17 tiny things that drive us crazy about Mass Effect: Andromeda

Spending dozens of hours in space makes the cracks easier to spot.

Mass Effect: Andromeda isn't the best in the series, but it's a good Mass Effect game. It's just squirreling away those fun bits beneath unnecessary open world busywork, perplexing design decisions, and bugs. And no, not literal alien space bugs. Andromeda's vast new sci-fi frontier rewards dedicated exploration, the combat is better than it's ever been, and there are plenty of aliens to woo, but we need to vent. Here are some of the little things that have been bothering us over the course of our combined hundreds of hours of play.

The compass and map are awful 

Quest markers don’t display a distance until you’re within 100 meters or so, and there’s no minimap, and the map that there is looks like spilled spaghetti. So like all great explorers, Ryder spends a lot of time driving into cliffsides, off cliffsides, and in circles around cliffs, checking and rechecking her map constantly. Even indoors, the maps are so ugly and hard to read that finding the right console button to press can be infuriating. —Tyler Wilde 

You press M to open the map. But pressing M again doesn't close the map—you have to hit escape. It's so frustrating when games make simple actions like this more cumbersome than they have to be. —Evan Lahti

Aliens still look like humans

They have two eyes, two arms, two legs—the whole deal! Throw in some Earth species aesthetic touches (lizards for Krogans, fish for Angara, gravel for Kett) and call it a day. —James Davenport

“My personal code is: I got this.” 

Ryder is young and inexperienced, and sometimes that’s endearing, like when she demonstrates how little control she has over crew meetings. Other times, she sounds like an irreverent motivational remark tweeted atop a cat gif.  —Tyler Wilde  

There’s no bathroom in the Pathfinder’s quarters 

Are we meant to believe that the most important human in the galaxy doesn’t get her own toilet? It’s a minor detail, but I appreciated that Shepard’s quarters always had a bathroom. It made the Normandy feel more like a real ship, where you’re living during all the treks between stars, rather than a tram that you’re riding around to quest markers.  —Tyler Wilde  

And the toilets on the Tempest are nasty 

You have to switch drive modes in the Nomad to drive up steep hills 

Why?

Planet scanning and mining are a bore 

The unnecessary space transitions kill all desire I have to try out mining or visiting other planets, most of which are just empty. Floating between planets looks nice, sure, but the scale of each system is such that they all look like fancy dioramas. Rendering every planet isn’t worth the 10 to 15 second flight time between them, and the rewards less so. Click once for a small notification that you got some minerals or space salvage and then it’s on to the next planet. —James Davenport

Ancient alien tech all looks the same 

Make it angular, give it some soft LEDs, put it underground, and lock it with a glyph-based Sudoku key.

The Sudoku 

I look forward to Mass Effect: Andromeda 2, where all the ancient alien vaults are locked with crossword puzzles and word searches.

The multiplayer menus

The menu layout is a crude console port with arbitrary key assignments and some annoying nesting. Backspace to open the options menu? Page Down? Even opening supply packs manages to be slightly frustrating. —Evan Lahti 

Dad fragments 

Ryder and their family’s most in-depth characterization comes from collecting fragments scattered throughout the entire galaxy cluster. Why hide the most interesting, important aspects of the Ryder family behind such a boring task list? —James Davenport

The eyes 

The platforming 

You know something is wrong when Mass Effect conjures up Banjo Kazooie. On occasion, Andromeda makes you jump and dash to reach a Remnant glyph panel or navigate a series of small platforming challenges to escape the vault reset doom-cloud. It’s never too difficult, but it never feels great. Collision is weird on bumpy surfaces, so Ryder will stumble and stop near the smallest change in height, and ledge detection is inconsistent enough to make every leap one of faith. Poor faith. It’s another of Andromeda’s appendages that doesn’t feel fully realized, and I’d rather cut the sucker off than put any weight on it again. —James Davenport

Flirting is awkward 

Most relationships take shape from a few dialogue choices you make right after meeting a new character with next to no effort involved—they're not good analogues for real, healthy relationships. I get we’re all really just here to have space sex with aliens, but putting sex at the end of a thin relationship thread with next to no fail state feels strange. —James Davenport

The bigger planets feel empty 

Most points of interest are either reserved for a quest or just serve as a quick battle centered around a few objects to scan and containers to open. There’s rarely anything truly wondrous or unique about the planets other than a few postcard vistas and that every mountain doubles as a ramp to do sick tricks off of in the Nomad. —James Davenport

All of Heleus has four different animals 

We’ve got those big burly monsters, a raptor-looking thing, invisible stalker types, and acid-spitting beetles on each planet. Quite the ecosystem, really. Ryder likely single-handedly messed up the food chain on every planet too. There’s about one animal every 300 yards and most end up beneath the Nomad or get shot up for resources. Whatever saves humanity. —James Davenport

Liam 

Who knew there was a level below Kaiden?

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