Weekly Update: Week Ending 4/3/2017

A little bit late with a post this week. It’s been a little bit chaotic, but I wanted to give a quick update on the past week.

There were no new purchases, and after the week prior that’s probably a good thing. So let’s dive right into what I played. As always, spoilers for any game that I write about.

Mass Effect: Andromeda: I spent most of my time this past week with Andromeda. I’ve also spent a lot of time reading about the negative feedback to this game. I will have much more to say about it in the next couple of weeks as I am taking this week off to play through a large chunk of the game. So far I have played through Eos, which is widely regarded as one of the worst parts of the game. Well, I enjoyed Eos. It’s not perfect, and I understand why people don’t like it. But I enjoyed it. One of the things the original Mass Effect nailed was that feeling of exploring uncharted space and the isolation that is associated with exploring a planet that has not been settled. I felt a lot of that with my time on Eos. There is a lot of scanning minerals, plants, wildlife, etc. and I absolutely understand why that would get old and why some gamers would be turned off by it. But I love it. I play video games for escapism, and in a game like Andromeda, the scanning fits into the overall narrative and works for me. It encourages me to explore and really helps sell me on the idea that we are explorers in a new galaxy trying to find our way.

Outside of wandering around Eos, the core of the main quest on Eos was interesting – you find Remnant technology, activate three monoliths which open a vault, and then further exploration into the vault allows you to interface with this technology to terrafrom the planet and make it habitable. I enjoyed it on Eos, but my fear is that the rest of the game will follow the same paint by numbers format on all planets. I can’t confirm this, but based on what I’ve ready that’s what I’m expecting. I’ll hold final judgement for when I finish the game, but if that is how it unfolds I will be disappointed. There are a million different ways that you can make settling planets and setting up outposts and settlements challenging – there can be raiders or mercenaries, space pirates, natural disasters that you couldn’t account for, and countless other ideas. It’s lazy writing to just rely on that same formula. But we’ll see. Exploring the vault was fun, and in general, Eos helped paint the picture of the Remnant as a mysterious race.

All in all, I am still enjoying Andromeda but can see flaws in the game. I will be very interested to see how it plays out, especially with how I feel about the game so far versus the negativity in the media and gaming community.

Final Fantasy IX: Not a ton of progress on FFIX this past week. I played through the sequence in Alexandria where Zidane, Steiner, Vivi, Freya, and Beatrix all help rescue Garnet from Queen Brahne. I felt this was a very powerful section in the game. When everyone finds Garnet, it is made very clear that her safety is at risk. Beatrix runs into the team and at first fights them as its her duty to defend Alexandria and the throne. After defeating Steiner, Zidane, Freya, and Vivi she is talked down by Zidane who reminds her of her duty to defend the Princess. As I had mentioned last week when I spoke about where I was in the game, Beatrix was starting to question Queen Brahne and her intentions. It’s at this point in the game she realizes that the true threat to Alexandria is the Queen, and that in order to save it she must fight for the Princess. Freya, who has every right to hate Beatrix since she destroyed her race’s primary cities, stands by Beatrix’s side because she recognizes the greater threat that Brahne poses. A few minutes later while trying to escape with Zidane, Vivi, and Dagger, Steiner has a moment of clarity where he realizes that he needs to stand up and fight with Beatrix and Freya to help save Alexandria.

All in all, it’s a really touching segment of the game that adds a lot to these characters and the struggle they face. Queen Brahne is dangerous, and people are no longer blindly following her. Her General has stood up to her. The Captain of the Knights of Pluto is fighting her. Her own daughter has turned on her. Powerful stuff.

Kingdom Rush: I am back to working through the Iron Challenges. I am stuck on the last Iron Challenge of the initial campaign. After I finish that up I hope to dive into some of the levels that open up after you finish the original twelve levels in the campaign.

So that’s all this week. A relatively quiet week. I would expect next week to look similar, although I do want to try and use my time off to finish up The Swapper since that’s a short game. Until next week….


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