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Old 03-19-2017, 02:41 PM   #101
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I watched a bit farther and now I'm thinking on the nature of sidequests, and how writing there has to take into account reflecting real-world logic and giving the player stuff to do.

 
One of the early sidequests TetraNinja stumbled upon was some murder investigation. And I thought - hold on.

There are proper authorities in place at the Nexus, yes? Tann's competence aside, he was next in line and he's in overall command. Nexus also has Kandros, their head of security/military. The authorities in place have examined the available evidence and passed judgment based on this evidence. The suspect was judged to be guilty.

Let's skip for the moment the fact that all the evidence and the body abandoned on Eos were written (by the writers) to seem sketchy so the PC could butt in and reopen the case. But... why is the Pathfinder even allowed to dip his fingers into this? What authority does the Pathfinder have here? As I understand, the Pathfinder's job is to find habitable planets and generally do colonization stuff, not investigating murders. Leave that to the proper, established authorities, no?

Of course, it makes for a fairly interesting side-quest, but one has to wonder why the Pathfinder is being treated like Spectres back in the Milky Way. And given how Alec Ryder seems to have been this awesome dude, I understand every NPC who basically tells Ryder "fuck off" in whatever interpretation of this phrase. He's been the Pathfinder for what, a few hours? Kid, your dad was the Pathfinder, you're just a grunt until you prove yourself. But okay, Alec passed the title to you, PC, so fine. You get a shiny new ship and go Pathfind. But I find it a bit immersion-breaking that as soon as Alec dies, most NPCs are like, "yeah, you're the Pathfinder, cool. You're clearly awesome and stuff."

In the Shepard trilogy, it made in-universe sense for Shepard to have some authority right off the bat, being a famous N7 and then becoming the first human Spectre and immediately sent off to hunt Saren.

I'm sorry, I'm just having a real hard time buying this, but I suppose this isn't the first time BW has done this - the Warden in DAO was exactly the same way, even the game acknowledged it when Morrigan asked Alistair why he gave up command. So on its own, I suppose this wouldn't be egregious in MEA, but it's on top of everything else that seems... well, stupid.
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:00 PM   #102
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I really enjoyed the ten hour trial, but I'm going to start with the bad:

When I first started playing, my fps was absolute garbage and I was pretty disappointed, but it turned out that my graphics drivers were out of date. I can now play the game with no performance issues on my GTX 970 after updating the drivers, so make sure yours are up to date if this is a problem for you.

There are animation problems. The facial animations have this weird range where they either seem really good or absolutely terrible. There are more terrible ones than good ones, but in particular I felt Dr. Lexi had especially good animation. As for the terrible ones, it almost looks like the cheek rigging is fucked up somehow? The mouth/cheeks don't seem to move quite right.

The character creator is fairly disappointing. The presets almost all look terrible, especially for female characters. Most of them are pretty unattractive. This isn't that surprising, Bioware presets are usually godawful, but it's compounded by the fact that you can't change anything about the face except proportions -- so you can change mouth height, width, etc, but you can't change the overall mouth model. This maks it harder to make a character who actually looks good. However, I will say that I eventually was able to make both a male and female Ryder that I liked, so it is doable.

I ran into one major bug, where the audio stopped working properly. Ambient noise stopped working, and when I would fire my assault rifle, only the first shot would make noise, and the rest were silent. This seemed to be brought on by shooting my gun during a period where the ambient noise dampened so that Cora and my PC could talk, but I couldn't reproduce it (didn't spend too long trying, to be honest). It could only be fixed by continuing to play until my objective updated, which seemed to kind of reset things. Annoying, but one major bug in ten hours really isn't bad.

Several other minor bugs cropped up. At one point during a fight at Outpost 2 on Eos, I used my jetpack to fly up, and when I landed I slipped between two platforms and fell 'under' the outpost. I was able to just jetpack up and escape, which is why I considered it minor. There were also one or two transitional glitches where animations or audio didn't loop quite properly. These minor bugs felt like they really should have been caught in QA.

That basically does it for the negatives, for me. These issues were present, but not overwhelming. That said, I am very disappointed by the fact that Bioware clearly just didn't put in the QA time they should have. These are all things that should have been found and dealt with before release. It seems clear that the release of this game must have been rushed.

On to the positives!

Combat is REALLY fun! I had a great time jumping around with my jetpack. The mobility and speed the jetpack gives you really adds a new dimension to the combat, and it feels really fun and fluid. Powers also feel and look amazing.I had the most fun as a biotic, but tech abilities are really well-made, too. There are a lot of options to choose between and it really feels like you can freely develop your Ryder into whatever kind of soldier you want.

I did not really have time to do much with profiles. I chose to do two characters, so that I could see the difference between male and female Ryder, so with each character I only was able to unlock one profile other than my starting one. The profile bonuses do seem powerful, but they are almost all passive so I suspect they won't 'feel' that impactful to most players.

Guns! Guns feel cool and the shooting mechanics seem tight. I played on keyboard and mouse and the controls felt very good to me (as opposed to something like Dragon Age Inquisition, which in my opinion controls terribly on keyboard and mouse). There also seems to be a much wider variety in guns than in past Mass Effect games. The only thing that bothered me a bit about guns is that occasionally I did feel like the guns' damage was undertuned compared to the damage/cooldown on powers. Admittedly the powers should definitely be really strong, but I feel like the damage guns do could be a bit stronger. However, I was using pretty basic weapons the whole time, so the 'balance' of gun damage might change with future upgrades.

Environments: the game is drop dead gorgeous. I actually think Habitat 7 is not necessarily the best place to start this game, because it almost looks 'samey' to me, but when you get to Eos, the haunting desolate beauty of the desert is just incredible. There were numerous points in the demo where I just stopped and stared for a minute because of how gorgeous the locations I was traveling through were.

Leveling mechanics, like profiles, weren't something I was able to explore as fully as I might have liked to due to time constraints. However, I have to say there are a TON of powers and passive abilities to freely invest in as you see fit. It seems like there are a lot of different interesting ways to build the Pathfinder, and I am definitely pretty satisfied with this aspect.

The changes to the paragon/renegade system seem really really good to me. I felt a lot more free to express a nuanced character with this system. I don't think there was ever really a situation where I felt like none of my options represented what my character would say. Clearly that is a very subjective thing, but for me I felt like dialogue was well implemented. It's also pretty cool that the personality you build for your pathfinder can affect other parts of the game as well.

I also really enjoyed the people I was chatting with. Squadmates seem interesting and dynamic. My favorite squadmate so far is Cora. It's hard to describe, but I think Bioware really nailed an aspect of your relationship with Cora that is hard to pin down: Cora is your second in command, and she has your back. It sounds silly to say it like that, but going into unknown situations as an inexperienced Pathfinder feels a lot better when you have Cora's experience and knowledge backing you up.

Liam has a personality, which is good, since Bioware has been known to forget adding one of those to squadmates now and again.

Vetra is interesting. I felt like I didn't get to know her very well, but I want to know more. I flirted with her a bit (she is apparently a romance option for male and female Ryder).

PeeBee ended up being much less annoying than expected, although I'm still not sure I like this character archetype that Bioware is so fond of. It's the cloudcuckoolander Sera archetype, the one where the character is OFF THE WALL and RANDOM and *holds up spork*. Or so I gather from promotional materials/what little bit I saw of her. Perhaps PeeBee will have unknown depths.

Drack is the absolute boss. I like this guy already. We're gonna get along great.

STORY.

There's been a fair bit of complaining about the story here, and I have to say that I really didn't feel anything was jarringly wrong or stupid while playing. Personally, I got totally swept up in the narrative of exploration and finding a new home. I really like this story so far, and I think it has a lot of potential. The big things like the Andromeda Initiative appeal to me, but the smaller things, like trying to live up to your dad's legend and fill his shoes -- those really work for me too.

I really like this story, and I think it is going to be a lot of fun.

Finally, the most important bit that I'd like to say: this game feels like a Mass Effect game. I can't codify that or explain it in an objective way. It just does.

I preordered after playing the demo, for what it's worth.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:32 PM   #103
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I really enjoyed the demo.

The animations are bad. I won't even defend them. I'm not sure if its laziness or poor implementation or a lack of oversight/quality control, but the animations are just awful, and even detract from the voice acting. Except in the case of Director Tann. Voice is immediately identifiable as Kumail Nanjiana who I normally like. I've enjoyed him in everything I've seen him in, but goddamn he sounds like he is reading lines straight from a script for the first time. The aliens look amazing, but the incredibly noticeable difference in the animations of defaults and customs is so disappointing.


I was completely incapable of making a male RydeI liked, because default Ryderlooks like a college frat kid to me. And whenever I got to a Ryder I did like, I ended up hating them immediately upon seeing them animated in game, or seeing the mismatch of character to voice. Because while Scott's voice is that of a mid 20s male, some of the (uneditable) skin textures do not fit, and my grizzled combat vet late 30s custom Ryder just does not match. I'm hoping the "easy sharing" option works out for me and I see a Ryder that works for me.

The majority of my trial was spent out and about Habitat 7 and Eos, with a little time exploring the nexus to cover the quests given to me. I'm a little completionist so I tried to finish off every area as I passed through it.

Combat feels amazing, squads feel real, action seems good. Controlling the Nomad on PC seemed lackluster to me, but I'm sure I'll adjust with some practice. Switching shoulders with the alt-key consistently tabbed me out because I would hit the windows key instead. Not ideal. I need a way to disable that key.

I only got to level 4, and my adept seemed very, very weak on insanity. The inability to set up detonations with squad powers means I have to be very tactical in the way I play. It took me a bit of getting used to, but judicial use of powers works. In ME3, my adept play was CC some, blow up others, try to get my detonations up asap to clear out little guys before overload priming and detonating big guys. In ME:A, trying to pull+throw someone gives you very unsatisfying explosions. If you don't get environmental damage from force, the detonations and pull+throw combo does about 75% of a grunt's health. I can't control any of my squad's powers to clear out shields, and I relied on my traditional bullets quite a bit because of my long cds. Not overly long, but not <2 seconds like in ME3.

BUT, then I realized the pull things to use as shields thing is just an alternative use of pull, and that the throw power in conjunction actually targets really well. Suddenly, throwing a grunt INTO a "Destined" (level 2 enemy minion with shields+minigun) basically removes shields and staggers them so that I can start blasting away. Then you have the crazy shit like this or this. I tried out the multiplayer to see how it fit in with the single player campaign and was pretty immediately hooked. That shit was fun.

The combat feels good, and solid. Jump jets have no cooldown and respond really well.

I dunno. I feel that the story may really suck and the dialogue/animations may be dick the entire way through. But I still had a TON of fun playing through.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:46 AM   #104
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Why do I have to wait two extra days for the release? Soooo not fair.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:20 AM   #105
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Why do I have to wait two extra days for the release? Soooo not fair.
Right there with you. Really annoying.
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Old 03-20-2017, 02:07 PM   #106
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Why do I have to wait two extra days for the release? Soooo not fair.
Because you're European, and therefore deserving of punishment apparently.

Or, to paraphrase Yahtzee, you can choose to think of it as a tax for living in Europe. Probably better for your blood pressure that way.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:30 PM   #107
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Because you're European, and therefore deserving of punishment apparently.

Or, to paraphrase Yahtzee, you can choose to think of it as a tax for living in Europe. Probably better for your blood pressure that way.
Still blaming us for Hitler? Not cool, not cool.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:06 PM   #108
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Still blaming us for Hitler? Not cool, not cool.
I was thinking more Merkel, but that works too I suppose.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:12 PM   #109
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Why do I have to wait two extra days for the release? Soooo not fair.
You can use VPN to play today like everyone, I can confirm that it works.

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Old 03-20-2017, 08:32 PM   #110
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say what you will, but I'm actually really enjoying andromeda so far.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:01 PM   #111
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I'm having a ton of fun.

VPN to India for early release. Used Tunnel bear. Restarted computer, tunnel bear set to India, log into Origin and started the game, then turned origin offline and turned off tunnel bear.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:11 PM   #112
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Why India? Isn't Andromeda out already in the States?

Disregard that, timezones are confusing.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:01 AM   #113
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Not another action-RPG, open-world, crafting, solo MMO game. I'm so tired of this. Even Zelda's jumped the bandwagon.

Anyway, I won't be pre-ordering it anymore since it's beginning to look like your generic AAA game hyped to the max (Fallout 4). Also burnt out playing Zelda and Horizon Z but yeah...

P.S.

Holy crap, just compare the freaking artwork (facial expressions, emotions, voice acting etc.) for FFXV and ME:A. Worlds of difference. What the actual shit Bioware? Alpha release for $60 USD?
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:30 PM   #114
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Bought the game on the way home from work, finished the first mission on the planet. Game is decently fun so far. Not surprised. Graphics are hit or miss. The world stuff is fine, character models are terrible, but everyone knows that already. Sometimes they look alright. Other times, everyone looks like a waterhead. VA is mediocre. None of that really detracts from the actual gameplay which is pretty good. Too early into the plot to really comment, but it's sort of generic so far, though there is a fair amount of suspension of disbelief required so early into the game.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:10 PM   #115
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First late package since I got Prime more than a year ago and it stings.
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:50 AM   #116
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First late package since I got Prime more than a year ago and it stings.
Now you feel my pain. SUFFFEEEEEER!
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:35 AM   #117
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Played through the First hour or so, was pleasantly surprised when I accidentally ran across one of the ruins and took the optional quest. Watching the Dad chew you out on multiple playthroughs actually didn't happen for me, got praised for checking it out instead.

Dad was less Jerk!Dad and more likeable padre which was cool. Playing Inflitrator? Or the similar class, looked interesting.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:30 PM   #118
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So far, I've played quite a bit of Andromeda. Overall, I think it's a really solid game. There are some issues; some unique to Andromeda and others Mass Effect style issues.

So far, I have found the Asari ark and the Turian ark and I'm at the point where I have found the Exile planet and the Krogan colony. I'm not really sure how far into the game that is but anyone else who has gotten that far should know. I have settled two planets if I'm no mistaken.

My impression of the game is that it's more or less Mass Effect 1 with a looooot better gameplay. There's more of an emphasis on exploration which I like and exploring is fun for the most part. The planets are a lot better than in Mass Effect 1 where they were pretty much empty drive spaces and the Nomad is more fun to drive somehow.

A cool thing I only noticed when reading other people's experiences is that Ryder says different things depending on what type of response you choose when prompted. I've generally selected casual and heartfelt responses which means my Ryder is generally sarcastic, kind or really casual depending on the situation without any prompt from me. It makes Ryder more me I guess.

I also like how they handle character interactions in the game. I can't really remember ME3 too well atm, but iirc characters were more or less locked to their room but in Andromeda, they appear in different parts of the ship and have conversations with each other. There are also more interactions between crew members which is quite cool. Jaal and Liam have a cool moment regarding armor, Lexi and Peebee have the ongoing distrust and there was a moment where Peebee, Lexi have a conversation about Turians within earshot of Vetra and so on. Just really cool character interactions happening all around.

One thing that no review mentioned though that I loathe is this one enemy in the game called a Councillor. On insanity, their orbs take forever to kill, and then you have to go through their hp, which also takes forever, and then they get a new orb and fuck those guys. There was one which took me like half an hour to kill. They aren't even dangerous, just tedious.

Alright, I found another really annoying enemy. Destroyers. A million shields, a million armor. Actually dangerous this time so at least it's better!
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:49 PM   #119
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They are a bitch on multiplayer. I got a widow in the first pack I bought (got a 20k pack with my in game currency) so I'm really enjoying running around as an infiltrator. The widow one-shots all the easy enemies with any hit, and kills most of the shielded enemies with one headshot.

But the councilors (I think they are called ascendants? in MP) need a shot to the orb and 2 shots to the body to kill. I'm not fast enough to headshot because just reloading the widow eats most of their vulnerable time. But it seems like inevitably I'm left to deal with the ascendants on my own in every match I play.


I'm level 11 just entering my 2nd planet now with a ton to backtrack to finish on Eos, but to me it seems like there are a lot of positives and I'm really enjoying it.


Updated Pros:
  • Combat is a shining star of this game. The combinations of abilities are so interesting, and the 3 skill loadout is something I'm finding to be fun, actually. Kind of reminds me of deckbuilding games where you have a limited number of slots to use, requiring a focus to your game. I really want to try out this charge/annihilation build to see if it can cut it on insanity.
  • The animation of the game is actually amazing. Cutscenes and conversations are definitely subpar, shit-tier. But the vast majority of my time in combat and exploring is amazing, the environmental details are so good. Maybe it's because I don't game much with single player RPGs (last one was ME3 actually) but it's such an improvement over the OT that I'm really just struck by how great shit looks sometimes.
  • The conversation system feels great. Paragon/Renegade had its upsides, but this just works better. When I'm struck with a choice I'm having to actually consider what the consequences of that choice might be instead of having it color coded. Picking science or military for the first settlement? That doesn't really seem like a moral choice but I feel like it would've been renegade military, paragon science and you'd have to stick with one or the other. And I feel that my Ryder is actually unique, considering my 4 options of responses.
  • They took the "crew moving around the ship" thing from ME3 and turned it up to full blast. My crew feels alive and their interactions are amazing. They feel like real people instead of NPCs in their quarters that are waiting for me to come talk to them.


CONS
  • The animations are godawful.
  • The traveling animations are really tedious.
  • The space bar skipping through conversations with subtitles on seems to sometimes skip through multiple lines, which sucks.
  • I'm always itching to get back into the action, back into the exploration, because it's so much better at worldbuilding than conversing with NPCs. I'm not sure if that's because the animating is so bad or the world is so good, or a combo of both.
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:09 PM   #120
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Having played it some more, I'm finding a fair amount of weird glitches, most related to the animations in some way (such as talking to someone leaning on a railing, they turn around while leaning over, animate straightening up and talking to you, and then when the conversation's done, they're leaning on nothing with their back now to the railing). And don't even get me started on Jaal's cape; that goddamn thing is seizure inducing.

Also, the UI is clearly designed for filthy console peasants, and they did a pretty horrible job porting it to PC. Not to mention the horrible framedrops that render the menu unusable for ~3 seconds after opening it.

And yet, beyond that, I really have zero qualms with the game. There's a couple of weak elements of the story (primarily, I just don't like the "your dad was the Pathfinder, now you are, for no apparent reason" thing), but on the whole, the story and gameplay are both fantastic. If they fix(ed) the piss-poor animations, this would very likely be my game of the year.
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