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  1. Mass Effect has been a series dear to my heart since I played the first entry almost a decade ago. That original trilogy captivated a generation of players with a science-fiction universe into which BioWare wove a spellbinding tale of heroism that sought to answer some of the very fundamental questions of human existence. The trilogy ended on a note that left an entire Milky Way galaxy irrevocably changed – the kind of ending upon with it is difficult, if not impossible, to continue. To that circumvent that finality, Mass Effect: Andromeda sends players on a mission to colonize a completely different galaxy. Having left years before the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, several arks house the primary sentient species that inhabited the Milky Way. Those familiar races, the humans, asari, turians, salarians, and krogan, spent six hundred years in stasis pods to reach the Andromeda galaxy. This journey promised a fresh start for those who embarked upon it. The Initiative, the organization behind the resettlement, launched the Nexus, a gigantic space station that would serve as a new galactic hub, around the same time as the ark ships. Several “golden worlds” had been identified, prime targets for habitation for the various settling species. Everything was planned to the letter. Except very few things ever go according to plan. Really, that above sentence could apply broadly to Mass Effect: Andromeda, not just the story. No doubt most people reading this review will be familiar with the facial animation issues in Andromeda. While those animation woes are by no means small, the extreme focus on them has eclipsed a lot of the discussion regarding the more interesting problems that plague Mass Effect: Andromeda. When I think back on my time with BioWare’s latest attempt as a space epic, I remember all the time I spent on sprawling planets that initially held a certain thrill of discovery. I was an explorer! These were planets in a new and unknown galaxy! Who knows what kinds of crazy lifeforms or interesting encounters might be around any given turn of the terrain? Heck, BioWare even resurrected a planet roving vehicle and improved its handling to hark back to the original Mass Effect and its Mako tank. As I delved deeper and deeper into Andromeda, the game begin to feel routine. Why? Part of what contributed to the mundane atmosphere that pervades Mass Effect: Andromeda can be traced to the waste of its own fundamental premise. Players were on an adventure to an entirely unknown galaxy, a situation prime for introducing truly alien encounters. Instead of expanding the Mass Effect universe in interesting ways, players simply find more of the same stuff. BioWare took a creative approach to write themselves out of the corner they had created with Mass Effect 3, but chose to ignore many of the interesting elements that their solution would entail in order to bring everything back to some arbitrary status quo. Instead of encountering novel beings that would arise from a galaxy free from the cycle of destruction within the Milky Way, the two new sentient races encountered in Andromeda are humanoid with immediately relatable wants and desires. The main quirk of the angaran? They are more communal and open with their emotions. The main quirk of the kett? They have a rigid theocratic hierarchy based around genetics. We’re in a new galaxy in a rich sci-fi universe where the creatures we encounter could be anything: sentient energy crystals, renegade swarms of nanites that have achieved a hivemind, mouse-sized silicon creatures whose ways are completely incomprehensible. Literally anything could exist in a galaxy so far removed from any kind of interaction with the galaxy BioWare crafted in the first three games. Those interesting possibilities are shoved aside in favor of more familiar and “relatable” allies and villains. In fact, this desire to return to the pre-Mass Effect 3 status quo in a new galaxy even extends to some of the most thought provoking questions of encountering alien species. The most important part of first contact involves figuring out how to communicate. Entire films have been based around that premise *cough* Arrival *cough*. Even Star Trek: The Next Generation took an hour for Picard to figure out how a new alien species communicated. You could take it for granted in the trilogy that humans had figured out communications with the aliens of Citadel space decades previously, so it wasn’t an issue. Mass Effect: Andromeda spends not even five minutes on that subject with either of its new additions to their galactic cast of character species. Not only that, but the entire sense of scale, the stakes, and the urgency at play is skewed. If things go wrong with the ark ships, the entire initiative could fail. Even ground-level, no-name NPCs don’t seem too concerned, despite their desperate circumstances that present a threat to their survival. In one side mission, Ryder encounters two human pot heads living in the middle of nowhere on a planet where the water is so toxic it is literally on fire. The duo should be in the perfect position to know how monumentally screwed the Initiative’s future is, but they simply don’t care – an attitude reflected in how most NPCs react to deadly danger in Andromeda. Here’s an example: One of the primary locations in Mass Effect: Andromeda is an ice planet called Voeld. It’s one of the worlds controlled by the angara, but the player is told that it has become the front line in the war against the kett. When players land and begin exploring Voeld, the planet presents absolutely no evidence of any kind of protracted war. There are some scattered bases, some ships overhead on occasion, but nothing resembling an ongoing war. Heck, there aren’t even any craters to be seen. We know from Mass Effect 3 what a war in Mass Effect’s universe looks like. Palavin was a colossal battleground between the Reapers and the turians. Soldiers were breathless, tired from combat and wiped out emotionally. They did everything and anything they could to hold the line against an overwhelming adversary. Voeld has none of that. They even have entire towns – one of which has a hotel. They have scientists traipsing around researching animals beneath the ice or old ruins. The kett, supposedly an existential threat to the angaran people, seem at worst a nuisance. Very few characters act appropriately to the situations in which they find themselves. Most almost always go for a glib one-liner on par with Batman Forever’s Mr. Freeze, “Ice to meet you.” Arrived at what should be the sparkling hub of your new civilization only to find that it seems partially derelict? Time for a quip! Wandering in the belly of a completely unknown alien civilization’s living ruin? Time to just randomly activate things because you think you know what they do! Side note: Just once I want to see Ryder or their allies activate one of these alien devices only to find out it starts a giant alien weapon made to warp the planet into a star or some nonsense. They literally have no idea what these devices do, just their best guess and a human created AI that also is just making educated guesses. Then we get to the actual exploration, supposedly the core of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Very little exploration goes on. There are several huge maps covered with constantly respawning camps of enemies that stand between players and objective markers. The missions encountered in the wild rarely become anything more complicated than a fetch quest to get a thing from some bad guys. Sometimes pleasant surprises lurk at the end of seemingly boring quests, like gigantic robot boss battles, but often these grunt work tasks reward the player with habitability points. These points act as a kind of gating mechanism for upgrades, similar to the points used on the world map in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Outside of that, they don’t feel that impactful or important. Even raising planet habitability to 100% feels pointless. The settlements remain the same, some marginal rewards increase, but other than that there never felt like a compelling reason for anyone to bother unless they are a completionist. I’d like to contrast this approach with the original Mass Effect. While the first Mass Effect game certainly had problems, there was genuinely a sense of adventure. Every planet scanned might lead to something unique, like an ancient alien ruin or a collective of terrorists or rogue scientists whose experiment has gone awry. These sequences also had large, open maps that were filled with a lot of nothing and filler enemies, but enough was done to the planets to make them feel distinct and many of the encounters, though reusing assets, were written well enough to be interesting and involved player choice. None of that random exploration is present in Andromeda. I scanned every planet and found not a single unique situation or hidden adventure, only resources for crafting. That crafting system that BioWare touted in the lead up to Andromeda’s release? Unfortunately, it rarely feels impactful. I used weapons I picked up and they worked fine. I crafted weapons a handful of times and they also worked fine in slightly different ways. Most of the time the only things I was excited to craft for Ryder were improvements to the roving tank to improve its speed or boosters. For the most part, Andromeda’s supporting cast manage to provide endearing personalities. Drack as a krogan grandpa and Vetra’s lady-turian smuggler were fun additions to the crew, but on there aren’t any Garrus Vakarians or Tali’Zorah vas Normandys to really latch onto as standout characters. That’s something BioWare could build toward over time with sequels, but I didn’t feel any particularly strong connections with most of the characters in this first outing. The disconnect between the player and various characters in Andromeda largely boils down to the amount of inconsequential fluff that pads out Andromeda. There’s so much busywork with so little pay-off that players lose track of what makes the cast fun or special. There was a 15+ hour long period in my playtime where I was just bored with what I was doing. Oh no, a scientist put her thesis on a hard drive that was stolen by bandits. Time to drive to the middle of nowhere to kill them and get it back (and the solution is almost always kill some ambiguous “them”). Missions like this exist in abundance throughout Andromeda – little to no interesting character interactions, just straightforward affairs that have players going around the same big environments. When the worlds open up, players naturally invest themselves in the various activities thinking that there might be an interesting moment or pay off to any of it… but there isn’t. Instead, players start to forget what they’re even supposed to be doing or care about. The narrative loses its propulsion. Trudging through the motions of establishing colonies and checking off the soon routine alien ruins spread across planets while dealing with disgruntled colonists- it all becomes work. All of this should be fun – we’re using cutting-edge technology to forge a new home on planets full of alien technology and life forms we have never seen before. The first beat of life after the exciting introductory sequence occurred over a dozen hours later when I was able to take on companion missions. It felt like things were happening! I got to see characters interacting with each other! Some well-written scenarios that made me laugh or excited! Liam’s side mission in particular felt like such a welcome breath of fresh air it almost seemed like it was from a different game. When Andromeda leans into those more linear segments and allows its characters to be themselves with Ryder or other companions, it really shines. Remember the action button prompts that would frequently pop up in Mass Effect 2 and 3? The ones that allowed extreme actions to be taken during dialogue sequences? Those are so rare that I could count with one hand the number I saw in a full playthrough. It got to the point that I just pressed it excitedly when it popped up without really knowing what was going to happen and at least on one occasion that resulted in a character’s death. While ditching the Paragon and Renegade system of years past seemed like a necessary update, it also eliminated the short hand players could use to predict what kind of an outcome pressing the action prompt might have in Andromeda. Combat stands out as the most solid aspect of Mass Effect: Andromeda. This is the smoothest and most action-filled BioWare game to date and it just feels good to take down enemies. On top of that, the new jump and boost mechanics give combat a whole new degree of mobility that it never had before. It feels free and fluid, providing players with more options in a fight than ever before. The responsive gunplay and interesting abilities really come to the forefront, making it easy to sink a lot of time into the less interesting parts of the game just to discover the perfect combination of abilities. The smooth combat translates into an enjoyable multiplayer experience who enjoy the gameplay on its own. Players accomplish a variety of objectives around various maps before escaping in shuttle craft. Succeeding in these missions allows players to level their multiplayer character and unlock new weapons and abilities for that character. Some rewards also carry over into the single-player campaign. It's a solid experience, but I'm not entirely sure how much longevity it has for players who have had their fill of fighting from the core game. Unfortunately, the combat stumbles when it comes to progression in Mass Effect: Andromeda's campaign. Players begin by choosing specialties, but can decide to respec their ability points at any time from their ship or simply use points from new levels to unlock abilities outside of their beginning specialties. Only a handful of those abilities are gated to certain levels, meaning that most abilities are available from the start. This all sounds great, but the problem comes in when players discover their preferred play style and abilities. When that happens, the motivation to experiment comes to an end. Upgrading those abilities simply makes them more effective, but doesn’t change the player’s approach to gameplay. This leads to gameplay becoming stale toward the end of a prolonged playthrough, which is hardly ideal. All of this doesn’t even touch on the various glitches that can plague Mass Effect: Andromeda. These manifest in a number of ways. Sometimes the game randomly crashes. Other times NPCs duplicate themselves. This can happen during conversations and can be really jarring. Sometimes NPCs get stuck in world objects. Notably, a random NPC on the Nexus space station would stand still on a stage staring straight ahead. She unnervingly persisted throughout my entire playthrough. Enemies in the respawning zones around the various worlds sometimes just float in the air. Sometimes characters simply disappear from cutscenes or fuse with other characters to create horrifying chimeras. Note: A recent patch weeks after release managed to fix the bizarrely dead and distracting eyes that often appeared to be locked into a look of fear or surprise. That patch doesn’t fix some of the other issues most of the faces in Andromeda seem to have with emoting, though. Some characters have certain resting faces that make them look like they are perpetually smiling, regardless of the situation. This issue is particularly noticeable with certain versions of female Ryder or her ally Cora. Also, and this is really not important, but female angaran character models look like they weren’t finished. Compare them to male angaran faces and they seem to lack a lot of detail or defining features. Conclusion: Mass Effect: Andromeda has the potential to be built into something great, but that potential is buried under a pile of issues that range from structural to technical. These problems range in scale from insignificant to huge. That this game launched without a fix for something as basic as the patch that fixed how eyes looked is incredible. Combat manages to top that of its predecessors, but becomes mired when it comes to progression. The visual presentation of the various planets at times reaches awe-inspiring heights, but gets brought low by the facial animations and persistent glitches. The potential of a new galaxy stretches out for players to explore and define, but that promise gets squandered in a number of disappointing ways. All of that being said, Mass Effect: Andromeda succeeds in laying a foundation on which sequels could successfully build. This outing might not live up to the series’ roots, but the possibility remains open for the entries that are sure to come. Mass Effect: Andromeda is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC View full article
  2. Mass Effect has been a series dear to my heart since I played the first entry almost a decade ago. That original trilogy captivated a generation of players with a science-fiction universe into which BioWare wove a spellbinding tale of heroism that sought to answer some of the very fundamental questions of human existence. The trilogy ended on a note that left an entire Milky Way galaxy irrevocably changed – the kind of ending upon with it is difficult, if not impossible, to continue. To that circumvent that finality, Mass Effect: Andromeda sends players on a mission to colonize a completely different galaxy. Having left years before the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, several arks house the primary sentient species that inhabited the Milky Way. Those familiar races, the humans, asari, turians, salarians, and krogan, spent six hundred years in stasis pods to reach the Andromeda galaxy. This journey promised a fresh start for those who embarked upon it. The Initiative, the organization behind the resettlement, launched the Nexus, a gigantic space station that would serve as a new galactic hub, around the same time as the ark ships. Several “golden worlds” had been identified, prime targets for habitation for the various settling species. Everything was planned to the letter. Except very few things ever go according to plan. Really, that above sentence could apply broadly to Mass Effect: Andromeda, not just the story. No doubt most people reading this review will be familiar with the facial animation issues in Andromeda. While those animation woes are by no means small, the extreme focus on them has eclipsed a lot of the discussion regarding the more interesting problems that plague Mass Effect: Andromeda. When I think back on my time with BioWare’s latest attempt as a space epic, I remember all the time I spent on sprawling planets that initially held a certain thrill of discovery. I was an explorer! These were planets in a new and unknown galaxy! Who knows what kinds of crazy lifeforms or interesting encounters might be around any given turn of the terrain? Heck, BioWare even resurrected a planet roving vehicle and improved its handling to hark back to the original Mass Effect and its Mako tank. As I delved deeper and deeper into Andromeda, the game begin to feel routine. Why? Part of what contributed to the mundane atmosphere that pervades Mass Effect: Andromeda can be traced to the waste of its own fundamental premise. Players were on an adventure to an entirely unknown galaxy, a situation prime for introducing truly alien encounters. Instead of expanding the Mass Effect universe in interesting ways, players simply find more of the same stuff. BioWare took a creative approach to write themselves out of the corner they had created with Mass Effect 3, but chose to ignore many of the interesting elements that their solution would entail in order to bring everything back to some arbitrary status quo. Instead of encountering novel beings that would arise from a galaxy free from the cycle of destruction within the Milky Way, the two new sentient races encountered in Andromeda are humanoid with immediately relatable wants and desires. The main quirk of the angaran? They are more communal and open with their emotions. The main quirk of the kett? They have a rigid theocratic hierarchy based around genetics. We’re in a new galaxy in a rich sci-fi universe where the creatures we encounter could be anything: sentient energy crystals, renegade swarms of nanites that have achieved a hivemind, mouse-sized silicon creatures whose ways are completely incomprehensible. Literally anything could exist in a galaxy so far removed from any kind of interaction with the galaxy BioWare crafted in the first three games. Those interesting possibilities are shoved aside in favor of more familiar and “relatable” allies and villains. In fact, this desire to return to the pre-Mass Effect 3 status quo in a new galaxy even extends to some of the most thought provoking questions of encountering alien species. The most important part of first contact involves figuring out how to communicate. Entire films have been based around that premise *cough* Arrival *cough*. Even Star Trek: The Next Generation took an hour for Picard to figure out how a new alien species communicated. You could take it for granted in the trilogy that humans had figured out communications with the aliens of Citadel space decades previously, so it wasn’t an issue. Mass Effect: Andromeda spends not even five minutes on that subject with either of its new additions to their galactic cast of character species. Not only that, but the entire sense of scale, the stakes, and the urgency at play is skewed. If things go wrong with the ark ships, the entire initiative could fail. Even ground-level, no-name NPCs don’t seem too concerned, despite their desperate circumstances that present a threat to their survival. In one side mission, Ryder encounters two human pot heads living in the middle of nowhere on a planet where the water is so toxic it is literally on fire. The duo should be in the perfect position to know how monumentally screwed the Initiative’s future is, but they simply don’t care – an attitude reflected in how most NPCs react to deadly danger in Andromeda. Here’s an example: One of the primary locations in Mass Effect: Andromeda is an ice planet called Voeld. It’s one of the worlds controlled by the angara, but the player is told that it has become the front line in the war against the kett. When players land and begin exploring Voeld, the planet presents absolutely no evidence of any kind of protracted war. There are some scattered bases, some ships overhead on occasion, but nothing resembling an ongoing war. Heck, there aren’t even any craters to be seen. We know from Mass Effect 3 what a war in Mass Effect’s universe looks like. Palavin was a colossal battleground between the Reapers and the turians. Soldiers were breathless, tired from combat and wiped out emotionally. They did everything and anything they could to hold the line against an overwhelming adversary. Voeld has none of that. They even have entire towns – one of which has a hotel. They have scientists traipsing around researching animals beneath the ice or old ruins. The kett, supposedly an existential threat to the angaran people, seem at worst a nuisance. Very few characters act appropriately to the situations in which they find themselves. Most almost always go for a glib one-liner on par with Batman Forever’s Mr. Freeze, “Ice to meet you.” Arrived at what should be the sparkling hub of your new civilization only to find that it seems partially derelict? Time for a quip! Wandering in the belly of a completely unknown alien civilization’s living ruin? Time to just randomly activate things because you think you know what they do! Side note: Just once I want to see Ryder or their allies activate one of these alien devices only to find out it starts a giant alien weapon made to warp the planet into a star or some nonsense. They literally have no idea what these devices do, just their best guess and a human created AI that also is just making educated guesses. Then we get to the actual exploration, supposedly the core of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Very little exploration goes on. There are several huge maps covered with constantly respawning camps of enemies that stand between players and objective markers. The missions encountered in the wild rarely become anything more complicated than a fetch quest to get a thing from some bad guys. Sometimes pleasant surprises lurk at the end of seemingly boring quests, like gigantic robot boss battles, but often these grunt work tasks reward the player with habitability points. These points act as a kind of gating mechanism for upgrades, similar to the points used on the world map in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Outside of that, they don’t feel that impactful or important. Even raising planet habitability to 100% feels pointless. The settlements remain the same, some marginal rewards increase, but other than that there never felt like a compelling reason for anyone to bother unless they are a completionist. I’d like to contrast this approach with the original Mass Effect. While the first Mass Effect game certainly had problems, there was genuinely a sense of adventure. Every planet scanned might lead to something unique, like an ancient alien ruin or a collective of terrorists or rogue scientists whose experiment has gone awry. These sequences also had large, open maps that were filled with a lot of nothing and filler enemies, but enough was done to the planets to make them feel distinct and many of the encounters, though reusing assets, were written well enough to be interesting and involved player choice. None of that random exploration is present in Andromeda. I scanned every planet and found not a single unique situation or hidden adventure, only resources for crafting. That crafting system that BioWare touted in the lead up to Andromeda’s release? Unfortunately, it rarely feels impactful. I used weapons I picked up and they worked fine. I crafted weapons a handful of times and they also worked fine in slightly different ways. Most of the time the only things I was excited to craft for Ryder were improvements to the roving tank to improve its speed or boosters. For the most part, Andromeda’s supporting cast manage to provide endearing personalities. Drack as a krogan grandpa and Vetra’s lady-turian smuggler were fun additions to the crew, but on there aren’t any Garrus Vakarians or Tali’Zorah vas Normandys to really latch onto as standout characters. That’s something BioWare could build toward over time with sequels, but I didn’t feel any particularly strong connections with most of the characters in this first outing. The disconnect between the player and various characters in Andromeda largely boils down to the amount of inconsequential fluff that pads out Andromeda. There’s so much busywork with so little pay-off that players lose track of what makes the cast fun or special. There was a 15+ hour long period in my playtime where I was just bored with what I was doing. Oh no, a scientist put her thesis on a hard drive that was stolen by bandits. Time to drive to the middle of nowhere to kill them and get it back (and the solution is almost always kill some ambiguous “them”). Missions like this exist in abundance throughout Andromeda – little to no interesting character interactions, just straightforward affairs that have players going around the same big environments. When the worlds open up, players naturally invest themselves in the various activities thinking that there might be an interesting moment or pay off to any of it… but there isn’t. Instead, players start to forget what they’re even supposed to be doing or care about. The narrative loses its propulsion. Trudging through the motions of establishing colonies and checking off the soon routine alien ruins spread across planets while dealing with disgruntled colonists- it all becomes work. All of this should be fun – we’re using cutting-edge technology to forge a new home on planets full of alien technology and life forms we have never seen before. The first beat of life after the exciting introductory sequence occurred over a dozen hours later when I was able to take on companion missions. It felt like things were happening! I got to see characters interacting with each other! Some well-written scenarios that made me laugh or excited! Liam’s side mission in particular felt like such a welcome breath of fresh air it almost seemed like it was from a different game. When Andromeda leans into those more linear segments and allows its characters to be themselves with Ryder or other companions, it really shines. Remember the action button prompts that would frequently pop up in Mass Effect 2 and 3? The ones that allowed extreme actions to be taken during dialogue sequences? Those are so rare that I could count with one hand the number I saw in a full playthrough. It got to the point that I just pressed it excitedly when it popped up without really knowing what was going to happen and at least on one occasion that resulted in a character’s death. While ditching the Paragon and Renegade system of years past seemed like a necessary update, it also eliminated the short hand players could use to predict what kind of an outcome pressing the action prompt might have in Andromeda. Combat stands out as the most solid aspect of Mass Effect: Andromeda. This is the smoothest and most action-filled BioWare game to date and it just feels good to take down enemies. On top of that, the new jump and boost mechanics give combat a whole new degree of mobility that it never had before. It feels free and fluid, providing players with more options in a fight than ever before. The responsive gunplay and interesting abilities really come to the forefront, making it easy to sink a lot of time into the less interesting parts of the game just to discover the perfect combination of abilities. The smooth combat translates into an enjoyable multiplayer experience who enjoy the gameplay on its own. Players accomplish a variety of objectives around various maps before escaping in shuttle craft. Succeeding in these missions allows players to level their multiplayer character and unlock new weapons and abilities for that character. Some rewards also carry over into the single-player campaign. It's a solid experience, but I'm not entirely sure how much longevity it has for players who have had their fill of fighting from the core game. Unfortunately, the combat stumbles when it comes to progression in Mass Effect: Andromeda's campaign. Players begin by choosing specialties, but can decide to respec their ability points at any time from their ship or simply use points from new levels to unlock abilities outside of their beginning specialties. Only a handful of those abilities are gated to certain levels, meaning that most abilities are available from the start. This all sounds great, but the problem comes in when players discover their preferred play style and abilities. When that happens, the motivation to experiment comes to an end. Upgrading those abilities simply makes them more effective, but doesn’t change the player’s approach to gameplay. This leads to gameplay becoming stale toward the end of a prolonged playthrough, which is hardly ideal. All of this doesn’t even touch on the various glitches that can plague Mass Effect: Andromeda. These manifest in a number of ways. Sometimes the game randomly crashes. Other times NPCs duplicate themselves. This can happen during conversations and can be really jarring. Sometimes NPCs get stuck in world objects. Notably, a random NPC on the Nexus space station would stand still on a stage staring straight ahead. She unnervingly persisted throughout my entire playthrough. Enemies in the respawning zones around the various worlds sometimes just float in the air. Sometimes characters simply disappear from cutscenes or fuse with other characters to create horrifying chimeras. Note: A recent patch weeks after release managed to fix the bizarrely dead and distracting eyes that often appeared to be locked into a look of fear or surprise. That patch doesn’t fix some of the other issues most of the faces in Andromeda seem to have with emoting, though. Some characters have certain resting faces that make them look like they are perpetually smiling, regardless of the situation. This issue is particularly noticeable with certain versions of female Ryder or her ally Cora. Also, and this is really not important, but female angaran character models look like they weren’t finished. Compare them to male angaran faces and they seem to lack a lot of detail or defining features. Conclusion: Mass Effect: Andromeda has the potential to be built into something great, but that potential is buried under a pile of issues that range from structural to technical. These problems range in scale from insignificant to huge. That this game launched without a fix for something as basic as the patch that fixed how eyes looked is incredible. Combat manages to top that of its predecessors, but becomes mired when it comes to progression. The visual presentation of the various planets at times reaches awe-inspiring heights, but gets brought low by the facial animations and persistent glitches. The potential of a new galaxy stretches out for players to explore and define, but that promise gets squandered in a number of disappointing ways. All of that being said, Mass Effect: Andromeda succeeds in laying a foundation on which sequels could successfully build. This outing might not live up to the series’ roots, but the possibility remains open for the entries that are sure to come. Mass Effect: Andromeda is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
  3. The Internet Archive added a staggering 2,388 pieces of video game history to its collection today. It has also launched the beta for its website that will make its contents more accessible and visually appealing. Jason Scott, one of the leaders of the Archive's push toward a more comprehensible website and a proponent of making these old game playable in-browser, explained in a blog post that not all of the MS-DOS games will be stable, but "on the whole, you will experience some analogue of the MS-DOS program, in your browser, instantly." And it is true! Some of the games on the Internet Archive work splendidly in-browser. There is no fiddling trying to get the programs to run on machine that can barely recognize what they are. True, some of them don't work properly, but all of them work enough to give you an idea of how they played; what they looked and sounded like. It is a really impressive feat. I highly recommend you go over and poke around the titles on stored on the Archive just to see what's out there. If you have trouble with the beta site, just switch over to the old version.
  4. With Phoenix Point, the creator of the original X-COM, Julian Gollop, returns to the genre he helped create almost 25 years ago, but this time it has a twist of Lovecraftian horror. The upcoming tactics game takes place in the near future. Global warming has unleashed a horror from beneath the ice: The Pandoravirus. This virus wipes through the world and pushes humanity to the brink of destruction, collapsing society to a handful of havens held together by warlords who fight over the remains of the old world. The Phoenix Project is the last hope to turn the tide, a small group of soldiers and scientists that have assembled to stand against the relentless virus. The Pandoravirus merges DNA and evolves it at a rapid pace, resulting in large numbers of mutated animal-human hybrids. These Lovecraftian horrors roam under clouds of black mist in the areas outside of whatever safe zones humanity has managed to scrape together. They also possess intelligence, acting with goals and motives at which humans can only guess. Some creatures even use weapons and armor they've taken from the world's battlefields. However, the scariest feature of Pandora's children is their inherent ability to evolve to protect themselves from their enemies. As players progress through Phoenix Point, enemies will evolve to best counter the strategies used to defeat their kind previously. Much like XCOM, there will be two aspects to the gameplay: Turn-based tactics and global management. Humans still retain control of the skies, but the Pandoravirus holds dominion over the seas. Humans and horrors clash over who reigns over the land. Having control of areas and being able to scavenge them for supplies will be crucial for funding research into ways to counter the virus and evolve your own equipment. Players will also be able to tackle missions to achieve various objectives, like taking down massive behemoths that roam the continents. These monsters will take coordination, planning, and vehicle support to take down. Failing to defeat them could result in entire cities being wiped off the face of the earth. Unfortunately, not all of Earth is united behind the Phoenix Project. Numerous factions and warlords don't believe humanity can or should be saved. These attitudes sometimes put them at odds with the Phoenix Project's goals of stopping the Pandoravirus. While some might join the cause, others will not and their resources or locations might be crucial to the survival of the Project and, by extension, humanity. Players will have to negotiate with these factions, making promises, bartering, or even war to bring them around and save the planet. This type of negotiating with havens can take many forms, as Snapshot explains: Havens will frequently request assistance fighting off alien incursions, but sometimes you will be asked to intervene in a conflict between the human factions. You will get involved in kidnaps, rescues, assassinations, sabotage, infiltration, haven takeovers and base defense missions. You will need to find out what happened to the Phoenix organisation, which involves remote locations and some missions with an archaeological aspect. Then there are the assaults on alien bases and the giant alien land walkers. Missions will often have multiple objectives that can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Procedurally generated battlefields will have some degree of destructibility that can be used to think outside the box and defeat the enemy mutants. New weapons, technology, and more can be gained through victory, but defeat could mean even worse horrors that use the same tools against you. Soldiers gain experience over time or can undergo special training away from the battlefield. Each class a soldier can become has its own skill tree to personalize and empower each character under the player's command. Snapshot Games says that these skill trees will be extensive, so that might mean more customization than what we have seen in the rebooted XCOM's systems. Overall, this game looks like something to keep on your radar if you're a strategy fan. While Snapshot Games currently only has Chaos Reborn under its belt, Julian Gollop is no slouch. Phoenix Point is almost guaranteed to be an interesting game with his involvement. After a year of solitary development, the project has been put on Fig to begin a round of crowdfunding which will last for the next 43 days. The actual PC release of Phoenix Point remains far off, Snapshot Games doesn't expect to ship it until late in 2018.
  5. With Phoenix Point, the creator of the original X-COM, Julian Gollop, returns to the genre he helped create almost 25 years ago, but this time it has a twist of Lovecraftian horror. The upcoming tactics game takes place in the near future. Global warming has unleashed a horror from beneath the ice: The Pandoravirus. This virus wipes through the world and pushes humanity to the brink of destruction, collapsing society to a handful of havens held together by warlords who fight over the remains of the old world. The Phoenix Project is the last hope to turn the tide, a small group of soldiers and scientists that have assembled to stand against the relentless virus. The Pandoravirus merges DNA and evolves it at a rapid pace, resulting in large numbers of mutated animal-human hybrids. These Lovecraftian horrors roam under clouds of black mist in the areas outside of whatever safe zones humanity has managed to scrape together. They also possess intelligence, acting with goals and motives at which humans can only guess. Some creatures even use weapons and armor they've taken from the world's battlefields. However, the scariest feature of Pandora's children is their inherent ability to evolve to protect themselves from their enemies. As players progress through Phoenix Point, enemies will evolve to best counter the strategies used to defeat their kind previously. Much like XCOM, there will be two aspects to the gameplay: Turn-based tactics and global management. Humans still retain control of the skies, but the Pandoravirus holds dominion over the seas. Humans and horrors clash over who reigns over the land. Having control of areas and being able to scavenge them for supplies will be crucial for funding research into ways to counter the virus and evolve your own equipment. Players will also be able to tackle missions to achieve various objectives, like taking down massive behemoths that roam the continents. These monsters will take coordination, planning, and vehicle support to take down. Failing to defeat them could result in entire cities being wiped off the face of the earth. Unfortunately, not all of Earth is united behind the Phoenix Project. Numerous factions and warlords don't believe humanity can or should be saved. These attitudes sometimes put them at odds with the Phoenix Project's goals of stopping the Pandoravirus. While some might join the cause, others will not and their resources or locations might be crucial to the survival of the Project and, by extension, humanity. Players will have to negotiate with these factions, making promises, bartering, or even war to bring them around and save the planet. This type of negotiating with havens can take many forms, as Snapshot explains: Havens will frequently request assistance fighting off alien incursions, but sometimes you will be asked to intervene in a conflict between the human factions. You will get involved in kidnaps, rescues, assassinations, sabotage, infiltration, haven takeovers and base defense missions. You will need to find out what happened to the Phoenix organisation, which involves remote locations and some missions with an archaeological aspect. Then there are the assaults on alien bases and the giant alien land walkers. Missions will often have multiple objectives that can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Procedurally generated battlefields will have some degree of destructibility that can be used to think outside the box and defeat the enemy mutants. New weapons, technology, and more can be gained through victory, but defeat could mean even worse horrors that use the same tools against you. Soldiers gain experience over time or can undergo special training away from the battlefield. Each class a soldier can become has its own skill tree to personalize and empower each character under the player's command. Snapshot Games says that these skill trees will be extensive, so that might mean more customization than what we have seen in the rebooted XCOM's systems. Overall, this game looks like something to keep on your radar if you're a strategy fan. While Snapshot Games currently only has Chaos Reborn under its belt, Julian Gollop is no slouch. Phoenix Point is almost guaranteed to be an interesting game with his involvement. After a year of solitary development, the project has been put on Fig to begin a round of crowdfunding which will last for the next 43 days. The actual PC release of Phoenix Point remains far off, Snapshot Games doesn't expect to ship it until late in 2018. View full article
  6. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was born from the vision of filmmaker Josef Fares. Fares, a Lebanese refugee, managed to escape the country's civil war in 1987 and relocate to Sweden with his family. He became a prolific director in the Swedish film world and made Jalla! Jalla!, one of the most popular films in the country. Released by Starbreeze Studios in 2013, Brothers adopted a highly unconventional dual joystick control scheme for its isometric adventure game. It became an instant critical darling, but what did it do right to earn that praise? Perhaps things are different when revisiting the game from a 2017 perspective. Is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons worthy of the praise it received for its cinematic vision and unique control scheme? Is it one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 'Love and Loss' by Sebastien Skaf (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03484) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  7. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was born from the vision of filmmaker Josef Fares. Fares, a Lebanese refugee, managed to escape the country's civil war in 1987 and relocate to Sweden with his family. He became a prolific director in the Swedish film world and made Jalla! Jalla!, one of the most popular films in the country. Released by Starbreeze Studios in 2013, Brothers adopted a highly unconventional dual joystick control scheme for its isometric adventure game. It became an instant critical darling, but what did it do right to earn that praise? Perhaps things are different when revisiting the game from a 2017 perspective. Is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons worthy of the praise it received for its cinematic vision and unique control scheme? Is it one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 'Love and Loss' by Sebastien Skaf (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03484) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  8. Hey guys! We are having a Gears of War 4 Cross Play Tournament at the Salem Microsoft Store on the 22nd. We are super excited about it as it's not something we've done before. I wanted to invite everyone and also ask if any guildies would be interested in manning an Extra Life table at the event? https://aka.ms/gow4crossplay
  9. From Kickstarter to the big screen, We Happy Few has come a long way from its humble origins - and it isn't even fully released yet! Variety has reported that We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games has inked a deal with Gold Circle Entertainment and dj2 Entertainment to give them the rights to a We Happy Few film. We Happy Few might prove to be a difficult story to adapt as the game relies on procedural generation. However, the setting and imagery is undeniably rife with opportunities for adaptation. The game takes place in an alternate version of 1960s England where the population has become controlled via a system that ensures every citizen is under the influence of sedative medication that keeps them from seeing reality. One citizen, the player protagonist, manages to buck the medicine and embarks on an attempt to uncover the seedy truth behind the aggressively sterile control of their town. How exactly this will translate onto film remains to be seen, but Gold Circle and dj2 are in the market for writers able to tackle a video game adaptation. Gold Circle made a name for itself as the production company behind films like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Pitch Perfect. Meanwhile dj2 Entertainment has been handling work on the Donnie Yen vehicle Sleeping Dogs movie and the Sonic the Hedgehog adaptation. The real question I have is how a game that hasn't had a full commercial release as a finished product already got picked up for a movie deal. That's a crazy fast turnaround that makes me nervous, but I wish the best for all involved. View full article
  10. From Kickstarter to the big screen, We Happy Few has come a long way from its humble origins - and it isn't even fully released yet! Variety has reported that We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games has inked a deal with Gold Circle Entertainment and dj2 Entertainment to give them the rights to a We Happy Few film. We Happy Few might prove to be a difficult story to adapt as the game relies on procedural generation. However, the setting and imagery is undeniably rife with opportunities for adaptation. The game takes place in an alternate version of 1960s England where the population has become controlled via a system that ensures every citizen is under the influence of sedative medication that keeps them from seeing reality. One citizen, the player protagonist, manages to buck the medicine and embarks on an attempt to uncover the seedy truth behind the aggressively sterile control of their town. How exactly this will translate onto film remains to be seen, but Gold Circle and dj2 are in the market for writers able to tackle a video game adaptation. Gold Circle made a name for itself as the production company behind films like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Pitch Perfect. Meanwhile dj2 Entertainment has been handling work on the Donnie Yen vehicle Sleeping Dogs movie and the Sonic the Hedgehog adaptation. The real question I have is how a game that hasn't had a full commercial release as a finished product already got picked up for a movie deal. That's a crazy fast turnaround that makes me nervous, but I wish the best for all involved.
  11. It can be easy to forget the hype machine leading up to a potential big release. When Destiny was first announced, the excitement was palpable. Bungie's promotional images and appearances played up how big the Destiny universe would be. It was a bold new frontier full of alien threats, unknowable constructs, and visually striking heroes. The story seemed larger than life, promising the kind of broad space opera that captivated the world with the release of Star Wars. Accordingly, Destiny's initial trailers adopted a tone fitting those expectations. The first gameplay reveal from E3 2013 offered glimpses of the game Bungie had so carefully crafted, backed by a reverent voice over with a building orchestral score. We saw broad vistas that offered adventure and imposing enemies that threatened us. This experience would surely be something monumental; it would change games forever. Of course, that's not what happened. Destiny turned out to be a highly polished game with some glaring flaws that couldn't deliver on the full promise of what our minds had imagined (as few games truly do). Over the years, Bungie has slowly worked to claw back that dream, adding features, fixing flawed systems, expanding the story, and more. This ongoing development helped Destiny retain its player base. I suppose that's why the drastic shift in tone in the reveal for Destiny 2 has me scratching my head. Revealing a new game in a series not known for its comedy with a joke trailer is unusual to say the least. The trailer and its accompanying teaser are fine and functional, but the tonal shift is something I think warrants a little bit of a think. The trailer for Destiny 2 is a very far cry from how Bungie had initially pitched the franchise. Nathan Fillion reprises his role as the Hunter Exo named Cayde-6 in both the teaser and the trailer proper. Fillion adds a comical punch to what had once been played very straight and earnest. I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of Destiny taking a more tongue-in-cheek approach to its previously self-serious lore, but it does seem rather at odds with the story and tone thus far, especially given that Destiny 2's inciting incident sees humanity all but wiped out and its last line of defense scattered throughout the system. If we continue to see this style of marketing in the lead up to E3 and beyond, it is very possible that Bungie and Activision have decided to steer Destiny's sci-fi epic into more of a Borderlands-like jaunt for loot and humor. If that's the case, it's entirely possible that the developer and publisher have been seeing the reach of Destiny-related social media. We could be seeing an entirely different type of game from what Destiny's player base has come to expect from the quality of life adjustments and expansions to the original Destiny. How that potential revision of the Destiny brand might go over with long-time Destiny fans remains to be seen. Destiny 2 releases September 8 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
  12. It can be easy to forget the hype machine leading up to a potential big release. When Destiny was first announced, the excitement was palpable. Bungie's promotional images and appearances played up how big the Destiny universe would be. It was a bold new frontier full of alien threats, unknowable constructs, and visually striking heroes. The story seemed larger than life, promising the kind of broad space opera that captivated the world with the release of Star Wars. Accordingly, Destiny's initial trailers adopted a tone fitting those expectations. The first gameplay reveal from E3 2013 offered glimpses of the game Bungie had so carefully crafted, backed by a reverent voice over with a building orchestral score. We saw broad vistas that offered adventure and imposing enemies that threatened us. This experience would surely be something monumental; it would change games forever. Of course, that's not what happened. Destiny turned out to be a highly polished game with some glaring flaws that couldn't deliver on the full promise of what our minds had imagined (as few games truly do). Over the years, Bungie has slowly worked to claw back that dream, adding features, fixing flawed systems, expanding the story, and more. This ongoing development helped Destiny retain its player base. I suppose that's why the drastic shift in tone in the reveal for Destiny 2 has me scratching my head. Revealing a new game in a series not known for its comedy with a joke trailer is unusual to say the least. The trailer and its accompanying teaser are fine and functional, but the tonal shift is something I think warrants a little bit of a think. The trailer for Destiny 2 is a very far cry from how Bungie had initially pitched the franchise. Nathan Fillion reprises his role as the Hunter Exo named Cayde-6 in both the teaser and the trailer proper. Fillion adds a comical punch to what had once been played very straight and earnest. I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of Destiny taking a more tongue-in-cheek approach to its previously self-serious lore, but it does seem rather at odds with the story and tone thus far, especially given that Destiny 2's inciting incident sees humanity all but wiped out and its last line of defense scattered throughout the system. If we continue to see this style of marketing in the lead up to E3 and beyond, it is very possible that Bungie and Activision have decided to steer Destiny's sci-fi epic into more of a Borderlands-like jaunt for loot and humor. If that's the case, it's entirely possible that the developer and publisher have been seeing the reach of Destiny-related social media. We could be seeing an entirely different type of game from what Destiny's player base has come to expect from the quality of life adjustments and expansions to the original Destiny. How that potential revision of the Destiny brand might go over with long-time Destiny fans remains to be seen. Destiny 2 releases September 8 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  13. Destiny released back in 2014 to a lukewarm critical response and blockbuster sales. Developer Bungie managed to somewhat salvage a game they had once toted as an ongoing, decade-long project (a claim that the company denied a year after Destiny's release). Implementing many, many patches, overhauls, and DLC expansions, Destiny finally began resembling the title that had shown such critical promise running up to its release. Today, after a small tease earlier in the week, Bungie pulled the curtain aside and gave a glimpse at what they have planned for Destiny 2. A new enemy has emerged from the depths of space: Ghaul, leader of the Red Legion. Following a devastating attack on humanity's last city, players will be forced into the wilds of the solar system to seek anything and everything that could be used to take back the city and defeat Ghaul. The trailer shows that the sequel to Destiny will indeed be axing the Tower hub that players have come to know over the past few years - along with all of the accumulated gear - in favor of something new. What exactly that new hub players could call home might be remains to be seen. After ignoring the PC market for the first entry, Destiny 2 will be coming to the computer gaming space, too. It will be interesting to see how the co-op shooter fares outside the confines of consoles. Perhaps mod support? That could be very interesting indeed. Destiny 2 releases September 8 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Those who pre-order will receive access to the beta period of Destiny 2 and possibly some other goodies depending on the retailer. View full article
  14. Destiny released back in 2014 to a lukewarm critical response and blockbuster sales. Developer Bungie managed to somewhat salvage a game they had once toted as an ongoing, decade-long project (a claim that the company denied a year after Destiny's release). Implementing many, many patches, overhauls, and DLC expansions, Destiny finally began resembling the title that had shown such critical promise running up to its release. Today, after a small tease earlier in the week, Bungie pulled the curtain aside and gave a glimpse at what they have planned for Destiny 2. A new enemy has emerged from the depths of space: Ghaul, leader of the Red Legion. Following a devastating attack on humanity's last city, players will be forced into the wilds of the solar system to seek anything and everything that could be used to take back the city and defeat Ghaul. The trailer shows that the sequel to Destiny will indeed be axing the Tower hub that players have come to know over the past few years - along with all of the accumulated gear - in favor of something new. What exactly that new hub players could call home might be remains to be seen. After ignoring the PC market for the first entry, Destiny 2 will be coming to the computer gaming space, too. It will be interesting to see how the co-op shooter fares outside the confines of consoles. Perhaps mod support? That could be very interesting indeed. Destiny 2 releases September 8 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Those who pre-order will receive access to the beta period of Destiny 2 and possibly some other goodies depending on the retailer.
  15. Today, the game engine that will power Deus Ex titles on PC and next-gen consoles got its first screenshot. Eidos Montreal posted to their website today announcing Dawn Engine, a new high fidelity game engine. The engine itself is based on a heavily modified version of IO Interactive's Glacier 2 software. Eidos also teased something that it is calling Deus Ex Universe, which it clarified doe not refer to an MMO, but rather a series of projects that all connect to the world of Deus Ex. Eidos Montreal's community manager, Sacha Ramtohul, commented on DEU by saying:
  16. Telltale snuck the first episode of their Borderlands series into digital stores today along with a brand-spankin'-new trailer that shows off some of the over-the-top situations players can expect to encounter. The Telltale Game of Thrones title is slated for release sometime next month, too. Maybe we should expect another sneaky release in December?
  17. Hamster Corporation has slowly been making a name for themselves as a company that brings old games to new consoles. The past several months have seen the company bringing a number of high profile titles to PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. The ongoing project to make these older games compatible began in 2014 with the release of Rygar to test the market and has only gained steam in subsequent years. The full list of games that will be available by the beginning of April of this year has reached over 70 titles. It's a pretty great slice of gaming history that stretches from 1980 to 2000. A subset of those games belong to the ACA Neo Geo series, an effort to remaster and emulate games from the Neo Geo. Seems pretty standard, right? Well, the neat thing about the ACA Neo Geo series is that the games emulate the arcade cabinet versions of gems like King of Fighters, Metal Slug, and Fatal Fury, rather than the console version as past re-releases have done. If you're looking to get in touch with gaming's roots, these might be the perfect place to start without having to scour eBay for expensive, old systems and games.
  18. Hamster Corporation has slowly been making a name for themselves as a company that brings old games to new consoles. The past several months have seen the company bringing a number of high profile titles to PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. The ongoing project to make these older games compatible began in 2014 with the release of Rygar to test the market and has only gained steam in subsequent years. The full list of games that will be available by the beginning of April of this year has reached over 70 titles. It's a pretty great slice of gaming history that stretches from 1980 to 2000. A subset of those games belong to the ACA Neo Geo series, an effort to remaster and emulate games from the Neo Geo. Seems pretty standard, right? Well, the neat thing about the ACA Neo Geo series is that the games emulate the arcade cabinet versions of gems like King of Fighters, Metal Slug, and Fatal Fury, rather than the console version as past re-releases have done. If you're looking to get in touch with gaming's roots, these might be the perfect place to start without having to scour eBay for expensive, old systems and games. View full article
  19. I've seen a lot of strange runs through many different games, but this one ranks as one of the most bizarre. When Bethesda's Fallout 3 begins, players go through a process to create their character. While most games relegate this to playing with sliders and moving stat points around, Fallout 3 allows players to "grow up" as their character, seeing different stages of their lives as they become adults. That process ends when the player enters the wider, blasted landscape of a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. A couple years ago, players discovered it was possible to glitch through the baby section of Fallout 3's opening and escape from the underground Vault before events flash forward to when the player's character becomes an adult. The fact that the glitch exists is in itself is entertaining, but one player decided that they would play through the entire game as an infant. And, well... this happened. YouTuber Bryan Pierre walks viewers through his attempt to finish Fallout 3 as a baby. It's actually pretty fascinating to hear him talk about the details of how this works and how strange the game's implications become when the protagonist is a tiny baby. For example, the baby's hit box is much smaller than normal, so many enemies can barely hit a crawling child. The video itself is about two years old, but it is very much still worth a watch to see just how far some people are willing to go to do obnoxiously silly things in video games.
  20. I've seen a lot of strange runs through many different games, but this one ranks as one of the most bizarre. When Bethesda's Fallout 3 begins, players go through a process to create their character. While most games relegate this to playing with sliders and moving stat points around, Fallout 3 allows players to "grow up" as their character, seeing different stages of their lives as they become adults. That process ends when the player enters the wider, blasted landscape of a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. A couple years ago, players discovered it was possible to glitch through the baby section of Fallout 3's opening and escape from the underground Vault before events flash forward to when the player's character becomes an adult. The fact that the glitch exists is in itself is entertaining, but one player decided that they would play through the entire game as an infant. And, well... this happened. YouTuber Bryan Pierre walks viewers through his attempt to finish Fallout 3 as a baby. It's actually pretty fascinating to hear him talk about the details of how this works and how strange the game's implications become when the protagonist is a tiny baby. For example, the baby's hit box is much smaller than normal, so many enemies can barely hit a crawling child. The video itself is about two years old, but it is very much still worth a watch to see just how far some people are willing to go to do obnoxiously silly things in video games. View full article
  21. The future of humanity is bleak. Or rather, the future seems so in Subset Games' dark vision of it in their upcoming title Into The Breach. Far into the future, humanity struggles to survive in the wake of an apocalypse only to find themselves beset on all sides by gigantic creatures that seem to have bred beneath the earth. In an effort to save what little of humanity remains, players must pilot giant mechs and battle these monsters. Subset Games have gone a much different direction with the gameplay of Into The Breach, deviating from the successful design they implemented for ship-to-ship combat and randomly generated role-playing in FTL: Faster Than Light. Into The Breach is actually a turn-based strategy game, taking cues from franchises like Advanced Wars and Fire Emblem. Maps are randomly generated and terrain features like buildings, mountains, and forests take damage as players wage their battles against the bug forces. Units will gain experience as they fight, becoming more powerful the longer they stay alive. Some stages will hold bonus objectives that grant additional rewards as players progress through their frantic final war for survival. Of course, there are still some elements of FTL in there - Subset Games wouldn't want to make things too easy, right? Should a player fail to successfully defend the last of humanity, they have been outfitted with a time travel device to allow them to try again. Each time a player travels back in time, the world will be altered and randomly generate, which will in turn change the war against the kaiju. That means the Into The Breech is more than willing to cut players down for poor strategic decisions. Into The Breach is currently planned as a single-player game that will release for Windows, Mac, and Linux. No release date has been given and likely won't be revealed any time soon. Each platform will likely launch sequentially rather than all at once.
  22. The future of humanity is bleak. Or rather, the future seems so in Subset Games' dark vision of it in their upcoming title Into The Breach. Far into the future, humanity struggles to survive in the wake of an apocalypse only to find themselves beset on all sides by gigantic creatures that seem to have bred beneath the earth. In an effort to save what little of humanity remains, players must pilot giant mechs and battle these monsters. Subset Games have gone a much different direction with the gameplay of Into The Breach, deviating from the successful design they implemented for ship-to-ship combat and randomly generated role-playing in FTL: Faster Than Light. Into The Breach is actually a turn-based strategy game, taking cues from franchises like Advanced Wars and Fire Emblem. Maps are randomly generated and terrain features like buildings, mountains, and forests take damage as players wage their battles against the bug forces. Units will gain experience as they fight, becoming more powerful the longer they stay alive. Some stages will hold bonus objectives that grant additional rewards as players progress through their frantic final war for survival. Of course, there are still some elements of FTL in there - Subset Games wouldn't want to make things too easy, right? Should a player fail to successfully defend the last of humanity, they have been outfitted with a time travel device to allow them to try again. Each time a player travels back in time, the world will be altered and randomly generate, which will in turn change the war against the kaiju. That means the Into The Breech is more than willing to cut players down for poor strategic decisions. Into The Breach is currently planned as a single-player game that will release for Windows, Mac, and Linux. No release date has been given and likely won't be revealed any time soon. Each platform will likely launch sequentially rather than all at once. View full article
  23. It is easy to forget that BioWare took a bold risk when they launched their untested, original IP as an Xbox 360 exclusive back in 2007. The RPG genre had never truly veered into uncharted territory with a mainstream release as with a third-person shooter hybrid. On top of that, it was set in an unknown universe that the marketing team could easily have over-inflated to generate hype only to fall victim to the backlash (remember the cautionary tale of Advent Rising?). However, what made Mass Effect special was that it actually managed to live up to the hype. It worked. It had choices that engaged players. It was full of unique and interesting piece of universe-building and memorable characters. It delivered the sci-fi adventure some people had been waiting their entire lives to see in a video game for the first time. Almost a decade later with a new entry in the franchise releasing this week, does the original Mass Effect stand as not merely a good game, but one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mass Effect 'Uncharted Depths' by Hy Bound (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02157) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, follow the show on Twitter and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  24. It is easy to forget that BioWare took a bold risk when they launched their untested, original IP as an Xbox 360 exclusive back in 2007. The RPG genre had never truly veered into uncharted territory with a mainstream release as with a third-person shooter hybrid. On top of that, it was set in an unknown universe that the marketing team could easily have over-inflated to generate hype only to fall victim to the backlash (remember the cautionary tale of Advent Rising?). However, what made Mass Effect special was that it actually managed to live up to the hype. It worked. It had choices that engaged players. It was full of unique and interesting piece of universe-building and memorable characters. It delivered the sci-fi adventure some people had been waiting their entire lives to see in a video game for the first time. Almost a decade later with a new entry in the franchise releasing this week, does the original Mass Effect stand as not merely a good game, but one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Mass Effect 'Uncharted Depths' by Hy Bound (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02157) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, follow the show on Twitter and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  25. Sega made an appearance at SXSW Gaming to reveal the game they've been working on under the title of Project Sonic 2017. Now dubbed Sonic Forces, the trailers only show 40 seconds of in-game footage and a little over a minute of CG cinematics. We don't know much about the upcoming Sonic game, but we do know that it looks awfully similar to Sonic Generations and Sonic Adventure, though certainly darker in tone. Forces has classic Sonic teaming up with modern Sonic to kick Dr. Eggman out of a post-apocalyptic future. The gameplay trailer shows Sonic racing through a city under siege by Death Egg Robot sentinels and the cinematic introduces classic Sonic. The robot attack causes explosions and fire to spread through the city as Sonic races through streets filled with robot enemies, spike traps, and speed boosters. Series veteran Takashi Iizuka will be directing Sonic Forces and has confirmed that the title is a standalone entry in the franchise with no connection to Sonic Generations. Sonic Forces will release this holiday season for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox one, and PC. You can watch an hour long recap of Sega's time at SXSW if you're still craving more Sonic tidbits.