Unless you’ve been living without the internet for the last few weeks, it’s almost certain now that you’ve at least seen gifs of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s laughable facial and character animations. Almost any mention of the game online is now followed by some mocking comment or jab at the title’s lack of quality. And it’s not just that. Criticism has also been levelled at the game’s writing and dialogue, which, when paired with the terrible facial animations, created a final product that looks and feels poor. The situation regarding Mass Effect: Andromeda has already received widespread media coverage, with mostly all of it revolving around these main points of contention. But while on a technical level, the game is indeed a mess, outside of that, reviews and gamer impressions appear to be mostly positive. In Andromeda’s case, for many but not all, gameplay and overall story has been able to overshadow some of those shortcomings. However, with other games, that’s not always the case. There eventually comes a point where players are unable to look past the technical flaws.
The concept of ‘broken’ games is one that is primarily unique to the gaming industry. Never would you hear widespread reports about broken movies failing to project or music ceasing to play. Entertainment usually works. Sure, video games are far more complicated, but that doesn’t exactly excuse not being able to properly use a product that you bought. When Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer was down for months or when Assassin’s Creed Unity was practically dead at launch, nobody merely put it aside as a small goof. It was a genuine problem that still persists with other games years later.
A lack of diligent testing appears to be the problem for most of these cases. Often a game is ‘broken’ because of lax quality assurance. Andromeda‘s issues have been universally clear, and it’s hard to imagine that no one came across the game in its current, glitchy state. The likely explanation is that either EA or BioWare Montreal just didn’t care or tried to remain ignorant. The advent of patches and updates has made it easy for developers and publishers to do this. They rush their product out first, get back some of or all of its budget, and then work on resolving the issues. Even now, BioWare is just getting to patching problems that should’ve been resolved before release, and it’s one of many patches to come. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would’ve rather they delay the game beforehand than tarnish its reputation now and fix the known problems later.
Andromeda is nowhere near being completely unplayable in its current state—people are still playing and enjoying it—but as the gaming industry progresses and standards go up, players will gradually become less willing to overlook glaring issues in regards to a game’s presentation and functionality. Not often are video games nowadays actually ‘unplayable’, as in they won’t turn on, but eventually, titles that are not up to snuff with quality standards will no longer be tolerated by the gaming public.