I agree about the bland player character in both MEA and DAI. In MEA in particular, most of the dialogue is very generic, and it's rare for Ryder to say anything you remember 5 minutes later. I think DAI at least had well-written companions and a very good main quest, while MEA lacked any of that. I found it hard to care about MEA's main quest or companions for 80% of the game, especially with Ryder himself being so bland. The graphics are great and the combat is fun but becomes repetitive after a while. The game is full of filler MMO-style side quests (more than even DAI) and not enough interesting quests with player choice or consequences, very unlike the old ME games.
I think Bioware was responding to the 'more freedom' demands as in ' i want to make the character mine from completely blank slate aka fallout' vs Shepard or say Geralt who has his backstory, preferences, likes, love interests, etc. While you have some freedom on shaping advanture , ultimately it is a story being old and you can not make Witcher 3 Geralt into something he is not. The curse of all open-world sandbox game is blandness of empty slate characters.
so what should game developers do? They have targetted story and audience demand more open world/sandboxy things. They make sandbox open world and audience now says this is boring and has zero personality. Duh.. who would have guessed?