fereldanwench: (Mass Effect - Selene Ryder)
[personal profile] fereldanwench
I've been taking MEA in little chunks for the past week. My morning ritual this weekend was wake up, make some coffee and breakfast, and play for about 4 hours or so. It was super nice, and I'm gonna do it again this weekend.

I find that I do really need to set a few hours aside to properly play it. I've only had about an hour of unbooked time in the afternoons this week, and it doesn't feel like enough time to make any substantial progress. It takes me like 10 minutes to get situated and remind myself of what I'm doing, and if I want to travel to any new locations, the loading time and travel animations can be really tedious. I've made it a habit of saving on the Tempest so it's a little easier for me to planet hop since I tend to decide where I want to go on a whim.

I have my settlements established on Eos and Voeld, and I just visited Havarl. Eos and Voeld are beautiful (Voeld especially after you clear the blizzard), but in essence, they're just desert and snow levels so they don't feel that innovative. Havarl has a little more character to it; it's a jungle world with incredible fauna. The colors remind me a little of the Frostback Basin from the Jaws of Hakkon DLC, which was one of my favorite areas in DAI.

On Sunday, I endured what the longest and most tedious "boss" battle of my ENTIRE LIFE with a type of enemy called an Architect. I expected it to be something similar to the dragons in DAI, but whereas the dragons were one of the few enemies that actually required any tactical thinking and were, in my opinion, a lot of fun and rewarding to fight (minus feeling like an asshole because they're beautiful, majestic bbs and like half of them aren't even bothering anyone), the Architect was like a 30-40 minute rinse-and-repeat battle with no real challenge once you figured out the pattern of attack. It wasn't a long fight because it was hard or I was bad at it; it was only a long fight because it was unimaginatively designed to force the player to only be able to hit certain weak points after fighting certain waves of attack.

I saw at least one more of these fuckers on another planet, and I'm not especially excited to do that mission because it was awful. I probably would have played more on Sunday if I hadn't done that fight, but it was just draining.

I haven't really had any more issues with animations. About 40-43 hours in with this Ryder, and it seems like the worst has passed.

One little feature I've really come to appreciate is how your journal/codex area keeps really specific details about the decisions you've made. Lexi even provides a "psych analysis" that breaks down how your responses are crafting a certain personality. It's been very helpful in me getting a feel for who my Ryder is and what I want her to be.

Also, I'm coming to really adore my companions and their relationships with one another. You know how in Inquisition all the companions and advisors felt really spread out and kind of isolated from each other? Totally not like that at all in Andromeda. The companions have their own areas on the Tempest, but they also move around on the ship and have a lot of conversations and fun banter with one another. They also talk a lot more out in the field. The overall dynamic feels a lot more homey and casual, more like Hawke and the Kirkwall crew.

Gil is a champ at poker--You get a chance to play with him at one point, and I also found a datapad with his notes about the crew and how they play. His observations were the most goddamn endearing thing I've read in a while. I seriously just wanted to group hug the entire crew after reading it. A part of me wants to see the whole crew play to witness that in real time, but another part of me just wants to hold on to what my imagination conjured up because it's beautiful.

So discoure re: Gil, Jaal, & Cora, because there is some shit in how they were handled:


Gil has a friend named Jill (yes, he jokes about it), who apparently works in population reproduction or something. I haven't met her, not sure if we can, but Gil mentions that Jill gives him a hard time because as a gay man, he won't be procreating, at least by traditional means, which makes her job "harder."

Um. Umumumumumummmmmmmmm.

Um.

Where to even begin with this clusterfuck?

Was the ability or desire to procreate even something essential to being a part of the Andromeda Initiative? Obviously, the idea of setting up shop in a new galaxy comes with the expectation that this is gonna be long-term and generational, at the very least, but surely not every single person needs to engage in biological baby-making for that to happen. Also, y'all have the science and tech to be asleep for 600 years and travel to an entirely new galaxy. I'm gonna go ahead and go out on a limb here: penis-vagina sex for procreation is probably NOT THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE NEW BABIES. They'd probably have fail-safes established, too, because who the fuck knows what's gonna happen to fertility under those conditions.

And of all the characters to use to bring this issue up, which is reasonably valid within the scope of the story and could be interesting, BW decided to do it with the gay guy? Really?

Ryder has the option to be like "ur friend kind of sounds like an asshole," which I took, but Gil just brushes it off like "nah, that's just the kind of friendship we have." Ok, well, Gil. Buddy. You're still friends with an asshole and you can do better.

As for Jaal, who is steadily growing to be a fave... If I understand the situation correctly, male Ryder's VA said on Twitter that Jaal was a romance option for male and female Ryders. This was probably based on him recording lines for Jaal's romance. However, like with Cullen, the male romance did not make it into the final cut of the game.

So, a few things here:

1. BW or EA really needs to get their VAs on board with some NDAs. There's no way in hell this guy should have been answering questions like that on Twitter. I don't understand why BW voice actors continue to surely, surely break non-disclosures on social media that inevitably cause disasters in the long-run.
2. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON FOR JAAL TO NOT BE BI. Like in terms of his character and personality, his family (HE HAS LIKE SIX MOTHERS), the culture of the Angara and the way they emotionally connect with one another, the fact that aliens adhering to some Earth cultures' idea of a gender binary is totally implausible--There has never been a character in BW history more primed to be a bisexual love interest. I mean... I'm being hyperbolic on that front, but seriously. He has, from what I've seen so far, the makings of a great bisexual character. Of all the goddamn things to cut.

And as for Cora... There are a lot of parallels between Cora and Cassandra. Cora is kind of the second-in-command and would have been an obvious choice to be the Pathfinder, but wasn't made it for Reasons. Based on the marketing, she's also the "main" romance for male Ryders, and there was a lot of criticism from LGBT+ fans that her appearance was queer-baiting.

While I don't want to discredit or dismiss that critique entirely, because appearance absolutely can play a role in queer-baiting, I personally never saw that with Cora. I always thought she looked more like a stereotypical suburban mom trying to be a little edgy with her haircut; she looks a lot like the white, affluent women who used to come into the World Market where I worked several years ago (which, to be totally honest, probably played a role in me not warming up to her right away). I was also kind of primed for her to be straight just because of how the whole thing went down with Cassandra. Like you really think the first female companion they show us is gonna be into ladies? FOOL ME ONCE.

HOWEVER. However. Her history with the Asari commandos and her reverence for the Asari, which seems to be largely rooted in how she perceives them as incredible women (even if they aren't, technically, I feel like all the words she uses--sisters, huntresses, etc.--are reinforcing the idea that they are perceived as feminine by at least this particular human) definitely comes across as queer-baiting. I think she explicitly tells female Ryder that she's not attracted to women if Ryder expresses interest, but she also made a vague comment that kind of sounded like she might have had a fling with an Asari soooooo...

It's Cassandra "the fate of the world is the hands of an amazing woman uwu WHAT IM NOT GAY" Pentaghast and Morrigan "women are so much better than men uwu NO I LIKE U AS A FRIEND" all over again.

Date: 2017-04-04 05:59 pm (UTC)
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
From: [personal profile] renegadefolkhero
Glad to hear about the level of companion interaction. I always like a smaller or more contained home base, makes it feel more like characters are truly living together. Skyhold is just so damn big and it never felt truly lived-in to me.

I'm even more cynical about Jaal being a straight romance than Cullen because MEA doesn't have the staging challenge of 8 different PC models and MEA apparently has a number of smaller/side romances. I'm having a hard time understanding why developing multiple side romances is a better use of time than having a full m/m squadmate romance, especially when part of the work is already done.

Date: 2017-04-05 10:36 am (UTC)
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
From: [personal profile] renegadefolkhero
I read the new patch lets you skip autopilot animations. Everyone is talking about how much time that will save them, haha.

Also. Per roadmap, in addition to CC improvements:

-Improvements to male romance options for Scott Ryder
-Adjustments to conversations with Hainly Abrams

BioWare, don't let me down man.

Date: 2017-04-05 10:45 am (UTC)
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
From: [personal profile] renegadefolkhero
MEA also minimized the non-cutscene dialogue sequences; those are mostly reserved for minor NPC interactions, and the camera still zooms in a little to make it feel more personal. The vast majority of Ryder/crew interactions have the cutscenes like in the ME trilogy or DAO & DA2. It really makes a difference, imo.

When I was replaying DA2 I was reminded how good the dialogue scenes are. The staging and angles are usually REALLY GOOD. That's why I don't really understand the push to "more realistic" style graphics. I love DA2's look, and there is still a risk of uncanny valley with Frostbite (Sometimes I have flashbacks of the Wicked Grace scene in DAI).

That was something I really missed in DAI.

Date: 2017-04-05 06:52 pm (UTC)
renegadefolkhero: hyper light drifter (Default)
From: [personal profile] renegadefolkhero
Well, you made me curious so I looked up some vids to see for myself. Some of the custom Ryders in particular were... yeap.

I found this video on MEA's models and animations interesting. I haven't independently verified the info, but he says per his sources the main issue appears to be management giving the human models low priority and outsourcing them to another team rather than letting the in-house artists work on them.

He also mentioned BW currently has a very strong culture regarding inclusiveness for women [which I read as cis, white, straight women].

Now, I am probably a bit out of line here, but this dovetails into a working theory I have about BioWare's attitudes towards heterosexual women specifically, and why characters like Cullen and Jaal, which were apparently *intended* to be fanbait based on dev comments, end up being gated romances. But I'm not sure if it's reasonable speculation on my part or if I'm just being overly cynical/unfair.

I think BW gets crapped on enough that I don't need to make up stuff that's not substantiated to further crap on them, but I do wonder.

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fereldanwench

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