Initial Impressions of Mass Effect: Andromeda

Despite having a wholly exhausting Tuesday (the 21st – release day), I was determined to enjoy all that Mass Effect: Andromeda could offer that evening. The game downloaded in just a couple hours (score one for the new PC!).  After all my nighttime chores, I settled in, only to be met by…uh…sputtering? Well, not immediate sputtering. The game loaded up fine, and I created a new female Ryder. After that is when the sputtering started. The initial opening scenes cut in and out like a buffering video. It happened intermittently every handful of seconds or so, but then things smoothed out after the title card appeared. Once the story began, it looked like I was good to go. No sputtering, no “buffering.”

I got knee deep into the game’s first mission, and!…the game froze. I sat there staring at the screen for a minute or two, cursing under my breath, and then…the game sputtered forward. And then it sputtered forward again. And again. Something was definitely not right, and I couldn’t get back to the menu screen because of it. So I rebooted the PC. Upon restarting the game, it looked as though my first Ryder had met an early demise. Not wanting to waste time, I used a default Ryder and set off. Again. This time around, the game’s opening scenes and title played out smoothly, but!…everything froze, again, right upon starting the story. I sighed a very long sigh, and I rebooted the PC. Again.

By that time, it had gotten quite late, and I had to call it quits, sadly. But before conking out, I worked out a couple possible solutions. After all, the PC itself more than met Andromeda’s technical needs. It seemed the easiest solutions were the one to pursue first the next day: (1) reinstall the game the PC’s other, less used drive, and (2) update any and all drivers.

Wednesday might have been the longest in the history of ever as all I could think about during the workday was getting a good restart in Andromeda. As soon as we got home, I turned on the PC and immediately started to doing ALL the updates. (Turned out there were a number of them, include a rather important driver update – Aha!) After all that had subsided, I uninstalled and reinstalled the game on a different drive, one that had much more space.  After a couple more hours of waiting and dinner and such, Andromeda commenced. The game started up like butter. No sputtering or “buffering” or choppiness of any sort. It was…beautiful. I started fresh with a brand new and newly-created female Ryder I named Max. Her story began, and I was let loose.

As of writing, I’ve only spent about an hour and a half playing the game. It’s hardly enough for me for me to form any realistic opinion of it so far, but it did jot down some quick thoughts about seeing the game for the first time and what it was like.

Initial impressions

  • The character creator was…different. I might have missed the part where I could have changed the default Ryder’s face, so meeting a series of preset faces that I could then customize was unusual. From there the actual options were rather minimal. I did enjoy all the different hair options, but why can’t Bioware animate long hair? It looks so pretty in The Witcher 3.
  • Nice set of training options. I picked Operative, which I read as a thief- or assassin-type. Could be completely wrong there, but it sounded interesting. (Partly influenced by my current go-round as Zer0 in Borderlands 2. Boy, do I enjoy him.)
  • Wow, the game looks super pretty. Very pleased with my decision to get it on PC.

  • (Only now I’m totally going to wimp out and use the controller over the keyboard. Ah, well.)
  • Yep, the facial animations are strange. Why does everyone have such big, emotive eyes? And every time my character furrows her brow, her face scrunches up in the oddest way. It’s almost like her nose and mouth float over her face, in the same sense that a kneecap floats above the knee joint. Outside of that, everyone’s body movements look natural…maybe a little twitchy at times.
  • Huh, I guess I should have customized my twin. Maybe next time.
  • Hello, Tasha Yar…uh, I mean, Cora Harper.

  • Scanning is straight outta Metroid Prime. Not sure how I feel about that yet. Will probably end up SCANNING ALL THE THINGS.
  • Back to the game. Ooo, it’s nice and fluid. The controls are very responsive, and movement makes sense. Liking the conversation options as well, and that they aren’t black and white.
  • Scotty? Are ya givin’ it all she’s got?  Sorry, but the Star Trek influence is strong here.

  • Onboard with the story so far – excited to see what’s out in the universe!
  • We’re off to our first planet, Habitat 7…on the exact same shuttles from Mass Effect 2 and 3?! C’mon now, really?
  • The alien planet is certainly alien. Looking at the floating rocks and giant mushrooms, all I can think of is No Man’s Sky. Oh dear.

  • Again, movement seems solid. Great to have vertical abilities. Combat feels meaty, though I have to get used to the cover system, which is a little sloppy at the moment.

  • Okay, scanning and discovery is fun. Going to be, uh…interesting(?)…dealing with that in the wake of the main story.
  • The enemies look pretty cool. Nothing to complain about yet.

  • Not paying much attention to the script or acting. Should probably do that.

I remain positive that Mass Effect: Andromeda is going to offer up some enjoyable and addictive gameplay. But it’s only the beginning. I still have a long way to go in helping humanity find a new home.

All images (© Bioware) were taken by cary using GeForce Experience.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting first impressions. It’s sad the game is so buggy, but it still sounds like it could end up being a really fun experience overall. I just started as well. I like your character! It’s always a pain to have to redo a character you already made and liked, so I feel your pain there, but she looks good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Thanks! 🙂 Agreed that it stinks to have to go back a recreate a character after investing a lot of time in a previous one. (I wish I had thought to take a picture of her.) But I hope you’re having a blast! The game is running much more smoothly for me now, which is great. I’m still noticing a few glitching things here and there, but nothing major.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I ended up having to recreate my character too. Fortunately she looks like me old character, just with a little more eye makeup. Otherwise the game is running okay now too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. parkerozgood says:

    I’m digging it. Aside from the facial flaws! The story seems pretty deep and the gameplay is fun. Reminds me of the gameplay from the last series! I find myself playing longer than I want to and that’s always a good sign!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      I’m with you there! Even though I’m still in the game’s early stages, I’m already finding it difficult to put the game away. There’s just so much to see! And yeah, the game has a nice, solid feel (despite glaring flaws) that definitely hearkens back to the original trilogy. I can’t wait to get deeper into the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Will_GSRR says:

    Sucks that you have a bad start to the game.

    I’m about 6-7 hours in now and I’m really enjoying it. Combat feels good, characters seem interesting, animations a bit wonky here and there, but nothing too damning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      I seem to have a habit of getting off on the wrong foot with Bioware games, but once I make amends, it’s all good. I’m really pleased with how things are going now, even though I’m still early in the game. I’ve been impressed with everything so far, and it’s great to know that it only gets better. It’s getting easier to overlook the strange animations, thought I swear that Cora twitches far too much for her own good!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

    Wow that sucks about the performance issues but glad you got past it. Did your game warn you about video card drivers when you started? Mine did and as much as I hated waited I downloaded the driver, and based on this I’m glad I did, seems like it’s crucial do to these updates.

    Same for me I’m kind of at the same point as you, very early on but yes game moves great and combat is solid. I also wondered if you could tweak the default Ryder faces. I actually wanted to make female Ryder’s resemble zero suit Samus but the default face looked the best for it and the others were meh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      I’m guessing that I must have just blasted past any update notes from my video card when I first started the game, which was totally silly of me. I don’t know how much PC gaming I’ll do after Andromeda, but now I know that it pays to keep all the drivers as up-to-date as possible! Lesson learned.

      I have to admit that had also hoped for more character customization options (I think I inadvertently made my character look like one of my co-workers!), but, I also didn’t mind NOT spending hours and hours adjusting nose sizes and ear widths. With the default faces, all I could think was “yep, you’ve got a good mix of nationalities there,” which was creative of Bioware, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. simpleek says:

    I’m sorry your first run with the game had so many technical issues. I would have been pissed too. I was disappointed that reviews on the game were split, but I’m excited to play the game regardless. I’ll draw my own conclusions when I finish the game. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Andromeda has some pretty big shoes to fill, so the hypercriticsm of it is understandable, though maybe a little over-the-top, at times. After writing this post, I put in a little more time with the game over the weekend (at about the 10 hour mark, and the game is running super smoothly now!), and I gotta say that the game is loads of fun. I’ve still got a long way to go in relationship-building and all that, but exploration and combat are both solid. I’m really looking forward to getting out into that wide-open galaxy!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    ICYMI: I’m playing Mass Effect : Andromeda! Had a bit of a rough start, but I think we’re all good now. Click on to read my first impressions of the game as posted to United We Game.


  7. Erm… glad I have it on console, now (ducks for cover). It’s run smoothly so far! I’m with you; a lot of neat things happening in this game! Great impressions 🙂 And I was a little baffled by the customization, as well. I would up with a modified default more than anything else. If I start again I’ll take a little more time haha. I’m looking forward to jumping back in!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Haha, I’m glad the game is working great for you! After doing all my PC updates (and keeping an eye out for others), I think I’m good to go for awhile. 🙂

      Now that I’m a little farther in, I do wish I had taken the time to make my twin. The game didn’t make it seem necessary, and having avoided most news about the game, I didn’t know the role the twin plays in the game. Now that I understand the customization options, that, and spending a little more time making my character in general, will be for the next round.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah…. live and learn! haha oh well. My twins look nothing alike, either haha. Live and learn, I suppose! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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