Bald-faced News: 4/2/17 Creatively Bankrupt

What was Played

Spoilers for Mass Effect Andromeda in this section.

I beat Mass Effect Andromeda. I am working on a post about it, but it probably won’t be a traditional review. If I had to score it right now I’d give it a 5 out of 10 or 2 out of 5 stars. High points include the combat and certain squadmate conversations. The low points are most of the rest of the game.

The game performs poorly. I played on a standard PS4, and have seen first hand footage from a PS4 Pro and a fairly strong PC and none of the skews were very stable. The game fluxuates its framerate at the slightest provocation, and pop in of textures and whole environments is common. Often I would load in on the Tempest, you ship, and go through doors to find my crew standing in empty space until the room loaded in. Several cutscenes had broken scripting and a few even had the entire cast T-posing. And more often than not I was completely uninterested in what was going on in the cutscenes. There aren’t really any plot lines that are satisfying all the way through. Some start out interesting, but I can’t think of a quest that I was emotionally invested in all the way through.

I did get invested in a couple of the characters, namely Peebee, Vetra, and Jaal. But even that has caveats. Vetra is just Garrus with less vigilante tendencies, I just have a soft spot for empty rebellion characters like Peebee, and Jaal is your main conduit to one of the two new races in Andromeda.  All the best parts of Andromeda’s narrative and setting all feel like watered down versions of previous Mass Effect ideas. Your main antagonist is a half-baked version of the Reapers/Collectors, people are scared of AI, your best squad mate is a gender swapped version of Garrus,

Even the absolute best part of Andromeda, the one part that is definitively better than the original trilogy, gets mishandled. The combat in Andromeda is superb. The jetpack and boost afford a level of movement that fits the open nature of the arenas you fight in and the powers are all exceedingly fun to use. I mainly focused on Tech abilities since Energy Drain is a tad overpowered, but I would switch to Biotics when I just wanted to have fun. But all that fun is hindered by the performance issues and the fact that every quest involves a shoot out. And coupling the performance hiccups with poor online connectivity makes spending time in an otherwise appealing multiplayer a risky investment. The much touted loyalty missions are just different flavors of “go here and have a shoot out” as opposed to Mass Effect 2’s occasional dialogue based missions, like Samara’s. And even Mass Effect 2 had different twists to the shooting in its loyalty missions.

There are good ideas in Andromeda, the potential of an entirely new galaxy to explore in the Mass Effect universe had my brain teeming with possibilities. Andromeda makes a genuine effort to show your crew and squadmates interacting in the downtime between missions. But it’s all a hollow imitation of the earliler games. Mass Effect 1 introduced us to at least 8 different alien species in one game, and while Andromeda very much feels like an attempt at redoing ME1 (you even pick an ambassador to support at the end of Andromeda) you’re only introduced to two new alien races, one of which is just your primary antagonist. Andromeda should’ve been a fresh start for the ME series, free of the baggage, good and bad, from the original trilogy. Instead Andromeda comes off as a half-baked attempt to recapture the vibe of ME1, with none of the ideas or vision that made the original games work.

News

Destiny 2 Officially Revealed

After the teaser starring Nathan Fillion, Bungie has released the full Destiny 2 trailer starring Nathan Fillion and Lance Reddick.

 

The original Destiny was one of the most notable examples of overpromising that defined this console generation early on, leaving Destiny 2‘s marketing in a tricky position. They’ve decided to lean into the humor and loot collecting, and while I’m all for humor I echo Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann’s sentiment that Destiny 2 is staying close to Borderlands territory with its apparent focus on humor and loot in standard FPS gameplay. Destiny 2 is slated for a September 2017 release.

MadCatz Files for Bankruptcy, Shutting Down

MadCatz, creators of great fightsticks, OK plastic instruments, and many terrible controllers are closing down in the near future. MadCatz has had a rough time lately, pinning their financial hopes on Rockband 4 didn’t pan out for them and fightsticks, while lucrative, can’t sustain an entire company. Best wishes to all MadCatz employees, hope you find good work.

Palmer Luckey Leaves Facebook

Palmer Luckey, co-inventor of the Oculus Rift and entitled a-hole has departed Facebook. Details regarding the nature of his departure aren’t being given at this time, but it is speculated that Facebook has wanted to get rid of Palmer ever since the Nimble Rich Man incident, but was unable to due to contracts. Regardless of the exact reasons, I am curious to see if Palmer will try to launch any new business ventures or if he is content to sit on his 700 million dollars.

Announcement from Bioware Regarding a Future Announcement Regarding the Future of Andromeda

Mass Effect Andromeda has had a mixed reception. Bioware has announced that they will announce how they are going to address fan “feedback” on April 4th.

While the promise to address the issues in Andromeda is a nice gesture, fixing just the technical issues in Andromeda is a monumental task. I am hopeful and curious as to how Bioware and EA plan to support Andromeda, I’m not expecting much. Maybe we’ll get a few stability and bug patches, but there’s little chance that this game gets the same level of commitment that FF XV will be getting. I’m all for Bioware trying to patch up Andromeda, but the problems with the game run deeper than just buggy textures.

Persona 5 Update

It isn’t officially available yet, but it’s coming. Persona 5 is slated for release in North America on April 4th. It’s been over 3 years since its announcement and all the previews from fans and critics has been glowing.

heavy breathing

I promise to have a Bald-faced News up every week, but by jove it’s going to be hard to tear myself away from that game that first week. Oh, and the DLC release schedule and pricing is out.

VA-11 HALL-A Update

VA-11 HALL-A still isn’t available on the Vita.

crowbar-heart

 

What’s on the Plate

I’ll be anticipating Persona 5, and then playing Persona 5 for most of the foreseeable future. I might get some Automata or Horizon in before the 4th, but I’m also gearing up for college starting again. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you have a great week.

My Twitter: twitter.com/joethbald197
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