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Mass Effect Andromeda: Ancient Alien Sudoku

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#3701 Darknoon

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:54 AM

Yeah, if people excusing awful animations, terrible character models, mixed dialogue, mixed voice acting and weak writing by saying "Bioware games are never perfect" are the ones really insulting Bioware, by having such criminally low expectations. Again, the studio that developed Andromeda is Bioware Montreal, who have never developed a full game before. Not Bioware Edmonton, who developed Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, MDK2, Neverwinter Nights, Kotor, Jade Empire, Mass Effect 1-3, Dragon Age Origins-Inquistion.

 

Usually, I find it forced when people reference some kind of "nu-Bioware," but that really is what we have here. They relegated Mass Effect as an IP to their b-team, which was founded back in '09 to "to assist with existing projects as necessary," whilst the a-team focused on the new IP. Probably less than half of the team from the original Mass Effect returned for this game. Casey Hudson, Patrick Weekes, Jack Wall, Drew Karpyshyn, Sam Hulick and so many more of the team involved have moved on - some to the new Bioware IP, others from Bioware altogether. To borrow a phrase I used earlier (and indeed was used in a good Bioware game): stop accepting fool's good from a pretender. Bioware needs a Dragon Age 2-style thumping if Mass Effect is ever gonna be good again. Otherwise, even if it does survive the likely poor sales we can now expect, Mass Effect will be killed as a premium product by the poison of low expectations.


Edited by Darknoon, 21 March 2017 - 08:01 AM.

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#3702 The Captain

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 04:17 PM

 

Not to be yet another band-wagoneer to harp on the animations, but seriously. If it wasn't an AAA company no one would mention it, but something coming out of Bioware's doors in this year just shouldn't have these issues, plain and simple. 

 

Regardless, I'll probably end up getting it on a sale because the gameplay itself looks really good. Though the multiplayer seems really shoddy and hashed together, which is a shame because it seemed like it'd have been really fun. 


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#3703 Randomman96

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:10 PM

You guys do know what a "Vocal Minority" is, right?

 

Because as more reviews come in for the game, it is proving that the extreme end of the glitches shown off in videos now are very much apart of that vocal minority.  More critics actually put up more reviews on Metacritic, bumping it up to a 78 (only one critic gave it a score lower than 70, and then again, they did compare it to Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game that has also been referred to "The most generic Ubisoft Style'd game in the last 5 years", I can go more into it later if anyone wants me to elaborate on it).  The User section of it is not worth going into, simply because of review bombers, which we have seen everywhere, including the last ME game (it also doesn't help that you don't have to prove that you OWN THE GAME YOU ARE REVIEWING!)  However, I will use the Xbox/Microsoft store reviews (Since Origin doesn't do reviews, and BECAUSE UNLIKE METACRITIC, YOU NEED TO OWN THE GAME TO REVIEW!).  And it's at a 4.4/5 stars.

 

And you know what else?  Few people have been reporting the more extreme animation issues.  Yes, some are reporting there are some issues, but it's nothing that BioWare hasn't been excused for in the past.  In fact, most of those poor reviews on there are simply people ragging on character customization, and few on the story.

 

So yeah, simple more proof that I can throw onto the pile of my "there is usually a disconnect between small amounts of streamed/recorded footage and the game in general".

 

Didn't think I'd need any more, but oh well, it can't hurt.


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#3704 Ocelot

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:57 PM

...(only one critic gave it a score lower than 70, and then again, they did compare it to Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game that has also been referred to "The most generic Ubisoft Style'd game in the last 5 years", I can go more into it later if anyone wants me to elaborate on it).

 

I'm going to need you to go into it, because I've seen almost nothing but praise for Horizon, and that praise mirrors my own experience with it. I only got to play the opening hours of it before Zelda came out and destroyed my life, but I was actually quite shocked at how good it was, and it only looked to get better from there once I got out of the opening area and started exploring the world beyond. A genuinely interesting and unique combat style, a totally new setting and premise, surprisingly good writing, characters I couldn't believe how much I liked and a story I can't wait to see unfold. I had almost zero expectations for Horizon, a game by some Dutch guys who have exclusively made shouty bro-dude first-person shooters that I never liked at all, but it's an awesome game (one with a Metacritic score 14 points higher than Andromeda, I might add, hrrmhrrmclearingthroatnoises).

 

Anyway, I'm skipping Andromeda for now, so I'm not going to go on about something I haven't played. I'm sure it's perfectly playable when you look past the obvious problems, and in any other year I'd probably give it a go in spite of the hubbub. But this is 2017, and I've already started playing like six legitimately fantastic games that I want to spend more time with. Standards have been raised. Ain't nobody got time for fetch quests, checklist-ticking and jank when there are caveat-free GOTYs dropping every other week.

 

EDIT - Listening to the Bombcast this week was heartbreaking; those guys love Mass Effect and they're just so bummed out by Andromeda. They call it the buggiest AAA game since Assassin's Creed Unity, too; some of the bugs they've experienced sound crazy:

 

 

Apparently at one point Ryder says "The snark is strong with this one".



#3705 Randomman96

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Posted Yesterday, 10:29 AM

 

I'm going to need you to go into it, because I've seen almost nothing but praise for Horizon, and that praise mirrors my own experience with it. I only got to play the opening hours of it before Zelda came out and destroyed my life, but I was actually quite shocked at how good it was, and it only looked to get better from there once I got out of the opening area and started exploring the world beyond. A genuinely interesting and unique combat style, a totally new setting and premise, surprisingly good writing, characters I couldn't believe how much I liked and a story I can't wait to see unfold. I had almost zero expectations for Horizon, a game by some Dutch guys who have exclusively made shouty bro-dude first-person shooters that I never liked at all, but it's an awesome game (one with a Metacritic score 14 points higher than Andromeda, I might add, hrrmhrrmclearingthroatnoises).

 

Anyway, I'm skipping Andromeda for now, so I'm not going to go on about something I haven't played. I'm sure it's perfectly playable when you look past the obvious problems, and in any other year I'd probably give it a go in spite of the hubbub. But this is 2017, and I've already started playing like six legitimately fantastic games that I want to spend more time with. Standards have been raised. Ain't nobody got time for fetch quests, checklist-ticking and jank when there are caveat-free GOTYs dropping every other week.

 

EDIT - Listening to the Bombcast this week was heartbreaking; those guys love Mass Effect and they're just so bummed out by Andromeda. They call it the buggiest AAA game since Assassin's Creed Unity, too; some of the bugs they've experienced sound crazy:

 

 

Apparently at one point Ryder says "The snark is strong with this one".

Aside from graphical presentation, there really hasn't been anything that hasn't done before in most open-world adventure games like H:ZD.  And even then, what is in there isn't anything special compared to all the games.  And perhaps the biggest thing against it, the reason why I said "generic UBISOFT game" are the tower-bots that you have to climb to the top of in order to unlock the rest of the map.  Something so bland, boring, and repetitive EVEN UBISOFT LEFT THOSE OUT FOR THEIR MOST RECENT OPEN WORLD GAMES, and those series that used them are on hiatus.

 

But that's not the big point if it.  Hell, I'm more annoyed that the games there were even comparing to it were H:ZD, LoZ, and Nier: Automata.  The first two are more just Open World Action/Adventure games, not RPGs (don't really no much about Nier too make judgement on that, but even then, from what little I've seen of it, simply because it barely interests me, it looks more like an Open World Action/Adventure title, although on a side note, it does apparently have a pretty sub-standard PC port, even with the PC port releasing a little while after it's main release too).  Granted though, there really wasn't many major RPGs released in 2016.  Last major RPGs (and this is based off of it falling under there) was Fallout 4 back in 2015, but, well, we all know how everyone feels about that with story so lets move on, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided back in August, and again, that got pretty mixed reactions based off of how short it was and the fact it also never really sold that well (that was close enough though it could be compared to it anyway).

 

And even then anyway, genre differences aside, there are some biases there with the example games anyway.  H:ZD has quite the divide with some people reviewing it, with some going on claiming it's perfect  and all that, while others are backing up the point I made of it being the most generic game from five years ago.  Then there's Zelda, and, well, we all know everyone's Nintendo Bias, so lets move on. And not going into much with Nier, because, again, I barely know anything of it.

 

And as to the last point, Ryder never says that.  A character says that to Ryder about someone else, and, well, lets just say sarcasm can be a hard thing for them to grasp sometimes.


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#3706 Xero

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Posted Yesterday, 12:17 PM

Yeah, now that I've actually spent some time with Andromeda I'm having some trouble understanding why this is the latest victim of the internet hate bandwagon hivemind. I've reached the point where the "early access" portion ends I believe, and there has been a grand total of *one* animation I've seen that was laughably bad. The lip sync can be off at times but nothing too jarring (Maybe it's worse with FemRyder? I'm playing MaleRyder first time through), namely the asari seem to look a bit off usually. The rest of the aliens are fine. I'm also going to go ahead and say that calling Andromeda "the buggiest game since AssCreed Unity" is a big ol' heaping load of hyperbole, which is strange because I usually hold Giant Bomb in pretty high regard. I'm really struggling to understand the basis behind this witch hunt on Andromeda.

I'll have more to say later and I'll probably do a longer, more in-depth write up once I've gotten further into the game, but as one of the resident jaded BioWare fanboys who was about as apprehensive as you can be about Andromeda until about a week ago, I'm literally guffawing at how overblown the criticism has been between pre-release and now.

(Disclaimer: I'm playing on a PS4, I plan on repurchasing on PC once the "GOTY" edition is released since EA's physical PC games are just Origin redemption codes now. I learned that with DA:I. Thanks, EA.)



#3707 Hawk

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Posted Yesterday, 02:35 PM

Because as more reviews come in for the game, it is proving that the extreme end of the glitches shown off in videos now are very much apart of that vocal minority.  More critics actually put up more reviews on Metacritic, bumping it up to a 78 (only one critic gave it a score lower than 70, and then again, they did compare it to Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game that has also been referred to "The most generic Ubisoft Style'd game in the last 5 years", I can go more into it later if anyone wants me to elaborate on it).  The User section of it is not worth going into, simply because of review bombers, which we have seen everywhere, including the last ME game (it also doesn't help that you don't have to prove that you OWN THE GAME YOU ARE REVIEWING!)  However, I will use the Xbox/Microsoft store reviews (Since Origin doesn't do reviews, and BECAUSE UNLIKE METACRITIC, YOU NEED TO OWN THE GAME TO REVIEW!).  And it's at a 4.4/5 stars.

 

You guys are acting as though a Metacritic score in the 70s means that the game is bad. It doesn't. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that the majority of Triple A games get scores in the 80s and 90s, then no one would be disappointed by that score because, overall, it is still quite positive. However, that aside, the score is just a meaningless and arbitrary number given to a game by review scores. If it's an 8 out of 10 game or a 10 out of 10 game for you, then that's great. Your opinion is just as valid as any critic on the internet.

 

It sounds like you guys are enjoying the game. So how about we stop wasting time going back and forth about how the game is being scored and instead start talking about cool story moments or gameplay tweaks that are worth talking about? The fact that you guys are discussing review scores as opposed the game itself does little to fill me with optimism. As for me, I like the Mass Effect series, but the promotional materials I've seen so far and the lack of interesting looking party members dulled my interest. I'll probably wait to get this either for Christmas or as part of a nice sale. 

 

Quick note: The last word I think when I see Horizon Zero Dawn in action is "generic" as a redheaded woman with a bow and arrow shoots at robotic dinosaurs. Yes, there are towers, but that alone does not make the entire game generic. 


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#3708 Saber-Scorpion

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Posted Yesterday, 04:06 PM

Guess I'll drop my wall of text thoughts in here, lol:

 

A lot of the complaints about glitches are overblown (I haven't seen anyone reproduce the weird walking animations easily), BUT a lot of the faces DO look really out of place... and not just when they're making bizarre facial expressions, but also when they're making no expression at all. Default Female Ryder's resting face (and let's face it - you only want to play with the default faces, because the ones in the dumbed-down customizer are uuuug-ly) has this big goofy smile and these bulging cross-eyes like she's a grinning ignoramus. She wears that face when she is informed that her father is dead. She just smiles.

 

And I thought maybe the "my face is tired" lady was just taken out of context, but no, it's terrible. She practically begins the conversation with that line, says it very matter-of-factly, and her facial expression does not change at all - she's staring at you wide-eyed and blank-faced.

 

But yeah, I could have ignored all of this. Bioware should be able to do better, as a AAA company under EA... but I'm willing to ignore animations and bugs the same way I would with, say, Alpha Protocol, if the rest of the game is great - I play a lot of low-budget RPG's. Except that Alpha Protocol was a fantastic interactive spy story with some of the best dialogue in any modern RPG, which made up for its bugginess, and nothing about Andromeda looks like it comes close.

 

What kills Andromeda for me is the story stuff. Everything about it smacks of a soft reboot of the Mass Effect universe with a wide-eyed (literally and figuratively) young new protagonist joined by B-list versions of previous Mass Effect companions. We're in a new galaxy, but everything about it feels old: we get new versions of the same old Citadel (Nexus), Normandy (Tempest), Mako (whatever it's called), Spectre Status (Pathfinder), Protheans (Remnants), mysterious badguys, etc. Since it's just a re-hash, it lacks the punch of the original, especially since the writing is quite a bit weaker.

 

And then there are complaints about the dialogue and the choices & consequences, specifically about how they're stunted by the removal of the Paragon and Renegade dichotomy. I feared this would be the case. I've complained about the DarkSide/LightSide dialogue system for years now because it oversimplifies everything and saves people from actually having to think about their actions ("I just pick paragon lololol")... and yet, when writers at Bioware and Bethesda are no longer required to write these two extremes, they seem to instead just write boring, samey dialogue "options" like Fallout 4's infamous "here are 4 slightly different ways to say 'okay'". This was what I encountered in Dragon Age Inquisition. The first character I tried to play was an evil angry dwarf... but I quickly found I could almost never be evil or even angry. I could just be a really nice hero or a slightly less nice hero. Much, much more boring than collar-grabbing, face-punching Renegade Shepard.

 

I completely understand the "screw the haters, I'm just gonna buy the game and enjoy it!" attitude. I sympathize. But I just can't do that anymore; Bioware has disappointed me too much lately. Maybe I'm just jaded now. I hope you guys have fun though.


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#3709 Randomman96

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Posted Yesterday, 05:51 PM

I'll have more to say later and I'll probably do a longer, more in-depth write up once I've gotten further into the game, but as one of the resident jaded BioWare fanboys who was about as apprehensive as you can be about Andromeda until about a week ago, I'm literally guffawing at how overblown the criticism has been between pre-release and now.

I generally take any reports of pre-release stuff like what people were talking about with a shipping container worth of salt.  Mainly because as I have pointed out earlier, Vocal Minorities are a thing and, especially with games, do not tend to be a true example of the final product.  I've seen it plenty of times in the past where streamers/YouTubers show off some stuff like that, people try and blow it up to make it seem bigger than it is, and then the game releases and shows otherwise.

 

 

You guys are acting as though a Metacritic score in the 70s means that the game is bad. It doesn't. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that the majority of Triple A games get scores in the 80s and 90s, then no one would be disappointed by that score because, overall, it is still quite positive. However, that aside, the score is just a meaningless and arbitrary number given to a game by review scores. If it's an 8 out of 10 game or a 10 out of 10 game for you, then that's great. Your opinion is just as valid as any critic on the internet.

 

It sounds like you guys are enjoying the game. So how about we stop wasting time going back and forth about how the game is being scored and instead start talking about cool story moments or gameplay tweaks that are worth talking about? The fact that you guys are discussing review scores as opposed the game itself does little to fill me with optimism. As for me, I like the Mass Effect series, but the promotional materials I've seen so far and the lack of interesting looking party members dulled my interest. I'll probably wait to get this either for Christmas or as part of a nice sale. 

 

Quick note: The last word I think when I see Horizon Zero Dawn in action is "generic" as a redheaded woman with a bow and arrow shoots at robotic dinosaurs. Yes, there are towers, but that alone does not make the entire game generic. 

I never once said that a 70 ranged score was a bad thing.  No one here ever did.  Only reason we are talking about the score right now is: A: that's what the topic has been since mid way though the last page, and B: the game JUST came out yesterday.  Can't really do much in the way of story moments without having to spoiler it for those who care and have yet to play the game themselves.

 

And as for the H:ZD comment.  It's off of the gameplay elements in the game.  And the whole tower bit was more justification to my whole "Ubisoft Style'd" game.

 

And even then, your attempt at defending it pulled out a couple generic bits to it.  Robotic Dinosaurs?  Those together do make it less generic, but either just robots or just dinos would have made it more generic.  Redheaded woman for the player character/protagonist?  That was very much more generic than you think.  Lilith from Borderlands, Default Femshep, whats-her-face from Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Sarah Kerrigan from Star Craft II, Kinnzie from Saints Row:TT, 4, (and especially for this point, since you could play as her in this) Gat Out of Hell, all for example.  And lastly: the bow.  Also known as: THE ONE ITEM THAT WAS INCREDIBLY GENERIC A FEW YEARS AGO!  Practically every game had to have one in some form or another.  Assassin's Creed, CoD, Battlefield, Tomb Raider (the rebooted version), Crysis 3, Deus Ex, Team Fortress 2, Payday 2, and Far Cry, for example (fantasy games, such as Skyrim, medieval centered, like Chivalry, or survival/crafting based are all excluded as, well, they need the bow based off of the time period and for a progression based way).  And some off those, like Crysis or Far Cry 3 were using it more as a selling point.

 

BUUUUT that is something for a different topic.  We should probably steer this back towards Andromeda.


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#3710 Ocelot

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Posted Yesterday, 09:14 PM

The rest of the aliens are fine. I'm also going to go ahead and say that calling Andromeda "the buggiest game since AssCreed Unity" is a big ol' heaping load of hyperbole, which is strange because I usually hold Giant Bomb in pretty high regard. I'm really struggling to understand the basis behind this witch hunt on Andromeda.

 

I mean, if you actually listen to what they said, it doesn't sound like they're exaggerating at all. They talk about a log full of quests they can't complete because the scripting is so broken, a wall of the spaceship that didn't load in so it looked like a big hole straight out into space, bafflingly long load times and unskippable cutscenes whenever you do anything in the Galaxy Map, the game freezing during loading, the whole thing shutting down if you put your Xbox One into sleep mode, Fem Ryder's bizarre half-smile facial expression ruining any attempt at heavy emotional moments, iffy framerate, game won't launch from the menu; it goes on and on. It's the nature of video game bugs that some people are going to have a totally fine experience, but people aren't lying when they say the game's really rough from a technical standpoint.

 

BUUUUT that is something for a different topic.  We should probably steer this back towards Andromeda.

 

We probably should, but I'm just going to go to bat for Horizon one last time, because while you're right about all the things it does having been done in other games, that doesn't really paint the right picture of the overall game.

 

Like, it has Ubisoft Towers, yep. There's nothing else you can call them. What it doesn't have, though, is like fifty identical ones. There are five towers in the entire game, and getting to the top of the towers themselves (or in this case, giant robot Brontosauruses) is a cinch. Getting to the towers can take a lot of work, though, because the Brontosauruses move around, so you have use your augmented reality future/past tech earpiece thing to plot out their patrol routes and then find something else tall so you can wait for the perfect moment to jump aboard one. And, crucially, when you have done the Assassin's Creed Synchronise, your map isn't immediately shotgun-blasted with six dozen identikit side mission types; it just marks off various settlements and hunting grounds for you to visit for yourself if you want to see what they're all about.

 

Likewise, it has a bow, which was the most popular thing in every video game ever at one point, but the difference here is that it only has a bow. Unlike all those other games you mentioned, there's no pistol/assault rifle/shotgun trinity to fall back on when you get into a hairy situation and need to make dudes be dead right now. The bow and arrow, with all the drawbacks of a low fire rate and slow projectiles that fire in arcs, is your main weapon, and that changes the way you approach combat immensely. You do have other weapons, of course, but their uses are even more situational; only useful for tying bad guys up or setting tripwires, for example. It really plays unlike any other game, with a strong focus on getting the lay of the land and coming up with your own plans before you aggro the enemies, then hoping you can actually execute them when the rubber meets the road.

 

And lastly, your redheaded female protagonist, Aloy, is the main character, and the only character you play as. Not a side character, or one of several playable characters, or a created character like all the ones you mentioned. Games there are where the one-and-only player character is a woman are still preeeetty uncommon, and in the big ol' AAA, massive budget, this-game-has-to-sell-a-bajillion-copies-to-break-even space even rarer still.

 

Horizon is a game that's much more interesting than a dry list of informative bullet points might have you believe, is what I'm getting at; one of those 'don't judge a book by its cover' deals. Same kind of thing with Zelda. I mean, physics systems, open worlds, survival mechanics, climb anything; we've seen all of those things before, but it's the combination of all of them into one extremely well-designed and polished end product that makes it something special. While on the other hand, Mass Effect Andromeda seems very much like it isn't more than the sum of its parts. If that game has a level of polish or creativity or... any kind of x-factor that elevates it above the obvious grind of ticking checkboxes, manshooting, fetchquesting and scanning, I'm not seeing it.

 

Anyway, I'm done gasbagging, so I'll leave you guys to enjoy your game in peace now.



#3711 Randomman96

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Posted Today, 12:33 AM

Oh, right , forgot to mention one thing since you complained about it earlier Ocelot.  Those icons on dialogue options?  They can be disabled.  Although, just as a heads up, here's what each of them are about anyway: full sided heart in center is flirting.  Full sized question mark in center is getting information.  Branching path is mainly a prompt to usually accept or deny missions, or just to progress through conversations that will have an effect to it.  The ones attached to the actual option on the wheel are more responses, and have a different style to each of them.  Gear in head is logical, heart in head is emotional, square like swirl is professional, curved swirl is casual.  Namely for what type of responses fit best.  And again, they can be disabled, much like subtitles.

 

Also, I don't know why, but there is just something so... Familiar about this armor set.

Spoiler

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