Categories
Video Games

My Purposefully Ignorant Wait to Explore Andromeda

There is no doubt–not a shadow, not a sliver, not an inkling–surrounding my excitement for the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. I’ve been ready since it’s announcement. Ever since I bawled my eyes out at the end of playing Mass Effect 3 (very late, granted, compared to the rest of the crowd, but still), I’ve been eagerly waiting. In fact, this is the first video game where I’m not slipping onto the bandwagon years after it started, but instead, am waiting in anticipation for what happens next, with plans to use as much vacation time as necessary after it releases to truly enjoy it in all of its glory.
And I’m not really sure how to respond.
Obviously, I watched the E3 announcement trailer. And the N7 Day Celebratory release trailerAnd the official gameplay trailer. Each one has only increased my excitement tenfold, to practically unhealthy levels. This game looks beautiful. When discussions began to arise concerning the evolving romance storylines, I had to read those articles. One of my favorite aspects about Mass Effect (and BioWare’s games in general) is the ability to pursue a romance. The jokes about Dragon Age where the first three games should have actually been titled the “Alistair, Fenris and Cullen Dating Simulators,” respectively, hit the mark perfectly. I’d be lying if I claimed that I didn’t do a replay solely to experience the romances again, for both franchises. So of course I had to read about how the romance is evolving (and I’m so excited about these changes and that BioWare is taking fan comments to heart; not that I expected anything else).
Image result for mass effect andromeda
Yet the information about Andromeda just keeps coming.
The discussions over the lack of certain races not returning and the introduction of others. The Ryder twins (speaking of, I really hope my human ((or alien, I’m not picky)) boyfriend can be as attractive as Ryder himself, because hello, I should not have such strong emotional stirrings from a video game character). Your mission as the Pathfinder. Apparently there is also articles being posted describing your confirmed squadmates. Those articles I refuse to read and have sparked my decision to not read any further announcements that don’t include the release date printed on my purchase receipt.
Reminder: this is the first time that I’ve really gotten to play a new game from a franchise that I love that was still in development and hadn’t been released by the time I caught up with the other games. And perhaps I’m not doing this right, but until I have a copy of Andromeda lodged in its home of my brand new PS4, to be bought purposefully (and at the cost of my internal organs) for this game specifically, I’m not reading another article. I’m not watching another trailer. I’m not doing anything but waiting.

Image result for mass effect andromeda ryder
Look at him! *drools*

Why?
Because I want Andromeda to be as new to me as the world of Mass Effect was when I finally listened to the hype and sat down to play it (translate “sat down to play” into “let it consume my soul, social life and every waking moment for a solid three months). I loved discovering Shepard and her badassery. I loved learning about all the different races and forming opinions about them (I will forever be loyal to the Elcor and their speech patterns, the Krogan and their fierceness, and the Turians and their pick-up-lines). I loved exploring the galaxy, doing every and all quests and never being content, i.e., always wanting more quests so it wouldn’t be over, hating the Mako and being so damned impressed and terrified of the Reapers. Mass Effect was the first game that I ever played in the science fiction genre, always being a fantasy girl myself. And it was the first game that I ever sheathed my sword for a gun, instead. It was a blast. I got addicted to the characters and the world, the lore and the cultures, the chilling dialogue and the fantastic score, and seeing how often I could headshot a husk.
What did I know before I started playing that trilogy?
My friend Leif, a huge advocate for this game, told me: “Commander Shepard is the biggest badass you’ll ever meet. You have to play it.”
That’s it.
That’s it.
With Andromeda, the first game in the Mass Effect realm that I’ll get to experience with a next generation console and amongst the hype instead of years after it, I still want that blissful ignorance, that giddy surprise, that I went into the other games with. Sure, I’m more familiar with the world and the mechanics, but this is an entire different time and an entirely different story. There is so much to discover…including everything that is being revealed to hype everyone up. I’m already hyped. I’m already ready. And even if this isn’t how “real” gamers prepare for their new favorite games, I’m purposefully going into Andromeda as ignorant as I can, even though I could learn so much already. So please, if you can, save the spoilers until after we’ve discovered a new home for humans and then we can rave about it, in detail. Oh, so much detail.
Just have to wait for the game to be released, first.
*goes back to (im)patiently  waiting for Spring 2017*
Cheers.

Categories
Video Games

Mass Effect

WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND (for entire trilogy, just not first game) AFTER THIS SENTENCE. READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL.
I spent this afternoon frantically killing Saren/Sovereign before I had to go to work tonight. Last night, I stayed up until four in the morning, hyped up on adrenaline, as I fought in Virmire (dammit, Virmire). Even though I knew what was coming as it happened, after beating the game, I sat still, listening to the end credits song, wiping the remnants of threatening tears from my eyes.

Image result for virmire
Virmire looks like paradise, but don’t let it fool you. It sucks.

BioWare is by far my favorite gaming studio. Mass Effect is one of my favorite gaming series of all time (right up there with Dragon Age ((also BioWare)), Skyrim, Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, etc. etc.). Yet until this play through, I didn’t even realize what I had been missing!
Hint: a helluva lot.
You see, the first time I played Mass Effect, it was the first game I had ever played where a gun of some sort was your primary weapon. I had absolutely no idea how to aim a gun in a video game, let alone do it with accuracy and kill people. The amount of times I was taken to that red spinning screen with that damn music after I’ve been killed (you know what I’m talking about gamers) drove me nuts; almost to rage quit levels.
And this level of inaccuracy lasted throughout the entire trilogy.
Image result for mass effect
Yeah, try fighting that ^^, a freaking Reaper, when you suck at fighting. It sucks.

Obviously, I got better, as I beat all the games. But I knew, especially in regards to the first one, that I wasn’t playing them to their full potential. I rushed through them, falling so desperately addicted to that story and those characters that I just wanted to find out what happened next. After I beat them all (and went through all the Kleenex in my house), I knew I’d have to go back and replay them, so I could truly appreciate what I missed due to my own ineptitude and impatience.
Here the highlights of Round Two:
Vanguard Versus Soldier:
I played as a Vanguard this time instead of a soldier, giving me some biotic abilities like Warping, Throwing and Lifting my enemies. I’m so glad I tried this out (I absolutely love the Lift ability), instead of sticking to what was familiar, like I usually do in repeat playthroughs. I also actually learned to do more with my weapons and abilities, trying things out, instead of frantically shooting everywhere and hoping I managed to nick a geth in the process before getting one-shot-murdered by a rocket launcher; or charged by a Krogan Warlord unexpectedly, screaming in surprise and dropping my controller; or panicking whenever those f-ing husks showed up and also dropping my controller, thus resulting in death.
(Thank goodness I got better.)
Paragon Versus Renegade:
I have this annoying habits in video games where I try to align my character’s moral compass as close to my actual moral compass as I can. So I was a full-fledged Paragon my first playthrough, flinching any time I stumbled upon a Renegade action. This time around, I wasn’t fooling. While I still maxed out as a Paragon, I wasn’t afraid to call people out on their shit. Take that, Udina! Piss off, deaf Council! (<– I was so tempted to not rescue them with the Alliance; damn Paragon mentality.) It was kinda fun, not going to lie. And I am stoked to rip Cerberus a new one in Mass Effect 2.
Hidden Gems:
I’m really bummed I can’t remember more of these as I was playing, because I know there were multiple times when I was like, “Dude, how did I miss that the first time!?” The best example was definitely during one of the infamous elevator rides before I had unlocked everything for Rapid Transit, and the Announcer-Dude over the intercom made a mention of a production of Hamlet to be done by the Elcor.
Image result for elcor hamlet
There’s even a FREAKING FAN MADE POSTER.

Genuine excitement, I laughed so hard after hearing that. Honest confession, I would pay so much money to actually see that happen. Like, holy shit.
Also, in one of the numerous quests that I didn’t realize existed (see below), I discovered an asteroid where I had a view that actually took my breath away. Lit-er-al-ly.
I was so floored, I took a picture and posted it.

All the Quests!
So, based on all the quests that I completed this time around (hint: all of them) and how many I couldn’t remember or had no recollection of whatsoever, obviously I just flew through the main quest without realizing there were side quests to be had. That also explains why I sucked so much the first time at killing things–I didn’t have any practice! And also explained why I absolutely sucked at driving the Mako (I impressed myself by actually decently steering it throughout this playthrough).
Plus, my frantic rushing set me up poorly for the next game. My hatred for and familiarity with Cerberus hadn’t been properly set up, given I hadn’t realized they existed (don’t worry, I hate them with all my core, now). I didn’t talk with my companions enough, so a lot of backstory (like the genophage, for example) was lost on me. I genuinely missed out on so much, simply because of my own mistakes! I’m really glad I went back and played it, as it was totally worth it (and I finally found all the damn Keepers).
All the Feels:
What I love most about BioWare and their games is the way they make me feel. Like, down to my core, feel. I’m so emotionally attached to these characters, this world, my choices, the outcomes; it is probably unhealthy. The first time I played, when it came to the choice at Virmire, I froze. Literally, clutching my controller and staring at the screen like, “Why the HELL would you be asking me to do that?” The first time, I killed Ashley. I was in love with Kaidan (so much for that, the asshole, refusing to barely even talk to me the entire time during ME2 and almost all of ME3! <– I’m still utterly bitter about this). This time, I had to switch it up, even though I was so bummed about it (but I’m going after Garrus romantically and I know if Kaidan was alive, I’d fall right in love with him again, being a creature of habit as far as video game playthroughs go). When Anderson punched Udina, I was elated and fist pumping all over again. When Shepard climbed out of Sovereign’s wreckage, I teared up a little.
Image result for garrus vakarian
^^ BAMF. ^^

I just absolutely love this game.
The Score:
I knew the score was awesome the first time around. It’s still fantastic. It just deserves its own section to make that point obviously known.
Basically, I loved replaying this game (would have loved it even more on a PS4, too *nudges BioWare*). I am ashamed at how much I missed the first time around, but stoked that it provided a playthrough that was both familiar and new. Only a few more hours until I get off work, slip into my PJs, grab my ice cream and my weekend starts. And I’m sure you know what’s going down.
I’m coming for you, Cerberus.
Cheers.