Mass Effect: Andromeda


#212

I think so. It’s so hilariously bad. After coming off Horizon with amazing facial movements, this looks like a joke lol.

EDIT: “My face is tired” is a meme now


#213

Horizons facial animations were really weird I thought.

@Neon_Ronin I’m still picking it up next Tuesday. I’ll let you know how I feel before and after this 10 hour cut off, which might give you some indication of whether it’s a pacing thing, or if this just isn’t for you.


#214

During gameplay and they were typical good as you expect while the cutscene were really good. The one that was the best I think is when Aloy gets hit by the rock at the start and she starts to tear up, her cheeks retract as she grimaces, really well done.

The NPCs on the training areas have weird facial animations though.


#215

I know it’s just how the internet works, but some of the videos online are a little ridiculous. Especially the comparison shots, the one I saw was comparing an NPC on your ship against Ashley from ME1. There’s always going to be a drop in LOD when it comes to background characters. I’m not excusing her facial animations, just reminding people. The internet doesn’t care about context.

Again, I haven’t played it, but the hate for this is getting a little out of control. How did Ghost Recon release without getting half as much bad press? I played that. It’s bad. The worst thing I heard about that was “you probably need to play it with friends to get anything out of it”. So I need to convince 3 friends to spend €60 each to have any fun with a game thats barely even mediocre. Is that not considered a bad thing, no?

Then Andromeda releases and it seems like every press outlet suddenly wakes up. Is this just a traffic thing? People are obsessed with legends falling from grace (look at the headlines of every gossip magazine). The thing is, I look at Reddit, and there are threads filled with comments from people who are loving the game. Then I see people like @Neon_Ronin, who says he has stopped playing it and doesn’t like it. But this truth, of how the game actually plays and feels, is getting lost in this explosion of media coverage, which is then being helped along by any press outlet who wants to cash in on the clicks.

At this point I don’t think reviews can come soon enough, for Bioware’s sake. Horizon had a more traditional embargo and it was better for it. Sure there were some reviews which mentioned it’s repetitive gameplay or boring side quests, but those comments came from people that had played the game for 30+ hours. Which meant those reviews could give well rounded opinions, mentioning the game’s fantastic combat and gorgeous scenery. Mass Effect is getting about 10 reviews every hour since yesterday morning, from people who have played the first 6 or 7 hours of a (probably) 60+ hour RPG. It was a bad move by EA/Bioware.


#216

It’s a grind, a repetitive grind and the only way you would get through it with pure fun is by messing about with friends. After going to the other provinices you start to see the same buildings just in a desert of snow area. Yes it is a bad thing but many people allow it a pass as it’s designed to by a co-op heavy game. For me that doesn’t excuse the repetition or the lack of AI customisation. Games should give players the choice despite on its creative targets. Ghost Recon pretty much forces you to play co-op if you want a better experience, terrible AI just to add to this point.

First impressions are always the key factor in media, you pick up a book, the blurb needs to be engaging, trailers for films and so on. With games, when you get straight into it, the first thing many people do is look at the game. The story has just started, the gameplay is just teaching you, that hasn’t yet taken off until your right into the game. As for aesthetics, that is what it’s going to be from start to finish. A game doesn’t pick up graphics as the game goes on like every other feature the game has. It’s the first thing a game shows you, what it looks like. That’s the first impression for most people.

For me as I’ve explained here, I understand game heuristics, logics and behaviour so I know not to judge it straight away hence why I plat/100% a game first for fair critical judgement. The first thing people see is the animations and graphics, anything visual. And because that’s on a bad, it’s already taken many people’s judgement over the game. There will be people out there who will either ignore or look at other aspects of the game to fairly see if it’s all shit or just the animations side/ VO.

As you said, if people are loving the game, then there must be other aspects that do shine out but in this day and age, people point out the flaws (which is good) but without any fair judgement on things that are good. I expect the game to work and look decent for this day and age AAA. So I’m not going to scream over gameplay if the gameplay is generic but works, but if it excels then it’s be noted.

The only negative critic for horizon gave it 50 and after reading her points on the game, she didn’t choose to listen to the game nor play enough for a fair critical judgement. She complained that there were no story about the focuses and where they came from. Now that clearly tells me she never completed the game or skipped the cutscenes as it definitely does tell you. Also in the start of the game during loading, it says you’re in the future (if the robot animals were a big enough clue) so it’s obvious how people turned primitive from our age.

When I get round to Mass Effect, I’ll judge it on it’s game alone. People are on the bandwagon for the sake of it.


#218

Oh no I didn’t mean to say your opinion wasn’t sincere, I was actually saying that honest opinions (positive and negative) like yours are hard to find right now.

I can’t wait for the game to be out so we can all form opinions based on the full game.


#219

Me too, brother. Only a few days away, and I’m really excited for us all to share the experience. Talk soon, my man.


#220

No… the eyes were just always too shiny like they were made of glass.

Never mind Horizon though, there are PSVita games with better overall results than ME:A:

But I have heard that if you kind of set aside all the animation issues, the game itself is actually pretty good - while hewing still to that Bioware “chosen one” hero formula.


#221

It’s not really about when a game released or what platform it’s on, it’s more about the type of game it is. It’s much easier to model/animate Uncharted’s 30 characters than the 60 or so in Mass Effect. I don’t know the actual numbers obviously, just an example.

If it is just an issue with eye textures (I heard someone say it’s a lack of shadowing from the upper eye lid), then that can be fixed, but there’s no way facial animation is going to be “fixed” across the board.


#222

Well definitely it’s easier in the case of games like Uncharted where they use total performance capture (quite expensive!) and know they are going for only one and only one way that events happen in the story. Same goes for Voice Actor expenses where everybody can read the same line 3 or 5 times to get the perfect delivery. Games like MASS EFFECT have a problem where each scene can have multiple variants, so doing total performance capture is usually not an option - unless you want news of Andromeda’s release to be followed by massive layoffs at Bioware.

However, the reason I did choose a Vita example (and not say the PS4 example) is to show that a “bottom threshold” does exist. They just had to find that spot and avoid excessive movements that couldn’t be polished in time.

The issue with eyelashes is indeed fixable, and there’s many solutions. The videos using ME1 Ashley comparison for example fail to account that Ashley in that low-tech ME1 time period used one of the earliest dirty tricks at making character’s eyes easier to “shadow”, which is to use heavy amounts of eyeliner in the texture map itself for the faces.

If they give all the female characters in Andromeda “supermodel eyeliner”, I’m sure the problems will sort of correct themselves by more than 50%. Try it in photoshop yourself and you will see the results. :slight_smile:

Another solution is to simply create additional rows of eyelashes to add more “dark line appearance” in that area and to help add shade against light - even if real humans don’t have that many rows of eyelashes! :slight_smile:

It is also possible that if they fix (or even overcompensate) the neutral position of the face rigs and reimport them into frostbite, it is possible that a large number of the facial animations will fix themselves, thought that is far from guaranteed. :frowning:


#223

Note, Bioware artists did use the eyeliner trick with characters in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

But I understand Andromeda is no longer by the teams of Dragon Age nor the last two Mass Effect games.
It was always going to be a tough act to follow.


#224

Tough act to follow plus a new generation of hardware and new expectations in terms of gameplay/world. Plus they have the issue that a lot of the focus has been on Ryder (who can look like anything the player decides to make Ryder look like, so needs a generic rigging) where Dragon Age Inquisition focused mostly on a cast of characters who had set faces.

Without participating in the development project it’s impossible to say what factors create problems where. The eye liner for instance might look fine in regular lighting but looks weird when a character is using a biotic field etc.

But largely that’s the history of video games. Dragon Age: Origins let you customize your character but not your family, so your character looked adopted if you actually customized your character - heaps of people said they should just give the families adjustments (it’d be easy!).

Dragon Age 2 tried to compensate for that buy making your family shift to your adjustments and so you could accidentally end up with a horribly mutated family.


#225

Well what you’re referring to is normal “Gamer Entitlement Syndrome”. But for sure Andromeda objectively looks poorer than it should.

I understand EA didn’t want any one of their teams to stay on Unreal Engine, and Frostbite is capable enough. But of the 5 years spent making Andromeda, you can easily use up 4 of them learning about Frostbite for the first time.

If I was at EA, I would have lobbied for prying some key members from DICE to work with Bioware Edmonton. The STAR WARS guys in particular pushed the graphical side quite a bit on the same engine:

Of course, prying away people from other people that they’ve worked well with is another risk. But on this instance who knows if it might have been a better recourse?


#226

That also becomes a HR issue since you get people who don’t want to move (even a relatively short distance), people who don’t get along, etc.

Plus while the faces in the Star Wars might look perfectly posed that’s because they only have a really limited range of facial expression required - it’s not a dialog driven RPG with character creation and different types of weird aliens who need their own rigging but also need to have base rigging skeletons that can be re-used etc.

Honestly I think Andromeda looks about as good as you’d expect given all the challenges and issues around it (people throwing a shit fit over ME3 probably didn’t do wonders for the resource allocation) and that it’s probably being used for a lot of experimental techniques. Historically Bioware investing extra resources into making NPCs hasn’t really correlated with people’s response to them. Miranda Lawson was relatively unpopular compared to Mordin Sollus, for example.

And they’re still miles ahead of … I don’t even know how to describe Bethesda’s NPCs other than to say that discovering they were being infiltrated with work-in-progress androids was the least surprising thing about Fallout 4.


#227

Best video yet


#228

Hahaha, it’s just hilarious :joy:, only good thing with this is that i save some money, because i’m not buying this and if game developers continue to mess up their games like this i will be a millionaire in no time :flushed:.


#229

If that’s the best video yet then I feel 1000% confident that I made the decision to pre-order.

Even if I won’t get to play until three days after the folks in America get to start playing.


#230

I’m surprised Australia didn’t ban it for the animations.


#231

That isn’t Australia’s style. My proud nation will instead wait until it’s been out for a week, then be horrified to discover that this game has a sex scene that involves a playful and ban it in a panic, citing the “sexual violence” in Krogan romance.


#232

Sounds about right. How does them bans work exactly? Does it prohibit banned games to be sold there or aren’t you allowed to import them?