Mass Effect Andromeda: 14 mixed observations of the opening hours

I’ve experienced quite a few of the same issues John has with Mass Effect Andromeda [official site], but there’s stuff I’ve been less bothered by, there’s stuff I’ve appreciated, and there’s also stuff Big J didn’t mention yet that has made the nitpick zones of my brain light up like Mardi Gras.

I’ve played four or five hours of the Origin Access paid demo so, like John, I stress that all this may yet change later on. I’m going to break this into points, but my take-home feeling is that, though I certainly wouldn’t call MEA awful, it is failing to grab me as much as I’d hoped it would and it thus far feels oddly generic in a way this fresh start for the series really shouldn’t.

1. It’s inconsistent

In terms of presentation and polish, I mean. Mass Effect has always had some dodgy faces and animations, but standards have changed since the series began and MEA’s quality is oddly changeable. It can offer some of the best environmental graphics I’ve ever seen one moment, then show me someone who walks like a Muppet suffering from constipation the next. Eyeballs look amazing when someone’s up close, with reflections and blood vessels and the works, to the point that I believe a watchable CGI film could be made with MEA’s tech, only to look as though someone’s got two Extra Strong Mints embedded into their faces from a distance. A named character can look like the Frostbite engine at its very best, but in the background there’s an incidental NPC who seems to have time-travelled from a low-budget 2006 game.

This distracting inconsistency is also very much the case when it comes to Mass Effect Andromeda’s copious speech. There’s plenty of solid VO and perfectly acceptable writing, but there are also deviations into the cringeworthy on both fronts, particularly (in what I’ve seen so far) this character, Foster Addison:

The sad thing there is that the role this character is meant to be occupy is, in a quiet way, vital: the only person so far who meaningfully calls out the inappropriate reverence others offer to the lead character, but I’ll cover that in its own point later. I think any game with this many speaking characters is inevitably going to wind up with a few planks in there, but it’s a damn shame that it’s such a visible one. Also, it’s a perfect storm of wooden performance and bizarrely duff words. “My face is tired…”?

Honestly though, it’s not representative of what I’ve seen of the game as a whole – generally, it’s solid enough. However, there has been precisely no-one who’s made a real impression on me, or who I’ve wanted to know more about. As I say, there are only a handful of writing/acting disasters (so far), but the deeper problem is a failure to (so far) excel. Which is my overwhelming feeling about the game as a whole, in fact.

2. It doesn’t take full advantage of its concept

MEA’s setup, if you’ve missed it, is that the major races from the earlier Mass Effect trilogy have spent a few hundred years travelling on giant colony ships to setup a new life in the Andromeda galaxy. Much is initially made of the fact that humanity, particularly, has voyaged further into the unknown than ever before and that anything could be out there, but it’s all of twenty minutes before it’s defaulted to shooting matches against armoured bipeds, set among mostly grey rocks. All this opportunity to go batshit scifi, but almost straight off the bat it’s doing the most obvious and most familiar thing. I’m hopeful that future planets and species will be more inventive, but right now my feeling has been “well, here I am again.”

This sentiment isn’t helped by the fact that it’s only an hour or two before you’re nattering to returning ME1-3 aliens the Turians, Asari, Salarians and Krogan, all occupying more or less the roles with the same dynamics that they had in the first three games. Armchair designer time I’m afraid, but were it me I would have kept these guys at bay until much later in the game, and give Andromeda’s fresh start a chance to be a fresh start, creating awe and mystery by sending you to strange new worlds to seek out new life and new civilizations. Instead, we essentially go over everything all over again, almost straight away.

As it stands, the only meaningfully new element we’re shown, if you’ll excuse me excepting the rather generic new blockhead-lizardmen baddie aliens you shoot at very early on, is that the first planet has a load of levitating rocks all over it. MEA is rapidly becoming infamous for the fact that its human characters repeatedly mention this…

…and I fear it’s the case because there’s little else that’s similarly comment-worthy in MEA’s initial hours. There are potentially fascinating ideas and setups scattered around the edges of proceedings – you’re on a ship with thousands of people stuck in cryosleep, the planets you expected to be habitable are not, you’re in a whole new galaxy – so I have to hope these are given more prominence later. Instead of more rocks and more conversations about how the Krogans and Salarians don’t get on.

3. The skin is amazing

As I say, MEA’s appearance is inconsistent, but it has its bravura moments. Some of the landscapes and starfields are positively dramatic, but it’s all the detail on people’s skin when you see their higher-quality characters models in a conversation that’s most impressed me. Even on Foster Addison, who in addition to her ropey dialogue suffers from glassy robot eyes blasted with enough makeup to drown a goat, there are pores and subtle wrinkles and small reflections ago-go.

Some characters genuinely had me wondering if I was watching pre-rendered rather than realtime footage (granted I’m running this maxed-out at 3440×1440 on a 1080 Ti – I’ll do some performance/quality checking on a lower-spec card when I get the chance). I don’t even mean the humans here. The crevices and lumps around a Krogan character’s jaw made for an almost disconcertingly photoreal alien, as did the eerily infinite blackness of Salarian’s huge eyes. There are many places where MEA’s tech and art really goes for it, which makes the misfires (most of which concern human faces, as with Addison) all the more jarring. Lighting and whatever collection of post-processing gives MEA’s appearance its filmic quality are also pretty heroic here.

4. It’s very broad

Now, I suspect the memory-creep involved whenever a few years pass means that many of us are guilty of thinking the original Mass Effects were somehow more literate than they were. Sure, there were some great character moments, but it was always space-pulp through and through, and drifted more and more into Magical Prophecy Nonsense as it wore on. Even so, there’s an obviousness and a shallowness to much of what I’ve played of MEA that doesn’t feel in keeping with my experiences/memories of the earlier ones.

Companion characters (including your own) very much say what they see, making superficial observations that don’t seem to reflect idea that they are one of a handpicked few sent to find and survive in a new galaxy. “Looks like some kind of alien machinery,” that sort of thing, with no follow-up comment to suggest a curiosity to know what it does or who made it. Not awful, but not interesting – and at odds with the idea they’re here to assess whether this place could make a safe new home for their species.

My feeling is less that this is a failure to write the sharpest dialogue possible, and more that MEA is actively designed to be broad. Hoary old RPG fans are less of a goldmine than are people who like to shoot men/monsters and collect loot, and though there’s all sorts of story and side-questing going on here, at heart it would seem to be continuing the series rapid shift into a weapons-centric game. So intellectual curiosity is either brushed aside or concentrated into between-mission conversations that you can easily skip through if you just want the next task.

I don’t mean to sound elitist here. I just think MEA, now that it’s no longer part of an ongoing storyline, is consciously made to be as accessible and mass-market as possible (though I’m not necessarily arguing that it’s been completely successful there) and that mak-u-think writing and pauses for thought during action sequences may have been considered detrimental to that.

5. It retains some of ME 1-3’s cludgier elements

For instance, there’s a monetary system all over again. Just like the guy in the basement who made you pay for weapons on your own ship in whichever of the original MEs it was, here you’re told that a resource shortage means you need to stump up for upgrades, even though pretty much everyone else goes out of their way to inform you that the fate of every single person here apparently rests on your under-equipped shoulders. It’s ludicrous. But it’s always been ludicrous, in every single Bioware Chosen One game, so I can’t get too het up about it – again though, it’s a shame that the chance for a fresh start has been somewhat squandered.

There’s also plenty of ‘help me solve this minor problem on this spaceship, because for some reason everyone else onboard is totally incapable’ side-questing – that same sense that everyone’s just been shrugging at everything until you happened to turn up. Again, not even remotely exclusive to this game or this series – but it does exacerbate that ‘business as usual’ sensation.

A broader concern for me is very strong hints of Space Magic very early on. I should be spoiler averse here, but again I was hoping the fresh start was an opportunity to move on from all the mystic hand-waving that characterised particularly ME3 in favour of slightly harder sci-fi. I fear it has been decided that Space Magic is expected from any Mass Effect game, despite the outcry about ME3’s ending.

6. I’m TBC on companions

Only met a couple so far, but I don’t hate them yet. Excitable young human soldier Liam has come across as broadly likeable in my limited interactions with him to date, but I’m unnerved by the fact that he’s instantly acting as though we’re besties after just one mission in which the only thing we said to each other was repeated comment about the floating rocks. That I can’t remember the name of the woman companion probably doesn’t bode well, but she’s got good hair and maybe a bit of a Kara Thrace thing going on, so I’m happy enough having her on my team for now. Everyone does seem rather wholesome, though, but maybe – for better or worse – it’ll try to explore more ideas later.

7. The makeup/tattoo/scarring options in character creation are excellent

Now we’re talking badass crazy renegade space hero.

8. It continues Dragon Age: Inquisition’s singleplayer MMO structure

Whole lotta collecting and crafting, whole lotta random skirmishing as you roam, whole lotta relentlessly scanning arbitrary items on a planet’s surface for nebulous research points that you can then spend on making/buying new stuff. It’s very game-y here. On the one hand, this gives you far more to do moment to moment, which is handy if you’ve burned out on quests, but on the other the hamster wheel structure is at odds with the central conceit – finding a new home and keeping an alien threat at bay.

It’s different in many ways – particularly because it’s a shooter rather than a stabber – but if you didn’t get on with DAI’s random encounters and loot-fountains, you’ll likely have similar issues here. I should say that I personally got on alright with DAI, but that was primarily down to enjoying the characterisation – and this is the area in which MAE has thus far most been lacking.

9. Skill trees involve dozens of very similar skills

Levelling up isn’t terribly interesting, because, though the skills you unlock are split across Combat, Tech and Biotic categories, each of which feature 12 upgradeable powers, the fast majority of them involve ‘fire a bolt of space magic at an enemy.’ There are far too many which are far too similar – for instance, we get both Flamethrower and Incinerate, and the essential damage effect of both is very similar to the essential damage effect of most everything else – and that means the choice does not feel meaningful. Maybe I’ll have something to regret later, but right now it’s just a matter of pumping more points into the three powers I most liked the names/lighting effect of. By which I mean: there isn’t much sense of feeling like a specialist. It’s just Combatguy regardless.

10. It’s very blue

That’s not a negative, just a comment on the style choice. As you can see, it makes for strikingly cinematic scenes sometimes, but on the ‘Nexus’ base ship all the staff are dressed in blue too, regardless of species. MEA is always On Brand.

11. I’m real glad I own an ultrawide monitor and good GPU for this one (but less glad I have a Corsair keyboard)

Like I say, MEA’s presentation is weirdly inconsistent, but sometimes it gets it absolutely right. Maxed out at 21:9 and doing the 60 frames thing on a high-end Pascal card, environmentally it can be a right looker at times. At this stage, my main investment in the game is wanting to see what future planets look like on this setup.

A fly in the enthusiast-hardware ointment has been a bizarre conflict with the Corsair Utility Engine software that controls the lighting on my mechanical keyboard. I was getting an unchanging black screen from MEA at launch until I uninstalled this. The fix is no biggie as I don’t often fiddle with the keyboard’s settings anyway, but finding said fix in the first place was frustrating, and clearly a patch is required.

12. The spacesuits all have pooping hatches

No-one ever says that that’s what they’re for, but c’mon, we all know. Someone on the art team’s really thought about the practicalities of space-life, and then followed through. So to speak.

13. It doesn’t quite know how to treat its own star

Your character, Ryder, is a Pathfinder, or in some cases The Pathfinder. In one moment we can be told this is essentially a galactic surveyor, simply the boss of the team in charge of choosing which planets to try living on, but in other that a Pathfinder is a quasi-religious figure, whose abilities simply cannot be replicated by anyone else and upon whom the entire colonisation project depends. And yet your character ends up donning this mantle about an hour into proceedings, with almost no prior experience and no special powers, which rather makes the case for it being simply a title.

Again, the game seems undecided as whether Pathfinder is just a job (in which case it’s bizarre that no-one else felt able to scout out planets during a pre-game year-and-a-bit in which the Pathfinder is AWOL), or some kind of mystic calling, and it really feels like it’s having its cake, eating it, then chucking it all up onto the floor afterwards. This stuff is really knocking holes into the main plot, both in terms of coherence and whether I can take it entirely seriously.

14. I’m just a bit bored, really

I haven’t found Mass Effect Andromeda to be objectionable or even a huge lapse in quality, but I have struggled to care about anyone. Personalities are either broad or buried behind too many layers of exposition, your own character’s role is confused, the third-person combat feels routine and, most of all, this new galaxy feels oddly similar to so many other space marine games. Plenty of big RPGs (I’m using the term loosely here, fear not) have slow starts, so I’m entirely open to finding more points of connection later, but so far there is that sense of a game going through established motions, underneath a very high tech skin. I certainly don’t think what I’ve played of MEA is a disaster, but it really needs to find its mojo soon if I’m to stick with it.

156 Comments

Top comments

  1. J.C. says:

    Foster Addison's face is tired.
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    heretic says:

    If it follow’s Inquisition’s structure I will wait for a sale or skip all together.

    I bought Inquisition near launch but I guess it was hyped a bit too much, although I very much enjoyed some of the companion interactions, at some point I just found the game quite dull and gave up, I think the MMO structure is just not for me.

    • benjamin says:

      Agreed, I finished DA:I and actually regretted the time investment. Sure, there were some lovely moments in there but there was also so much filler! As bad as Ubisoft open world games. If MEA is like DA:I then I’m leaving it well alone.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I managed to get about halfway through DA:I. The MMO structure was annoying, but there was enough to keep me going until I hit some tedious scripted formal ball sequence. I just couldn’t summon the energy to push through it. Better companions might have done it, I dunno. I had trouble caring about any of them.

      Maybe companion interaction will be enough to pull me through this one. I’ve pre-ordered so I’m along for the ride, regardless.

      • lordcooper says:

        That scene was the final straw for me too.

      • Konservenknilch says:

        I liked the idea of the ball scene. Breaks up the formula and does something a bit new. But then they introduce a fucking TIMER? What the everloving fuck.

        • Zenicetus says:

          I think it was the timer more than anything else. I have a visceral dislike for timers that appear suddenly out of nowhere, in a game where that hasn’t been established a core part of the gameplay. It’s very hard to pull that off so it feels organic, and when it doesn’t, I just get annoyed at feeling manipulated by the game design.

          And now I hear that there are timed missions in ME:A (sigh). Maybe they’re optional, and not plot-blockers like that ballroom thing in DA:I that you have to complete to continue through the game.

      • MooseMuffin says:

        Interesting. The ball was my favorite gaming sequence of the year.

        • Juan Carlo says:

          Yeah, that whole ball sequence was by far the best written and most involving part of the game, with minimal combat, lots of political maneuvering, and a whole bunch of different outcomes depending on your choices. It’s the only time in the game I ever felt that your role as the inquisitor actually meant something, given that your decisions actually affected things so significantly. It was not only the best quest in the game, but one of the better quests in any Dragon Age game.

      • draglikepull says:

        I hated the MMO open-world part of DA:I but I thought the level in the formal ball was one of the best parts of the game. In general I thought the central story stuff was very good. Shame about the rest of it.

    • Holderist says:

      Spoke my mind. Hopefully in a year or so we’ll have a Game of the Year edition with all the inevitable DLC attached.

      • KaiUno says:

        If it’s too meh to buy at launch, we probably should refrain from calling the game of the year edition a game of the year edition.

    • FranticPonE says:

      Loved DAI, played it twice all the way through. Something to do besides murder people and play cutscenes? Sign me up straight away, I’ll not sneeze at variety even if it is repetitive.

      But I hated ME2, to the point of not playing 3. Space Magic? Diegetic signs for people that GET LOST IN A ONE WAY CORRIDOR??? By the end when you fought a giant Dr. Who Terminator I was done with the series for good. What on earth was the point of going from Star Trekky semi hard sci-fi to.. well as I said, Dr. Who? And if this has the same thing I’m done with it as well.

      • Voxavs says:

        Still can’t understand how people like DAI, but hate ME2. It’s like a very focused game with a lot of character versus a game that is a chore and spreads itself so thin there’s nothing I can remember about it, except that one thing when you went into the future and then back into the past and being infuriated by how annoying it is. I mean you can like what you like, but I will never understand you people lol.

        • Hoot says:

          Dragon Age : Origins was an amazing revival of Infinity engine RPG’ing with incredibly world and lore building, strong characters and a compelling plot.

          Dragon Age 2 and Inquisition were the equivalent of digital polished turds.

          The Mass Effect series (2 especially) are on a completely different level. Despite a few mis-steps here and there (which have been addressed through patches, free Extended Cut DLC, etc) the original ME Trilogy are so much better games than the recent Draogn Age games.

          • SaintAn says:

            Mass Effect 1 and DA:O are masterpieces, while their sequels are the most dumbed down lowest common denominator sellout garbage there is in the industry. It has good marketing though. They managed to brainwash a lot of people.

          • Sandepande says:

            Not everybody finds enjoyment in inventory-fiddling (especially in Mass Effect 1, plus the loot was just tragic) or party management. I liked ME2’s “plotlessness” a lot more than ME1’s “stop big evil”, not to mention the fact that ME1 suffered from not particularly interesting side quests and exploration. In ME2, that bit was much better (the scanning was… at least slightly quicker than driving that fucking car across two-texture fractal landscapes).

            Anyway. Matters of taste, of course. I can well understand that if ME1 and DA:O are up one’s alley, the more streamlined sequels must feel somehow less “gamey”.

            Oh, and of course, I liked DA:I a lot.

          • Laurentius says:

            @Sandepande
            “ME1’s “stop big evil”
            Well, I also think that personal tastes are fine but this is kind of wierd. It’s actually plot of DA:I not ME1, like ME1 plot for the majority of game is “fine, since humans are pushy, be this Spectere and go find out why one of our agents gone rouge and we also don’t our hands dirty in the traverse so do it for us”. There is nothing about stoping “big evil”, which is on the other hand central part of lucklusture DA:I plot, where other hinted themses like mage/templar conflict are shuffled into back seat rather quickly.

          • Sandepande says:

            I was referring to the overall plot of the game (stop Sovereign plz), which is indeed rather similar to DA:I. There isn’t anything wrong with such a plot, I just liked ME2’s better. Probably why I liked DA2 as well, even though I can’t understand how they could fail at their production so badly that a game focused on a single city has such limited assets.

          • Zhiroc says:

            I’m probably well in the minority, but I didn’t like DA:O all that much. Tried I think 3 times to play it, even using different character classes, and stopped basically after doing the “next location” (human, dwarf, elf) after Redcliff (different path each time). It seemed to me that there was no main story development after the prologue, and I just got bored. Plus, I disliked the way I felt I had to micromanage the combat, but that I think is more of a controls issue, as I have to micromanage just as much in DA:I, but find it less annoying.

          • welverin says:

            Sandepande, the lack of assets for DA2 come down tot the short development time. They had eighteen months to make the game and wanted to keep the content in the game at the level expected of an full length RPG. Throw in the massive over haul to the graphics and the variety in graphical assets suffered.

            And if I’m recalling correctly someone from Bioware explicitly stated that they had to decide between amount of content and variety in areas.

            Zhiroc, there was no need to micro manage during combat. The game has very robust behavior settings for all of your characters, the only problem I had with it is that the game doesn’t allow you to deselect all of your characters the way the Infinity Engine games did.

          • Zhiroc says:

            I was never satisfied with companion behavior using the tactical rules. Plus, IIRC, you had limited rules unless you actually spent development points (been so long I forget the details). Also, IIRC, friendly fire was enabled (don’t recall it could be disabled) and unless you specifically told them to hold position, you could easily blow them up.

      • Canadave says:

        I loved the first Mass Effect, but I also quit partway through 2. It went from being a really intriguing SF universe to feeling like a generic one extremely quickly. It was much more polished, but also much less compelling.

    • SaunteringLion says:

      I struggled through Inquisition and quit with about 10 hours left of completing the story. A franchise I’d be following for 5 years, with 4 full playthroughs of Origins and 2 of II, and quit at the very end of the final chapter, with no desire to return.

      The MMO-ification was so bad. It was padding. In an MMO, it’s understandable why there’s routine and a treadmill: it keeps you subscribed, it fills time, but it also meaningfully progresses a character that’s *persistent*. You don’t feel like your time is wasted because it’s a character you intend to stay with for a long time.

      In a single-player RPG it’s inexcusable. Yeah, great, it has 100 hours of content, but when 70 hours of that content is unvarying quest structure and looting herbs and hacking the same enemies in the same fashion, no thanks. Then the Witcher 3 came out a year later and showed everyone what a 100 hour RPG should look like.

    • Voxavs says:

      Same here. I tried to finish it 3 times with no success. Almost got it for the third time, but after checking how much weird points I needed to grind in order to get to the next story bit, I just gave up. Also zero memorable side quests is not the way especially after Witcher 3 where the whole game is basically a memorable side quest, with a pretty leanghty story attached to it, to keep you going.

      • Sandepande says:

        I do think that characters are probably one of the main reasons for people like one game over another, because despite Witcher 3’s superior quest-building, I couldn’t get attached to Geralt or anyone else at all. Can’t tell you why, really. Something just didn’t click. On the other hand, DA:I was (and is) quite enjoyable. Can’t tell you why, either.

        • amcathlan says:

          “Couldn’t connect to Witcher 3”

          and

          “Loved DA:I”

          If YOU can’t tell us why, I’d say yep…That’s some serious twilight zone going on there. Holy hell.

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            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            They were specifically referring to the characters. I agree.

            Your role in the relationships of The Witcher 3 felt like that of an observer. The characters all have history so the choices you made felt less like role-playing and more like multiple choice. DA:I at least gave you some agency in who you chose to have as your buddies or romance. W3 just wants to know if you like redheads or brunettes, bad girls or nice girls.

  2. aircool says:

    Sounds like a cookie-cutter Bioware homogenisation.

    • bill says:

      I dunno about such things, but I read that it’s not actually made by Bioware, it’s made by EA Montreal who were rebranded as Bioware.

  3. Pich says:

    guess it goes right into the “wait for GOTY on 50% sale” list.

    • SaintAn says:

      Not sure how it would win GOTY.

      • DarkFenix says:

        However it turns out, you just know some bunch of sycophantic pricks will label it GOTY.

      • Fomorian1988 says:

        Doesn’t matter if it wins anything – the marketing peeps will still call the collected edition GoTY edition.

    • DThor says:

      I’m not sure it’s worth even that, ever since the Really Big AAA Game has become a thing and been, to some degree, a cookie cutter experience. I know it’s *hard* to reinvent things that have worked in the past, along with great writing, but I have to ask myself if my personal time is worth grinding through endless kill 10 rats missions with no believable emotional investment. Regardless of the monetary cost.
      I’m still happy to wait for release and let reviewers get past the first several hours. However, I admit this is depressing, both because I was hoping for The Witcher in Space (I can dream, can’t I?), plus a lot of people put a lot of time into making this. I like success stories, not more cynical fail.

    • Henson says:

      You’d best make sure the GOTY edition includes the game.

  4. Herkimer says:

    Honestly I’d love to play the more optimistic, less shooty version of this. You’re in a distant star system, and you have to establish a toe-hold, and it’s tough but with enough gumption and a little cleverness you’ll be able to do it!

    And also everyone wants to sex you and there are space butts b/c Bioware.

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      MajorLag says:

      Actually that’d make a pretty good setup for a Star Control game. Wait, didn’t they kind of do that with SC3? Was there an SC3? My memory is conflicted on that for some reason…

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    Godwhacker says:

    How many significant characters or races have names prefixef with ‘The ‘ ? I think that may be a good metric to measure crapness of writing by

  6. geldonyetich says:

    Really enjoying Andromeda so far. But funny enough I’ve largely been pursuing the side quests as a completionist would. As such, 4 hours in, I haven’t even set foot on the Tempest yet.

    I also played an hour of Farming Simulator 2017 this morning, so perhaps I’m more patient than your average young adreline jockey.

    Perhaps best enjoyment of Andromeda can be found if you approach it as a marathon and not a footrace. It’s not exactly an open-ended Mass Effect sandbox, but it is moreso than the previous trilogy.

    Nor am I much of a graphics lover. Andromeda makes my 970 SLI cards rev up their fans to high speed as it gorgeously fills my ultrawide… but another game I play is Stardew Valley, so whatever, I guess.

    Andromeda is absolutely fine. I don’t know what the popular kids are complaining about. Also I look forward to upgrading a virtual tractor and stowing it away in my virtual shed but only after a virtual pressure wash.

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      Nauallis says:

      I’m boiling your comment down to “It’s about what I expected, and I’m okay with that.” Yes/no?

      I see all these pre-reviews and impressions and what not, and I just think that yep, it’s another Mass Effect, yep, it has more breadth but not much more depth (just like 2 & 3), yep, the combat has improved, yep, new story with kludge and plot-holes and entirely convenient if not consistent Reasons for things to happen, and that’s probably okay.

      Only part of Alec’s list that at all worries me is 14, that he’s a bit bored already.

      • geldonyetich says:

        Pretty much. It’s not just a Mass Effect 3 expasion pack. It’s fully Mass Effect 4. It is fairly improved, has new features, and runs well on new hardware.

        But that’s all it is. It’s no revolutionary reboot. In this regards, the title is misleading. Nor is it particularly flawless. Maybe Breath of Wind is responsible for that expectation of a sequel.

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          Nauallis says:

          Cool. It sounds like it’s what I expect/hope it to be. And I’m sure that I’m projecting and reading what I want to, as well.

        • pasports31 says:

          If this game is on par w/the original series I’m cool with that. But a lot of the previews have me worried. As does the “mmo structure” comment, that’s what I liked least about DA:I (although I did enjoy the game as a whole). After the backlash I thought bioware would’ve learned about stuffing a giant world with boring sidequests and collectathons. We’ll see. It’ll be depressing if this is a large disappointment, though, outside of breath of the wild this is probably the game i was looking forward to the most this year.

      • Fadaz says:

        I can tell you from my experience that yeah, it’s about what I expected and I’m okay with that. And I think it’s a very fair assessment to say that taking your time is much better then rushing.

        Which brings me to what my problem is (so far). The beginning is ridiculously rushed. There is practically no setup and it’s obviously expected that any player knows the setting very well and/or just wants to get right to the action. I really think that if they gave the player a bit of time at the start to form connections with the characters, many of the complaints we’ve seen so far would be at least somewhat mitigated.

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          Nauallis says:

          Thanks for sharing your impression. I’m wondering if perhaps the full/final game will include a built-in version of ME2&3’s “prequel setup” DLC – I think it was called “Genesis” in ME3 – that will retell the prior story and flesh everything out a bit more… Or does this preview play start supposedly from the beginning of the game? I may have misinterpreted that part.

          • Fadaz says:

            It’s very unlikely and wouldn’t help anyway since this is completely independent. My feeling is that they wanted to get the player into the action asap, so they skipped on the introduction and setup and by extension you don’t have much of a connection with the characters. If they had, say, an easy introductory mission that handles teaching the mechanics while also handling exposition and forming connections with the main characters, you’d be more motivated at the start. But I also feel that once you’re a few hours in the motivation becomes stronger. Might be completely wrong but that’s the vibe I’m getting.

    • Pheon0802 says:

      I havent played yet but these reviews worry me:
      Why?
      Cause MEA was supposed to be this Epic, character driven Space opera SINGLEplayer EXp.

      Combat? That doesnt need perfection to me. But the writing the characters the QUESTS, those are the things they need to pour the most attention to.

      And it seems they didnt.
      Similar to many MANY overblown games with huge maps: They dont have the time or ideas to fill it with interesting People and quests.

      Also Humanity and friends on a mission to New galaxy? One thing ONE thing I want is a focus on DIPLOMACY. On raising and trying to solve problem of first contact. Language/culture barriers. How to settle disputs when we live on the same planets ect. What does a galaxy looks like that might not have been under the Reaper cycle?

      Daring new innovative species?

      Its just there is so much more one could do than just: Oh lets shoot them

      Also I agree on length. I Dont need 100 hours. give me a good 20 and I am sold. Quality time. I dont necessarily want to spend my already limited free time to grinding for Crafting or uninspired sidequests.

      • geldonyetich says:

        The quests and thr story are fine. The quality of them is well on par with AAA games. The complaints are more about missed opportunities.

        A peaceful first contact is attempted.

        I can’t say I know firsthand how long the game is, but it looks pretty huge from where I’m at. There’s three missing arks and a whole new cluster to search for habitable worlds.

  7. Christo4 says:

    “Companion characters (including your own) very much say what they see, making superficial observations that don’t seem to reflect idea that they are one of a handpicked few sent to find and survive in a new galaxy. “Looks like some kind of alien machinery,” that sort of thing, with no follow-up comment to suggest a curiosity to know what it does or who made it.”

    ugh…

    i’m getting Prometheus flashbacks all over again…

    movie should have been called rednecks in space…

    • Idomis says:

      I share your Prometheus pain. I like a fan theory that Weylan intentionally staffed the mission with dummies, save for the flight crew and the two ‘true believer’ anthropologists. The purpose of that was to give the mission an air of reality as a scouting/potentially first contact mission, where its true purpose was obviously to consult the Engineers about Weylan’s mortality. It’s thin, but it explains some of the decision making those idiots do.

      • Christo4 says:

        but that’s almost half the crew isn’t it? and everyone is retarded in that movie

      • Arglebargle says:

        My writer friends call that ‘spackle’. Especially present when called upon to write in a series where sadly deficient writers had gone before.

        And Prometheus was just awful that way, filled with idiotic characters, plot holes, and screenwriting going ‘They’ll do this so I can get the scene I want, regardless of any sense or reason’.

  8. Zorgulon says:

    It’s a shame they haven’t (at least in the first five hours) done anything interesting with the radical new setting.

    Your post has given me a picture of the game I’d like to have seen, but frankly I don’t think it’s ever one Bioware were going to make.

    I enjoyed Inquisition enough, despite its genericness, on the strength of my attachment to the world and the characters. I wonder if this will manage the same, but I feel like I’ll wait a while to find out. As, to be fair, I did with DA:I.

    • Sandepande says:

      Bioware probably set themselves up a bit by using Andromeda, people are clearly expecting Something Completely Different, even though we are talking about the fourth installment of a popular, rather traditional space operatic sci-fi franchise. That sort of a legacy almost demands relatability and familiarity (at least in the beginning – nothing would stop them throwing in really weird stuff as the game progresses).

      Maybe this is why Andromeda remains interesting to me, as I have very modest expectations…

    • Tritagonist says:

      There might be all sorts of things going on in the rest of the game, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything wild yet. And that’s somewhat disappointing. This is a galaxy that (as far as we know) has never seen any Reapers. Reapers not only influenced but also put a ‘cap’ on technological development in the Mass Effect Milky Way. In an entirely different galaxy, it seems odd that so many things seem rather familiar. This would have been a great chance to go all crazy, to take some ideas from the guys who made that surreal 70s sci-fi art.

  9. rab357 says:

    This really sounds like ME: Inquisition. I’ve already preordered and suspect I’ll play through it but if this really does turn out to be that way (I’m hoping it won’t) then I may be done with Bioware.

    Didn’t they say they took notes from Witcher 3? I really thought that was their way of saying, “Psst, yeah guys, we saw how DA:I kind of stunk, so this is our way of saying we’re doing it differently. We know who the real quality games to emulate are.”

    Everybody keeps saying “but it may get better!” I understand this, but whatever happened to the saying, put your best foot forward? It just really seems like Bioware is thinking, “heh, it’s Mass Effect so of course they’ll buy it.” Like things were just kind of phoned in.

    If it does get better, wonderful, but I bet Bioware/EA never does this early impressions thing ever, ever again. Talk about backfire.

    • geldonyetich says:

      I don’t think the Dragon Age vrs Inquisition comparson really holds water.

      DA was a glorious heakening back to a golden age of CRPGs with fantsstic storytelling and whatnot. Then along comes Inquisition and makes it a samey combat sim.

      Andromeda is its own game that inherits Mass Effect well without losing anything of value. Completely different situation.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I’m noticing already that “inspired by Witcher 3” is becoming this year’s “inspired by Dark Souls” in terms of latching onto someone else’s far more skilled and creative tailcoats and riding them to more sales.

      Not falling for it. This game looks awful.

  10. Optimaximal says:

    Maybe Foster Addison’s behaviour is intentional.

    The original Mass Effect trilogy had an entire plot thread about the rights and legality of AI – the status of the Geth, Legion and EDI being big plot points. It’s pulling it out of the air, but maybe the stilted dialogue and rigid animation is… intentional?

    After all, it’s perfectly reasonable some big corp/someone related to Lawson/Cerberus would smuggle someone on-board the mission who they controlled.

    • pendergraft says:

      A robot? Me? Ha, ha. Is this one of your human… JOKES!

  11. Wulfram says:

    I don’t get why having lots of skills is a bad thing?

    In the example given, if ME3 is any guide then Flamethrower is a short range sustained cone AoE effect while Incinerate is a long range projectile thing. That seems like a worthwhile distinction to me.

    • Premium User Badge

      step21 says:

      But skills are not the same as in previous games. And yes, if you have 2 or 3 that work, there is really no reason to choose others and I hit the ceiling quite early. As example, the biotic power where you forward-flash to an enemy and hit them with that already at the beginning covers great distances. Which makes for great fighting, but not much development.

  12. DinoSteak says:

    Wait, it’s like DA:I? Ugh gross I’m out.

    Wilhelm scream, followed by “Fuck!”, then I throw a literal towel into the air… and promptly slam the door.

  13. brucethemoose says:

    Alec, I’m not sure if you played ME3 multiplayer much, but with #9, someone at Bioware definitely said “let’s take these cool MP powers and give ALL of them to the player!”.

    The hard combination of 3 of those powers + 2 passives in MP made each character unique. Give the player a buffet like that, and that special feel goes away.

  14. SaunteringLion says:

    “Much is initially made of the fact that humanity, particularly, has voyaged further into the unknown than ever before and that anything could be out there, but it’s all of twenty minutes before it’s defaulted to shooting matches against armoured bipeds, set among mostly grey rocks.”

    “I just think MEA, now that it’s no longer part of an ongoing storyline, is consciously made to be as accessible and mass-market as possible (though I’m not necessarily arguing that it’s been completely successful there) and that mak-u-think writing and pauses for thought during action sequences may have been considered detrimental to that.”

    Your entire collection of thoughts here makes it sound like you wanted it to be Star Trek TOS or TNG, and instead you got the Abramsverse.

    Which is completely understandable why it’s disappointing. It’s hard not to be a purist when it comes to sci-fi, but I much prefer the former too.

  15. Idomis says:

    Minor conversation spoilers for the prologue/first hour only. Re dialogue, the mantle of “the Pathfinder,” and characters not “seem[ing] to reflect [the] idea that they are one of a handpicked few sent to find and survive in a new galaxy:”

    There’s a scene early on where the player character, Ryder, is speaking to a science crewmember (whatever). The Science Person mentions “adenosine,” as in ATP, the molecule in the human body that moves energy to cells. When Ryder hears this, he/she asks “Adeno-what?”

    The main character Ryder – the chosen one, the Pathfinder, the person in charge of selecting a new home for humanity in a new galaxy that may contain seen or unseen dangers beyond comprehension or prediction, the individual personally selected by the previous Pathfinder to perform that function on the *most important scientific expedition of absolutely all time* – lacks a basic understanding of the most basic, high school level human biology.

    I have a hard time taking that writing seriously. The Everyman doesn’t belong on this mission, and certainly not in charge of it. It further compounds the Chosen One + Space Magic problem too. Is Ryder going to select a new home through force of will? It’s as Alec wrote: Andromeda doesn’t quite know how to treat its own star.

    • Optimaximal says:

      That seems like a curiously specific complaint. After all, for all their position as ‘the chosen one’, they also represent ‘the player’.

      If anyone mentioned ‘adenosine’ to me, I’d also think & reply ‘adeno-what’, because I’m not a biology major, so Ryder’s response would reflect on me. It would be more jarring if Ryder ran with the conversation whilst I’m sitting there, confused as to what the hell they’re talking about and possibly looking it up on the Wikipedia on my phone.

      Remember the point of these games is the player character is molded into a unique entity based on your actions.

      • Idomis says:

        “That seems like a curiously specific complaint. After all, for all their position as ‘the chosen one’, they also represent ‘the player’.”

        That’s incredibly problematic. It’s the same issue as when an NPC has to explain the player character’s own history to him. Ryder has 20+ years of experience under his belt, including preparation for the Andromeda mission. At no point was he educated in basic human biology? It’s a scientific expedition, the main purpose of which is to find a habitable rock in space. I’m sure Ryder is surrounded by Spocks and McCoys and Scotties, but even Kirk knew about his ship and about basic human biology. When a character asks a question to which they should know the answer, immersion is totally broken. And even if he wasn’t a biology major, the function of ATP is the most basic biology. I know I learned about it in high school. It is completely unreasonable for someone on (again) the most important scientific expedition of all time to be ignorant of basic human physiology. Finding a rock suitable to human physiology is half the job here.

        Shepard in ME1 never asks anybody how his weapons work or why they don’t need ammunition. The explanation is presented elsewhere and is that guns are loaded with solid blocks of metal that are shaved down and accelerated by the same Mass Effect fields that hyperwarp spaceships from system to system. Shepard knows this, so he doesn’t ask.

        Likewise, Ryder, being deemed worthy of the responsibility of (a) being on the Andromeda mission, and (b) being an important part of it, requires some basic scientific knowledge, certainly about human physiology and the requirements for life. It’s a new galaxy. A grunt cannot lead this mission.

        If the player doesn’t understand the science, the place to educate them is in the Codex. The alternative is the incident I cited, which makes the player character seem like he was born yesterday. That kills my immersion completely.

        What’s worst is that what Science Guy had to say about adenosine doesn’t seem to be relevant to the story. Ryder could just have nodded knowingly and the player wouldn’t be at a loss moving forward with the story. The whole scene is simply an opportunity to establish Ryder as the Everyman. And the Everyman is exactly who would not be sent on the Andromeda mission – the most important scientific expedition of all time.

        • Blackcompany says:

          Ryder being an Everyman is like Geralt being a town guard who just decided to pick up and go slay monsters one day…that’s absurd. Immersion wrecking, plot shattering levels of absurd.

          • batraz says:

            Exactly… or like Bilbo being just an ordinary hobbit when the story begins. Who would ever read that ?

          • batraz says:

            Jokes apart, even Geralt the witcher is a poor level one fighter when the game begins ; no weapons, no potions… how is that, immersion wise ?
            I believe “immersion” is when you decide to dive in, not a quality of the writing. You have to be a believer at some point.

          • Konservenknilch says:

            Geralt has decades of witchering experience. The whole amnesia thing was only to get PC players up to speed.

          • Sandepande says:

            What about Witcher 3, where the supposedly veteran monster-hunter (who remembers many a thing) can’t defeat a town guard because he’s level 18 and Geralt’s just level 10?

            Immersion comes from a combination of things (writing, internal logic of the world, etc.).

            Ryder’s idiocy is the result of the one of the more unimaginative ways of making sure the player is up to speed on things that the writers consider important.

      • AngoraFish says:

        The problem of players being less knowledgeable than the protagonist they are playing is readily resolvable by better writing without the protagonist needing to behave is if he or she is thick.

        Compare:

        [scientist] “OMG, adenosine levels are off the charts!”
        [protagonist] “Ummm…. what’s adenosine?”

        with:

        [scientist] “OMG, adenosine levels are off the charts!”
        [protagonist] “Are you seriously telling me that the chemical fundamental to human life is present in such quantities as it would kill a normal human?”

        As a bonus, the second dialogue make the player feel as if he or she is a badarse genius while in the first he or she just feels like a moron.

      • aepervius says:

        This is the same (very stupid) problem as ultima 9 and a very indicative of bad writing. When you want to teach the player something, you need to remember that the *character* in some case should know it. For example the avatar should have known what is a paladin in U9, and having the avatar ask “what’s a paladin” was terrible. Utterly terrible.

        The same hold here , there would have been more subtle way to have him react : have for example a computer screen showing a quick schema of ATP/ADP cycle, or have it in a codex entry. But having the character react extremely dumbly as “adeno what ?” was the worst way to do it.

        Remember it is not your average PC game player they sent in those cryogenic ship, and as such a minimum of high school or better biology would be expected, or at least not such a dumb reaction. Even a “please explain me, I m a layman in biology” would have been 100% better.

    • Hoot says:

      As a biomedical scientist I am aching to correct you on something, man. I don’t wanna sound like a dick. I’m not gonna. Nope, I can’t help myself.

      ATP doesn’t “move energy to cells”. It’s not magic. Referring to it as the “energy currency of the cell” is more apt.

      Anyway, I understand how you feel. Having said that I would imagine survival techniques and engineering and stuff would be more handy for an explorer than knowledge of cell biology, however basic.

      What irked me the most during the trial 10 hours I played was the facial animations and the fact that everyone is like “Woa! Pathfinder!” or “Right you are, Pathfinder!” or “We need a Pathfinder, glad you’re here!” or “Without a Pathfinder, we’re doooooooomed!”.

      Maybe I missed something or should have read the codex (didn’t wanna spend the trial reading the codex as I needed the gametime to decide on purchase) but is the Pathfinder like a God or a space wizard or something? Cos it seems to me that waiting around for a year and half for some dude to show up and look at a planet and go “Yep, we need some work done here, better talk to the locals and that.”

      I mean it’s not like my player character was doing ANYTHING that someone else could have done, rendering this whole “WOW! The Pathfinder!” deal kinda silly.

      • Idomis says:

        I’m happy to be corrected on the more accurate description of ATP.

        “Anyway, I understand how you feel. Having said that I would imagine survival techniques and engineering and stuff would be more handy for an explorer than knowledge of cell biology, however basic.”

        I agree and disagree, and also feel my point’s been somewhat missed, and that that’s down to my own phrasing. My issue is in the phrasing of Ryder’s question (“Adeno-what?”). Commenter AngoraFish completely understood and put it better than I did.

        Whether or not Ryder needs to understand a ton of human biology, he can’t be the sort of scientifically illiterate who cannot pronounce “adenosine” as if he’s never heard it. He has to be scientifically literate. As you said, engineering and survival educations would be valuable. But because the Andromeda Initiative is about finding a new home on a distant, unexplored planet, biological considerations are relevant. What if there’s a ton of methane in the atmosphere that we couldn’t detect? What if the planet has some funky electrical fields that affect our brains somehow? What if there’s a compound in the air that prevents our lungs from passing oxygen to blood vessels? Ryder *cannot* not have heard of adenosine before. It’s ridiculous.

        And I agree completely with your comments on the nature of the Pathfinder and that someone else could have done some significant scouting. There are shielded zones on the first planet’s surface that someone’s set up for living/work space. Did those guys not do any analysis? “Pathfinder,” unlike “first human Spectre” seems to be entirely mystical.

        But that seems to be Bioware over the last decade or so. Even though I love ME1, does it not bother anyone that “Spectre” stands for “Special Tactics and Reconnaisance?” Why is it an English acronym? There are no human Spectres until Shepard. It’s frustrating.

        • Hoot says:

          You make some interesting points, dude. And I agree with both.

          If you were sending folk across a galaxy you would be picking the best of the best for the key jobs, and the best of the best would be renaissance men and women. Polymaths. Know something about everything. Hell, even my Dad knows what adenosine is (roughly) and he’s the farthest thing from a scientist there is. The “Spectre” thing though, in literally every sci-fi universe ever involving aliens there’s always some wonky universal translator science to just explain away why everyone happens to understand perfect English. Best not to think too hard about that or it kinda ruins the enjoyment. Some people are Banks people, some people are Heinlein people.

          Me, I’m Frank Herbert and Philip K Dick people, but I didn’t half love the first Mass Effect trilogy and I will still buy this new one in the hope that the acting and story gets better as it goes on and also that the Day One patch is mighty and fixes the animations.

    • Tritagonist says:

      This situation could definitely be better written. The writers could have suggested that he knew just what his colleagues were talking about, or that he didn’t but that he knew who to turn to for specifics. But that seems to be a different issue from the supposed problem with the Pathfinder’s knowledge of this specific issue. From what he seems to be up to in the game, he’s very much the point man for planetary reconnaissance and alien interactions. Not the acting head of the biomedical staff.

  16. Darklyspectre says:

    I just came back from 3 hours of ME:A. pretty much the same points you made. It’s not looking too good. Also I can’t believe that in 2017 we still have shit like guns not appearing in cutscenes so it looks stupid as hell. I had a guy crouching in the nexus(why he was crouching to begin with, nobody knows) and his damn gun was flying some feet away from him.

    I am already dreading to continue my next 7 hours of the EA access trial. And that is REALLY not a good feeling.

    Game feels extremely rushed. I can’t wait for the 9/10s that will come from big gaming websites

    • Blackcompany says:

      Contrast this with Geralt showing up in a cutscene with whatever armor and sword I equipped, down to the colors of dye I used on it. Talk about quietly validating your players choices…and this was years ago, mind.

      • EighmyLupin says:

        Too bad he’s the most boring Action Hero(TM)ever. I mean he has no personality past brooding like an emo. Can’t even customize him in a meaningfull way, not to mention the lack of any sort of real choice in the story. Don’t get me wrong Bioware and all there games have lots of problems(and some of said problems are the same as I’m pointing out), but The Witcher is super bland when it comes to characters (sure they’re pretty to look at but have the personality of “generic hero #588546”) and is not half as good as the fan boys like to pretend. Don’t forget even COD gets glowing reviews.

        • Hoot says:

          Sorry mate, but you’re dead wrong about characters in The Witcher. They have depth. Like, you know, real people.

          I concede that yes, Geralt is the least interesting and a times nothing more than a “yes / no” machine, yet those moments where you do get a glimpse at what he’s all about are all the better for it. The supporting cast though, are amazing. Zoltan Chivay, Dandelion, Yennefer, Triss, the Bloody Baron, all exceptionally well written and nuanced characters.

        • Idomis says:

          Geralt is nearly 100 years old according to some dialogue. If I were a 100 year old monster hunter who most normal people derided as a freak wherever I went, I’d be a grumbly, private, brooding figure too. When people only show you their ugly sides, it’s easy to become jaded. Multiply that by essentially two full lifetimes and I completely believe his characterization. Maybe it’s not “interesting” by traditional standards, but it’s consistent with the universe.

          • Hoot says:

            One of the great things about The Witcher 3 is the voice acting. Characters, even minor ones, sound like actual people out in the actual world.

            The use of dialect is very, very well done.

            But, in space, everyone is either a middle to upper class southerner (not a gruff Northerner, like me) or an American. Not even cool sounding Americans either, like Martin Sheen as the Illusive Man or Keith David as Anderson…just generic, dialing it in Americans.

            Natalie Dormer has done a good job here, though. Shame the facial animations don’t match with her good voice acting.

          • J.C. says:

            Exactly – there is a reason Geralt is how he is, years of solitude and other experiences in a hard-knock Slavic/Norse Medieval Life. I read the books before playing the games. Witcher games (all three of them) are definitely not the type of RPG where you choose a character, instead you are an established character. Of course, some don’t like that and need other types of games where you “create” a person – but even when a game creates its own universe where you do create a person, it still needs to be done right. Fallout 4, for example, to me is really, extremely bad at story telling and character building for the character you create.

        • CartonofMilk says:

          My problem isnt with geralt specifically but more with forcing me to play a character i didnt make and choose in a RPG. ROLE playing game. See to me that means i get to choose the ROLE i’m playing (well to some extent anyway. i do realise that because there’s probably going to be a story, that i will be kinda forced into a certain characterization).Ideally i’d like to be able to make my character in any game but SPECIFICALLY in rpgs i feel it’s pretty much a crime if my character and backstory is chosen for me. With Geralt it was the worst because when you start the game there’s already like decades of backstory and characters you don’t know but that you’re expected to care about (why am i chasing that woman? what is she to me? WHY DO I CARE? it’s geralts story, not mine. And reading the plot of the past 2 games didn’t help, turns out shes a character from the books!!!).

          I mean i did not give a shit about Geralt but i dont blame that on him more than the fact the game doesnt allow me to be who i want. That is a huge sore point for me. Witcher 3 was beautiful and super immersive on a technical level but i quit it after about ten hours and while i can’t blame all of that on the character and story… i know it still had a lot to do with it. Give me a rpg that allows for heavy character customization (not just aesthetics, class and attributes but personality too) and i’m there. Remove that part and there’s only so much i can do to feel immersed in a rpg.

          • laiwm says:

            See that’s why I like the Witcher 3’s style of RPG more than Skyrim – because your character is a known quantity, characters can actually address you in a meaningful way. I’m a bit put off by the Bethesda titles, where you can make your character be *anything* but NPCs almost never address any of the things that make your character unique – they mostly talk to your Argonian mage the same way they talk to your Orc fighter.

            Forcing you to play Geralt as Geralt means that the game can actually go out on a limb and have your character be part of meaningful conversations, whereas there’s a tendency in less opinionated RPGs for your character to just stand adjacent to important conversations without really interjecting (I’m thinking of the scenes in Skyrim where you just watch a Jarl argue with someone before dispensing a quest to you).

  17. Shadow says:

    Hmm. So it would appear MEA is going to be a prominently average game. I get about the same conclusions from both this and John’s article: Alec’s more moderate about it, acknowledging its faults and genericness, whereas John’s understandably angry that Bioware botched it and hasn’t been able to produce something memorable with Mass Effect’s pedigree.

    Looks like it’s a missed opportunity on many fronts, from the chance to make an actually cool, less messianic story to properly taking advantage of the setting in a far-away galaxy and come up with truly memorable aliens instead of the same variety of inexplicable rubber-forehead humanoids. And what’s with all the terrible animations and writing? There’s just too many holes on this boat to float for me.

    Me, I was considering buying it at close to launch price, but after these previews, it really doesn’t seem to be worth anywhere near its AAA pricetag. I loathed Dragon Age Inquisition for its singleplayer MMO nature, and it seems they dusted off the same mould to make MEA, so I’m just not interested until I see it packaged with all the inevitable DLC and a suitably deep discount. Which means see you in two years, Bioware.

    • J.C. says:

      That’s the impression that I get. I was kind of looking forward to Andromeda, well actually I was pretty excited until I saw the beginning of the game.

      It just comes off as extremely casual and shallow. I’d like to see the rest of the game, because if its filled with pointless filler like Inquisition, that’ll be a major disappointment.

      I mean how do you fuck up a used Sci-Fi Trope like “Explore a New Galaxy” when in the first few minutes you’re shooting rock people? I want to know if there was any other concepts tried, because the start of it is like finding a new Sci-Fi book in the New Release section, seeing a decent cover and synopsis, and then right away it fails to capture my attention. I was really hoping it would at least start off more mellow with a “wow” factor at seeing weird things, letting the player take it in before being ejected from the ship for Bang-Bang-Shoot. I was hoping they would try a new approach by simply letting the drama/mystery ratchet up with some Star Trek like vibes by at least having other options for First Contact.

      Anyways BioWare is quickly entering into my do-not-buy list like Bethesda games. I think CD Projekt and other Dev groups these days have spoiled it for me, by doing their best to go with better, bold writing and quest design for games that are billed as “RPG.”

  18. ukpanik says:

    The many many glitch gifs have put a smile on my miserable face today. So well done Bioware…well done. There is even a character that fires a backwards facing gun. Bravo.

  19. Booker says:

    You have to check out this video about Andromeda, I can’t stop laughing :D link to youtu.be

    • benzoate says:

      Ha, that’s pretty good. I had no intention of picking this up until it get a bit cheaper and some dlc gets thrown in, but now I kind of want to play before it gets patched to a respectable state.

      • Booker says:

        It would be a first for BioWare if they would actually do that. :)

    • sege says:

      If the background music and canned laughter could be modded in (or added in a day one patch?) then this could still be salvaged imo.

  20. Horg says:

    Regardless of weather or not ME:A becomes more engaging, I want to see its justification for why they brought Korgans along on a colonisation mission. These are the same Krogans who have 4 testicles to a man, out breed every other species by several orders of magnitude and resolve all of their inter-species conflicts by head butting them to death. Or, these are the same Krogans who have been genetically sterilised so they can’t form a new sustainable population even under optimal conditions. ”Here’s your new home, enjoy it while you can because your generation will be the last of your kind!” Either they didn’t think this through or there’s a solid gold fan, fiction sized ret-con in there somewhere.

    • DarkFenix says:

      I believe they started travelling to Andromeda before ME3, so these are the sterile Krogan who are just going to swiftly die out.

    • Ragnarok1993 says:

      There’s an interesting bit of justification for bringing Krogan and why it’s a viable solution – *SUPER MINOR SPOILER AHEAD* basically the Nakmor clan were starting to develop a naturally resistance to the genophage and during the 600 years of cryosleep that resistance was built upon to increase the viability to 4%

      • ravenshrike says:

        That’s… stupid. Like, completely asinine. Cryosleep works be effectively stopping all biological function while preserving the cells themselves so everything can be rebooted. If the Krogan had enough biological activity to increase their resistance to the genophage, they would have had enough biological activity that they would have had to have a significant source of nutrition that would last them 600 years. That’s a hell of lot of food and equipment to get that nutrition into the presumably unconscious Krogan.

  21. Jason Moyer says:

    RIP Bioware 1995-2012

  22. Hoot says:

    I think what irked me most about the trial for the time I played was that I heard the word “Pathfinder” about 100 times in the same number of minutes.

    Slight exaggeration, but I must have missed something because it seems that the way people reverently speak the words Pathfinder that there should be more to it that “a guy whose job is to go scouting a bit and liase with the locals and what not”. No idea why it’s incredibly special when literally dozens of people on the Initiative must have the training and skills to do that very thing.

  23. baseless_drivel says:

    You know how the latest Star Wars movie was… well, only a subtitled Star Wars movie? As in, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as opposed to Star Wars: Rogue One?

    And while it was a (personally) entertaining movie in its own right, with a more discerning eye, you could tell in certain spots it just didn’t have quite the flair and polish of a Star Wars movie. And that’s okay, because it wasn’t a “real” Star Wars movie.

    I’m getting the feeling that’s similar to what’s going on here — it’s a spin-off title in every right, except they got the title wrong.

    It’s Andromeda: A Mass Effect Story. It’ll be an entertaining (enough) game in its own right, but just don’t expect the Next Cumming of Shepard or Skywalker.

    But hey, I ain’t played it so what do I know? Ramp up them hype levels and fire up those interest-free pre-order loans!

  24. Dogshevik says:

    I liked the part with the pooping hatch. Can´t stop wondering if it works with negative pressure and if it is designed to work in vacuum too.

    I´d like to say something more substantial, but my face is tired.

  25. Carlos Danger says:

    Game play has been the best experience in any ME game by leaps and bounds. That doesn’t seem to matter much for many of the reviewers so far. Seems that facial animations are way more important then how fun the game is to play.

    • EighmyLupin says:

      The majority of gamers now a day want something pretty to look at not fun to play or a cool story. All the complaints are the same as the ones ME1 had, yet that is one of the greatest games ever.

      Personally when I played it, it reminded me of the awe I got from playing ME1 and ME2.

    • Idomis says:

      How do you feel about scanning for research points? It feels to me like gameplay I’ve already seen, done, and am completely over.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s not that facial animations are the most important things in a game, but that they need to match the production level of the rest of the game. And when they don’t — when they look like tech from 5 years ago instead of current state of the art for a AAA game — it’s hard not to notice. It breaks immersion.

      Maybe it’s just middle-of-the-road animation to serve the largest possible audience with different localized language versions. But somehow, the Witcher 3 managed not to look stupid in the English localized version.

      • Frosty_2.0 says:

        I don’t think it’s so much the tech, as it is the time & attention being paid to the scenes. Though some of the lip-movement/tech does looks off.

        I’m seeing some variance in quality. In the early scene with Captain Dunn & the “Pathfinder Top 3” I thought the Captain’s facial animation contrasted, looking noticeably blanker than the others.

    • Booker says:

      You could not be more wrong. The hook of all BioWare games always was the characters. First and foremost. What is a vital part of displaying a character properly? THEIR FUCKING FACES!

  26. CartonofMilk says:

    I never could keep interested in any bioware game i tried past the first couple of hours (cutscenes is probably my most hated things in games, and i consider “good story” and “complex dialogues” in a game, rpg or not, to be about number 50th in the list of priorities, i just need a half assed excuse to, in order, explore, loot and improve my skills). Mass Effect especially has always been puzzling to me. i tried the first two for about 4 hours each and was left scratching my head as they seemed to go out of their way to tick all the boxes of things that bore me to death in games. But then when they said that DA:Inquisition was gonna be more “open world” i got interested. Turns out this so called open world was very shallow, ugly and separated in uninspired small regions. Still this is only Bioware game i have played past a few hours and even through (150 hours, went through every inch of content..well..that you can on one playthrough). But…was i entertained? Reasonably so i guess if i finished it, yet I remember getting pretty sick of the game around the 80 hours mark but being a completist (a really dreadful mental disorder i don’t wish on anyone) i plowed on. My opinion today would be that it was an alright but ultimately unmemorable game.

    So all this to say… i’m not sure what Bioware is accomplishing with this. It seems with the changes in gameplay and structure in their last couple of games all they’ve done is alienated their former fans while not gaining any new ones.

    I WAS interested in Andromeda when i first heard of it, because again they implied a more open worldy exploration type game. But now that i’ve seen and heard more about it, think i’ll pass.

  27. EwokThisWay says:

    I’ll never understand how people can say that ME:1 is a masterpiece but ME:2 is trash… the difference between the 2 are so freaking inconsequent ! What are you guys actually complaining about… ?

    Did you actually play the game or did you just rush it ? Did you talk to companions like you are supposed to or did you just run to the next mission without paying attention to what was going on on your ship and the planets ? Did you do EVERY loyalty missions ? Did you look for those hidden side quests in the galaxy ?

    I just finished the 1 two weeks ago and i’m pretty much at 3/4 of the 2, at first i was a bit consused by some changes in the combat system and UI but i got used to it.

    I only feel like i’m playing the continuation of the first game with slightly better graphics and cutscenes, nothing more, nothing less. Don’t know what’s all the fuss about.

    The only problem with BioWare games, it’s that they are very unfocused, and for the many people it means they are going to miss A LOT of things in those games and then they’ll bitch about how unintersting and repetitive it was…

    • aepervius says:

      “I’ll never understand how people can say that ME:1 is a masterpiece but ME:2 is trash… the difference between the 2 are so freaking inconsequent ! What are you guys actually complaining about… ?”

      Short answer : ME1 is detail oriented Star trek like space fiction. ME2+ are drama oriented space opera. They appeal to different type of people.

      Basically I found ME2/ME3 bland rehashed I-already-did-it-100-time basic you-are-the-hero drama stories. It lost the shine ME1 had.

    • J.C. says:

      It’s a problem with current Bioware games. They are slipping in quality since Dragon Age 2.

      Old Bioware games are good enough and yes even Baldur’s Gate 1/2.

      Frankly, to me, it’s unacceptable for an a-RPG-Type to be this shallow.

  28. tyrelever says:

    Yeah I’m not impressed, it’s sad. Why ME:1 was so good and this isn’t? ME1 felt so much broader and deeper than any of its sequels. ME2 was ok but clearly built on a console, areas were so much smaller, game mechanics and graphics were just basic. The game just felt “smaller”.
    ME3 and 4 have continued the slide into generic console game #7472. Too generic and too limited.
    Bring back games made to use pc resources and port them down to consoles, not the other way around. Then at least we can have the massive game play elements, pod graphics, sound etc.
    The cherry on top is of course the dreary, calling it in script writing. This is what happens when ea tries to please everyone, they create generic twaddle.
    Another shiite “rpg” sequel that’s lost its way.

  29. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Regarding the animation:

    That is pretty rough and it’s disappointing EA didn’t give them more time to fix this before release.

    It’s safe to say that no one on the Bioware animation team is happy with how that looks. All those weird walks, those are procedural animation bugs or blending issues. That’s not something somebody animated by hand to look like that. And let’s not forget even the celebrated Witcher 3 had some remarkable animation bugs on release (remember the guy carrying the box?).

    This seems a good bit worse though.

    Everything about that YOOOO clip screams automation. Even the voice kinda sounds like it’s generated… which, I don’t know why would you do that here?… Still, it’s pretty common in a game like this to leave minor conversations mostly to procedurally generated animation (link to gameanim.com) but even then you usually do a hand-animated pass on top, especially for what seems like an important conversation. The only reason I can imagine this was allowed to ship was they ran out of time.

    That’s… not a good sign. I really hope this is not representative of the larger game and I hope they manage to polish it some more post-release.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Those walks: link to vg247.com

      I feel bad for the Bioware team, but in a game with such a focus on character interaction this really needs to be better. Please fix this.

      • J.C. says:

        How do they fix the hammy writing though? It would be a whole new game by the time that is “fixed.”

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        Apart from that one clip I have avoided listening to (or reading about) specifics of dialogue so I have no opinion on the writing, though I suspect it is no worse than some of the sillier lines in ME1. (and there were plenty of those)

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      I haven’t played through all of it but the early cutscenes & dialogues looked alright, including some subtle expressions.

      I can see contrast in animation & detail with the “Primary Cast” VS. Other characters though – which have received less attention.

      That weird walk though, hah! I haven’t seen that in-game but those gifs/clips :D , It looks like the poop hatch failed and they’re making a beeline for the loo!

    • Zenicetus says:

      Thanks for mentioning automation. I was trying to figure out how to describe what’s off about the faces, and that must be it. Over-reliance on automation, or maybe just automation that isn’t good enough to do more than move lips and eyes so there is actual expression in the faces. It would also explain why the faces were so wooden in DX Mankind Divided, along with a bunch of lip sync issues.

      After Witcher 3, I was sure it would be recognized as a landmark that other studios would now have to match in open world design, quest writing, and very good facial animation. Boy, was I wrong about that! If anything, face animation in AAA games released since then has regressed. It’s not even as good as other AAA games released around the same time as Witcher 3, including Bioware’s own DA:I.

      I’m wondering if localization is to blame. Do the studios think they need flat, wooden faces to sell better to an international audience? Does it help with the lip sync or something?

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        I’m actually playing Mankind Divided now and most of the facial animation is indeed a bit of step back, *except* for dialogue puzzle scenes (like talking to the gangster Otar) which are of a noticeably higher quality with some really nice subtle expressions. My guess is they spent their animation budget on those and did everything else with a basic body-only mocap session (notice the frantic over-gesturing) then did a rough facial anim pass on top with automatic lip-sync.

        Automated facial animation generated from a voice file will generally give you an okayish-to-not-so-great baseline (worse if it’s a shared rig and it doesn’t fit the model) but many systems (like FaceFX or CDPR’s anim tools) allow you to do hand-animation on top of that. So it comes down to how much time you have to do an *insane* amount of dialogue animation.

        I think Witcher 3 has definitely set a new standard, and while this whole backlash against the devs makes me a bit sad, I find it encouraging as an animator to see that players are now demanding a much higher quality of animation in their games. It’s easier to convince your bosses that animation is important and needs a decent budget if players are literally asking for it. :D

        One thing with the Witcher 3 I would bear in mind though is that when that game came out and made the impact it did all these games were already far into development, so it would have been too late to significantly change direction on things like animation tools and basic quest design. There may been some influence but I think in the next few years is when you’re really going to be seeing the influence of The Witcher 3.

        Localization is a complicating factor, but mainly it comes down to lack of time. Whoever decided the schedule and budget + the complexity of what they were trying to achieve determined how much animation they could realistically do.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          To clarify: no one deliberately makes these wooden faces. I’ll bet you that YOOOOO clip was never even touched by an animator. That was just what came out of the procedural animation for that scene and no one had time to fix it, or if they did it was like “you have five minutes before content lock, do what you can”. There’s only so much you can do with near infinite content and limited time.

      • Gratuitous_Algorithm says:

        Or… could be the decision to hire someone with practically zero experience as the Lead Facial Animator? Maybe, I dunno.

  30. Ragnarok1993 says:

    I’ve completed the trial up to the story block, it took me roughly 5 hours as I was having fun just messing about and I enjoyed it.
    Cora is a fun companion and is a lot better than Kaiden was whilst Kosta is pretty boring I find. Vectra is my favourite companion so far though.
    For comparison I actually went back and played the first 5 hours of ME1 and I was bored, so bored. I’d forgotten how much of a slog that the Citadel is, I’ve heard people say it’s an amazing hub but honestly it was just a pretty place with 3/4 interesting people around it and it was way too big for what it was used for, meanwhile the Nexus is much smaller and faster to get around but it has more personality around it and the promise of it actually developing as the story progresses is something I’m looking forward to a lot. The first 5 hours when compared have shown me just how linear the intro to ME1 was whilst ME:A allows you more freedom to explore.
    The Nomad is 100% better than the Mako, for one it’s actually drivable and I appreciate the ability to switch driving modes to assist with traversal and I like the fact that it is upgradeable.
    Meanwhile, the Tempest is a cool ship and I like exploring it but it literally takes 5 minutes to get around, it’s way too small and I feel it lacks some of the SR-2’s personality.

    Whilst I do have a couple of gripes, my main one is the fact that once again you’re the hero because you have something magic in your body, instead of DA:I’s magic glowing hand you now have a magic AI in your head (I love SAM as a character and his personality is fun, don’t get me wrong)

    Finally, what the fuck is wrong with Foster Addison!?!

    • J.C. says:

      Foster Addison’s face is tired.

      • Frosty_2.0 says:

        The VA got screwed with that dialogue heh, with subtitles on you also see the weird punctuation, which makes it worse.

  31. Premium User Badge

    rgronow says:

    Well as far as I’m concerned, the game is great! Ploughed my way through the trial and enjoyed every minute of it!

  32. BlackStarUK says:

    I would love to give my first impressions but all I get is some black screen, as if I’m simulating the dark abyss that space can present *deep*

    (And yes, I have tried ALL available fixes that have been suggested)

  33. Sandepande says:

    EA Access also functions as a last-minute beta test. Excellent.

  34. Phantom_Renegade says:

    I’ve been playing it through Access and I agree it’s uneven. Some parts are good, some are bad most are average. Sometimes the animations and voice acting is pretty good. Other times it’s complete garbage. I think that Andromeda is a solid 7. Not something that it should be, with the amount of money thrown at it, especially not since it’s a Bioware game, but well, it is what it is.

    I think it’ll better then Inquisition, even though facial animations were about ten times better in that game. Some parts wow you, some parts are meh, and the vast majority of the game is a garbage dump on fire.

  35. Frosty_2.0 says:

    I’m around 1.5 hours into it and I gotta say, the scanning is already annoying me, maybe a little OCD “don’t miss anything” element on my part there too.
    But having to switch to scanner and basically obscure the view by silhouetting it in orange… I’d like to be able to clearly see the object I’m scanning as the info displays & dialogue triggers.

  36. LennyLeonardo says:

    Seems like some journalists are quite justifiably punching this game in the face.

  37. JohnD says:

    Not sure if anyone else mentioned it, but you are completely wrong when you said no one felt the need to space survey while the Hyperion was absent. They did. A lot. And they failed. Reading a datapad on the Nexus, you find out that them trying to survey and put down forward bases were failing and eating up resources. I think you missed that.

    Along those lines, “Pathfinder” seems to be tied to SAM. Surprised you missed that part too.

    • draglikepull says:

      Putting story-critical information in a datapad or codex is bad design. I’d be happy if I never saw a codex in an RPG again. Quit with the text-y lore dumps and explain the game world to me in the game world.

      • JohnD says:

        they did put that in the game world if you talked to Kandros, as well as Tann said it. Again, not sure why the author is saying they didn’t scout when the characters are clearly saying they did and nothing has worked.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      Yes, and it all comes up dealing with Eos.

  38. Henson says:

    I think point #13 is what’s bothering me the most so far. We’re hours into the game and I still don’t understand what the Pathfinder is or does, really. All I have is a vague wishy-washy sense of ‘you’re a leader figure, you scout new systems, and are tied to SAM’, but there are no details and I have so many questions. You’d think these basics would be spelled out at the start.

    Mind, I have plenty of questions regarding other things too.

  39. Hoot says:

    I’m just gonna leave this Youtube link here. It’s hilarious and also true. Plain speaking.

    link to youtube.com

  40. waltC says:

    ME had the potential to become a fantastic space-exploration game with a real story (a la’ Starflight) but didn’t quite get there. Every ME game since has been a degrading romp through cheesy “combat” with popcorn characters and bad writing. So I passed. It is reminiscent of how DA:O began with such wonderful RPG intentions and then simply died, devolving into mindless point & click circle jerks called “combat”–with almost no story at all. Ugh. Imagine what a horrible flop of a movie DA2 would have made! EA still has much to learn about gaming.

  41. Ghoul Monkey says:

    Inquisition: Mass Effect

  42. xxHanasaku says:

    I just finished my 10 hour trial of the game. The short version is this: the game is going to be fine. It’s too early to pronounce it “Game of the Year”, but if you like two out of three of the previous games, then you will probably like this one. However, your mileage/kilometerage may vary.

    In the single-player game, it takes a bit for the story to get going but the demo is constructed to get the player familiar with the game and its controls, and it does a pretty good job of that, one of the best I’ve seen from that aspect. Some of the dialog is in fact “cringe-worthy” and the user interface is a bit clunky. Also, none of the characters stood out as anything special one way or the other; that will take time.

    Multi-player was decent, but I don’t like it as well as the ME3 multiplayer. It seemed harder; I think I played for two hours before finally winning a match, but that was also in large part due to the fact that it was buggy. BioWare really needs to rethink that whole “multiplayer beta test? We don’t need no stinkin’ beta test …” thing.

    I read elsewhere that this is the “day one release” of the game and that concerns me a bit; not because of some of the weird graphical issues but I encountered bugs in both single-player and multiplayer. Also, in the single-player some of the missions provide very little insight on where something important might be located (really? you can’t put a quest marker on the place I need to jump to?) and I felt like, at those times, the game was wasting my time. Don’t waste my time just to make the game seem longer.

    The biggest problem I had with single-player mode was that the game had a tendency to lock up when in the Nomad, i.e., it would freeze for several (dozens of) seconds and sometimes I had to hit the “esc” key to bring up the game menu and then hit it again to get back to game to get it moving again. Also, the Nomad controls were “spongy” and the vehicle was hard to control as a result. Maybe I’m really bad at driving, but at times I was bouncing all over the place just like the Mako but with somewhat flatter terrain. It could be that my (older) CPU wasn’t really up to the job, but I’ve not had similar issues with other recent games. I didn’t have any weird navigational issues outside the Nomad.

    The UI is super clunky at times, but I discovered that the “Tab” key was the key to getting back to the game without having to pound the “esc” key 247 times. For example, press “M” to bring up the map and then press “Tab” to return to the game instead of hitting “esc”. Once you start hitting “esc” you’re doomed, so the “Tab” key is a real time saver (I don’t recall that being mentioned in the tutorial mission).

    The first time you survey planets in a solar system, the in-flight cut scene is kind of cool, but somewhere around having done it 87 times it’s gonna get old. Pay attention when riding the transports on the ark ship; the interface is not very intuitive at all. Also, I really don’t like being forced to use only three special abilities at a time. I hope that the game opens up additional “slots” later on as you gain experience. And I miss “warp”.

    Multiplayer was a lot more buggy. I had trouble staying connected, something I have not experienced all in other games. It wasn’t just me; other players were getting discounted as well. If multiplayer disconnects, you’re going to get booted out to the loading screen and have to reconnect again, which will take several seconds, possibly minutes.

    Keyboard layout may be a big issue with multiplayer, at least for PCs. I kept “locking up” in the middle of matches, which was frustrating and often lethal, but I finally realized what was happening: special abilities are bound to numbers “1” through “7” as they were in previous ME games. However, BioWare has added a console editor (similar to Bethesda’s?) that triggers from the “~” key. On my keyboard, “~” is next to “1”. So if I fat-fingered “1” and hit “~”, this console editor came up and ate all of my keystrokes. Mouse actions work fine, so you can still shoot, but you can’t move or do anything else. So if you get stuck, look at the upper left corner of your screen to see if this console editor is active. Hit you “~” key again and you should be fine (unless you’re dead). I think this is lousy key placement and I hope that this can be changed on keybinding settings, but I ran out of time before I could check.

    The demo limits you to 10 hours of play and once your 10 hours are up you get booted. I found that rather irritating because I wanted to continue playing, and that is probably the best sign that the game is going to be fine. So, I guess I have something to look forward to next week.

    In the meantime, we probably don’t need to burn down the entire internet yet; let’s wait a week or two and see what happens.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      Multiplayer has been working fine for me generally, only 2 hiccups (1 Host Migration loop; 1 D/C which lead to a minute-ish reconnect wait on the main menu).
      The interface is worse though, and skill trees (inc. SP IIRC) don’t show derived stats as you upgrade (ME3 did for most stats):
      eg. You pick “+15% Damage & Radius” branch but then have to click Tier 1 in the tree to check the Ability’s Base Power & Radius, then calc +15% yourself ++ repeat/stack for each branch chosen that might have the same buff.

      MP difficulty I found fine, there’s​ one enemy I didn’t know how to fight early on but other than that, the PUGs I joined did well. A little hard to judge Vs. ME3 because we’re all back to starter gear.

      The Biotic Combo effects don’t feel as good to me, up close with Annihilation you just kinda see the blue cloud (with “BIOTIC COMBO” ;) ) whereas in ME3 you’d get that shockwave and satisfying bassy implosion sound. Other combos don’t seem as satisfying either but maybe I just need to see them in action more.
      MP movement & mantling doesn’t feel as smooth/responsive as SP, even a little latency could make the difference I guess, and player collision.

  43. Imperceptions says:

    As a girl gamer I am super excited for this release. I shared what it means to me on The Huffington Post!
    link to huffingtonpost.com

  44. bill says:

    Is it true that this was made by EA Montreal and not by Bioware?
    Although I assume Bioware had some input on the process.

  45. Jackablade says:

    Do you think Mass Effect is held to a higher standard than most other titles? Whether you’re looking at the reasonable discussion here or the insane howling of the greater internet denizen, it seems like issues that would have passed by entirely unnoticed or undiscussed in many other games, including other Bioware titles in some cases, are held up and analysed at length.

    I don’t think I have any particular point to make here, other than it seems like a curious phenomenon.

  46. Premium User Badge

    rgronow says:

    Let’s settle this once and for all!

    My guess is there is vocal minority that are deciding the game is no good whilst the mostly silent majority actually love it!

    Time to cast your vote!

    link to strawpoll.me

  47. Lethys says:

    There’s more I dislike about Bioware than I like about them these days. But I still am getting this game because I feel compelled to. Maybe there’s that chance that I’ll feel like I did when I played the first and second games, or when I played DA:O.

    I’ve disliked more of their games than I’ve liked in the past decade, (and 12 years if you include Jade Empire, a mediocre title at best) but at least I’m going in with little to no expectations this time. I was hyped for all the other games and that led to my disappointment. This time I’m just excited to play it no matter how awful it is, because I’m prepared. I’m just interested to see what they made. They’re like a good student in grade school that is struggling because of problems at home.

  48. PancakeWizard says:

    Article puts its finger on it. Aside from the polish issues, gong to a whole new galaxy and still defaulting to the Chosen One motif and slightly different make up on humanoids and calling them aliens (what is this, Star Trek Voyager?), is an unforgivable waste.

    This was the perfect opportunity to get crazy and open up the formula. Why not have multiple Pathfinders and Arks, and just let you be one of many trying to find their way in the new Galaxy? Why not go with a manufacturing/looting/bartering system instead of credits?

    Such a waste.

  49. plese55 says:

    So is the question of why humanity ventures out into another galaxy, makes no attempts of cautious communication but in the first minutes of the game engages in violence with the very first life forms it encounters? Does the game not even engage with the question of why the fuck these assholes are even there and if they “deserve” to have a “home” there?

    • Thorgald says:

      How do you cautiously communicate with someone that not only can’t understand you but also shows obvious signs of not being interested in doing so, all while pointing a gun at you and that (if you wait long enough) starts beating your already hurt and unarmed team member to death while you watch (with your hands STILL in the air and weapons holstered)? At NO point during that first contact scene did i get the feeling that this could turn out well if i played my cards right.

  50. Premium User Badge

    step21 says:

    Talking about plot holes/inconsistencies … did anybody else find it unconvincing that they go on about SAM (the AI) being ‘different’ from other AI (such as the Geth) because it is ‘linked’ to the player and described as a symbiotic relationship? This is because at the same time, the main processing core of the AI is still on board the Hyperion (or Nexus), kind of refuting this whole ‘link’/’symbiosis’ thing as it’s obviously fake. Plus I think once or twice it is referenced that other people can access SAM too, just in a different way from you (which makes sense, but also refutes this symbiotic relationship)