'Course all of this is just a post-mortem since the game is dead. Sometimes I feel like I'm driving my mako around in the graveyard of a dev studio. I just hope the ending isn't too much of a cliffhanger, lol.
I'm really enjoying your trek through this game, Scorp. I feel almost obligated to play this game at some point, since at one point I loved Mass Effect so much, but even now that it's basically free on that EA Access thing it still seems like such a huge time commitment. I don't know if I can handle another giant, hundred-hour, base-building resource-collect-athon, so I feel like when I do play it I'll probably just stick as close to the main story path and character loyalty missions as I can, but then I wonder if I'm going to get saddled with a bad ending for not exhaustively completing every planet's checklist or something.
As for me, I've been going back to the ol' Wii U well to clear up a few games I started years ago and never finished. Nintendo has started porting the Wii U's best games over to the Switch, so I think I'm probably going to sell the old girl before too long. We had our fun, Wii U, but once I can play Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 on my Switch I'm afraid you and your goofy Fisher Price tablet controller are out on your ear.
I started with Star Fox Zero, and boy was it a rude awakening picking that game back up halfway through after like two years away. That game is hard enough to play even when you actually remember the controls, so trying to learn them all on the fly is a nightmare. For those of you who don't remember, Star Fox Zero has a standard third-person, behind-the-spaceship camera on the TV screen for you to fly your ship around, and then on the Gamepad screen you have a first-person perspective from inside the cockpit. Each controls independently, so you can fly in one direction and shoot in another, which I still think is a neat idea. You need to use both views at once to get anything done, because your aiming reticle on the TV screen doesn't actually show where your shots will go, while the Gamepad screen doesn't show where your ship is flying, so you can easily fly into walls or miss a bunch of enemy projectiles that are flying your way.
Unfortunately, as a standard-issue human being, I come equipped with two eyeballs that can only look at one thing at a time, so playing this game is kind of a nightmare. You need to be constantly switching your attention between these two screens to get anything done, craning your neck up and down, refocusing your eyeballs, and inevitably looking at the wrong one all the time. I ended up having to lean right back, pull my knees up and rest my hands on top of them so I could keep the Gamepad and the TV screen close enough to eachother that I could switch between them with relative ease, and then I couldn't help but wonder why they didn't put the Gamepad's view on the TV screen in some kind of picture-in-picture setup and avoid all this nonsense.
Making things worse is that flying the ship uses regular analogue stick controls, but aiming from inside the cockpit uses the Gamepad's motion controls, and the right analogue stick doesn't move your camera but rather does all the canned aerobatic moves like barrel rolls and Cuban 8s, and then there's one button that's used purely for recentre-ing your camera when the motion controls go screwy, and then there are also like three different kinds of vehicle you have to control throughout the campaign and they all have completely different control schemes AND THEY'RE ALL INEXPLICABLY TERRIBLE. There are some pretty cool bossfights, which are more or less the only parts of the game that show that Platinum was involved in its development, but for the most part it's just a really frustrating experience. It's also over in four hours; it's obviously one of those games that wants you to replay it forever to get better scores, but... no thanks.
I moved on to Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which is just such a delightful game. Captain Toad, my favourite character in all Mario-dom, is a platformer character missing one crucial ability: he can't jump. He's got a big adventurer's rucksack that's too heavy for him to leave the ground, you see. So his own personal game is a series of discrete puzzle box levels full of levers to pull and mechanisms to actuate that'll create all manner of ramps, staircases, elevators and other stuff that'll let him get where he needs to go. Each level feels kind of like a little 3D dollhouse that you have to manipulate, looking at every little nook and cranny from every direction to spot hidden paths and find every little collectible you can on your way to the exit. And then when you finish them the game will reveal a hidden extra objective to give you a reason to go back in and play them a different way the next time. It's good stuff; Nintendo cobbled the game together on the cheap using assets and code from Super Mario 3D World, but it resulted in such a darling little game. I hope they do another one on the Switch with Mario Odyssey assets.
And speaking of, I've been steadily making my way through Super Mario 3D World, too. This game has never really grabbed me, and to be honest it only feels worse now that we're in this post-Super-Mario-Odyssey world. This setup of picking small discrete levels from a world map, finding the three things in them and getting to the end just feels so... I don't know, small time next to Odyssey's sprawling playgrounds bristling with fun things to find. They all have timers on them, too, like they don't even want you to explore. And there's so much less you can do in this one. They've taken out all the fun 3D Mario moves; no triple jump, no mid-air shenanigans, no kind of melee attack unless you're wearing a costume. I know the side flip is in there, because I've done it a couple of times by accident, but I can't get it to work when I try to do it intentionally, and it doesn't seem much higher than a standard jump anyway. This game is essentially just running and jumping. You don't even have free camera control!
But, I mean, it was Nintendo's big 3D Mario for the Wii U, and there is still fun to be had. It's just a very rigid, locked-down kind of fun. You can have your fun, you just have to have it the way Nintendo's laid it out for you, no complaints. And, I mean, Nintendo knows how to make fun games, but there's something so subversively satisfying about the way Mario Odyssey's extra moves and freedom let you skip big chunks of the levels that's totally missing here. I'll at least finish it, but Nintendo can't stop me from imagining I'm playing Odyssey the whole time