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Andromeda: After The Fact

Posted by Ta-metru_defender in TMD's Creatively Named Blog, Jun 24 2017 · 0 views

Essays, Not Rants! 274: Andromeda After The Fact

I finally finished my first playthrough of Mass Effect: Andromeda and dutifully started my second (this time as Sara instead of Scott). Ramping up the difficulty to Insanity makes combat much more frantic (and thereby makes the brilliant combat systems that much more fun), but we’ll see how far I get through it before I decide to finally replay Uncharted 4 because a) it’s a better game, 2) I haven’t replayed it, and iii) my god I want to play a game that was actually finished.

Because there’s no doubt that Andromeda was rushed in some places. Its combat may be incredibly fluid, but a much of its mission design is outright boring. Some of the character models look great, but the animation in some parts is glitchy at best and magnificently awful at worst. And the writing. In parts, its great; in other parts it reads like a hasty first draft. And all this is not getting into the wonky pacing and exploitable systems that plague the game. But Andromeda is still a stupid amount of fun – it wrapped up well enough that I started a New Game+ after finishing it the first time. In face, I’d say that most of its issues are emblematic of the central tensions in many AAA video games.

So let’s start with its look, something that’s gotten a lot of grief on the internet. And rightfully so; it’s very weird to talk to someone who’s mouth is moving, but eyes are lifeless. There’s a fairly important cutscene where a character model just didn’t show up. Heck, even some of the romance scenes, which developer BioWare is famous for, are halting and glitchy. It’s a mess, heightened all the more since the character models and general graphics are pretty good. The animation issues, at times, overshadow everything else that’s going on. Sure, you have pretty worlds and characters and a sometimes-well written and often well-voiced script, but it’s easy to forget all that when the character’s acting is wooden. So maybe BioWare and publisher EA should have pushed the release back a couple months to work out the kinks.

But why is there such a reliance on a game looking 'good?' We’re reaching a point 'good graphics' has become standard, with some, like Kojima Production’s FOX Engine, verging on literally lifelike. Thing is, when everything looks good, that’s no longer enough to stand out, and if your animation is shoddy – as in Andromeda – it becomes glaringly obvious. Other games find ways to complement their graphics: Uncharted 4’s animation is unparalleled, and games like Borderlands and Dishonored stylize their characters and locations. Then there are smaller, indie games like Sportsfriends or Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime which have simple, even retro, graphics, but ones that work with the gameplay.

Which is where Andromeda’s pretty good. Gameplay is solid, the addition of the jetpack and different AI making it much more dynamic that prior Mass Effects’ waiting-and-shooting. And with difficulty on Insanity, it’s got me using the new Profiles feature as much as I can. Andromeda is fun. But some of its missions are terribly repetitive: you go down a lot of corridors and clear out a lot of cookie-cutter bases. Sometimes there are moments of genius, like getting to dash through a battlefield in your space car or the narrative gives mystery to exploring an ancient alien superstructure, but when the vast majority of side missions are fetch quest after fetch quest, it gets really dull. Andromeda is a long game – I logged over 90 hours by the time I beat the game – but its myriad of fetch quests make it out to be padding out the length. Not to mention they distract from the central narrative (which, once it gets going, is actually not half bad). So is quantity or quality better? Uncharted 4 is a fifteen-odd hour game, but its narrative is incredibly tight and doesn’t fall into repetitiveness. It would take a lotta work to fill four full days worth of gameplay with Interesting Stuff, so maybe Andromeda could have used some tight cuts?

I will complain about Andromeda a lot. But I also really liked the game – again, I’ve started a second playthrough. I think that AAA games like Andromeda are reaching a tipping point where the old rubric of what made a game exciting (graphics! gameplay! big budget!) are no longer enough to make a game stand out. I do wish Andromeda was better than it is, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad game. Rather, its flaws are ones we see in a lot of other AAA games – look at Destiny. Maybe there’s a shift coming in the way games are made, maybe the next Mass Effect, whenever it comes out, will get things right. In any case, it’s a perfect adequate game. But we’re reaching a point where that’s not enough anymore.


Transformers 5 Review

Posted by Jean Valjean in Kraggh's Works ♫♪, Jun 24 2017 · 0 views
Transformers 5, Michael Bay and 3 more...

:kaukau: I've decided to do something different. Here's my video review.



Bara Magna is no place for the faint of heart.

Posted by Trijhak in I Have No Idea, Jun 23 2017 · 0 views
Bara Magna, BZPBM and 1 more...

Posted Image

We've got six spots left.

We also have some cool banners made by Onaku. That means we're cool, right?

Bara Magna is no place for the faint of heart.

(please join)



Posted by Aegis Lass in Beyond the Blue Sky, Jun 23 2017 · 0 views


okay yeah that's all i just wanted to scream about it here instead of twitter for once.
(speaking of, if you feel like it - follow me on twitter at @Ehksidian to see me constantly ###### scream about xenoblade 2 and how dumb rex's pants are)


The Generation Gap

Posted by Lab Member 0579 in Mt. Coronet, Jun 22 2017 · 0 views
writing advert

I really enjoyed seeing the response to The Legend Continues. It was like this big outpouring of love for Generation 2, and since it seems like a lot of talk about G2 (ever since it started) is very negative, it was a delightful change of pace. Just fans taking the ideas Lego has given us and playing with them, and complimenting each other on their ideas and effort. It was great.

So that sparked the idea behind Toa of Fire. It’s not long at all, clocking in at around 1400 words, and the setup is intentionally a little odd. But hopefully I was able to get my point across.

G2 certainly has its faults—I won’t deny that. But it is Bionicle. And it is loved.


I've watched 13 NEW movies this year

Posted by JAG18 in The JAG18 Stronghold, Jun 21 2017 · 0 views

In my "Best Everything of 2016" list entry, I lamented the fact that I only watched 10 new movies last year and that I was going to try harder to watch more movies this year.
Well, so far this year I've watch 13 new movies and I regret nothing...well, actually I do kind of regret seeing "Beauty and The Beast" and "Aftermath", but whatever.

So what were these movies and what did I think of them?

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is one of my favorites of the year so far and I love it. Oddly enough, I just watched the first "Guardians" this past January and I watch the second on a late Thursday night showing.

"Life" is a pretty good sci-fi horror movie and while I noticed the similarities at the time after re-watching all the Alien movies this past month I really noticed how similar "Alien" and "Life" are.

"The Lego Batman Movie" is a lot of fun.

"Kong: Skull Island" and "Power Rangers" are fine summer blockbusters.

"The Great Wall", "Alien: Covenant", and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" are all OK films.

"Silence" is better made and "smarter" than all the above films, but I don't prefer it to any of the above.

While, I thought it was good the first time around I really think I need to re-watch "Split" to form a solid opinion on it.

It's not a great movie, but I enjoyed "Megan Leavey" a lot. Definitely more than I thought I would.

And after all that I still need to watch "Logan" and "Wonder Woman", and there are still some movies coming up that I'm really looking forward to ("Dunkirk", "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets", "The Last Jedi"). We'll see what happens.


Tropical Storm Cindy

Posted by Toa Smoke Monster in The Island., Jun 21 2017 · 0 views
Tropical Storms, Cindy

Tropical Storm Cindy is predicted to be hitting my local area as of this entry later tonight. Or as least, we'll be getting hit by its dry side. (The west side of it) Regardless, it's been awhile since anything tropical has affected where I live. I don't know how bad the storms will be, but I do expect a lot of rain, lightning, and strong winds. Thankfully, I'm off from work today and tomorrow, so I'll be home when it hits and don't have to worry about work until Friday.

As with any storm, there is a chance that it could knock out our WiFi and/or power. So if you don't see me on here later tonight or tomorrow, that's probably why. Hopefully it won't come to that though.

Guess that's all I got to say on this. See you all on the flip side. B-)


ask me anything

Posted by Voltex in Breath of the Wild, Jun 20 2017 · 0 views

haven't done one since last november, so here we go
fire away

serious and non-serious welcome, i will answer them all


Design Color Voting

Posted by Brappy Hour in Raptor Paddock, Jun 19 2017 · 0 views

Alright. There were a few suggestions, so let's get the voting started. We need to get this over with, so I can get these tees printed.

Before we vote. I want to stress that I get these shirts made at a local screen printing business, and they may not have the exact color paint of the winning design. I'll do the best with I've got, and I thank you for your understanding.

#1. Link

#2. Link

That's all of them, please choose wisely. These shirts will be worn by all your fellow members at BrickFair. Show support for your colors, and encourage others to give their votes and input as well. You have 1 week.

Have a lovely day.



Posted by Noxryn in the door, Jun 19 2017 · 0 views

it's my birthday now im 22 and that's about it woop

i got myself stormblood for my birthday


Titanfall 2

Posted by ~Shockwave~ in The Aurora's Edge, Jun 16 2017 · 0 views

So, does anybody play this game on PC? My origins friend list is completely empty, so someone else to play with would be nice.

It might at least be better than getting ground to dust alone.


It's true, all of it!

Posted by AZBlue in Okoto-Nui, Jun 13 2017 · 0 views
E3Nintendo, aaaahhhh, Four, mp4

It's true, all of it! It is finally revealed, Metroid Prime 4!!!

I don't even know what to say about it, just YAAAAAAAAAY!



Posted by SPIRIT in SPIRIT's Blog, Jun 12 2017 · 0 views

Hey, I just entered The Legend Continues contest. The prizes sounded pretty good, and I felt that the Skull Slicer kind of got a raw deal only showing up in 2 web animations and getting like a sentence of lore. He was this arena champion who inexplicably had 4 arms. So many questions...

Also, I've been off and on writing another movie spoof. I'll finish it someday...


First Sunburn of the Year

Posted by Paleo in PaleoBlog, Jun 12 2017 · 0 views



On Writing

Posted by FallenAtlas in The Weight of The World, Jun 11 2017 · 0 views

Some stories are like corn. It takes a few attempts and a few crops before you can grow the perfect earful. Also it takes a lot of time.

Then some stories are like random roaches in the Walmart parking lot. Before you know it, they have run up your pant leg and are getting cozy with your privates.


Another POV-Ray question

Posted by Bfahome in You're attacked by a Repair Nektann, Jun 10 2017 · 0 views

Another POV-Ray question Anyone know how to make things not so reflective? I'm hoping for a mostly-realistic look and the mirror polish it puts on the pieces just isn't doing it for me.


the release date for CATALYST is...

Posted by Lady Kopaka in Lady K's Blog, Jun 08 2017 · 0 views

August 2nd!!!

Okay guys! Just updating to say I finally have a stable release date for my Bionicle webcomic. The entire prologue (roughly 15 pages) will be released August 2nd. It coincides with Brickfair Virginia! Chapter 1 will then be updated everyday during Brickfair (until the 6th). From there, the updates will slow down to twice or three times a week, with the occasional break to keep a healthy buffer up.

I'm so excited to show this project to all of y'all! Thank you so much for the patience, encouragement, help--everything! :)



Posted by Nathan Evo in Moonbase Alpha, Jun 05 2017 · 0 views

Today I managed to obtain a super-rare Bionicle mask that, as far as I know, is completely one-of-a-kind. Sure, there are 14-karat Haus and Platinum Avohkiis, but those ain't got nothing on my BRAND NEW PURPLE IGNIKA

Posted Image

(okay I took the photo with my phone so I'm sorry if it's gigantohuge)


Forgot About Blogs Again

Posted by Lord Oblivion in Oblivion's Blog, May 26 2017 · 53 views

Pretty much d e a d but I'm trying to get back into it. College has been a grind, so I'm in the mood to start making stuff again.

I decided to join Instagram after being talked into it. That, the BZP contest, and some other projects in mind might hopefully give me an active summer?

I miss all the old guys that used to be here though :(

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