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Monday, March 20, 2017

Mass Effect Andromeda - Technical Difficulties

With the new Mass Effect game set to release within a few hours, depending upon what time zone you live in, I thought I'd put in my own personal word about how everyone is responding to the game. In case you've been living under a rock with internet on par with DSL, Mass Effect is a series about space, killing stuff in space and having sex in space. I know Bioware and EA will frown upon the sex part of that but its probably why most people keep coming back to the series... no pun intended. The previous titles have all scored around the 90 percent on Metacritic, even the bad ones, which is still a feat in and of itself. I personally had a lot of fun with the first game despite its short comings and the second game was the best by far. And I don't feel like talking about the third.
However, the newest title, Andromeda, has been getting poor responses from critics so far and what little the public has seen has been mocked at best and outright despised at worst. Since I don't have a review copy of the game all I can do is read what they've written and form my own theory as to why these things don't work. The biggest two I can find are the AI being near brain dead and of course the 'horrendous' animations. I thought I might shed some light from a technical standpoint.
First off every single one of these things can be corrected at a later date via patches. And this is very standard as far as games come. Every single game we have coming out and within a certain time frame has had patches. These are fixes made by the developer via an internet connection that allow the game to run smoother, fix things in the code or just simply to remove some things. The AI could be a problem that wasn't fully realized by EA/Bioware when the game was being tested. Its not a super common problem and it isn't unfixable. Though it may take some time and work, this can be fixed and patched in a later date.
The biggest thing that has people worried... or laughing, is the animations. You can find multiple videos, gifs and pictures online of these mishaps but for now I'm just going to say, again, these can be fixed. Personally I find them funny at least but I can see how it could either be distracting or even ruining a person's immersion of the game. I would say this would be the least of their concerns as long as the game actually functions properly.
All this being said I want to add a final afterthought. This really speaks volumes to how the game was made. It doesn't really seem like, to me anyways, that EA put enough testing in to ensure the game was perfect at launch. Following the game from when it was first announced, a lot of people who worked on the original game began to drop off like flies which really should have been the first indication or warning about this game. This, combined with the fact that they are also using a new engine for the game leads me to believe that the team they hired weren't well versed with using the new engine or just simply weren't very qualified to handle the game. I personally would have liked it if the game was delayed by a few months to iron out the problems seeing as how there really doesn't seem to be a way for them to get over what will most likely be a financial hurdle as most people have already decided whether or not they're going to buy it based on what little they've seen. So one of my favorite series will take a significant hit for minor problems, depending on how you see these things.
My job isn't to tell you whether or not to buy something. I just want to inform you on how I see things. Buy it if you want. If you don't I would consider buying Nier: Automata. Its not really the same type of game but you'll probably get some fun out of it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ghost Recon: Wildlands PS4 Review - 6/10

If you've seen the review score above then you know this game is not good. I will admit the Ghost Recon series is not for me. The last game I played in the series (which had a name so generic I can't even remember or be bothered to look it up) was far too hard with many many game over screens. My brother bought it thinking it would be a good game and disliked it. Then he roped me into doing co-op with him and we both liked it even less. But even still, regardless if you like a series or not the game itself can be good or not.

The Good:
If there's one thing in this game I can give no backhanded praise to its the ability to essentially forgo the entire plot and just pick up everything. Yes, the plot of the game is flimsy at best and kind of boring. Imagine my happiness when I realized that all I had to do was ignore it. You can go literally anywhere on the map and kill stuff as well as take the weapons and attachments therein. In fact this is what my brother and I have been doing exclusively our entire play time. Sure occasionally an awesome weapon or a useful attachment just happens to be near a story mission objective and we complete it because, eh? Why not. You can also choose to go to any region, start fighting virtually anyone and essentially make your own fun by not participating in the game's story.
The map is certainly... big. If it sounds like I'm reaching for stuff its because I am. But I will say that a large map is something I do look forward to in an open world game. Granted only a few areas really stand out but its large enough that I can go around and do what I like within reason.

The Bad:
Alright so this game is glitchy as fuck. Personally I don't mind glitches all that much. Some are funny and horrifying like the Assassin's Creed Unity face glitch... which coincidentally is a Ubisoft game as well. Or character model tearing where they essentially stretch across the screen and objects in horrifying ways... which has also happened in this game. But what I cannot condone is the game breaking glitches, of which this game has several. I've just finished playing a session with my brother not but an hour ago of me writing this and so far we've been met with the glitch that takes away your binoculars and drone (oh by the way that means we can't use them period for no reason and with no prompt and they will return at an undisclosed time of their choosing), a new glitch where the game decided I couldn't use my controller anymore (which was no a malfunction of the controller, it just wouldn't let me do any prompts in game to get me back to the game but I could go to the home screen and everything worked just fine) and the game had to be restarted. Oh and there was this one glitch where the game just crashed. No reason. Just crashed. That happened twice, by he way. Not to mention the horrible lag times, general screwiness of the game deciding if it should or shouldn't put an event on the map (mini or otherwise) and much much MUCH more. Oh and by the way: My brother and I were playing on the exact. Same. Network. The. Entire. Time. Yes, good old Ubisoft decided that their servers needed to be accessed first and then we have to piggy back using a combination of their servers in conjunction with our own internet. Sure, this is a pretty standard thing. But generally game companies tend to ensure that the servers actually function properly. See, Ubisoft is under the delusion that EVERYONE wants to use their UPlay service! Its too bad this service is absolute shit. If I can offer a word of warning: never buy a Ubisoft game on PC. First off they force you to use their UPlay service regardless. So if you buy it on Steam or Origin you've essentially created a shortcut file which, instead of opening the game, opens UPlay which THEN opens the game. Not only does this use up even more processing power causing your game to chug when it otherwise wouldn't but it also has more fucked up effects. For instance I straight up just can't use Black Flag anymore. Ubisoft is still the only person who thought that DRM was totally cool and they're totally going to keep it going. So since I don't have this code for the game (which by the way I used the first time I began playing the game) and I no longer have my original UPlay account then I just can't play this game anymore. So in general I would stay away from Ubisoft indefinitely and regardless of the platform. Just... just don't.
The enemy AI is just about as fucked as the rest of the game. They can teleport sometimes, have the ability to shoot through a fence 100% of the time when you get about 5% of your shots through, sometimes just gain the Spider Sense of Spider-Man and just know when something is wrong and go on alert, often times will shrug off an attack that would have killed them in favor or just being able to shoot you instead as well as being able to call in support when they're already dead. JOY. This game doesn't even follow its own fucking logic.

The Meh:
So the story is just... there? The one thing I remember is there's this massive dude who's tattooed and some lady told him in a dream that it'd be a super cool idea to own a country and use their main source of wealth as cocaine. Cool... Maybe don't take drugs before bed. Or maybe all of that ink has seeped into your brain. Thankfully you can ignore it completely. That is if you don't want to actually finish the game.

Honestly I would sell this game right now if it wasn't for the fact that my brother bought it for me. However, since he seems to be equally as annoyed maybe we'll sell it together and get something better.
Don't buy this game. Don't buy anything from Ubisoft. Its a terrible game and they're a terrible company.