I’ve been waiting for ME:A for a very long time. They hyped it just right, that is to say that, they gave very little in terms of actual game play. I mean… We DID see some gameplay but it wasn’t … ugh… just read on.
I’m gonna come out and say it, save the graphics, the game is a disaster. I know a lot of people (and my friends) are like “whoa! hey! dude, just enjoy the experience ya know?” my answer to that is… we’ve waited for 5 years for THIS game to come out. It should be nearly perfect. A person like me should have no complaints. If you don’t have high expectations, you’ll play just about any shit game that is produced and if not now, definitely down the road. I’ve watched people go from good gamers to mindless tablet gamers by choosing to accept shit games. I’ve said this about the Pokemon Go release, I’ve said this about the No Mans Sky release. It is a massive disservice to the fans and to yourself to accept a shitty title. I’m not saying boycott, but definitely get a group of friends together to buy one copy and pass it around. Trust me, you can wait to play it.
No Man’s Sky I did not buy because I already knew the gimmick. Refunds were issued. Pokemon Go was free (thank god) and got deleted after a week.
I’m honestly at the point where I think I’m wasting my time with Mass Effect: Andromeda.
I’m going to call it MEA for short.
MEA was developed by BioWare Montreal. What else is BioWare Montreal known for? Nothing. It has never made a game on its own before MEA.
So yeah Edmonton, hand over the Mass Effect franchise (your baby) over to Montreal and see what happens. There have been some speculation as to why the game feels so disjointed and scattered. One theory is that Montreal itself was a pretty crappy place to work (especially with EA RIGHT THERE BREATHING DOWN YOUR NECK!… yes… There’s an EA in Montreal too) another theory is that writers were asked (told) to dumb down the scripts and focus on easier, non detrimental, non apocalyptic, side quests unlike in the ME and Dragon Age trilogy.
I think they were more focused on controversial sexy time cut scenes than good writing. The writing wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good, or great, either. What makes the writing bad is the cringey voice acting that exposes how poorly written a lot of the dialog is.
I was having a conversation with the crew (My in-game crew) and instead of flowing with the mood of the events that transpired just before, everyone seemed to be … bipolar… or … I’m not really sure how to describe it. It was like all the lines were recorded in one go, per person, and out of context then mixed together later in the process. For example: Cora is supposed to be kind of a bitchy biotic with attitude, and I can understand that because in ME 2 & 3 we had Jack who was also a bitchy biotic, but NOT ALL THE TIME like Cora is.
Peebee (who looks like a “slow” version of Furiosa from Mad Max Fury Road) was an excited giddy archaeologist (I think) who was happy to help you look through the first ruin (or whatever) but then upon joining the crew, her whole attitude shifted to a bratty bored teenager. It didn’t make sense at all. A HUGE mission was just completed and realistically, everyone, and I mean everyone should have been celebrating the success and the giant milestone they had just accomplished, but instead there were a lot of eye rolls and poor vocal exchanges.
Liam slams his hand on the table all dramatic-like but what he says comes out like a whimper. Like a wimpy little nerd trying to get the situation under control. Liam is not my favorite character. As a matter of fact, I don’t like ANY of the characters. At first glance you might think “oh I guess they’re original enough” but as you start to get to know each of them… they become very generic and unoriginal, fast. The last crew member you get is a native to Andromeda (Jaal) and when you meet his “people” they resemble, strangely, tribes from Africa. There is nothing that is not understood or a mystery or unique. Everything I saw resembled human culture more than alien culture. The Asari have more culture than the Angara. There should be a TON of “lost in translation” stuff going on but instead they focus on “let me prove myself to you by killing stuff” missions.
You will see how terrible combat actually is when you simply stop shooting and see how your buddies react which is, in fact, terribly. The character animation is SO bad that sometimes (half the time) they just simply appear where they need to be. Other times I feel like I’m playing an MMO and … well… you know when there’s a player that has better internet than you and they lag sprint ahead of you? yeah… Other times it looks like my two teammates are lag sprinting to their spots. The running animation doesn’t match the running speed which at that point I ask “Why even animate anything?!”
The graphics are really nice. I’m playing it on my PS4 Pro, and when it doesn’t look like the old quick-time movie effect, it looks great. When I’m talking to SAM I get these weird low resolution blocks. I thought that it was an effect at first until it happened everywhere. No… this is a render issue.
Character models are basic. They have the basic cookie-cutter humanoid (two legs, two arms, torso, and a head) model that they use as the core for everything. The collision coding is set to THE CORE MODEL. So when a species is, say, scratching their head… their hand goes INTO their head and scratches the brain.
I want to scratch my brain too right now.
The rain falls on my characters face… through the helmet somehow…
I’m seeing shit go into other shit all the time and it really ruins the experience that my friends are telling/begging me to enjoy. NO! THIS IS GARBAGE PROGRAMMING! 5 YEARS DAMMIT! If I was painting a painting for 5 years… wouldn’t you expect it to be photo-realistic and glorious? YES! I don’t care if you can’t paint, in 5 years time spent on the painting, you will have the best painting in the galaxy.
Sigh… I feel like Lewis Black and I hate Lewis Black but I understand him now.
I will finish the game because I have to. I will try to find something about it and just simply go through it like a job or something and then I will go back to playing Dragon Age Inquisition. A game that I really really like! Or maybe Persona 5 will be out by then in the US. I don’t know. I’m feeling pretty depressed about that 60 dollar purchase.
I made a quick short video of some examples of the weirdness and inconsistencies that you can view below. It’s not much but It’ll be attached to a swath of other videos as well.
The galaxy really makes a huge impact on story ya know? When you fly into Andromeda, you run into the scourge first thing and that was cool! yeah! a mystery! And then you see a giant black hole in the center of the galaxy. Lets just ignore that and not even address it as a concern of any sort, even though It’s probably the biggest black hole anyone has ever ever ever seen. The size of that black hole should be everyone’s primary concern right away. As a matter of fact, I would do everything I could to get everything repaired and jump to the next nearest galaxy because F that. Seriously.
There is so much more to add to this article and I might do so as I play more and I guarantee you that most of it will be negative. I will be fair and put in the good, well done things as well. But it’s trending on the negative side and rapidly.
I was really hoping for an amazing game. Horizon: Zero Dawn (with all of its flaws) soars way above MEA.
73 out of 100
I’ve heard some good feedback from some people and I’d like to address some things.
The first thing is Denial. It is really tough to hear or listen to some guy bitch about a game that you absolutely love and expose the flaws that it has. You have to understand that I am exceptionally picky with my games and I am a harsh critic. This does not mean that I hate everything I play and life itself. The intention for the scrutiny is for it to infect the rest of you. When you have a whole community of picky gamers, the creators start to listen. Sorry, not the creators, the CEO’s. We are the end game for these companies and if all of us decide that creativity is lacking in a company, we then stop purchasing their products no matter how much they pander through targeted advertising. We are too smart (or at least we should be) to fall into their traps. I deal with bad games by admitting that, first, they are bad so I can move on with my life and have no regrets from internally hoping that the game will get better. Admit that there are flaws then choose to continue like I have. Or don’t, it’s really up to you. Admittance brings me peace but whatever works for you is fine too.
I also have to talk about the culture of targeted audience. Sadly, MEA fell victim to “What will sell” vs “original and creative”. This I will never understand. I can’t understand CEO’s that say “This is a proven method that will sell, we can’t take a gamble on this idea.” If every development team gave their BEST ideas, put out their BEST effort into their games, I have no doubt that they would sell like hot cakes (if we were in the 50’s). Some would argue “well, then they’d run out of ideas.” WRONG! You won’t believe the progress you can make by following your best ideas because your best ideas open up avenues for better ideas you never even thought existed. Always start with the best and see where it WILL go.
I remember going to the theaters to watch Die Hard 5 (the one where John McClain goes to Russia to get his son who is undercover CIA or something) and the movie was terrible. It ended with the bad guy finally getting into a room full of nukes. THIS … THIIIIS should have been the START of the movie. The bad guy gets a hold of 18 nukes! THAT’S A BIG DEAL! Now let the story unfold. That would have been an exciting story.
Same goes for MEA except rewinding a bit. Instead of creating some character NO one is familiar with and doesn’t have an instant connection to, Sheppard could have volunteered to go on a permanent mission to Andromeda, seeing as how she (seriously, who even played as a guy?) is the savior of the Milky Way Galaxy, she would be the perfect representative to make first contact with another galaxy. The first quarter of the game could have been Sheppard collecting her team and making those difficult decisions (that we all loved in ME1-3) that have consequences later! Instead, they chose some generic “bad species” trope and some generic “bad phenomenon” that doesn’t really need an explanation. You’re not going to have a sit-down with the bad guys and talk things through… that’s painfully obvious and you’re not going to make the scourge go away anytime soon yet… we’re out looking for planets to settle on? NO! hop on over to the next galaxy. Leave a note, This one’s a bust.
My main problem with MEA is indeed the story. Everything else can be fixed through patching and I’ve got word that they are currently considering an overhaul to the character creation process. Hopefully there’s much more to that.
I’ll keep up on that for sure.