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Spoilers for main plot (Meridian) in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Butch:

Ok! Meridian ahoy!

Jumping down onto an ancient spaceship, huh? Sure, why not?

So I killed shit, and I started drifting towards the “exploration” tower. Didn’t get there.

I think…I missed some stuff. They did the whole “story through banter” thing and I missed some banter, I think.

Because…what…it’s raining, I get that, because the processor is broken? And something happened here that made the scourge go everywhere? Right? Or something?

So here we are again, on a story mission, with me chasing hexagons hoping the next hexagon will make it all make sense.

Sigh. Silly game. I truly thought I’d have some themeage after doing some Meridian. So far, Horizon’s Meridian is far cooler.

On a side note, if you happen to find yourself in some ancient machine, and you come to the conclusion that something awful happened there that spread awful deadly shit through the WHOLE GALAXY, maybe…I dunno, just spitballin’ here….leave?

Feminina:

I hate that. “Wait, what was that? Some important point about what we’re doing here?”

But you know you can’t just LEAVE. I mean, that would leave potentially deadly technology UNMESSED WITH! Completely left alone without even a chance that by tinkering with it, we destroy us all! That’s madness.

I kind of liked the rain from a design standpoint. It was a cool bit of atmosphere. Literally I guess, haha, but also in an aesthetic sense. But you’re right, it was hard to tell whether it was supposed to mean something significant that we missed the banter about, or if was just there to be cool.

Butch:

That or they talk over themselves!

PB: That’s amazing! If we just activate that then-
Drack: My ass hurts because I ate a-
Ryder: It’s all so amazing…..

DUDES! One at a time! Please!

Yeah, game protagonists never seem to get the term: “On second thought…” Once they make their minds up, their minds are made up. It’s never “Well, we started this plan without knowing anything about anything, and, now that we have some concrete data, especially terrifying concrete data, perhaps we should reassess.” Nope. It’s always “Hey, we committed to this, we’re gonna do it. Don’t worry. I’m sure everything will be just fine once we get to the next hexagon.”

But then, can you blame them? Any real second guessing or warning would probably be

PB: Actually, Sara, based on my calculations that would be a very bad-
Drack: My ass hurts because I ate a-
Ryder: It’s all so amazing……what were you saying PB?
PB: I can only tell you if you reload the game and do that whole fight again.
Ryder: Well, fuck that. Off to the next hexagon! It’ll be fine. You’re gonna love it.

Feminina:

Yes. That is exactly the conversation I have had with companions many times. “What was that? Never mind, I don’t want to reload. Let’s just press on, I’m sure it’ll work out.”

And it does! With us killing everyone in sight for no clear reason! Just as we planned.

I do hate when they talk over each other. Seems like a fixable issue there, but I don’t know how this works.

Plus, I suppose, there are those players who would hate if the game paused and MADE you listen to each conversation when they were in a hurry to press on and were therefore triggering all those overlapping observations by moving within range of the whatever. “Will you shut up, I don’t care about that!”

Can’t please everyone.

Butch:

Those people really should play a game where the story doesn’t matter.

But then, the easy fix is to keep the banter light hearted, and keep the story in cutscenes. Might be artificial, but at least it wouldn’t lead to confusion. I can live with some confusion in side quests, but now? At the big main goal thing? No.

Feminina:

I repeatedly said, while running around Meridian, “thanks, me, for reminding me what I’m doing here,” and meant it, because I would have gotten completely lost without Ryder’s occasional helpful comments on “there’s the tower, I’ve got to get over there!” or whatever.

It wasn’t really HARD, and I did enjoy the atmosphere, but it was definitely a bit of a confusing mess.

Butch:

Oh it’s not hard. Shit, now that I’ve done all the loyalty quests and everyone is powered up to the hilt, AND I have the bot powered up to the hilt, even Hydra no longer scare me. I haven’t died at all. The only “HOLY SHIT” moments come when I mess up and step in scourge goo.

I think this was one of those games that messed up by giving you SO many quests early, thus enabling you to overpower yourself for the main quests. I feel this would have been interestingly challenging about 18 levels ago, but I did all the side quests and loyalty quests that the GAME GAVE ME first, so now it’s all “zap, zap, wait for Drack, oh look the drone and I’m done.”

All open world games have a problem with this. If they let you go anywhere, they run the risk of letting you do everything too early and turning into superman. Some games (TW3, FO3) did a good job of putting up barriers to things (Skellege, whole shit tons of deathclaws), but this game? Less so. Except when it does put up laughingly unsubtle barriers, but it doesn’t do that enough.

Feminina:

Ha! I kept falling in the goo too. “And away I leap!–and oops, down I go, and now I’m dying from electric shock or whatever.”

It’s true, these games do let us get all superpowered up, and then the later parts aren’t that challenging, but do you really WANT them to be very challenging at this point? I mean, if this were a series of horrendous deathfights, wouldn’t that just be frustrating?

As you say, it kind of comes with the open-world model: if you want to NOT let people get superpowered before certain things, you have to construct a more linear story to make sure they don’t have access to things until you think they should. And that’s not really an open world.

But in open worlds with 50 million things to do, I honestly think being overleveled for the endgame is a pro, more than a con, because by the time we’ve finished the 45 million out of 50 million that we’re actually going to do, we just want to get on with the damn game. We don’t necessarily WANT to be “challenged” at that point. We’ve done every freaking challenge you set up for us, now you want us to jump through more murderhoops to prove we’re worthy of finding out how the story ends?

In a linear game that only takes 20-30 hours to finish, sure: make the final fight be the hardest thing ever. When I’ve already put 200 hours in (probably not literally–although this game doesn’t track play time, so who knows?), I am not in the damn mood.

It’s just a different approach.

Butch:

Unlike other planets, the goo is not terribly well marked.

I did like, on Kadara, when Ryder would say “Yup, still hurts.”

Yes, Sara, I know, I missed the jump.

It would be frustrating if this were super hard, and I have expressed my displeasure with hard end of game fights often, but this isn’t end of game (is it?). We’re a few quests from the end, and if it’s gonna be THIS easy for this long, it’s just going to get to the point where I roll my eyes at pointless shooting that is just slowing me down. I think I’m already there.

As for open world, see TW3 (and FO3 which you didn’t play shame on you). It was open world, yes, kinda, sorta, but it wasn’t. There were whole areas that weren’t even accessible until you did enough in the open world you were in. “Go to Skellege” was level 18, and there were things you had to accomplish before the boat guy would take you. You couldn’t say “I’m going to do every monster contract IN THE WHOLE GAME before I move along with the main story even had you wanted to, because large chunks of the whole game were cordoned off. This game, not so much. You could do anything anytime.

They could have, say, not given you the loyalty quests, say, until you had played enough that you MUST be level whatever. Or they could have MADE you do the bomb and tiller quests (and made them a certain difficulty) before the Meridian bit (and made that harder). But they didn’t, and now fights are boring.

I feel like we’re about 500 hours in. At least. Maybe more.

I kid. Sorta.

I’m gonna try to wrap up Meridian tonight, but I have a massive cold, plus holiday prep. I figured out why the armchair cover has been turning up in the kitchen, the dining room, even the bathroom once: Meatball has been using it as a handkerchief.

Sigh.

Feminina:

Kids are so gross. Someday the house will be really clean! But not until the kids grow up.

And you’re not actually that far away from the end, though. It’s all sort of end-ish after Meridian. I mean, it doesn’t have to be if you have a lot of stuff left to do, but I had pretty much done everything before, and I pretty much didn’t do anything afterwards but chase the end. It’s not like you’re done with Meridian and now you have 20 new quests you have to clear up.

Butch:

Oh good. Then, by all means, easy! Hooray, easy!

And I still have two clicks of easy under normal! I might actually PLAY AS CHLOE before you finish PLAYING AS CHLOE!

Though you have, haven’t you?

Feminina:

Nope. I have not. I’m not even very far in. YOU CAN DO IT!

Butch:

No I can’t. Don’t mock me.

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