Alex-y Quest, the spiritual successor to Mass Alex, is happening.

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spiketail

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Into the beast of Andromeda they venture! Thought the GB crowd that isn't taking the ferry to regularly visit Nextlander would appreciate the heads-up.

The Twitch VOD or the YouTube video for your viewing pleasure.

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tartyron

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I kinda regret playing Andromeda last year (for a number of reasons) as I bet I would have enjoyed tuning in to them more if I wasn’t still processing that game.

I did play with the fan patches and a few quality of life mods that I think did more heavy lifting than I realized, because even in that first episode I see the unmodded version is much shakier than what I played. My final verdict was that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it’s reputation, with good combat gameplay and a few bright spots at least in concept but the story is fucking dull dull dull dull dull and even blander character performances. Not “bad” per se, but not great. Throw in the bugs it had at launch then I totally get where the bad reputation comes from.

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weazman54

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This is what we've been waiting for. I'm so glad to have Brad there too. I think at the end all three we'll probably go "meh that was.......fine. Ok Mass Effect."

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bitbat

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This is so weird to me, when they left GB I was expecting Nextlander to be the ones trying new exciting things while GB continued to work within their cosy comfort zone but it has turned out to be the opposite. I’m glad that both exist though!

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mellotronrules

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@bitbat said:

This is so weird to me, when they left GB I was expecting Nextlander to be the ones trying new exciting things while GB continued to work within their cosy comfort zone but it has turned out to be the opposite. I’m glad that both exist though!

right? i'm of the exact same mind. either way, this playthrough should be interesting.

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Humanity

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Nextlander? Im.. not familiar with that site? Are they some sort of influencers???

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BrainScratch

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@bitbat: Exactly! It's really weird how things turned out

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Nodima

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#9  Edited By Nodima
@mellotronrules said:
@bitbat said:

This is so weird to me, when they left GB I was expecting Nextlander to be the ones trying new exciting things while GB continued to work within their cosy comfort zone but it has turned out to be the opposite. I’m glad that both exist though!

right? i'm of the exact same mind. either way, this playthrough should be interesting.

I get why this feels right, but I don't feel like it is, in practice. Nextlander is taking votes from their Patreon supporters on what they play, actively discussing the decisions to do or not do something with subscribers in their Discord channel and whenever they are doing their own thing, they're pretty much doing it all together. As a result their podcasts are leaner and more focused on the one or two games they're playing that week and they all have a conversation about those games at the same time. A lot of their shows are longform and cover a game from beginning to end, as well, or pick up games the masses are talking about from the middle-ish and see them to the end so the audience can see their opinions form in real time rather than just a few quips on release day and then no clue what'll happen come game of the year.

Whereas Giant Bomb is still very much "you care about that type of game, tell the rest of us about it", completely unpredictable as to whether they'll quick look or longplay a game (and whether that longplay will actually be all that long) and, despite intermittent attempts, pretty opaque in terms of their decision making and longterm plans (heck, we finally got another "sad state of the site" post this weekend!). Despite almost entirely dropping Quick Looks, historical features like Demo Derby or whatever in favor of bad music and internet memes, Giant Bomb very much operates as it always has despite these changes IMO.

Nextlander looks like the old thing and Giant Bomb looks like a new thing, but in practice it does feel like Nextlander is trying to do most things other than their actual production differently while Giant Bomb feels like it's trying to do most things other than their actual production the same as ever.

Edit: to add that this isn't a value judgement as both sites are doing good work IMO, I just haven't found Nextlander to be as Giant Bomb-y as some like to say it is.

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Shindig

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Part of me sees some of their output as projects they didn't get over the line before they left. Things like the Hitmarathon and now this. But then you get Brad dabbling with 486 Mister cores.

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Efesell

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#11  Edited By Efesell

Nextlander is doing exactly what was expected of them I think.

I mean I love all those guys but I'd never bat for them as big content innovators.

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htr10

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On behalf of the name Mass Alex, I am fucking outraged.

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Undeadpool

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#13  Edited By Undeadpool

I actually felt like I got a lot of closure with the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

On the OTHER hand: playing bad videogames is sort of my favorite thing at this point...

@efesell said:

Nextlander is doing exactly what was expected of them I think.

I mean I love all those guys but I'd never bat for them as big content innovators.

Or really WANTING to be. It's perfectly fine if not EVERYONE wants to re-invent their job every ~5-10 years and I think it's VERY weird that people online seem divided on: whether that's the highest aspiration or the basest heresy.

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berfunkle

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#14  Edited By berfunkle

Can you make for an interesting ME: Andromeda stream? All I remember from that game was one fetch quest after another.

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Humanity

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#15  Edited By Humanity

@berfunkle: Like most games these days, the main big missions had decent story reveals and some neat mission design. Unfortunately a large part of the game is doing stuff to "unlock" the planets and most of that stuff is the worst type of open world schlock.

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Junkerman

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@humanity: Thats a real bummer to think about but you're totally right. I wonder why it all went that way...

I was a big fan of Dragon Age 3 when it came out but that game is maybe 5-7 hours long if you were to just mainline the actual good story content and not count companion dialog.

I was contemplating the dearth of good AAA WRPGs in the last ten years and I wonder what led to that.

Now the CRPG scene has had a nice renaissance capped off with Disco Elysium but other then maybe Witcher 3, Fallout 4 and I guess Outer Worlds (never really clicked for me) there has only been few since Last-Last Gen as in the 360 era where we saw WRPGs coming hand over fist.

I recently played through KOTOR 1 and largely skipped all the side content (I've saved Dustil Onasi enough in my day) and the main story for that game is a satisfying 18-20hour or so epic.

I wonder if it just became too much to produce for developers like Bioware or just a series of bad rolls chasing $$ for corporate slowly choked out the genre.

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Humanity

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@junkerman: Personally for me I can trace it back as such: Morrowind blew me away with its breadth, open ended nature and unique design. Oblivion was still enjoyable but I decidedly cooled on the formula. Skyrim was when I was completely done with the vast open world and a ton of meaningless quests. I remember playing Skyrim and just feeling like it was this dead algorithm driven experience. You walked into a cave and it was empty, only to get a quest moments later directing you to that very same cave now populated with generic bandits. The Bethesda Fallouts likewise did nothing for me. I enjoyed Inquisition a lot but I really think it was a time and place sort of thing where I just needed a lot of “content” to keep me busy and the combat was fun enough to help me keep going. Andromeda was also a time sink affair but one where the seams were much more noticeable to the point where the player was constantly tripping over them.

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frytup

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Unlocking the alien artifact things is incredibly repetitive. Other than that, it's fine.

Granted, I played through it after it was fully patched.

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mellotronrules

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@nodima said:

Nextlander looks like the old thing and Giant Bomb looks like a new thing, but in practice it does feel like Nextlander is trying to do most things other than their actual production differently while Giant Bomb feels like it's trying to do most things other than their actual production the same as ever.

Edit: to add that this isn't a value judgement as both sites are doing good work IMO, I just haven't found Nextlander to be as Giant Bomb-y as some like to say it is.

you're not wrong- i suppose it depends on what you're personally prioritizing or paying attention to. for me- i never expected to see giant bomb do shows dedicated purely to music or internet nonsense, whereas i (perhaps incorrectly) imagined nextlander was in part founded to spend time creating things away from long-form playthroughs. but yes- when you look at how the sausage is made- nextlander really has taken an approach which is miles from gb's.

but yes- i'd wholeheartedly agree that both sites are doing their thing and putting out great stuff!

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bybeach

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I'm not surprised Nextlander ended up as it is. It makes sense, business-wise. And since they can only interact through their pc's, it's difficult to think what they could do that is besides what Everyone else is doing, really. In fact, NextLander is so much like the last year or so of their involvement with GB because of covid, that it seems more a sense of continuation rather than of anything remarkably different, much less innovation.

But that is okay. I am not expecting early GB, or even middle. I'm not expecting left field. I am satisfied with the personalities (the people, really). I had initial mixed feelings about Alexy-Quest as just being, in spirit, more of the same. But hey, I will mostly watch it. Other times I always can't raise the interest, but I like much of what NextLander does. Probably most.

It's three guys I am familiar with, doing the tried and true with Twitch being both the set, with the constraint of settings. And for a few reasons, because of the times and their age, that is just fine with me.

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Humanity

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My only problem with the new feature is that they are going into it already very negative before the game even begins, nitpicking even the smallest things. I think we all enjoy a good bit of playful "rough housing" when it comes to games that aren't the best but for whatever reason this struck me as different. Alex seems mostly neutral, ready to just experience whatever Andromeda is, but Vinny seemed uncharacteristically whiny not to mention Brad who is anxious to discuss the games biggest flaws even though his almost entire experience of it is second hand.

I can't even really articulate my issue with it as it's more of a gut feeling. I watch plenty of Twitch these days where streamers play bad games and shit talk them and everyone, myself included, is in on the ride and it's fun. So not exactly sure why Nextlander shit talking Andromeda is not sitting well with me but something about it made me tune out of the first stream early on.

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theonewhoplays

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@humanity: I agree, the whole video was Brad going 'Oh this and that thing we haven't seen yet is gonna be BAD'. Worst part was him pointing out one of the meme'd scenes before it happened (it had even been patched). Overall uncharacteristically whiny and nit-pickey.

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Efesell

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@humanity: Yeah this is probably why I'll pass on it.

I mean listen Andromeda is not an amazing game, but I think when you stop applying hyperbole to it by screaming to the stars about how it "killed Mass Effect" or whatever then you'll just find a kind of middling to okay open world game. So like trying to really persistently shit on it like that is gonna start to feel like you're just trying to make something happen.

Anyway what's probably going to happen is that 2-3 episodes in Alex gets very bored and it just turns into a bonus episode of the podcast but Mass Effect is sort of happening.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#24  Edited By ll_Exile_ll
@junkerman said:

@humanity: Thats a real bummer to think about but you're totally right. I wonder why it all went that way...

I was a big fan of Dragon Age 3 when it came out but that game is maybe 5-7 hours long if you were to just mainline the actual good story content and not count companion dialog.

If you just count the main story content, then yeah Inquisition is probably like a 10 hour game. However, while the open world stuff is largely really bad, there are also companion specific quests in the style of Mass Effect loyalty missions. If you include those among "actual good story content" and include between mission companion dialogue as well, you get to a more respectable level of quality content of like 20 hours or so.

Of course, it's a 100 hour game for 100%, so 20% of it being very good is not ideal when the other 80% ranges from alright to bad. Still, if you play that game in a way maximizes the good content and ignores as much of the bad as possible, it's a pretty good game overall. Of course, playing the game in that way organically in a first playthrough is very unlikely.

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tartyron

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@humanity said:

My only problem with the new feature is that they are going into it already very negative before the game even begins, nitpicking even the smallest things. I think we all enjoy a good bit of playful "rough housing" when it comes to games that aren't the best but for whatever reason this struck me as different. Alex seems mostly neutral, ready to just experience whatever Andromeda is, but Vinny seemed uncharacteristically whiny not to mention Brad who is anxious to discuss the games biggest flaws even though his almost entire experience of it is second hand.

I can't even really articulate my issue with it as it's more of a gut feeling. I watch plenty of Twitch these days where streamers play bad games and shit talk them and everyone, myself included, is in on the ride and it's fun. So not exactly sure why Nextlander shit talking Andromeda is not sitting well with me but something about it made me tune out of the first stream early on.

I think part of it might be that you have Vinny, who is usually extremely cheerful and positive in almost every way, and Brad, who can get frustrated but usually comes to objectivity in final opinions, both feeling personally disappointed by it because they loved the OG trilogy so much. Remember, Vinny wanted ME2 for game of the generation and game of the decade. Brad came late as I recall but also really loved it once he got through the series. So when ME:A came out, and then EA essentially said "We are no longer developing Mass Effect products", I think they took it a little personal. Brad also slogged through the entire game unpatched, and never returned and if that video he posted back when was any indication, pre-patch vanilla ME:A really was totally unacceptable.

I played the whole thing last year with a few mods and community patches. It was great as a game and fine to not great as a story. I avoided it and had scorn for it too because I also love the Mass Effect universe, but once I went through it, it was a totally decent game, like a B tier game with AAA budget, Like an off-year Assassins Creed equivalent. I don't regret the time I put into it, but I wouldn't really recommend it unless folks just want busywork.

It still sucks that the the game credits Space-X by name for "early space development" in the codex. That is the sin I'll never forgive it for.

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Humanity

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@tartyron: From what I heard on the stream Brad made it sound like he only played a few hours of it and then just read up on the rest. Not that it makes any difference, like I'm not holding it against him. I was just under the impression that he didn't really even play it aside from the Quick Look.

I agree that part of it is that typically Vinny is a force of positivity which is both refreshing and uplifting for the content when the rest of the crew is down on something. It speaks volumes that of all people Alex was the most upbeat of the bunch. Someone else told me that hey this is to be expected when they are playing the series that "killed Mass Effect." As @efesell remarked above, at some point you just have to get over it. EA killed Mass Effect by being EA just like they did with plenty of other franchises at the time. Andromeda was just the final nail in the coffin and it didn't help that the nail was crooked and you had to pry it out and try to nail it in again and again as everyone watched in increasing disillusionment. I don't believe any one game can kill a franchise, especially not one as prolific as Mass Effect. They could easily make a new one, it's not even a financial risk for EA. People still have plenty of love for this stuff.

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BladeOfCreation

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#27  Edited By BladeOfCreation

@humanity: This was my feeling while watching them play this as well. It felt like they were coming at it from a much more negative starting point than they do with other games.

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Mister_V

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@humanity:

Brad played all of ME:A he reviewed it...

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Humanity

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@mister_v: Ah alright. Completely forgot about it.

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Broshmosh

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I thought ep1 was fine. Didn't feel anything overly negative, beyond what is practically an expectation any time ME:Andromeda comes up among gamers. Honestly the game seems a bit dull.

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ALLTheDinos

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I mentioned this on that “what’s the most boring AAA game you’ve finished” thread one or two weeks ago, but ME:A isn’t nearly as bad as it is deathly boring. The first few hours are the best part of the game narratively (quality aside), but it becomes a map gamey slog so fast it’s borderline unwatchable at times. The real horror of that game was not seeing the bad stuff included in it (facial animations were pretty rough, unappealing characters, etc) but what’s missing from it. None of the races that made the OT galaxy feel so full, worlds that were stuffed with content that I immediately forgot, and worst of all: the knowledge that not a single choice you make will matter because the Andromeda series is dead and buried after one DLC-less game. I don’t think it makes a good nostalgia- or hate-watch for those reasons.

All that said, I would enjoy seeing if Alex comes out of it with a different take than the other guys. I would urge him (through his old employer’s forums, obviously the most direct line to his ears) to pull the ripcord on this one the second he stops enjoying it. It won’t pay off or get better, you just lower your expectations and then stubbornly resolve to finish it.

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FacelessVixen

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#32  Edited By FacelessVixen

I re-subbed to have access to the old series, with the possibility of re-playing the games again while listening to the adventures of Shep Shep as a podcast, and I might do the same with Alex-y Quest.

Let's fucking gooooooo!