I’m really not into Mass Effect Andromeda

The Mass Effect series has provided some of my favorite moments of my entire ‘video game life’ (even Mass Effect 3!). Up until last night I was incredibly excited for Mass Effect Andromeda, and thought for sure I would be buying the game. The only decision I had yet to make was whether I’d get it for the Xbox One or PC. However, the two hours I spent with the 10 hour EA Access trial last night has almost entirely dissuaded me from buying the game.

Right off the bat I found myself annoyed with the writing. Not only was the set up a bore, but the dialogue between characters, both during cut scenes and during background conversations was cringe worthy. At one point one of my squad mates uttered something to the effect of “Did that hurt? YEAH BECAUSE I SHOT YOU IN THE FACE!”. I almost shut the Xbox off right then and there, but I decided to keep trudging through to see if anything exciting would happen. It never did.

My time on the first planet felt like nothing but busy work. Run here, then here, then here, Scan some things. Shoot some things. On and on. I know this isn’t wildly different from the other games, but at least on those games there’s a real sense of purpose. The whole Pathfinder concept just comes across as cheesy, right from the start. The opening dialogue trying to make the journey to Andromeda seem like some “grand adventure” just made me cringe, and as I spent more time as Ryder I wished there was a button Nier Automata style to just shoot myself in the head and get a game over screen.

To make matters worse, the combat just feels sloppy. I found it difficult to line up shots (kind of slow, but all over the place at the same time) which sucked because I had been playing Mass Effect 3 all week and loving how solid the combat feels in that game. The guns and abilities feel like they have very little bite, and there’s no satisfying “pop” as you drop enemies like there is in Mass Effect 2 and 3.

Even worse than the combat are the textures, animations and voice acting. The first planet isn’t very pretty to look at (a darn shame after spending time with Horizon Zero Dawn or even Breath of the Wild), but beyond the art style there are some incredibly flat, muddy and ugly textures (the dark matter particularly). The animations have probably been ragged on enough by everyone else on the internet, and I could probably ignore them if it weren’t for the god awful voice acting. Some of it has been so bad that I nearly burst out laughing. Specifically, the first lines out of the female Turian’s mouth on the Nexus are horrendous. Shortly after speaking to her I had to turn the game off and boot up Mass Effect 3 instead, I couldn’t take it anymore. She’s not alone, however, as most of the characters sound like they were voiced by the developers themselves, blandly reading lines into a microphone with no enthusiasm or emotion.

Lastly, there are some really bad pop in issues, most noticeable while on the Nexus. As I found myself running into rooms, entire groups of NPC’s would pop in two or three seconds after I entered a room. Maybe this is a bug that gets fixed with a patch, maybe it’s a limitation of the Xbox One, but regardless, it really screws with any sense of immersion you might have.

Ultimately, I’m not even sure it’s worth my time to play another couple hours of the free trial. I feel like I’ve seen all I need to see. I don’t think I could take another minute of easily the second worst game I’ve played in 2017 (second only to Ghost Recon Wildlands, another game that suffers from some of the worst voice acting I’ve ever heard in a video game).

I don’t mean to hate on Mass Effect, I really wanted to love the game as much as I’ve loved the rest of the series, but I don’t think it’s possible at this point. At least I can take some relief in knowing that Andromeda was developed by an entirely different team than the original trilogy, and I think in the long run many will come to look at Andromeda as a sort of B-level spin off, rather than a continuation of such a great series.

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Beat Medusa in Shin Megami Tensei IV and started Persona 4

I did it! I finally conquered Medusa in Shin Megami Tensei IV!

Medusa shin megami tensei iv

 

I spent maybe an hour or two grinding in the area around the boss fight split up over the past week and finally managed to get powerful (and lucky) enough to defeat Medusa.

sukukaja

Raiju’s sukukaja spell which increases hit and evade for your entire party, proved critical to my success. Quite a few of Medusa’s attacks missed after casting it and I was able to use critical wave with my other three party members to quickly knock down her HP and win the fight.

After defeating Medusa I descended into the forbidden lands below, otherwise known as Tokyo.

shin megami tensei iv tokyo

shin megami tensei iv tokyo

I was quite shocked to find that the game changes quite a bit once you arrive in Tokyo. I’ve spend something like ten hours in the game so far, so to have a mechanic completely change that far into the game is somewhat strange. Instead of exploring the area by selecting locations from a list, you’re presented as an icon on a top down map and you move the icon around to find people to talk to and locations to explore. There are monsters roaming around the map as well, however you cannot hit ‘X’ to strike at them (causing a preemptive strike) like you can while exploring a dungeon. It’s a little odd, and will take some getting used to.

shin megami tensei iv tokyo

Shortly after arriving in Tokyo I saved the game and decided to check out Persona 4 Golden (also by Atlus) on the Playstation TV.

Just as with Shin Megami Tensei IV, I’m going into Persona 4 knowing absolutely nothing about the Persona series. After spending twenty or thirty minutes with it so far, I can say I’m a little weirded out but strangely curious at the same time.

Persona 4 definitely feels more ‘Japanese’ or anime like than Shin Megami Tensei IV, at least from the start. Some of the dialogue is downright weird, and I’m not sure how much of that is from the localization of it or if the source material is just as awkward.

persona 4 nads

So far I can say that the game is very dialogue heavy and I’ve spent hardly any time in control of my character. I assume that this is because the story is just getting set up, but I hope there’s more to the game than just ‘high school simulator’.

persona 4 shit list

I’m looking forward to further exploring Persona 4, but for now I think I’m going to check out Dying Light. If you have any advice for a newbie heading into Persona 4, feel free to leave it in the comments!

What to do when you can’t select dialogue in Dragon Age Inquisition

So I just ran into my first major glitch in Dragon Age Inquisition. I was in a dialogue situation but could not select any options. Moving the analog stick did nothing and I couldn’t back out of the conversation. Luckily I discovered (by accident) that if I held LB it would bring up the action wheel and then while that was open I could move the stick and select an dialogue option from there. Weird, but just figured I’d share in case this happened to anyone else and you don’t want to load a save.

Best of luck!