So... my thoughts on Mass Effect: Andromeda
1. Combat is awesome and well thought out. Very mobile, a good variety of enemies, upgrades feel great, awesome variety of weapons to try out. I do have issues with the research system, which I will get into later. The powers have weight to them and hit hard with the new combo system. If you hit a certain combination of attacks (a primer and a detonator power respectfully) then you are treated with an attack that does massive damage upon detonation. Biotics in particular are awesome to use in conjunction with the mobility. Combat powers are the weakest of the three, but was still great now that you can hover and shoot at the same time. Augments give your guns and armor different play styles, like making your beam weapon into a beam firing grenade launcher! Honestly this is the best combat system out of all the Mass Effect games by far. Can't wait to see how they improve on this in future titles!
2. Side quests are actually interesting and gave more context to the the angara and the Andromeda galaxy as a whole. You had to make some pretty interesting moral choices that are not a straight black and white. One example is in a mission where you have to prove a turian's innocence. No spoilers, but it leaves you with an interesting choice to make. Even some choices in the main game had this as well, very similar to the Ashley/Kaiden choice in ME1. There are some changes depending on which decision you make but nothing that breaks the overall story for you.
3. The worlds themselves looks GORGEOUS! Bioware did a fantastic job on the planets you are going around in. The alien models look great even.
4. Character wise, Vetra, Drex, Jaal, and Italian Han Solo (I forgot his name...) were the most interesting. Vetra had a well fleshed out back story that made me want to romance her in my first play through. It felt like a natural progression romancing her and more realistic.
5. I did like the Nomad the best compared to all the other games. It is Mako 2.0 on nitro. Riding around collecting the nodes for resources felt more natural than just scanning the planet for resources and the planets themselves.
6. There is SO much to do! Eos alone (the first planet you visit) had about 10 hours of content and each of the planets have a good amount of content to do that connects to the overall story. Your actions do actually impact the galaxy as a whole and you do see that as you progress in the game. There is a reason to get viability on all the planets and you even get a minor little reward for getting 100% viability on all 5 planets.
7. Character dialogue box improved by not making it so obviously good/bad (Paragon/Renegade). It does alter your dialogue for future options somewhat depending on your personality profile which SAM gives you an idea of your character as you progress. There are certain dialogue options that characters react negatively to but it didn't seem to have an in game effect outside of this. Banter in the Nomad is also very interesting. Pro tip: Take Vetra with you on the moon planet and jump around. Enjoy :)
1. I didn't find the main story all that interesting sadly compared to the past ME games. There was really interesting tension and build up on all three previous games and they did that very well (despite ME3's ending...). At the beginning I was interested because it felt like my actions were making a difference as stated before. In the beginning of Andromeda, yes, the stakes are pretty high (sink or swim levels of bad). But once you reach a certain point, it doesn't feel like the stakes are high for me despite putting myself at a disadvantage making a choice I made early on in the game (no spoilers but obvious what I mean when you reach that point). I think this is part due to some of the delivery of the lines. "That guy's mad, probably because I shot him in the face!", so sayeth Liam in the intro battle on the first planet you land on. The last one made me laugh because of how corny that line was. I can't go into too much detail without spoilers, but it didn't feel as epic as I remember it when Shepard had to stop Saren from basically wiping out the galaxy or going through an unknown part of the Milky Way to find missing human colonists or saving the whole galaxy from the Reapers. The kett didn't seem that big of a threat to me. There wasn't a real danger threat with the Kett and they didn't really feel that intimidating, especially when you compare them to something like the Reapers. As odd as that sounds, there wasn't really a sense of scale with the kett's forces aside from a scene in the early part of the game (even then you kinda bumped into a fleet after all...) and at the latest part of the game. In between, not so much...
2. I hate to say it, but Ryder was not all that interesting compared to Shepard. Shepard I felt had more of an interesting persona than Ryder did (both male and female). More of a personal taste kinda opinion.
3. A missed opportunity that I hope they realize in the next ME: Andromeda game. I REALLY wanna see the next game give you the option of doing either an Asari, Turian, Quarian, Krogan, Drell, or Volus Pathfinder of your own. That would be cool!
4. I do wish the multiplayer mode adds in some more modifiers later on that spice up the gameplay a bit. The ones they have now are interesting but I'm afraid it'll get tiring pretty quickly. Coop single player would be very nice to see in future installments.
5. Some of the crew wasn't really that interesting. Peebee (kinda wanna strangle that girl sometimes...), Cora was kinda average. She reminded me of Miranda's professionalism without the Ice Queen attitude. Liam was the closest to Garrus but not in that same "Batman, lone detective" kinda way. No real issues of his own, just "Hey, I wanted to be here, so here I am" kinda guy. There was a pretty great argument made that Liam is the most interesting when you take into account that he came to Andromeda with no one and had his life figured out already. He wasn't running from anyone, didn't hate anyone, loved his job, and yet decided to leave that behind to get a new adventure. Everyone on the crew at least knows SOMEONE whereas Liam doesn't know anyone. If given time and development, all of these characters do have the potential for growth and a fame status like the Normandy crew.
6. The research system could use some tweeks. If you pick research into a gun that you don't like, its precious research points that you've pretty much wasted essentially. If they gave an option to refund some of those points or transfer them to a different project, that would be helpful. The research points do come pretty slowly, especially for Helos and Remnant. A perk can get you a fair amount of Milky Way research, but it'll take a few gameplay runs to get the right gun you enjoy and researching the weapons to see which one you would prefer.
7. WHERE ARE THE QUARIANS?! *cough* sorry... got a bit unprofessional there. Seriously, where are they Bioware? The race in the Mass Effect universe that had so much potential and yet they are not available. Please if you do include them as paid DLC later on, make it worthwhile content such as a new crew member and a solid story instead of filler content just to say they are there.
All in all, Mass Effect Andromeda is not a terrible game by any stretch. It does have some problems that can be addressed with patches later and DLC content to flesh out some areas. With polish, I feel that it can be a pretty awesome game later on. Its a good game and if you're a Mass Effect fan you're going to like it. If you're new to the series, pick up the Mass Effect Trilogy as each of those games are great in their own way with the second being the crown jewel of the bunch.
But that's just one Byrd's opinion, I could be wrong.