Monday, March 27, 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda Review Update

A few people have messaged me over the past week through Facebook and Twitter to ask when I'll have my Mass Effect: Andromeda review up.

First off, yea! Thank for reading. Appreciate the notes and feel free to join in on the discussions with each daily post.

Second, if you have been keeping up with my reviews, you'll notice that I like to try and play most, if not all of a game, before I write out my thoughts. It would be unfair to the game and the developers if I wrote a review after 2 hours of play. Opinions can shift over time. When you have a game like Mass Effect, Final Fantasy, or Skyrim that can easily take over 40 hours to complete, you want to give it the attention it deserves to make a fair assessment.

That's a long way of saying it'll be at least another week. I want to give the game due-diligence before writing up a review. And seeing how a number of people are back-lashing against the title for it's graphics without having played the game (or playing so little of it with low-end computers that can't utilize the full power of the game's graphics), I don't want to be lumped into that crowd. I want my review to stand out as something definitive and comprehensive.

In the mean-time, here is a little taste of my thoughts so far. After almost 10 hours of game play, 2 priority missions and 35 side-quests completed, I'm finding myself more absorbed into the galaxy than I had expected. The beginning is meh; kind of a throw-away for a handful of minutes. Honestly, you might feel a bit lost if you haven't gone through BioWare's 'Andromeda Initiative' website. I think if they had done that cheesy "join us!" message from the site and implemented it into the opening sequence it would have cemented the tone of the game.

I'm also surprised that I'm enjoying the exploration aspect. Me. The person who HATED doing this in the first game. It helps that the areas are more manageable in scale, and the worlds all feel lived in. The Nomad, your new land rover, isn't so bad either. At least it doesn't drive like a drunk freight train on steroids.

For the naysayers about the graphics, they really aren't as bad as people have made them out to be. The environments are stunning. My Twitter feed was once filled with robo-dinosaurs from Horizon: Zero Dawn, is now nothing but cool space photos.

Yes, there are some goofy side-glances and odd facial animations, but those are minor. It just takes one glitch, or someone hitting the screen shot button at the wrong time to make a derp face happen - we have all seen it. I think a lot of this has to do with the character's eyes. For the humans and Asari, the eyes are extra glassy this game. They feel too artificial and perfect that they become the focal point of the faces. And they are the wrong focal point when most of the animation problems lay with the eyes. Which is weird because the other alien races look great; better then they did in ME3. This is the same problem I have with Horizon. So much emphasis is on "realism" that some parts become unreal and detract from the animations.

That's all I've got for now, but I'm surprised that I'm enjoying this game. I didn't think I would based on the tone and the direction teased by the developers. But it's delivering on the promises and more then I expected.


Be prepared for oh-so-many space photos in the review. I'm in love with the transition scenes and smack that screen share button all too often.

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