The Day Mass Effect Died

There you are, rushing through the citadel on a race to stop Saren before he allows the colossal Reaper, Sovereign, to achieve its goals. This was part of the first title in a game series that earned a special place in the hearts of gamers worldwide. From there on, it was history. Stopping the ancient Reapers and uniting the galaxy behind the singular goal of stopping a galactic cycle of destruction poised as preservation, we saw the world through Commander Shepard’s eyes.

But now, we’re stuck here with a big budget rush job that has no place being mentioned with the presence of the original trilogy. The recent release of Mass Effect: Andromeda was, to say the least, a major let down. From the numerous game-breaking bugs to the stale facial animations, it was a game that had trouble garnering even mediocre-reviews, let alone live up to the standard of its predecessors.

Despite the immense hype around Mass Effect: Andromeda (a side story to the main trilogy concerned with a fail-safe colonization mission), it soon became obvious after release that the game failed to meet every expectation set out during marketing (except maybe combat). Given the large budget, fans and critics everywhere were expecting better, especially within the areas of animation, character customization, role-playing and open-world detail. However, the above areas were not as important as one aspect of the game: writing. This one aspect is the most important part of any RPG and was the sole part that could have salvaged Mass Effect: Andromeda.

There are two elements I feel were crucial to Andromeda’s bad writing. When looking back at the original trilogy, one thing is always obvious. There was always a certain tension that kept the player focused. This tension was generally expressed in two ways; the current game’s main objective (whether it be stopping the collectors or stopping Saren), and the overarching theme of galactic annihilation. This tension, the weight of the entire galaxy on your shoulders was something that Mass Effect: Andromeda sorely lacked. There was never the constant pressure nor the feeling of desperation.

The second element was the player’s ability to connect to the fictional characters and develop an emotional response to their experiences. The writers failed to develop the level of emotional connection to the characters that would make us actually care. With the original trilogy, the characters were fleshed out in a manner that made us relate to them and worry about their wellbeing or, conversely, hate them to hell and back. However, with the new game, players have found it difficult to actually connect with the characters from an emotional standpoint. They were stale at best and *husks* at worst.

Ultimately, Andromeda could have been saved by writing despite the drawbacks in every other facet. But alas, they were unable to develop this extension to the series in a manner that could reignite fans’ passion for the game.

 

 

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