Video Game Review: Mass Effect: Andromeda

 

Details: Released in 2017. Spent around sixty-three hours playing through the game on the PC. Purchased through Origin for around ten dollars. Official site is https://www.masseffect.com/

Score: 7.5/10

A year ago, Mass Effect Andromeda was released to a substantially negative reception. The Mass Effect franchise had a lot of a fans and the discussion on Andromeda was that the game was full of bugs and lacked meaningful decisions for players to make. It’s been about a year and I finally got around to playing Andromeda. In my opinion, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a satisfying, good game with some bugs, but nothing that took away too much from my experience. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s good.

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Mass Effect 2 Is Free On EA Origin

Public service announcement: Mass Effect 2 is free on Origin, Electronic Arts’ video game platform for the PC. If you haven’t played it before, I would strongly suggest you do. It’s one of my favorite games of all time. I wrote something about it prior, but I don’t recommend you read it if you haven’t played because of spoilers.

Here’s the link: https://www.origin.com/usa/en-us/store/mass-effect/mass-effect-2/standard-edition

Here’s the trailer:

Video Game Review: Dragon Age: Inquisition (Game of the Year Edition, PC)

Score: 8.2/10. 

I recently played this game, a long time after it was originally released. Visually, the game still holds up. I love the art style and the design of the characters. They look slightly cartoon-y, but still realistic. Face animations during dialogue are also great. Skin is textured real good. The design of the world is also full of details and great to look at.

Gameplay is your standard massive multiplayer online RPG style, which is that you run around, number keys apply to different spells, and mouse 1 does your normal attack. It’s somewhat fun. They should’ve adopted final fantasy-esque ultimate or something, to break up the monotony of battle.

Another element of gameplay that’s worth a mention is the War Council. It’s basically a click on a quest, then wait in real time for it to complete on it’s own, then get bounty type of thing. Kind of pointless and unnecessary in my opinion.

An element of the gameplay that was not pointless and I wish there was more of was the Sit In Judgment. In these optional parts of the game you get to judge a character you fought against and captured prior. It’s fun and adds a little more to the story.

Music is fantastic. Classic orchestral stuff you expect for the fantasy genre.

And in regards to the strongest part of an role playing game — the story — Inquisition has a great story with a number of very big decisions. You still generally walk down a preordained path set by the game developers, but there are sufficient options to make it feel like your decisions matter.  Dialogue is the real shining point of Inquisition.

Noteworthy story elements that I am a fan of are the romances, humorous moments (Iron Bull), character development, and someone trying to assault the castle with a goat.

The DLC’s were better than I thought. With the exception of Trespasser, they are generally unnecessary and you don’t miss out on much if you skip them. I did find them fun regardless.

Finally, a common complaint I read online was about how many of the side quests were fetch quests and this lowered the quality of the game. These complaints arose during the release of the Witcher 3 and quests which were more meaningful in the opinion of many. Personally, I don’t hate that this game was loaded with so many fetch quests. Yes it is kind of tedious and turns the game into a kind of checklist rather than an immersive narrative experience. However, I’d much rather they keep this content rather than throw it out. It’s an issue of boring content versus no content, and I will also side with having content even if it’s not as exciting as the main story. Additionally, I enjoy collecting stuff so it was fine for me.

Score: 8.2/10 Spent over one hundred hours in the game. Great game. Great visuals despite its age.

Video Game Review: Mirror’s Edge (2008)

Details: Played on PC for about five hours.

This game was pretty terrible. I was relieved when it was over.

Mirror’s Edge is a game released by Electronic Arts back in 2009. The main emphasis of this game was on trying to express free running through the first person perspective. This game puts in a barely satisfactory effort in that regard, but let’s start with the good before we get to the bad.

Despite being a years-old game, Mirror’s Edge still looks amazing. I was running the game on maximum video settings and it looked great on my 1080p monitor. The art — which focuses on a clean style with bright colors contrasting with white — is also lovely to look at. I do have a bias for minimalist, clean styles (be it in video games or interior decorating), so this was right up my alley.

In regards to gameplay, Mirror’s Edge is at its best when you are running at maximum speed and free-roaming/navigating an expansive level. At its core, Mirror’s Edge is a first-person platformer/puzzle game slightly reminiscent of Portal and Portal 2. However, despite succeeding a few times, Mirror’s Edge fails by trying to take away the speed and freedom of the game and forcing the player to conform to strict, one-path level design and half-assed combat mechanics.

For example, many times throughout the game your are forced to fight enemy guards (armed with guns) or else you cannot proceed through the level. You cannot avoid them or run past them. The game only gives you a few options for combat: strike/punch/kick (which sucks and if you try, you will get killed) or disarm (which involves running up to a guards face and waiting for a prompt).This is retarded because it generally leaves only two ways to combat groups of guards: disarm them one by one or disarm one and use that guard’s dropped gun to kill the rest. Guns can be picked up, but cannot be reloaded. Also, aiming/gun control is terrible and was clearly not thought out in development. In a game which should be focused on speed and navigation, this slows the game down to a frustrating crawl.

Furthermore, the levels themselves are confined to a set path which you must pursue in order to complete a level. Many parts of the game require to player to stand around and think about a level rather than run through with improvisation. Personally, there were some parts where I died over and over again, eventually figuring out some obtuse solution to a path with only one exit. This did not feel very “free” in a game about free-running.

Here are some more negatives:

The controls weren’t precise for a game that required some fairly precise platforming.

The story was ridiculous and did nothing to motivate a player. It was cheesy as hell.

The use of flash videos instead of cinematics or even in-game scenes to tell the story was pretty lousy. I wonder if it was a lack of budget or just laziness that caused the decision to include these scenes.

In conclusion, it wasn’t that much fun and I enjoyed uninstalling this game much more than I should have.

Score: 3/10 When I purchased Mirror’s Edge, I was expecting a fast paced game where I would run through large, mult-pathed levels that required me to act with speed and improvisation. What I got was a game where levels had only one path; forced combat on me with bad controls; and a stupid story told through flash videos. The fun parts of this game are few and far between. Mirror’s Edge is a tolerable game as long as you do not spend more than three United States dollars on it.

Video Game Review: Battlefield 4 (2013)

Details: Played the Premium version (that means all downloadable content included) on the PC for over four hundred hours.

I bought Battlefield 4: Premium Edition a year or so ago. At the time, two out of the five promised DLC had come out and the game was just getting over the crippling bugs that just about destroyed this franchise.

Fans were leaving. The game kept crashing. It was unplayable. I gave up on this game and cursed the eighty dollars I spent on this stupid purchase.

Fast forward a year and my feelings are the opposite of what they once were. Battlefield 4 is a great game I love playing. I have played over a hundred hours of this game. If only this game could have been this good instead of the disaster that it was when I bought it.

For those new to the series. Battlefield 4 is the latest in the Battlefield franchise. It is a first-person-shooter (FPS) that takes place in the modern world and uses modern vehicles and weapons. While there is a single player (and it really isn’t that bad, although it is short), Battlefield 4 really shines in it’s multiplayer.

The main thing that differentiates Battlefield from other FPS games is the use of vehicles (and the difficulty of their operation), certain game modes (like Conquest) and the allowance of 32 players versus 32 players at the same time. All these things combine into a unique experience that no other game offers. Additionally, most buildings can be destroyed to a degree, which is fun.

Vehicles are really fun and add a lot of variety while remaining balanced. Each vehicle is fairly powerful and can mow down infantry, but can easily be countered by infantry armed with rockets or explosives. Furthermore, helicopter and jet pilots can brag about being the most difficult vehicles to operate and require a great amount of skill to master. Once you do though… there is very little that can take you down. I’ve seen people go 70 kills with zero deaths in a helicopter. Seeing a master helicopter apply his skills is either a terrifying sight or a thing of beauty.

Conquest is the main game mode the Battlefield franchise is known for and remains fun in this iteration. In Conquest, two opposing teams each have a certain number of tickets. The goal is to drain the enemies tickets down before your team runs out of tickets. This can be done through killing enemy team members and forcing them to respawn (which drains a ticket) or by capturing and occupying identified points on the map (which also drains tickets). A game of Conquest with a full game of 64 players… is absolute chaos. Explosions everywhere, snipers and gunfire all around, all the while trying to capture points on the map. It is incredibly frenetic and insanely fun.

For instance, in one game, me and three friends took all the tanks on our team and traveled in formation to capture a point on the map. Through grit and organization, we took the the point and earned dozens of kills apiece, all the while laughing our butts off at formation we were using, lovingly named the penis formation.

In another game, I was engaged in a sniper fight with someone well over 1000 yards away, the maximum distance on the sniper rifle sight. We were dodging and hiding and firing but none of our bullets seemed to hit. Miraculously, after a few minutes of exchanging fire, I fired a shot and as it traveled over, the enemy sniper strafed into it resulting in a headshot (a one-shot kill). Damn it felt good.

Additionally, this game looks amazing. There are few if any games that look this good and I am constantly reminded of that every time I play. This is a true, modern game which — in my opinion — looks better than just about any other game out there (possibly with the exception of The Order: 1886).

Score: 8/10 I hated this game when it was released. It was a broken game, a waste of money, and Electronic Arts (the game’s publisher) should be ashamed of itself if not sued for consumer fraud. However, I am happy to say that it has improved. With five DLC packs since it’s release (adding up to twenty new maps), the addition of numerous new weapons and gadgets, and the fixing of game breaking bugs, Battlefield 4 is one of the best multiplayer games out right now and offers a unique gaming experience.