Mass Effect: Andromeda recently turned one, and social media lit up with fond memories, fan art, and tributes to the BioWare game. A year ago, however, social media was telling a different story. ME:A received a tremendous amount of backlash when it was first released, and tension has continued to simmer ever since the game was launched.
Even now, sentiment surrounding the game is incredibly polarized—just take a look at their Facebook page, and you’ll see dozens of comments criticizing the most recent title from BioWare. Some people have even taken to criticizing Anthem, despite the game being more than a year away from release.
Seeing so much backlash on social media and hearing so many criticisms for one of my favorite developers is pretty disappointing. I know that BioWare games frequently rank among lists of favorites (mine included) so of course, I’d much rather people focus on the fond memories than on lingering grievances.
That’s not to say that I don’t understand the criticisms Andromeda faced, or why people are afraid for “the future of games,” but I don’t think dwelling on the past—especially more than a year after a game is released—is beneficial to the greater conversation. In that vein of thought, I decided to write a light-hearted reminder about all the reasons I still love BioWare games (and the reasons you should still love them too!)
1. They Create Immersive RPG Experiences
The first thing that drew me to BioWare games was the fact that they were RPGs. I’m a huge fan of the genre in general, and was looking for more titles to add to my library when I started playing Dragon Age: Origins. The completely immersive story they created for this game instantly had me hooked, and I’ve been a fan ever since. While RPGs are generally more story-heavy than other genres, BioWare goes above and beyond the norm with a wide breadth of additional lore and knowledge packed into every game.
2. BioWare Has Completely Embraced Character Creation
While I know this isn’t a deal breaker for most gamers, I really dislike being locked into a preset character. Even small tweaks such as gender or hair color options make a huge difference to my submersion into the game. While I know this doesn’t actually affect gameplay, it does show a dedication to creativity BioWare has long afforded players of its games. As diversity in gaming has become an increasingly talked about topic, many fans and critics alike have given props to the developer for allowing such freedom in character creation.
3. They Continually Deliver Stellar Games
With more than two decades of published games under their belt, one of the most impressive things about BioWare is the fact that they have a long list of amazing games to choose from. If you ask any RPG fan what their favorite games are, chances are a BioWare title will show up somewhere on the list. BioWare games also span a diverse range of topics, from Star Wars and space to magic and dragons—their games manage to stand out from one another without sacrificing quality.
4. Superb Characterization and Dialogue
In addition to the expansive lore featured in the games, BioWare games also boast some of the most notable, likable, and relatable characters in video games. By the end of each game, you will be hard pressed to not feel a little something for the characters. One of BioWare’s strongest assets is their writers, and it shows by their dedication to characterization, dialogue, and relationships. You will be hard-pressed to finish a BioWare game without growing at least a little bit attached to characters—if not more.
5. Branching Stories Add Replay Value
To piggyback off of their superb writing, the branching storylines features in many BioWare games are another key component of their success. The fact that you can play the games over and over and over and over again and still not finished all of the possible options and questions lets players always come back to the game feeling refreshed. While multiple endings aren’t something every game needs to have, it certainly adds replay value and helps you get the most out of your purchase. Being able to choose different origin stories, create different alliances, and have different romance partners enables you to have countless options when it comes to playing and replaying their games.
6. You Can Romance Aliens. And Elves. And Gays!
This, like character customization, is another perk that isn’t necessarily required for a great gaming experience. However, incorporating diverse romance options only adds to games. You can romance elves, dwarves, blue aliens, green aliens, and everything in between! What’s not to love? On a more serious note, BioWare is one of the few developers that have made the romance options inclusive for the LGBT community, so it only fits that they earn a shout out for the available hetero/homo/bisexual options available to players. It’s also worth mentioning that their diversity always feels authentic. Options don’t feel forced, and each romance is written with careful attention to detail.
With Anthem on the horizon and Dragon Age 4 looking to launch soon after that, I can genuinely say that I’m excited about the future of BioWare. I haven’t lost my faith in their ability to create amazing games, and I hope you haven’t either.