Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

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Sly Boots
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Sly Boots » Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:32 am

On the animations front, my take was the guy is saying they may well have underestimated the time it would take to polish all the conversations - and this seems to be an inexperienced, if not actually a pretty novice team - and in most cases have been left with the, essentially, placeholder facial animations. Could be thay EA pushed it out too soon and there wasn't a lot the studio could do about it, maybe expecting that people would just be able to live with it.

I completed ME3 again over the weekend (I had a save I'd left about 10 hours from the end) and it was interesting to compare the facial animations in both games with fresh eyes. The faces in ME3, in fact, don't move all that much in conversation either, BUT the mouths move a lot more naturally and the lip-syncing is a lot better. As is the body language. So while the faces themselves aren't that different, the overall effect is a lot better. Crucially, they look like they're acting a scene rather than just standing there, pop-eyed, delivering lines woodenly.

Maybe it's something a patch or a special edition a year down the line can fix (again something CDPR are very good about doing), or maybe they'll not bother and just try to do better for a sequel.

And it really is just the facial animations, the actual movement and combat animations are fine... streets better than the previous MEs arguably. And I don't know if you guys have seen or met Drack yet, but I actually thought wow when I saw the details that's gone into him. Vectra too. Peebie looks weirdly crap.

I don't really get it, it's so uneven. The environments, movements and some of the characters look incredible, human facial animations and some other characters look like ME1. The quality is so uneven. When it's good, it's very very good. When it's bad... it's pretty bad. Personally I'm finding the former outweighs the latter.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Wrathbone » Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:35 am

Bought it last night, only played half an hour but seems fine so far. As for the animation thing (edit - Sly beat me to it, but what the hey :) )...

Cooper describes how RPG designers, not necessarily 'animators,' can work like DJs, mixing pre-made animations to complete important scenes, and letting algorithms take care of scenes that are less-likely to be seen—at least unless there's time to touch them up. According to his theory, BioWare "underestimated" the time required to hand-design every dialogue sequence, leaving some at a low, algorithmic level of quality.


I could be way off the mark, but my guess is that some higher-up decided they were going to lovingly hand-craft every scene, but then too late in the day they realised they were never going to be able to do that because unlike the other Bioware studio (which had no such problems with DA:I), they don't have the same skill or experience with animation. So then they panic-rushed this animation algorithm together for the stuff they couldn't hand-animate in time, and clearly it was a case of "fuck it, we'll patch in some improvements later". The elephant in the room is DA:I, a sister game to Andromeda in many respects using (I think?) the same engine, and the vast majority of animations in it were completely fine. The difference is the studio. They seem like the B team.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Prey » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:57 am

Been sat staring blankly at the buy now button for £32 after receiving an e-mail yesterday from CD-KEYS with a discount code ala Sly.

But no, no I just can't do it. Not right now at least.

Everyone knows I was a huge (fanboy levels) fan of DA:I and the very fact this game quite literally looks so very much like a direct descendant of that game albeit with shooter mechanics makes me really want it quite badly - but - going off my personal experience with DA:I I picked up that game looooong after it released and had plenty of time to settle down in terms of technical issues and thus I do believe I got a much more refined and problem free experience out of it that only served to heighten my time with it. I spent a good 160+ hours playing DA:I and every single optional DLC that was released and simply adored my time with it and so in light of that I am aiming to pick up ME:A a good two or perhaps even three months down the line when the dust has settled and the internet backlash has found itself a new victim. That way I'm almost certain just like DA:I it will become a game that I will wish never ended.

Oh and it also gives me time to play Mass Effect 3 which I still have yet to even do even though I'm told it's actually not really necesarry if you wish to play AndyOmeda. Do not judge me. [-V-]
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby DjchunKfunK » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:00 am

Cooper describes how RPG designers, not necessarily 'animators,' can work like DJs, mixing pre-made animations to complete important scenes, and letting algorithms take care of scenes that are less-likely to be seen—at least unless there's time to touch them up. According to his theory, BioWare "underestimated" the time required to hand-design every dialogue sequence, leaving some at a low, algorithmic level of quality.


The problem with this argument is that the animation appears to be off for both smaller scenes and the big scenes so the idea that it is an un-optimised algorithm causing the issues doesn't make a lot of sense when the quality is so variable across all scenes. I believe this is the first Mass Effect to use motion capture and I think it is more likely that this is where the problem comes from, they have just not implemented it correctly.

I think the game was definitely rushed out so that it could show up on EA's fourth quarter financials. The Xbox version if you let it go into sleep mode just stops working, you can only move the camera around and need to reboot the system. This happens every time and is clearly something that would ordinarily be a certification fail so EA clearly wanted to get this rushed out.

EDIT: That code only brought the price of the game down to £34.12 for me, if it had taken it to £27 I might have taken a punt as I really like the multiplayer in ME3.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Sly Boots » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:29 am

Oh, I guess the code takes it down from the full price then, rather than the price they're listing it for, £36.99. Apologies, assumption on my part.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Sly Boots » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:35 am

@ Prey, if you can wait, then waiting is probably a sound strategy, it'll only (hopefully) get better and cheaper.

@Dj, re multiplayer, I only played one level during the trial to see what it was like, but I actually didn't like it as much as in ME3 (which I played a LOT). Maybe it was partly because we seemed to be a team entirely composed of noobs, but it felt like total chaos, just didn't have time to breath between getting swamped by enemies. We wiped on wave 4 of 7 :lol:

It could be simply playing with three other inexperienced guys, with a level 1 character and the starting guns, we'll see. I might try it again at some point - I have a feeling vanguard is the way to go with the way enemies just pounce on you - but I must admit I'm not rushing to get back to it.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Wrathbone » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:40 am

Prey wrote:Oh and it also gives me time to play Mass Effect 3 which I still have yet to even do even though I'm told it's actually not really necesarry if you wish to play AndyOmeda. Do not judge me. [-V-]


I'd certainly do ME3 first, not for any plot reasons but because it's a great game (with the infamous dubious ending). Make sure you get the extended ending download and as a minimum the Leviathan DLC which is plot-critical and hard to believe it's not part of the base game. With those installed, the ending is... okay. Subtly but significantly better than the original ending. Forget the ending, though, because the preceding 30-40 hours is excellent.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Sly Boots » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:44 am

Wot WB sed.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby DjchunKfunK » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:56 am

Wave 4 of 7 seems decent for your first attempt. With ME3 I found it was a lot harder when first starting out so as you say it might be because of the weapons you were using.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Sly Boots » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:44 am

I'm sure it was a factor... but I'll be honest, I spent most of those four waves barely knowing wth was going on :lol:
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Sly Boots » Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:53 pm

FYI, thought I'd mention this as I only saw it by-the-by when watching the TotalBiscuit video about the multiplayer - and as far as I'm aware it's never revealed in-game - but there's a useful fighting move you can do by jump-jetting and, when you're above your opponent/s, press the melee key (f). You perform a pretty powerful aoe attack. I've respecced as a vanguard so getting up close and personal with the enemy, and that move has become an essential part of my repertoire.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Sly Boots » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:14 pm

Also - and you'll thank me for this - when you're in any of the menus, inventory, quest log, map, whatever, by now you've probably realised that whatever key you pressed do bring you there doesn't work to close it. But there's no need to hammer the Escape key several times to get back to the game. From inside any menu or map, just press Tab to instantly go back to the game.
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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Jez » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:41 pm

Very nice thanks sly :)

I'm about to take off on tempest for first time tonight. At some point I'll take off once this lot stop telling me where they pissed last and other minutiae

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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Jez » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:38 pm

The main story and significant side quests are all straight up Mass Effect. However it's this open world "single player mmo" thing that's been tacked on does annoy me somewhat. I'm very early in the game maybe 6 hours and it's irritating me already. I'm not a fan of open world but it CAN be done well as Witcher 3 more than shows for instance. In this it does feel like an afterthought, almost like some low level management git decided that it should be in there somewhere.

But like I say the main story etc is all decent enough. The combat is OK I suppose I felt it was marginally better in previous games for my tastes. But it's ok, apparently it gets a lot better once you really start unlocking some powers.

It's definitely got its hooks in me though despite the criticism I've given. Weirdly enough.

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Re: Mass Effect 4 - Andromeda [PC, PS4, XBone]

Postby Sly Boots » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:15 am

Interesting take on the Mass Effect series and where Andromeda sits within it.

http://www.pcgamer.com/how-mass-effect- ... es-legacy/

I've obviously yet to get anywhere even remotely close to finishing it, but the fact it sounds as if it gets better the further you progress is encouraging.

What I will say is that about 75% of the way through the second big open-world planet you get to, I'm feeling a little bit of open-world fatigue. That's largely on me, I think... there's no pressure to keep going right now and there's an opportunity to progress the main story awaiting me, but I'd like to get this wrapped up before moving on. Still enjoying it, though.
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