Spoilers for the end of Mass Effect: Andromeda
Well, I didn’t play anything. Want to start Horizon Zero Dawn DLC, but no chance. Sigh.
You around or did O’Jr have pneumonia?
The cough wasn’t as bad last night and he seemed pretty chipper this morning, so off he went to school! Of course, I could get a call at any minute saying he passed out or something, but we’ll hope for the best.
Ah, man. Coughing sucks. Coughing kid sucks. Hope he’s doing better.
Where were we re MEA?
Ok, I’ll start.
Were you as bothered as I was with the massive amount of post credit shit? I don’t mind a little cutscene, but I thought all that dulled the ending to a large degree.
Yeah, all that was a little weird. It’s like “big dramatic ending, yay!” Credits, you’re feeling pretty good, and then “oh, hey, wait, don’t go away, we’ve also got this other stuff!”
I don’t know, I feel in a way it worked with Ryder as a slightly less badass typical hero…a bit awkward, not sure about how to do the job or whether she’s the right person to do it. Maybe it makes sense to have a slightly less typical ending, where yeah, there’s a big dramatic fight and everyone cheers you, but then…you still have to deal with this slightly awkward stuff, you still don’t quite know how to do the job, things just kind of carry on even when you’re ready for them to be finished. Because that’s life when you’re kind of a regular doofy person and not a superhuman badass (even when you are in fact a superhuman badass).
I don’t know if I’m going to argue that they did that on purpose for Theme, but that was the way it managed to totally not annoy the hell out of me.
I think also if you’re the type who plays the main story and then keeps playing the game to wrap up side quests, it would have made a lot more sense. “You want to stick around? Do! There’s all this stuff to do! Even some new stuff!” So maybe they’re just aiming more for that group than for us with our “we do everything we can stand to do before finishing the main quest, and then we never want to see the game again” approach. It wouldn’t be the first time somebody designed something for not-us.
It was SO redundant, though. Why did I have to talk to everyone? I planted a garden, listened to PB talk about how this was her family, looked at Jaal’s stars….all of that was WAY better than the cursory endgame chats. Sure, bioware DOES the cursory endgame chat (DAO, DAI, etc.) but it’s PREcredits, and not after all the other good epilogues you got through the game.
And, if you really wanted to do the Helius 7 thing, that could’ve very easily have been a short, three minutes, post credit cutscene. Making me run around? Why? Just…why?
I clocked the whole endgame. I played an hour. AN HOUR! 1/15 of Uncharted! That’s just silly.
And true, it could be with other kinds of players in mind. But other games let you do all that without wasting an hour of your time. And I’m not sure it was that. Really, the last thing (even though my Suvi thing was after even this) was the cheering as Helius 7 is renamed. That FELT like an ending, and would have been fine had it not been an HOUR after the ending.
I don’t get it. They had lots of places to end the thing, and then picked a wrong one.
Typical of this game, really. And rather sad. There was a lot of good in this game, but it just couldn’t stick to it.
I feel like there was so much they wanted to do and include, and in the end they just did and included all of it.
“Put in everything.”
“What do you mean, everything?”
“EV. RY. THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
And here’s another discussion point: we talked about how we did more things differently in this game than practically ever before. Did it make any difference? I mean, we ended up with different people, that’s a difference, but all of the in-game major decisions about supporting one person or another, shooting or not shooting someone…it seems like we wound up at pretty much the same place regardless.
Which is reasonable because they don’t want to make 50 radically different endings (although…maybe the slow post-credit stuff was where those differences show up, but we just didn’t do the RIGHT things differently to have noticed dramatic differences in how things turned out), and because the ending is not the whole story and making decisions in the course of play still matters to how you experience the game, but…do we end up feeling that none of our decisions actually made that big a difference?
I mean, my Macen is a drunken wreck and yours is a badass pathfinder, so that’s one clear distinction.
What about Sid’s final bit, did you wind up revealing the truth, or lying to maintain peoples’ faith in government? (I lied, perhaps oddly. I just figured…undermining the entire structure CAN’T be a good idea at this fragile stage. Though that’s always the argument, isn’t it?)
Anyway. Making different choices: what difference does it make?
Well, the word was that this game had a difficult development. That sort of thing can lead to Frankengame. A whole lot of stuff gets chucked in, some gets cut (I still think all those remnant structures with kett that were easy to speed by and ignore had a point in some early draft of the game), some doesn’t. Sometimes too much gets cut and you have holes in a game, sometimes not enough and you get this.
There were many times this felt like Frankengame.
And I think certain choices made the last bit easier. I had a bunch of dudes fighting for me, and they were killin’ dudes. Luckily, I had the subtitles on, so I could actually hear when Sloane and Morda and everyone was all “We’re holding the left pathfinder!” or “We’ll hold them here! Go on!” But other than that, there didn’t seem to be much. Certainly not in terms of narrative.
Maybe we’d find out if we kept playing. I suppose I could run around talking to Vetra and Sid and everyone, but I don’t want to. And, even then, I find it hard to believe that it would make a difference past dialog. The real hardcore consequences (like characters dying at the end of ME2) have lost their window of appearing in the narrative.
And I was expecting a couple of those! Drack’s age and apparent death wishes made me absolutely convinced he’d die. Maybe some of them would had they not been loyal, but we’ll never know.
It’s especially striking that it didn’t seem to matter much considering a MAJOR knock on ME3 was that nothing really mattered. You had that end of game “red/green/blue” choice no matter what, and people didn’t like that. They had to patch in that end of game slideshow where you saw how everyone wound up because of your decisions (which I really liked). You’d think they would have learned from that.
Hmm…yeah, it doesn’t look as if any of the decisions make that much difference (see Polygon walkthrough). I mean, it changes who’s available to help you at the end, and maybe if you made all the ‘wrong’ choices the final fight would be harder because you have fewer people on your side, but there were a number of times where I picked the ‘wrong’ thing, and the final battle was still…well, the final battle. We talked about it. It was fine, not too tiny and boring, not too frustratingly difficult. You must have to work hard to get to a point where it has any real impact, if there is such a point.
That’s….disappointing. Especially as I had two levels of difficulty under normal I could have switched to.
“Screwed it all up? Whatever. Click down, all set.”
Well, I GUESS you could have lost companions to the fact that you pissed them off, but that’s not really a penalty.
Maybe the thinking is that they don’t want people to think they’ve won or lost in an RPG, which I can see. You don’t want people metagaming and trying to make choices that are the “best” result. After all, consequences or not, there were times in the game where we made choices and talked about how those choices made us feel, and we wouldn’t have gotten that had we tried to “win.” So it still was good, from our own playing perspective, that we played how we did. But there ought to be a middle ground. After all, you can make choices that hurt people. The slideshow at the end of ME3 showed that. The original Fallouts had similar slideshows that showed that. So….balance.
It’s true, we don’t want it to be about “winning or losing,” and there is value in having to make a choice and think about what that choice means for the character you’re playing. Absolutely.
But yeah, I also agree that it’s nice to have some actual, tangible example of what turned out differently, if anything, based on one choice or another. And having the difference be purely about who turned up in the final battle feels flat.
OK, so if you save the angaran AI it gives you useful data for the final battle. Fine. But what ELSE does it do? What does it mean in peoples’ day-to-day lives? Apparently nothing. At least, nothing we know about in THIS game, so stay tuned for the sequel that will probably never happen!
Another thing that reeks of Frankengame.
I know you can’t be bothered with the codex, so I’ll fill you in: There was a whole tab called “The journey so far” that cataloged, like, EVERYTHING you did. There were things in there I’ve forgotten already because they were so minor. If the game bothered to keep track of it, that meant it either mattered, or it was GOING to matter at some point in the development of the game.
Buttons has pointed out that only 30% or so of people bother to finish games they start (who ARE these people), so, when cutting time and effort to develop a part of a game, often the ending gets short shrift because they figure 70% of everyone won’t see it. You said “They can’t make, like, 50 endings,” but maybe they meant to at one point in the fraught development of the game, and, when they got to the point where they were over budget and behind schedule (the game did get delayed), they threw in the towel with the endings they were going to make. “Ah, fuck it, just put something in the final fight.”
Which is disappointing, but “This got cut” does feel like a plausible explanation. If that is the case (and we’ll never know), it’s infuriating because there’s SO much they should’ve and could’ve cut that wasn’t the ending.
Ah, “the journey so far.” It’s true, I never looked at that tab. I knew it was there, but I figured “if I don’t remember it with my own brain, it doesn’t matter.” My pathfinder has a short attention span and doesn’t care who knows it. “Who’s doing what with the what now? Never mind, I’ve moved on.”
It’s a nice idea, since it was probably supposed to help keep track of all those sprawling side quests, where we’d be thinking “wait, who’s Spender and why does Drack hate him?” but if it’s not somehow directly linked to the quest line, I’m not going to bother going to another tab to look it up.
See, I finish games, usually (unless they have no possible way to sprint, or contain purple tentacles), but I’m lazy in other ways. Somebody who always reads all the information on every tab but doesn’t get around to finishing the game is thinking “Who ARE these people?”
Except it wasn’t to keep track of what you were doing, it was to keep track of what you did. It would say shit like “You told Sid she was brave,” but it wouldn’t SAY that until you finished the quest. And it was that vague. So it would say stuff like “You told Sheggie to keep the tooka” without explaining what the fuck that was.
And it kept track of EVERYTHING, thus leading one to believe that these things mattered. There was no other reason, because these quests were over. Why care about the results of completed quests unless the outcome matters?
And yet, in the final version of the game, they didn’t matter.
Damn it, I KNEW I should have kept the tooka myself! It was obvious Sheggie couldn’t be trusted!
But now I’m kind of glad I never looked at it, because it sounds unhelpful, and, at the end, irrelevant. Thanks for easing my mind on that one.
It really was. But man, it sure looked and felt like something that was going to be relevant, which is yet another thing that made me think that there was more going on in earlier iterations of the game. It was like the stuff that this would be relevant to wasn’t there, and, when they chopped that stuff, they couldn’t be bothered to chop the stuff in the codex.
Frankengame, I say.
It is odd. Unless it was also meant to be a quick way to record information that could be transferred from this game into a sequel, where some of those decisions might be meaningful? There’s no real point in us even being able to see it, if that’s true, but maybe they thought…people wanting to follow up on their MEA playthrough but play MEA2 (or whatever) on another system, or whatever, could look up and copy in their information? I dunno, that’s definitely a stretch.