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Mass Effect


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Early previews
Posted: Posted March 16th by Orion Nebula

Early previews for Andromeda are... mixed. I was watching a good chunk of Giant Bomb's stream this morning, and the guys were quite apathetic towards it. Honestly not hard to see why, either. Uglier than usual BioWare characters, janky animations, boring characters and not-so great performances, some cringey writing. Obviously still going to give it the benefit of the doubt, seeing as how it's only a fragment of the game, and it'll probably grow on me during my own playthrough. But damn, expectations have definitely dropped.

On the plus side, combat still looks fairly tight. There's a decent amount to work with on the skill tree, and the jetpack offers some nice speed and verticality to gameplay. Not so keen on looting corpses, but whatever.



There are 41 Replies

I can download it now since I have EA access.

Posted March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

From what I've read the combat is good and the ME1-style inventory / gun mod system if back. So it sounds like the gameplay is on the right track.

From what I've seen in gifs and webms, the characters seem to be suffering from advanced-stage Bioware Syndrome. It's almost like they're getting worse with each new game.

I haven't been able to muster anything approaching excitement for this game since it was announced, even though I knew I'd probably get it. Just haven't felt the same about the series, or Bioware, since ME3.

Posted March 16th by Count Dooku
Count Dooku

I mean really only one game out of the original 3 was stellar and that's ME2. It doesn't even need Mass Effect 1 to be good. Mass Effect 1 doesn't crack my top 20 list and 3 probably barely makes it into my top 50. ME2 would be in my top 3.

Posted March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

Which is funny because ME2 is, like, the least relevant game within the context of the trilogy!

ME3 didn't change how I feel about the franchise, and I'm still relatively excited about Andromeda. But it is one of those things where what made me really, really love the original trilogy was its cast of characters. I was excited to revisit them more than I was excited to "play" the game parts every time a new game came out (even though I thought the gameplay improved each time). So Andromeda, by virtue of being really divorced, lacks that.

I am not sure that any of the Mass Effect games (as much as I love them - enough to get a tattoo, even) are necessarily "great" games overall. I loooove the world, lore, and characters, which is clearly the strength of the series. So my expectations for Andromeda have always been a little more low-key. More curious than excited, I guess. I'm sure I'll still enjoy it, though.

Posted March 16th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

Prefer to judge it for myself, I often end up feeling different about a game than most reviewers anyway.

Posted March 16th by Moonray
Moonray
 

The thing I really hate about ME3 isn't even the ending. That was disappointing but now that I know it's coming I just don't bother with that last mission when I play it. The thing that really grinds my gears is the citadel dlc isn't available until really late in the game and ME3 doesn't have the same satisfying replayability plotwise as ME1 and 2 have. You can only kill so many Cerberus troops before it gets bland and you can only cry at the sad stuff so many times. The late game of ME3 is the best part minus the ending and the beginning missions like earth, Mars, and palaven are so bland and time consuming the game is barely worth another play through. Especially considering you have to put like 130+ hours just to get there playing 1 and 2.

Edited March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

ME2 had a greater variety of enemies at least it seemed like it did. It was more colorful and vibrant and interesting. ME3 could have been another middle game and it would have been great, but instead it destroyed the galaxy and characters we love.

Posted March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

ME3's slow start is second only to Kingdom Hearts 2 in terms of aggravation.

Posted March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

ME3 doesn't have the same satisfying replayability plotwise as ME1 and 2 have.


Ah, see, I disagree with that assessment. I think the game is overall totally good for the majority of it. The last mission in ME3 especially is one I really, really like. (It's just unfortunate everything that comes after you reach the gate or whatever.) I still really love most of the story or character missions in the game. I actually think on the whole, the story missions are better than that of ME2. (Although, while I love Samara's mission, ME2 did the character-driven quests better on the most part.)

I also didn't notice ME3 being any slower a start than ME1 or ME2. (I think ME1 has hands down the most problematically slow start of any of them, if I had to pick one that was "problematic.") The mission on Eden Prime is whatever, and then you wind up spending so much time on the Citadel! ME3 at least tries to get you moving quicker.


Especially considering you have to put like 130+ hours just to get there playing 1 and 2.


It's worth making a distinction between how much time we nerds have put into those games versus how much time you actually have to. If you're trying to just do a single playthrough of the series, you can beat both ME1 and 2 in about 40-50 hours total, both games combined, and ME3 takes a similar amount of time. If you don't go completionist (because, frankly, it's boring) and only do the worthwhile side quests, you can beat the entire trilogy in well under 100 hours. And that's including some of the DLC stuff that's worth playing! Even if you go completionist in ME2 and not in ME1 (because who cares about finding minerals or turian medallions?), and you'll still spend well under 130 hours. Unless you replay the games several times, I'm not sure why you would ever spend 100 hours on just ME1 and ME2 before even starting ME3...


ME2 had a greater variety of enemies at least it seemed like it did.


I'm not so sure. I don't think I noticed much of a difference, to be honest. Both games ultimately come down to just handful of types. There's mechs, humans, Collectors, and geth. Each "type" is broken down into just a few different sub-types: normal guns, rocket launchers, and then some form of "heavy." There were heavy mechs, Geth Primes, and for human enemies, some variety of a shield, barrier, or armor "captain." The Collectors worked much the same way as well.

Of course, there's some variety within that structure. Some big geth enemies will charge with shotguns. The Collectors have those big enemies with the killer beam attack (why can't I remember what they're called?)

I don't think ME3 was much different. You had Cerberus, geth, and Reaper forces. All sort of broken down in a somewhat similar fashion. The main difference was the greater variety within the Reaper forces. Each different species of Reaper-controlled enemy had a different ability. Turians basically just shot up the place, Asari used more biotics, for example. Then you had the heavies as well.

So I'm not sure I noticed much of a difference in diverse enemy types. ME3 felt pretty similar on that front to me.

you can only cry at the sad stuff so many times.


I mean, isn't that sort of true of everything? I think the Suicide Mission at the end of ME2 is one of the greatest final missions in any game I've played. But how many times can I replay that before it completely loses the thrill of not knowing if I'm sending team mates to their death? (Seriously, it only took two or three playthroughs before I stopped feeling anxiety at all.) This just seems like a slightly strange complaint to me.


It was more colorful and vibrant and interesting.


Well, yes, but I'm not sure it would have made much sense to have a galactic invasion look visually more colorful and vibrant. It works for ME2 (especially following ME1), but ME3 was always going to be about a giant Reaper invasion, full of death and destruction. Kind of makes sense they wouldn't want it to be particularly vibrant. It was a dark game thematically. Subduing that for 3 made sense, no?


but instead it destroyed the galaxy and characters we love.


If this is about the ending specifically, I agree it was hugely disappointing. If it's about the game overall, I don't agree with this as a complaint. Mass Effect was always gearing up for a colossal war. The Reapers were presented from the very beginning as a threat that can (and indeed had) destroyed all galactic civilization. Of course it was going to do a fair amount of damage to the galaxy and the characters. ME3 also completed some pretty great arcs for the characters we love, which I appreciated even if the ending kind of spoiled the story overall.


Edited March 16th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

I tend to forgive Mass Effect one for it's faults just because it's the first game and they were still figuring everything out. It needed to have a long intro because it actually is the intro. I get that replayability wise it's annoying tracking down tali wrex and garrus but the Mass Effect 1 citadel is my favorite citadel (aside from ME3's dlc)

I like the citadel and noveria political levels in ME1. And Nos Astra and Omega.

I think of these games are ever remastered you should have the option of

1. I haven't played the games before.

2. I am not a scrub, start me somewhere sensible.

For Mass Effect 1 it will skip Eden Prime and go to where Anderson gives you the ship. For Mass Effect 2 it will simply skip the first mission at the Cerberus base. For Mass Effect 3 you will go right to Javik's mission and skip Earth, Mars, and palaven.

All those missions are great for first time players and I enjoyed them the first couple times but they are all extremely tedious for replaying.

Edited March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

The other exceptionally irritating thing about Mass Effect 3 is the position of the War Room. And the fact that you always end up there after a mission. So you have to go through the loading thing every time whenever you want to start a new mission. It's more of an aesthetic complaint. It should be an elevator but instead it's just a lame scanny thingie and there is another pointless one on the citadel in one of the games too.

When I get back from a mission I want to be at the galaxy map.

Posted March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

Mass Effect 2 is still probably my least favorite in the series, with the original still being my favorite. Mainly because I consider the first to have the best narrative, alongside solid characters and more unique gameplay. I consider Mass Effect 2's gameplay inferior to 3's and the narrative rather pointless, replaced with a character driven game. That isn't a bad thing, but I feel like they should've spent the second game forming alliances and the third fighting the Reapers, instead of cramming both into the final game.

Mass Effect 2 still has one the best, if not THE best final missions in gaming though. Even if I do feel that calling it a "suicide mission" is overselling it, due to how easy it is and the fact that Miranda doesn't have to be loyal to survive.

As for Andromeda, it's got to really messy animations. It's both funny, and sad. Female Ryder commenting on the loss of someone while smiling the whole time is just hilarious.

Posted March 16th by Hugo
Hugo
 

I think there should have been 4 games. The third being what you suggest, forming alliances. That could have been a stand alone title for sure. And would make the final game much better since they could focus on javik and the reapers.

Posted March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

That isn't a bad thing, but I feel like they should've spent the second game forming alliances and the third fighting the Reapers, instead of cramming both into the final game.

I've always felt this way as well. ME2 had good characters and a great final mission, but it doesn't serve a larger narrative purpose.

It could probably have existed as a one-off side story using new characters (Rogue One style) with some tie-in to the 3rd game. Featuring an actual suicide mission.

Female Ryder commenting on the loss of someone while smiling the whole time is just hilarious.

Maybe this time we won't get (objectively wrong) assertions that the female PC is the better choice.

Posted March 16th by Count Dooku
Count Dooku

It should be an elevator but instead it's just a lame scanny thingie and there is another pointless one on the citadel in one of the games too.


I agree, but also never personally had a problem with it. This is a franchise that made me take really long elevator rides and brings me to random load screens any time I go to a new star system, so it was just sort of within reason.

When I get back from a mission I want to be at the galaxy map.


I mean, ideally, I would like to have everyone within the same "loaded area" so that I don't have to ride any elevators or go through any detectors just to speak to my squad. Talking to people, especially your crew, is like, 50% of the game!


Mass Effect 2 is still probably my least favorite in the series


It's probably one of my favorite games ever, but in the context of the trilogy, you're right to say it's pretty irrelevant. I do like the idea that where ME1 essentially had you working alone until the end, ME2 puts you in the role of desperate and working with a horrible organization (especially after all the discussions of the value of regulations with Garrus). But story-wise, it really is just a sci-fi The Dirty Dozen, essentially. Which is great and why I love it! But also makes it the least relevant in the larger story (although it does set up the conclusion to particular character arcs that do matter to some extent in the finale). But if you're looking at the trilogy for a single, linear and connected story, it's the one that meanders and detours the most, and I can understand why people don't like that (it isn't a very traditional approach to trilogy-making, that's for sure).


alongside solid characters and more unique gameplay


The first game's gameplay is definitely different than ME2 and ME3's, but I'm not sure much about it really struck me as "unique." It was different, but I also found it to be far clunkier (and that's without even bringing up the Mako). There are a number of gameplay aspects to the first game that I wish carried over (I still prefer "shots before overheating" to general ammo, and I like the idea of having to "train" on a weapon, but in terms of the actual combat, ME1 is actually pretty difficult to play today. Was never particularly great to begin with, and it definitely hasn't aged well. Even the dialogue options in ME1 were weaker, with situations presented in which virtually every option resulted in exactly the same line of dialogue with the same inflection.


but I feel like they should've spent the second game forming alliances and the third fighting the Reapers, instead of cramming both into the final game.


I generally agree to an extent, but then I think about what would that last game be? I think part of the problem with that structure is that the final game, story-wise, would just be a complete bore. Even with Cerberus in the picture, messing everything up, it still sounds like a kind of boring game. I actually kinda do think they had to set up the characters, and build up Cerberus more in the second game. Ideally, they would have worked in more of the alliance building throughout the series, rather than just at the end.

Or if they were going to make a game of just the war after you have built alliances, then maybe make it a bit different in that you have to manage your resources around the galaxy more (or at all). Like have it so that after every mission tracking down the McGuffin, you look at the map and see where Reapers are pressing and you have to allocate sources. That if you don't do enough to protect Palevan, for example, and it begins to fall, you lose access to their fleet, et cetera. Hard because I don't really know how you do a "just the war" game in which interacting with a bunch of people and making big decisions through dialogue would be as big a part of the game. But I do think there was potential there for something far more interesting.


Posted March 16th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

but it doesn't serve a larger narrative purpose.



See, I kinda disagree with this (although I understand it). It doesn't serve a larger narrative purpose if you're looking at just the central plot of the impending Reaper invasion.

However, it does set up quite a lot of the additional story elements of the third game. The cure for the genophage, the alliance or destruction of the geth/quarians, the role of Miranda's father (and of Cerberus itself) in the war, and various other key points that are relatively big factors in the third game. It might not have much to do with the Reapers directly, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing, as there ultimately isn't that much to that story to begin with. (Especially if they don't try to over-explain everything like they did, and we accept the "we are eternal, and you cannot possibly understand us, and therefore we will not waste our time" as the superior way to handle them.) At the end of the day, I'm just not sure you can really fill three games worth of that as the primary focus without veering off into these other pockets of narratives. (I would also argue that the ultimate strength of the franchise is in its characters, and not its central story.)


Maybe this time we won't get (objectively wrong) assertions that the female PC is the better choice.


What?

Posted March 16th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

I have played about an hour of Andromeda now. Not gonna say anything.

Posted March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

I would've preferred ME2's story to be separate from the Reaper story tbh. Especially the Collectors. In the novels they were setup as this mysterious race with unknown motives, then ME2 comes along and just says "Yea they worked for the Reapers all along". It was a really boring "plot twist" that for me removed anything remotely interesting about that race.

Even the whole "omg they were Protheans" was a bit lackluster because it has no impact on anyone or anything.

From a narrative whole I would probably say ME2 was my least favourite (though I agree that half of ME3s plot points would be a lot weaker without it).

But judging each game individually ME2 did the most right, is the one I can complain about the least and was all-round my favourite to play.

I think if they ever did a remaster of ME1 and fixed the combat (without taking away essentials like weapon mods and the heatsink system) then it would probably be my favourite.

Posted March 16th by Moonray
Moonray
 

It affected Javik in the follow up game.

Posted March 16th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

somewhat dissapointed but as many of you pointed out mass effect 1 was kinda on the same vote.

I think each game had different aspects that I really liked. Mass effect 1 felt more like an rpg with customization.

2 best story

3....graphics? idk.

Posted March 16th by s.o.h.
s.o.h.
 

What?

Male-Shep > Fem-Shep



Posted March 16th by Count Dooku
Count Dooku

I like my female shep. never did a male shep run through though.

Posted March 16th by s.o.h.
s.o.h.
 

It affected Javik in the follow up game.


Not really. All I remember is the flashback scene where it shows he go into stasis and collectors are attacking the location... But you could've replaced those collectors with any number of generic husk style enemies and it would have made 0 difference to the story.

Javik spends most of his time telling you about what the Protheans & Reapers did. I do not recall him having anything worth saying about the Collectors (and nothing we didn't already know).

Male-Shep > Fem-Shep


I agree with this statement.

Posted March 17th by Moonray
Moonray
 

People are saying default FemRyder isn't pretty. I rather like her character design myself. More of a natural and adventurous look. Not very Hollywood.

Posted March 17th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

Ah man. I mean, listen, I've never been one of those people to tell you you're wrong for preferring Bro-Shep over FemShep, but I was always a bigger fan of FemShep. There isn't ultimately much of a difference, but I thought Jennifer Hale was noticeably better at delivery than Mark Meer.

Posted March 17th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

People are saying default FemRyder isn't pretty.


Not to go all "stupid SJW" here, but can you imagine a world wherein people complained about a male character not being attractive, or not pretty enough to merit them playing as him? People might complain or criticize the design of male characters, but it isn't often reduced to their attractiveness.

Posted March 17th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

There isn't ultimately much of a difference, but I thought Jennifer Hale was noticeably better at delivery than Mark Meer.

I like Mark Meer's more subdued delivery. I think it fits the character perfectly. It also seems more natural for typical every day conversation, where as Hale comes off as overly passionate at all times. Meer's passion seems to show up when he's giving big important speeches or yelling at something, which is what you'd expect and adds emphasis.

It is all down to preference though. Some people argue each is actually better at a specific alignment (Paragon Hale / Renegade Meer) which I could kinda see.

People might complain or criticize the design of male characters, but it isn't often reduced to their attractiveness.

I mean, the thing about Femryder for me is that she just doesn't look... right. As a human, that is. I don't have any problem with her not being a 'model' or whatever, but something about her is very off to me.

It might just be the bad animations though. For whatever reason, a lot of the egregious examples I've seen seem to be from people playing as her.

Posted March 17th by Count Dooku
Count Dooku

Well I don't want to spoil anything but there is an in game reason why she may seem a bit off. Although I haven't gotten far enough yet since it hasn't officially released.

Posted March 17th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

I know BioWare character models have always been notoriously robotic and dead-eyed, but I'm not seeing much improvement (if any) since DA:I. They look as bad as ever. Struggling to connect with what I've seen of the Ryder twins at all, so I guess I'll be going down the nightmarish path of BioWare character customisation.

Might've been able to overlook that if the writing and performances were stronger, but I'm not getting any of that in these early previews. And, you know, it's kind of hard to let these animations slide when I see what a studio like CD Projekt had achieved graphically with The Witcher 3, or Guerrilla Games with Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Posted March 17th by Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula
 

As for Shep, I always preferred Mark Meer, but I do think Hale was probably the better choice for a pure Paragon. Her softly-spoken sympathy and concern always sounded genuine, while Meer's would sometimes come across as slightly condescending to me.

Posted March 17th by Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula
 

Andromeda is definitely fourth place so far on Mass Effect games.

Posted March 17th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

FemRyder isn't the only one getting complaints about her attractiveness, Cora is getting it too. A portion of it due to "punkish" hairstyle, but I honestly don't see anything wrong with her model. When it comes to my characters, I'll take personality over looks any day. Miranda is probably considered the most attractive character in the original trilogy by most, but of all the companions, she was one of the least interesting for me. Alongside cheating douche Jacob and boring Kaidan. Honestly, it's a bit concerning if you care that much about the looks of your characters, I mean are you try to live vicariously?

As for which Shep is better, I prefer FemShep. Mainly because if I'm remembering correctly, there's only one time either tears up, and it's FemShep after receiving a video from Thane after his death. I think it was tears anyway. Otherwise I don't really care, but usually prefer FemShep for Paragon. When it comes to renegade it just depends, I think Meer's is more jerkass, while Hale's is more ruthless.

Edited March 17th by Hugo
Hugo
 

Miranda is probably considered the most attractive character in the original trilogy by most

I don't want to live in a world where people think this.

Posted March 17th by Count Dooku
Count Dooku

I like Miranda, and she is certainly more interesting than Ashley and Samara. Would have liked her as a squadmate in 3.

Posted March 18th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

I mean, the thing about Femryder for me is that she just doesn't look... right.


To be clear, I was responding to the criticism that she isn't attractive, not that the character is appears to be a poorly rendered video game character model.



There are actually so few characters in the game that I don't love for some reason. Miranda grew on me more and more in the same way that both Ashley and Kaidan did, the same way that Jacob did. I mean, Zaaed never really grew on me (for various reasons), but I never found him bland. Just didn't care. Probably James is the closest to what I found to be kinda boring.

I always find it a little sad that so many people don't appreciate Samara though. She was one of my favorites.

Posted March 18th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

Her life is a series of ultimatums.

Posted March 18th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

I don't want to live in a world where people think this.


I suppose it's because she written to be "genetically superior" and modeled/voiced after a pretty attractive actress. Oh, and creepy butt shots.

Jack is objectively the best looking, anyway.

boring Kaidan.


I really, really dislike Kaiden in ME1, but he actually won me over in ME3.

Edited March 18th by Orion Nebula
Orion Nebula
 

I am not going to let the janky animations dissuade me from buying. Bioware was fast to fix the problems in ME3 and I have faith in their customer service. That desert world eos though, really bad way to showcase the game. It's dull.

Edited March 19th by Red Leaf
Red Leaf

"That desert world eos though, really bad way to showcase the game. It's dull."

Reminds me of Dragon Age: Inquisition's Hinterlands, which is honestly one of my biggest concerns: that the game will have pretty worlds, but feel so empty. I liked the main quests and more relevant side quests well enough, but all the fetch quests were so tedious. Hopefully it's improved.

Posted March 19th by Hugo
Hugo
 

I mean, Mass Effect 1 was almost nothing but pretty worlds that feel so empty.

Posted March 19th by Jet Presto
Jet Presto

I'll give Andromeda some time to settle in before I even consider getting it. These previews aren't exactly reassuring.

At the very least the combat looks pretty swish.

The thing that really grinds my gears is the citadel dlc isn't available until really late in the game

Citadel DLC is available mid-game, if you want the earliest possible point at which you could play through it.

The late game of ME3 is the best part minus the ending and the beginning missions like earth, Mars, and palaven are so bland and time consuming the game is barely worth another play through.

I thought the early ME3 missions were pretty well paced compared to both the glacial ME1 and slow-burning (albeit interesting) ME2 beginnings.

For Mass Effect 1 it will skip Eden Prime and go to where Anderson gives you the ship. For Mass Effect 2 it will simply skip the first mission at the Cerberus base. For Mass Effect 3 you will go right to Javik's mission and skip Earth, Mars, and palaven.

>cutting narrative development arbitrarily

Might as well skip to each ending.

It also seems more natural for typical every day conversation, where as Hale comes off as overly passionate at all times.

See, I thought Hale was probably the better overall voice actor and as such gave more natural delivery. I find her varied cadences more convincing than the slightly robotic lines of Meer.

Having said that, I am the reverse in that I thought Meer fitted a Paragon more, and Hale was a better Renegade.

I've played an equal number of Male and Female Shepards so I have no real preference overall, other than some role-playing elements I went for in each character.

3....graphics? idk.

Clearly combat; they finally got the formula right, as attested by the ME3 multiplayer.

I really, really dislike Kaiden in ME1, but he actually won me over in ME3.

Kaiden gets a bad rep, but I always thought he was a good counterbalance to some of the more OTT tropes in the trilogy. His lines were generally well written and I think there's always a place for a cool-headed character with a somewhat troubled past in the mix. I also think he's got a bit more depth if you're a Female Shepard in ME1 and you go through the romance option, certainly in the rest of the trilogy as well.

which is honestly one of my biggest concerns: that the game will have pretty worlds, but feel so empty.

Sans tedium, this always felt thematically consistent to me. Interstellar exploration would presumably be a lot of pretty/endless vistas with little distinction or points of interests.

Edited March 19th by Arch
Arch
 
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