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Is Mass Effect: Andromeda dead on arrival?

After 12 hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda we don't want to go any further.

Jeff Bakalar
Jeff Bakalar Editor at Large

Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.

2 min read

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I'll be upfront about this. I've only played around 12 hours or so of Mass Effect: Andromeda and I'm not really enjoying myself. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to finish this game.

Let me explain why.

Andromeda feels like an older, more outdated game than Mass Effect 3. It's so far been unable to grab me in a way that ME3 did, and a lot of the first hours of the game feel uninspired and trite.


And sure, while the topic has already been beaten to death, there is a mystifying amount of nastiness in the animation and cutscene departments. The jank is real strong in this new Mass Effect game. Things seem clunky throughout and the overall lack of polish is a bad look for the first Mass Effect game on PS4 and Xbox One -- especially when some players will have just finished the gorgeous Horizon Zero Dawn.

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The opening few minutes appeared to be laying the groundwork for a somewhat compelling story that felt a bit like "Interstellar," but it wasn't long before I began to forget my character's motivation and why I should care about anything at all for that matter.

Andromeda seems hollow, its characters like a bunch of stand-ins trying to recreate a Mass Effect game. The cinematic weight that prior entries in the series conveyed is nowhere to be found. And its inability to separate itself in any meaningful way that has me turned off entirely.


Even the moment-to-moment action -- the gunplay, the biotics, the movement -- seems like it lacks a refinement I never considered would be missing from the fourth game in the Mass Effect series. The game's menu system and skill trees are also confusing and sometimes illogical.

Andromeda introduces crafting to the series -- because yes, every single game from here on out must -- but it feels shoehorned in and needlessly overwhelming.

I'm not a die-hard Mass Effect loyalist and didn't hold up unrealistic hopes for this game. But I've played each entry in the series and I even finished ME2 and ME3's campaigns. During my time with Andromeda, I couldn't see any of the storytelling greatness that's sewn into the fabric of those previous games. Andromeda's first hours are cringeworthy enough to disappoint anyone expecting more substance and thoughtful exposition.


I can't proclaim Mass Effect Andromeda to be a disappointment or a success -- I haven't finished it and don't plan to. But what I can say is that it failed to captivate my attention in the dozen or so hours I invested in it.

And that's OK. The first quarter of 2017 has already proven itself to be one of the best for new games in recent memory. If you're dead set on playing the new Mass Effect game, don't say I didn't warn you. But if you're like me and was curious to see how the franchise has evolved, maybe wait til Andromeda drops below $40.

Check out Mass Effect: Andromeda over at GameSpot

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