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It’s no secret at this point that Mass Effect Andromeda had a rocky release. The reviews were mixed for reasons ranging from technical issues to clunky UI and it ultimately didn’t live up to the expectations set by the original trilogy. However, the game wasn’t irredeemable. Many fans still enjoyed the game for its fast-paced combat and pseudo open-world design. While the story and characters don’t quite seem to live up to the legacy of the first three games, they aren’t really bad by any stretch of the imagination. Ultimately, the game is an excellent reason to become immersed in the universe of Mass Effect again. Even with its flaws, it’s more than reasonable to say that Bioware could pull another Mass Effect 2 with the game’s sequel. All it really needs are a few tweaks.

Less is More

One of my personal issues with the way that Mass Effect Andromeda is designed is the way it throws menial tasks your way. While there are a few interesting quests on each planet, driving on the surface of any planet usually becomes a chore as you notice enemy camps, remnant ruins, and trivial fetch quests littered all over the world. These camps and the inconsequential quest lines feel as if they were added in an attempt to make traversing planets more interesting. Many complain that exploring planets in Mass Effect 1 was boring because there wasn’t much to do outside of a few key points of interest. I’d argue that Andromeda has the exact same issue, except it makes you think there is a lot of content by cluttering the map with markers. I would rather the next game in the series focus on adding more meaningful content to these planets and maybe tone down the size of them. I would rather have a smaller space to explore if it means that the space is used to tell meaningful and interesting stories.

Give us a Darth Vader 

One of the high points for the Mass Effect series was the Elusive Man from the second game. The character oozed mystery and he stole the spotlight as the game’s antagonist. Is the Elusive Man truly an ally? Or does he have his own motives? These questions haunted the player as they played through the game. I would love to see that same level of an antagonist in the next Mass Effect game. For the first several hours of Andromeda, the Kett are the game’s villains almost by necessity. Their motives are unknown to the player and while this could have been an attempt to make them mysterious, they come across as simple space bullies. From their dull visual design to their cliche motivation, the Kett aren’t exactly a gripping antagonist. Later in the game, they become more fleshed out and we get more information on their leader, the Archon. At this point, things get interesting, but that took me almost 50 hours of my playthrough to get to. Even if the average player does way fewer side quests than I did, it would probably still take 20-30 hours.

Intrigue and Mystery

One of the biggest disappointments in Andromeda was the way the game handles first contact. Within moments of meeting the Kett, shots are fired. No dialogue, no option for a peaceful exchange, nothing. Something similar could be said of the meeting with the Angara, but at least the game gives players a small taste of the politics associated with the first contact between species. One of the highlights of the original games was dealing with inter-species relationships. Did you spare the Rachni queen? Did you cure the genophage? Did you bring peace to the geth and quarians? These types of heavy political choices created a lot of weight to the choices in the first three games. The choices in Andromeda feel much less significant by comparison. Most Mass Effect fans fell in love with the game because the universe and its politics were engaging and interesting, and I’d love to see the next game focus on this again.

Discover More than Just Worlds

One of the easiest criticisms of Mass Effect Andromeda was that in a whole new galaxy, there are somehow only two races. Some of this can be explained by the game taking place in only a small cluster of Andromeda, and not the entire galaxy proper. Naturally, I want to see more of the galaxy in the next game. More than that, I want to meet new races. What made Mass Effect 1 so fascinating was meeting tons of weird new species for the first time. I would love to see more of that for the next game. It is revealed that the Kett have a larger empire and the Archon is only leading a small fringe group about halfway into the game. I would love to have to deal with the rest of the Kett empire on a political level in the next game, especially with the lingering hostilities between the Initiative and Kett. Give players a new galactic culture to become immersed in, not just a galaxy’s worth of empty planets to explore.

Andromeda was a game of highs and lows. Parts of it were dull and clunky. Other parts were shining examples of what makes Mass Effect games so revered. The ball is in Bioware’s court. If they can clean up the flaws and give players more of what Mass Effect fans want, they have a chance to rebound off of their rocky start.

Gaming

Ten million people play The First Descendant in its first week

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The free-to-play shooter The First Descendant has gotten a lot of attention in its first week. The game’s publisher, Nexon, says that 10 million people have already tried it out.

Insider Gaming pointed out that since there is no cost up front, it’s still too early to tell how many of those players will stick around, but it’s still a big number for a new IP. On Steam alone, it peaked at 264,860 concurrents right after launch and has still managed to break 200,000 in the last 24 hours, so it looks like a lot of people are still really into the game.

It was a “mindless and repetitive grind,” and we gave The First Descendant a 3/10 in our review. Of course, that’s just one opinion; other experts have had different ones. Most people, though, say that the game’s annoying free-to-play model is the worst thing about it.

Are you one of the millions of people who played The First Descendant last week? Are you going to come back for more? Leave a comment below and let us know.

 

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Raiden, the famous shmup series, will come back as a twin-stick shooter on PS5, PS4, and PC

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Raiden has a long and interesting history as a vertical shooter in arcades. However, the series is going to get a Super Stardust HD makeover, which means it will switch to a twin-stick format. It comes out in Japan on October 31. There’s no word yet on when it will come out in the West, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

A Gematsu translation of the game’s website says that the full version will have an arcade mode with up to six stages. There will also be an “Unlimited” option for people who want to be at the top of the rankings. It sounds like a pretty straightforward package in terms of what’s inside, but we think the action will be what makes it worth it.

There’s a trailer up top that should help you figure out what to expect. There are, however, different versions of Raiden 3, Raiden 4, and Raiden 5 that you can play right now on the PS5 and PS4, if you can’t wait for this game to come out in the West.

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Bandai Namco and Nike designed Tekken 8 sneakers with tag-team designs

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Nike, the maker of high-quality shoes, is working with Bandai Namco, the company that makes the Tekken series, to make a pair of sneakers. The fun competition is part of the franchise’s 30th anniversary celebrations. You can get your own pair for $250 or the equivalent in your country, though they’ll probably be worth a lot more on the sneakerhead black market.

Two pairs of Tekken 8 x Nike Air Foamposite One Fist sneakers are set to come out in September 2024, according to shoe fan Sole Retriever (thanks, VGC). The designs are based on Kazuya and Jin, two main characters in the series. You can get them at Nike and some other stores. People who like hypebeasts and fighting games are likely to buy these quickly, so if you like Tekken and shoes that make people talk, you should probably act fast.

Should Bandai Namco and Nike work together? What do you think? Are you going to fight for your own pair? Make sure to take good care of your shoes and keep their value in the comments section below.

 

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