|Mass Effect: Andromeda|
|release date||March 2017|
|Genre||Action, shooter, RPG|
Any popular and financially successful game is doomed to continue. This cup has not passed and the Mass Effect series. The sequel, which came out this spring, had a lot of expectations. A new story, a new galaxy, a new level of technical performance — a good start for the next trilogy. However, the game ended up receiving very mixed reviews. Let’s take a look at our opinions as well. Our review and mini-testing of video cards in this article.
After Mass Effect 3 put an end to Commander Shepard’s story and neutralized the threat of the Reapers, it’s time to explore new space horizons. Mass Effect: Andromeda is about an intergalactic expedition. As part of a major deep space exploration program, several large ark ships with thousands of colonists are sent to the Andromeda galaxy. After a six hundred year flight, they are destined to wake up in a strange world and start a new life.
This event itself raises questions already at the level of setting the task, since we do not have a fairy tale in the spirit of Star Wars, but something more serious and close to scientific knowledge. In the last trilogy, the issue of interstellar movement within the Milky Way was solved using a system of relays. Their technology was used to create a super-duper telescope, which helped to assess the real state of Andromeda, identifying a group of promising planets in a star cluster. But after arrival, everything traditionally does not go according to plan. Some kind of «filth» is spreading across the galaxy — a massive accumulation of dark matter. All this affects the ability to move and the state of the planets.
In the center of the plot are brother and sister Scott and Sarah Ryder. Depending on the choice, one of them will take on a key role in the development of new planets. The first forced landing on the planet ends with a series of unexpected discoveries and the death of his father, who also held the post of leader in the planetary exploration and exploration group. Now one of the awakened Riders will take the baton and take up the further development of Andromeda.
Instead of promising worlds, colonists face planets with unfriendly conditions. Some have individual stations and groups of researchers, but it is too early to think about mass settlement. Along the way, there is a military threat from aggressive kett aliens. Inside the community of colonists, things are also not going well. While the hero was in suspended animation, the first awakened ones managed to quarrel and rebel. As a result, there were exiles and a bunch of new problems. So there is a lot of work to do, and they all fall on the new Pathfinder.
Andromeda follows a familiar pattern. By completing key missions, we discover new planets, along the way scouring the solar systems in search of resources. There are only a few inhabited planets, but they are full of different tasks, and events on them can develop in several stages. At first, the game is somewhat reminiscent of the first part of Mass Effect, because there is the spirit of the unknown — a mysterious planet with gravitational anomalies, strange structures of a lost civilization, unknown alien aggressors. I want to get deeper into the essence of what is happening and reveal all the secrets. On the other hand, all this gives off some secondariness, and gradually this feeling intensifies.
Traveling to another galaxy has opened up new possibilities, but they are not used. Andromeda builds a new world in accordance with the old scheme, without trying to surprise or get away from the patterns of the series. Everything looks ordinary: biological life, local society, conflicts and war. All events could easily develop within the framework of a familiar galaxy with known civilizations.
The main headquarters is the large station Nexus, which resembles the Citadel. Here we collect different quests and go to distant planets. On the planets themselves, we study the surroundings, carry out assignments and gradually find the entrance to the ancient structures, where we launch a powerful apparatus for terraformation. And already with the help of foreign technologies, the process of adapting the planet for settlement is gradually underway.
Each planet is original and unique. One is a large desert with high radiation, the other is a world of permafrost with low temperatures, in another place there is an aggressive fauna with constant mutation. The struggle for each planet is combined with fighting, both with the ubiquitous kets, and with the local beasts or bandits. Positive natives are also present, we can easily get in touch with them, because the hero quickly solves all the tasks that were beyond his capacity.
Most of the available planets offer large spaces to explore. We drive over them on a new improved all-terrain vehicle, look for interesting places and clear all the points indicated by markers. An aggressive environment often limits the ability to move in an ordinary space suit, so without an all-terrain vehicle in the radiation or icy wastelands, one cannot last long. By carrying out various assignments and tasks, we raise the prospects for the development of the planet and at some stage we can establish a settlement that will allow us to gain a foothold here.
In general, Andromeda resembles a typical sandbox game, where everything is tied to the exploration of the world. At a basic level, the gameplay has become even closer to a shooter. Using a different arsenal of weapons and special skills, we crush enemies, changing positions between shelters. A miniature rocket pack on your back gives you more freedom of action, allowing you to jump to the upper floors and high structures. Opponents are not much inferior to us, many creatures and armed enemies jump no worse than heroes. So what is happening on the screen looks dynamic and spectacular.
Traditionally, we operate as part of a squad of three fighters, but do not manage partners. Of all the command or tactical elements in the game, there is only the ability to set their position. But this is not useful, your actions are much more important. Therefore, the outcome of the battle depends on your accuracy, reaction speed and the correct use of special abilities. But the selection and pumping of partners is already more important. A thoughtful approach to this issue will make life easier and allow the team to operate more efficiently.
Shooting and exploration of territories are combined with elements of interaction with different objects. Thanks to the implant and connection with a powerful AI, the hero has outstanding abilities in the field of scanning and analyzing objects. AI itself acts as an invisible partner and assistant, which fits well into the general context of what is happening. Although the gameplay itself does not change much. If you need to find something or find a trace, we simply poke the scanner at different points until we find the desired object.
A change of command or replacement of weapons is possible in special strongholds where probes have landed from a spacecraft. This is very convenient, and allows you to often change the configuration of partners or an arsenal. The comrades themselves, in their free time from shooting, like to have conversations, revealing their characters.
In between adventures, we have dialogues and communicate with different characters. The dialogue system still resembles a wheel, where the essence of long answers is reflected in short phrases. This correspondence is not always clear, but it is now easier to understand due to the emotion icon, which shows which answer is more reasonable or emotional. Since there is a lot of social conflict in the game, conversation is sometimes a means of resolving disputes instead of using pistols and fists.
The gameplay provides for the variability of combat specialization. You can upgrade a ranged warrior, biotic master, or tech skill specialist. Everything is familiar, but with some changes. In addition to the three main branches of specialization, there are seven more classes with emphasis on different parameters. Each class provides three active abilities. This, for example, the creation of an energy barrier, deafening shot, grenades, biotic strike, jerk and many others. A quick combination of abilities increases the overall effectiveness of the strike. The replenishment rate depends on the weight of the equipment and overload.
Many armor options, you can combine different protection for different parts of the body, choosing options with the best characteristics. There is a system of research and technology, thanks to which it is possible to study and collect new progressive weapons and ammunition. Investing additional bonuses strengthens them and gives them special properties. Such production consumes all the extracted ingredients, and research points directly depend on the thoroughness in studying the worlds and scanning all the technological objects of different civilizations.
The story game is complemented by cooperative tasks. As part of a team of four players, you fight off waves of enemies, fulfilling some conditions along the way. All this is combined with its own development system and a separate leveling of the network fighter.
In the network mode, the firefights are even more tense and faster. Here, too, you need to skillfully use shelters, change position in time and support partners. Coordinated actions will help you survive throughout the mission and evacuate at the end. You need to cover each other with fire, implement combo attacks and revive comrades with mortal wounds.
Reminiscent of the Horde mode from Gears of War 4, but with more awkward controls. It strains the limited view in aiming mode. In a single player game, this convention is not so critical, but in a fast-paced network game, it already adds problems. In fact, the difficulty of the game is partly due to the limited view with the large carcass of the character in the foreground. Also annoying is a certain inertia of the camera during movements and impacts.
The new game is based on the latest version of the Frostbite Engine, thanks to which we see a bright detailed picture with rich special effects.
Andromeda’s excellent graphics are combined with serious system requirements. A little testing of several video cards at Ultra settings at a resolution of 1920×1080 will help to assess the overall performance situation.
The GeForce GTX 1060 or Radeon RX 580 video cards allow you to play comfortably at maximum graphics. The potential of the GeForce GTX 960 or similar solutions is categorically lacking. The game also needs at least 4 GB for Full HD.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a typical commercial sequel that tries to keep up with the current trends in the industry, but cannot go beyond that set by the original trilogy. The game has become even more like a shooter, it has large sandbox worlds and crafting. But the story itself about colonists in an alien galaxy turns out to be more banal than one might expect. This is a story from the townsfolk who are accustomed to science fiction without complex ideas and cultural problems in the field of interaction between alien civilizations. At the grassroots level, everything resembles another fuss within society with squabbles and petty intrigues; at the global level, we see only a new interpretation of old ideas. And the persistence in promoting non-traditional relations only demonstrates primitivism in the perception of the very subject of space travel and contacts with other civilizations. The original trilogy was something new and original, Andromeda is a treadmill. However, this is a large-scale space adventure with excellent graphics and rich sound. Therefore, with all the claims, the game will please fans of fantastic games, because there is no worthy alternative, and there will not be any in the near future.