Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Mass Effect Andromeda

So, I have never played any of the Mass Effect games before.  I hear they're great.  But I just don't really care for shooters.  Never have.  Probably never will.  They're just not fun to me.  My brother, a Mass Effect fanatic has been trying to get me to play the games for years now.  So this year, for Christmas, he got me all 4.  So I guess that means I now have to play them, whether I want to or not.

So, my brother suggested that I start with Andromeda as it isn't really connected story-wise to the trilogy, and it's also the worst one, so best to get it out of the way first.  So, I follow video game news every now and then.  I don't really have a huge amount of time for games these days, so I like to see what's coming, and what kind of reviews it's getting when it comes out, so I can pick and choose which games I'll spend my limited time and money on.  I also find epic failures by AAA game studios to be somewhat amusing.  So when Mass Effect Andromeda came out and had all kinds of graphical glitches, and hilariously bad facial animations, I watched videos of how bad things were, chuckled to myself, and moved on with my life.  This game seems to be just universally hated by everyone, not just for not living up to the Mass Effect name, but also for being a broken, unfinished mess.

Now, I played this game 2 years after release, and when I popped the disc into my PS4 I had to download a 6 GB patch before I could play.  This suggests to me that a lot of the graphical errors and nightmare fuel facial animations have been patched, as I didn't notice many as I played through the game.  There were still a few bugs.  I had some freezing errors, and the game crashed on me once while I was fighting the last boss.  Every now and then a character will be looking off in a weird direction during a conversation.  And one time while talking to a character all dialog options that did not lead to a sex scene were grayed out so I was forced by the game to have sex with my least favorite character.  Hurray.  But I saw none of the horrifically bad crap that people made videos about in the beginning.  For the most part, the game ran pretty smoothly, and the facial animations we pretty on par with other AAA games I've played this console generation.

So, that being said, and a reminder that this is the ONLY Mass Effect game I have played.  I LOVED IT!!! I seriously do not know why this game gets so much hatred.  It's one of the better open world games I've ever played.  As good as The Witcher 3 might be, I've never finished it.  I'll play a bit, get bored and do something else, come back, play a bit, get bored and go do something else.  Mass Effect Andromeda I played straight through without feeling bored at all.  I took the week between Christmas and New Years off to recover from working through Christmas, and I've done very little this week but play through this game.

I was expecting an unfinished, broken mess of a game that was devoid of content.  But what I got was a pretty fun to play open world game that just bombards you with things to do.  My biggest complaint about most open world games is that it's a huge open world with nothing to do in it.  That was NOT the case here.  I was just playing through the story and talking to the people in my crew at first, then I looked at my quest long, and just doing that I had literally dozens of side quests flagged that I could do.  The exploration actually plays a part in the story.  There are a lot of fun puzzles to solve.  A lot of the side quests that I completed had interesting and fun stories.  I enjoyed the snarkiness of the main character, and had fun with a few of the crew members that you collect.  One I found unbearably annoying, and a couple sort of just faded into the background, but I generally liked the ones I played with most.  While I don't really care for shooters, the combat was pretty straightforward and fun enough, I guess.  Again, not really my thing, but it played well enough that I didn't mind so much.  Also, the game has an easy mode, which I played on to make up for my natural lack of aptitude with shooters.  The visuals are pretty great, even if the character animations are a bit wonky sometimes, and your character runs like he/she has something stuffed up his/her butt.  The worlds, the transitions of your ship flying around, all of the cutscenes, the graphics were pretty darn good.

I did not even touch the online multiplayer aspect of the game.  That is really just not my thing.  I don't enjoy shooters, and I definitely do not enjoy shooters where I'm forced to play with other people who are lightyears better at it than I am.  I never really got the appeal of that sort of thing.  Imagine my sheer annoyance with EA that 2 out of the only 3 Star Wars games to come out in the last 10 years have been online only shooters.  Anyway, I can't speak to the quality or lack thereof of that aspect of the game, since I avoid that type of gameplay like the plague.

I really liked the story, and about half of the characters, and I had a lot of fun playing it.  I honestly do not know why this game is so hated, because I really, really liked it.  If this is the worst game in the series, I can't wait to play the rest of them.

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