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    Default Mass Effect Thoughts

    So, I was thinking about Mass Effect: Andromeda, and how one of the complaints is a lack of new aliens... you meet the Angara, and the Kett, and that's about it.

    But I was thinking about this.

    What we see in Mass Effect is the Milky Way, but what we see in Mass Effect: Andromeda isn't the Andromeda... it's one small part of Andromeda. It's a single cluster within Andromeda. A dense one, no doubt, with 38 star systems. Unlike the Milky Way, there's no Mass Effect relays to speed cluster-to-cluster traffic, which means that, unless you have a lot of races springing up all over the place, you're going to have few in the region we're looking at.
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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    Ok, but even if you want to argue that it makes sense to not meet many new species due to the setting...there's still the problem that they chose to use that setting instead of one more appropriate for a good story.

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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    Also the aliens are boring, which is probably the cardinal sin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    So, I was thinking about Mass Effect: Andromeda, and how one of the complaints is a lack of new aliens... you meet the Angara, and the Kett, and that's about it.

    But I was thinking about this.

    What we see in Mass Effect is the Milky Way, but what we see in Mass Effect: Andromeda isn't the Andromeda... it's one small part of Andromeda. It's a single cluster within Andromeda. A dense one, no doubt, with 38 star systems. Unlike the Milky Way, there's no Mass Effect relays to speed cluster-to-cluster traffic, which means that, unless you have a lot of races springing up all over the place, you're going to have few in the region we're looking at.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Ok, but even if you want to argue that it makes sense to not meet many new species due to the setting...there's still the problem that they chose to use that setting instead of one more appropriate for a good story.
    Honestly, I think the problem is that they didn't make a good game. Only having a minimum of new aliens is fine, and there is nothing wrong with the setting. But the game itself was a failure, and if you aren't having fun then everything starts to seem bad.
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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    My opinion on the game is quite different than the majority opinion. I actually enjoyed the game and still play it every so often. Though, I don't touch the multiplayer stuff, so that tells you a bit about what kind of games I like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldonauran View Post
    My opinion on the game is quite different than the majority opinion. I actually enjoyed the game and still play it every so often. Though, I don't touch the multiplayer stuff, so that tells you a bit about what kind of games I like.
    I'm liking it a lot, myself. It's at least as good as Mass Effect 1, with more flexible character creation.
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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    I liked Andromeda more than most people as well and I don't think it deserves the scorn. But it is difficult to shake off the feeling that we were promised a new start in a new galaxy and got the same old thing in new decorations.
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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    It's not so much the lack of unique alien lifeforms that disappoints me. Rather, the presence of old, recognizable ones almost feels like a bit of a deus ex machina to distract die-hard fans from a contrived plot. The concept of shuttling a half-dozen or so alien species in arks across the cosmos is not very palatable to me, not when measured against the comparative grandeur of the Protheans and the Milky Way extinction cycle. The alien races of Mass Effect felt real, as did their politics, economies, martial histories, and so forth. The whole thing was fleshed out. I understand that we were probably left in the dark in Andromeda due to the comparative lack of data about alien races. But from the first time I saw Corporal Jenkins gunned down on Eden Prime--though the animation quality now makes me cringe--Mass Effect (the first game) has never failed to pull me into its sci-fi intrigue. Mass Effect: Andromeda did not do that for me--not as a standalone game, at least, and unfortunately, we are unlikely to see Andromeda as anything but a one-off. Still, I liked Andromeda, and played it to completion. It was fun, and possibly even a mechanical improvement over previous games in many ways.

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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    I also liked Andromeda, liked the setup and the Ryders. I didn't play it before it got fixed in the patches, so I can understand that a buggy meme-able release gave it a bad rap. But while the story wasn't the greatest, I consider Andromeda has got the best gameplay of the series. I liked that I wasn't locked into a class, the jump jet, and I kinda liked preferred playing Ryder to Shepard, felt freer.

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    Andromeda was a study in frustration for me. Yes, it got a far worse rap than it deserved - it was merely mediocre, not bad, even at release with the worst of the bugs and animation issues. But the fact that it stayed mediocre even after those were fixed points to the more fundamental problems present in the game. Bioware could have had something great, had they not abandoned it so soon. (Of course, at the time we had no view behind the curtain to know that Anthem was imploding at that very moment as well.)

    One of Andromeda's biggest problems was its tone:
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    It was trying to present "you are a desperate explorer struggling to survive and eke out a living for your dying people" alongside "half the people that came to this new frontier with you are violent sociopaths, feel free to gun them down indiscriminately before they do that to you!" Over and over you hear how the Milky Way refugees don't have the numbers for a war with anyone, but they certainly have the numbers for you to gun them down en masse. Moreover, it was supposed to be primarily scientists and farmers going on this trip, why are there so many ex-military and thugs? A few Milky Way opponents would have been okay, but an entire faction of "Outlaws" gives us the Division problem (their version being "rioters" and "looters") where the narrative has to contort itself into pretzels to make this kind of mass murder without any sort of due process fit thematically. Mowing down enemies that look like you was fine in the densely-populated and mercenary/PMC-heavy Milky Way, but in Andromeda it just feels off. They must have realized the dissonance themselves, because there's a few throwaway lines from Lexi about how the cryosleep might have imbalanced a bunch of people that maybe they were planning to explore further in DLC but never got the chance to.


    Another big problem of Andromeda was its gameplay - yes, that includes the combat.
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    For those who claim it's the best in the series, it's true there's a lot of innovations going for it - most notably adding the third dimension via jumping and airdashing, and the ability to take cover on any terrain obstacle rather than needing premade arenas with built-in chest-high-walls. But for every step forward since the original trilogy, Andromeda took several steps back. The amazing combo system of ME3 was heavily diluted both in variety and in sheer power, rendering most caster builds weaksauce especially at higher difficulties, and at launch before a series of patches went in, being a pure caster was almost useless until several rounds of buffs brought them up to merely average. We lost a ton of the fun powers that existed in ME3 as well - and I don't just mean the loss of flashy stuff like Shadow/Havoc Strike, Decoy and Dominate (no matter how awesome those would be in Andromeda's more open combat environments!) - I mean even the more basic series staples like Warp, Stasis and Sabotage being inexplicably gone too. In fact, the devs seem to have forgotten that taking out Warp and Stasis left us with no way to prime shielded enemies at a distance, which meant that one of the best ways to be an "Adept" in Andromeda is to run into melee because of Annihilation's terrible range. And it wasn't just the powers - the weapons also lost a lot of variety and punch, with no SMG category (the few that were kept got folded into pistols), no heavy weapons category, and classics like the Saber, Locust, and GPS being removed.

    What I dislike most of all about the gameplay, is that they dumped the perfectly functional power wheel in favor of the "profiles" system that in practice meant only having 3 powers at a time and made swapping away from those three extremely clunky due to long cooldowns.


    Lastly, the exploration:
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    I was excited that Andromeda would give us more to do on each planet than explore a single square mile of terrain like ME1 did, or even worse reduce any new planet to a single shooting gallery like ME2 and 3 did. But in practice, you still ended up with miles and miles of nothing between points of interest, and driving around in the Nomad just wasn't fun enough on its own that once you heard all the banter for your chosen squad. Researching and unlocking various vehicle upgrades for the Nomad (even possibly flight) could have gone a long way to improving your commute, but as-is it was really boring; the only things that made planetary exploration, halfway bareable were the fast travel beacons, which is damning when you consider the best way to get around is by skipping the travel system if you can.


    This all might sound like I'm down on the game but I'm not - like I said, it had fantastic potential, and could have been great if Bioware stuck with it. But they ditched it in favor of Anthem, so now I'm left hoping it will have been worth it and that they don't ditch that either.

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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    I haven't actually played Andromeda, or ME3 for that matter--when the latter came out I was in the middle of an EA boycott, and by the time I'd decided to lift my self-imposed ban on them, the news about the ending was pretty well known and I just didn't see the point. As I've said before, though, I think the series fell apart story-wise in ME2. It was better than ME1 in gameplay terms, don't get me wrong, and the side-quests and companion quests were some of the finest I've ever played, but the main plot was just an illogical, badly thought out mess which started by dumping every interesting hook left from the ending of the first game and got worse from there on.

    With regard to Psyren's comment about Anthem: the signs are already on the wall for that, I think, with them already having scaled back their original update commitments. I hope that's actually a good sign and that EA is going to let Bioware work on something they're actually good at, rather than take them round the back and plant a bullet in their head, but we'll see.

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    I agree that while getting rid of classes (which had grown increasingly stale by ME3) was welcome, the sets of three powers absolutely were not. I don't know what the point of it was. Making them easier to handle on consoles? They got spooked over the possibility of freely combining powers? Beats me.

    The game aggressively pushing an in-universe explanation for it made it worse. I don't care about this on-the-spot respec, people. I just want to play the character I envisioned. It wasn't so bad when I played a combat specialist, but it was a chore when I tried to play a biotic/tech hybrid. Normally, complaints about casters (be they biotics, mages or whatever else) not being awesome enough get no sympathy from me, but this once I have to agree. Installing a mod that eliminates the cooldown on powers after switching, but pauses their normal recharge when they're not active, helped a bit.

    Honestly, I feel like the mechanics suffered from a similar problem as the story - we were promised something new, but it goes halfway. The classes are gone, but the combat/biotics/tech split still exists and still doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Or rather, biotics are a distinct category, but the combat/tech categories are arbitrary. The game strips away the classes and rearranges powers, but leaves it half-finished and a bit of a mess.

    Though this reminds me that the single worst thing about Andromeda is SAM. There's just no excuse for this plot-solving, omni-competent glorified Windows paperclip that never shuts up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I haven't actually played Andromeda, or ME3 for that matter--when the latter came out I was in the middle of an EA boycott, and by the time I'd decided to lift my self-imposed ban on them, the news about the ending was pretty well known and I just didn't see the point. As I've said before, though, I think the series fell apart story-wise in ME2. It was better than ME1 in gameplay terms, don't get me wrong, and the side-quests and companion quests were some of the finest I've ever played, but the main plot was just an illogical, badly thought out mess which started by dumping every interesting hook left from the ending of the first game and got worse from there on.

    With regard to Psyren's comment about Anthem: the signs are already on the wall for that, I think, with them already having scaled back their original update commitments. I hope that's actually a good sign and that EA is going to let Bioware work on something they're actually good at, rather than take them round the back and plant a bullet in their head, but we'll see.
    Both No Man's Sky and Destiny were able to scale back and they returned rejuvenated and fairly strong. So I'm remaining optimistic. (Also, Anthem is still getting updates.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    I agree that while getting rid of classes (which had grown increasingly stale by ME3) was welcome, the sets of three powers absolutely were not. I don't know what the point of it was. Making them easier to handle on consoles? They got spooked over the possibility of freely combining powers? Beats me
    My best guess is they wanted it to transfer more cleanly to multiplayer, where being limited to 3 powers makes much more sense since you can't pause the action to bring up a power wheel. But such a limit makes even less in-universe sense for the Pathfinder than it did for Shepard, who also didn't have it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Though this reminds me that the single worst thing about Andromeda is SAM. There's just no excuse for this plot-solving, omni-competent glorified Windows paperclip that never shuts up.
    I was fine with SAM in theory; it makes sense that an AI is one of the more believable ways to figure out alien technology quickly (see the Expanse.) SAM's main problem is that he was boring; unlike EDI he had no motivations of his own and no possible conflict with ours, so making him a character was pointless. They also establish that there are 4 more of him running around out there, all of which are rendered useless immediately at the start of the story - so it's like, why bother? There was so little thought put into him.

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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Last night, I dreamed I was made governor of a krogan colony. A good portion of the dream was spent trying to come up with socially acceptable alternatives to head-butts.
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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    you think the premise of the game could have been better if it was made as a completely different genre? Maybe a city-builder or civilization-type to replicate the "rebuilding society" thing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    My best guess is they wanted it to transfer more cleanly to multiplayer, where being limited to 3 powers makes much more sense since you can't pause the action to bring up a power wheel. But such a limit makes even less in-universe sense for the Pathfinder than it did for Shepard, who also didn't have it.
    One of the good things about the ME3 multiplayer was that it was built up from the singleplayer experience, instead of the SP being altered to fit it. If the 3-power nonsense is indeed due to that, then like Inquisition, Andromeda tripped over altering SP to match MP.

    I was fine with SAM in theory; it makes sense that an AI is one of the more believable ways to figure out alien technology quickly (see the Expanse.) SAM's main problem is that he was boring; unlike EDI he had no motivations of his own and no possible conflict with ours, so making him a character was pointless. They also establish that there are 4 more of him running around out there, all of which are rendered useless immediately at the start of the story - so it's like, why bother? There was so little thought put into him.
    In addition to being more interesting, EDI was also less omni-competent (though she got close in ME3). SAM solves so many problems on its own that Ryder really feels like an organic SAM delivery device. It's lazy. And no one seems terribly concerned over an AI that can brute-force every security system known to the colonists or Angara.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    In addition to being more interesting, EDI was also less omni-competent (though she got close in ME3). SAM solves so many problems on its own that Ryder really feels like an organic SAM delivery device. It's lazy. And no one seems terribly concerned over an AI that can brute-force every security system known to the colonists or Angara.
    I liked Andromeda enough that I tried to write fanfic continuing the story ... and SAM needs a nerf or five. Beyond the power level ... there's also the omnipresence. As long as Ryder has SAM, they have an active communication link to Ark Hyperion.

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    Yes, SAM is the kind of thing that's going to have to be written around sooner or later. We'll probably see a lot of it in the unlikely event we get a new game starring Ryder.
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    Honestly I Imagine SAM was probably to push for normalizing later on down the road and making synthesis the outcome in the Milky Way.

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    I just hope that one of the SAMs goes rogue and you have to hunt it down.
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    Man, you really get good at picking out the choke points in a Mass Effect game. "I'm gonna put off going to the Archon... that looks like a 'open up more of the map and exploration' thing."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Last night, I dreamed I was made governor of a krogan colony. A good portion of the dream was spent trying to come up with socially acceptable alternatives to head-butts.
    You mean you want your Krogans to kick themselves in the Quads? ^^


    I was also into Andromeda quite a bit. I liked the combat (if not the limitation to 3 powers) a LOT (even if with Warp my second favourite power was missing), actually liked 3 of the companions, and as an avid "build your own stuff" liked the weapon/Armor construction and research.

    But what it made better regarding game play (yes, even with the reduced comboes, I found ME too gimmicky at the end anyway) it lost in flair.

    If they had not called it mass effect but only Andromeda and had said "this is an alternate Timeline people" I would not ahve felt so cheated, but if a Mass Effect Game fails regarding making you FEEL it and pulling you in, its not a Mass Effect Game (heck, even 3 did this, it only dropped the ball at the ending and slightly with the Multiplayer "must" for readiness).


    So yeah, I would have prefered them to fix a lot with the teased Quarian DLC, sadly that did not happen....
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    Since we're on a Mass Effect thread, I've actually had a strong itch to replay the series lately. It was easily one of my favorite games of all time...but the ending is so bad that I can't make myself invest the time just to get frustrated with it again. This must be how Game of Thrones fans feel, where the ending of something is so poorly written that it retroactively ruins the enjoyment of everything that came before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Since we're on a Mass Effect thread, I've actually had a strong itch to replay the series lately. It was easily one of my favorite games of all time...but the ending is so bad that I can't make myself invest the time just to get frustrated with it again. This must be how Game of Thrones fans feel, where the ending of something is so poorly written that it retroactively ruins the enjoyment of everything that came before.
    As a (former?) fan of both, I can confirm. I kinda feel that way about Star Wars too, but that one at least has the old expanded universe and I can mine the good parts and pretend they're the true story.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narkis View Post
    As a (former?) fan of both, I can confirm. I kinda feel that way about Star Wars too, but that one at least has the old expanded universe and I can mine the good parts and pretend they're the true story.
    I haven't bothered with the latest movie, so at least I haven't had that ruined for me. Episodes 7 and 8 were steaming piles of garbage, so I didn't even bother seeing 9.
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    I never understood that. I replayed ME2 and ME3 a couple of years ago and had fun, ending or no ending. In fact, I understand that the disappointing ending was inevitable and I'm more aware of the flaws that run throughout the series leading to it, and I still have fun. I just don't see the point of letting a bad ending ruin everything that came prior. I don't have the energy to be this angry and bitter.

    As far as the ending itself goes, I went from being angry with it like everyone else, then getting over it after a year or two, then mostly being really tired with how frequently discussions about the series devolve into rehashing the same arguments again.
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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    I never understood that. I replayed ME2 and ME3 a couple of years ago and had fun, ending or no ending. In fact, I understand that the disappointing ending was inevitable and I'm more aware of the flaws that run throughout the series leading to it, and I still have fun. I just don't see the point of letting a bad ending ruin everything that came prior. I don't have the energy to be this angry and bitter.
    I disagree with the idea that a disappointing ending was inevitable. I think it counts have been very memorable and much better if they hadn't spent so much time on the kid I saw for 5 seconds and Kai Leng. Neither one of which really added much to the story. Add that they wasted most of their time to the way that survival means the utter destruction of the galactic community and of course it's hated.

    As far as the ending itself goes, I went from being angry with it like everyone else, then getting over it after a year or two, then mostly being really tired with how frequently discussions about the series devolve into rehashing the same arguments again.
    Well it's not like there is really anything new for there to be a new hashing.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    I never understood that. I replayed ME2 and ME3 a couple of years ago and had fun, ending or no ending. In fact, I understand that the disappointing ending was inevitable and I'm more aware of the flaws that run throughout the series leading to it, and I still have fun. I just don't see the point of letting a bad ending ruin everything that came prior. I don't have the energy to be this angry and bitter.
    Although I have only played the first game, and not even to completion (although I did enjoy the experience overall, even though I thought the combat in 1 was a bit clunky, or was it just me being bad?), I think their frustration has nothing to do with hate/spite/etc., but with passion. This is the kind of situation that only ever happens when you where so much into something, because you strongly liked it, that the let down is spirit crushing.
    Last edited by heronbpv; Today at 09:13 AM.
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Name_Here View Post
    I disagree with the idea that a disappointing ending was inevitable.
    I dunno--after the absolute pig's ear of a main plot that was Mass Effect 2 it would have taken something pretty special to rescue the series storyline, IMHO, and we never got it.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: Mass Effect Thoughts

    I think Kai Leng was a far bigger problem in ME3 than the ending. He relied too much on special mechanics, and felt like a game cheat, without ever really giving me a reason to care.
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