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Author Topic: Mass Effect Andromeda  (Read 4192 times)
Ceryse
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Reply #70 on: March 13, 2017, 05:05:34 AM

My computer is getting fairly dated at this point (been.. 4 years or so since I built it and I haven't upgraded anything since) and I barely meet the minimum specs in a couple areas, but I'm not too concerned. So long as I can get a decent frame-rate I'm not that picky about graphic fidelity -- the design they've gone for with the characters is far more concerning to me, personally. Some look decent. A couple look good. Most look bad. And the animations and lighting don't help.

The 'wtf?' design decisions keep coming, as well. They add an in-depth (for Mass Effect, at least) crafting system and a return of inventory. Yet, none of your squad-mates have 'gear'. You can't change their armour or even their weapons (the latter of which simply scale based on the level of your character). So, they added an entire crafting/resource/inventory system for the player character while ignoring the squad-mates. Ostensibly they did this to help the squad-mates have 'iconic' looks and be more 'individual'. ME:A will actually have the least amount of squad-mate customisation of any Bioware game ever (even DA2 had more, albeit only slightly). Ironically, the squad-mates still suffer from the 'Avenger' bug, as well (which is where they have the Avenger gun replacing their equipped weapons in cut-scenes -- a bug that dates back several games in the Mass Effect franchise) -- despite having a locked weapon (i.e.; the Krogan squad-mates can only use his version of the Ruzad shot gun).

I expect the game to get great reviews (because reviews are, well, less about reality and more about knob-polishing) and the game will have a decent sized group of fans that will defend it to the death regardless of how good it is. Outside of that? I'm expected 'slightly above average' at best for this game.

And I'll still probably get it at launch because the multiplayer alone could be worth it and it might be amusing to see what other lessons they failed to learn from their earlier games.
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Reply #71 on: March 13, 2017, 05:33:35 AM

Ostensibly they did this to help the squad-mates have 'iconic' looks and be more 'individual'.

This is code for: 'it would be too hard/too costly to model all of those combinations and we're already late as fuck so we couldn't be bothered'
rk47
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Reply #72 on: March 13, 2017, 06:48:29 AM

Why even have companions?
I'm guessing even if they all die, all you're missing are just bullet catchers.

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Reply #73 on: March 13, 2017, 07:02:39 AM

Why even have companions?
It's kinda the point of a Bioware game.

On the other hand, Bioware hasn't been Bioware for so long I'm not able to generate any excitement for this game. Can't even Steam sale it. I don't think I managed to finish the 3rd one and I didn't even like the 1st Dragon Age, soo.....I still like TOR, though, so that's something.

MahrinSkel
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Reply #74 on: March 13, 2017, 10:48:03 AM

Since it sounds like I am at least a couple of upgrade cycles from having the hardware to run it decently, my "is it worth it?" decision is remarkably easy.

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Reply #75 on: March 13, 2017, 04:31:33 PM



 why so serious?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 07:46:26 PM by rk47 »

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MahrinSkel
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Reply #76 on: March 13, 2017, 04:35:16 PM

Da Fuq?

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Ceryse
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Reply #77 on: March 13, 2017, 05:10:31 PM

Someone stole their guns!

No wonder they're losing to the Kett.

Also, they look really close to the early concept art of Quarians that got rejected (pre-ME1). Not a fan of the Angaran design at all.

Heh, was reading the BSN forums to see how people are defending Bioware over not letting players change armour skins/types and weapons for our squad-mates (not even to the degree of ME2 or ME3), which has boiled down to; 'it removes the character agency of the squad mates if Ryder (the player) tells them what to wear/use.'. I.e.; it hurts the feelings of pixels. If it wasn't so stupid it would be hilarious.
Velorath
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Reply #78 on: March 13, 2017, 06:58:32 PM

Why even have companions?
I'm guessing even if they all die, all you're missing are just bullet catchers.

That's pretty much been true with the companions in any ME game for me. Even back to the first game when you could change out their weapons and armor, at best they were still just additional power usages that could get knocked out, and who provided dialogue in the non-action bits. I don't ever look back fondly on the squadmate inventory management of ME1.
koro
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Reply #79 on: March 14, 2017, 05:40:41 AM

Gameplay-wise, ME1 squadmates were little more than warm bodies to keep Shepard from going down as quickly. In ME2 I mostly used them as armor strippers and biotic combo enablers since they do only like 45% of your damage and are hideously inaccurate unless they're using DLC weapons. In ME3 (which I'm playing now), they're a bit more useful, and I've heard you can spec/gear some of them in utterly broken ways and turn them into mission-soloing gods.

Also isn't Andromeda being done wholly by the Montreal team? As in, the team responsible for ME3's multiplayer and little else? Everything reeks of "B-team."
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 05:42:59 AM by koro »
Reg
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Reply #80 on: March 14, 2017, 11:34:22 AM

I had thought that the ME3 multiplayer was the best part of the game.
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Reply #81 on: March 14, 2017, 12:08:03 PM

It was.
koro
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Reply #82 on: March 15, 2017, 05:33:21 AM

So Rock Paper Shotgun have looked at the first few hours of the game.

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/03/14/mass-effect-andromeda-review-opening-hours/

John Walker is not kind.

Quote
I had, by purpose or distraction, not found out anything about Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] before playing its review build, beyond that it was set in a whole new galaxy. Ooh goody, I thought! A sci-fi RPG series I completely loved, but with a fresh start, baggage shed, and the extraordinary potential of a setting in a galaxy entirely unlike our own.

Yeah, about that. The first few hours of Andromeda are a gruesome trudge through the most trite bilge of the previous three games, smeared out in a setting that’s horribly familiar, burdened with some outstandingly awful writing, buried beneath a UI that appears to have been designed to infuriate in every possible way.

I had gone in assuming this would be more BioWare pleasure. So far – and let’s be clear, there’s lots of room and time for it to pick up and turn things around – the first few hours have been just awful.
Velorath
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Reply #83 on: March 15, 2017, 05:53:26 AM

John Walker also didn't like Witcher 3. Most of the other impressions I've seen (including another one from RPS from a different writer) seem fairly positive so far. The EA Access thing starts on the 16th though so there will likely be a lot of impressions coming out soon.
koro
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Reply #84 on: March 15, 2017, 05:58:21 AM

https://www.reddit.com/r/masseffect/comments/5zhdst/mea_spoilers_i_played_20_hours_of_mea_heres_my/

Yeah, and here's a thing from a guy that basically says the exact opposite of Walker.

I've still got a preorder in for this, so I guess I'll see for myself how it is before long.
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Reply #85 on: March 15, 2017, 07:26:34 AM

My pre-order is in. Going with the XBone because its the kind of game Id rather be comfortable on the couch for. I'm mixed on the squad customization thing. The gamer in me wants it, but god was it tedious in DA:I to try to keep your whole squad up to date.

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Reply #86 on: March 15, 2017, 05:38:24 PM

I just watched Giant Bomb do a stream of the 1st planet, and their conclusion matches the RPS hit piece.

Maybe it gets better later, but only if you enjoyed the Hinterlands of Dragon Age 3.

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Reply #87 on: March 15, 2017, 06:25:05 PM

Ceryse
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Reply #88 on: March 15, 2017, 07:05:27 PM

I've dropped some time into the trial and.. well, if it wasn't the multiplayer I'd cancel my pre-order. Here's my list of issues so far;

The facial animations remain bad (and not just in terms of being badly done; facial animations often don't match the tone of dialogue -- for example, femRyder smirking/smiling while discussing something depressing/sad, mainly because that's just her resting face animation and they did nothing to alter it during key times). The dead-eye stare issue remains heavily present.

There are some general animation issues as well, from moonwalkers to NPCs that slide around, some that will actually teleport to turn and face you and a lot of clipping issues that show a general lack of QAing models (the number of Turians with an eye poking through their right eye-lid is.. sad).

The character creator is trash; it is the worst CC they've had in a Mass Effect game, which are not exactly known for stellar CCs. You only get a set of presets that you can tweak slightly. So, if you want the nose from preset face #2 on preset #4.. you can't. You can only slightly adjust the size of the nose. Or the height of the eyes. There is no changing of complexions (at all) within each preset; each preset has one complexion and that is it. Also, Bioware remains utterly incapable of decent facial hair and the options for it are very limited. Number of hair-styles is surprisingly limited and gender-gated (including for some styles that make no sense to be). On the positive side you can make some pretty fucked up clowns due to the shitty make-up and scar choices. Oh, and you can't modify the default Ryder appearance preset at all.

The writing is.. very un-even. At times it is absolute garbage. Other times it is good (but almost never better than that). Usually it yo-yos between wildly. You can really tell a team of writers went at this and that there was almost no effort to edit them for style, tone or sense of place.

Voice acting is similar. Some good performances. Most, however, fall into the range of either being terrible or 'reading it off a page because I'm bored', including from some notable names. A lot of tonal issues with the VAs.

If you're the kind of person that cares about lore and consistency.. don't play this game. They hand-wave a lot of the lore from the Trilogy away and aren't even always consistent within this game.. and I'm not that far in.

Plot is.. well, dumb, from what I've seen. Worse than the Trilogy, easily. There's just no.. 'oomph' to it, nevermind the logic-issues with the plot and how forced it feels. No emotional hits whatsoever.

Squad-mates are.. by and large bland, uninteresting or merely re-treads of what has been done before in Mass Effect. The lack of customization options is.. irksome. Not being able to change/modify their weapons to adjust for play-style or specific threats and no additional out-fits means you're stuck with their appearance.. even if they make no god damn sense. Easily the least amount of party customization in any Bioware game I can recall; all you can do is their skills as they level up -- nothing else.

Character models are ugly. Well, not really. Most are actually passable.. if you're in an area that Bioware decided didn't have to lit by horrific fluorescent light. A lot of the graphical issues with NPCs, and to some degree their animations, could have been mitigated with proper lighting and shadow usage, but instead they often go for a very harsh, washed out lighting scheme.

The camera direction for cut-scenes if badly done. A lot of 'jumping' that feels awkward and poorly timed.

Decent amount of 'pop-in' on graphical details (and even NPCs in places like the Hyperion, Nexus and occasionally on the Tempest) I expected it with my computer (since I only have a 680), but I've seen a lot of it in videos from people with high-end machines.

The removal of tactical pause and being able to direct squad-mates in their usage of powers is annoying.

Horrific AI. I had one enemy hop over a piece of cover, taking cover for half a second or so on each side before hopping back over to do the same thing on the other side for three minutes straight. Literally; my squad was dead, he was the last enemy.. and I just watched him do it for three minutes before I killed him. Had another enemy run away from me, as he was the last one alive, to the other side of the colony outpost and take cover.. then get out of cover and run to the other side of the colony to take cover. Never fired a shot.

Had a couple path-finding issues.. but open world, I expect it.

Fell through the world once already.

The scanner is annoying as shit. You want to scan stuff to get research points (or because you absolutely have to do it to advance the quest), but the process is annoying as hell. This is in part because of how slow it is, both in terms of moving around and it 'catching' targets to scan. Given the amount of scanning they expect you to do.. after the first couple times I was already beyond tired of it.

Galaxy map has a bunch of positives, but one huge negative; it's slow. I mean going from one place to another is slow because you're forced to go through a dumb animation of the ship swooping to the target (seen in first person view; you don't even get to keep the bridge view and take advantage of all the windows they put in...). Considering they got rid of the animation to get into the Nomad because it was annoying to do it everytime and slowed things down I was surprised by the decision to keep this in.

Positives? Once I got settled in combat.. I actually didn't mind it. Sure, I hated the loss of tactical pause, but the actual combat felt better to me than ME3. AI is a joke, but, when it was 'decent enough' the combat felt good. Nomad controls were also pretty good. Not having a gun on the damn thing feels stupid but it controls very well.

I'll probably hit up multiplayer tomorrow. I hope it's good because right now it might be the only thing that saves the game for me if the single player doesn't get better quickly.
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Reply #89 on: March 15, 2017, 09:56:33 PM

The removal of tactical pause and being able to direct squad-mates in their usage of powers is annoying.

I was already pretty dead set against this game before read this. Now? Fuck a bunch of that. Mass Effect was never a good enough shooter to remove tactical pause.

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Reply #90 on: March 15, 2017, 10:40:37 PM

As long as my squad mates aren't getting me killed I don't think I'm going to have an issue with no pause. ME 3 MP didn't have pausing (obviously) and some of us have already stated we thought that was the best part of the game so the shooty bits of ME 3 were very solid. As long as Andromeda is no worse in that area I don't think I'll care much.
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Reply #91 on: March 15, 2017, 11:39:54 PM

Mass Effect: The Hinterlands
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Reply #92 on: March 16, 2017, 06:53:06 AM

The removal of tactical pause and being able to direct squad-mates in their usage of powers is annoying.

I was already pretty dead set against this game before read this. Now? Fuck a bunch of that. Mass Effect was never a good enough shooter to remove tactical pause.
Wow. Yeah. Underscoring what I said about Bioware isn't Bioware anymore. Makes sense the MP team wouldn't understand the old Bioware SP basics.

Father mike
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Reply #93 on: March 16, 2017, 08:01:38 AM

Pre-ordering from GreenMan may have been a mistake.  I paid $20 less, but they don't distribute codes till the European release date. Ohhhhh, I see.

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Reply #94 on: March 16, 2017, 09:34:33 AM

Man, it looks like this is going to be the first Bioware game since Baldur's Gate that I don't buy on opening day. Somewhere, Margalis is chortling.
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Reply #95 on: March 17, 2017, 05:38:08 AM

Multi player seems ok so far. Controls seem awkward compared to ME3 multi player but that could just be because I'm getting back used to it.
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Reply #96 on: March 17, 2017, 05:40:35 AM

Heh, was reading the BSN forums to see how people are defending Bioware over not letting players change armour skins/types and weapons for our squad-mates (not even to the degree of ME2 or ME3), which has boiled down to; 'it removes the character agency of the squad mates if Ryder (the player) tells them what to wear/use.'. I.e.; it hurts the feelings of pixels. If it wasn't so stupid it would be hilarious.
... What BSN forums? Didn't they shut the official forums down like couple months back, and deleted everything that was there?
Velorath
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Reply #97 on: March 17, 2017, 06:02:55 AM

Multi player seems ok so far. Controls seem awkward compared to ME3 multi player but that could just be because I'm getting back used to it.

Hardest part in adjusting for me was the changes in cover in that for the most part you don't really stick to cover anymore. I ended up playing so much of the multiplayer that I didn't actually have time to make it to the end of the single player content they let you go through. It's hard to judge the game off what I did go through. Obviously the soulless looking characters are a bit distracting and some of the line deliveries from a few of the characters are a bit flat. Story-wise it's just to early for me to tell. I'm liking the set-up but it does go on a bit long (not nearly as long though as if you tried to get all the side quests done before leaving the Citadel for the first time in ME1).
Jade Falcon
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Reply #98 on: March 17, 2017, 06:45:38 AM

Cover almost feels like a hindrance, it doesn't feel like your in a strong point like ME3 had where your group could hold off waves. There always seems to be something coming up behind me now. Mouse and KB might alleviate that with being able to scan around easier then with the xbox controller. The biggest thing that jars me about the character models is the eyes seem to big for the heads, I keep waiting for them to pop out of my ryders face when she goes into conversation mode.   
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Reply #99 on: March 17, 2017, 08:10:40 AM

I'm enjoying it so far. The sky is falling early reviews are exactly what I expected - way overblown. If you go in looking to pick the game apart you'll certainly find things to complain about, but none of it is that bad.

Character Creation is sub par for a modern game, though I did appreciate that you can make very racially diverse characters. The expressions and lip sync are a bit laughable. I'm only a short ways in, but so far two of the three squad mates come across as interesting. First Bioware game in a while where the generic male companion you start with doesn't suffer from Carth-itis. And he's actually proven useful in combat, lobbing grenades at guys behind cover.

Its decently pretty on the XBox, with only a few minimal occasions of pop-in so far. The lighting is bad and ugly unfortunately. Space scenes are really good looking.

The space scanning bits are still annoying, but I cleared a whole cluster in under ten minutes. That would have taken an hour in ME2. Inventory system is passable. They moved your selection wheel to the button beside the start button, because the top buttons are mapped to powers now. They went with the ammo/clip approach, but there's no chasing fallen clips. Just run up to an ammo container to restock.

Crafting seems very indepth, because it appears they expect you to simply craft the type of weapon you plan to use rather than scouring the galaxy for one. Two mods slots per weapon, plus special mods you can bake in to things when you craft them. I noticed a nod to ME1 in an ammo mod that changes your gun to a cooldown system instead of clips.

Character progression is wide open, but you do pick an archetype to focus on. I like that I can build a stealth sniper, but dip in to Biotics a bit if I want to.

It feels a lot like DA:I, but unlike that game - the combat is actually fun.

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Ceryse
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Reply #100 on: March 17, 2017, 08:40:09 AM

... What BSN forums? Didn't they shut the official forums down like couple months back, and deleted everything that was there?

There's basically a fan-run version now. Slightly better than the old BSN forums in terms of content. Very slightly. Even gets the occasional Dev posting there.

I've now finished by 10 hours. Did everything possible before hitting the gating in the single player, and about four hours in the multiplayer.

All my previously noted issues remain. Had to add a couple more;

-- No quick-saving, during actual Priority missions you can't manual save, so you're stuck with auto-saves which can lead to having to re-do more bits than you'd like if you die/crash/exit.

-- A lot of 'talk-over', in that multiple dialogues can trigger at once and talk over each other, or out-right cancel an earlier dialogue. You can miss a lot of banter if you don't stop when it starts as there is a lot of banter -- party banter in particular is far heavier than in DA:I (so I gather, I always had the banter bug in DA:I so I never got much there at all).

-- Some audio issues; dialogues can sometimes skip the first few words audibly, so you need the sub-titles to read what wasn't said -- not very common, but common enough to be a bit annoying. There's an audio bug in the multiplayer that can make it hard to hear where enemies actually are (can sound like they are right beside/behind you when they aren't).

Multiplayer was fairly fun, however. I'm not the biggest fan of the jet-pack addition to the game, but it works fairly well in multiplayer, especially in giving it a different feel than ME3's multiplayer while also keeping what made ME3's multiplayer so fun. Fewer waves, but they tend to be harder than in ME3, which is another good change, imo.

All in all.. I have to admit I'm enjoying the game, but in the single-player especially there are so many small to medium issues that it does take you out of the game quite often to shake your head and wonder how they missed some of these issues. Game definitely needed another 3-6 months in the oven but the core of the game is decent enough to enjoy -- especially if you aren't a logic nazi or lore nerd.

This is, of course, barring any surprises beyond the gating in the single player. We all remember Kai Leng and the ending to ME3, so there's still some heavy potential for 'wtf!?'.
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Reply #101 on: March 17, 2017, 01:28:43 PM

My first reaction is surprise: maybe I don't remember Mass Effect 3 that much, but this does not look like a technical improvement in any department over that 5 years old game. 5 years, that's surprising. Not that I care too much as it still looks and dounds great, but it gives away a bit of a feeling that they might have worked on a budget not as large as its predecessors'.

Aside from that, I love the premise (a colony ship in truly unexplored space where we are the aliens) but I also admit that the first few hours left me lukewarm. Nothing particularly bad, but other than a few moments here and there I didn't feel anything particularly grabbing. And I am mostly referring to the characters I've met so far and the "screenplay" and "editing" of the "movie" I am playing. It's all a bit bland to me. For fairness, this happens to me with a lot of new TV shows as you still have to familiarise with the characters and learn to love or hate them, so I am pretty sure I will eventually like this game more than enough, but it is undeniable that so far I was hoping to be much more interested. And this is coming from someone who loved Mass Effect 3.

Ceryse
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Reply #102 on: March 17, 2017, 01:45:10 PM

My first reaction is surprise: maybe I don't remember Mass Effect 3 that much, but this does not look like a technical improvement in any department over that 5 years old game. 5 years, that's surprising. Not that I care too much as it still looks and dounds great, but it gives away a bit of a feeling that they might have worked on a budget not as large as its predecessors'.

Aside from that, I love the premise (a colony ship in truly unexplored space where we are the aliens) but I also admit that the first few hours left me lukewarm. Nothing particularly bad, but other than a few moments here and there I didn't feel anything particularly grabbing. And I am mostly referring to the characters I've met so far and the "screenplay" and "editing" of the "movie" I am playing. It's all a bit bland to me. For fairness, this happens to me with a lot of new TV shows as you still have to familiarise with the characters and learn to love or hate them, so I am pretty sure I will eventually like this game more than enough, but it is undeniable that so far I was hoping to be much more interested. And this is coming from someone who loved Mass Effect 3.

Just as an aside; Andromeda had roughly double the budget of Mass Effect 3 (including marketing).

Personally, a lot of my issues/annoyance/disappointment with Andromeda come from the fact I really enjoyed the original trilogy (with the exception of Kai Leng and the ending of ME3) and I'd been hoping for a return to the roots of the series with Andromeda.. and it just doesn't fair well.

There's some amusing side-by-side comparisons of NPC animations from ME1 and ME:A out there that really highlight how lack-lustre that aspect is in ME:A, nevermind some of the questionable design decisions that went for in ME:A.
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Reply #103 on: March 17, 2017, 03:51:55 PM

My first reaction is surprise: maybe I don't remember Mass Effect 3 that much, but this does not look like a technical improvement in any department over that 5 years old game. 5 years, that's surprising. Not that I care too much as it still looks and dounds great, but it gives away a bit of a feeling that they might have worked on a budget not as large as its predecessors'.

I think the character models and animations aren't as good, but the environment seems much improved (playing on a PC I built last year so I can run the game with pretty good settings). We don't really get to experience too much in the way of open planets to explore in the trial time, but in theory the areas are much bigger in scope than the corridors when spent much of the last two games going through.

I read somewhere that some of the reduced customization options are due to the mocap. Personally I'd rather they had just stuck with what they did in previous games.
Ceryse
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Reply #104 on: March 17, 2017, 04:20:47 PM


I think the character models and animations aren't as good, but the environment seems much improved (playing on a PC I built last year so I can run the game with pretty good settings). We don't really get to experience too much in the way of open planets to explore in the trial time, but in theory the areas are much bigger in scope than the corridors when spent much of the last two games going through.

I read somewhere that some of the reduced customization options are due to the mocap. Personally I'd rather they had just stuck with what they did in previous games.

As I understand it, the customisation issues are based on a couple things; squad customisation was limited due to 'making them more independent and their own people' as well as making squad AI easier to do and improve it (failed, imo, as I didn't see any real increase in squad AI proficiency). The Ryder facial customisation decisions and issues stem from deciding to use facial scanning technology instead of face parts being blended together; largely to get better looking presets and Ryders, as well as decrease the difficulty in attaining custom characters that don't look like shit (as past CCs from Bioware have made such things a bit difficult for a portion of the player base). Again, I think they failed in their goals.

The worlds themselves are easily the best looking of what they've done in the past. There's some lighting issues in certain locations (Nexus!), but the graphical quality of the worlds? I really liked them. It did, however, create a stark contrast between the great looking world and the not-so great looking characters stand out even more.

Considering the Bioware studio involved (the Montreal team, which only really did ME3's Omega DLC in the past) I'm not surprised at the end result.

They have, however, changed the streaming embargo for the game (for those with preview/press copies) today. Starting tomorrow they are able to stream beyond the SP-early access gating point (the vault).
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