Video Games

Sorry Mass Effect, but it’s not me, it’s you

Two nights ago I decided to play some Andromeda multiplayer. I hadn’t played in well over a week and was looking forward to shooting some aliens. The first game I joined ended with lost connection to Mass Effect server. No big deal, let’s have another go. The second game went fine for a bit, but ultimately I wound up staring at the blue screen of death. FFS. I reload the game, go back into multiplayer and try again. I was able to finish a game and extract, huzzah! But the sound cut out during Wave 4, leaving me with not but 60hz hum to listen to. It obviously wasn’t meant to be.

Last night I decided to try again. I found a lobby no problem and the host set it to a bronze strike team mission, cool. First couple waves went fine, then we had a host migration. It was all good though. We restarted the wave with 4 players and a new host. Before the wave ended, I was once again basking in the blue glow of an error screen.

You know what? If you want me to play your game, get your shit together. And if you ever want me to buy another BioWare title, you best get your shit together in a hurry.

Out came Mass Effect: Andromeda, in went Horizon Zero Dawn.

Video Games

Mass Effect: Andromeda first impressions

This is taken from a conversation I had with a friend. I didn’t write it as a post, but it sums things up fairly well.

I really haven’t been reading any reviews. I know there’s a lot of chatter about the animations, and yeah, the lip sync is off, but so what? It’s not a huge deal to me. I was surprised though at just how shitty the close-up facial graphics are. The console and frostbite should be capable of better. Again, not a huge deal for me. I only played a short amount of the story and it was…okay. We’ll see where they take it. I like Scott, and his voice actor is fine, if a bit generic sounding. The writing so far has been pretty cheesy (in a bad way). I have a feeling that the writing and story will mostly suck, but hopefully the exploration is fun.

I played several games of multiplayer and it was good, but a bit disappointing. It’s hard for me to be objective because I’m comparing it to ME3 as it existed after five DLC releases. It generally played fine. Load times are much improved from ME3. Partying up unfortunately is just as wonky. One friend experienced a hard freeze and another got kicked from a game. Personally, I didn’t have any issues.

With low level characters and gear, Bronze is fucking tough—surprisingly so. I didn’t particularly like the maps, but I might just need to learn them. I really like that each power is on its own timer. The thing I found most disappointing was the sameyness and lack of creativity among the enemy factions. They are not even remotely as compelling as Reapers/Collectors/Geth/Cerberus. We shall see. Nothing I encountered last night suggests I won’t put many more hours into multiplayer, but I certainly wasn’t blown away with awesome.

Video Games

My problem with Mass Effect 3’s ending

What is Mass Effect all about? Yeah, killing the Reapers, saving the galaxy, blah, blah, blah. That’s the plot. What are the overarching themes of Mass Effect? What concepts drive the narrative? There are a bunch: racism, artificial intelligence, genetic modification, and so on. But there is one, that to me anyway, stands above all others. For me, Mass Effect is a tale about the power of teamwork. It is about accepting each other’s differences and embracing the unique talents that each individual brings to the table. It’s about believing in each other and the cause and persevering in the face of overwhelming odds. It is about Shepard’s ability to bring out the best in people and to bring them together, to accomplish what no single person ever could. There are two trophies in Mass Effect 2 that summarize it perfectly: “Against All Odds” and “No One Left Behind”.

Which brings us to my problem with the ending of the series. It all comes down to: we can’t do it through teamwork, we can’t do it at all, we need the Prothean’s tech and a star child to do it for us. Shepard makes the final choice, but it doesn’t have to be him. It could have been anyone or no one. All that matters is that in the end, teamwork, loyalty, and friendship aren’t enough to get it done. And that my friends, flies in the face of everything the Mass Effect series is about right up until that final moment.

Video Games

Mass Effect 2: why I choose Miranda

Jack simply has too much baggage, so Tali is the only other option, and she’s a very good one. But, when I try to think of it as Shepard, I think Miranda makes more sense on a number of levels. Tali loves her people, and being with Shepard would preclude her from spending a lot of time with them. She is also brilliant and would likely be happiest in a lab as a researcher. Then there is the issue of the suit and risk of infection.

Miranda has no family save her sister. She is a soldier, like Shepard. I also view them as being more on the same level, whatever that means, but I think you get what I’m saying. They are good for each other, can push each other, and potentially pull each other’s ass out of the fire. It makes more sense to me, whereas I view Tali’s feelings as being more like a crush. Tali can move on, find someone else, and be happy doing research on the flotilla. What’s Miranda going to do? Shepard is the only man in the galaxy she admires, she loves him, wants to fight the same enemy as him, is every bit as capable as him, and basically has no place else to be, no direction. Yes, I have thought about this entirely too much, it’s kinda weird. It was a very difficult decision for me, but in the end, it felt right.