Diecast #219: Andromeda, Dark Souls, Spec Ops - Twenty Sided

BlueBlazeSpear says:

Monday Jul 23, 2018 at 12:02 pm

My biggest problem with the characters of Mass Effect: Andromeda is that they’re completely unnecessary to the story. Remove any of them and replace them with some nameless peon and the game isn’t really affected all that much. Even Jaal could’ve been replaced by a nondescript Angaran. What’s weird is that the characters are supposed to be the face of this whole new world and they don’t even meet the minimum requirement of fleshing out the world. Compare what we learn of Andromeda’s world-state from these characters over the course of the entire game versus what we can learn about of ME1’s world state right at the beginning of the game in walking the deck from Joker to the comm room.

Their jobs barely seem to even line up with the goals and tasks of the Andromeda Initiative. We take on Vetra because she’s a smuggler, but as far as I can tell, we never use her smuggling skills. PeeBee is all about the Remnant tech and all that comes of that is a secondary drone and a “core collection” quest that doesn’t lead anywhere. Drack… I guess we have the mutual goal of wanting to kick ass? The more I played, the more I got the feeling that the Milky Way was just purging its losers and it was proven true by having the Initiative immediately implode upon arrival. I liked that Alec Ryder seemed competent and he wasn’t always cracking wise like everyone else, but then spoiler he dies off screen and his child – for whom he died – doesn’t seem particularly broken up about it.

There were tons of possibilities here too. Jaal could’ve been our window into this new and exotic life that we’re only just now discovering. But instead, his people are pretty much like us and their problems look a lot like ours and we have to believe that they’re hyper-emotional because they keep telling us they are without ever showing it. They suffer from what in fantasy writing is called “the elf problem.” Because in that case, if the elves are just humans with pointy ears, then why make them elves at all other than because they’re all sizzle and no bacon? And it’s a pretty big deal that there was a mutiny on the Nexus and a sizeable portion of the people were thrown off the station. We had characters that could’ve exemplified both sides of that conflict, but it feels like it’s barely touched upon, despite it being a defining moment. Often, I found myself wondering “Why are these characters even here?” and I never came up with a compelling answer.

The Andromeda menu system was such a mess. It was impressive the number of clicks it took just to do the simplest of things. The “research and development” of weapons and armors was an unintuitive slog that I still don’t think I fully understand. And I never used the profile “favorites” because it was just cumbersome enough to not be useful. It was amazing how deeply buried even the most basic information always seemed to be.

My first attempt at the game was me trying to be a tech-based sniper and I quickly learned how un-viable and not-fun it was and I quickly abandoned it. Maybe it becomes more viable as you unlock skills? I just know that in the few places that I used it, I virtually never had a good scoped shot and I did all of my firing from the hip and did most of my damage via powers. To me, that’s what can make the action in the game fun – finding the right powers that feel fun and satisfying and getting to a point where you can spam them pretty regularly.

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