Mass Effect: Andromeda: somewhat broken, still beguiling

Games

As previously covered, Mass Effect is one of my favorite video game series, and now, having given Mass Effect: Andromeda about five hours of my time, I’m firmly into the meat of the game. All the systems have now been explained to me, and now I’ve reached that point (there’s one in every ME title) where I’ve got full control of my ship, and can now decide when and how to tackle the game’s various gameplay strands.

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Final Fantasy XV is gaming with a capital ‘G’

by Andy Humphreys, Games

I like Final Fantasy XV. Objectively, I mean.

I said exactly that in my review. It’s the best, most accessible Final Fantasy in years, and even though it’s not without its flaws, it does a lot of things really well. That’s what I think. It’s written down, so it must be true.

Having spend a long time with the game now, I stand by everything I said in that review. But I’ve still yet to really fall in love with the FFXV. My problems with it are my own, I’m absolutely sure of that, and I’m also sure that most people that have played the game for as long as I have probably don’t share my opinions. Whatever; I still can’t shake my issues.

The Strangest Thing About Stranger Things

by Andy Humphreys, TV

Netflix’s Stranger Things is the latest in a growing list of phenomenal successes for the streaming service. The show’s mixture of horror, mystery and nostalgia seems to be striking just the right chord with worldwide audiences.

The series is a really entertaining chunk of modern television. There’s a lot to admire with this production, especially the look-and-feel, and it’s super easy to get caught up in the ride. But there’s something that bugs me when watching Stranger Things, something that niggles constantly like the faint mutterings of a missing boy (yup). Something that, sadly, means my enjoyment is left incomplete. 

Mass Effect: Revisit a classic or never go back?

by Andy Humphreys, Games

With the Mass Effect back catalogue recently becoming available as backwards compatible Xbox One titles, I decided, fresh from the newly premiered Mass Effect: Andromeda cinematic trailer, to revisit the original. The reasons for this were a two-fold: First, purely and simply, The Andromeda trailer has whet my appetite, and as a huge fan of the original trilogy, I was pining to return to that incredible world. Secondly, I’ve always felt like a return to the very start might be fun, but I’ve always unfailingly talked myself out of it.

What I remember from my single playthrough years ago is a fantastic story, but gameplay that was decidedly loose in comparison to the later games in the series. I suppose I was always a bit worried that my rose-tinted memories would be cruelly exposed as a product of nostalgia.

Were my fears justified?

Titanfall 2 launch sales are poor…and EA only has itself to blame

by Andy Humphreys, Games

Reportedly sales of this years big robot sequel Titanfall 2 are severely down on the previous game in the series. The Xbox exclusive previous game in the series. Some sources even put sales at less than a quarter of the previous iteration’s launch haul, despite availability on PS4 and PC.

Damn.

Gears Of War is an outdated relic that must change…or risks becoming irrelevant

by Andy Humphreys, Games

Listen, Gears Of War 4 is fantastic. Developers The Coalition deserve a lot of credit for producing one of the games of the year under what must have been pretty high-pressure circumstances for a new studio. It’s as if they’ve just concentrated on the one thing that matters: making a really great game.

I have issues, though. Big issues. And, as a huge fan of the series, I’m concerned for Gears Of War’s long term future as one of gaming’s premier series.

How Beyond Good & Evil was ahead of its time (and why it’s still relevant today)

by Andy Humphreys, Games

 

Something of a curiosity even when it originally launched in 2003, Beyond Good & Evil is a flawed-but-intriguing gem of a game. It falls very neatly into that cult-classic category of left-field games that were critically acclaimed at launch, but ‘had difficulty finding an audience’ — publisher-speak for ‘it tanked’.

BG&E is fondly remembered by those that discovered it on launch, and again by those who played the 2011 HD remake (still available digitally on PS3 and Xbox 360, and still really playable).

Now, with the official announcement that a sequel is in development after years of rumour and speculation, let’s revisit the original, and explore what made it unique and ahead of its time with some of its features.

Could the Firewatch movie be the first great videogame adaptation?

by Andy Humphreys, Games, Movies

Movies based on games are terrible on the whole, and passable at best. This is a fact that few can dispute. Sure, a few have their merits (a couple of the Resident Evil movies are watchable, Tomb Raider did some things right, Prince of Persia is a mostly fun ride), but considering the huge wealth of incredibly rich source material, there have been an insane amount of utter failures.

FIFA is trying something different with The Journey, and that’s a good thing

by Andy Humphreys, Games

FIFA 17 is a series known for its incremental updates. Each year, we get tighter physics, more accurate tackling, a slightly improved dead-ball mechanic , and so on (in fact these yearly tweaks would’ve resulted in The Perfect Football Game by now, were it not for FIFA’s frustrating tendency to take several steps back every few games).

This year is slightly different. There’s a new thing. A different thing.

That new thing is a game mode that they’re calling The Journey, which is basically that film Goal – you know, the one where the guy rises from humble beginnings to become the next big thing in football.

Secrets of a Stolen Kiss: Themes of Adolescence in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

by Andy Humphreys, Movies

David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a movie rich in themes of coming-of-age, maturity and adolescent love, and in no scene are these themes more obvious than in that of Harry and Ginny’s secret kiss in the Room of Requirement. This scene stands as a particular example of the maturation of these characters. It is a coming-of-age in microcosm; a scene where direction, performance, cinematography and score come together in one story beat that illustrates perfectly the tumultuous nature of adolescence.