship only to discover I wasnt wearing it...granted I was just trying to jump jet over a table instead of walking around it. Another cool think is the scanner. You use it to, well, scan everything! It helps with research for later upgrades and equipment. You also learn a little bit about the planet/alien/tech you scan. The leveling system appears like the old ME1 interface mixed with ME3 with branching abilities. Also the vehicle parts are surprisingly fun. The only down side is itís a civilian rover so no weapons (yet) and this is also how you scan for resources to build new equipment. You just drive around until your meter blinks at you saying there is nearby minerals. I am not a big fan of the UI though. Itís like the devs just used windows explorer or share point instead of streamlining the whole thing. Everything is basically a folder and sub folder structure and nowhere near as dynamic as say ME2. My biggest complaint would have to be the character creation. Itís just so limited. They don't let you change the chin, face length, or eye brows. You have to pick one of 10 different default heads that have those things you like and then customize it from there. Nowhere near as much choices or customization as any of the previous games which is rather sad. I was looking to make Nigel Thornberry (after all, we are explorers and observing aliens) but there was only one mustache option and it was a pornstache, let alone any ability to shape the head, eyes, anything. One youtube group I watch like to make their ME characters look like a space duck...unfortunate they were not able to pull that off with this game. Itís just so limited, like the devs took this part too seriously or just didn't put enough time into it.
I am running this on PC and itís strange. I honestly feel like itís a mix of graphics from all 3 previous installments. The Krogan executive person has blank black eyes whereas the Krogan soldier I met has the reptilian one we are used to from the previous games. Some things seem low res akin to ME1 while standing next to something from ME3. I thought that this may just be because of my rig but I've seen others with far better PCs than I encounter the same thing. The facial features on some squad mates don't seem to match or react to the situation they are in sometimes (example: Executive Tenn "We had a mutiny and after putting it down we had to banish them from the space station. Many families were split apart because of this." Meanwhile Cora is staring off into space with a big smirk on her face). There are some weird clipping problems here and there too. Nothing to break the immersion (except that one time where a tv screen 30 feet away somehow also lodged itself into the head of the Avina VI standing 2 feet away) but enough to notice and laugh...not unlike some of the weird shit you'd see in ME3.
The plot is solid and even the side quests are interesting as well. The squad mates are very interesting and fun, but one seems rather...off. They threw a temper tantrum over the fact you are made pathfinder instead of her and she doesn't understand why...even though it was fully explained literally right in front of her when you as the player are made pathfinder. Natalie Dormer is your ships doctor, which is a plus. Everyone does have an interesting personality and backstory though. Like Cora, she's basically what you would get if you took Miranda and Jack and spliced them together. And the Asari squad mate is an archeologist but, unlike Liara, she is a ball of energy and just incredibly fun to be around! The pilot, co-pilot, and engineer are rather bland but then again I haven't really got to know them much compared to the squad mates that I have gotten to know in the field. I think I spent more time planet side with the squaddies than on the ship...which is also a plus. Reminds me of ME1 where the ship was just to talk to the squad mates on the side line rather than be the only way to connect with them a la ME2-3. The main character (Ryder) is no Shepard, which I see as a good thing seeing as you are not a battle hardened veteran but a civilian. I chose the male Ryder and honestly, he's quite likable. They completely got rid of the paragon renegade mechanic and the choices are split up into emotional, logical, casual, professional, and romantic options. I like this change as it lets you really personalize your Ryder. Mine is pretty much a lovable rogue.
The game is not without its bugs. One enemy fell into a rock but I could still hit him in the head. Granted I destroyed an entire battalion up to this point so it was rare. Also there's a bug with changing the colors of you outfit but supposedly that will be fixed in the next patch, along with the dreadful character creation. Nothing game breaking but what you might expect from Bioware if you played ME3. :icon_rolleyes: One thing I hate is that itís easy to cut off your squad mate from saying something while in the field because you advanced too quickly, whereas in the previous game they would finish whatever they were saying before going onto the next area, usually auto-switching you into a walk than a jog/run.
+Great Story and Characters
+Stable with a few comedic bugs
+Exploration is a key element
-Terrible Face Customization
-Weird cut off with squad dialogue when exploring.
All in all itís a lot of fun but because it just seems too unpolished I would have to agree with the 7/10s they've been getting. If it were polished and the UI wasn't garbage I'd have given it a 9.
Mind you I have barely scratched the surface here so I may change my opinion once I have finished the game. For all I know it has a ME3 style shit ending, but so far its awesome.