“It’s all that it takes
Is a little reinvention
It’s easy to change if you give it your attention
All you gonna do is believe you can be who you want
To be sincerely, me”
- Dear Evan Hansen (Sincerely, Me)
however, no words are needed. During a night shoot, one of the twins
playing Jax’s son Abel, Evan and Ryder Londo, was asleep in Hunnam’s
arms when Tommy Flanagan (Chibs) noticed Charlie’s shoe was untied.
“Just watching Tommy go down to tie it — this picture moves me,” Rossi
says. “It goes back to family and this blue-collar/working actor
mentality. We’re always there for each other. Nobody said anything. It
was just, sure, that’s what we do. It’s one of my favorite photos.”
Some love for the Glee guys! Finn, Puck, Artie, Kurt, Blaine, Sam, Mike, Matt, Jake, Ryder, Spencer, Mason, Roderick, Joe, Rory, Will, Figgins, Burt, Sebastian, Hunter, Adam, Elliot, Brody, Dave, we love you all!
Congratulations Artie, Mike, Matt, Sam, Ryder, Lauren, Unique, and Kitty– you never cheated on your significant others while you were officially together. And 2-3 of you were never officially together with anyone in the run of the series.
This is a galaxy teeming with life - and danger - with room aplenty to explore and delve into Andromedan lore. The enemies are formidable, the mystery engaging, and the story is just beginning.
I’ve barely scratched the surface, folks…
Right now, I’m in my first Vault. It’s massive, appearing to be some kind of knowledge repository, like the Libraries from the Halo universe. The puzzle-solving bits (sudoku-like in nature) are interesting, and are certainly a nice change-up from the quicktime “Simon Says”-type puzzles from ME1. It actually feels like I’m making progress in this new adventure, and I can’t wait to continue.
I’ve met a sizable portion of my team, and am pleased, overall (even with the ones who haven’t officially allied themselves with me, as of yet). The villain, the Archon, has been introduced, as well: a strong, silent type, but I’m hoping for aggressive expansion of his character as the game goes on. His Kett appear powerful, singular in their dominion over the environment of Andromeda, and have made for a challenging foe, unmatched since the Collectors. I’m praying that theirs is a situation that is both complex and inspiring - built heavily into the history of the galaxy and, perhaps, tragic, not only of their own device.
This certainly feels like a first contact encounter. Humanity (and the rest of the Milky Way diaspora, for that matter) is walking into an already-living territory, with its own legends and problems; we are, essentially, the Protheans in this new story. We’re the invaders, and that fact is made known to us very early on. Colorful and varied landscapes are both captivating and deceiving; dangers lay in wait that we have yet to discover…
On a more technical note, the graphics and facial animations - as well as the dialogue - really aren’t as bad as everyone’s saying. If you’re involved in the gameplay and desire to know more about the universe that’s being built, simple things like the animations and surface stuff of that type are easily pushed aside after the first hour or so of gaming. Side-quests are the same as always - lots of running around and fetching things - but help in gaining valuable experience and rank-up points for Ryder. Likewise, the new conversation system keeps things interesting and varied. A nice change, on the devs’ part.
The Tempest - Ryder’s base of operations - is high-tech and multi-leveled. The transitions between decks and rooms are seamless, and a lot more looks to be unlockable as times passes. One could spend an hour just customizing an outfit in the Pathfinder’s Quarters, or talking to the crew (recruitable and non) about the ship. It’s a lively upgrade to the timeless classic that is the Normandy, with enough hearkening back to the old ship to be nostalgic without feeling like a carbon-copy.
Taken at a healthy pace, enough should be uncovered in the first six hours or so to keep any player - green or veteran - hooked. It’s like a good novel; with enough reading, it’s hard to put down. I’ve been doing as much as possible, and I understand everyone’s play-styles are different, but this is an experience to be had. Get out there and path-find!
I’m also hoping for some DLC in the future, even if it takes time to craft. The devs certainly have room to make up…whatever the hell they want to, really. This is a new start for the characters and the universe, and I’m hoping the creators will acknowledge and treat it as such. Until then, there are plenty of Easter eggs and nods to the previous games to keep fans entertained. From quips in conversations to up-front shout-outs that have made me smile more than once (in a nostalgic sort of way), the level of detail and thought put in is amazing. The next-gen engine performs wonderfully, as well, making the experience allthemore immersive.
Keep in mind, however, that this *is* a game of exploration. Ryder will have the omni-scanner equipped and taking readings more than not, but it all bodes well; scanning wildlife, flora, tech, and the like, all net Ryder valuable XP and research points to allocate to weapons, armor, abilities, and vehicles. Blueprints are a thing now, and give players an even more variables in making this mission their own. Combat is a frequent feature, but is more dynamic and action-packed than even that from Mass Effect 3. As I said, our match has been met with the Kett.
Not as restrictive as previous entries in the series - in the character customization, choices, play-style, and avenues of approach - Andromeda is a way for players to truly forge their own path. Full of visual storytelling, a wide array of intriguing and colorful characters, and star systems just waiting to be explored, Mass Effect: Andromeda has been a real treat thus far, and I’m excited to see where the game takes me next.