Mass Effect Andromeda Review: disappointment or masterpiece?

Mass Effect Andromeda has finally arrived and unleashed a series of controversies and heated debates among the strenuous defenders of BioWare’s work and critics who had not already appreciated some elements of the Dragon Age Inquisition.

In a nutshell, but in the course of the article we will expand every single aspect, Mass Effect Andromeda is a typical Mass Effect to which the “Dragon Age Inquisition treatment” is applied. With the possibility of being able to tap into the DICE concept Frostbite Engine, BioWare was able to bring the ambitions and scale of its role-playing games to a new level. What does this mean for Mass Effect fans? That with Andromeda will find themselves exploring a much wider game universe, that their choices will have a greater impact on the history and on the relationships between characters and factions and that the adventure will last much longer, involving them in a different way than in the past of Mass Effect.

That first had a more intense cinematic rhythm, whereas now everything becomes diluted and focuses mainly on “being there”, on being able to make decisions. Those with a minimum of familiarity with the video game know that by increasing the scope of a game you lose something in precision and quality of the individual elements. You will have followed the controversy of the animations of Mass Effect Andromeda, and it is precisely in this reasoning that falls.

The amount of content and narration sequences is so great that BioWare had to lean towards a systemic approach, inserting automated components that could “lengthen” the part narrated with respect to the gameplay component, much more preponderant than the previous Mass Effect. This results in animations not sufficiently realistic for the faces of the characters, and the same is true for certain lateral movements and for the walks of the characters themselves. For these reasons it is not possible to compare the quality of the Mass Effect Andromeda animations with those of an Uncharted or an Assassin’s Creed.

You know well that the confusion of opinions of the modern internet can often detract from the concrete and real merit of the issues, and even in this case something like this happened. It also happened with the finale of Mass Effect 3, unfairly and inappropriately criticized in my opinion, and it happened with these animations. We reiterate, the problem is there, nobody wants to hide it, but simply judging Mass Effect Andromeda on this alone, without going to understand what kind of depth hides behind BioWare’s work is equally wrong.

Precisely because the new action role-playing game is substantially exterminated, with an expansion of the scope of exploration comparable to what happened between the Dragon Age II and the Dragon Age Inquisition. Here it becomes possible to even explore entire planets with a vehicle equipped with six large tires like the Nomad and collect various types of resources, usable in the creation of objects, or in the development of bases as well as vehicles, a bit like what happens in space simulators like No Man’s Sky and Elite Dangerous.

Now, if I had to be a detractor of Mass Effect Andromeda, I would focus more on this aspect than on the question of animations. The intensity of Mass Effect in some respects here is lost, and the game is simply different. The optional missions are not always convincing, and do not seem to differ much from a thousand other role-playing games like this. The exploration of the world is similar to that of the Dragon Age Inquisition: you always have the feeling of having to “rushare” indiscriminately everything in order to gather as much experience as possible, without enjoying specific settings and admiring well-circumscribed landscapes.

The increase in the range of play has forced BioWare to make some game locations too bare: you are struck by the visual distance to which your gaze can push, but also by the polygonal lack of certain environments, with distributed and elongated textures on surfaces too big. In short, some technical problem Mass Effect Andromeda has it, although it remains a duty to calibrate everything compared to the vastness of the game universe made available here by technicians and artists of BioWare.

Mass Effect Andromeda is a mammoth project, which has required its authors more than 5 years of work, something that no longer exists in a video game industry that works on increasingly tight rhythms and that now focuses on much faster projects and simplistic. But what are videogames if not this ability to attract and keep players involved on parallel universes, to explore, enjoy and manipulate with their own ethical choices? What would remain if we deprived the sector of these mammoth projects, created with that bit of madness that leads the authors to fill the world with a plethora of content with which to interact? Mass Effect Andromeda, as well as The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn, just to mention something very recent, are the very essence of

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