Now that the review embargo for Mass Effect: Andromeda has lifted, critics have begun offering up their verdict on whether BioWare's latest title is a worthy entry in the critically-acclaimed franchise. Needless to say, expectations for the game are high given how well-received its predecessors were, as well as the fact that Mass Effect: Andromeda is expected to be the first title in a new series.
While Mass Effect: Andromeda is among the most anticipated games of 2017 and is expected to take the series in a new direction, the past week has seen the game receive a swath of criticism and mockery online for its awkward facial animations, so much so that BioWare had to issue out an official statement in order to denounce all the negative reception.
Eurogamer (Edwin Evans- Thirlwell)
"Where the original Mass Effect games kept you moving through the story, Andromeda relegates its critical path to second place, offering up a spread of loosely associated scenarios that just happens to include a fairly uninspired tussle with a genocidal tyrant. It's a game that is more interested in keeping you busy than keeping you in suspense about what happens next, or making you feel the consequences of your actions."
Forbes (Paul Tassi)
"If you could combine the story and memorable quests of the originals with the combat, visuals and scope of Andromeda, you would have the perfect video game, though I think what's offered here will satisfy most. Despite its issues, Andromeda is welcome return to one of my favorite fictional universes, and I am still not ready to let Mass Effect go. I'm not sure I ever will be."
Game Informer (Joe Juba)
"When taken as its own journey (and not in comparison to Shepard’s saga), Mass Effect: Andromeda is fun, and the important parts work. The narrative isn’t astounding, but keeps you invested and drives you forward. The combat is entertaining whether you're in single-player or multiplayer. The crew isn't my favorite, but I like them and they have some good moments. Even with its other problems, these are the largest forces shaping your experience with Mass Effect: Andromeda, and they make it worth playing.
Games Radar (Andy Hartup)
"There’s a general lack of subtlety and finesse to this game’s storytelling, and much of it feels like it missed the point about what made the original trilogy such a success. It’s like the kid who copies his friend’s homework, changes it to make it feel ‘new’, but isn’t necessarily smart enough to understand what he’s saying. Most of the elements here are recognizably Mass Effect, but Andromeda fails to create the same sense of place and time."
GameSpot (Scott Butterworth)
"In many ways, Andromeda feels like a vision half-fulfilled. It contains a dizzying amount of content, but the quality fluctuates wildly. Its worlds and combat shine, but its writing and missions falter--and the relative strength of the former is not enough to compensate for the inescapable weakness of the latter. As a Mass Effect game, Andromeda falls well short of the nuanced politics, morality, and storytelling of its predecessors."
IGN (Dan Stapleton)
"Mass Effect: Andromeda is an expansive action role-playing game with a few great moments that recapture the high points of the landmark trilogy that came before it, and energetic combat and fantastic sound effects contribute to a potent sci-fi atmosphere. Without consistently strong writing or a breakout star in its cast to carry it through the long hours and empty spaces, however, disappointments like a lack of new races, no companion customization, and major performance problems and bugs take their toll."
PlayStation LifeStyle (Keri Honea)
"With the vast love of the Mass Effect series, Andromeda was never going to make people 100% happy, the same way the ME3 ending didn’t make people happy. The BioWare team put so many great things in place, but the main story, the characters, and most of the writing keep the game from being great. Sadly, technical mess keeps it from being good."
Polygon (Arthur Gies)
"Andromeda succeeds, despite a host of problems. After a number of complaints, it might seem odd to end on such a positive note. Let’s be clear: I’m conflicted about Mass Effect: Andromeda. There’s a lot of roughness throughout the game, and the technical issues, while not game-breaking, are often incredibly distracting."
USGamer (Kat Bailey)
"Mass Effect Andromeda falls short of its predecessors, but it's still a competently executed open-world action RPG with an interesting world and tons of quests to complete. Its biggest shame is that it doesn't make better use of its setting, opting instead to go with more of the same. Hopefully BioWare will be more ambitious when it comes time for the inevitable sequel."
Based on the general consensus so far, it appears that there are more issues with Mass Effect: Andromeda than weird facial animations. Despite praise being given to the combat and new space setting, critics weren't as pleased with Andromeda's writing and quests, particularly highlighting the mixed quality of the game's expansive open-world content.
It remains to be seen how these mixed reviews will affect Mass Effect: Andromeda's sales numbers, especially given that Electronic Arts expects the game to sell 3 million copies in its first week. For long-time Mass Effect fans, there's a lot to love amidst the series of imperfections in Andromeda so it will be interesting to see how players respond when the game is finally released.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is scheduled for launch on March 21, 2017, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.