Mass Effect: Andromeda (PC|PS4|Xbox One)
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    Launching officially on March 21st in NA and on the 23rd in the EU, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a new chapter in Bioware's space-opera-alien-fucking-third-person-shooting-RPG-dating-simulator universe. Taking place with all new characters and a brand new setting, you are the Pathfinder, tasked with finding humanity a new home in the Andromeda Galaxy, all while trying not to feel too uncomfortable with another silly Proper Noun Name. Like previous Mass Effect and Bioware games, there is a significant emphasis on story and dialogue, with 1200 voiced characters representing more than Mass Effect 2 and 3 combined.

    Unlike the previous games, however, Andromeda appears to also place a heavier emphasis on true open world exploring and surviving, with elements that seem inspired by the most recent Bioware AAA RPG, Dragon Age: Inquisition. They've also tried to imbue more RPG elements that they got away from over the course of the previous trilogy, with more build and weapon customization available this time around.

    This being a Bioware/EA game, every bit of it is under the microscope, and it's been impossible to avoid the silly animation gifs that have come out as EA Origin Access members get to play early. It's hard to know how much of these are bugs or not, although this wouldn't be the first time the Mass Effect games have had some animation troubles. 

    The reception so far from reviewers seems to be somewhat surprisingly lukewarm/mediocre, and suffice to say the game has been taking a bit of a beating online. Still, I'm excited for a true space opera and large scale Bioware RPG. Anyone else getting it? Thoughts?
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • We'll bang, okay?
  • *girly squeals*
    This is my favourite video game franchise and I really loved Inquisition. Have a look at the Iron Bull love scene on YouTube. I fell out of my chair laughing when that happened to me.

    Man, Mass Effect's gameplay was ass. But the world was so compelling and everything was my particular type of nerdy cool that I finished it. Dragon Age 1 which didn't have the strongest gameplay mechanics, it was enough.

    By Mass Effect 2, I was all in. I was gay with Garrus and Grunt was our little adopted Krogan baby. I loved playing that game so much that I immediately went on to three.

    I hated the jump scares in 3. It felt more like action FPS than RPG (which I feel mass effect 1 and dragon age 1 are heavily so). But oh man, the genophage chapter, seeing Grunt all grown up and that fan service that was the citadel - amazing. I'm a big subscriber to the Indoctrination theory on the ending. Have a read of that! Even if this theory were true which is so super wicked amazing, the series still ends in a cliff hanger which I feel is mean. I wish there was a citadel DLC for 3 baked in. A thanks for playing, here's some tea and cookies.

    I rearranged my entire working schedule to have two weeks off to play Mass Effect 1-3 back to back. I did at least ten hours a day and ate it up.

    I know 4 is going to be full of bugs like the lip animation and general launch issues. The game engine behind mass effect and dragon age has always been limited. I don't think their side quests will be as good as witcher 3. But you know what, getting to be n7 and lose myself in a sci fi world is going to be a real treat. And now I have jet packs!

    I'm so excited! I've got this pre-ordered for delivery with JB HiFi. It will hopefully be delivered to my mailbox midweek with them posting it a day before release. I won't get around to it until the weekend and even then my time is thin. But I am still so looking forward to this. Give me that music. Give me Krogand. Give meeee N7 role playing!
    Noobied by 18drawt
  • I don't know if I should say this but I thought Inquisition was a very mediocre game. I still enjoyed the hell out of it but in hindsight, definitely 7/10.
  • Man, is the Internet shitting all over this game this week. The story and animation cannot be as bad as some are anticipating.

    I liked Inquisition just fine. Dragon Age 2 was a fucking abortion, worst AAA game of my life, total insult. Fuck Dragon Age 2.
    Noobied by 2sloth laphamking
  • I really liked Inquisition while the story was going. The thrust of the main narrative and character building held that game together. After I beat it, I tried coming back to it for the DLC, and the combat itself just wasn't compelling enough without the main narrative helping it along to be worth it.

    I loved ME 1-3. Sucker for space operas and getting to explore alien worlds and stuff. Hoping for the best.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • Inquisition was good for a playthru but once you're done, you're done. The harder difficulties really showcased how awful the combat system actually was.

    Dragon Age 1 and Mass Effect 1 were both decent. Neither have aged particularly well. DA2, ME2, and ME3 are all arse gravy.

    If ME:A can do DA:I with a decent combat system I might enjoy it. I won't be getting all teary because there's no Shep or familiar faces -fuck those guys- and if this game is more like ME1 in terms of exploration and loot and number crunching then hoo fucking rah says I.

    I saw the faces and animations, and the theory about Bioware going full retard and deliberately making ugly female characters to appease feminists, and I think these people give Bioware too much credit. The faces and animations don't look shit on purpose, Bioware is just a bunch of hacks in clown suits -that was simply the best they could do, as they've demonstrated in plenty of their previous games. So no, I care not how shitty the faces look. If I want to gaze upon a near perfect visage I have my mirror handy after all. I'll be here for the space exploration and to shoot up the galaxy, while fucking everything that moves because this is a Bioware game after all and the idea that they could make a game in which every living being doesn't try to dry hump your leg within 5 minutes of meeting you IS the stuff of conspiracy theory.

    Bring on ME:A. I look forward to playing it after I'm done with Horizon, Dark Souls 3 DLC, and treating my athlete's foot. I presumptuously and preemptively award it a 7/10.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • Some of the reviews are saying Andromeda is Bioware's worst RPG yet, and the general consensus is the writing sucks. I'm still going to pick it up, but bad writing is a death sentence for a Mass Effect game. 
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • Yeah, I think everyone's memories regarding earlier Mass Effects might be a bit rose-tinted.  The NPCs always had this weird thick-necked, bulgy-eyed froggy quality to them.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • The problem devs like Bioware and Bethesda now face is that everyone, from critics to fans, basically views Witcher 3 as the standard-bearer for open-world games now, and that's probably a bit unfair. There are still publications raving about that game to this day. It's a hard bar to clear.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • I just started playing the trial via EA Access. The complaints about facial animations is dumb. Every Mass Effect has these issues.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • @Manio so you mean they know the issue and didn't correct it for 4 games?
    I think the real issue is that they are still using the same game engine.

    Not jumping at this game, ME3 was a major disappointment, so I'll wait until the fanboys have all played it :P
  • They switched to Frostbite 3 for this, which has sort of become EA's all-encompassing engine. Apparently it runs really well; the benchmarks I've seen have looked great. But yeah. The animations on some of the humans are a bit wonky.
  • Why in the era of digital distribution are there still different release dates in different regions for video games?! 
  • @AshGooner Are you picking this up at launch? 
  • @GoodEnoughForMe  So they changed the engine but use the same base code? I don't see that issue in other games that use Frostbite 3, only in Assassins creed but i don't know which engine they use 
  • Ass Creed uses Anvil.

    I don't know if I'd call it unfair to compare these recent games to Witcher 3. If they want to be called AAA games they better bring their top form to the party. If they'd be willing to knock an A or 2 off then sure, but they ain't going to do that. So as far as I'm concerned, you want the title, you earn the title. Shooters were compared to DOOM and later COD for years, we're seeing it know with "SoulsBorne Clones" too. Witcher 3 is the level ALL games of that type should be aiming for and to surpass if possible, especially if they want to be included in the "AAA games" category.

    Professionals should produce quality work. I know, I know, that's a fucking outlandish opinion to hold these days, right?! It's like I said, Bioware are just shit. KOTOR2 was a long fucking time ago. Any street cred they had with that game is long since used up.
  • Oooooh, kotor. 10/10.

    Speaking off which, I've been watching Star Wars Clone Wars on Netflix and its a definite AAA. I highly recommend it to any dads because both you and yours kids will enjoy the hell out of it.

    Funny story. When Witcher 3 came out, I accidentally bought two copies of it. I gave one to my partner and installed one for myself. I didn't make it half an hour in (when I bumped into those shrieking/wailing ghosts) before giving up because its too scary. The lore in that game, all the readable bits; it was too frightening. Maybe not so funny story.

    Anyway, my pre-order (gasp) of Andromeda was dispatched yesterday and I'm hoping it arrives today or tomorrow, ready for this weekend! Unfortunately, I'm working all weekend but it'll perk me up every day until I get to play it. I guess I can feed the serial key into Origin early and make sure its all patched.
  • Played a bit more today. These are my thoughts so far.

    The Good
    • The game does look visually impressive, and thankfully I haven't had any really bad facial glitches or game breaking bugs. Well, aside from my dudes eyeballs glitching through his eyelids.
    • The multiplayer is WICKED FUN.
    • Some really nice call-backs to the original trilogy.
    • The combat feels loads better this time around and it's fun to play, so woohoo.
    The Bad
    • The character customization is kinda awful. It feels really limited in terms of creating a character compared to past games and feels lacking in variety. You're better off going with default Ryder.
    • The party doesn't seem that diverse in terms of races. Feels mostly human-y right now. Again, I'm about three hours in but really hoping this changes. I've seen ALOT of humans in this game.
    • Not nearly as gripping in terms of story, characters, etc like the first trilogy. Hoping this improves.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • I played a few hours last night. I cleared the first area and got to 'home base' and did a ton of dialogue and some quests, then mined an asteroid and flew to the first 'real' planet, where I stopped. The opening segment of this game works fantastically; remember the dread inducing opening in ME2 that culminated in a grainy shot of the collectors on a vid screen? It's maybe not quite there but it's super close. The sound design is excellent. The way the planet works, without spoiling, is that the audio confuses and disorients. It feels alien and very imposing. I'll be interested to see if that sense of wonder and fear permeates every time I step on a planet for the first time. 

    The animations are ok. They're not awful, they're not great. There's just so many of them that you're bound to find some issues at some point. 

    The main base seems really sort of cynical and political and a mess, I sense lots of intrigue there.

    I haven't really gotten into the main story yet.

  • I played a couple of hours last night just getting through the first planet that you land on. Just a few (mostly inconsequential) initial impressions:

    Combat is pretty good.

    It is ME :)

    The mission I played felt a little loose and unfocused (Much like DA:I ) . From what I have read it opens up a lot which is pretty concerning for me.

    The bad guy is pretty scary apart from his puppy-dog eyes. I think @GoodEnoughForMe mentioned that and he was totally right. It's very odd and noticable. Just a bizarre artistic decision, it looks pretty daft.

    Performance is pretty bad, especially at 4k. The graphics don't seem to be much better than ME:3 but the framerate is terrible in comparison. Even compared to other Frostbite 3 games the performance is woeful.

    The original pathfinder dude looks exactly like Geralt.

    The facial animations and hair are bad.

    Biggest gripe by far is the scanner mechanic, it is absolute bullshit. Who the fuck thought that breaking all the action and everything up with some pointless scanning mechanic would be fun. Gees.

  • I was so hyped for this game before the initial impression now I just couldn't give a shit. I may still get it some time down the line but right now I couldn't be less fussed.

    It's a shame because I booked time off work to play ME2 and 3 (they were different times).
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • Alright I am now 9 hours in and every single game system has been introduced to me and I've done a lot on the first real planet and moved on to a couple more. Spoiler free thoughts:

    This game is in the vein of ME 1-3 and DA:I, definitely, but even bigger. There are also a TON of ingame systems to wrap your head around. Leveling up gets you points to put towards powers in 3 specific trees. Combinations of points in trees unlock Profiles which give you more buffs and can be leveled up themselves. Weapons and armor and consumables and ammo and mods are all craftable, with weapons having two mod slots. That's the crafting; which is the development side of things which takes raw resources that can be collected, mined, or disassembled from items, and then there's Research, which takes Research Points and gets you more recipes. Then there are Pod Unlock things (I forget the name), which give you periodic items/buffs/etc., and you have a bunch to choose from and unlock over time. There are Nexus (home base, essentially) Viability Points to unlock as you do quests for people on board, and then planetary viability percentages which improve as you clear objectives on the planet. Got all that? Because there are also First Strike missions that you can either send AI to do regularly or compete in multiplayer for more items and Strike Points (what those do I have yet to find out).

    In light of such a massive game, Bioware did do a good job avoiding the DA:I problem of just dropping you on a map with like, 50 icons, 27 quests, and an overwhelming sense of analysis paralysis. The quest log has never been quite as inundated and neither has the map, but it's still a LOT to take in, and the quest log doesn't feel up to the task. You'll frequently be clicking your way in an out of menus in it to find quests as the number of hubs/planets you get expands. Speaking of, everything takes time in this. Your main quest hub is in a different system from a lot of other planets, and you'll be jumping through several map screens to go hone in on where you want to go when aboard your ship.

    It's a LOT to keep track of, still. You'll want to constantly be visiting and talking to so, so many people, a ton of whom are fully voiced and have lots of dialogue options and backstory.

    While this all paints things a bit negative, it's not, really. Other than UI issues and one slightly buggy cutscene, it's been a blast. There are silly sci-fi issues - wait, how am I talking to these unknown aliens so suddenly? And there's a fair share of mumbo-jumbo where characters use fancy sounding words to explain away deus ex machina moments. But the planets are so pretty, the changes they undergo so drastic, and the crew is fun and varied. The sound design is incredible, from lightning strikes, alien calls, ships sound effects, it's like Star Wars in that every vehicle and species is unique and memorable. The first couple planets in particular are also super alien and just flat out weird, which is good to see in an entirely new galaxy.

    By also making dialogue choices way more subtle than just "SUPER ANGEL" or "SUPER DICKHEAD" the game feels more natural. Conversations flow better and more nuance is allowed in your answers and conversations.

    Combat as a whole feels fine. I wouldn't say it's great but it doesn't get in the way, either. I'm still a bit iffy on the platforming. It feels responsive, but I don't really play ME for platforming. On that note, the scanning is a nice idea in theory; it gets you ton of info and backstory on the world if you so choose, but it feels chore-y and it slows you down big time. I kind of ignore it. I wish it was faster. Maybe just shoot something with your gun to tag it? As opposed to slowly walking with a small box spinning around looking for anything to scan. I dunno.

    The puppy dog eyes thing with the main antagonist aliens are WEIRD. They're so scary looking otherwise.

    Another main antagonist design is uninspired. I think you'll find out why when you fight them.

    So yeah, biggest gripes; travel time between planets, menu navigation, scanning. Biggest pros; crew, sound design, worlds, and it's just fun! The bad guys feel creepy and imposing and mysterious. The good guys aren't just carbon cut outs. The Nexus is a place of total political scheming and fraught with alliances and double crossing. I can't wait to play more. I'll interested to see how the main story holds up.
    Noobied by 3AshGooner 8drawt sloth
  • I've played about a few hours now and I do think some of the criticism is a bit overblown, but maybe that's my rose-tinted Mass Effect eyes. Like @GoodEnoughForMe mentioned, the opening sequence is excellent. The planets I've seen so far look gorgeous and entice you to explore them. The combat has been refined to deliver the best experience in the series yet. 

    It's not without its issues. Yes, the facial animations in some instances look stone-faced and fail to convey any emotion at times. Some of the voice acting leaves little to be desired; however, I will say that male Ryder's voice actor is solid, which is good considering this is who you will listen to the most. The menu system is a bit of a mess and creates an unnecessary learning curve because it's not succinct.  

    It may start to unravel the more I play, but what I am prepared to say at this stage is that if you enjoyed the original trilogy, I do think you will enjoy Andromeda. 
    Noobied by 28drawt sloth
  • Also, the dialogue between NPCs, the casual stuff, is good.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • You get a noobie, you get a noobie, and YOU get a noobie [for saying nice things about ME:A].

    So who here is using mouse and keyboard, and who is using a controller?
    The 40gb Origin install finished last night so I'm ready to jump in now.

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