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Mass Effect: Andromeda


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Guest Robin

I've watched some gameplay of asari ninja builds and they are very cool. Sorta makes me wish I didn't love the Omni-blade so much, every time I try to play without one I miss it.

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If it was a council mission to go scope out another Galaxy and set up colonies there, that would be pretty cool and fit into the narrative of the original three games. I'd be cool with this.

Great point. Personalize it. Put one of the crew in the sickbay, and they don't get better (and you can't proceed the main story with them) until you play the story that gets them fixed.   My idea of

One simple change to the setting would have helped-- nix the idea of the all the expats from the Nexus. Everything was so populated with milky way races that it killed the idea of being somewhere new.

Omniblade is cool-- I used it for melee until I could finally craft the sword.

 

One drawback to the asari sword-- it gives you a mini-strike style attack, and the dashing/charge part of it is incorporeal and more than once I've ended up trapped in non-game realms, underground, or beyond doors that are not supposed to open.

 

I really wish melee was an actual combat state and not just a special attack.

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Guest Robin

I've done that with the Explorer's phasing ability. It is unbelievably annoying when the last auto-save for the mission is the start of the mission.

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I need to look into that one.

 

I'm hitting the top of the third act I think. Things are seeming more final. Definitely set-ups for future games based in Andromeda.

 

Right now, my only complaint is at this point I'm starting to feel like there's a lot of repetition in this game. Missions that consist of talk to person A, go to planet B, scan object C, which leads you to planet D, where now you have to scan object E, then back to person A to report with of course clearing our generic enemies at each stop.

 

Granted, that's more or less every Mass Effect level/mission ever-- but again, what made that work in ME 2, was that it was always done vis a vis a character story, not just a mission. It's the old Star Trek trap.

 

THe best episodes of Star Trek is when the character story is the A and the mission of the week is the B story. When they flip that, it's never as good.

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Guest Robin

I agree. I think some of the side missions have a good idea behind them that provide a neat sense of urgency (Contagion, for instance) but then the mission structure severely let's it down and the mission's story concept never really blossoms.

 

If they had taken that Contagion concept, tied it to a companion (Jaal works wonders given the end of the mission) maybe even had the cataylst character involved with a crew character (like Suvi or something) then the story could tie in with the bigger arc. And then perhaps it could be justified for a larger budget/time development and thus become a full fledged ME2 style "episode".

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I've completed the main story, and am about a third of the way through my second playthrough, and most of the flaws hold true.

 

I agree with what Driver said about the crew feeling too small - I found myself thinking it was odd that there were so few crew on the Tempest, every single person on the Tempest was a named character that you could talk to. I kind of missed there being random NPC crew members on the Normandy, like engineers, guards, and specialists at consoles. Plus, it really feels like there needed to be more squad members, it felt very limited when I'm revisiting a planet for quests that don't require the presence of one or other character for RP reasons. Two more characters that allow you to mix up the crew you bring would be better, like a ranged biotic, or a ranged tank. Yeah, I like ranged characters, as opposed to the emphasis on close-in work that Cora, Drack, Liam and Peebee seems to like doing.

 

It also feels like I'm the only Pathfinder doing their job since Ryder has the only working Pathfinder ship, the rest are clearly having to rely on the shuttles and transports from the Nexus etc. So does that make Ryder the senior Pathfinder? In terms of achievements, it certainly elevates Ryder above the others, but it also feels like the others not only aren't able to pull their weight, but just plain aren't, considering I only ever come across them in Pathfinder HQ, you never hear about them doing anything out there in the Heleus Cluster.

 

Also, I need that cut-scene weapon. I've always hated the look of the Avenger (bloody fish-gun) and that white gun that you sometimes see pop up in cut-scenes looks like a massive visual improvement on it, but you can't get it in-game, and it bugs me. I tend to favour aesthetics over functionality in games, and I'll stick with a better looking but worse gun until I can get one I like the look of (I only use Milky Way stuff because I prefer the look of it and I prefer the way the weapons work too). I used the Valkyrie all the way through my first run-through, apart from a one-planet trial of the Mattock, and I sometimes wished I could have just gone full on auto on some of the enemies. Second playthrough, I'm using a biotic with the Hurricane to get that auto fix, but it ain't the same. And before you mention the Revenant, it's too chunky for my liking. I'm picky.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what the DLC will add, and I'm really hoping we get alternate appearance packs like we did with ME2 and 3.

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I agree. I think some of the side missions have a good idea behind them that provide a neat sense of urgency (Contagion, for instance) but then the mission structure severely let's it down and the mission's story concept never really blossoms.

 

If they had taken that Contagion concept, tied it to a companion (Jaal works wonders given the end of the mission) maybe even had the cataylst character involved with a crew character (like Suvi or something) then the story could tie in with the bigger arc. And then perhaps it could be justified for a larger budget/time development and thus become a full fledged ME2 style "episode".

Great point. Personalize it. Put one of the crew in the sickbay, and they don't get better (and you can't proceed the main story with them) until you play the story that gets them fixed.

 

My idea of a dynamic crew would aid this. I've thought about it a bit more. What if you had a crew of 16 that you had to staff on the ship. 4 of those are the ship crew (pilot, scientist, engineer, doctor). 4 are "combat specialists" (so you'd always have standard solider characters for a squad option), 6 are "mission specialists" (like PeeBee being a Remnant tech expert, or Vetra being a smuggler/quatermaster), plus yourself, plus an open slot for occasional crew members, like people who come on for a specific story or two, or if your Ryder Sibling joins up, etc.

 

Different character types give you different perks, but also different access to story points. So if your Remnant tech expert is sick, you can't go to Meridian until you make her better. Obviously there'd be some crossover to make sure not everything is locked out, but they've covered bases like that before with having alternate characters for Wrex and Garrus in ME 2 and 3 if they didn't survive 1 for example.)

 

Now if they tripled they available characters to fill those roles and you got to decide who you recruited you open up all sorts of dynamics and replay possibilities and potential character stories. I also love the idea of making a mini sim out of resource management or the logistics of running your spaceship. Who get more power for their experiments? Science or engineering? One gets you better weapons, the other better shields, etc.

 

 

I've completed the main story, and am about a third of the way through my second playthrough, and most of the flaws hold true.

 

I agree with what Driver said about the crew feeling too small - I found myself thinking it was odd that there were so few crew on the Tempest, every single person on the Tempest was a named character that you could talk to. I kind of missed there being random NPC crew members on the Normandy, like engineers, guards, and specialists at consoles. Plus, it really feels like there needed to be more squad members, it felt very limited when I'm revisiting a planet for quests that don't require the presence of one or other character for RP reasons. Two more characters that allow you to mix up the crew you bring would be better, like a ranged biotic, or a ranged tank. Yeah, I like ranged characters, as opposed to the emphasis on close-in work that Cora, Drack, Liam and Peebee seems to like doing.

 

It also feels like I'm the only Pathfinder doing their job since Ryder has the only working Pathfinder ship, the rest are clearly having to rely on the shuttles and transports from the Nexus etc. So does that make Ryder the senior Pathfinder? In terms of achievements, it certainly elevates Ryder above the others, but it also feels like the others not only aren't able to pull their weight, but just plain aren't, considering I only ever come across them in Pathfinder HQ, you never hear about them doing anything out there in the Heleus Cluster.

 

Also, I need that cut-scene weapon. I've always hated the look of the Avenger (bloody fish-gun) and that white gun that you sometimes see pop up in cut-scenes looks like a massive visual improvement on it, but you can't get it in-game, and it bugs me. I tend to favour aesthetics over functionality in games, and I'll stick with a better looking but worse gun until I can get one I like the look of (I only use Milky Way stuff because I prefer the look of it and I prefer the way the weapons work too). I used the Valkyrie all the way through my first run-through, apart from a one-planet trial of the Mattock, and I sometimes wished I could have just gone full on auto on some of the enemies. Second playthrough, I'm using a biotic with the Hurricane to get that auto fix, but it ain't the same. And before you mention the Revenant, it's too chunky for my liking. I'm picky.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what the DLC will add, and I'm really hoping we get alternate appearance packs like we did with ME2 and 3.

Cut scene weapon glitch-- how the hell have they not fixed it? I thought at first they did because the first few cuts I had I had the correct weapon, but it quickly turned into about 1 in 10. Super annoying.

 

I hope the DLCs are standalone. They leave the game open ended assuming the pathfinder will always be exploring-- so why not base the DLCs around that assuming people will have finished the game.

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I also love the idea of making a mini sim out of resource management or the logistics of running your spaceship. Who get more power for their experiments? Science or engineering? One gets you better weapons, the other better shields, etc.

Yo dawg we heard you like choices, so we put choices in your choices so you can choose your choices

To be honest, I've always wanted a space sim where you command a battleship, not a whole fleet, moving on to bigger ones as you get promoted (preferably set in the SW universe, I'd love to command a Star Destroyer in a fleet engagement), where you make decisions on power output, tactical maneuvers, etc, so that would be a welcome step in the right direction. There's also a precedent; the boosts you can decide on that Glyph gives you in ME3, and the decisions made about how your castle looks in DA:I. That's a point, I'd love to be able to customise the Tempest, choose a colour scheme, change the layout of my quarters, even choose a theme for the interior (Initiative white and blue, or N7 black and red? Kett green, Angaran teal, Remnant black/green?), like they did with the Nomad. Plus the flags from the outposts should be displayed on the Tempest somewhere instead of tucked away on the Nexus bar, or at least displayed more prominently in the docking bay or Operations on the Nexus, I only noticed them after going back for Gil's poker game later in the game.

 

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The look of the eyes on everyone is so immediately noticeable and better it's kind of infuriating they were so crappy to start with. And if it was that easy to fix-- why not do it from the start?

 

Yessh.

 

Planetary system drive time can be skipped-- wee. That makes scanning slightly less a pain. How about just eliminate scanning?

 

Seriously-- cut scanning, side missions that are clear and scan a dungeon, and side missions that are basically just map-hopping dialog options and give me a fighter sim and starship management.

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Guest Robin

I had hoped the mysterious cut-scene weapon (the white rifle) would have been put in during this patch, but it wasn't at least so far as I have seen.

 

In the meantime, I had to abandon the bullet changing weapon augments as my Ryder is now level 46 and the enemies are shrugging off the elemental changes. I caved in and developed some weapons, due to research point investment being lower and the way they handle I decided to run with the Raptor Sniper Rifle (AR with default scope), Hornet SMG and Talon Pistol. Side benefit they are white and blue, they look like they're designed to be equipped by someone sporting the white and blue Ai color scheme... which I am but with the Pathfinder Armor.

 

I also respec'd to try out the "Construct VI" power. I find this to be extremely lackluster, but it feels more useful when leveled to get closer to enemies and also use missiles. The beam upgrade with elemental debuff seems beneficial but the combat AI sorta blows and so it hangs too far back to really engage anything.

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The look of the eyes on everyone is so immediately noticeable and better it's kind of infuriating they were so crappy to start with. And if it was that easy to fix-- why not do it from the start?

 

Yessh.

 

Planetary system drive time can be skipped-- wee. That makes scanning slightly less a pain. How about just eliminate scanning?

 

Seriously-- cut scanning, side missions that are clear and scan a dungeon, and side missions that are basically just map-hopping dialog options and give me a fighter sim and starship management.

Yeah all they needed to fix the eyes was render the shadow that's being cast by the upper eyelid on the ball, and put in the highlight and presto! Kind of an obvious thing. Can't believe it got overlooked.

 

I'm still waiting for the price to come down before I play it. Got a spanking new PC the other week and I'm dying to stretch its legs.

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Welp I finished...

 

The final mission was a little anti-climactic-- but to be fair all of the ME finales have been, so no real big complain. I'm still digesting it all. Through sheer luck, the movie night mission was the only one I hadn't completed, so after the story it was a great little Citadel DLC style moment... though the last shot was ruined cause my Ryder failed to render in. But it was a good little moment of heart after all the action.

 

Overall it's really hard not to be a little disappointed when comparing it to Shepard, but if I am fair and compare Andromeda just to ME1 I think it's a pretty decent game. It's really hard to do that considering that when we think of Shepard's story, we're really thinking of three full games and a long form story.

 

Andromeda is set up to keep going-- there's several dangling plot threads that even DLCs couldn't quite cover so I have to assume Ryder's story isn't over yet.

 

There's a lot of great stuff, but ultimately, I'm not dying to replay it again like I was with ME1... (though to be fair the original ME games are the ONLY games I've ever wanted to do that with).

 

Andromeda is set up, and while it seems crazy to say it cause we're years away-- but what comes next will be the true test I think.

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Guest Robin

Gratz!

 

I'm almost done. I'm having fun, but I'm missing the illusion of a living environment like in Fallout 4. Bioware games have always been more movie presentation, but I had hoped they'd make an effort with the illusion of life going on because of the decision to go open world instead of set pieces.

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You don't get that feel in the ports? I did.

 

I got back to Horizon today and I IMMEDIATELY was mad at Andromeda. They really didn't take advantage of the new gen of consoles. At this point I don't know that there's an excuse not to do mocap. I was immediately struck at how much more lifelike Horizon's performances were.

 

I get in a huge RPG you can't do every scene-- but at least do it for the big and important ones.

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Guest Robin

At this stage of gaming tech I think certain decisions by Bioware were definitely lazy.

 

Bioware just did their usual immersion / illusion of life method, that being static NPCs that spout some "world expanding" dialogue as you pass by. There is no day or night scheduling, no movement, shops are staffed 24/7 by the same NPC, all the same NPCs just stand in the same places forever etc.

 

Random spawn points respawn too quickly. Set pieces like homes within the distance of a frisbee from a settlement (Kadara for instance) are either forever empty or respawn their enemies instead of peaceful exiles setting up shop etc.

 

Oh yeah, the most criminal laziness is shown in the Kadara slum's bar... the same NPC "strippers" in full combat armor stripping forever and ever. LOL

 

Honestly Bethesda isn't much better, but the illusion is helped by day/night schedules and the minor meandering that the NPCs do.

 

All in all I feel like Andromeda is a spectaclar last generation game.

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That's all very well said-- and kind of supports my point that where they go from here will really be the true test. Fallout 4 was not the type of game I normally played, but I enjoyed it so much and it definitely changed my expectations. I want that level of world-building, with the narrative content of Mass Effect.

 

I think Andromeda's story was great, the characters were awesome-- they managed to move past Shepard, and that was great. But technically speaking, it was such a miss.

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Realizing now I have no idea if any of my choices effected my ending. No one in my crew died, Captain Dunn was the only big name casualty.

 

Also started to count up just how much material is left dangling-- obviously, some of your choices HAVE to effect the future...

mom is still in cryo... the benefactor is unknown... Jien's murderer is unknown, Quarian Ark is missing...

 

 

Some of these will likely be DLCs, but those are a lot of hooks left behind.

 

Also-- calling it now: Vetra and Sid's father = Saren.

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Guest Robin

The Vetra and Sid are Saren's daughters theory is picking up steam, certainly. However there is a line of random dialogue in the game (when driving the Nomad) where if this theory is true it's another layer more complex than thought...

 

PeeBee and Vetra chat about sisters, parents, childhood. Both talking about how hard it was for different reasons, both feeling marginalized by the other and then both hugging it out. After all that PeeBee proposes a thought by asking Vetra about rushing into early motherhood. Vetra reacts strongly and quickly, then PeeBee immediately drops it. This seems to indicate the possibility there is no mysterious mother, Vetra is actually the mother.

 

Afterthought: I've found that a lot, just a whole lot of dialogue will fire off while driving the Nomad on Elaaden and having completed most companion missions.

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Some of the best interactions are in the Nomad-- which is sad, because the Nomad was only there to make you feel like the planets were huge.

 

The more distance I have from finishing, the more disappointed I'm willing to admit I am.

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Guest Robin

Yep. I agree.

 

One of my biggest peeves are the "breadcrumb quests" with randomly generated spawn locations to advance the quest. These quests are designed with the sole purpose of artificially lengthening the gameplay and that's just about infuriating to know when the game refuses to spawn your next breadcrumb.

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thats what I was referring to when I was talking about all the pointless side missions. Talk, drive, scan, fly, drive, scan, talk, clear enemies, fly back, drive back, talk back.

 

Minimal XP, no bearing on overall theme much less key narrative.

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My favourite moments, usually actual laugh out loud moments, have been from the Nomad banter. I find Peebee and Drack or Jaal have the best banter, their discussions and, well, banter, is hilarious. Then again, I hate Liam so much that I never use him as a companion so I have no idea what his banter is like, but of all of them, those are my favourites. Cora and Jaal can be funny too, as he ends up being quite frank with his admiration of her, and her embarrassment can be quite funny, and Vetra and Peebee/Cora can get quite deep, which I find really interesting.

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Guest Robin

I wasn't as close to being done as I thought, but I am on the last step now. I have to say that the supposedly big reveal about the Remnant was totally telegraphed early in the game. Also there haven't really been any surprises, except perhaps with "Elizabeth Reilly". I really do love this franchise and I am enjoying the game, but oh boy does it have some work to do in the sequel. Lots of room for improvement.

 

This game has a big thing going for it still, Bioware is pretty good at creating DLC content that helps you gloss over the base game's flaws.

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