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Confession: I haven't done much of anything since March 21st besides play Mass Effect Andromeda. Fortunately, I haven't had much homework in my classes lately, so that's been nice. Now that I'm done with the game, I just wanted to take a minute to write down some of my thoughts about the game for anyone who is interested.

Play time: 67 hours
Completion: 91%
Overall rating: 9/10 (I can definitely see myself playing this again)

And now for some specifics, first the bad and then the good.

Things I didn't like:
  • Character creator: My biggest complaint is about the character creator. It was so limiting for such a huge, in-depth RPG. When you compare it to something like Dragon Age: Inquisition or Fallout 4 or even previous Mass Effect games, it wasn't quite up to the standards I expected. At all. It was underwhelming and I hated not having options to change out specific facial features or adjust them individually very much. And this is a minor thing, but if you're going to let us pick unnatural hair colors, give us ALL the unnatural hair colors. They have a ton of different shades of brown and very limited shades of blue and red and some others. I went into it kind of hoping for a dark blue-black hair color for my Ryder, but they don't have that. :( That all being said, I still managed to create a Ryder who looked pretty darn good. Her name is Marko and I ended up getting really attached to her by the end, so maybe you'll see a portrait of her soon.
  • Facial animations Since release, the internet has been complaining about some of the facial animations, and yeah, they could have been better in some places. I didn't think it was a game-breaking issue, but I did wish they had put a little more time into that. I was more annoyed by the lip-syncing issues. It didn't happen often, but it was enough that I kind of wanted to shake my fist at the screen a few times. Hopefully the game will get updates later so that some of those issues are resolved.
  • Asari faces: While we're on the subject of faces, can we talk about the fact that almost all of the Asari NPCs looked exactly the same? Aside from Peebee, they all had the same face as Lexi, the tempest doctor (with different colors and maybe a few other variations, but still obviously the same face). At first I thought/hoped I was just being paranoid, but at one point there was a cutscene where about a dozen Asari walked past right in the foreground and they all literally had the same face! I saw somewhere that the same was true in the original series, but I honestly don't remember that, and maybe it was just more noticeable because they all looked a lot like Lexi. And I'm fairly certain they do the same thing with the other races, but you don't notice them as much. The Asari have very human faces so it's easier to pick up on. I don't know, but still...not cool, Bioware. Not cool.
  • Tedious side-quests: This is a minor thing, but some of the side-quests get tedious and feel repetitive. I always feel like I have to do everything in open world RPGs, so I'm definitely used to missions that are like, "collect x amount of this item" and "gather useless information about this thing." But I do wish there had been a few more side-quests that felt relevant to the story and had an impact on events, the world, etc. More like the mission "Dissension in the Ranks," which kind of starts out feeling like more tedious nonsense, but actually ends up being significant in the end. Not majorly significant, but enough that I didn't feel like I had wasted my time. (Oh! The quest "The Little Things That Matter" is another must-do, even though it doesn't have any major story significance.)
Things I liked:
  • Squad and crew: Everyone on the Tempest is awesome. This was one of my biggest worries going into the game--that I wouldn't be able to identify with or grow attached to my teammates the way I had in the original trilogy. I mean, how could they live up to characters like Garrus, or Jack, or Tali? The answer is, they don't, because they're all their own people and there's no comparison. That was something I sort of knew going in, but I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to distance myself from the attachment I had to the original series' characters enough to give the new ones a chance. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast they grew on me, though. It felt like there were more opportunities to interact with each of them, so I think that helped. It wasn't just like you talked to them between major plot points and finished their story mission and that was the end of it. Even after finishing their loyalty missions, there are several other quests they're involved in and opportunities to interact with them off the Tempest. I ended up getting so attached to each one of them that I honestly couldn't say that I had a least-favorite or that I didn't particularly care for any one of them. In the original trilogy, there were characters I loved and characters I was totally apathetic towards (I'm looking at you, Liara and Miranda), but that wasn't the case here. I always had a hard time deciding who to take with me on the loadout screen just because I liked all of them. Anyway, I have a lot more to say about these guys so I'm just going to put a separate section at the end to do that.
  • Combat: The combat system is amazing. By far the biggest reason I play games is for the story and characters. I generally don't give a crap about shooting stuff and fighting bad guys, so when a game can actually make me care about and enjoy that part, that's pretty awesome. The combat system in this game is incredible, and I found myself enjoying and even looking forward to the next big fight rather than just seeing it as a necessary transition into the next story cut-scene. The ability to invest in and try out so many different powers and abilities was really cool, and the jump jet! :iconiheartitplz: The jump jet was SO much fun. I ended up playing some weird combination of sniper/biotics most of the time with a couple tech powers mixed in and my favorite thing ever was sniping people from a distance and then jumping in the air and biotic charging into the thick of things. :icongrin--plz:
  • Main story and Ryder Family Secrets: The main storyline was great. A little predictable, at times, at least in the beginning, but still good. The other big quest in the game, "Ryder Family Secrets" was also fantastic and definitely worth doing. I love the way it all plays out in the end.
  • Humor: This game is funny. Definitely not Portal-level funny, and sometimes it felt like they were pushing things a little too far into "corny" territory, but for the most part, I appreciated the humor. Some of the funniest moments happen during squad loyalty missions, but you also get some great one-liners just driving around in the Nomad with different squadmates.
  • All the feels: I always love when a game or any other kind of story has an emotional impact on me, and Andromeda did not disappoint in that regard. Not just at the end, but throughout the whole game. I got sad for characters. I was angry when the characters were angry and laughed when they laughed. That's really what created the emotional impact for me--the characters. More on that later...
  • Graphics and music: The graphics are beautiful and the settings all looked great. Havarl was probably my favorite planet of all of them, even though there were way too many animals wandering around and you basically had to fight your way non-stop to get anywhere. The space transition things between traveling to different planets were gorgeous. They got old after about the 20th time, but still, I can appreciate the effort they put into that and it really did look gorgeous. The music was also really good. You could definitely hear echoes of the original trilogy in the soundtrack but it was still it's own thing.
  • Alien gender representation: For lack of anything better to call this, I really did appreciate seeing more female Turians, Krogan, and Salarians. Not just as side characters, but in important roles on the Nexus or in various quests and storylines. That was something the original trilogy was severely lacking so it was nice to see Bioware step up to the plate and fix it.
Overall, it was a great game. Now I have that hollow, bummed-out feeling that it's over, which I only ever get from my favorite games. I still have a few more things I kind of want to finish up, and it's nice that the game allows you to do that. It also seemed like there would probably be another one, so I'll be looking forward to that.

And now, I have to talk about the characters a little more because I seriously loved all of them. (Some of this stuff might be considered very minor spoilers? I don't know. But just to be safe, minor spoiler warning.)
  • Liam: I know I said I didn't have any least-favorite characters but Liam was definitely my favorite. I was kind of "meh" about him at first, but it didn't take long for him to grow on me. I loved his infectious optimism and willingness to do anything to get things to work out. He's adorable and has a great sense of humor and was just a really well-written character. I mean, they all were, but I was able to identify with Liam really well. Part of that may have been his "we're-all-in-this-together" attitude that definitely resonated with my social worker side. My Ryder romanced him and I thought his romance arc was really well done; Marko and Liam are officially the cutest couple in Mass Effect history ever and no one can convince me otherwise. <3 <3 <3
  • Jaal: I know a bunch of people were super excited about Jaal before the game's release, but I just wasn't. Sure, he has a cool character design, but I just didn't see myself getting very attached to him. I was so, so wrong. Jaal is interesting because he's easily the character with the most at stake in the story, and the story of Andromeda is really his story as much as it is Ryder's. He's a really nuanced character with a lot of depth and I got really emotionally invested in the game's main story line because of Jaal. I also loved the friendship that developed between him and Liam. They were awesome together and ugh, I just love both of them so much!
  • Vetra: Vetra took a while to grow on me but by the end I loved her just as much as the others. Her backstory was probably one of the most interesting to me of all the squadmates, and I also enjoyed seeing her relationship with her little sister, Sid. My head-cannon of her and my Ryder is that Vetra was pretty guarded towards Marko at first and not willing to open up or talk about much, but by the end of the game, Vetra saw Marko as a friend and someone she could trust and rely on, which probably isn't something she's had much of in her life before.
  • Drack: Drack may now be my favorite Krogan in the entire Mass Effect universe. I mean, it's hard to top Wrex, but Drack somehow manages. He's just this somewhat-broken, grumpy old man and there's something so endearing about that since he's actually this huge, hulking fighting machine who could kill you with his bare hands in the blink of an eye. His relationship with his granddaughter, Kesh, is also super endearing.
  • Peebee: It was SO refreshing to see a major Asari character who wasn't super serious and uptight. Peebee is just downright fun. And unpredictable. And has a whole host of issues that I won't even go into right now. But that's why I loved her. Admittedly, something about her voice and animations kind of started to grate on me by the end. I felt like they just created a few gesture animations for her in an attempt to show that she's someone who does a lot of talking with her hands or whatever, but then those gestures start to get repetitive and sometimes they don't quite match what she's saying, so it was just a little weird and annoying talking to her at times. Still, she was a fun character.
  • Cora: Cora was another one who kind of took a while to grow on me, partly I think because she just seemed so stiff and formal and irritated that Ryder had become the Pathfinder instead of her. Which is totally understandable and made for an interesting character conflict for her, but later on when she started to accept that and warm up to Ryder a little more, I started to like her a lot better. There's something about her--either her appearance or the way she talks or maybe her personality--that reminds me of my favorite aunt, so that was kind of cool.
  • Gil/Suvi/Kallo: I was so pleasantly surprised by the amount of interaction I got to have with these guys and the depth they had despite not being actual squadmates. In previous Mass Effect games, I didn't get very attached to the crew because there just wasn't that much opportunity to get to know them that well and they all felt a bit flat. These guys feel really three-dimensional and had their own little quests and interactions, so that was nice. Gil ended up being one of my favorite people on the Tempest and if there is a sequel, it will be interesting to see how life plays out for him.
Okay, I should stop now and go do something productive with my life. It's seriously going to be hard to leave these guys behind though, even if I do play again in the future.
  • Listening to: Tegan and Sara
  • Reading: The Hate U Give
  • Playing: Mass Effect: Andromeda

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TAHernandez
T. A. Hernandez
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
Writer, artist, and college student living in Utah. I love comments, feedback, chatting, and meeting other artists/writers, so drop me a not anytime! :)
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:iconbrittanywillows:
BrittanyWillows Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the watch! Much appreciated ^-^
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:icontahernandez:
TAHernandez Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
No problem. Your art is gorgeous.
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:icongnewi:
Gnewi Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconthankyouflowerplz: for the watch! :love:
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:iconartstudioangel:
ArtStudioAngel Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2016
Thank you so much for the fav :highfive:
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:iconppgrainbow:
ppgrainbow Featured By Owner Edited Nov 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello! :hug:

The group that you joined last year got deleted. Would you be interested in joining my :iconsecret-santa-network: group? :D

Submissions will close this Friday night at 9 PM PST. I hope that you have the time to submit your wishlist soon. :)

If for some reason you can't join this year, that's okay.
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