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An editorial on The Zombie Chimp tries to analyze what went wrong with Mass Effect: Andromeda. It also ponders what could the next entry in the Mass Effect series do to regain its status as the sci-fi RPG. Here's an excerpt:
You've heard me complain enough, so let's get to the point. Where does Mass Effect go from here? I personally think the answer is pretty simple, back to the Milky Way. The ending of Mass Effect 3 is reviled by many, I personally think it's fine. I mean, it's about the journey after all and Shepard and company had one hell of a journey. No matter how you Mass Effect 3 ended fo you, it had some big impacts on the Milky Way. the biggest of which was that the Mass Relays no longer worked. Basically, everyone was isolated to whatever system they were in when the Reapers attacked. Even if we jumped forward in time and the relays were repaired, I'd love to see how that period of isolation affected the galaxy.
Beyond the relays, other events impacted the galaxy in a huge way, like Mordin curing the genophage. For those unfamiliar, the Krogan from Mass Effect had been plagued by the genophage making their females infertile. Mordin Solus takes it upon himself to cure the genophage in ME3. How would an increased Krogan population affect the balance of power in the Milky Way?
We need to bring back the Spectres. Early on is the first Mass Effect game, Shepard is made the first human Spectre. Specters are a big deal, they're essentially soldiers of varying races hand picked by the citadel council to help provide galactic stability, galactic peacekeepers if you will. In Andromeda, you're a Pathfinder, a human joined with an AI set with finding a new home for your species. On paper the whole thing is pretty cool, what isn't cool is how Ryder becomes one. When your father, the real Pathfinder is killed at the games start he passes the AI to you, completely ignoring the chain of command. Being a Spectre felt cool because Shepard had earned it, being the Pathfinder feels cheap, and also Ryder is sort of a jerk about the whole thing.
Leaving the Milky Way felt like a cop out. Mass Effect ran away from dangling plot threads that stood to change the universe in a big way. Shepard's story is over but that doesn't mean the Milky Way's is as well. In a best case scenario, I'd hope Andromeda could sort out its issues and give us a stellar follow-up. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to heading back to a familiar galaxy though.
It looks like Bioware will be taking a break from the series either way so only time will tell. It's worth noting that my opinions on the direction Mass Effect should take may not align with yours, so let me know in the comments. Mass Effect is a great series that I hope will see a bright future.