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Default Mass Effect: Andromeda - Preview

March 19th, 2017, 11:48
Pretty Good Gaming checked out Mass Effect Andromeda:

Mass Effect Andromeda - What's behind those cold, dead eyes?

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People are losing their damn minds over Mass Effect Andromeda's facial animations and we decided to check them out for ourselves. Yeah, they're bad. But this game is not a write-off.
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March 19th, 2017, 11:48
Is it just me or are the human eyes really awkward?
How could something like this pass any internal review?
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March 19th, 2017, 12:13
I mean i wasn't expecting the game of the century but at least i thought it'd be good.

The eyes, expressions and general walking animations seem to be terrible. I don't know how this can actually make it past QA.
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March 19th, 2017, 12:16
This is sad.
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March 19th, 2017, 12:41
Originally Posted by Giovanni1983 View Post
I mean i wasn't expecting the game of the century but at least i thought it'd be good.

The eyes, expressions and general walking animations seem to be terrible. I don't know how this can actually make it past QA.
Lol how this can be that your old game looks 100 times better than your new one! Like people who made this had absolutely zero experience in things they do.

I think answer here is in this new kind of attitude from game developers : why put an effort, when people will buy it anyway, loyal gaming sites will praise with high scores and hard core fans will defend it to the death.
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March 19th, 2017, 12:43
Mack from Worthabuy is not impressed.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AyvRPW1xSVs
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March 19th, 2017, 13:18
I cannot believe UI got past internal QA, it's almost like no one played the game during development. And yet.

I did give the trial a go yesterday, and what I saw was mostly DA:I in space, just with some curious steps backwards. My impressions in order of appearance:
* The character customisation UI is really awkward and non-intuitive. You need too many clicks to achieve anything, and the behaviour is not consistent - sometimes you need to go back to approve change but sometimes you need to accept and going back resets things.
* It's hard to create a decent looking face in the character designer. Feels like a step back from previous games. All facial hair is spay-on, so forget about having a beard. What's wrong with beards.
* Story (at least initially) requires turning off brain and not thinking, otherwise the Andromeda Initiative seems comically inept. As soon as the ark arrives it seems no-one cares to scan, send probes or even look out of the window so the ship hits a clearly visible obstacle. The thing isn't even black and fading into background. During collision unsecured massive cryo-pods fly around medbay, because what is basic safety. Leadership seems unprepared for the world not being ready for instant colonisation, which is odd considering distance and time it took to get there. Lack of contingency plans? What if the place was already colonised, did they just plan to slaughter everyone - if so, with whose army?
Later on we meet more incompetent characters (but at least it's excused that we're quickly promoted over their ability level).
* Andromeda Initiative shuttles are made out of papier-mache and fall apart from lightning strike.
* The world is really beautiful. Sceneries are amazing. General graphics, top notch (faces in animations, not so).
* On the first mission instantly you run into hostile aliens. At one point, you can go left and see one of your men being shot by the aliens. If you go right, you will see the same scene. If you go one way and the double back the other one poor guy gets shot twice.
* Your dad interfaces with alien computers by holding hand out and using space magic (as provided by AI). OK.
* You become the new Pathfinder (apparently a mythic figure) because your wanted wanted so, ignoring seniority, experience or anything really. It is because you have better connection to said AI. Who would have though that is the main requirement.
* Movement animation can be really odd at times. I wonder if the character proportions are a bit odd… I feel like Cora's legs are too short for her body? In any case I haven't seen crab walk or anything so hilarious, but the animation quality is still lacking.
* We arrive at Nexus, the main hub-station where everyone is thankful because now our Ark is providing power to it. Okay? That seems like an odd design choice for space station… shouldn't it be the other way around?
* Face animation are a mixed bag. Some are all right, but not amazing, some are really, really bad. The 'my face is tired' lady is ridiculous, like a puppet where only jaw moves. I was wondering if the 'my face is tired' isn't some developer in-joke for 'can't be arsed to fix it, so let's hang a lampshade'. It doesn't work.
* Writing is a mixed bag as well, and mostly not amazing. To that, usually delivered woodenly. The voice actors are reading lines, not voice acting. It's cool that you have more lines than ever, BioWare, but in writing and voice, quality beats quantity every time. I didn't want to talk to people, which is bad for what should be story driven game.
* Your ship has a bit of Star Wars design, with a walkway without guardrail. At least the drops is small.
* You can fly around the galaxy, scanning for anomalies and mining. Only this time you cannot check what is in a system without flying there. And every flight to planet or between system takes forever, or about 10 seconds. Which compose of close-up of where you are not, camera pointing to destination, flight animation, destination pops in, zoom out. Pretty, but getting tiring very fast. One of the things where you imagine internal QA should have told 'cool idea, but tedious'.
* The UI is a hot mess. It really fights you when you try to do anything, set your skills, check inventory, research, build. And there's a lot of it.
* You can only change your loadout at specific points. Why can't I have shotgun for sniper rifle, I have them both in inventory. You need points in combat skill line to be able to carry more guns. Carrying things is advanced skills, after all.
* The DA:I style crafting seems to be back. I wasn't fond of it.
* There is a lot of combat. I can't say if the dropships with enemies are scripted and appear only once when you get to some point on the map, or if they 'respawn' if you leave and come back.
* Side quests can be not all that amazing. Example not amazing quest: 'They were doing something here, but not clear. what. Gather 3 components around the map and come back to see what it was.'.
* There seems to be less of DA:I icon explosion on the map (granted, it might yet happen), but the ME2 style mining is back, only this time it's on ground! When driving around you can use mining computer in some specific areas, you have the ME2 style charts or how much of a mineral is there around, deploy probe. Until mining area is depleted.

Add that together and for me it would be a acceptable 7/10 time waster with nice sceneries, if not for tepid story, poor UI, questionable animation, faces, voice-acting… One of those issues, I could deal with, but all together? I might play it, but not before the game hits bargain bins.

PS. There is multiplayer. No comments, as I don't care about multiplayer.
Last edited by fungus; March 19th, 2017 at 13:31.
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March 19th, 2017, 14:52
What's up with the frog-like eyes and lifeless-looking NPC?
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March 19th, 2017, 15:12
Oh the things the Internet hive mind fixates upon.
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March 19th, 2017, 15:22
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Mack from Worthabuy is not impressed.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AyvRPW1xSVs
Clearly - I thought he was going to break his little bell the way he was whacking it
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March 19th, 2017, 16:21
Thank you for your mini review, fungus

As for the game itself, I have yet to play the 3 first ME games before. Yes, you read it correctly

And it is a shame really, that a big company with a budget this size can't do walking animations or human faces properly. What's happening? Are they "unlearning" how to do things?
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March 19th, 2017, 16:59
Originally Posted by henriquejr View Post
And it is a shame really, that a big company with a budget this size can't do walking animations or human faces properly. What's happening? Are they "unlearning" how to do things?
EA spent as much as with ME3 for the total budget of MEA (i.e. both development and marketing equals $100m, with marketing being most of that), but MEA was over 5 years while ME3 was over 3. That means less money per year for MEA while MEA is basically ME1 + ME2 + ME3 in term of content (1200 talking NPCs. The most by a large margin of any cinematic BioWare games).

Personally, I just think people don't remember how DAI looked (spoiler for DAI late crit path mission) which was considered BioWare normal 2.5 years ago. Even the eyes everyone are complaining about are in DAI, the dark color, eyeliner and ambient lighting just don't make them an issue (MEA is very bright, especially in the Nexus which is where the bad animations gifs were all taken, all 3 of them).
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March 19th, 2017, 17:11
Originally Posted by henriquejr View Post
As for the game itself, I have yet to play the 3 first ME games before. Yes, you read it correctly
No.
ME4 continues from ME1, so you can play that one if you want to as you'll hear (about) some people that appear in ME1.
ME2&3 are not definetly required for anything and I seriously doubt you'll learn things that happened in those two games during ME4 playthrough.

And seriously people, I said we need a dedicated thread about info as it's now scattered too much, sorry but I'll open it now.
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March 19th, 2017, 17:32
This series died after the second game, and, on top of that, it requires the Origin platform? No thanks.
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March 19th, 2017, 17:43
No, series died after the third game ending. So you should play ME3 to the point of no return, buy and play DLC named Citadel as a last mission while never going through the ending.

All new games developed by EA use Origin as DRM. It's not just ME series, but other games too, even nonRPGs (an example: Sims 4). Will they ever become DRMfree and move on GOG only EA CEO knows.
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March 19th, 2017, 17:43
Originally Posted by henriquejr View Post
And it is a shame really, that a big company with a budget this size can't do walking animations or human faces properly. What's happening? Are they "unlearning" how to do things?
They lost a lot of experienced ppl in recent years including many leads. I think that new employees are generally less experienced or qualified, at least for now. Maybe they tried some new tech stuff or innovations in hope it will make the game look better but it didnt work out so it was scrapped along the way… maybe again because of lack of experience or because they would need more time but EA would not approve more delays.


Originally Posted by azarhal
That means less money per year for MEA while MEA is basically ME1 + ME2 + ME3 in term of content
Its based on what info? All three games together? I think its not true. Afaik there is not that much planets to explore or that much side quests. And even if the game has more side quests than previous titles it will be often generic MMO stuff and not quality content. "basically ME1 + ME2 + ME3" sounds like fan exaggeration.


Originally Posted by azarhal
(1200 talking NPCs. The most by a large margin of any cinematic BioWare games).
Most of these NPC are generic NPCs and enemies using some body type with slight changes.


Originally Posted by fungus
There is a lot of combat. I can't say if the dropships with enemies are scripted and appear only once when you get to some point on the map, or if they 'respawn' if you leave and come back.
Oh, respawns… that will kill joxer. But at least there are not respawning bears (unless there are bears in those dropships, uh ).
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March 19th, 2017, 17:51
Originally Posted by Farflame View Post
Oh, respawns… that will kill joxer. But at least there are not respawning bears (unless there are bears in those dropships, uh ).
I can't be sure about that either as noone said anything about it precisely.
I do know that the respawning is not instantaneous like in DA:I, seen it in plenty of vids where they killed a group of hostiles but these didn't revive immediately. If trashmobs do respawn in already cleared areas, there is most probably a sort of respawning cooldown.

Maybe one of reviews tomorrow when embagro ends gives some more detail.
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March 19th, 2017, 17:58
Originally Posted by Farflame View Post
Its based on what info? All three games together? I think its not true. Afaik there is not that much planets to explore or that much side quests. And even if the game has more side quests than previous titles it will be often generic MMO stuff and not quality content. "basically ME1 + ME2 + ME3" sounds like fan exaggeration.
Previewer said the game was over 150 hours for completionist, but of course you already played and finished the entire game and know more than everyone…

Originally Posted by Farflame View Post
Most of these NPC are generic NPCs and enemies using some body type with slight changes.
They still all need to have their conversation animated…with less budget over a year than ME3 had.
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March 19th, 2017, 18:07
I cannot imagine ever being so desperate for a game that I'd want to play this thing. I still fondly remember demanding my refund for Mass Mess three, and receiving it rather promptly
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March 19th, 2017, 18:28
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Previewer said the game was over 150 hours for completionist, but of course you already played and finished the entire game and know more than everyone…
Ah-ah… so previewer make some broad assumption or just fan exaggeration and you pretend its fact and make some argument based on this. Hmm, nice to know what "info" some ppl use.


Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
but of course you already played and finished the entire game and know more than everyone…
Nobody said that.
BTW they said something about explorable planets, right? And you seemed like you have usually good info about what Bioware say. So I wonder if you forget about that or what?


Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
They still all need to have their conversation animated…with less budget over a year than ME3 had.
What conversation animations? Do you really think that all enemies or generic NPCs are thoroughly animated for dialogue scenes?

And are you sure with the lesser budget? First of all if they got lesser budget that is EA's fault. Was marketing budget somehow affected? Secondly they lost a lot of experienced and probably better paid ppl. I doubt that new employees are paid that much. Maybe your claim about lesser budget is not completely invalid, but I think its less valid than you claim.
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