It's been said, many times and many ways, but Mass Effect: Andromeda lacks polish. Previously, I have talked about how this has hurt the UI, scanning, and favorites system, but today I will share some of the bugs that have helped ensure that I am never engrossed in my conversations.
Mass Effect: Andromeda has some normal looking conversations, like the one above. The Salarian is looking at you, the camera is over your shoulder such that you can see him looking at you and see your Pathfinder looking back at him. The Turian in the background concentrates on the person talking as he naturally follows the conversation. It is tried and true, but it works well.
But all too often the game utterly fails in myriad ways. Cameras failing to frame conversations, characters looking the wrong direction, and clipping of all varieties are all present in spades. Following are some of my personal screenshots detailing the more egregious fails I've had with Mass Effect: Andromeda's conversation system.
Starting Off On The Wrong Foot
This is one of the first screenshots I took of ME:A. You might think I am staring at a water cooler, which is technically true, but that is only half of the story. The other half of the story is that there is a guy on the other side of said cooler talking to me. Presumably, he is telling me to move around the water cooler so that we can resume our conversation like normal humans.
But I'd just woken up from a 600-year slumber; how am I expected to remember the basic aspects of human interaction?
Scene: Nexus, Docking Bay (Exterior)
You are in the middle of the docking bay talking to a terrorist who requested you specifically. She's dedicated to stopping the use of advanced AI, fearing they will overcome humanity and all civilization as we know it. A reasonable fear, perhaps. But not at the expense of destroying the quantum computers used to regulate the essential life-bearing systems on the Nexus.
You've been hunting her for awhile now, ever since she tried to hack your AI implant in order to rid you of your shackles. You infiltrated her base of operations under disguise. Tracked her down. Disarmed her explosives. And now here you are, talking her down so that the sniper doesn't have to take her out.
And then the camera ruins all of that by framing half your face. Damn it, ME:A! You were so close to delivering a fulfilling quest line without a major fuck up.
Eyes in the Back of My Head
You remember the whole, "Aim the Camera Over the Shoulder" trick? Well, that usually works, but for some reason, they sometimes decide to bring it in way too close. In this case, right into my shoulder pad.
In this scene I was arguing with a local merchant that had established and hidden the only viable water source on the planet, thus acting as an overlord over all settlements and colonizers. But to hell with that, the camera doth sayeth. No tension shall reside here.
But, "To hell with that," the camera doth sayeth. No tension shall reside here.
I'm Over Here, Baws!
As if the developers don't tempt you to slap Addison enough most of the time, they decided to go ahead and make her stare off into the great unknown during the majority of this conversation. Somehow that seems about right at this point.
Mass Effect: Andromeda,"If the camera doesn't ruin the story experience for you, then the wonky animations sure as hell will!"
Look What I Can Do
There is so much wrong with this and half of it is missing because it's only a screenshot and not a video.
- Because this turian was standing close to the wall the camera took to creating awkward angles like this.
- When you are in conversation with people, they repeat ambient movements over and over. In this case, the turian "holds" the datapad. (And I use "holds" as loosely as that turian grips things.) Inspects it. Taps somethings on the pad. Rinse and repeat. This whole animation cycle may take 5 to 10 seconds, so it's repeated a dozen or more times over the course of a 2-minute conversation.
This case was particularly hilarious because he lazily flopped his wrist around while the datapad magically stayed glued to it.
Other classic highlights in the same vein as this one include:
- Repeatedly tapping their wrist mounted omni-tool like a junky tweaking for some of the good stuff while talking to you.
- Peebee using certain animations frequently throughout a conversation that can only be described as "sassy". We're talking hand on hip, back threw back, flamboyant pointing, etc.
Fear of the Dark
Then there's this guy just standing in the pitch black corner. We all know, or have at least seen, THAT GUY. He's like Fallout's Mysterious Stranger, but for all the wrong reasons. I guess he is what it's like for your opponents when the Mysterious Stranger pops in to help you out.
Hell! I don't even know if he's doing any goofy shit because I can't even see him. For all I know his head is turned backward, he's wearing no pants, and he has pool floaties for arms. I'm not saying that's the case, but I'm not saying I confirmed otherwise either.
Despite all of this, his belt buckle is clearly visible. After a little research I have come up with a couple possible hypotheses:
- His belt buckle reflects all light, no matter how minimal. He was sent to the dark corner because otherwise, his belt buckle would blind everyone.
- He actually IS an irradiated belt buckle that grew a human-like body from an accident involving an undisclosed superhero and toxic waste.
Honey Angaran Don't Care
Sometimes the biggest problem, at first sight, is just that the camera is a little off center. But, hey, that's not a crime. Considering all the things I have seen from this game it is below mild.
Then you realize that the nice man you are conversing with can fold his arms into themselves and you begin to get a little antsy.
Seriously, Bioware! If you know that crossed arms are going to cause THIS much clipping, then just don't let characters do it!
I'm Not Paranoid; Who's Paranoid?
When all else fails, and the system works right, you can rely on your Pathfinder's RSF (Resting Stoned Face) to destroy the moment. It's the sorta face you'd make after taking your first hit off of some wacky tobacky and having your mom walk in your room. It's not so noticeable that she knows you're high, but it's bad enough that she knows something is... off. And that's the way I always feel about Sara Ryder.
So there you have it. There's a variety pack of some of the times that ME:A decided that immersion wasn't a primary goal of theirs. I wish I could say that I was just cherry picking and that these sorts of things only happen once in awhile, but more often than not a character is acting weird or clipping through something. And if they aren't screwing up, the camera decides to fill in for them.