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#101 Posted by Sackmanjones (5569 posts) -

@shindig: ya know... I didn't wanna put the blame on the lackluster to the strike (I don't think it's that bad so far) but I feel like a big RPG with tos of dialogue like this may feel the greatest effects of it. Also Wildlands seems like it has some notoriously terrible voice work too so I guess I'm curious if this stuff is finally coming to fruition. I don't know much about making these video game things, but I wonder if the timeline adds up for this to be possible?

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#102 Posted by Elyhaym (346 posts) -

Jade Empire 2 when?

This guy is asking the right question!

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#103 Posted by pyrodactyl (3927 posts) -

@wynnduffy said:
@thepanzini said:

the flaws don't seem much different from any previous Mass Effect game

The first two did not have tons of monotonous quests,

The first one had nothing but monotonous quests in prefab environments. The side quests were the worst part of 1

  1. Standards have moved a long way since ME1. That was a landmark game. One of the first to focus on cinematic storytelling and fully voice acted dialogue.
  2. ME1 has some of the best moments in the series if not in video games. The main quest has an incredible opening that sets up an incredibly layered world basically unparalleled in other games at the time and in very few games since. The discussion with Sovereign, the preceding conversation with Wrex and the "hold the line" speech form one of the best sequence in video game history. From what I hear ME:A doesn't even come close to that level of depth, characterization and storytelling.
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#104 Posted by DonChipotle (3426 posts) -

@donchipotle said:
@wynnduffy said:
@thepanzini said:

the flaws don't seem much different from any previous Mass Effect game

The first two did not have tons of monotonous quests,

The first one had nothing but monotonous quests in prefab environments. The side quests were the worst part of 1

  1. Standards have moved a long way since ME1. That was a landmark game. One of the first to focus on cinematic storytelling and fully voice acted dialogue.
  2. ME1 has some of the best moments in the series if not in video games. The main quest has an incredible opening that sets up an incredibly layered world basically unparalleled in other games at the time and in very few games since. The discussion with Sovereign, the preceding conversation with Wrex and the "hold the line" speech form one of the best sequence in video game history. From what I hear ME:A doesn't even come close to that level of depth, characterization and storytelling.

It's not a question of moments or standards, it's a question of Mass Effect 1 having terrible sidequests to the point where the sidequests in Mass Effect 2 were of the same vein but with the middle man removed. Instead of using the Mako to travel through boring planet to boring prefab environment with the same 3 layouts it was drop down for a fifteen to twenty minute combat chunk and back again. Mass Effect 1-3 all have individual moments of good to great things, and ME 1 is the best narrative of the three but sidequests were never the strong point of any of the games. I was specifically talking about the sidequest design here and the sidequests have always been on the weak end with like three exceptions in ME1.

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#105 Posted by Shindig (4268 posts) -

There's a question of focus, here. Mass Effect might've started with some regurgitated assets but everything seemed to go into world building and establishing a galaxy. You're going into a blank slate Andromeda here and, from the quick look, it sounds like they've focused on content (i.e. stuff to do) rather than stuff to read. Bioware at that time only had Mass Effect to work on. Now they have an MMO to support, had to work on Inquisition and, at some point, on Andromeda.

Not gonna say they've spread themselves thin because I'd imagine they have more manpower now but they look like they have more projects to juggle.

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#106 Posted by Colonel_Pockets (1143 posts) -

@shindig: I guess my argument against that is that they released Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2 within months of each other about 7 years ago... This is a real bummer.

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#107 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9084 posts) -

@sackmanjones said:

@shindig: ya know... I didn't wanna put the blame on the lackluster to the strike (I don't think it's that bad so far) but I feel like a big RPG with tos of dialogue like this may feel the greatest effects of it. Also Wildlands seems like it has some notoriously terrible voice work too so I guess I'm curious if this stuff is finally coming to fruition. I don't know much about making these video game things, but I wonder if the timeline adds up for this to be possible?

It seems to be the case.

@shindig said:

Not gonna say they've spread themselves thin because I'd imagine they have more manpower now but they look like they have more projects to juggle.

There's also the question of just who works there. A lot of people left Bioware over time so at some point expecting it to always be the same I think is unreasonable.

To me this game seems more gameplay focused which may rub some the wrong way but I can see myself really enjoying it. I think it may be Skyrim influence actually. People bring up DA:I as a shift that came independently but before that game out they seemed to be chasing that kind of expansiveness. There's a huge difference between the open areas of this game and the corridors of the previous Mass Effect games, which got smaller as the series went on from the first game. I know that may seem obvious to say but it changes the developers job so much.

The execution may not be top level at all it seems but I think it's going for something different that I am cool with. In many ways I think it is stuff ME 1 was going for. I love ME 1's story though and I don't expect this game to be as good.

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#108 Edited by BaneFireLord (3327 posts) -

@sackmanjones: Perhaps I'm also ignorant of how game development timelines work or the machinations of the strike, but if the strike (started in October) is a major culprit behind the quality of the voice acting, I would wonder why BioWare was only just starting to record dialogue 5 months before shipping for a game with so much voice acting.

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#109 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9084 posts) -

@banefirelord said:

@sackmanjones: Perhaps I'm also ignorant of how game development timelines work or the machinations of the strike, but if the strike (started in October) is a major culprit behind the quality of the voice acting, I would wonder why BioWare was only just starting to record dialogue 5 months before shipping for a game with so much voice acting.

That is actually a huge issue with RPGs. Games change as they go and if you record voice acting really early you may want to change it later for any huge number of reasons (omitting characters, parts of the story, changes in characters, etc etc). If you look into any number of RPGs development they often have cuts.

I have heard RPG devs talk before about voice acting really limiting majorly these types of story elements (it's why many still prefer to not actually have voice acting, although it's kind of the way of things now).

I think waiting as late as you can is very much the smart move and makes sense with how games are made.

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#110 Posted by BaneFireLord (3327 posts) -

@banefirelord said:

@sackmanjones: Perhaps I'm also ignorant of how game development timelines work or the machinations of the strike, but if the strike (started in October) is a major culprit behind the quality of the voice acting, I would wonder why BioWare was only just starting to record dialogue 5 months before shipping for a game with so much voice acting.

That is actually a huge issue with RPGs. Games change as they go and if you record voice acting really early you may want to change it later for any huge number of reasons (omitting characters, parts of the story, changes in characters, etc etc). I have heard RPG devs talk before about voice acting really limiting majorly these types of story elements (it's why many still prefer to not actually have voice acting, although it's kind of the way of things now).

I think waiting as late as you can is very much the smart move and makes sense with how games are made.

That makes sense. Still...five months seems like a really, really short window in a 5 year dev cycle with multiple delays. Though perhaps they had to do last minute recasting when they couldn't get already-cast strikers back to re-record due to the strike?

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#111 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9084 posts) -

@banefirelord: That is certainly possible that the timeline was that close, it certainly feels the effects I think (as do some other games). Also I am not going to vouch for this game being so great with its execution (maybe they could have used more time). But voice is often the last thing to be done in RPGs from my understanding so it's not unusual in the least. Personally I also had zero complaints about voice acting in DA:I (but I think everything I've seen in ME:A as far as VA and animation has been okay, not bad, so take that for what you will).

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#112 Posted by BaneFireLord (3327 posts) -

@banefirelord: That is certainly possible that the timeline was that close, it certainly feels the effects I think (as do some other games). Also I am not going to vouch for this game being so great with its execution (maybe they could have used more time). But voice is often the last thing to be done in RPGs from my understanding so it's not unusual in the least.

Guess you learn something new every day. Game development is crazy.

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#113 Posted by LawGamer (1481 posts) -

@banefirelord said:

@sackmanjones: Perhaps I'm also ignorant of how game development timelines work or the machinations of the strike, but if the strike (started in October) is a major culprit behind the quality of the voice acting, I would wonder why BioWare was only just starting to record dialogue 5 months before shipping for a game with so much voice acting.

That is actually a huge issue with RPGs. Games change as they go and if you record voice acting really early you may want to change it later for any huge number of reasons (omitting characters, parts of the story, changes in characters, etc etc). If you look into any number of RPGs development they often have cuts.

I have heard RPG devs talk before about voice acting really limiting majorly these types of story elements (it's why many still prefer to not actually have voice acting, although it's kind of the way of things now).

I think waiting as late as you can is very much the smart move and makes sense with how games are made.

I'm not certain the strike had a huge amount to do with it if only because I wouldn't say it's the actual quality of the voices I've heard that's the problem. It's to me more that the flow of the conversations is stilted and awkward. It sounds more like none of the actors were in a booth reading their lines together as a scene. Instead it's more like they were handed a script individually and told to read the lines on the page out of context, with everything being stitched together afterward.

If that's true, then maybe the strike screwed with scheduling and they couldn't get everyone in a room together at the same time, but it sure seems like you would want characters speaking together in a game to have their actors reading their lines together as well.

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#114 Posted by ArtisanBreads (9084 posts) -

@lawgamer: good points too. I hope some journalist looks into it for clarity. I could definitely see direction being the problem.

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#115 Edited by Fredchuckdave (10737 posts) -

@shindig: He does sound like budget Nolan, didn't really notice till the QL. Of course not much nuance or humor other than "I Got this"

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#116 Posted by LawGamer (1481 posts) -

@fredchuckdave said:

@shindig: He does sound like budget Nolan, didn't really notice till the QL. Of course not much nuance or humor other than "I Got this"

Fuaxlan North?

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#117 Posted by pyrodactyl (3927 posts) -

@pyrodactyl said:
@donchipotle said:
@wynnduffy said:
@thepanzini said:

the flaws don't seem much different from any previous Mass Effect game

The first two did not have tons of monotonous quests,

The first one had nothing but monotonous quests in prefab environments. The side quests were the worst part of 1

  1. Standards have moved a long way since ME1. That was a landmark game. One of the first to focus on cinematic storytelling and fully voice acted dialogue.
  2. ME1 has some of the best moments in the series if not in video games. The main quest has an incredible opening that sets up an incredibly layered world basically unparalleled in other games at the time and in very few games since. The discussion with Sovereign, the preceding conversation with Wrex and the "hold the line" speech form one of the best sequence in video game history. From what I hear ME:A doesn't even come close to that level of depth, characterization and storytelling.

It's not a question of moments or standards, it's a question of Mass Effect 1 having terrible sidequests to the point where the sidequests in Mass Effect 2 were of the same vein but with the middle man removed. Instead of using the Mako to travel through boring planet to boring prefab environment with the same 3 layouts it was drop down for a fifteen to twenty minute combat chunk and back again. Mass Effect 1-3 all have individual moments of good to great things, and ME 1 is the best narrative of the three but sidequests were never the strong point of any of the games. I was specifically talking about the sidequest design here and the sidequests have always been on the weak end with like three exceptions in ME1.

I was addressing the first point. ME:A's flaws seem very different than previous ME games. The main concern isn't on side quests. The problem is that everything seems sub par aside from the combat. That's basically the opposite problem ME1 had.

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#118 Edited by frytup (727 posts) -

@lawgamer said:

I'm not certain the strike had a huge amount to do with it if only because I wouldn't say it's the actual quality of the voices I've heard that's the problem. It's to me more that the flow of the conversations is stilted and awkward. It sounds more like none of the actors were in a booth reading their lines together as a scene. Instead it's more like they were handed a script individually and told to read the lines on the page out of context, with everything being stitched together afterward.

If that's true, then maybe the strike screwed with scheduling and they couldn't get everyone in a room together at the same time, but it sure seems like you would want characters speaking together in a game to have their actors reading their lines together as well.

I'm pretty sure it's very rare in voice over work (animated movies, shows, video games, whatever) for actors to be in the same room. Recording dialog individually is the norm. The editors are usually good enough to stitch everything together so that you don't notice.

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#119 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9084 posts) -

@pyrodactyl: Well I think some things, like the RPG progression (although different in style), larger environments, a deeper upgrade system for your weapons, and exploration are things the series came to completely leave behind after 1 in some ways (though 3 got some elements back in some) so it is a bit more complex but I think I agree... sitting here having only played the trial. I really may end up liking it much more than critics myself.

Like I mentioned previously I don't agree with the GB guys on ME (or many critics it seems).

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#120 Edited by WynnDuffy (1289 posts) -

@frytup: Being in the same room is quite common for movies, not sure about TV shows and I know it isn't for games

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#121 Posted by Sackmanjones (5569 posts) -

@artisanbreads: @banefirelord: @lawgamer: I guess in my head I thought the strike happens much longer ago, probably mistakes it for when they were threatening to go on strike. It's a short window but I can see issues appearing where maybe they wanted to add some new lines in but couldn't because of the strike. Maybe things they added later like some of you said could affect the casting as well. I don't know the first thing about making any of these games but I could see multiple issues pop up with having these actors on strike, especially if they were previously cast and in the game and are now unavailable. I guess we will have to wait in see, games this holiday may reflect the strike as well, it'll be over a year by then.

Like I mentioned, so far it hasn't been bad, I agree with Lawgamer that I have had more issues with these weird pauses in conversations. I haven't played much but there have been a few cases where characters are just silent as if they were to reflect an emotion but just don't have the animation flexibility to do so. It may be my Nostalgia talking, but I remember everyone being SUPER impressed with the faces in the very first Mass Effect, myself included. It's a bit of a bummer that since then it has more or less been pretty average since 2. Oh well, as I've mentioned plenty of times, my first 7 hours or so I've had tons of fun. It seems like a good game that got knocked further because of some technical issues, as it should. I'm looking forward to playing but more of the game, can't wait for it to unlock tonight.

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#122 Posted by Efesell (2870 posts) -

I wonder what this whole debacle would be if this game was just... 'Andromeda'.

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#123 Posted by BradBrains (2062 posts) -

This whole thing really has felt like an example of the worst when it comes to how games are judged based on bugs and review scores.

its less about saying opinions are wrong or right but the prerelease pile on stuff just makes me feel icky

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#124 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9084 posts) -

@sackmanjones: I say as a huge ME 1 fan that the faces were not great at the time. The voice acting was good though. I think RPGs are often not good with facial animation/lip synching but I think other genres are becoming great so it stands out more maybe? Witcher 3 was also strong in that area but I don't expect Bioware to be as good as CD Projekt right now.

It is a fair criticism if other games do it, sometimes with a lot of dialogue themselves, but I think it has never bothered me much. That's why I didn't care when Shepard looked like a creep smiling in every ME game.

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#125 Posted by philosyfee (155 posts) -

Faces and weird animations aside, from the perspective of a DA:I player, I'd like to know how similar Andromeda is. I really enjoyed Inquisition and while I found my self bored trying to replay and revisit the game after my initial play-through, the first run was nothing short of fantastic for me. I know these games are not exactly one to one, but I do see some of the crafting elements and open world aspects that Inquisition had. Thanks to anyone who can give me any further info or impressions.

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#126 Posted by Efesell (2870 posts) -

@sackmanjones: I say as a huge ME 1 fan that the faces were not great at the time. The voice acting was good though. I think RPGs are often not good with facial animation/lip synching but I think other genres are becoming great so it stands out more maybe? Witcher 3 was also strong in that area but I don't expect Bioware to be as good as CD Projekt right now.

It is a fair criticism if other games do it, sometimes with a lot of dialogue themselves, but I think it has never bothered me much. That's why I didn't care when Shepard looked like a creep smiling in every ME game.

His smiles are so creepy though.

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#127 Posted by ClairvoyantVibrations (1608 posts) -

@philosyfee: The game feels a lot like Inquisition. The maps are really similar, and the crafting system is basically the same.

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#128 Edited by WynnDuffy (1289 posts) -

@efesell said:

I wonder what this whole debacle would be if this game was just... 'Andromeda'.

Then it would be just another mediocre BioWare game and sell worse

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#129 Posted by ArtisanBreads (9084 posts) -
@efesell said:

His smiles are so creepy though.

No Caption Provided

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#130 Posted by ThePanzini (574 posts) -

@pyrodactyl: Having exploration back which has been absent since ME1 is major plus for me, common complaints with Andromeda are inconsistent writing and animations which could easily be labelled at any game in the franchise, many reviewers found the characters and story enjoyable its not like everybody hates them the reaction is far more mixed which is reflected in the score for me ME3 would score much lower I prefer the direction Andromeda is taking.

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#131 Edited by OurSin_360 (5195 posts) -

IGN gave it a higher score than gamespot, but their review makes the game seem worse lol. I really think scores are just too subjective and don't mean much anymore, actually reading/hearing what people have to say means a whole lot more. Jesus at only 2 new races what the fuck????

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#132 Edited by philosyfee (155 posts) -

@clairvoyantvibrations: does it have any noticeable glitches similar to inquisition? For instance I had a conversation bug that kept me from progressing a companion mission. Also thank you for the information.

Side Note: is the crafting similar in a way where only one armor set and weapon set truly mattered? Or is it more varied?

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#133 Edited by ArtisanBreads (9084 posts) -

@philosyfee: Well you have to think of this as a full fledged action game really and there are gives and takes. For weapons, it depends on which weapons you like in class and even beyond that in feel. It seems to me you can upgrade any weapon type to be powerful in their own way so it comes down to if you like faster firing weapons, more power, and different things. Typical FPS/TPS choices. I love shotguns so far because I use Charge a lot but otherwise every class has been cool in its own way.

This is without playing the full game. Maybe by the end there are some very powerful combinations but I think it seems based on what you like more.

@oursin_360 said:

Jesus at only 2 new races what the fuck????

I think everyone can agree that part is lame.

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#134 Posted by chrispaul92 (105 posts) -

@oursin_360: The only two new races baffles me. Was this made in such a vacuum that no one thought that they should introduce more?

Avatar image for zirilius
#135 Edited by Zirilius (1558 posts) -

@thepanzini: I think returning to a more complex leveling system (well more complex than ME2/3 in terms of variety) and having a greater focus on exploration is great. Story and characters are subjective for sure and so far I'm enjoying the main story albeit it being somewhat cliche.

@artisanbreads: I agree two new races in a galaxy 2.2 million light years away seems lame. Maybe we'll see more in future installments or DLC.

@philosyfee said:

@clairvoyantvibrations: does it have any noticeable glitches similar to inquisition? For instance I had a conversation bug that kept me from progressing a companion mission. Also thank you for the information.

Side Note: is the crafting similar in a way where only one armor set and weapon set truly mattered? Or is it more varied?

Was it the Dorian glitch? He was the only loyalty quest I couldn't do because of the war table glitch.

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#136 Posted by philosyfee (155 posts) -
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#137 Posted by mellotronrules (2149 posts) -

@oursin_360 said:

Jesus at only 2 new races what the fuck????

I think everyone can agree that part is lame.

yeah- this is the most emblematic of my disappointment. new galaxy, fresh start- and 2 new races. what a bummer.

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#138 Edited by ShadyPingu (1741 posts) -

@mellotronrules: Yeah... it's not unreasonable given that we're confined to one cluster in Andromeda, which could very well be the backwater of the galaxy. Still, a big part of what made Mass Effect's world interesting was the dense interspecies politics, and you lose some of that when there's only two factions, especially when the kett are recent interlopers already.

When they outlined Andromeda's premise years ago, I sort of assumed it would be the Milky Way races barging sloppily into a new political landscape that was just as complicated as the one they left. That conflict is already so ethically fraught that you don't even need ancient alien technology to make an interesting story (though I doubt they could've resisted the temptation, regardless). This sounds a lot more straightforward, and I'm kinda bummed about that.

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#139 Edited by mellotronrules (2149 posts) -

@encephalon: yeah exactly. 2 races is reasonable if they're appropriately alien, unknowable, complex and engaging. granted i haven't played the game, but none of the coverage i've absorbed thus far gives me hope. it seems like the new races don't even go as deep as the elcor or hanar- tertiary races that exude charm and originality (it really speaks volumes of the ingenuity of that first game versus andromeda).

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#140 Posted by 49th (3667 posts) -

I'm glad reviews are finally out so I can stop hearing about Mass Effect... although thinking back to Mass Effect 3 I remember it being talked about on the Bombcast for months after release. I really hope that doesn't happen again.

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#141 Edited by pyrodactyl (3927 posts) -

@mellotronrules: Yeah... it's not unreasonable given that we're confined to one cluster in Andromeda, which could very well be the backwater of the galaxy. Still, a big part of what made Mass Effect's world interesting was the dense interspecies politics, and you lose some of that when there's only two factions, especially when the kett are recent interlopers already.

When they outlined Andromeda's premise years ago, I sort of assumed it would be the Milky Way races barging sloppily into a new political landscape that was just as complicated as the one they left. That conflict is already so ethically fraught that you don't even need ancient alien technology to make an interesting story (though I doubt they could've resisted the temptation, regardless). This sounds a lot more straightforward, and I'm kinda bummed about that.

When they first announced the premise years ago I was excited. It just seem like the perfect way for a fresh start keeping some of the same conflicts and ties to Mass Effect while introducing complicated politics, enemies and alliances in the new world. It seems like they just took it as an opportunity to do the ancient robot aliens shtick over again.

Who the hell thought that was the core identity of Mass Effect? Not cool lore, characters and politics but ancient robot aliens. So bummed out.

Avatar image for syndrom
#142 Posted by Syndrom (463 posts) -

I played until the point where the game said i can't play anymore of the story and just shut it off. I feel pretty meh about the whole thing really. The og trilogy were some of my favourite games and the weird ending of 3 didn't even change that for me. But this feels like they are just checking off boxes they feel they need to hit with a mass effect game. The whole human pathfinder thing bugs me to no end. I get why you were a human in the first games, since you were a new species to the whole intergalactic thing but now it feels so lame. Why can't we play as an asari or heck even a krogan. Why do the humans have to be the big saviours again? It just doesn't feel like a new galaxy at all, there is no grand sense of discovery since most of the stuff you've seen in the previous games.

This whole thing feels like such a bummer and add to that the technical issues. Why is it that nobody can walk around with fully stretched out arms, everyone has them in this weird angle. The faces things has been beaten to death but i can't just ignore it. The voice acting is subpar at best. I had such high hopes for this game. I'll probably pick it up on sale sometime or when it becomes free with access, but now i just can't justify paying full price for it. I don't even want to spend the time needed to finish this game. Fuck i just wanted a new cool space rpg.

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#143 Edited by ClairvoyantVibrations (1608 posts) -

@philosyfee: No story/quest breaking bugs that I've seen.

The crafting is similar to DA:I in that you find components to craft your weapon/armor blueprints, and then you can further modify them with extra parts (that are also craftable) like scopes.

It's also similar in that the menus are kind of bad and confusing to navigate.

It's different in that you don't find tiers of crafting mats. Like the recipe is always the same, and damage goes up from getting better blueprints with cost more of those materials (ex. you craft the Carnifex 1, Carnifex 2, 3 etc.) as opposed to finding actual better materials. (In Dragon Age if you make a sword out of iron it does less damage than that same sword made of dragonstone, for example)

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