Video Game Challenge (Special Edition) Progress Report 4: Mass Effect – Andromeda

You may be wondering why I have a progress report up earlier this month, instead of at the end of the month like I normally would. This can only mean one thing––it’s mission accomplished on Mass Effect: Andromeda! I decided to get this done sooner rather than later. Why wait until the end of the month when I can detail my final thoughts on the game now? I will be avoiding spoilers for the end of the game and key plot points in this report.

When I last posted my progress report for Andromeda, I didn’t think finishing up any side missions on Elaaden would be a breeze. Turns out that it was. I did everything that was related to the main story, as well as the smaller but unnecessary to do fetch quests. I explored the large expanse of desert sands the planet is known for. I interacted with the krogans who settled on Elaaden to build New Tuchanka in the hot and blistering world. My Ryder did her duty as Pathfinder to secure the final outpost on Elaaden by making a deal with Overlord Morda, leader of the krogans on New Tuchanka. By the time I finished this section of the game, I got every planet with an outpost to 100% viability. There was something really satisfying about seeing all the planets in a livable state for the millions without a place to call home just yet.

Between the two remaining loyalty missions I had left to complete, Drack’s and Peebee’s, I found Peebee’s loyalty mission to be the most surprising and exciting mission to do. When Peebee enlists Ryder’s help in tracking down a rare piece of Remnant tech, what the cheeky asari fails to do is tell Ryder they’ll be ejected from an escape pod from the Tempest to crash land into a volcano. A volcano! Her mission is kind of a mission impossible style quest, but it suits Peebee’s sometimes impulsive and determined attitude to accomplish what she wants. Never mind the fact that Peebee didn’t exactly think about how Ryder and some of her team will be able to get extracted from the volcano when the Tempest can’t exactly land in such volatile conditions. Luckily, a solution is found, believe it or not.

After getting most of the smaller missions out of the way, it was full speed ahead into the story and towards the end of the game. Mission 5: The Journey to Meridian leads Ryder and the crew to the ancient Remnant city to activate it and to get one step ahead of the Archon from capturing it for himself. There are some surprising revelations to come out of this story mission, particularly with the origins of the angarans. I don’t think anyone playing the game would actually see this key piece of story coming. I certainly didn’t. It does seem to create possibilities for future Mass Effect games to explore the new mysteries and unanswered questions raised in Andromeda.

A scene from Journey to Meridian.

The final act of the game, Mission 6: Meridian – The Way Home, is an exhilarating race to the end to stop the Archon once and for all from taking control of Meridian and ultimately destroying the work and progress Ryder and everyone in the Heleus Cluster have worked so hard for. I would have to say that the end game is my favorite part about Andromeda. It’s as epic and action packed as you would expect with a sense of urgency to stop the enemy. It’s also great to see your allies, the ones you created based on previous decisions and actions, coming together to stop a common enemy. You even get to see the other Ryder twin have their own moment of heroism towards the end of the game.

Once the galaxy is saved and the enemy is defeated, there is a nice post-end epilogue quest to play where Ryder gets to talk to their crew before heading back to the Tempest on their next adventure. Even on board the Tempest, there are still some small side quests triggered to help tie up Andromeda. These additional post-end game quests is a surprise and different from previous BioWare games I’ve played in the past. Typically when you finish the main game, there’s nothing more to play until the developer releases additional DLC content in the future. You get the cutscenes, credits, and then it’s back to the title screen. I have no complaints on BioWare’s new approach to ending their game like this in Andromeda.

Vera Ryder helping her brother Scott after their victory against the Archon and securing Meridian.

Now that the journey with Andromeda is over, how do I feel about the game overall? I don’t want to compare my experience with Andromeda to the original trilogy because they are separate experiences from each other. They just share the same title and universe. I’d say I like the game and I would play it again, but I did feel it was lacking in parts. Some of the character development and interactions felt like it was missing something, especially with some of the crew. I didn’t feel like I connected with everyone in the same way I have in the original Mass Effect and Dragon Age games. For instance, Liam’s romance path was largely unsatisfying and didn’t leave a long-lasting impression in the same way romancing past BioWare characters had on me. Even a weaker game, like Dragon Age 2, left me with a strong emotional response and connection when I chose to romance Anders. I think more could have been added to Liam’s development as a character and love interest as a whole. There’s more I could say on Liam, but I’ll save it for a potential in-depth character analysis I want to write about him for the blog.

Another problem I had with the game is the buggy nature Andromeda had. I don’t think the bugs are as apparent if you stick with the main quests and the more story related sidequests. The bugs become more obvious and frustrating when you decide to do the unimportant fetch quests in their additional tasks log. I tried to 100% the game, but it became impossible when certain sidequests were glitched and remained broken. The last few patches BioWare released did nothing to fix these, which is unfortunate. Considering the expose piece Kotaku did about the development issues Andromeda had and why it may have contributed to the disappointing reactions the game had, in addition to anonymous sources familiar with BioWare’s plans saying there is no single-player DLC planned for Andromeda at this time, it sounds like BioWare is done with Andromeda for good. I’m hoping this isn’t the case and BioWare will change its mind somewhere down the road. Despite the glitches and the frustration I felt in not being able to complete five of the sidequests, only one of them having nothing to do with a glitch, Andromeda is still a game worth playing. I agree Andromeda could have been an even better game if BioWare/EA didn’t feel the need to rush it to make their targeted release date. The game is flawed and could use some improvements, but the game is no where near a catastrophe or a waste of money some people might think it is. Andromeda has a lot of potential, but the execution needed more time and work to get it just right.

The galaxy is a beautiful and mysterious place.

When I checked the final stats of my game, Vera Ryder was at Level 68 and the game about 98% complete. For someone who isn’t able to finish everything Andromeda has to offer, I’m quite proud of these results. Usually my end game stats aren’t that high, mostly finishing the bare minimum of a game and skipping all the extras. That usually puts me at about 50-70% by the time I complete a game. It just proves my devotion and ongoing love affair with BioWare games. And if time permits, I would start the journey all over again as a new character.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is in the books, which means I’ll be choosing a new game to play for August. The rest of July will be just me playing whatever game I want until I can lock onto the next game I want to finish within a month. I may be done with Andromeda, but as I mentioned before in this post, I will be keeping the tradition alive I have started on this blog of writing an in-depth piece about my thoughts on the romances I do in a BioWare game. This time Liam Kosta has the honor of joining the ranks of BioWare men I’ve romanced. Keep an eye out for the post and thank you for joining me on my video game challenges!

It’s intimate moments like this one that will always make me come back for more of BioWare’s games.

4 thoughts on “Video Game Challenge (Special Edition) Progress Report 4: Mass Effect – Andromeda

  1. Congrats on finishing! I’ll be interested in reading what you have to say about Liam. As much as I enjoyed his loyalty mission, I didn’t spend much time with him. Maybe that was my loss. (I ended up romancing Reyes.) That last screenshot is really great, by the way. I don’t recall seeing a group shot like this at the end of my game, but I wonder by Suvi seems so sad?

    Your assessment of the game is spot on — not a disaster, but not a grand win either. It is too bad that we probably won’t see anything else for this game, ever. But there’s still some replay value to it. I could see revisiting the game every now and then, if only to enjoy some decent storytelling and space travel. And imho, they could have done away with all the crafting and resources and instead given us more developed characters. Oh well.

    1. Thank you! When it was over, it was like, “What? I’m done?!” I actually watched a YouTube video of the Reyes romance. It was tempting to romance him too after I watched it. Muy caliente! 😀 Yeah, I have a number of thoughts on Liam. I like the character, but not so much the romance. I felt like they were better as friends than lovers.

      Actually, the last screenshot I took wasn’t the last scene of the game. It’s one of the side missions to gather stuff for a crew movie night. Did you not see or do that one? When I took the screenshot on my Xbox One, I noticed that Suvi looked sad, haha! She’s really just looking down. I just didn’t capture her in the right moment before the scene cut away from them as a group. I loved that whole shot of them together. I wanted to capture it as a keepsake of my first time playing. 🙂

      I 100% agree with you on cutting out the crafting and resources stuff for more character development! I barely used the crafting much. The resource gathering was just boring and not really useful to the game at all. It’s really pointless, you know? However, I just wish BioWare didn’t feel like Andromeda is not worth adding more to it, based on the sales and fan reaction to Andromeda. I just think they have an opportunity here and they’re kind of wasting it. Oh well, indeed. It is what it is. :/

      1. Yeah, the whole situation is just a bummer. Even just adding a small amount of extra content would probably go a long way. But, after reading that Kotaku behind-the-scenes article on the game’s development, I can’t blame Bioware for wanting to put the whole mess behind them. It’s always possible that they’ll want to come back to Andromeda at some point, but hopefully things’ll turn out better with Anthem and their future titles.

        Movie night?! No, I completely missed that! I do recall talking to Liam (I think it was Liam?) early on about getting the crew together for something, but then I guess I never followed through. I’ll have to keep an eye out during my next playthrough.

      2. Yeah, Liam starts the quest and then some of Ryder’s other crew members give you other tasks related to movie night. You’ll know you finish the quest when Liam gives you one final task to complete to have the movie night finally trigger. Definitely do it in your next playthrough! It’s one of the best crew member side missions to watch. 😀

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