In case you’ve been living under a rock or playing The Witcher 3: Geraldo’s Day Out since 2015, you’ll have missed a lot of the controversy surrounding Bioware’s Mass Effect: Andromeda. Whether it’s consumers or critics, opinions seem mixed on the game and you either really like it or can’t stand it. That being said, what are some things that hardcore fans of the Mass Effect series don’t like about Mass Effect: Andromeda? Let’s take a look at five of them and to make things easier, we’ll just get this out of the way early – facial animations. Got it? Now on to some of the bigger issues with the game.
Lack of Direct Control
One of the key features of the original trilogy was the ability to issue commands directly to your squad mates. We’re not just talking about directing them to a specific location or focusing on a target. In Mass Effect 3, you could actually select which abilities to use. For difficulties like Insanity, it was essential for priming and detonating different combos for maximum damage. While Bioware claimed your allies would intelligently know when to detonate primed enemies, it’s still no substitute for having direct control over them. Besides, there are more than a few instances where we would have liked to direct our teammates to, oh, detonate an enemy right in front of us and save our hides in a tight situation.
Clunky User Interface
Mass Effect: Andromeda features a user interface similar to that of the first Mass Effect. Here’s the problem though – it isn’t very intuitive. When assigning points to different skills, you have to go through two menus to assign points. Keeping track of quests, especially with the amount of things Andromeda gives you to do, requires navigating folders upon folders. There are also some things the game doesn’t explain like not being able to equip armour and weapons until you deploy or access a forward station to change your loadout. Yes, it’s shades of the original trilogy but with such a big emphasis on discovering loot in the open world, you’d think we’d be able to just equip things as we pick them up. At least the forward stations aren’t all that far from you (and exiting the Nomad isn’t necessary to deploy them).
Research and Development
Whether you enjoy scanning or not, the research and development trees of the game can feel grindy. If you want to unlock new weapons, you need to unlock their blueprints. This requires research points in Milky Way, Kett and Remnant technologies. Fair enough. However, once the blueprints are unlocked, you then need the right materials to craft them. Not only are a significant amount of resources required but you have to go out of your way to hunt specific materials. Sure, this is typical of many open world RPGs like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Dragon Age: Inquisition and yes, you could just buy the materials if you wish. The other problem, however, is trying to upgrade your weapons. This again means going to the research tab, unlocking the upgrade’s blueprint and having the required materials to craft the weapon. It’s not broken like The Division’s crafting system was once upon a time but a slight reduction in the resources needed, both research points and crafting materials, would be great.
Investigating different planets from the galaxy map in previous Mass Effect titles would bring up the planet immediately. However, in Andromeda, you have to go through a lengthy animation sequence to check the next planet. It’s very cinematic and understandably adds immersion, making you feel like you’re actually traveling to that planet. The problem is that it stops being impressive after a point and simply feels like a waste of time, especially when some planets have nothing of note on them. Maybe this approach was taken so you could see the planet right outside of the deck. Regardless, there should be a way to skip the animation entirely and just bring up the planet. Those of us who want to be immersed can do so while others can make progressing through the game that much more convenient.
Peer to Peer Matchmaking
Sorry but there’s no excuse for why Mass Effect: Andromeda’s multiplayer should rely on peer-to-peer matchmaking. Dedicated servers may not be the answer to everything but considering how much latency I’ve seen in PvE games of Andromeda versus, say, PvE events in Overwatch like Junkenstein’s Revenge, they would certainly be an improvement (and yes, I’m aware they’re two different kinds of co-op multiplayer). When you consider that EA and Bioware knew that one of the selling points of Andromeda would be the multiplayer, why not have dedicated servers? At the very least give us the ability to match based on region and ping or implement a hybrid system that has dedicated servers while falling back on P2P when necessary.
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