A rather large Mass Effect: Andromeda patch will be dropping on Thursday with improvements to the lip syncing and animation, among other things. But the secret biggest improvement is to the galaxy map travel.
Seriously, thank god they're letting you skip the autopilot sequence from now on.
As it is right now, when you click on a new planet the camera will jump back to the world where you are at that moment, then slooooooowly pan over to your desination. It's only a couple extra seconds in the grand scheme of things, but it seriously feels like an eternity, and it makes scanning planets kind of the worst.
It might seem like a pretty small issue in the grand scheme of things (and it is), but little quality of life touches like these are important. They can make the difference between, say, the desire to tool around and explore, or to just do the main quests. Over time, they can make the entire game feel that much slower, that much more ponderous, and that much more, well, boring.
These sorts of little details are a problem for Mass Effect: Andromeda in general. From its well-documented technical problems to its drawn out Remnant Puzzles, the problems with Andromeda kind of add up.
BioWare is aware of this. Aside from the galaxy map issue (and the usual crashes), Andromeda's patch will be doing the following:
- Increasing the inventory limits
- Improving the appearance of eyes for humans and asari characters
- Decreasing the cost of Remnant decryption keys and making them more accessible at merchants
- Improving localized voice over lip sync
- Fixing Ryder’s movements when running in a zig zag pattern
- Improving matchmaking and latency in multiplayer
Some of these are just technical problems (the movements). Others are a tacit acknowledgment of more fundamental problems (the Remnant decryption keys). Looking ahead, BioWare will also be addressing key complaints like character customization (currently terrible), Hainly Abrams deadnaming herself, and the lack of male romance options for Scott Ryder. Some of these are big, some are small, most just seem sort of short-sighted. It speaks to desire to emphasize scope while glossing over the smaller detail that make that sense of scale worthwhile.
I've been accused of harping too much on Mass Effect: Andromeda, but mostly I've just been trying to sort out my very mixed feelings about this game. The upcoming patch has served to crystallize some of those feelings and kind of give me a broader understanding of why it never resonated with me in the first place.
Generally speaking, I think Andromeda has quite a few problems that I don't think can be addressed in any patch. But in the short-term, at least, these little quality of life improvements should help some of Andromeda's legitimate strengths—like its excellent sidequests—shine a bit brighter.