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 was better than it had ever been before, and there were 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
The toilet on the Tempest. Surprisingly filthy. pic.twitter.com/fw6EZYhtusMarch 21, 2017
You have to switch drive modes in the Nomad to drive up steep hills
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.
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
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
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
Who knew there was a level below Kaidan?