Mass Effect: Andromeda launches today

While I am late to the party on most games, the Mass Effect series is the one exception I will always make and pick up a new title at launch. There is something about these games that draws me in like nothing else can. Mass Effect is such a well crafted universe that I will jump at any chance I can to dive back in, and today is that day for the newest entry in the series, Mass Effect: Andromeda.

I have to admit I had the launch date for this game wrong. I thought it was scheduled to launch next week on March 28th. Initially I had planned to take a week off work but didn’t want to take off the actual launch week because I’d lose three days of my play time (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) since games release on Tuesday. Because of that original plan, I think I got the dates crossed in my head and associated the launch of Andromeda with 3/28. Things have changed in my personal life (having a baby tends to do that) so it will be at least a couple weeks before I can take some time off work and really dive in. Either way, my pre-order shipped and I plan to play some tonight before bed.

It goes without saying that I’m excited for this game. Reviews have been middle of the road (it sits at 75 on metacritic as I write this), and complaints have been fairly consistent in all reviews about technical issues. Weird animation, framerate drops, things like that. It’s been all over the Internet leading up to launch. You’d think Bioware and EA would want these things worked out before releasing the game but another delay may not have made sense for them financially. Who knows. The good news about the technical issues is that they can, and likely will, be patched and eventually be a non-issue. The other complaints are all over the place. Some say the questing is shallow and uninspiring. Others praise it for having depth. Some reviews are critical of the characters and dialogue saying they are inferior to the prior trilogy and written by children for children. Others say this is a great cast for a reboot. Commentary on the story is generally positive, although the message has been pretty consistent that it isn’t until the second act that you get pulled in. There has also been consistent criticism that Andromeda doesn’t introduce many new alien races. This would be a big disappointment for me as one of the things that drew me into the original Mass Effect was just how real the universe felt, and it’s many races were a big part of that.

Outside of the main campaign I am excited about the multiplayer and haven’t seen much about it in the reviews that I read. Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer was better than it had any right to be. I initially was angered by its inclusion since in my mind Mass Effect was a single player experience and even the idea of multiplayer would detract from the overall experience. I had no intention of playing it, but it was so fun and addictive that I ended up playing over 425 hours of it. It was that good. I won’t be able to dive into Andromeda’s in the same way with a 4 month old baby, but you can bet I will still spend my fair share of time with it.

All in all I can’t wait to get home from work tonight and see what the next chapter of Mass Effect has in store. Opinions on this game are going to be divided, but if it is 70% of what the rest of the series has been I’ll be happy. 

To all my turian, krogan, salarian, asari, drell, volus, hanar, elcor, batarian, and spacefaring human friends out there, I’ll be right there with you tonight when I board the Ark. Welcome to Andromeda.

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