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  1. #1
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    Mass Effect: Andromeda - sounds like they learned what works.

    As it's N7 day, there's a ton of info on ME:A, particularly the new trailer, but by far the best collection of info I've found is here:

    http://neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1309671

    It's largely non-spoiler-y, so I wouldn't worry there.

    Really, at this stage, ME:A is sounding pretty great. They say the main inspirations were the planetary exploration of ME1, the loyalty missions of ME2 (which were, quite consistently, some of the best material in the whole ME series - both in story and gameplay terms), and the multiplayer of ME3, which was absolutely fantastic.

    It even seems like people who preferred elements of ME1 may well be pretty happy with it - as well as exploration being a focus again - and much better exploration it sounds like (not just of the surface, but beneath and presumably above it as well) - we have powers on separate cooldowns coming back, which could potentially make for improved gameplay.

    Some other points of interest (there's way more in the link, of course):

    1) No class system for the player (unclear if this applies to squadmates, I would bet money it doesn't) - you can mix and match powers and so on - if you choose to specialize you can get class titles and bonuses and so on, but you don't have to.

    2) Each planet seems to be an explorable "open world" in a slightly DA:I-ish way, but they've very clearly learned from DA:I and only (it seems) taken what worked. For example, they do have bosses and areas too tough to beat when you initially come across them (something seemingly ultra-beloved to a lot of RPG players), which DA:I did fairly well, but they do not, for example, have mineral nodes to mine.

    3) You can just go fly to planets - you don't have to be told to, or to unlock them (how true this is we shall see, but...).

    4) You can scan things things, which unlocks stuff for crafting. Hopefully the crafting is handled well, and doesn't end up with us farming this that or the other. There's entirely new tech (what a shocker!) because it's not the Milky Way.

    5) Clancy Brown is your dad. This pretty much straight-up confirms he's the villain or quasi-villain, because... Clancy Brown. You know Clancy Brown, you love Clancy Brown, but he doesn't play good guys. Grey-as-fuck guys maybe. Male and female Ryder voice-actors seem good - maybe Jennifer Hale exciting, but we shall see. They do appear to have pre-set names, however, which I find a little vexing, but might work (and indeed might not be true - they might just be defaults), that being Scott and Sara respectively (soooooo whiiiiiiiiite and American but whatevs I guess).

    6) Multiplayer sounds like a solid extension from the ME3 style of multiplayer - hopefully the jetpacks don't fuck it up (if all they do is effectively make getting up and down things faster and give more people "fast" dodges, that'll be fine).

    7) Paragon and Renegade, are, as predicted, gone. It doesn't seem like there's an equivalent, either - instead it sounds a bit more like DA2 and DA:I (perhaps more like DA2), or, arguably, Alpha Protocol (where you had basically James Bond, Jason Borne and Jack Bauer tones), with Head, Heart, Professional and Casual "tones". Interrupts, however, are back (hooray), they just say what you'll do without judging it Paragon or Renegade.

    8) Sounds like they're leaving their options open on whether ME:A2 will star Ryder, or be a new story in the same universe, Dragon Age-style.

    9) Big one for some people - weapons are a mix of ammo-based and recharging/heat-based. I see from the box art for the special edition that my favourite sniper rifle ever is back so I know I'll be fine.

    Anyway, more at the link, and it just really sounds like they're at least not fucking it up on paper at this point. Which is good. The trailer is decent though holy shit Scott Ryder is one generic-lookin' dude.

    The screenshots in the article are also pretty fantastic btw, and actually more exciting than the trailer in some ways.
    Last edited by LexW; 07-11-2016 at 10:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EPICTHEFAIL's Avatar
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    So, Mass Effect 1 but without loading screens, as far as planetary exploration goes. I had gotten the impression that they were expanding on the point-and-click ship flight from ME2 and 3, but i guess that what the marketing man meant by "seamless flight between planets" is "I am an absolute cretin who does not know what the word 'seamless' implies in the context of game mechanics". Oh well, at least we're finally getting vehicles back, and as someone who loved the Mako I couldn't be happier. Multiple open-world maps to bounce around in is still right up my alley, especially with the jetpack and the more flexible combat styles. I am worried about areas being hacked up into arbitrarily differently-levelled zones, I thought Souls had taught us that gating content based on player skill rather than abstract stat sheets was the way to go.

    The story had better be good though. The series started out dodgy and just went downhill from there (it's never a good sign when the plot holes start showing up in the opening crawl), and I say that as a Mass Effect fanboy. I'm not entirely comfortable with just how utterly un-self aware the basic premise of humanity and a bunch of allied species barging into another galaxy and grabbing habitable planets and territory left, right and centre is, especially considering that it's not like they're in dire need of all of them to survive as a species, and there clearly are established civilisations already there, in the targeted area of Andromeda. At the time they left, humanity as a whole didn't even know about the Reapers, the whole Andromeda fleet is seemingly unconnected to the only faction that did know about them, so it's basically a case of people deciding to invade another galaxy just because they can. Also, where the hell did they get intergalactic drives from? The Reapers are the only ones who can travel intergalactic distances without being fried by electrostatic buildup, and no civilisation in the Milky Way had been so much as able to travel between different stellar clusters under their own power without relays. That's like a G-Wiz suddenly becoming able to circumnavigate the planet 10 times without recharging. This is even worse than ME1, at least there it lasted until the opening crawl before the plot holes began appearing, this time around they're showing up in the elevator pitch.
    Last edited by EPICTHEFAIL; 07-11-2016 at 10:44 PM.
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  3. #3
    Moderator Grizzly's Avatar
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    I am all in favour of dishing the ME1-2-3 canon and just focusing on making cool stories within the same franchise, actually. Especially the technobabble :-D

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    I am all in favour of dishing the ME1-2-3 canon and just focusing on making cool stories within the same franchise, actually. Especially the technobabble :-D
    Mass Effect would probably benefit from a reboot. Parallel universe, time travel changing it, super tech god beings hit a magical mostly-reset button, whatever... Just ditch ME1-3, leaving it as its own complete but no longer relevant history.

    Heck, they could then make a DLC expansion about the reboot.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by EPICTHEFAIL View Post
    I am worried about areas being hacked up into arbitrarily differently-levelled zones, I thought Souls had taught us that gating content based on player skill rather than abstract stat sheets was the way to go.
    I dunno man, literally the best-reviewed RPG evar, TW3, does it the "arbitrarily differently-levelled zones" way, and I can't think of a single RPG that goes the souls route.

    That said, ME3's combat is closer to Souls than TW3 - i.e. less stat-based (your HP etc. don't go up as your level in ME2/3, IIRC, just your powers get stronger), more skill-based, so it may be that this is at least a good compromise.

    Quote Originally Posted by EPICTHEFAIL View Post
    The story had better be good though. The series started out dodgy and just went downhill from there (it's never a good sign when the plot holes start showing up in the opening crawl), and I say that as a Mass Effect fanboy. I'm not entirely comfortable with just how utterly un-self aware the basic premise of humanity and a bunch of allied species barging into another galaxy and grabbing habitable planets and territory left, right and centre is, especially considering that it's not like they're in dire need of all of them to survive as a species, and there clearly are established civilisations already there, in the targeted area of Andromeda.
    Dev comments indicate they are aware of this whole concept, and the main adversaries are not terrifying beings you're supposed to hate. We'll see but I'll be surprised if they fuck that bit up.

    Quote Originally Posted by EPICTHEFAIL View Post
    At the time they left, humanity as a whole didn't even know about the Reapers, the whole Andromeda fleet is seemingly unconnected to the only faction that did know about them, so it's basically a case of people deciding to invade another galaxy just because they can. Also, where the hell did they get intergalactic drives from? The Reapers are the only ones who can travel intergalactic distances without being fried by electrostatic buildup, and no civilisation in the Milky Way had been so much as able to travel between different stellar clusters under their own power without relays. That's like a G-Wiz suddenly becoming able to circumnavigate the planet 10 times without recharging. This is even worse than ME1, at least there it lasted until the opening crawl before the plot holes began appearing, this time around they're showing up in the elevator pitch.
    There are vague hints already in the info we have that that the people backing the project may not be all they seem, so you may be making assumptions a bit quickly here dude. I think you probably need to at least give them a chance before declaring this a "plot hole worse than ME1".

    Quote Originally Posted by Baines View Post
    Mass Effect would probably benefit from a reboot. Parallel universe, time travel changing it, super tech god beings hit a magical mostly-reset button, whatever... Just ditch ME1-3, leaving it as its own complete but no longer relevant history.

    Heck, they could then make a DLC expansion about the reboot.
    This is essentially a reboot that doesn't invalidate the previous games.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Chaz's Avatar
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    I just want my ME1 Vanguard back, with the Jedi powers, lift and throw ftw, and the one shot BFG style shotgun. When you got to the mid 40's in level, using throw just felt so badass, either blasting a group of bad guys all over the place or throwing a single foe against a wall so hard that it kills them instantly, just brilliant. Then they mucked it all up for ME2 and swapped the powers around, and they didn't feel any where near as cool or powerful.

  7. #7
    i don't remember me1 planet exploration as anything more than a chore tbh

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus zanchito's Avatar
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    I like what you wrote. Alpha Protocol in Space sounds like a winner. Alpha Protocol in anything sounds like a winner to me, tho.
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  9. #9
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    Yes it was a chore. But it had the potential of a fun drive the Warthog in Halo gave, with the openness needed to really have fun. "Potential" mind, which usually turned into a grind instead. :P

    The Fallout games have recently done some gated and some natural level/skill limited zones. Placing bossed or lots of difficult enemies in areas etc. So a bit of both, and generally worked ok.
    It is a technical difference, but's there none the less.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaz View Post
    I just want my ME1 Vanguard back, with the Jedi powers, lift and throw ftw, and the one shot BFG style shotgun. When you got to the mid 40's in level, using throw just felt so badass, either blasting a group of bad guys all over the place or throwing a single foe against a wall so hard that it kills them instantly, just brilliant. Then they mucked it all up for ME2 and swapped the powers around, and they didn't feel any where near as cool or powerful.
    The problem with ME1's higher-level powers and also the reason, not at all coincidentally, that they're so loved, is that they were wackily OP (not just Biotics, Tech and Soldier powers too). Enemies didn't stand a chance against you if your powers were off cooldown, because you could just throw powers repeatedly until they died (or made yourself literally invulnerable and shot ultra-fast and hard with Soldier stuff). Then if any were left alive (often none were) you just had to survive until they came off cooldown again (easily done by hugging cover in almost all areas), rinse and repeat.

    Similarly with the ME1 weapon upgrades ("1 shot bfg shotgun"), once you got past L25 or 30, weapon upgrades started dropping that made it possible to very easily make never-overheat pistols and assault rifles, and one-shot-kill shotguns and sniper-rifles (which instantly overheated, but quickly cooled down). Again this pretty much broke the game, but it didn't really matter, because ME1's core gameplay was, in the most generous possible light, mediocre. So smashing through it face-first was more fun than engaging with it.

    Thus you got an amazing "I won the game!"/"I broke the game!"/"Power trip!!!" fantasy, for people who like that kind of thing (which is seriously a significant percentage of CRPG players, like, 30-50%), but you got horrible gameplay for people who like that sort of thing (which is pretty much everyone else - there is some crossover, of course).

    Please don't take that as a criticism of your tastes, btw - I have friends who share them and they're super-understandable!

    I don't know if we'll see ME:A hand you the ability to simply break the game, the way ME1 did, but one big change that will help it play more like ME1 is the separate cooldowns on abilities. I imagine they'll go for less powerful abilities with shorter cooldowns (the CDs in ME1 were pretty lengthy), so you probably won't be able to insta-win an encounter by spamming abilities but I imagine you'll find it more fun than the "universal cooldown" from ME2/3.

    Quote Originally Posted by TechnicalBen View Post
    Yes it was a chore. But it had the potential of a fun drive the Warthog in Halo gave, with the openness needed to really have fun. "Potential" mind, which usually turned into a grind instead. :P
    Yeah, and we'll see if they manage to make it work. They've supposedly put a ton of effort in and it's kind of central to the game. An awful lot comes down to how fun the Nomad (new Mako) is to drive. It's unarmed, which I think is a good thing as Mako combat combined cheesin' it with losing you tons of XP and being dull, which wasn't great. So getting out to fight will be the MO.

    Quote Originally Posted by TechnicalBen View Post
    The Fallout games have recently done some gated and some natural level/skill limited zones. Placing bossed or lots of difficult enemies in areas etc. So a bit of both, and generally worked ok.
    True that, I'd forgotten those. They use level scaling (with min/max level constraints), which confuses the issue somewhat.

    Quote Originally Posted by zanchito View Post
    I like what you wrote. Alpha Protocol in Space sounds like a winner. Alpha Protocol in anything sounds like a winner to me, tho.
    Let us pray that the character writing and dialogue is up to the standards of Bioware's better efforts. No reason to believe it won't be, of course.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Chaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanchito View Post
    I like what you wrote. Alpha Protocol in Space sounds like a winner. Alpha Protocol in anything sounds like a winner to me, tho.
    The conversation bits were good in Alpha Protocol, but it has to be said the rest of the game was awful.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus zanchito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaz View Post
    The conversation bits were good in Alpha Protocol, but it has to be said the rest of the game was awful.
    First two missions were a bit bleh, but after that, the game really caught on. Best spy game I've played.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanchito View Post
    First two missions were a bit bleh, but after that, the game really caught on. Best spy game I've played.
    Yeah I'm with zanchito on this.

    To be fair, I was a HUGE critic of Alpha Protocol, because I'd only played the training and desert mission, and I think a little of the next. I used to go on and on and on about how awful it was (I'm sure you can imagine me whinging about such a thing at great length).

    Then I snapped under pressure of people telling me there was a great game in there if I could just get past the first couple of missions, and find a way to avoid any minigames I hated - turns out the latter was doable by spec'ing a certain way, and I got past that, and I would now rate it among my top 10 CRPGs ever (and I should say, given I've played literally hundreds of the buggers, that means something for me!).

    Anyway, it's the dialogue of Alpha Protocol they seeming to be looking at, so the rest isn't really an issue.

    (NOLF2 is in tight competition with it for "best spy game" for me, though. Both were great. It's a pity there aren't more spy-oriented games, really.)

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus zanchito's Avatar
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    I've not played NOLF2 and that's a dark spot in my resume. Hoping GOG gets it soon-ish.
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  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node Rath's Avatar
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    I am not spending 280 quatloos on a special edition, even if it does come with a remote controlled Mako (alright, Nomad...)


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  16. #16
    Let's do hope the side-quests are more interesting than picking up a random letter on the ground and completing the quest with no social interaction (DAI style). I do enjoy sidequests very much but imo it seems Bioware has been neglecting these in the past 2 games. Nonetheless I'm looking forward to it and know I'll enjoy it. I do hope they'll try to be a bit more original story-wise.

  17. #17
    Moderator Grizzly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HybridSalmon View Post
    Let's do hope the side-quests are more interesting than picking up a random letter on the ground and completing the quest with no social interaction (DAI style). I do enjoy sidequests very much but imo it seems Bioware has been neglecting these in the past 2 games. Nonetheless I'm looking forward to it and know I'll enjoy it. I do hope they'll try to be a bit more original story-wise.
    I thought Mass Effect 3 did it's sidequests extremely well. Or are you thinking about KOTOR?

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Eight Rooks's Avatar
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    It honestly gives me a mild headache to think anyone could compare the Mako to a Warthog. I don't even drive, and I'm still confident in saying no car has ever handled like the Mako and nothing ever will. As I never tire of saying - no, let's put a new spin on it: I'd give quite a lot of money to mod My Summer Car into Mass Effect 2, just so I could get virtually drunk and piss on that ghastly thing's grave. And yes, vehicular combat was a dreary chore devoid of any challenge. It's the last thing I'd have wanted in any more Mass Effect games.

    But DA: I was very good, despite having rather too much filler and a damp squib of an ending, so here's hoping Bioware bring some of the good bits into space.

    Quote Originally Posted by zanchito View Post
    I've not played NOLF2 and that's a dark spot in my resume. Hoping GOG gets it soon-ish.
    I wouldn't get your hopes up. IIRC the rights over that one were far more tangled than System Shock, to the point people who'd looked into it all but explicitly said they doubted it would ever see release again. Still, a man can dream.
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EPICTHEFAIL's Avatar
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    Man, that is a very sexy groundcar (yes, that's the correct SFnal term, Atomic Rockets says so).

    Quote Originally Posted by LexW View Post
    I dunno man, literally the best-reviewed RPG evar, TW3, does it the "arbitrarily differently-levelled zones" way, and I can't think of a single RPG that goes the souls route.

    That said, ME3's combat is closer to Souls than TW3 - i.e. less stat-based (your HP etc. don't go up as your level in ME2/3, IIRC, just your powers get stronger), more skill-based, so it may be that this is at least a good compromise.
    Yeah, but the old Mass Effects didn't exactly have levelled zones either. Stuff scaled to you capabilities in ME1, and ME2/3 were almost purely skill-based, so maybe they did mean just making them difficulty gates. We'll see, I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by LexW View Post
    There are vague hints already in the info we have that that the people backing the project may not be all they seem, so you may be making assumptions a bit quickly here dude. I think you probably need to at least give them a chance before declaring this a "plot hole worse than ME1".
    I'm very unwilling to give second chances to a series that trampled over its own lore to avoid admitting they'd written themselves into a corner. Any hint of consistency or continuity went out of the window when an ancient alien machine god was eaten by an overgrown earthworm.

    The basic plot of this thing is someone developing a way of travelling millions of times faster and further without relays than human civilisation had been able to up to that point. Do they use this to revolutionise interstellar commerce? Create nigh-unstoppable warships? Colonise worlds outside of the relay network (which allows access to only 1% of stars in the galaxy according to the codex), allowing them to weather the Reaper threat in a place they know they'd never look? No, they just put it on a bunch of expensive ships and invade another galaxy for no good reason (oh yeah, lets travel through the Reapers' home turf to get away from them). The whole premise it's based on is utter nonsense even allowing for handwavium because it relies on people behaving in ways at odds with anything remotely realistic, even if there is a secret conspiracy of Space Nazis behind it.
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  20. #20
    Moderator Grizzly's Avatar
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    Remember the moon landings or people going to mars? That's also people blowing lots of money away for no other reason then prestige.

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