Shamecast: Mass Effect Andromeda

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jul 8, 2018

Filed under: Notices 70 comments

I really did intend for this to be a more positive stream. I deliberately aimed for doing a quest I liked, but then some open-world busywork got in the way and I spent most of the two hours just picking at things.


Link (YouTube)

Mass Effect Andromeda is a hot mess of a game, even after all the post-release patches. But underneath the technological jank and cringy dialog are some really good ideas. I’ll be doing a full retrospective on this series at some point in the future, but for now if you want to talk Andromeda with me the best thing to do is just stop by and say “Hi!” in the chat during a stream. I plan to do another stream this coming Wednesday. I’ll have more details later in the week.

 


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70 thoughts on “Shamecast: Mass Effect Andromeda

  1. Thomas says:

    I wish this game was much smaller. It would be easier to appreciate the good ideas behind it if they weren’t spread out _so_ thin.

    This video is a perfect example, you wanted to do something fun and they just buried it with busy work. Really uninteractive busy work at that – finding the Transponder site does almost nothing to ‘reward’ you for putting the time into it. Not atmosphere, not ship logs, not loot, not AP points, even the conversation wasn’t good.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Havent you learned anything from e3?People want it BIGGER!!They applaud for volume,not quality

      1. BlueHorus says:

        I was under the impression that people love exclusivity.
        This game is only being released on one of the three available $400+ consoles! this is obviously done with consumers in mind!

        Who wouldn’t cheer something like that?

    2. Liessa says:

      Yeah, this game is a good example of how the current obsession with ‘open world’ is damaging the industry. That kind of thing was never one of Bioware’s strengths; they were always about the story and characters. The trouble with blindly following a trend is that you’ll end up competing with people who’ve been doing it longer and are better at it than you, while losing everything that makes your own games unique.

      I laughed at the ‘Navy Seal’ part, because I was thinking exactly the same thing about Cora – she comes across as such a fangirl. This might be excusable in a naive 18-year-old, but for a woman of her (apparent) age and maturity, it feels slightly obsessive and creepy. And then there’s the woman who apparently became a crime lord in 18 months (at most) and now runs her own town, which seems to be doing way better than any of the other Intitiative settlements… the writing in this game is so messed up.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yeah, this game is a good example of how the current obsession with ‘open world’ is damaging the industry.

        The sad thing is,people were already saying this about the third dragon age.But bioware never learns from their mistakes,it seems.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          I think just the opposite, the problem is that they learn the wrong lessons. In ME1, players complained about the Mako (I loved the thing, but I understand where the hate comes from), and rather than axe the planetary mechanics entirely, they gave us planet scanning. People complained about the inventory system in ME1, and rather than fix the terrible interface for ME2 they scrapped inventory entirely and gave the player a progression of a couple guns of each type, each vastly better than the previous one. After Dragon Age 2, players complained that the plot felt meandering and kind of pointless, so Bioware has since made every single game of theirs about how the player must personally save the entire world/galaxy.

          I could go on, but the point is that to me, almost all of the trends their design has taken in recent years seem to be dumb responses to feedback from previous games.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            And when people complained how bad the ending to me3 is,they made the extended cut which…was just as bad,but in a different way.

            I loved the mako too.They shouldve just made it better to control,with terrain looking less random,and it wouldve been fine.The planets you get to drive the firewalker on are perfectly fine(except for combat).

            1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              I still do not understand the complaints about the Mako. Was this a PC/Xbox thing? I mean, with the dual shock controllers, I never had any problems getting the Mako to go where I wanted it to -and took climbing some of the cliffs to be a personal challenge. I mean, yes, as a completionist the whole need to drive around every planet to find everything (and oh how it annoys me that the Verner story in ME3 depends on collecting all the licenses and all the Matriarch archives…) irked when I just wanted to get the game over with, but after a while, I found routes that I could 100% the game in about 18 hours.

              And all gripes aside, it was a great way to feel like you were really exploring a real planet. The probes felt like make-work.

              1. Nessus says:

                I’m a PC player, and I can confirm that the Mako playes fine on M&KB. It does behave like it weighs nothing, but it’s not hard to control at all.

                I liked the planet topologies in the Mako segments better than the planet maps in the Firewalker segments. The Firewalker maps have more detail, and that helps, but they also look and feel very obviously game-y.

                The Mako maps, while pretty spartan, do look and feel WAY more like real terrain. I feel like if they were able to do another couple layers of detailing on those maps, they would’be been the best of both worlds, wheras the problems with the Firewalker maps can’t be fixed without a complete redo.

                I never bothered doing any resource gathering in the Mako missions, and as far as I could tell, I did not suffer any scarcity or other hardships as a consequence. Thus, when people complain about driving around trying to find all the resources in that game, I feel like that’s the REAL root of the problem. Without resource hunting, the Mako maps are actually just cool and immersive planetary vistas on the way to a real objective (mostly: there were a couple planets that had some mandatory seek-and-fetch/kill elements, which gave me a taste of what the resource hunters were complaining about).

                In other words, the problem wasn’t he maps so much as the resource gathering mechanic. It has no in-game value and actively ruins part of the game for players who engage in it, but it’s there, so a lot of players are going to force themselves through it on the expectation that it has some value down the line (or because they’re obsessive completionists). The devs could’ve fixed the problem by just cutting the resource gathering from the game. Don’t even have to rebalance anything, ‘caus it was always redundant anyway.

                One of the great sins of the planet scanning in ME2 was that unlike resource hunting in the Mako, it DOES effect the game state in a major way. You can choose not to go Mako mining and you lose nothing but your hate for the Mako missions. You cannot chose to not go planet scanning unless you’re cool with a large chunk of your buddies getting killed in the final mission.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Its not just the resources.This is why people were complaining about the mako:
                  You get plonked down on one side of the map,with your goal being just over that mountain there next to you.Now,you could drive around the mountain,slowly(because mako does not have a high top speed),OR you could try and attempt to scale the mountain,since you are given a jumping vehicle.And of course,given the option of the longer,boring route,or the shorter route that involves more input,most people chose to scale the mountains.Which ends up being a real pain to pull out,takes more time than going around the mountain,and most likely ends with the mako tumbling back to where you started and upside down.What adds to this is that if you dont pick up all the side quests before going planet hunting,chances are youll end up on some of the planets more than once,starting at the same point as the first time,but with less stuff in between you and your new objective.

                  Now there are multiple ways you could fix this.The easiest one would be to craft all the maps manually and inject regular fights between you and your objective.Because no one complained about the driving on virmire.Or make the planets flatter,so that any mountain would be easier to scale over.Or make them more populated with enemies,so that driving around things would not be boring.Or increase the top speed of mako.Etc,etc.

                  1. Nessus says:

                    That… really sounds like a player problem, not a dev problem.

                    I mean, hating on the Mako because it’s bad at doing a thing you’re clearly not meant to do? And suggesting the devs “fix” it by making their maps flatter, really?

                    My least favorite Mako missions were the ones where you’re just given a list of Geth/pirate encampments to find and shoot at ’till they stop shooting back. The flat ones were EXTRA boring.

                    Having to use the bouncy castle thrusters to get around the occasional bad patch was awkward, but I feel like the solution there is to either get rid of the thrusters, or change how they work. Changing the terrain to fit with the goofball thrusters would be the wrong way around, and would result in even more boring maps/missions.

                    And goddamn, being able to travel a certain distance without being attacked every ten feet isn’t a bad thing. That’s something that open-world devs really need to learn. If your map is designed to be at all interesting or pretty in its own right, having enemies pop up every ten feet is an annoyance, not boredom relief. Those parts are actually important pacing downtime and mood/setting establishers, not “wasted” or “empty” space.

                    My favorite Mako mission was the one where you’re dropped on this one planet with a dim, red star, at the foot of a mountain. You have to drive around the mountain and up this spiraling mining road marked by blue lights on poles, with the only stop along the way being a conspicuously abandoned vehicle depot thing. It has a very creepy Alien/The Thing atmosphere, and the whole way up you’ve got this mounting dread anticipation of what you’re going to find inside the base at the peak.

                    With the “fixes” you suggest, that would never exist. Instead we’d just have some short, samey shooting gallery drive directly to that base. All to please some part of the audience who’s too ADD for literally anything else, I guess?

                    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

                      I second this. I climb mountains because I enjoy the challenge -there being maybe one or two times I actually got frustrated at being unable to do it. The topographic maps, however, are perfectly clear as to what the easy routes are, and most of the resources -with a few exceptions -were placed along those routes.

                      I… don’t even remember how you get the quests. I don’t ever remember having to do anything special to get them. The “points of interest” are always marked, even if they don’t tell you what they are.

                      And several of them were quite pretty and worth exploring. I remember the one with the lost probe, that had a big mountain to drive around, and you could try to climb a shorter, higher pass, and come at the mercenaries from the back. And the one with the atmosphere filled with allergens where you could ride along a ridge to a Prothean ruin. It was very reminiscent of exploring in Star Wars Galaxies. Vistas, landscapes, and the question of “can I get there?” without all the busywork that’s jammed into games these days.

                    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      If you are clearly not meant to do it,then why do you get a vehicle with jump jets thats described as great for traversing rough terrain?Also,read the beginning where I said WHY people were doing that,and why it IS a dev problem.If the objectives you get were designed to not be on the other side of the mountain,or if you had greater speed,or if the path from you to the objective was not completely empty,then it would be just the player problem.

                      That’s something that open-world devs really need to learn. If your map is designed to be at all interesting or pretty in its own right, having enemies pop up every ten feet is an annoyance, not boredom relief.

                      Thats true only the first time around(mostly).But eventually,it can get boring.Which is why fast travel is essential for open world.

                    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      All to please some part of the audience who’s too ADD for literally anything else, I guess?

                      Funny.Because I am someone who LIKES mako,I enjoy the planets,the vistas there are,driving around,jumping around,finding ways around mountains,finding ways over them,exploring every nook and cranny of all the random planets.And the criticisms Ive listed were not made by just people who disliked those sections,but by me as well.So no,just because someone enjoys stuff differently from you does not make them ADD.

                    4. Nessus says:

                      I did read the beginning of your post. It doesn’t effect anything I said.

                      There’s a difference between “navigate rough terrain” and “bounce all the way up a sheer mountainside”. This should be intuitive if one isn’t just looking to lawyer the lore into allowing you to do whatever you want.

                      I’ll admit that you and I have very different wants, but that goes both ways: the fixes you’re suggesting would destroy the things I’d want in favor of what I’d consider tedious cookie cutter gameplay (or just remove them in favor of nothing at all), so to my mind they wouldn’t fix anything, and would actually make things even worse. Plus the shooty bits are widely considered to be the weakest parts of ME1, so any solution that includes “add more shooty bits” is suspect.

                      While it may not be flattering, a lot of what you’re suggesting does suggest a low attention span, especially in combination. That’s not an out of hand dismissal or an attempt to slag off a differing opinion, despite the perhaps too glib wording. That’s the pattern there: suggestions that all amount to removing time and distance as much as possible, while filling whatever time and distance remains with as much “action” as possible. Anything that’s not a very particular type of “exciting” is seen as “empty” wasted space, no matter what other kind of content is actually taking up that space.

                      It also touches on the more general problem I see a lot these days of of people labeling any form of play they don’t personally like as a “QOL issue” that needs to be removed.

                      Take the “other side of the mountain” thing. That is a player problem, because the whole point is clearly that driving around the mountain is the intended content, not an arbitrary barrier to the intended content. By placing the player on the same side of the map and the mountain as the objective, the purpose of even *having* that map would negated. It’d just be a backdrop. The point is you are supposed to enjoy driving there. If one doesn’t enjoy driving, that may indicate any number of problems with how the driving is executed, but it doesn’t make the idea a flaw that can only be “solved” by removal.

                      The solution is to improve the driving, not reduce it. We know this can be done, because there are many games that are entirely about driving, as well as games that merely include driving, but do it well. I think the Mako simply fell victim to the exact same awkward dev inexperience that the cover shooting did, it’s just that there’s more traditional overlap between sci-fi and shooter than sci-fi and driving. ME’s demographic was generally more forgiving of the bad shooting because they were already well familiar with shooting, and knew it could’ve worked, whereas the driving just seemed like a failed experiment.

                      I agree with your point about fast travel systems in open world maps (I don’t use them as much as others apparently do, but I use them enough to agree with the point of them), but these maps aren’t nearly that big. It takes hardly any time at all to go from one end to the other. A fast travel system on these maps would be a joke, but I’d agree that when returning to a map one has already cleared for another quest/mission, the spawn point should be changed to suit that. Maybe not spawn you right next to the objective, but at least spawn you in a place that’ll make the drive feel different (and sure, if you’ve cleared out literally everything to do there on a previous visit, then spawning closer to the objective).

                      It probably wouldn’t be hard to code a system that would spawn the player at a specific designed location on the first visit, then on subsequent visits would spawn the player in a procedurally determined location based on some kind of optimal equidistance to the remaining tasks.

                    5. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Plus the shooty bits are widely considered to be the weakest parts of ME1, so any solution that includes “add more shooty bits” is suspect.

                      That was just one of three things I wrote*.Plus I said EASIEST,not ONLY.Hence why the etc,etc in the end.But if you need more,here:
                      Inject the empty space with banter between companions.
                      Inject some music while driving à la gta.
                      Or even better,have your companions sing,à la black flag.
                      Add more variety to the ground(more plants,trees,various shades of rocks,…).
                      Add more fauna on more planets instead of just the monkeys on just one of them.
                      Add more lava like barriers(like chasms or “acid” rivers)on more planets.
                      Add more planets with interesting sky boxes to look at**
                      Add more lore giving sites instead of just random “resource” locations.
                      Or better than that,add some random lore or shepard commenting when you gather resources.

                      And those are still just off the top of my head.There are plenty of ways to make the planets more interesting to navigate.

                      Also,those are all examples of how to fill dead air.There are other ways to improve the driving itself.Take other games that involve traversing long distances,like arkham city or prototype.Having to individually fly/glide immensely improves long stretches of nothing.But you can do it with a vehicle by just making it able to be more mobile while in the air,and having it be able to jump higher.Or make it so that it does not land automatically but you choose where it will land by maneuvering while still in the air.Or by making it essentially glide(hover) over the landscape in all four directions instead of moving only forward while turning.Hovercrafts are really fun to drive.

                      While it may not be flattering, a lot of what you’re suggesting does suggest a low attention span, especially in combination.

                      I could say the same about your complaints about scanning.I scanned all the planets.Twice.Does that mean your comment about scanning being boring is incorrect?People have also finished the game without scanning everything.Does that mean your comment about scanning being more necessary is also incorrect?

                      Or,does it actually mean that there are always going to be outliers who are more*** tolerant of some repetitive task that is essentially just empty space.Holding down the forward button while you slowly drive through empty space is just as boring as holding down the scan button while you slowly spin around a planet.

                      but these maps aren’t nearly that big.

                      Just to drive from one edge to the next,with no detours and no jumping,takes around 3 minutes.For one planet.And there are dozens of them.Equaling to HOURS of dead air.This is especially tedious if you do a few of them one after the other,which you will often do,especially if you queue a few side quests together.

                      *Two out of five,if you want to be pedantic,though I did repeat myself there.
                      **This one was almost done,since there are plenty of interesting sky boxes.But,the problem is that those are all mostly static.Having a planet orbited by a ring of visible debris that you can see move would be really cool.Or have a planet that quickly rotates so that it has quick day/night cycle and you can see a bunch of stars replaced by its sun would also be cool.Etc,etc.
                      ***And those who are less

                    6. Jeff says:

                      @Nessus

                      I feel like you had not played ME1 in long play sessions, and had to deal with the Mako repeatedly and at length in relatively short amounts of time. I replayed the entirety of ME1 in a very short period of time, specifically to prepare a “did literally everything” save to import into ME2.

                      My primary (possibly only) complaint about the Mako segments are the obviously randomly generated terrain, which were NOT realistic, especially when points of interest were also obviously stamped onto said maps.

                      The thresher maws are the most egregious examples of this, being obvious flat circular regions stamped into the maps.

                      The problem was not the Mako itself or vehicles in general, but the obvious lack of effort put into the planets we had to traverse. Mako segments on story planets were perfectly fine, as were the DLC ones in ME2 which were obviously manually created.

          2. BlueHorus says:

            Ah, planet scanning. I do wonder how that got through playtesting.
            I didn’t mind it when there was a mission involved (track down the distress signal to unlock the rescue mission etc) – but for general resources? It was a boring, logic-defying and dull chore.

            What, Cerberus can afford to bring Shepard back from the dead, throw skilled scientists into obvious deathtraps for fun, build a new version of one of the most advanced ships in the galaxy…but are too cheapskate to provide the resources for Shepard’s SUPER-CRUCIAL mission?
            Also, how the hell can I extract all the [insert resource here] from a whole planet, yet still not have enough for one measly weapon upgrade?
            You had to strip-mine half the damn galaxy if you wanted all the upgrades in that game*!

            *and by ‘strip-mine’ I mean ‘fire probes at mineral deposits from orbit and have said minerals appear on your ship by magic’, naturally.

            1. Nessus says:

              My head logic was that they weren’t actually mining by scanned planets, but rather they were trading the mining claims on the galactic market for resources in hand.

              …Which still doesn’t make sense, since selling mining claims should get you whatever resources you actually need, rather than only getting the resource the claim was for. Universal fungibility is kinda the whole point of money.

              Not that that attempt at explanation should be taken as an attempt at justification. Planet scanning was absolutely terrible, and whoever created and/or OKed it should feel terrible.

          3. Nessus says:

            ” In ME1, players complained about the Mako (I loved the thing, but I understand where the hate comes from), and rather than axe the planetary mechanics entirely, they gave us planet scanning.”

            Oh, worse than that. They actually had a perfect solution in-game in the form of whatever that vehicle from the Firewalker DLC was called. They could have just used that as the replacement for the Mako.

            In fact I’ll bet that was the original plan: the Firewalker stuff would’ve been ME2s version of the Mako stuff from ME1, but either they ran out of time, or someone at EA demanded it be carved out to create DLC.

            I mean, I actually prefer the mako stuff to the Firewalker stuff (not just because of the vehicle handling), but it still would have been WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY better than planet scanning. Goddamn near anything would’ve been better than planet scanning.

            Fun fact: I enjoy ME2 immensely, but I’vE never actually completed a play through thanks to that bedamned planet scanning. The amount of scanning you have to do to get enough resources for the good ending is shocking. If I have to spend two or more whole evenings grinding some mindless make-work minigame while running podcasts in the background so my intestines don’t eventually leap up and mercy-strangle my brain you FUCKED UP as a games designer. If that minigame actually makes a player so sick of what was otherwise an extremely fun game before they’ve finished it, YOU FUCKED UP HARD.

            1. StuHacking says:

              The planet scanning was still way more interesting than any conversation with Miranda.

              1. BlueHorus says:

                Boring? You forgot DAT ASS*!
                …but yeah, I get what you mean. Though I’d say that talking to Miranda was more depressing, more annoying, being a symptom of the dumber direction the writing was taking**.

                Meanwhile the planet scanning was just dull, repetitive busywork, lacking even pretty scenery*** to break up the monotony.

                *AKA Exhibit A
                **See Exhibit B
                ***Such as Exhibit C

            2. Karma The Alligator says:

              If you play on the PC, just do what I do, and bind a key to “give max resources”. No more planet scanning ever.

              1. BlueHorus says:

                Yep, as with a lot of bullshit that’s inexplicably put into games, cheating is your friend.

                I think with ME2 I used a save editor to add a few zeros to the end of my crafting resources, or similar.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I really did intend for this to be a more positive stream.

    You also intended for the game to actually be good.But,alas.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I don’t mind picking apart a game, but I’d have preferred more discussion (even monologue) on how to fix the game, rather than just complaints. :)

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Welp, if he does a retrospective, the criticism will be more nuanced.

        Also, I’ll actually get to learn what the plot is for this game. I’ve heard very little good about it – so I’m not gonna buy the thing – but I do have a morbid fascination in the plot they came up with…

      2. Karma The Alligator says:

        It’s difficult to do while actually playing the game. It’s not like Spoiler Warning where he was watching Josh play.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @56 minutes
    Theyve built this city on rock and roll

    1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

      The Kadara folks seem more like a “rock and roll” sort than they do a “hard work and determination” sort.

  4. Ninety-Three says:

    I’ll be doing a full retrospective on this series at some point in the future

    Woooo! More Mass Effect bitching!

    The biggest thing I took away from this stream (my first major exposure to the game) is that the writing is surprisingly bad not just at the level of “this mission makes no sense”, but the individual sentences were awkward or stupid, in a way that definitely wasn’t there in the earlier games. I guess they really did give it to the B team.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      What about “We fight,or we die”?There were at least some REALLY stupid individual sentences in me3.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Sure the previous games had some real stinkers, but just look at the conversation that happens at the 14 minute mark in the video.

        Ryder: The evidence pointed to the kett being involved.
        Asari: The way pain is “involved” when you get burned.
        [Pain is caused by getting burned, this clunky metaphor doesn’t even work.]

        They kept shooting to slow us down. Peeled one deck like an orange.

        Asari: But they launched a ship to help evacuees, and her crew would know. You’d have to find her – follow the transpoder maybe?
        Ryder: Our Tempest is designed to find needles in haystacks. We’ll handle this.
        Asari: [snip] Thank you. It’s… good to see the kett aren’t the only ones winning.

        None of those are awful, but they’re all flawed in way that a decent editor should have sent them back for a rewrite, and it feels like we get a flawed line every minute or two.

        1. Asdasd says:

          You have to wonder how long it’s been in the sci-fi world of tomorrow since anyone saw either a needle or a haystack.

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            Later on, Ryder pays a bartender with her cyber-tool currency thing and says “Keep the change”. You payed electronically, what change? In fact, why does your futuristic society of digital payment even have the concept of change!?

            1. Syal says:

              It’s not actually about the money, it’s the new post-revolutionary slogan. “We made the change, and now we have to keep it.”

            2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

              Ryder has actually noticed they recently changed their drinks menu. The statement “keep the change” is about how the original menu was preferable and they should keep their changes to themselves and not force them on the customer.

              Okay, that’s complete BS, but it amused me.

            3. For tips? Or because Ryder is bad with math and has issues balancing her bank account unless it’s all nice round numbers? If so their friendly AI probably programmed the future gadget thing to give the excess as tips where appropriate. You know, I now really want a smart method of payment that’ll do that plus calculate various tip percentages and save a few so I could just hit a button for my favorite bar and it’d do the rest.

              Heck, I round up and say “keep the change” all the freaking time, whether I’m dealing with cash or charge, in a situation where USA culture expects tips. And the bartender, the bartender, you tip and tip well…

              If this was Star Trek and we’re in the Federation, then yeah, weird cause no money. But Mass Effect still has money, even in Andromeda, right? (I really have no idea, I’ve played about 10 min of the first one and then Spoiler Warning/Retrospectived my way through the rest)

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                So like Shamus said,this is not another galaxy,this is alabama.

        2. Daimbert says:

          Plus, “We fight or we die” is a credible, if overused, statement of defiance. In the scene, it normally won’t stand out. It’s only if you put it in the context of fighting the Reapers that you get the “Actually, you do both” response that reveals how ridiculous it is as actual advice.

          1. Geebs says:

            “We fight and/or we die!”

        3. Karma The Alligator says:

          Ryder: The evidence pointed to the kett being involved.
          Asari: The way pain is “involved” when you get burned.
          [Pain is caused by getting burned, this clunky metaphor doesn’t even work.]

          Thank you, I knew that made no sense when I heard it, “what, that caused the kett?”

    2. Grimwear says:

      My favourite was the “I unplugged it and it did nothing statement”. Just…what? And Shamus’ reaction is just perfect.

      “This hurts you.”

    3. Nimrandir says:

      By ‘series,’ we mean ‘this one game that most likely will have no sequels,’ right?

  5. lurkey says:

    Ah, this brings back memories of me playing Andromeda, hazy and blurry memories of running and driving around vast empty spaces and I have zero recollection about this quest although I must have done it at some point.

    Also, the way the characters talk with only lower half of face moving reminds me of that dude looking for Paracetamol in Fallout 4. :D

  6. DGM says:

    Hey Shamus,

    This is unrelated, but I just finished Prey 2017 yesterday. Any plans on giving it the full treatment here?

    1. Shamus says:

      I actually started a Prey write-up at some point. It’s still in my Google Docs someplace. I might give it the treatment after Andromeda.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        You could continue alternating like that: one game you like, one game you don’t. Though I’m not sure how gta fits there, being a game you like and dislike at the same time.

        1. DGM says:

          Obviously he just needs to post each GTA entry twice.

          1. TheJungerLudendorff says:

            Without the break, and on the front page of course.

      2. Daniel says:

        Now would be a good time to get into it with the Mooncrash DLC. I feel like there’s a few mechanics there that you’d love to sink your teeth into.

  7. I-Spy says:

    Small thing to note about the city on Kadara: the Exiles didn’t build all of it. It was an Angaran settlement that the Exiles took over and then added to.

    I know that introduces a whole ‘nother load of questions (like why the Angarans on Aya treated the Tempest crew like THEY were the first Milky Way aliens the Angarans encountered), but might as well give the lore what little credit it deserves.

  8. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Suckiness was involved with this game, the way pain is involved when you get burned!

    Wow, it hurt me to write that, even sarcastically…

  9. SKD says:

    Thank you Shamus, now I’m actually going to go back and play Andromeda. I enjoyed it although the Open world aspect drove me to distraction (did they really expect me to start gallivanting off around the galaxy the second I got my first base established rather than making sure the planet was as fit for habitation as I could make it?) and I ran into a bug shortly after leaving Eos the first time that made the starmap non-functional and I ended up putting the game aside for something else and never came back to it.

  10. ShivanHunter says:

    W00t, more Mass Effect!

    One of the things that really grated on me, and you kind of touched on this a couple times, was – the game gives you this illusion of choice, pretending you can play as a logical, cool professional, or a more hotheaded, unprepared, seat-of-your-pants “explorer”. It’s an illusion partly because your dialogue rarely changes anything ingame, but also because the game really doesn’t accommodate trying to be professional. So much of it forces you to come off as childish and cringy – FemRyder’s romance with Suvi, and PeeBee’s entire character are good examples.

    Have you played Liam’s loyalty mission yet? Spoilers, but, this is the reason everyone hates Liam as a character. Basically all of his characterization is an escalating series of fuckups, culminating in – I don’t even remember the details, but you have to come along with him and kill some Kett to fix whatever he did. And you never get to tell him off. My character would have just dropped him off the next time we got back to the Not-Citadel. If you try to take your job as “Pathfinder” even halfway seriously, the game works against you at every turn.

    1. galacticplumber says:

      So he has Miranda Syndrome except worse because he’s a fuckup as opposed to merely grating? All without appealing to thirsty younglings to at least justify existing somewhat? Wow. That’s awful.

      1. SharpeRifle says:

        Angarans….you kill Angarans. Watch the mission decide for yourself… starts at about 3:35

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVtWc4adLvQ

        1. Liessa says:

          Wow, just… wow. Even the first thirty seconds of that mission had me pissed off. Liam, don’t you think it would be a good idea to tell your teammates the plan before you set off? Not that Ryder is much better: “OK, let’s go do… something!” Peebee comes across as the most sensible of the lot, which is really saying something.

          And the moment he finds things aren’t going to plan, Liam throws a friggin’ temper tantrum which nearly gets everyone spaced, and they’re only saved when someone competent magically turns up to rescue them. Yeah, I can see now why everyone hates the character. He’s like a compilation of every personality trait you wouldn’t want in a dangerous, stressful situation.

  11. Cheesegrater says:

    Hey Shamus,

    Have you checked out The Crew? (It’s a sandbox driving game.) I remember you talking about GTA V’s sandbox and this game sprung to mind immediately. It supposedly takes place across the entire breadth of America. I’m pretty sure it’s not 1 to 1 but it’s quite detailed given that it appears to be hand painted. If you’re interested, there’s a Ross’s Game Dungeon episode that goes into it so you know what’s going on. He even goes on a tour across the entire sandbox.

    9:47 is when he describes the scale of the game

    11:31 is when he outlines the tour

    It’s very interesting to see the breadth and detail of the locations, I thought you might be interested.

  12. Redrock says:

    Funny how your Ryder looks very similar to mine. I think one of the things about Andromeda that a lot of people miss, but that kinda sorta explains some of the problems with how a lot of the characters behave is that most of the people who joined the Initiative are … weird. First off, it’s not a government or military operation, it’s more of an Elon Musk-ian passion project, possibly funded by Cerberus. The game seems to stress that a lot of people in the Initiative, including the leadership, are enthusiastic, but not that careful or thoughtful. And the people that join, well, they’re either running away from something or are otherwise odd enough to leave absolutely everything behind for a textbook definition of “shot in the dark”. Oddballs, screw-ups, loners, etc. Or borderline crazy romantics, in some cases. Often a combination. So when a convenient catastrophy wipes out most of the leaders, the subsequent “Lord of the flies”-style madness is not that hard to swallow.

  13. Nixorbo says:

    Shamus, regarding the development time for this game, perhaps this Kotaku article will be illuminating if you haven’t already seen it.

  14. Ivan says:

    “I’ll be doing a full retrospective on this series at some point in the future” – is that a joke?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        The confusion,I think,comes from the word “series” when you are talking just about one game.Since you already covered the whole series of three earlier.Unless you mean you are going to restart from me1 again.Or unless you mean “this series of unfortunate errors”.

        1. Shamus says:

          Ah I see. Yeah. That was oddly worded. I’ll just be doing a retrospective on Andromeda.

  15. Ivan says:

    All the Asari look exactly the same. Like, as an example, at 1.28, those two look identical, besides some surface tattoos or some such, to the bartender from ages ago. How many models do they have to work with here?

  16. Jason says:

    I caught some of the stream as it happened and am now catching up with the video (probably about half way through. Just got to where I had to drop off).
    I agree with Shamus and the commentators about how inconsistent the timing seems. Like, how did they create all these settlements in less than 18 months? Why are there so many “registered criminals”?
    Why do the Angarans on Aya act like no Angaran has ever met a human, but on Kidara there are humans and Angarans together?

  17. paercebal says:

    A few things about the whole “Initiative Idea”:

    1. This smells a lot like colonization, and not in the good sense (if there were any good sense, at all). Instead of making this something “positive”, BioWare should have made explicit it was to flee the reapers: Instead of “friendly invaders”, they would have been “refugees”.
    2. The laws of physics are the same in Andromeda, so if you go there expecting drastic changes, compared to what is possible in the Milky Way, you would be disappointed. In the other hand, in the Mass Effect universe, the Milky Way remains 99% unexplored. All in all, it makes sense to start exploration INSIDE the Milky Way.
    3. Starting from Mass Effect 2, humans became the “preferred” species of the game. Humans are more diverse, Reapers want a human reapers, and also move the Citadel to Earth for some reason. This is nonsense, and feels like a kind of misplaced racism.
    4. Am I the only one bothered by the giant, Interstellar ripoff, black hole bleeding in the background of Mass Effect Andromeda?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      This is nonsense, and feels like a kind of misplaced racism.

      Nah,its just the old “humans are special” trope.It can be easily justified most of the time,especially when the protagonist is human,but the problem is that mass effect 1 was deliberately subverting it.

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