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About Mass Effect: Andromeda's Quest Design

June 14, 2017

If you've ever played open world games, you've probably noticed this: There are main story quests, leading you from place to place, containing impressive cut scenes, interesting action and generally good pacing. Clearly where a lot of the effort went. Then there are some smaller side stories thrown in there for good measure, usually also fairly high quality. And then.. well, then there's the crappy “oh-god-we-need-more-stuff-to-do” quests. Mass Effect: Andromeda is no different in this case, and it is frustrating me to no end that "AAA" titles keep doing this.

I consider myself a completionist - I like to “100%” games, because that's just the kind of person I am. I pay money for the game, so I want to experience it all. I want to get every interesting bit of lore out of it, see what the game has to offer. But modern games really challenge that desire. I got so frustrated by those quests in Mass Effect: Andromeda, at some point I started to ignore them all. Here's a tip if you intend to play that game: Ignore quests in the “Additional Tasks” category, unless you happen to run across the objective. They are for the most part boring, uninteresting fetch quests.

I believe that quest like those do such games more harm than good, they don't add to the experience, they take away from it. They ruin it. They are intended to increase the length of the game and fill the world with stuff to do, make it feel less empty. But if the things you are doing are just plain boring they might as well be removed.

Once I started ignoring them I started to enjoy Mass Effect: Andromeda again. Unlike popular opinion right now, I consider it an above average game. Not excellent, not bad. It is a shame that it went through such troubled development and ended up being released with many bugs, an UI that can only be described as an utter mess and many quests that were clearly added in a hurry only for the purpose of making the experience longer. I do hope that the next entry in this series will be managed better. That is, if we ever see another Mass Effect game.

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