Mass Effect: Andromeda has been out for a little over a week now. I have been doing my best to play as much as possible so that I can write this impressions post. Having said that, a impressions post is all that I will be writing, as I have done something that I have not done in over ten years. I returned a game. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts.
The first disappointing aspect of Mass Effect: Andromeda is literally at very beginning of the game; the character creator. For a game that puts so much emphasis on story, cutscenes, and dialogue, I would expect so much more from the character creator. Like most games, Bioware has provided templates for people to use as a base for their character. Unlike most games, however, each template can only be adjusted slightly. How little control the player actually has in building their character is absurd, and incredibly disappointing.
Even worse than being restricted by the character templates, are the templates themselves. Almost all of them either look insane, gross, or both. Meaning that, if you are looking for a character that looks halfway decent, you are going to be even more limited to the kind of character you can make. I don’t even understand how it is so bad. Bioware has plenty of experience building character creators, how could they have thought this would be acceptable?
But as annoying and frustrating those issues are, they are all still cosmetic. While they obviously affect the game experience on a whole, I don’t believe they would be the difference between a good game and a bad game. Unfortunately, Andromeda’s problems don't end at cosmetic issues. The gameplay itself has been nothing short of uninspired and frustrating.
When a mission is selected, a quest marker helps guide the player around. And that is what the game felt like, just chasing those orange circle symbols. The areas of the game lack any sort of creativity or cohesion to the point that following a marker is sometimes the only way to get to where you need to go. For one mission, my game actually glitched and wouldn't display the quest marker for me to follow. That resulted in me running around a structure trying to find my way in for over 20 minutes. These sort of instances really show how restricted the worlds are.
The problem with the gameplay itself is what really kills it for me, and it is why I have little faith that Bioware can fix the game. I’m sure the animations can be touched up, and they could even go in and fix the character creator, although I doubt they will. But Mass Effect: Andromeda’s biggest problems aren't the graphics, or the animations, or the character creator. Mass Effect: Andromeda suffers from a core gameplay problem that simply can’t be patched.
Mass Effect: Andromeda was one of my most anticipated games of this generation. And I was still excited about the game despite what I had been hearing about the animations. Animations are something that I can look past. But when the entire game is riddled with horrible gameplay decisions, bugs, and frustrating menus/ cutscenes, it becomes a chore to even play it.
So that is why I made the decision to return the game. Something that I have never done before in my adult life. Like I said, I could not have been more excited about this game, but the product has been an incredible disappointment. It is nothing short of baffling that Bioware would even consider releasing a product of this low quality.
A portion of their impressions:
For those wondering how much Andromeda will build on the story of the original Mass Effect trilogy, the answer appears to be: not so much. Since Andromeda is a major departure from the original trilogy, don’t expect to bump into Shepard or the Reapers. A Bioware rep did tell me, however, that eagle-eyed players may uncover a few narrative morsels that relate to that story. You won’t be importing past save files to carry on any narrative choices, either, as it doesn’t fit with the new protagonist and setting.
Check out their full thoughts at the source link below.
Here is a portion of their impressions:
Although I only scratched the surface of the main missions, I was excited by the potential I saw. The world is rich, the game looks beautiful (we played on PS4 Pro, so no surprise there), and the co-op opportunities seem limitless. Ghost Recon Wildlands is out on PS4 in March, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of exceptional shared clips coming out of this…
Wow! What a weekend! The Game Awards were held on Friday, followed by The Playstation Experience, which was followed by Capcom Cup. There were plenty of announcements made, so I decided to talk about a few of my favorites. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!
One of my favorite announcements was Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. I hate that the news had leaked a couple of weeks before the event, but it was still exciting to see a game that I didn't think would happen for another 10 years. I will say that it is not as visually impressive as I had hoped it would be, but I don’t think that should detract too much from the game. I am also not bothered by the rumors suggesting characters like Wolverine won’t make an appearance. I know many people will disagree, but I say good riddance.
Another game I am actually really happy to see announced is Knack 2. I know this is an unpopular opinion, and I know that I have already written a detailed thought on why I believe the first Knack got such bad reviews. But I still feel strongly that Knack is a very enjoyable game, and it is one that more than deserves a sequel. And co-op play is a great addition to the game. My only hope is that I can play the entire game with a friend online.
And while it was not a new game announcement, I believe the new Death Stranding trailer stole the weekend, at least for me. I thought the first trailer was unique, and it definitely piqued my interest. But the second trailer is something different. It feels like a real game to me know, with real characters, and a real world. And more importantly, it feels like a Kojima game. Something I loved about the Metal Gear Solid series was the unique blend of technology with supernatural elements. It seems that Death Stranding will have a similar approach, and I could not be more excited.
But overall, I think PSX 2016 was a really great show. It had a little bit of something for everyone. I imagine most people will pick The Last of Us 2 as their favorite announcement. I disagree, but that’s okay. I had more than enough other announcements to get me hyped for a long time.
What was your favorite announcement over the weekend? Be sure to leave a comment below!
So what do I think of PlayStation VR?
Totally, totally loving it! I've only played Arkham VR thus far, but it's been a blast! Got everything set up last night at about 7:30pm, and finally forced myself to pull the headset off at 3:30am. Which means I was playing the game - eyes engulfed fully in VR - for a solid, non-stop 8 hours. Even more amazing, in my opinion, was that I was doing all this standing up almost the entire time! Of course, the game itself is only a few hours long, but tooling around trying to find/solve all the Riddler puzzles and (perhaps the most fun) simply just looking at the unlockable character/bat vehicle models apparently made the time really zip by... plus I was really pushing for the 100%. (Just couldn't figure out what needed to be done for those last few trophies).
Seriously... if you've unlocked any characters and vehicles in Arkham VR, try to take the time to check them ALL out, rotating them all around and (in the case of the character models) selecting the 3 additional "poses". The sense of an iconic hero/villain/character/vehicle in the 3D space is pretty amazing to witness... that you feel like that character/vehicle is RIGHT THERE, able to be touched or (for vehicles) climbed into. Killer Croc, and every single vehicle, are my top faves.
Based off of everything I was hearing, I was expecting to have to take the headset off every 30mins, or at least every few hours, for the strain it supposedly places on the body/eyes... but I think that might only apply to the type of game? I did feel like I was getting a little blurry/cross-eyed at the end, but 8 non-stop hours of normal TV-watching might do the same thing, not to mention doing so while staying up past 3am... so I'm giving that a pass - for now. (I also suffer from central serous retinopathy, which when it's at its worst makes me feel cross-eyed even just walking around outside, but that didn't seem to affect or be the cause of anything last night.) The headset itself was totally comfortable... wearing it feels pretty much the same as wearing a hat.
The issues I do have so far though... the trophy notifications. That HAS to change... as the fact that it even plays the trophy-popping sound already does as much "immersion breaking" as a visual notification would, and then the curiosity of what trophy actually popped compelling me to pull up the Home menu... that's about as intrusive as it could possibly get with respect to preserving immersion. But that probably can (and probably will) change with a software update. What might be less fixable is the "jitters" that Kirk Hamilton at Kotaku wrote about... which seems to be PSVR's relying on the old Move + PS4 camera tech. It's not a HUGE deal, at least in the realm of Arkham VR gameplay... but definitely noticeable if you're trying to read text written on something you're holding. Hopefully it doesn't affect gameplay in other games that require precise movements. (I think we already know how horrible ANY game would be, if it has motion controls and requires precise movements.) ;)
So am I still as stoked on PSVR as I was pre-launch? I'm gonna say emphatically, YES. The game that convinced me to be a PSVR believer was, of all games, Wayward Sky (which I also downloaded last night), which had some very unmemorable point-and-click-y gameplay, from what I played last year. But the scenes I witnessed in the demo that placed you IN the scene (as cliché as it is)... those blew me away. Arkham VR is pretty much an entire game (albeit a very short one) that places you IN the game, and it's pretty incredible to soak in the sights and sounds of Gotham surrounding you... graphics that are crazy-realistic in comparison to Wayward Sky's cartoon-y look. To look at the light reflecting off a tiled floor, and actually see the mop-streaks on it when you tilt your head at the right angle... totally unexpected to see that level of detail (which is on the devs, of course), but which I didn't think was even possible with PSVR.
As for the Arkham VR game itself, its pretty passive as far as a game goes (which might be the standard for a VR game?)... since you're really only a stationary character in a very dynamic-feeling world. But as a taste of what it's like to be Batman in VR... I think it really works. Perhaps the jaw-dropping immersion is something that will only happen at this early stage of VR... but still, it's pretty amazing that such a passive game can have you look over the edge of a steep drop and you actually feel the vertigo, or to "walk" into a very cramped (and dirty) space and feel the claustrophobia... so I'm crazy excited to see what developers can come up with in the future, with these added tools of sensory stimuli at their disposal.
Thanks Fatty for the write up!
July 1st Update: I apologize to everyone, but I have been dealing with an emergency situation all day today, and have not been able to write a new Lgndary Thought. I have bumped this one to the top so that more people can vote on it. Thank you for your understanding, and the next Thought should be up on Monday as usual. Have a happy 4th of July weekend everyone!
It is the end of the month, and the PS Plus games for July have been announced. For June, most of you were unimpressed with what Sony offered. So how will this month fair? Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!
This might be unbelievable to some, including myself, but I think Sony may have done it. After months of PS Plus lineups ranging from horrible to boring, we may have a winning month on our hands. For those that have not seen it yet, here are the PS Plus games for July:
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell, PS4
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, PS3
Fat Princess, PS3
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines, PS Vita
Prince of Persia: Revelation, PS Vita
Obviously, the stand out game is Furi. I have been stoked for this game ever since it was announced. The character design looks great, the gameplay looks unique, and I love the art style. Everything about the game screams awesome, and to think that I get it with my subscription is incredible. And I also think it is worth mentioning that Furi will be a new release when it joins the PS Plus lineup. Even if the game doesn't turn out to be so great, it was worth something that Sony gave us a new title.
The other games don't look particularly spectacular, I may give Saints Row a shot, but they don’t need to be. I don’t think, or expect, Sony to have every game in any PS Plus lineup be spectacular, just one is good for me. The July lineup also includes early access for Paragon, which is a nice bonus of sorts.
As you can see, I am very happy with the July PS Plus lineup. But what do you think? Be sure to vote in the poll below! Results will be posted next week.
Street Fighter V has been out for a little over 4 months now, and it has had quite the roller coaster of a time. Today I would like to talk about what went so badly, and how Capcom is trying to fix it. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!
I was one of the early defenders when Street Fighter V launched. It wasn't a prefect game, far from it, but I still thought it was an excellent buy. Their DLC plans also showed a lot of promise. And that is where the game took a serious hit in my book. Capcom was consistently launching DLC packs very late into the month, some features got delayed entirely, new problems appeared with every patch, and worst of all, the June update was delayed an entire month.
The delay itself wasn't so bad either, these things happen, but how Capcom handled was horrible. For those that don't know, they didn't actually formally announce the delay at first. Instead, they expected all their fans to just figure it out when there wasn't an update at the end of the month. It was something that really made me upset, something that is hard to do.
But in recent weeks, Capcom has done a lot of good to restore goodwill amongst their customers. They released a statement apologizing for what they did, and explained that they were going to try a lot harder to be more open with the community. And the new update, releasing next week, also looks great.
The story mode itself will be free for everyone, something that should make everyone happy. Capcom is finally letting players purchase additional characters, skins, and stages. And they are also releasing two characters at once. Ibuki was originally set to release last month, but got delayed. And we were never supposed to get a new character this month. So being able to play Balrog a month early does a lot to make up for the delay itself.
Everything that has happened in the last month with Street Fighter V should be a text book example for all developers on how to right a wrong. Capcom still has a lot of work to do. But what they have done has really shown that they are sorry, and are doing everything they can to make things right.
E3 may be over, but the conversation continues! Today, I would like to talk about my best in show, and maybe some of you would like to share your opinions as well. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!
I know this is a site dedicated to all things Playstation, but I have to be honest with my pick. My absolute game of the show for E3 2016 is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And actually, no other game came close for me.
Breath of the Wild is so exciting because it represents a new era for the Zelda series. But at the same time, represents what The Legend of Zelda is all about. Breath of the Wild will be the first major Zelda game that is open world, and in a world that is absolutely massive in scale. For me, The Zelda series has always been about adventure. Breath of the Wild will be the first game to truly encourage players to explore, get lost, and have fun in a way that hasn't been possible until now.
But Nintendo had to go further. Breath of the Wild isn't just a massive world to explore, it is also physics based. The amount of crazy things that Nintendo showed off in their demo is insane. Throwing a sword, and then picking it up, and swinging it around with a magnet. Sledding down a snowy mountain on a shield. Using the hot air from a fire to lift a glider into the air. I was amazed at everything I saw.
But like I said, this is GoingSony. While Breath of the Wild is my favorite game that was shown at E3, I’ll still talk about my favorite PS4 game that I saw. And for me personally, I am going to have to go with The Last Guardian.
Sure, they didn't reveal too much, But I think it was one of the few games that doesn't just look good, it looks special. I think the new God of War game has a lot of potential, but it actually looks a lot like many other games visually. So many games are trying to copy each other, and they play just like each other too. It is refreshing when a game is unlike anything else out there.
The Last Guardian has been in development for so long. Getting that E3 trailer, with the release date reveal at the end, felt like the final stretch of the road coming to a end. Seeing the new trailer next to all of the other trailers that came out at E3, made my decision much easier.
E3 has just begun, but most of the big press conferences are over. Even Sony had their’s late last night. How did it go? How did it compare to past showings? Here are my impressions of Sony’s E3 2016 keynote. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts!
Sony started off with a big reveal, the new God of War. But it took me a moment to realize what I was looking at. Now sporting a beard, and pants, Kratos looks very different than when we last saw him. He has even found himself in a completely new world. To be honest, this didn't really excite me much. I love the God of War series, but this new GOW was unrecognizable to me. It didn't have the same art style that the original trilogy did. Kratos looked very different, and he is missing his blades. The camera system was even changed to a more traditional one. I’m not saying the game will be bad, but at what point does the game stop being God of War?
As expected, Sony showed off some of their games that have yet to be released. It was nice to see Detroit Become Human in action, and Horizon is still looking good. And of course, getting a release date for The Last Guardian was very nice. Maybe now people will stop making jokes about how it is never coming out.
My favorite announcement would have to be Kojima’s next game, Death Stranding. Now, almost nothing was actually revealed, but just seeing Kojima there, and seeing a small sliver of what he was working on was amazing. Death Stranding itself also seems to have a sci-fi element that was part of my I loved Metal Gear Solid so much.
While the content of the show was pretty good overall, I feel that Sony didn't have any huge announcement to really get people excited. The games are the most important thing, and Sony did have those, but something extra would have been nice. I was even disappointed with the last thing they had to show. Most press conferences save one of the best things for last, but Sony decided to show a game that they had already revealed a few minutes earlier? An odd decision.
What did you think of Sony’s press conference? And what was your favorite game that they showed? Let me know in the comments below!