Jon AS

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  1. That does look really bad. Combined with the showrunner and the plot description we got a while ago this show won't have to do much to exceed my expectations at this point.
  2. I think I liked what the film tried to do more than the actual execution on screen. A lot of it felt clunkier than the first one. It was still overall enjoyable, but I was somewhat disappointed with it overall.
  3. Drack is great with pretty much every character (except possibly Liam, they don't seem to click), he's so... parental. Not really surprising considering his bond with Kesh, but it's nice to see, and even Peebee opens up more to him than anyone else. Bah, the proper way to go is to charge enemies and then chop them up with a sword. Thanks to the shield syphon passive, a melee-focused vanguard with low cooldowns is actually really hard to kill once you've added some defensive passives. When I switched up styles to try out some more guns I had to be alot more careful.
  4. I thought Havarl was a nice change of pace from the other planets, and reasonably small. Pretty sure that was featured so prominently because it's planned as DLC. I think you found the ones who can die. Seems that Bioware might have learned the lesson that only potentially killing off major characters creates a lot of headaches for any sequel. One thing I'm really liking a lot in my replay are the various remnant Vaults, both major and minor. They're basically classic RPG dungeons, combining some combat, puzzles and exploration in a way none of the earlier games did. If it wasn't for the boring random loot system you could even put cool stuff in them for the player to find.
  5. I have really high hopes for the villain Trespasser sets up, but one thing I've learned is that you can always do worse. The problem is that the last time they did that with DA2 they got a pretty scathing reaction. So the next DA game was almost the exact opposite of DA2 and it got a lot of critical acclaim and sold extremely well. I'd disagree that PoE or the Witcher games blow Bioware's output away. The characters and story in PoE didn't engage me enough to actually motivate me to finish the game (kind of a rarity for me; with long video games I at the very least tend to fall for the sunk cost fallacy), and the Witcher franchise may be a series of fantasy RPGs, but it's pretty damn far from the Bioware style 'customisable main character with a gang of followers'. Since we're on the subject, what is it that people tend to associate with Bioware games? As I said, to me there's mostly the core characters and the combination of linear story with plenty of optional content (which in their own IPs includes an impressive amount of worldbuilding). Other than that, the games they have put out are a pretty diverse bunch. E.g. the exploration of big, open maps in Inquisition and Andromeda is in some ways as much a throwback to the BG series as DAO's combat was, but I'd say you can't really draw a straight line from BG to NWN to KOTOR to JE to ME in terms of gameplay. The presentation has gotten more cinematic as technology improved, but they tried a lot of different things, creating games with various strengths and weaknesses along the way.
  6. Definitely. Which is why I think it's silly to go "person X left the company, they're never going to make a game as good as Y again". That's not to say individual talent doesn't count, but from the outside it's often very hard to tell what someone's contribution was beyond very specific stuff (e.g. writer X wrote character A and quest B). Andromeda is not a bad game. It has issues, as all of Bioware's games have had. Only they tend to keep trying new things while sticking to some basic core principles (reasonably well developed supporting cast, central plot with lots of optional side content) so that every game has different issues. And every game is a betrayal of everything the company has stood for in the past, an abomination in the eyes of gods and men as well as a personal insult to the fan reviewer and their family. I remember people refusing to get the ToB expansion for BG2, because that messed with the perfection that was the base game, nevermind that said game needed fan-made fixes to address some of its issues that were never dealt with in official patches. When BG2 originally came out some people were up in arms about how the map was reduced to a handful of areas instead of the open world in BG1 that let you wander around and discover side content that way. DA2 was the worst thing ever, a sign of EA killing the company (and most of its issues were definitely down to publisher demands), but nowadays it's not unusual to see people refer to it as their favourite Bioware game, and why can't they make games like that anymore, dammit, etc. That's obviously partly nostalgia, partly people having different preferences, and unless something obvious like the animation issues in MEA comes along for everybody to latch onto, complaints about what exactly is wrong with the latest game tend to vary. Too action-y - too slow; too big - too small; too much diversity - not enough diversity; not up to current technical standards - too much focus on graphics etc. Thinking about it, I believe the core formula works extremely well for me, so I can usually roll with the issues I have with any particular game and focus on the stuff that it does well. In the case of Andromeda, that's one of the better cast of characters, plenty of humour and the best action gameplay Bioware has ever provided (barring possibly Shattered Steel, which I never played). I'm still having plenty of fun discovering small side stories because I'm enjoying experimenting with the gameplay. If combat in this game was as boring or annoying as in ME1 or DA2 I'd probably be extremely bothered by the fact that many of these sidequests have the same structure of 'find 3-4 apparently randomly distributed objects on one of the planets, then proceed to a final place to finish up'. As I said in an earlier post, none of this side content is as bad as the worst of Inquisition, but considering that there's so much of it that the generously sized maps feel somewhat overstuffed, I am wondering why the hell at least half of these weren't cut.
  7. It was contact with the material the diviners were made of that killed non-inhumans (that's how Tripp died, for example). Most of the terrigen crystals used in the show contained traces of the diviner material, so they also killed anyone not an inhuman who was exposed to them. The ones in the simulation are supposedly pure terrigen.
  8. It should be noted that only ~40% of eligible Turkish voters in Germany voted in the referendum, and a lot of those living in these Turkish communities weren't eligible to vote at all.
  9. That happens a couple of times, yeah. It's part of what I meant by editing problems. It's not a first contact moment for them, though. They even later explain that they didn't bother explaining much to you because they'd assumed you were working with the exiles at Kadara. It is however a weird writing decision to handle it this way. For some reason the transition from the early game to the completely open part just doesn't really work. Makes me think they went through a number of iterations and ultimately ended up stitching things together. That's another editing/sequence breaking issue. The guy is actually testing you under orders from the resistance leader. Seems like a quest that should have gotten cut, though. The fact that there's actually a credit-based economy, and that there are stores the player interacts with directly in the game is one of those questionable design decisions. But a lot of people complained about the lack of a proper player inventory in ME2/3, so now got random loot back, which in turn means we need some place to dump all that vendor trash. Definitely one of my least favourite CRPG tropes, btw. I would have preferred a system similar to ME2, but preferably without any money and resource gathering. Let me find cool stuff I can use after a particularly difficult encounter, rather than making me go deconstruct/sell everything I pick up. I could also do without crafting, but again a lot of other people love this kind of mechanic for some reason. At least the system in Andromeda is pretty straightforward and doesn't break the game. Yup, storywise these things were a complete disappointment. The one on Voeld was a lot of fun to fight, though. While the MacGuffin chase is reminiscent of ME1, the remnant tech is much more present throughout the game than the protheans were. Shepard spent most of ME1 fighting geth. The kett also have autonomy, while the collectors were enslaved. I like that their motivation appears to be religious, hopefully that means we get spared any attempts at a tortured logical explanation for their behaviour. I always thought that such a motive would have been a good out to explain the reapers instead of what we actually got.
  10. MEA definitely has flaws. Not sure they're bigger than some of Bioware's earlier outings, even in the ME series. One thing Bioware as a company has been pretty consistent about is that they don't just put the same game out time and again but try to mix things up. This inevitably leads to stuff that doesn't work, which then leads to course corrections etc. I really like that they went back to the type of game they were trying to make with the first in the series and put it in a setting where that playstyle makes more sense. It does give the game a massively different feel from the linear corridor shooters that were ME2 and 3, and after 2 games of that I was totally fine with a change. That change did come with some serious pacing and editing issues, though, and really there's not enough substance to justify the game's sheer size. I hope and expect that will change in the future, I think the game's setting and style have a lot of potential. What I really don't get is complaints that the writing is a noticeable step down from previous ME games. I feel it's on a similar level, and while there are some clunky lines and ill-conceived (or at least badly executed) smaller stories, the same was true for all installments in the series. What is different is that the tone is a lot more light-hearted, owing in no small part to Ryder's personality. I don't see that as a flaw, but then I also always enjoyed the more light-hearted stuff in the original trilogy.
  11. Managed to finish up MEA before my vacation. Was a close call, took over 70 hours and I'm not even at 100% completion. So it's easily the biggest ME game by a fairly large margin. Overall it's pretty damn good, but it does have some glaring problems in its design. For starters, the open world aspect, even though it's the best Bioware has managed in this respect so far and it making sense for the Pathfinder to do most of this stuff in order to help establish various outposts, is rather repetitive. Also, why are two of the worlds we can visit desert worlds, particularly when we also get an ice planet? Feels a bit redundant, particularly when combined with the second big problem, the content gating via main quests. It makes sense to give the player one introductory planet to get their bearings, but after that you at first only get access to two more, and can only access the rest by completing the main quest on one of those. This leaves the world feeling incomplete, particularly when you can run into encounters that make way more sense if you know what the situation is like in the rest of the cluster (that might have been a bug, though). I get not wanting to overwhelm people, but this really should have been handled better. The story doesn't have massive twists, but it's perfectly serviceable. The attempt to make it personal to Ryder at the end seemed a bit cheap, but overall the finale is suitably epic, with all the friends and allies you've made throughout the game so far putting in appearances to lend a hand. That aspect was actually much better handled than ME3 managed to do it even before the infamous ending. But of course the heart of Bioware games tend to be the characters, and overall I find the Tempest crew interesting and well developed. You interact with all of them a fair bit, both on and off the ship, but like the open world content this aspect is gated through the main story missions, so people might not have anything to say to you for quite a while and then suddenly everybody wants something from you. A missed opportunity here is the other Ryder sibling. They could definitely have done something more with that. Ryder I quite like as a protagonist, or rather the mostly emotional/joking version I played. I felt that fit well with someone who is a bit of a thrillseeker but also inexperienced and in over their heads. One aspect I'd be most interested in seeing in a second run is how taking a different tone in various conversations affects the overall feel of the character. One thing I still have to check out is how the open world is affected by the endgame. There should be some major repercussions felt, but then again the budget for this game clearly only went so far.
  12. It's kind of the other way around: the Vortex maintains the status quo of the world, its destruction would result in Chaos overrunning everything in short order. The first game was really surprisingly good, I'm looking forward to this one and might even pay full price for it. Particularly since High Elves have been my favourite Warhammer army since I first discovered the game more than twenty years ago. Holy shit I'm old.
  13. It's pretty challenging, though obviously getting easier as I get used to it and level up. I'm also playing as a vanguard, which on the one hand profits from the improved mobility, but on the other hand obviously easily gets shot to pieces on insanity because you're hardly ever in cover. I'd recommend taking a good look at the passive defensive skills if you want to play insanity.
  14. Noticed that too, really nice. I think I'm past the point you could reach in the trial version. Established an outpost, recruited most of the team, did a bunch of the typical running around the newly opened up areas of the Nexus (and did a bunch of the usual sidequest stuff). I'm liking the characters, want to find out more about the setting and the story and combat is still the best in the series. It's very much a Bioware game, both in good and bad ways (such as questionable design decisions like planet scanning mechanics and the technical side not being as strong as some other contemporary AAA games).