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Thread: Mass Effect: Andromeda

  1. #51
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Anyway, I played it some more and I really don't see what's supposed to be so disastrous about it. I haven't seen a single glitch or bug and while there are some odd lines, most of the writing is pretty solid. Or maybe most of it has been fixed meanwhile?

    It's also not as open world as I previously thought it would be. There are two planets that I've found so far where you can drive with your space car and a couple of smaller locations where you're on foot, but it really doesn't take all that long to travel from one edge to the other. And the locations are actually pretty interesting. There have been a bunch of side missions, but I didn't find them at all overwhelming and they tie into the overall picture very nicely, a lot of them dealing with settling into a new place and studying it.

    Certainly there are some rough edges, but for a first game from a new studio, it's not bad at all. I'd say that the worst part has actually been the UI design, which seems to have taken lessons from the first Mass Effect and repeats quite a few of its mistakes.

  2. #52
    Taking a break
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Well, it is clear that the Witcher 3 team has worked very hard to make their system work while clearly something has gone wrong with Andromeda's pipeline. We are unlikely to know what exactly happened without an inside source in Bioware Montreal. I think he laid out some pretty good guesses, though.
    I dunno. I think it goes somewhat deeper than that. From the pieces I've seen of DA:I and Andromeda so far it isn't just that a cool factor and vision is gone. It's like the games are written by people who hate their jobs (and probably have some strong self loathing), and some of that darkness seeps out into their writing. They also seem to have borderline challenged emotional intelligence since even the most charged moments seem forced....like the difference between two people kissing passionately and two cardboard cutouts being shoved together.

    Not entirely sure how to say what I'm getting at. Witcher 3, as dark as the tone was, had some genuine moments of humanity and joy in it that are memorable for people to still remember them. Even Geralt had a a quiet nobility to his character that simply can't be faked by an author who doesn't have the emotional maturity to grasp that nuance.

    The use of PC tokens only exacerbates the problem. If you want to fully see what I'm talking about play Persona 4, then compare how complex and nuanced Kanji's character is against ANY of Bioware's gay characters. They're pastiched almost on a level of blackface by comparison.

  3. #53
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I'd explain it to you but my face is tired.

  4. #54
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    I dunno. I think it goes somewhat deeper than that. From the pieces I've seen of DA:I and Andromeda so far it isn't just that a cool factor and vision is gone. It's like the games are written by people who hate their jobs (and probably have some strong self loathing), and some of that darkness seeps out into their writing.
    You really should stop projecting onto people you don't know. I know it's safe for you to do that because they can't talk back, but the internet isn't your emotional litterbox.

  5. #55
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Witcher has an established character whereas in Mass Effect the character is in a lot of ways a blank sheet to be shaped by the player. Also, the aims of the games are very different. In Witcher, Geralt's past and current relationships are very important. For Commander Shepard, the focus is more on having adventures with a rag-tag band of misfits. And yes, a lot of it is based on tropes, but it's meant to be.

    Now Andromeda is a bit different, in that it does have a personal storyline where you delve into the past of your estranged father and his shady dealings. But the focus is still on on the big picture and the themes it explores are fitting for a space opera. There's a galactic catastrophe happening. You have to deal with a species that is is being conquered by aliens and therefore sees every alien with distrust or worse. There's an exile colony where drug addicts litter the slums and criminal gangs rough up people who can't afford their protection fees. The Krogans have gone their own way because they were deceived by the establishment. There is a lot to deal with in the galaxy and most of it is not on a personal level.

  6. #56
    Taking a break
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    You really should stop projecting onto people you don't know. I know it's safe for you to do that because they can't talk back, but the internet isn't your emotional litterbox.
    Not my fault you can't distinguish between good literary art and rubbish.

    And I think you've got it backwards. It's safe for me to do what I can do because I work out more than they do....and because nobody really gives a fuck.


    Don't mistake that for hatred though. I know some people who are in that type of job and I don't feel much other than pity. Most American "creative" types I run into these days aren't very happy in their personal lives due to involuntary celibacy and poor physical health......exceptions made for the exceptional of course.


    In Witcher, Geralt's past and current relationships are very important. For Commander Shepard, the focus is more on having adventures with a rag-tag band of misfits. And yes, a lot of it is based on tropes, but it's meant to be.
    So basically what you're saying is that Geralt's story is all about his relationships and adventures with a rag-tag gang of misfits, and that Mass Effect is all about adventures and relationships with a rag-tag band of misfits?

    That you're even writing that indicates shitty writing. It tells me that you perceive Geralt as having actual human relationships with other characters and with the recent Mass Effect games you don't. Plus I think you're giving them a bit too much credit with Shepard being a "blank slate". Any way you play Shepard basically comes down to "do an asshole thing" or "do a nice thing", both said by the same character with the same method of speech, personality, and mannerisms......kind of like the decisions made in the Witcher games to say nothing of the boring tripe that the last two Dragon Age games were.


    I'd explain it to you but my face is tired.
    Then perhaps you'd prefer to blow it out your ass?
    Last edited by Tony_Tarantula; 19th Apr 2017 at 14:17.

  7. #57
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    Not my fault you can't distinguish between good literary art and rubbish.

    And I think you've got it backwards. It's safe for me to do what I can do because I work out more than they do....and because nobody really gives a fuck.

    Don't mistake that for hatred though. I know some people who are in that type of job and I don't feel much other than pity. Most American "creative" types I run into these days aren't very happy in their personal lives due to involuntary celibacy and poor physical health......exceptions made for the exceptional of course.
    One: whether something is 'good literary art' or rubbish has nothing to do with your correlation with 'self-loathing', which speaks more about your own emotional filters and psychological makeup than anything else.

    Two: not only are you idiotic enough to attempt to psychoanalyse people you've never met, interacted with, or even know anything about, but you're able to know what their gym schedules are like through... what, informational osmosis via sniffing chemtrails?

    Three: your last paragraph is such a self-indulgent blowhard scree that I now know you're projecting so hard you can't see the forest for the trees. I had a solid giggle at that, for near about a minute. Good work!
    Last edited by Sulphur; 19th Apr 2017 at 14:48.

  8. #58
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    So basically what you're saying is that Geralt's story is all about his relationships and adventures with a rag-tag gang of misfits, and that Mass Effect is all about adventures and relationships with a rag-tag band of misfits?
    Huh? I'm not saying that at all. Try reading it again, maybe?

    Nowhere does Geralt gather a ragtag bunch of misfits to go on adventures. He's not even looking to save the world or anything like that. Witcher is about a morally grey pulp hero who tries to make the best of a shitty world. In Mass Effect you are a more stereotypical "kick some ass, save the day and get the girl on top" kind of hero. And there's nothing wrong with it.

    What I'm saying is that they are different types of stories.
    Last edited by Starker; 19th Apr 2017 at 15:19.

  9. #59
    Yeh, that sex life and gym stuff is cheap psychology, noone likes that. Usually people are smart or empathetic enough not to make that kind of oversimplified assumptions. Great writers, poets, and philosophers often had poor sex life, crippling diseases, lived in poverty, and some of them've never seen the world outside their home city. And their works are magnificent. To me, and I'm not English native, the writing in ME:A feels like shallow water cooler chit-chat, at least in the parts I saw. I don't care whether the game was written by millennials or the old guard, or how many stomach crunches or sex they have every day, because none of this gives you the power of writing genuinely interesting stories. It seems like they had nothing interesting to say.

  10. #60
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    It's not like the series was especially literate to begin with. There has been a lot I've liked, though. Like for example the Angara and their struggle to preserve their culture. And all the shady stuff about the Initiative and your father's dealings has been intriguing as well, although I don't really know where it all leads yet.

  11. #61
    Taking a break
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Eh, don't get me wrong...I'm writing in a bit of a bitter tone but I'm actually kind of sad about the whole thing. It used to be that Bioware made truly great RPGs, with stories that blended both the epic and the personal seamlessly. Even today there isn't a lot that stands up to Baldur's Gate 2 for Western RPGs and KOTOR is still the best Star Wars game ever released (unless you prefer space sims, then it's TIE Fighter). Even the first Mass Effect

    Their more recent games are written more like crappy fan fiction...and after four strikes in a row (DA:2, ME3, DA:I, Andromeda) I have to admit that the studio I used to love is a zombie at this point....the shambling corpse kept animated by the corporate parasite controlling the rotting remains of it's brain.

    I was probably being a bit over-broad. It isn't specifically America that is completely incapable of producing engaging fiction. It's that anything out of the sanitized, soulless corporate wasteland is.


    And to the point about it being a "blank slate". That's not why.

    Revan was a "blank slate". The Bhaalspawn was a "blank slate". The Spirit Monk was a "blank slate". The Gray Warden was a "blank slate". Every single one of those games managed to have characters who were interesting and engaging. In Persona the protagonist is a very literal "blank slate" and in that series every main character in them will feel like they could be a best friend with you in real life by the end of the game.

    All of those are "kick some ass, save the day, and get the girl on top" kind of heroes (nevermind that's exactly what Geralt does).

    Let's not blame it on game mechanics and put the blame where it lies: piss poor writing.

    but you're able to know what their gym schedules are like through... what, informational osmosis via sniffing chemtrails?
    By looking at a group photo of the writers.

  12. #62
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I would not say that the writing in Andromeda is poor. I went in expecting "my face is tired" level of writing, but it's actually the exception rather than the rule. There's nothing wrong with the vast majority of the writing.

    Also, I like the grand space opera ideas that the game throws at me. There have been decisions where I literally had to walk away and think about it. Like for example do you destroy the enemy's research that can be used to destroy a planet or do you keep it for your side? Do you kill a ruthless water merchant on a planet where the merchant has been the only one keeping outlaws in check? Do you destroy an enemy's base used for turning people into enemy soldiers or do you leave it intact with the hope of rescuing the people?

    The worldbuilding has been pretty good too and there's quite a bit of variety in the environments. Whether it's a planet with overgrown jungles or a planet in an ice age, they have been a real pleasure to explore. Especially considering that it's the first game of a new studio, Mass Effect really shines in this respect, although part of it is certainly in no small part thanks to the Frostbite engine.

  13. #63
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Finally forced myself to finish it.

    The writing might suck compared to the original trilogy, which had some of it's own issues here and there. True, the "my face is tired" is a rare exception of bad awful dialogue, but the rest is either serviceable or so dull I ended up skipping. Everything from core concept, initial arc, character development, interactions etc, all of it is weak compared to the originals.

    The actual mission/game design is some of the worst I've seen in any game, it might have been more forgiveable if the campaign map screen transitions weren't so painfully slow and annoyingly unskippable.

    The crew characters, being the definition of dull and two dimensional, makes enduring this shitty design unrewarding. So, for example, when the awful progression design forces me to trek through 4 planets, 8 landing/takeoff cutscenes and all the god awful transitioning between systems just to have a "oh, this is where I'm supposed to give a shit about these people" two lines of dialogue conversation...just fucking...ugh!

    The character model artwork, like I said in previous post, looks so bad its intentional. I don't buy for a second that it's just uncanny valley due to graphics, especially given they can clearly make a cute/hunk characters here and there. It's either a lack of time or somebody trying to show us that not everyone has to be pretty (maybe I've been reading too much tinfoil shittery on reddit). Also, the Angara look ridiculous and all the females seem to have one voice actress.


    So,
    Bad Points:
    • Boring crew characters
    • Tired writing
    • Weapons were kind of crap
    • Team mates feel underpowers as usual, but more so.
    • I wasn't fussed on the weapon/armour reserch/upgrade system. Rather, it felt like it needed a bit more refinement.
    • Plot could have worked, I like that it's kind of a take from a civilian perspective rather than veteran military, but it makes so little difference it seems pointless, especially as it is never really explored or has any actual effect on the plot or gameplay.
    • I feel sorry for the playtesters having to sit through all of that repeatedly, maybe they were allowed to skip cutscenes.
    • I didn't like the open class thing, though the skills kind of looked a bit boring anyway.



    Good Points:

    • The scenery looks nice.
    • That one part of Eos had a nice, eerie alien feel to it, result of visuals and ambient sound. I liked that.
    • The remnant dungeons had just enough variation so that it wasn't a chore.
    • Architect fights were kind of spicy (I didn't notice the loot crates they dropped until the third or fourth one, kicking myself)



    /rant

    Its entirely possible that I'll soften up a bit and come to appreciate aspects of it. I did quit ME1 for about a year before going back and trying to like it, then actually loved it. It's also possible that despite my attempt to ignore all news about the game, I might have let my experience become tainted by how politicised everything is now.

  14. #64
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    Glitch montage of a game still in need of patching.


  15. #65
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    Sources: Mass Effect: Andromeda Will Not Get Single-Player DLC

    RIP in peace, the Quarian arc will never reach the Nexus.


    Sent from my ASUS_Z017DA using Tapatalk

  16. #66
    Actually, there was this nice reporting piece on Kotaku about ME:A's troubled development. It was a bloody miracle the game was even shipped.

    Oh, the link was at the bottom of this news:
    http://kotaku.com/the-story-behind-m...ive-1795886428

  17. #67
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    So, I finally finished the game, concluding the adventures of Mumen Ryder and the dysfunctional crew of the Tempest. It looks like I'm the only person who liked this game (or at least the complete opposite to everyone in this thread), which probably goes some ways towards explaining why the studio is getting gutted and the series is being put on ice, but I really feel that a lot of the hate the game receives is undeserved. I kept waiting to see the disaster that the game was supposed to be and it never happened. From a scale of 0-10 where 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7 is good, I think this game is a solid 6, verging on 7. For context, the first game would be a 7 and the second game would be a 5 in my book.

    That is not to say that the game is without flaws:
    * It lacks polish and occasionally there are bugs and glitches and poor animations and odd dialogue lines that show that the game was rushed out prematurely, but they are nowhere near as ubiquitous as the critics would have you believe.
    * The story is more scattered thanks to having several open world sandbox levels. In a story focused game this is necessarily a trade-off, but on the other hand it does add some exploration that has been absent since the MAKO sections of the first game.
    * The combat is the best I've seen in a Mass Effect game -- which is to say it's the least miserable. It seems that there really isn't much you can do to make cover-based shooting tolerable, but the added mobility and enemies that aggressively flush you out of cover do help make it somewhat more interesting. I guess Yahtzee was right and jetpacks really do make everything better.
    * The interface is almost as bad as in the first game. Almost. And the first one was so outstandingly bad that they teach it in design classes.

    What I liked about this game, though, was the space opera fantasy it delivers -- the over the top melodramatic kind where the fates of entire galaxies are on the line and that you rarely see in videogames, save the odd strategy game or space sim here and there. And Mass Effect Andromeda actually has a fair bit of it to offer, if you are willing to look. It's kind of like a season of Star Trek -- it might look a bit silly at times when the captain goes on a planet and fights a rubber monster, but it's the ideas that it conveys that count. For example, the Angara are in essence Star Trek aliens, who are essentially humans with some feature vastly exaggerated. Like Romulans are humans, but scheming and devious, the Angara are essentially humans, but emotional and dramatic, always larger than life. And there's a sense of overarching idealism and optimism that's very much Star Trek.

    Also, I was impressed with some situations where you really had to consider your approach carefully, like the way the Roekaar conflict was handled, the choice you had to make with the Angaran AI, the choice you made with the Asari pathfinder, etc. The game presented some interesting ethical dilemmas where had to seriously think about some of the choices and consider the implications. Would be too bad if there wasn't a follow-up to some of those in the form of a sequel.
    Last edited by Starker; 9th Jul 2017 at 18:18.

  18. #68
    Taking a break
    Registered: Oct 2013
    What I liked about this game, though, was the space opera fantasy it delivers -- the over the top melodramatic kind where the fates of entire galaxies are on the line and that you rarely see in videogames, save the odd strategy game or space sim here and there. And Mass Effect Andromeda actually has a fair bit of it to offer, if you are willing to look. It's kind of like a season of Star Trek -- it might look a bit silly at times when the captain goes on a planet and fights a rubber monster, but it's the ideas that it conveys that count. For example, the Angara are in essence Star Trek aliens, who are essentially humans with some feature vastly exaggerated. Like Romulans are humans, but scheming and devious, the Angara are essentially humans, but emotional and dramatic, always larger than life. And there's a sense of overarching idealism and optimism that's very much Star Trek.
    So everyone is like humans, but with exaggerated quirks?

  19. #69
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The Angara are like humans, but with exaggerated emotions and a culture shaped around that. That means large closely knit families, lots of arguments, emphasis on physical contact, etc.

  20. #70
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    I think he meant that was how all the aliens are designed.

    If ME1 was a 7 and ME2 was a 5 on your scale, I think it's fair to say lots of people don't share that opinion. Then again, mine skews from the average too: for me, both were a solid 7/7.5, because I liked the idea of ME1 but the execution wasn't great, and ME2 was Bioware's 'all right, we're putting our hands up here and saying, "We couldn't fix ME1's problems so have more guns and convos instead"' moment.

    At least for me, giving ME:A a chance is pretty unlikely as it seems to have learned the wrong lessons from DA:I in terms of gameplay. I usually play Bioware games regardless if they're able to wrap a decent story around the experience (ME1, Jade Empire), but I have little love for amateur hour storytelling and busywork design these days. From 'my face is tired' to everything about the bro-bro companions to what looks like extremely tepid questing, this looks like ME with fewer highs and fewer lows, which means it's essentially been napalmed by mediocrity.

    I'll consider getting it on sale for a low enough price.

  21. #71
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Well, there are three new species in the game and we don't really know how the third one looks or even whether they are corporeal, only that they are a type 2 civilization on the Kardashev scale. But it's kind of how it's been in the series, isn't it? Turians are the militaristic law and order types, Salarians are the ingenious inventors, Volus are the enterprising merchants, Asari represent feminine diplomacy, Krogan are the warrior race. Tropes are the bread and butter of Bioware for a reason.

    As for ME2, it had less guns, though, didn't it? IIRC it streamlined weapons, equipment and skills considerably. Anyway, I never cared about any of that, as I never liked the series for its gameplay, which was a tedious chore at best and a grueling punishment at worst. And I never liked the shallow pretensions of roleplaying or the laughable dating simulator romances. All I ever cared about was the space opera.

    Also, if you're looking for the tightly structured cutscene-heavy story that you got from ME1 or ME2, you won't find it in ME:A. It is much more episodic and exploration driven. It's probably a good idea to watch a fair bit of a let's play before buying to get an idea what the game is about.
    Last edited by Starker; 10th Jul 2017 at 02:19.

  22. #72
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I played ME1 over the weekend and it was an interesting experience right after playing Andromeda. It was quite surprising how poorly some parts of ME1 have held up and how much of an improvement Andromeda is over them.

    The biggest surprise for me was how much more mobility there is in Andromeda. Just being able to jump is a gamechanger as far as exploration is concerned and the jetpack boost makes the difference like night and day. And you can sprint in Andromeda, so you can actually make a pretty fast beeline to your target most of the time. Also, driving the Mako in ME1 felt like torture after Andromeda's Nomad. It's not an exaggeration to say that the Nomad drives better on rocky terrain than the Mako drives on a road. Not only does the Nomad have a speed boost, you can drive up some pretty steep slopes with the 6-wheel drive and the vehicle isn't in constant danger of tipping over in the process. All of the above made exploring Andromeda's sandboxes, which generally are bigger than ME1's sandboxes, much more enjoyable.

    The second issue was how much padding there was in ME1. I remembered it as a story heavy game, but there is actually a fair amount of planets to explore, side missions to complete, and pointless objects to collect. Andromeda was surprisingly enough not much worse in that regard, even though it's much more of an open world game. With fast travel and being able to move fast on any terrain, it certainly felt much less of a chore. Also, even if it's not quite at the level of Witcher, there has clearly been some effort to make the side content feel more relevant to the story or at least contextualise it better in Andromeda. Especially the loyalty missions tie into the main story pretty heavily and are more than just another task you have to do.

    The main story of ME1 still holds up pretty well, though. Compared to Andromeda it's more dramatic and therefore more memorable, quite fitting for a space opera. It's better paced and more focused as well -- very early on it establishes a clear threat and sets a goal for you to do something about it whereas in Andromeda things take more time to set up and are less clear cut. The villain in ME1, even though he's a bit cartoonish, is fleshed out much better and even has a character arc. Compared to that, the villain in Andromeda feels flat, but he's more interesting than Harbinger at least.

    The main character and the companions, however, feel much more static in ME1, with the notable exception of Garrus. In ME1, you start as a hero and end as a hero, the only choice is whether it's a nice and caring or a rude and selfish kind of hero or a bland and non-committal kind of hero. In contrast, Andromeda starts you out in your father's shadow, openly doubted and disrespected and you end up proving yourself as a leader. And the companions exist as more than just infodumps of "let me tell you about my culture and/or backstory". Heck, even some of the non-companion crew gets some character growth in Andromeda.

    Anyway, now that I'm done with the game (as is the game, in all likelihood) and have had time to digest it, I think Andromeda would have been a solid start for a new series and I'm actually sorry to see the studio end this way. It had some intriguing sci-fi ideas and parts of the story felt genuinely touching. Also, despite the presentation having some serious issues, some of the scenes and animations are actually the best I've seen in a game. It's pretty clear now that all the unpolished and janky parts of the game are not due to lack of skill and ability, but more due to the game being rushed out prematurely.

  23. #73
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    ME1 had boilerplate sidequests to an almost literal degree. I think I've seen enough of those reused warehouses dotted across the galaxy to last me a lifetime. Part of the game's charm was in how janky shit could be, though, and I didn't hate the Mako as much as most. It was never fun, but I never felt it was a terrible idea, just a good one that was poorly executed. You could see what they were shooting for, and that was charming in itself. Some of those planets were kinda nice to rove around in, and the fact that it was a new setting with things to discover helped it along even if it was all very paper-thin in the end. Good thing the main quest was pretty great, though.

    Don't get me wrong, but I've yet to see any actual writing or character beats from ME:A's promotional material that I'd consider as 'good'. For reference, I'd not consider most of ME1-3 to have a lot of that either, but we're all fans of Mordin and Garrus, and they managed to carry sequels two and three a fair bit despite having personality vacuums like Jacob, Kaiden, and Vega suck up all the air around them. ME:A's design template seems to be vast amounts of formalised busywork scattered with some decent bits here and there from what you've written. I don't think that's good enough, personally.

  24. #74
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I liked the idea of the Mako. If only it was implemented better. In Andromeda, it feels like what Mako should have been.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    ME:A's design template seems to be vast amounts of formalised busywork scattered with some decent bits here and there from what you've written. I don't think that's good enough, personally.
    Yeah, I'm not saying it's great and I wouldn't recommend it at anything other than a pretty steep discount, but it's a fairly decent game with some good bits (and some bad bits). It's pretty hard to show examples of the good bits without spoilers, but here's a funny scene from the loyalty mission of the most obnoxious character in the game:


  25. #75
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    That is indeed pretty funny. Can't help noticing the timing of the VOs is off and the line readings are weirdly stilted. Would have helped if they'd done it with the VA's mocapping the scene like with the Uncharteds, but I guess with games of this scope and duration that's often financially impossible.

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