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Mass Effect Andromeda

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7 minutes ago, Gorf King said:

 

:lol:

 

It's all true though. Some of the Krell-like interior spaces are worth playing through to experience, and also have more intrigue and personality than any of the actual crew. And the protagonist, unless you strongly identify with being the galaxy's biggest and most bafflingly successful sex pest.

 

I'm playing as Sara Ryder, and really have to hold my nose to flirt with some of these people; it's like they made omniphile Kelly Chambers the captain of the Normandy. It genuinely blows my mind that they not only thought the Angara were an interesting alien race, but that Jaal would be a worthwhile romance option for Sara. Jesus, imagine the grim slog the developers must have gone through when scripting, casting, recording and animating their flirtation and eventual consummation; at the end of the process they must have felt like police officers who work in the sexual crimes unit who spend months watching horrific internet videos they find on the dark web. So far, I'm torn between religious maniac Suvi and the Everything A Pound Inigo Montoya, Reyes. Reyes is quite funny, but he looks like he's been dipped in vegetable oil; he's so visibly greasy that it's borderline racism.

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4 minutes ago, K said:

Reyes is quite funny, but he looks like he's been dipped in vegetable oil; he's so visibly greasy that it's borderline racism.

:lol: Oh my god I am struggling to keep it together here at my desk in work. 

 

On my current playthrough, which I may not finish in time for Sekiro, I'm Sara Ryder and am going to get all sexy sexy with the Scottish religious nutter. But yes, the romance options in the dialogue wheel should basically all read "I wanna bang you". It's terrible! 

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15 minutes ago, Thor said:

:lol: Oh my god I am struggling to keep it together here at my desk in work. 

 

On my current playthrough, which I may not finish in time for Sekiro, I'm Sara Ryder and am going to get all sexy sexy with the Scottish religious nutter. But yes, the romance options in the dialogue wheel should basically all read "I wanna bang you". It's terrible! 

 

I quite like the idea of having flirt options in a game like this, but the problem is that the Mass Effect games condition you to completely exhaust every dialogue option before moving on, the game locks content away behind the flirting, and it’s completely inappropriate for the captain of a ship to openly hit on her direct reports. It’s like they put Zapp Brannigan in charge; some of the dialogue is really painful, especially when I'm playing in front of my partner and accidentally select the flirt option.

 

It’d work if you were some kind of renegade unit, operating with no support and no backup in deep space, where you’d probably rate the opportunity for a shag over the risks of dying alone, or of some kind of future disciplinary action that may never arrive. And it’d work if they really leaned into it, so that flirting with people created a kind of interesting intra-crew dynamic, so that you got people bitching about you or issuing official complaints that Captain Ryder is sat cross-legged on the chief navigator’s console again, playing with her hair and occasionally touching her arm and that as a result the ship has nearly flown into a star on four separate occasions this week.

 

Like, there are some interesting ideas in the game on this point. I liked the old cliché of having to fake-kiss Reyes to distract the guards when they find you rooting through a store room, and it’d be interesting if flirting with a character like that was one option of winning their trust – especially if there were consequences down the line, like the character becoming obsessed with you, or other characters badmouthing you, or even your character getting too close to them. That Point Break-type storyline of seducing someone to gain their trust and then having to betray them is a cliché in films, but is uncharted territory for games. It’d be better than the approach they went with anyway, i.e. Cap’n Sexcase systematically propositioning her crew deck by deck to ensure that she unlocks all their content, if you catch my drift.

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Also, and I promise I'll stop going on about this in a minute, it plays into this weird cliche in videogames where if you can "romance" (i.e. fuck) a character, you will automatically succeed. If you flirt with someone, they will definitely shag you. It casts you, the player, as the sex-monarch of the gameworld who can choose to shag anyone you like, if you're the right gender. You can never get blown off by anyone. I realise games are about empowerment and wish-fulfilment to a certain extent, but it'd be interesting if you had to actually think about a person's needs and wants to romance them. I'm not sure it's completely healthy to portray romantic relationships as something you pick off a menu, and which you can never fail at.

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6 hours ago, K said:

Also, and I promise I'll stop going on about this in a minute, it plays into this weird cliche in videogames where if you can "romance" (i.e. fuck) a character, you will automatically succeed. If you flirt with someone, they will definitely shag you. It casts you, the player, as the sex-monarch of the gameworld who can choose to shag anyone you like, if you're the right gender. You can never get blown off by anyone. I realise games are about empowerment and wish-fulfilment to a certain extent, but it'd be interesting if you had to actually think about a person's needs and wants to romance them. I'm not sure it's completely healthy to portray romantic relationships as something you pick off a menu, and which you can never fail at.

 

Not like it would even be uncharted territory, either. I'm pretty sure games as far back as Baldur's Gate 2 closed off certain romance paths depending on the alignment of your character. Obviously that's not something that's directly transferable, but could easily be segued into certain actions/choices you take in the story making people open or closed to your advances. I think Bioware have fallen into the Bethesda trap of being afraid to make the player feel less than king of the universe; which is a shame as it would be really refreshing to have a romance option that's doomed to fail no matter what you try.

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10 hours ago, Garibaldi said:

 

Not like it would even be uncharted territory, either. I'm pretty sure games as far back as Baldur's Gate 2 closed off certain romance paths depending on the alignment of your character. Obviously that's not something that's directly transferable, but could easily be segued into certain actions/choices you take in the story making people open or closed to your advances. I think Bioware have fallen into the Bethesda trap of being afraid to make the player feel less than king of the universe; which is a shame as it would be really refreshing to have a romance option that's doomed to fail no matter what you try.

 

A romance you could attempt but never succeed at would be pretty interesting, especially if it was a stereotypically super-hot character most players would instinctively go for. There’s absolutely loads of opportunity in games like Mass Effect for this kind of soap opera dynamic, where people fall in unrequited love, and sometimes the person you’re after want someone else – I would love it if Shepherd had a rival captain on an alternate Normandy who was an absolute DICK, who kept trying to steal his or her (wo)man, like a kind of space version of Ray bloody Purchase. But yeah, Bioware seem to want to portray the player as the star of their own fan-fiction, or as the captain from that episode of Black Mirror, who can never fail at anything, and to be fair I can sort of understand that given the inevitable onslaught of fan petitions they’d receive if the fans were denied the opportunity to have sex in a computer game.

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10 hours ago, K said:

I would love it if Shepherd had a rival captain on an alternate Normandy who was an absolute DICK, who kept trying to steal his or her (wo)man

 

He would need to have an evil beard. Star Trek style.

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11 hours ago, K said:

 

A romance you could attempt but never succeed at would be pretty interesting, especially if it was a stereotypically super-hot character most players would instinctively go for.

So, Saints Row IV then.

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Completed this last night and, well, it's fine. In some places it flirts with being really quite good, but there's definitely an identity crisis going on with Andromeda; which fits with the development summary I read where Bioware spent years playing around with randomly generated planets, found out it wasn't as enjoyable as they'd hoped, then brought in a crisis manager to steamroll it all into an actual game in one year. The settlement mechanic, for example, is kind of interesting, but also oddly 'hands-off.' Your interactions with the settlement when it's established are limited, and as far as guiding its conception goes you can choose either a scientific or military focus and that's it. That's it for every settlement, I should say, as whatever you form from then on in adheres to your first choice - despite some planets being blatantly more suited to one focus over the other.

 

The story is safe. That's the best way I can think of to describe it. The Angara are the safest possible race you could write for the player to encounter and ally with. Andromeda was screaming out for an alien race who were..alien. Not space-african cat-faces, which is what we got here. It needed aliens who were repugnant in certain ways, incomprehensible in others, but you were forced to ally with them to fight the Kett. MA:E takes some stabs at moral quandaries, but they feel lazy and rote, when it would have helped enormously with the sense of 'we're a bit fucked here, aren't we?' to have the principled Andromeda Initiative hold its nose and make faustian deals for future survival. K mentioned this previously, but the initial intrigue of arriving at the Nexus and finding it dark and abandoned quickly became like turning up to a B&B out of hours - you surprise one worker who then turns all the lights on and fetches someone to book you in. The devs kept saying they wanted to do something new with Andromeda, but whenever it ventures into potentially dark waters they immediately yank the rudder to steer us back to anodyne blue ocean.

 

Combat was great, though.    

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Turns out there's a huge amount of updated texture mods available for the older games so I've pimped out my ME2 install to ludicrous lengths, everything's looking rather lovely for something so old. Alas, I am progressing through the game rather slowly as I'm constantly taking photos. I really need to become a billionaire so I can get an office with a view like this some day.

 

874634358_TheIllusiveMan.thumb.jpg.51600dc3533ec1ed5ebcd4f0d173373a.jpg

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Finally finished this on 98% complete with Ryder at level 62 and about 70 hours on the clock.

 

There are a series of baffling design decisions in the game, like bringing back the inventory system from ME1 which was rubbish back in 2007, pointless planet scanning, a comprehensive and largely useless crafting system (I stuck with my plasma firing, no-reload, head-shot bonus Avenger AR for the vast majority of the game) and a really disjointed mid-section if you are finishing sub-missions as you trawl around different worlds in Heleus.

 

Nonetheless I love the ME world and enjoyed the story and the characters. The combat is great and the worlds you visit are often stunning to look at (just don't linger on the character design and animation). It kept me completely absorbed when I was playing it. Even insatiable sex pest Ryder grew on me by the end. 

 

It's a real shame we probably aren't going to see anything else in the ME universe after the reception Andromeda got. I'd have loved to have seen where they would have taken this series.

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