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Game Review

In 2012, Mass Effect 3 wrapped up the deep-space drama of one Commander Shepard and his stalwart crew. Despite the trilogy's conclusion, though, the gamemakers at Bioware have found a way to keep the series' extraterrestrial exploring, alien shootouts and interspecies lovemaking winging right along at light speed: By launching gamers into a whole new galaxy.

Bye Bye, Milky Way

Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place somewhere between the action of the second and third games in the original trilogy. Gamers wake up as either Scott or Sara Ryder, a pair of capable siblings aboard the human-filled spaceship Ark Hyperion. It's one of several ships full of human, Krogan, Salarian, Turian, and Asarian colonists determined to relocate in the Andromeda Galaxy—some 2.5 million light years away from their home star system.

The problem is, after waking up from their 634-year frozen slumber, the Hyperion's crew doesn't find any of the welcoming utopian worlds that long-range sensors told them to expect. In fact, the planet that they were headed for, labeled Habitat 7, is completely uninhabitable thanks to some strange world-ruining space anomaly. And none of the other arks full of colonists appear to have even made it there intact.

On top of all that, there's also an aggressively hostile alien species fiddling around with some mysterious ancient tech on what was supposed to be their new home. A tragic event places the mantle of leadership on the Ryder of your choice. So now it's up to him or her to find out what happened to the other arks, deal with the nasty and violent alien interlopers and figure out where their tens of thousands of still cryogenically frozen settlers might plant a flag and call home.

Blast Her …

That setup opens the door to a whole lot of prototypical Mass Effect gameplay. That includes lots and lots of third-person shootout battles. And like past games, there are many different futuristic weapons (assault rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers, etc.) to acquire and (combat, biotics and tech) upgrades to procure for both Ryder and his teammates.

These super-powered improvements can create special shields, suspend an enemy defenselessly in the air or alter Ryder's body mass so he can hurtle into an enemy alien with the impact of a meteor. That results in goopy green splashes as foes are mowed down in one way or another. Story cut-scenes show bodies lying in pools of gore. Some references to cannibalism and a handful of f- and s-words and misuses of God's name pepper the dialogue, as well.

And as we expect from any Mass Effect grand space drama, your own in-game decisions will mold the game experience itself. Players will be thrust into many conversations with various alien species and make cognitive choices in their dialogue interactions. Those selections end up shaping their protagonist's character. Will they be passionate or logical in their choices? Do they joke around or play it straight? And how will those kinds of things impact the reactions they get in return?

Occasionally, that choose-wisely game mechanic also means being faced with morally gray choices that can have potentially terrible consequences. Gamers may choose what appears to be an action of "greater good," but that ultimately results in a number of lost lives. As much as those kinds of interactions can help make the gameplay pretty involving, they can also lead to some steamy situations, too.

… or Romance Him

Mass Effect games have always been known for offering up the possibility for male and female protagonists to flirt with crew members and potentially drift over time toward a romantic entanglement.

There are seven different male and female characters that either of the Ryders can woo—and those options include same-sex and interspecies choices. And while some of the past games have swooped about and flirted with revealing more skin than you might expect, Andromeda, well, kicks that into hyperdrive. Several of the possible sex scenes in this game are more realistically graphic and revealing than I've ever seen in a video game.

Does that catapult this game into galaxies where no man has gone before? No. But it's more of that push-the-envelope M-rated game stuff that deserves a big Warning, Warning, Will Robinson.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

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Episode Reviews



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Record Label


Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC




March 30, 2017

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

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