83 Hours Into Mass Effect: The Story Keeps Me Coming Back For More

I’m now 83 hours and counting into Mass Effect Andromeda,  and yes, there is a lot that still needs to be fixed…but, as far as the story goes, if you give it a chance it’s really a pretty epic storyline.

Andromeda is the fourth installment in the Mass: Effect series and was created by the same team behind Dragon Age: Inquisition. The sci-fi RPG debuted with generally favorable reviews, but much lower than what fans were hoping for.

Yes, there have been some pretty harsh criticisms about the game, including weak facial animation to unexpectedly poor dialogue. I agree with most of that, but not to a point where I thought the game wasn’t worth playing. But, have hope because in a statement published on Twitter, BioWare has thanked fans and indicated that it is listening to critiques. “We’ve had quite a bit of feedback,” it said. “Some of it positive, and some of it critical.

“Our team is listening, working around the clock to gather information and plan out solutions to improve and build on Mass Effect: Andromeda.”

Mass Effect is probably the most influential RPG series from developer Bioware. The original trilogy concluded with the story of Shephard and his battle with the Reapers. This time around Bioware went with an entirely new galaxy and story, resulting in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

So, we all know the shortcomings with the game, but let’s talk about the story. Mass Effect: Andromeda starts with the arrival to a new galaxy called Andromeda. This is a part of the Andromeda initiative by the four prominent Citadel Council races who send each of their 20,000 citizens on a giant vessel to look for new planets to populate. You are the main character and have been awakened from hypersleep, and it doesn’t take long when the Andromeda initiative tries to land on the first Earth-like planet and finds out that it’s inhabitable due to some ‘unforeseen events.’ The game is immensely satisfying to explore and the featured planets are huge and have plenty of side quests to keep you busy and playing with almost no end in site.

There are key ‘tone choices’ during the game’s scenarios that can alter the dialogue or story moments. I’m one of those who plays as the ‘good guy’ and hero, and sometimes, there is no ‘easy choice.’ When I was a Paramedic and just starting out I got some of the best advice from a TV show called, M*A*S*H…

Rule #1 is: People die…and Rule #2 is: You can’t change rule #1.

There are sometimes no easy choices when you are playing games like this, and I cringe every time I’m forced into making one of those decisions. How you play and talk to others will have a huge impact as the series goes on, and that’s part of the reason why I love it.

Now, let’s talk about the combat in Mass Effect: Andromeda. This part of the game is smooth and makes it really fun. It’s the standard third-person shooter at its core and a dynamic cover based system, but also tries to implement some RPG elements by giving us the ability to spend our skill points to either focus on improving certain aspects of the character and improve the ability of the squad mates.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a solid game at its core, and I have enjoyed my time with the game. It’s unclear what the developer will adjust moving forward, but Andromeda’s story leaves itself wide open for future DLC.

Now, if you will excuse me I have another planet to explore and conquer…I mean liberate, I totally meant liberate.

 

Ghost Recon Wildlands -Narco Road Expansion -Plus New Trailer

A new trailer for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands‘ Narco Road expansion shows it’s full throttle in this undercover operation, and that’s just how I like to play.

Narco Road is the first of two Ghost Recon Wildlands expansions and has your team infiltrating several gangs in order to take down the big boss. It also brings new weapons, gear, vehicles, and a host of new story missions and side activities. You’ll have to gain their respect and rise through the ranks to get your target, and isn’t that half the fun?

The Narco Road expansion is out today for players that bought the game’s season pass, and if not you will have to wait until April 25th and pay $15. The game continues to surprise me with its beautiful graphics and huge map. It looks gorgeous and has me making small stops to just enjoy this world that Ubisoft has created. If you have a 4K TV with HDR (enhanced for richer, more luminous colors) and have an Xbox One S, you have to grab this game…so go…grab the game…go…I thought you were listening…you’re killing me…

Are you Addicted To Video Games?…Yes, Yes I Am

How many hours a day do you spend playing video games?…Four or five hours?…Maybe seven or more? I’m guilty as charged. Even though that’s what I do, it’s also what I enjoy when I have downtime.

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We’ve all been there, it’s been on your mind all day and finally, you get that special ‘alone time’. That’s right, you enter the virtual world and that little smile comes across your face, yeah…you know what I’m talking about.

Reports differ whether video game addiction is real or not. I have no problem in saying I’m addicted. My family knows it, my friends know it, and now you know it. It’s my ‘coming out’ declaration…”I, Gary Cadle, am addicted to video games and Xbox, and I don’t want help.”

See?…nothing happened. The world kept turning, I’m still getting my Starbucks, and I still think parachute pants will come back…I can still hope. Yes, I play games and do reviews and opinion…and yes, I still play video games when I’m not, just to relax. Here are a few signs that you too may be addicted to video games…

  1.  Your favorite game is the wallpaper on your computer…or worse…your phone. Yes, I’m guilty…of both. I have 3 Granddaughters and yet, Mass Effect: Andromeda is possibly on both of my screens…Ok, yes, yes it is.
  2. You keep thinking about it when you’re trying to go to sleep, and when you wake up, and shaving…check, check, and check.
  3. You have more ‘action figures’ in your living room than you do pictures of family…guilty.
  4. You have more video game related shirts than you do regular…not quite guilty, but I do have 16 of them…wait…I’m over-ruled, my wife said I’m guilty.
  5. Your friends are gamers too. It’s a simple rule I live by, if you don’t game, then you got ‘no-game.’ So there you are, sitting with friends on a Saturday night and the kids have all just gone up to bed. Oh yeah, it’s game time. We can talk about your fence that just fell down, or that latest Snap-Chat feature you can’t stop using, or, we could take turns on the controller and explore some galaxies and make some more Alliances.
  6. You’re getting that lecture about how, ‘All you ever do is play games’, and ‘How silly they are’, and ‘Won’t you ever grow up?’ Ok, maybe that’s just me then.

The big picture is people like doing different things to relax. Some go to the movies, some go fishing, some like to just sit and watch TV, which to be honest, is kinda the same thing…but not.

Playing video games to me is an adventure. It’s like being in a movie, and when I finally take that hill, yes, I may stand up and claim victory…and yes, my wife is still going to smile and say, ‘Geek.’ But, it was me that finally got that camper…and I stopped that alien from taking over the world, and I still want a taco…I must really be hungry right now.

Wear the badge of ‘addicted’ with pride…put that t-shirt on with the ‘Watch Dogs’ logo on front, and have that shelf in the living room showing only a few of your most trusted collectibles. That’s right, you’re a gamer, and be proud of that, you earned it.

QuakeCon 2017 Has Moved This Year To The Gaylord Texan Resort

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QuakeCon returns for its 22nd installment in Dallas this year and has moved to the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center. The four-day event kicks off on August 24 and runs until August 27.

QuakeCon is an event that celebrates games and the people who play them. It’s held for only 4 days out of the year and–it–is-epic!  Gamers come from all over to compete and play on a world-class network and also has North America’s largest BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Computer) LAN party.

It’s open to the public and admission is free, that’s right, free. It is the biggest gaming event of the year, and as a Texan, I will remind you…everything is bigger in Texas…you can Google it. QuakeCon also provides news, announcements, and features for upcoming Bethesda titles. I can’t stress enough how epic this event is, and Bethesda outdoes themselves every year.

They have a wide range of activities, panels, tournaments, workshops and exhibits, and the picture opportunities as a fan, or contributor, are just mind blowing. Pick up some free swag from some vendors while it lasts, and have almost anything fan-based a gamer would want to buy…t-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, and…you get the point.

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(Our Picture from 2016 QuakeCon)

id Software usually shows its in-progress games, as well as Bethesda showing off some of their published titles. QuakeCon first started in 1996 and if you’ve never been, then stop what you’re doing and start planning your vacation days now…no, seriously stop what you’re doing…you’re killing me here.