I make meaningless decisions, Playtonic makes meaningful decisions, and Atlus is bringing back DS jRPGs.
What was Played
My gaming this week was mainly confined to Mass Effect Andromeda. I am 20 or so hours in and enjoying it, but it has massive problems. Personally, I can handle the sub-par animations. I came to the Mass Effect series well after it was finished so to me the ME series has always had poor animations. What cannot be overlooked is the poor writing. Your squadmates range from fine to excellent in the characterization department, but their motivations for joining up with your crew are ill defined at best and nonexistent at worst. The pacing of the first several hours just feels off. You make almost no headway in the overarcing plot in 10 hours, but you have almost all of the possible squad-mates by the end of your first mission. And once you get the main plot really going, you realize just how uninspired the situations and cultures are. The angara, the only new race you can really interact with in Andromeda, are not as interesting as any of the races introduced in Mass Effect 1. ME1 gave us the volus, quarians, turians, elcor, hanar, asari, salarians, and krogans. Andromeda gives us one antagonist species and one friendly species. The angara’s main quirk is they feel emotions strongly. That’s it. They can conduct/create strong electric fields but “they have strong emotions” is the extent of their society. Again, I am only 20-30 hours in, so there’s a chance the angara have hidden depths I haven’t seen yet, but the quality of the writing thus far has not inspired confidence. None of the decisions I’ve made this far in feel real either. Without wanting to spoil anything, I made a decision that would result in better long term results, but killed many angarans in the process. Jaal, my angaran squad-mate, was with me at the time and spoke out against me taking this action, but once we were back on the ship he didn’t bring it up. This was supposed to be a fresh start to Mass Effect, a series known for its engrossing world and characters. Andromeda has fairly good characters and excellent combat, but the new galaxy feels a lot like a direct to DVD version of Mass Effect 1.
Atlus Announces Deep Strange Journey and Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology
Both of these titles are enhanced 3DS ports of fantastic DS RPGS. Radiant Historia is a fantastic time travel RPG and Strange Journey is a top quality Shin Megami Tensei game, if you can handle the difficulty.
There aren’t many details on the additions in Deep Strange Journey; hopefully they add in a slightly less punishing difficulty so scrubs like myself can play through it.
While we aren’t sure of what Deep Strange Journey will have, we do know the major additions to Radiant Historia. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology will have voice acting and updated graphics, and presumably animated cutscenes. At the start of a new game there will be two modes to choose from, Perfect and Append. Perfect Mode will allow the new content to be playable from the start, whereas Append Mode will require you to play through the two original timelines to access the new content.
Both of these games were fantastic jRPGS when they first released, and it’s always nice to see developers and publishers put in extra time and effort to make ports better than the originals. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology releases June 28th in Japan; Deep Strange Journey currently has no release date.
Playtonic Drops Jon Jafari (JonTron) From Yooka-Laylee
The developers of the spiritual successors to Banjo-Kazooie, Playtonic, have dropped noted YouTuber Jon Jafari, better known as JonTron, from the game. Jafari was previously slated to be a guest voice actor in the game due to his passion for the classic Nintendo 64 Banjo-Kazooie games. Jafari recently went on Twitch streamer Destiny’s stream to debate current American political issues including immigration and race relations, where he made several controversial statements. After becoming aware of Jafari’s political stances and his reasoning behind them, Playtonic removed his voice from the game. I’ve linked the whole stream of the two hour debate below.
Personally, I think Jafari’s reasoning behind his political views is ignorant and uninformed at best or racist and xenophobic at worst. His political opinion is that immigration should be very strictly controlled, but his reasoning is based on fear of the gene pool becoming diluted, people needing to slowly integrate into the culture, and oppression of any kind not existing in America. The opinion of needing more control on immigration isn’t necessarily racist in itself, but the reasoning he gives for holding that opinion is borderline white supremacist at best. I used to follow JonTron’s content very closely, but fell off. This finally made me unsubscribe from his YouTube channel. People are technically allowed to have whatever opinions they want, but other people are equally allowed to recognize and call out racist ideology.
8-4 is Localizing Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
The people behind the stellar localization of NieR and NieR: Automata are bringing Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia to the West. 8-4 is one of the best and most under used localization companies in the industry, and the more work they do the better of we English speaking gamers are.
Persona 5 Update
Persona 5 still isn’t available in North America and people have gotten early copies and all the early impressions are glowing I’m insanely jealous.
VA-11 HALL-A Update
VA-11 HALL-A still isn’t available on the Vita.
What’s on the Plate
I’m going to keep playing Andromeda, since the characters and combat are fun. I’m also going to try and give Oxenfree and SFV more time since I’m now on spring break. I’ve also started started the HBO show The Leftovers, but I’m going to refrain from posting my impressions until I’ve caught up with the show. Also, Gorillaz released four new singles from their soon to be released album, and I didn’t realize how much I needed new Gorillaz music until now. Hope you have a great week and as always, thanks for reading.