Initial Impressions: ME: Andromeda (Spoilers Inside)

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by BigGuyCIA, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Prone Squanderer

    Prone Squanderer A bit of a Sillius Soddus.

    Jan 3, 2016
    I forgot about the jellyf- I mean Hanar.

    I just find it funny how every galaxy seems to have bipedal aliens with many similarities to humans.

    (not a criticism btw)
  2. SarcasticGoodGuy

    SarcasticGoodGuy *R O T T E N*

    Aug 31, 2016
    Pr0ne makes a good point. Most of the aliens have been removed, and those from the OT that remain are all humanoid. Even the Krogan are similar in that they have two legs and arms. The elcor, hanar and to a lesser extent volus were the only significant ones which weren't humanoid.
  3. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    They have to do this, or Bioware would actually run into the risk of making some real Science Fiction here.
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  4. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Science fiction is about humans of today. That's why it has artistic merit.

    No one gets any real benefit from writing about Cthulhu.

    They get benefits from writing about Bajorans.
  5. "I love Cthulhu, in Bethesda games and having a significant influence of it in my work" Sir CT Phipps
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  6. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    See my Avatar.

    Do you actually think I forgot the book I spent 3 years on?

    He's just a big fun monster.

    Science fiction should be written to talk about social issues and how they relate to humanity.

    Cthulhu, by nature, is meant to represent a creature that has no humanity or ability to relate to us.

    In effect, he's a natural disaster ala Godzilla.

    I love Godzilla but do you think he represents science fiction?
  7. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    "Everybody is exactly the same" is not inclusiveness, it's misguided racism pretending to be tolerance.

    One of the few instances of clever writting they had in the series was Legion quitely telling them off for trying to apply their own morals to the Geth as this basically disrespected the very nature of the Geth and the culture that they developed.

    Science fiction can be used to explore philosophy and other high concepts outside of just being mouth pieces for political beliefs.
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  8. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Making people squid and horses does not, IMHO, actually make them more socially relevant. The cultures in Mass Effect are extremely different with many different focuses and all generally treated with different but mostly equal levels of worth. The only differences being cultures of oppression like Wreav and the Batarians.

    Also, in addition to the Hanar and Elcor, there are the Leviathan and Reapers.

  9. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    All aliens in Mass effect are mono ethnical and mono cultural, there isn't much "inclusiveness" or "diversity" with that. Even humans are mono cultural, you seldomly hear any human having a different culture or sensibilities than the other humans based on their supposed nationality, AT MOST they will make them throw in some broken spanish to signify ethnicity.
    And for the most part this mono culture is very markedly western which, you know.... implications...

    Hell even the Aliens have mostly western inspired cultures, all of them are capitalists, they will have some token trait that gets exploited like the Turinas being all Soldiers, the Krogan being violent warriors, the Asari sleeping with everything and being waifish muses, the Salarians are all scientists whose apparent culture of Matriarchal rule with mostly male population doesn't actually seem to have much of an effect on anything.

    The Hanar, the elcor and the Volus are little more than jokes, hell in ME2 they made up another race of monocultural Bipedal humanoids with animal traits to have anyone related to the Hanar being treated with a modicum of dignity. The Reapers and Leviathan are villains so that just exemplifies my point further. Anything that is sligthly different to a bipedal humanoid anthro animal is evil or a joke.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
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  10. @CT Phipps I like you, but you are making it hard for me, man.

    Chutulhu definition in Urban Dictionary: A character in Lovecraft's tale "The Call of Cthulhu". Cthulhu is a monstrous entity who lies "dead but dreaming" in the city of R'lyeh, a place of non-Euclidean madness presently (and mercifully) sunken below the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Cthulhu appears in various monstrous and demonic forms in early myths of the human race. Racial memory preserves Him as humanity's most basic nightmare. Cthulhu is the high priest of the Great Old Ones, unnatural alien beings who ruled the Earth before humanity formed, worshipped as gods by some misguided people. It is said that They will return, causing worldwide insanity and mindless violence before finally displacing humanity forever.

    Chutulhu is an embodiment of us humans' fear, so eldritch that grasps the deepest of our uncomprehension, freezing us in terror, even to the extreme of madness. Racial memory preserves Him as humanity's most basic nightmare.

    It's not Mothra. That I know of, Bloodborne did Chutulhu and Lovecraftian inspiration very well. As per not "HEY IT'S Chutulhu GUYS" rather focusing in the fear of the uncomprehensible.

    And as Walpknut said, as you say it'd just be a fancy excuse to talk about same old drama and politics but dressed in sci fi mumbo jumbo.

    It's in the future =/= sci fi, it's not that hard.
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  11. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Is that what you're reading from my comment? Science Fiction CAN be about the humans of today, but it doesn't have to. This is just preference, but for me ME was always one of the most boring aspects of Science Fiction. Not just because of the plot, but due to the whole generic approach on literaly everything. I think Walp descriped it perfectly here, so I don't believe I can add to much to that.

    But just to say this, for me personaly Science Fiction becomes actually interesting, the moment you have something 'truly' alien and which can't be explained with a normal rational approach. Think about the creature and situation in Alien for example or Space Odyssey, Clockwork Orange and so on. This is what Science Fiction is for me personaly. Something that makes you actually think. And not everything needs an explanation, like Alien for example, the history of the ceature and where it comes from is absolutely secondary, it literaly represents the unkown and the disturbing reality that comes with it, while 'normal' people are now forced to deal with the situation.

    And the approach of mass effect is so generic, that it barely qualifies as Science Fiction in my book. It never really approaches the difficulties and hypotehtical questions that pop up when you ask your self, how humans would deal with aliens. The creatures in ME do not just look humanoid, they often act very humanoid.

    What disapoints me is that Mass Effect doesn't actually exploit the unique qualities of gaming as a medium and the qualties that come with role playing in particular - puting your self in the shoes of someone else with choices and consequences. One huge aspect that really sets games apart from books and movies, is the interactive quality, the player engagement the fact that you push the narative and that you can shape the game, that you are the actor here rather than just the observer. Sadly as Bioware has become one of the 'big' studios now, they make interactive movies rather than a game that is actually using this unique trait of gaming to the fullest potential.

    Seriously, why not create a game where you're have some kind of alien species, with it's own history, culture and all the depth that comes with it, and make the player a part of that race and then throw him in to human space! Think about playing a character like the 'Geth' or something similar to the 'Reapers' even, something that is extremly alien to our understanding and making something with that. It's really like neither Bioware nor gaming in general has really evolved as a medium in the recent years, the graphics and the hardware got better, that much is for sure - well debatable with Andromedas faces ... But, is that really EVERYTHING there is to gaming these days? How great they look?

    It can be, but it doesn't have to. There are a lot of Science Fiction novels writen from the perspective of alien species, of which some have contact to humans, while others don't.

    One big aspect of Science Fiction is the "What-If". You can explore topics that you couldn't explore otherwise. Like how a machine society would look like, for example. There is a reason why so many people actually hate what they made from the Borg in Star Trek by making them more like an 'villain' with actual human motivation trough the Borg Queen. Before that, it didn't even seem possible for the Federation to ever get in contact with the Borg, for the very simple reason that the Borg see absolutely no interest in conversation and exchange, they simply assimilate, that is their definition of an 'exchange' of cultures. By actually making them closer to something that humans can comprehend ... you also make them boring and generic. But it makes it easier to write a plot around that ... And that is the approach behind ME as well. Making everything as easy as possible to digest for the audience, do not dare to challange them! Or actually leaving them in a place where they have to figure something out on their own.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
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  12. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Honestly speaking, I wonder at the amount of science fiction you guys have read since Mass Effect is actually fairly well and above the vast majority of it produced in terms of depth, characterization, and development. There's a kind of "faster, more intense" judgement here which I think deserves to be called out on.

    Babylon Five
    Star Trek
    Star Wars
    Battlestar Galactica

    These are some of the largest and most prominent of current science fiction franchises out there and just about everything you've said about the ME races can be applied to them.

    Romulans=Space Romans
    Bajorans=Religious guys
    Narn=Terrorist victims of colonialism
    Centari=Space Romans
    Mimbari=Space Elves

    Frankly, standing with some of the best science fiction out there is not a bad thing. Certainly, the Lord of the Rings is one of the most well-developed and intricate science fiction settings of all time and Dungeons and Dragons devoted it to being something based on stereotypes.

    I also disagree with your statement regarding the fact the Mass Effect characters are all Western themed as it overlooks the fact the Quarians are very much Semetic based with elements of the Romani and Indian culture (doubly appropriate in the latter too). Batarians are also notably a communist society which has fallen into dictatorship. I'm also not sure about capitalism among the Turians because the Volos actually handle all of their financial affairs since the Turians consider capitalism to be a somewhat dirty affair (obviously not the case among cultures where they're not the predominate authority).

    I think you're also somewhat unfair to the Asari and Salarians. The Asari being blue skinned sexy ladies doesn't prevent them from being incredibly dangerous warriors, having the most highly advanced culture, being deeply spiritual, having a vampire problem in their genetic structure, and also being a geritocracy.

    I think the Salarians are also fairly interesting as while they're supposedly the "science" race, we also meet badass assassins and special ops as our majority of interactions with them as a people--despite the fact they all talk like they've swallowed Helium and are the "nerd" race.

    Eh, I actually am undercutting myself here if not outright lying because while a lot of people associate with Cthulhu as just a big monster and/or embodying the idea of a nameless embodiment of dread or a natural disaster. The truth is that Cthulhu actually was social satire and created as a VERY cleverly disguised send up of Christianity.

    Lovecraft had issues with religion so he created a monstrous world-wide cult consisting of all races and social classes that worships a dead god who will return to life, destroy the world, and exalt the faithful. He, furthermore, has his follows long for this day and actively try and bring it about with rituals that may or may not od anything.

    He did a similar send up of Christianity in the Dunwich Horror, which was about stopping Monster Jesus from destroying the world.
  13. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    What you're mainly talking about is 'fake' depth when it comes to ME, in the sense of look! We have lots of ... uhm ... super cool and deep loore that you can read for hours and hours about all those races! But that doesn't necessarily makes it very deep Science Fiction, which is the difference to well Babylon 5 for example or if you want Star Trek, where you actually see the interaction and effects it has. Obviously comparing ME with something that was going for decades is somewhat unfair, but ME isn't very deep Science Fiction here. It really is just your standard, kill the bad guys and have a few choices here and there game. The Universe they created is great no doubts about that and I think that most of the races are humanoid isn't even THAT big of a problem - TV shows get away with it, well because it's a fuck ton of work and money to do something different for every race. But ME never really gets to deep in what it actually means if humans and aliens actually meet or interact. Go and look for the Series Alien Nation to see what I mean.

    Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons ...

    Seriously though, it's some kind of typo or you're just joking or trying to troll us right now, correct?
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
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  14. Lovecraft also never left the house and thought that jews and black people evolved from jumping spiders and dog turds.

    It's about other authors have made out of the idea.

    And on the topic, throwing a bit of imagination and concessions to some of my Stellaris games get deeper than that.

    1) "Standing with" 2)LOTR is Sci Fi 3) D&D, what?
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  15. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    Mass Effect is presenting a possible future and universe where humanity arrives in a universe which is already a thriving galactic society and we're, essentially, no one important but humanity really wants to be. It's the same situation in Babylon Five except not quite as established. I think there's plenty of options to get involved with that kind of material and immerse yourself in the lore as well as world-building if you so choose. There's hundreds upon hundreds of journals and codex entries for this exact sort of reason as well as a lengthy galactic timeline.

    Yes, it's an action game but I don't think the fact it's a shooter with RPG elements detracts from the world-building.

    Actually, Lovecraft lived in New York with his wife for a fairly significant period of time and spent a month in Florida with a gay fan learning to sailboat. He was an avid jogger and tennis player. He was, however, an enormous racist with incredibly stupid views on Black people, Jews, and Chinese. Also, as mentioned, hated religious people. Robert E. Howard, notably, told Lovecraft that he was taking it too far (and they were best friends/pen pals).

    I will say everything we attribute to the "Cthulhu Mythos" is probably due to Chaosium and August Derleth codifying it all, though. I'm a particular fan of what Brian Lumley did with the work.
  16. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    What on earth... how is LOTR sci-fi? CT what the fuck?
  17. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Where and how?
  18. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Sep 17, 2016
    You're joking right? I assume you understand I'm making a point about fictional worldbuilding. LOTOR is one of the greatest fictional settings of all time and you can diminish all of its fictional races into stereotypes. The fact it's fantasy not sci-fi doesn't mean a damn thing to that fact.

    Off the top of my head?

    1. You get to know Tali and Legion both by discussing their cultures at length and how they relate to the expectations thereof. The two storylines eventually intersect and over the course of three games, result in the two colliding in a way which results in peace, oblivion, or victory depending on what you have learned about them and the way you've interacted.

    2. I felt ME2 did the best job developing the Terminus systems because you really got a feel of not only the region through roleplaying but gaming. The fact you repeatedly fought the same three enemies but got a sense of how those enemies fit into the ecological niche of the place made it cooler. The Blood Pack are brutish thugs who use vorcha as cannon fodder, the Blue Suns are a PMC which is crooked but very advanced as well as corrupt, and the Eclipse are an example of why the Asari are so feared as well as hated--it's basically mercenary work for shit and giggles.

    Then you encountered the locals who lived in the Terminus Systems and found so many people just trying to flee the bullshit of the Council system.

    3. Visiting the Quarian flotilla really felt like venturing into the culture of the Quarians as we found out so many details about them as well as how their society functions, its cast systems, and its prejudices.

    4. I feel the Krogan are the most developed after the Quarians with the Tuchunka visit also combining organic gameplay with the learning about them as a species. The fact they're violent post-apocalypse warriors should have appealed to the players on this forum I think.

    Sadly, I dont think the three main races ever got as developed. Turians, Salarians, and Asari are really less developed than the Krogan and Quarians though I believe the Asari did get some decent attention via Liara.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  19. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Just to clarify, is this now a TYPO/ERROR or was this INTENTIONALY? Because you said science fiction, not fictional, quite a difference in my book.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
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  20. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    Certainly, the Lord of the Rings is one of the most well-developed and intricate science fiction settings of all time

    That's what I got from it.
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