Tag Archives: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Tracking in Open World Games: An Investigation

As open world video games take off, exploration is becoming a huge part of gameplay. The trouble is that it can be hard to pinpoint where the action is happening when there’s such a vast world in front of you. It’s interesting to see how different games handle this via the use of tracking — whether that’s scanning the environment (Mass Effect Andromeda), using special senses to follow a trail (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), or utilizing technology that reveals more about what’s around you (Horizon Zero Dawn).

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What’s New — May 2017

It’s a new month, which means it’s time for another update and a fresh start on nerdy adventures! Here’s what I’ve been up to…

jaal_mass_effect_andromeda.jpgLast month I started my adventures in Mass Effect: Andromeda. This month I’ll be wrapping them up. I’m about halfway through the game now, and I’m sure I’ll have some video posts incoming as I keep playing, along with a full review! I seriously ❤ this game. And Jaal! I finally found my new BioWare romance. You can follow along with my adventures here if you are so inclined to read a ridiculously long, detailed, spoiler-filled diary of the game!

I’ve also been playing the indie game Cosmic Star Heroine which I recommend to anyone who is into a.) 16-bit graphics, b.) turn-based combat, c.) wacky, kickass sci-fi, and/or d.) visual novel-style dialogue all over the place. It’s so much fun, guys.

Prey and Farpoint are out this month, and I must say, I would dig a solid shooter sometime soon. Mass Effect is technically a shooter, but I use my powers rather than shooting half the time and am currently playing on an easier difficulty — which means I spend way more time just hanging out and talking in the game. Prey seems like it will scratch my shooter itch, but I don’t know if I’ll get around to it immediately. I kinda want to finish Mass Effect first.

Same thing with Farpoint, which is intriguing mainly for being a VR shooter with the new Aim controller. I don’t know how I feel about holding a gun-like object in my hand, but I’m curious to try it. It might feel too real to me, too violent, if that makes sense. Whether or not I get into it, it looks amazing and I’m sure it will elevate the whole VR experience to new realistic heights.

HandmaidsTaleTA.jpgHulu’s new series The Handmaid’s Tale has also just started. An adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, I’ve been waiting for it since I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Claire Danes, earlier this year. Few books have resonated with me quite like The Handmaid’s Tale, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m enjoying the Hulu series a lot so far. It keeps the protagonist Offred’s narration at the forefront, which might make it slow-paced to some, but as a reader I believe it’s the most fulfilling way to understand the story.

As for my writing, I’m gradually getting back into my book. After a couple of months of inspiration and sweat after National Novel Writing Month, things sort of tapered off. Part of that was from family stuff I was dealing with, and a new job I was getting used to, and… yeah, priorities. But I’m setting myself up with a new schedule to continue writing my novel. I want to finish this thing and pop open the bottle of wine I’ve been storing for when I finally type the last period. Or question mark? I might end my book with a question mark.

What are you guys up to this month? What’s everybody watching and playing? I also need new TV show recommendations… =)

Ashley

What’s New — April 2017

Well, March turned out to be a pretty amazing month for me, and now I’m hoping April will top it. =)

YjgxZjk5MDcxMCMvMU5aSXU4Z2lxdzJWRjVReHdmLVBPYlZzVE1NPS8xOTEweDEwMDAvc21hcnQvaHR0cHM6Ly9zMy5hbWF6b25hd3MuY29tL3BvbGljeW1pYy1pbWFnZXMvd2p1a3hycGJtd3JocGMyaWtpeHA2a2dkN2o3dWdmMG52cWVoanZ2Y2Last month I played Horizon Zero Dawn. It was easily one of the best video games I’ve ever played. The story, the lead character Aloy, the graphics, the scenery, the structure to the open-world questing… everything was near perfect. I’ll post something about it soon, because I’d like to discuss how it approaches an open world format and compare it to other open-world games like The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Skyrim.

Aside from that, I started re-reading one of my favorite books ever, the science fiction classic Dune by Frank Herbert. I’m actually listening to the audiobook on my commute, downloaded from Audible, so if anyone is interested in what it’s like to listen to I can review that aspect of it. You can read about my history with Dune here — it’s kind of the book that got me into sci-fi in the first place!

C7yMP1wVUAAZ6yqI also started playing Mass Effect: Andromeda last month, and I must say, it is so much better than I expected. While I tried to avoid reviews before starting, I was hearing a lot of complaints — not just about the facial animations (which honestly doesn’t phase me, that’s not why I play Mass Effect), but also about the writing not being great and the story not being very captivating. Fortunately, I disagree with those complaints. I am loving the game so far. I feel really connected to my Ryder, the protagonist of the game, because Andromeda features four tone options that really shape a unique personality for her. It’s much deeper than what I’ve seen in previous BioWare games.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll review the game when I’m done with it. In the meantime, you can read my game diary as I play it here.

In other news, baseball season is back! I went to my first game (pre-season) a couple of days ago, and I can’t wait to start watching games again. If you’re into baseball, you can read this post I wrote about the baseball team roster I would create out of Mass Effect trilogy characters. I totally want to do that again for Andromeda now!

I’ve also been working on fitness goals a lot lately. Originally I was going to train for a 10K this month, but I decided to postpone running goals to focus more on strength training and flexibility. I took my first lyra class last week — it’s an aerial sport where you perform transitions and poses in a hoop suspended from the ceiling — and am so sore and bruised, I have some work to do to get in shape for it! I’m excited to start training more heavily as I continue to take beginner’s classes.

As for writing… I haven’t done anything all month. I want to change that in April. I have been thinking about my novel a lot lately, and I miss writing it. I think I just needed a breather to focus on other things (new job, fitness, and video games!) and gain a little perspective on my story. I feel I have that now, so it’s time to dive back in.

Dragon Age OriginsI also attended a Game of Thrones concert last week which was extremely fun. You can check out my mini-review here.

This month is also my birthday, and as always, I’ll be honoring my tradition of playing Dragon Age: Origins again. I hope to complete a playthrough this year, since I didn’t last year. I think I’ll go with a male character this time, which is something I just never do…

What are you guys up to this month? What games are you playing?

— Ashley