Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread


  • Coder

    Since this isn't going to be general video game talk, but specifically about ME:A. I'm going to keep my bits as spoiler-free as possible.

    --

    A Five-Second Review: Some people have said it's "Dragon Age: Inquisition in space." They're 100% right.

    More soon.


  • Coder

    I'm not entirely convinced I agree with that. I feel like the side quests are way better fleshed out than DA:I, so far; they feel more like the Witcher 3 inasmuch as that the side quests are their own little stories which flesh out the world. DA:I, the side quests felt more like, "Oh, hey, here's a chunk of map that doesn't have a quest marker. Better drop something here."

    With the Hinterlands in DA:I, I often felt like I was doing random unrelated stuff just to level up as much as I could before I moved on. I haven't had that problem in ME:A yet. They even encourage you to leave a planet and come back later, because things will have changed given time. So in that one sense, it feels more like a living world than a bunch of icons to tick off a regional map.

    Other than that quibble, though, your summary isn't fundamentally wrong. (And the animations... my god. It's like staring into the face of the sun during some cutscenes. You go blind if you don't look away.)

    Multiplayer is a blast, though, especially with the new vertical elements to a battlefield. My asari duellist play style can best be described as "EAT BIOTIC DEATH FROM ABOVE!"


  • Coder

    So I started playing 12:30 am EDT on release night (NVIDIA was giving me headaches; incidentally, my NVIDIA user handle is now 'I Hate Forced Opt-In Systems' if anyone wants to look me up) and then it was 3am and I decided to stop. Yesterday I started at around 6:30 pm EDT and looked up to discover it was 10:30, decided to finish off a plot and it was 3am again.

    I was struck how it didn't go from set piece to room full of chest-high walls, its openness was a promise that DA:I made and delivered on, but the lack of claustrophobia was a mixed blessing. I love being able to get the high ground but I've only used it once. I probably should have used it twice because the enemy managed to flank my position. I was pretty impressed but then I'm not a twitch-game player, so a lot of this impressed.

    What didn't impress was that there are ammo crates everywhere; apparently aliens in another galaxy use the same heat-sink system that we do, who knew!

    Which segues into what has been bothering me the most; the writing. The characters are okay, if unoriginal, but all of them, even Ryder, act in ways that sound like this is normal. Especially Ryder. I've been playing a somewhat sarcastic but very people-focused Ryder and at one time they say something like, "I know, this place is terrible, right?" This is hard not to spoil, but it's said in a tone of someone who's been there more than two hours. I'm not buying it.

    It's not just the new characters, either. There are some sound-bites of Liara lying around and this is where I realized why I don't like the writing: there is no subtlety or craft to it, it suffers from Tell Don't Show. If I had to hear another line about a "600 year nap", yes, we get it, it's the future now. There's even a place where you find a "secretly procured" image of the Normandy SR2.

    Nnnnngh.

    Now I don't mean to compare it to Mass Effect: The Shepherd Chronicles (ME:TSC), though the game certainly dances around the events of ME3. I do look at BioWare as a company known for their writers and it doesn't show.

    I am enjoying the game. I gratefully welcome back the land roving, am glad that the open space is being used...kind of. "Oh no!" says the AI, "here's a pocket of enemies!" as the game reminds me how to leave the truck and I'm zooming right on by, waving to the very slight pocket of skirmish combat set up for my idle distraction. I've yet to find the kind of set-piece combat that was all over Mass Effect 1-3 which is fine; we've been playing that since Halo and before, but I'm looking at the aggro range and not for the encounter.

    The level-up system doesn't feel clean, but in retrospect I had no idea what the hell I was doing in ME1, either. Having so many options is overwhelming in a way I don't think is good, but I didn't think this in Dragon Age: Origins and it was your Baldur's Gate-style RPG system where you don't know if something's going to be useful until after you've bought it.

    Exploration is good, but doesn't have that pressure and threat that it did in ME:TSC. It feels, in fact, exactly like DA:I, though the pay-off of the main missions feel tangible. Your decisions are pretty limited on this front, but they have an effect with the key NPCs on the game, and this is where I think the writers got it right.

    For instance, I've been playing my slightly cheeky people-oriented Ryder and there are a lot of places where without my input the character has been slightly cheeky but people-oriented. I imagine the number of lines of dialogue are massive compared to any BioWare game ever. It could be an illusion, but it's an illusion I'm enjoying.

    So decent everything all around, a decent freshman effort from this BioWare group, and I look forward to DLCs for their tighter writing and focus.

    Summary: Glad I bought it.


  • Coder

    @Sparks said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    Multiplayer is a blast, though, especially with the new vertical elements to a battlefield. My asari duellist play style can best be described as "EAT BIOTIC DEATH FROM ABOVE!"

    I don't multi-player because I play RPG-inspired games for the RPG part, although now I have reason to.

    I didn't mention this, but like DA:I there's a table that you can send people out on missions to get things and bonuses with a timer and blah blah blah. What's new is that quite a few of these missions are multi-player! Having not spent one minute in a Mass Effect multi-player environment, if anyone wants to call me up on one of their missions let me know.

    I'm Thenomain.

    In case that was ever going to be confusing.



  • I'm having mixed feelings thus far. That being said, I enjoy the game, but I feel like a lot of the menus are a bit more cumbersome than they need to be. For example, I couldn't find any missions in my journal beyond Priority ones. Only to realize that I had to BACK OUT of it to find the others. That's just something I'm not used to. I'd rather it list everything on one page with topics holding quests being collaspable to hide/show the others.

    In general, things just feel a bit 'unwieldy', as if a lot of things that were made were either 50-75% completed when the game released. There's not as much polish as I was expecting from a company that really shouldn't be cutting corners, especially with how ME3 ended and the huge to-do that all was. Which, by the way, I had a little chuckle when I realized that the writers decided to just completely side-step the events of ME3 by saying the Andromeda arks and Nexus left at the end of ME2. Just didn't want to deal with it at all.

    However, combat is good, and probably just as good as ME3' was. Though I think I actually preferred having a button to enter cover instead of just automatically entering it. I do like how you aren't really shoe-horned into any particular class, picking and choosing what abilities you want to use. My soldier with tech skills? I love it.

    While I'm seeing some parallels with the resource mining from ME2, at least they've done it in a way that kind of fun. By that, I mean, I SCAN EVERYTHING. The mining with the Nomad is sorta endearing too. And while I may miss the wonky gravity defying physics of the Mako, I don't like how the Nomad has zero offensive weapony.

    I've heard complaints about the writing being up and down. Good or bad. I haven't really seen anything that would constitute as BAD. And I think voice acting is pretty decent, though then again, I'm the sort of person who enjoyed the MaleShep's voice acting, so I may just have bad taste in that regard.

    There seems to be a TON of stuff to do. Numerous different systems, I still haven't really figured out the Strike stuff yet. Too many quests and often it feels like I'm not entirely sure if all the running around I'm doing will pay off in any meaningful way. And while these may sound like gripes, I do enjoy the game. But I'm also like, six or so hours in, so my opinion may change once I dig a little deeper into it.



  • I had to take a solid night of pouting when it hit me I couldn't play as an alien. I wants me a turian Mass Effect protagonist one day.

    Getting back into it now. Don't feel like I've played enough to form an opinion. It's huge.



  • What I like:

    • You can spend literal days exploring one planet and still not find all of its secrets.
    • The story, though if feels a bit familiar in places (cough), seems really interesting in that 'holy crap' tension-building sort of way.
    • The fact that you can switch profiles to be better suited to specific encounters is win, though I've mostly stuck with vanguard.

    Things I'm Less Impressed With:

    • We were promised that there would be more romance options available. If you're playing male Ryder and want to romance a male character, your options are limited to 2, neither of which are any of your primary companions, unlike female Ryder's veritable plethora of options, and the obvious one is out. Which is super lame. Bioware could have delivered on this promise so, so much better.
    • The animations are a little rough in some places. Characters walk through me frequently, and clip into a pose. It's distracting. Patch that shit.
    • The voice acting isn't bad, but it isn't -great- or anything. Especially since it sometimes even gives some between-the-lines lag in places it's not waiting for a response from you.

  • Coder

    @Derp said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    • The animations are a little rough in some places. Characters walk through me frequently, and clip into a pose. It's distracting. Patch that shit.

    Heehee, I finished a conversation with three scientists and they just stood there, unmoving and unanimated, for the rest of the time that area was loaded.



  • @Thenomain I've had the opposite issue. If you engage in a conversation while the NPC is in the middle of a walking animation, the camera will zoom to where they're supposed to be but the character will continue walking. Which makes the conversation hard to hear, often.


  • Coder

    @Derp said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    Things I'm Less Impressed With:

    • We were promised that there would be more romance options available. If you're playing male Ryder and want to romance a male character, your options are limited to 2, neither of which are any of your primary companions, unlike female Ryder's veritable plethora of options, and the obvious one is out. Which is super lame. Bioware could have delivered on this promise so, so much better.

    Wait, there's 2? I only see Gil as an option.

    I found it... weird, that like, one day I hit on 'the obvious one' and he says he's not into guys and then like the next day he's hanging around shirtless around me and I'm like: ???


  • Coder

    So, my thoughts: I'm trying to not have any spoilers but its a little hard so I'm vaguing it up in a couple places.

    Pro:

    • I think the voice acting is actually great. I find myself watching lips a lot, which since IRL I watch lips when people talk means I'm relating to this well. I especially like the krogan and solarian lips while they talk. They are less... fake.
    • I like the worlds, though I wish they changed more when you get viability up. There's a lot there and I like that you sorta gotta come back to do more stuff:
    • I actually like the kett story. Won't say more.
    • I enjoy combat a lot, though the first time I ran into an Architect-- I was not at allll prepared for that. Just gonna leave that there.
    • I like profiles in theory a lot, though I'm playing a tech specialist in this game so don't see myself taking advantage. My next play through I totally am going to go more generalist.
    • I love Scott Ryder. I think he's hot, I like his voice, I like the slightly snarky but business when it matters moods I always pick with him.
    • I love Sam. I love the whole idea of what Sam is with Ryder.
    • I love the vaults. I love the sodoku puzzles. I'm not especially good at sodoku, actually, but with symbols instead of numbers i'm way better (Numbers have always messed with my mind). More importantly I like that this mini game is actually intellectual, skill based, and not twitch-reaction based like ME1/ME2's mini games are. Some are easy: twice I had some trouble but its just logic, I can work through it.

    Con:

    • The fucking E button. This usually only happens on the Nexus, but by god every third time I want to talk to someone on the Nexus, I have to do a dance and jig and spin around three times counterclockwise before the conversation dot turns into an E dot.
    • I can't tell you how mad the three active powers thing makes me. If there were hot keys to quickly switch from one loadout to the next, say, if I have a 'vs synthetics' loadout and a 'vs shields' and a 'vs armor', etc, then I'd be okay with it. But as it is yes, I can hot-swap skills but its a PAIN IN THE ASS. And as I'm playing an engineer, two of my buttons are the same always, so I'm constantly swapping out button 1 and its super distracting.
    • I hate the new omnitool. It doesn't look like a GUI. It is just this... gold jumble.
    • I hate kett boss fights. They're just tedious. There's not a real challenge to the fight, it just takes forever. I found myself turning the last one down on diff to narrative just to get it over with.
    • The things I see that are clear signs of compromising for the sake of console bug the shit out of me.
    • The little things like... when you get to a planet, it zooms in to do this sorta side shot-- two second pause-- then zooms out with a dramatic sound. I hate this. Those two seconds aren't a lot but when I'm scanning a whole system it makes my teeth ache. Also that I can't board my ship without a 'take off' animation, then can't return right to the same place without a 'land' animation. I know ME's had this before but I was hoping they'd fix it, or at least let me skip some animations. I can't tell you how many times I've docked at Nexus, I no longer need to watch the animation of doing so.

    Review Issues:

    • I know some reviews have complained about the lack of alien species diversity, but I actually think this is both thematic and appropriate. We aren't exploring the Andromeda Galaxy. We're exploring and colonizing a single sector, the Heleus Cluster. If you pay attention to scanning worlds in various sectors in ME2/3, you'll notice a given cluster usually only has one sentient race in it, though there's a couple exceptions. But that's also the Milky Way which has the Mass Relay network that creates a sort of multispecies galaxy. Andromeda evolved its last X million years without following the natural conclusion of what the relays made of the Milky Way. In fact, that there are two sentient races active in one cluster seems remarkable.
    • I know some people complain you have 'yet another ancient race leaving behind stuff', but that's core Mass Effect Theme. The universe is old, of COURSE someone came before you and left behind ruins. And why are those ruins in Heleus? Well you remember where they chose this cluster because the long-range sensors showed a remarkably high number of quality planets?
    • I don't know why people have issue with the facial animations and stuff, I don't. But the Uncanny Valley is something that affects different people differently. I have noticed some glitches in animation/camera placement, but.
    • Some people think it disrespects their time and there's too much side quest gunk: I know my first two planets got to 100% viability and I still had a shit ton to do with them. But I liked it. I liked taking a break from main plot and coming back and helping make my planet better, even though

    Overall: B++

    I enjoy it more then I did ME3 at this stage (roughly speaking). Its not perfect but I know I'll probably play it through at least one more time, that's a lot of hours for the price.



  • @ixokai said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    • I don't know why people have issue with the facial animations and stuff, I don't. But the Uncanny Valley is something that affects different people differently. I have noticed some glitches in animation/camera placement, but.

    Default Female Ryder is pretty bad for me. BioWare Face does not bother me on basically any other game but her...I just could not do it. Genuine weird, and once I saw it I couldn't unsee it.

    Male Ryder and the alternate faces you can turn Female Ryder into were less bothersome.



  • @ixokai said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    @Derp said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    Things I'm Less Impressed With:

    • We were promised that there would be more romance options available. If you're playing male Ryder and want to romance a male character, your options are limited to 2, neither of which are any of your primary companions, unlike female Ryder's veritable plethora of options, and the obvious one is out. Which is super lame. Bioware could have delivered on this promise so, so much better.

    Wait, there's 2? I only see Gil as an option.

    I found it... weird, that like, one day I hit on 'the obvious one' and he says he's not into guys and then like the next day he's hanging around shirtless around me and I'm like: ???

    Right? Thank you, Obvious Choice, for being so considerate.

    There is another. You meet him later. Both are human.


  • Coder

    @Derp said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    @ixokai said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    @Derp said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    Things I'm Less Impressed With:

    • We were promised that there would be more romance options available. If you're playing male Ryder and want to romance a male character, your options are limited to 2, neither of which are any of your primary companions, unlike female Ryder's veritable plethora of options, and the obvious one is out. Which is super lame. Bioware could have delivered on this promise so, so much better.

    Wait, there's 2? I only see Gil as an option.

    I found it... weird, that like, one day I hit on 'the obvious one' and he says he's not into guys and then like the next day he's hanging around shirtless around me and I'm like: ???

    Right? Thank you, Obvious Choice, for being so considerate.

    There is another. You meet him later. Both are human.

    Can you PM me a spoiler? I kinda hate Gil (that poker exchange came off reading as 'and fuck you' with the exchange, really) and want a sense of hope.

    I googled options and every site I saw said there was only one gaymance option.


  • Coder

    @Three-Eyed-Crow said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    @ixokai said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    • I don't know why people have issue with the facial animations and stuff, I don't. But the Uncanny Valley is something that affects different people differently. I have noticed some glitches in animation/camera placement, but.

    Default Female Ryder is pretty bad for me. BioWare Face does not bother me on basically any other game but her...I just could not do it. Genuine weird, and once I saw it I couldn't unsee it.

    Male Ryder and the alternate faces you can turn Female Ryder into were less bothersome.

    Is Default Female Ryder different then Default Twin of Male Ryder? I only know Default Twin so far via ... flashbacks .. but I don't see anything wrong with it.


  • Politics

    @ixokai said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    Is Default Female Ryder different then Default Twin of Male Ryder?

    This may only be a problem for us parents, but I'm never going to get the Paw Patrol theme song out of my head once I start playing this fucking game.



  • For someone who has played none of the other ME games: PC or console?


  • Coder

    I always create my own face... though I was a bit put off by the lack of eye. mouth, and nose options it makes it very hard to really customize into someone I really like.



  • Is anyone else bothered by the tedious little cutscene that happens when you change from one planet to the next? I mean, in previous games, you could just zip your ship around, do your scanning and be off to the next thing.

    Here, it's like this big deal that we have to first-person view the changing from one planet/system to the next and it just gets tedious after away. I just want to scan stuff, don't make it a big deal.

    Also, unskippable cutscenes when I land and leave with the Tempest? What is this? 1998 Playstation?


  • Coder

    @Monogram said in Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Thread:

    Is anyone else bothered by the tedious little cutscene that happens when you change from one planet to the next? I mean, in previous games, you could just zip your ship around, do your scanning and be off to the next thing.

    Here, it's like this big deal that we have to first-person view the changing from one planet/system to the next and it just gets tedious after away. I just want to scan stuff, don't make it a big deal.

    Also, unskippable cutscenes when I land and leave with the Tempest? What is this? 1998 Playstation?

    Yeah both of these bug me. They're really minor but these irritations add up.

    @Misadventure Despite the fact that this game suffered for supporting both, I'd still play it on PC. I hate shooters with a controller. (This isn't a FPS though, but still I can't imagine aiming with a controller)


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