Andromeda & Steyliff

The last time I posted, I was still excited about playing Mass Effect: Andromeda when it was due to arrive. It’s been a few months since then, so I thought I’d better at least say something about the game!

Andromeda is a great game, but the problem I had was that when I reached the end of the game, I didn’t have that excited or satisfied feeling I normally do when completing the entire game, nor did I want to dive headfirst back into the game to play it again. I did start playing the game on a second run through, but then kept changing the look of Ryder and would restart the game over again. I’d then get a bit bored with the game and it got pushed aside.

I didn’t hate the game, I don’t dislike the game, it’s still a great game. But it didn’t grab me like the previous trilogy did, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I loved the visuals in the game, beautiful scenery which you can’t help but take the time to wander around and explore, and I loved exploring in the Nomad. It’s just a shame the Nomad can’t fire a cannon or any type of weapon as it would be even better. Again, I didn’t mind that they just turned the nomad into a vehicle that gets you from one point of the map to the other, especially when there’s so much to explore. I guess I could liken it in a way to the Regalia in FFXV, considering it’s not a weaponised vehicle, it just takes it’s passengers from one end of Eos to the other (but in more style).

Since I haven’t played the game in at least a month, I can’t really go back into detail about what I specifically liked and didn’t like about it. I did enjoy the game, the characters were fine – though I found that I couldn’t get the romance option going as I didn’t really like the characters personalities much – the visuals were great, the game play was great… I just, there’s not something specific that I can put my finger on that can justify why I’m not in love with the game. I probably need to go once more and play it through completely again, without deciding I want to change the look of Ryder, and perhaps I can find what it is that is keeping me from loving this game. I will say again though, I do love the Nomad. I feel like it’s got a personality of it’s own sometimes.

In the mean time, I returned to Eos to continue playing FFXV. I had downloaded all the latest updates, episodes and patches. In fact we should be due for the next character episode soon – Episode Prompto. I checked out the additional options, and then I went and played Episode Gladiolus. Loved it. Fans have stated that it’s too short, but in essence it’s like a new level added to the game, and Levels aren’t really that long anyway. The Episode is another enhancement to the story and the characters without interfering too much with the original game itself. Gladio is pretty awesome to play and it’s such a shame that they didn’t build the option into the main game itself, but I understand that the main game is really Noct’s story, which is why we only play his character. I then played the all important additional level – Episode 13 Part 2. This was the best thing Square Enix did. And the fans have stated it. Episode 13 was fine in my books, but it left a lot of plot holes in the story and I think that’s what caused a bit of strife amongst the players. Part 2 however explains things as a separate level to the game from the perspective of Gladio and Ignis. In the original game, Noctis is separated from his friends as he makes his way through Gralea and the massive (and seemingly unending) tower to get to the Crystal. In the original game, he does eventually reunite with Gladio and Ignis and they then find and rescue Prompto. In part 2, we see Gladiolus and Ignis as they follow in Noctis’ footsteps trying to find him, Prompto and the Crystal. In this level, we take control of Gladio rather than Ignis who is still getting used to being blind. There are similar paths that the boys take, and then there are shortcuts that makes the level move a lot quicker than the original version. But the important part is that they come across footage of the Emperor prior to him turning into a demon, and even more importantly, we see Ravus as he turns on the Emperor and shows his true loyalty lies with Noctis. It’s the one part of the story that fans didn’t really understand and with this additional level, we’ve been given a bit more of an explanation.

After playing the above two levels, I headed back into the game and started taking on more hunts. I’ve also now engaged more in those timed hunts that they have going. I wouldn’t say I’d get very high on the ladder, but it’s something enjoyable to do, you get to level up and you get some perks through the points earned for the hunts. But what I wanted to talk about was the Menace Beneath levels. These levels do not appear until after you’ve completed the game, and visited every dungeon. The Menace Beneath levels sends you back to these dungeons to find a particular door, which you could not open before. You end up meeting up with a lady at Meldacio where the Hunters hang out. She then gives you the key so you can open these doors. The dungeons mostly consist of large rooms with high level creatures in them, and you basically make your way down and through these rooms until you reach the final level where you face off against a boss level creature. Once defeated, that level is complete. Most of them can take a while to get to the final level, and will offer camp sites along the way so your characters can gain their HP/MP back and add some more stats to their abilities through the meals Ignis cooks. The only downside is that you cannot purchase items here so you need to come well-stocked before entering.

I just completed “The Menace Beneath Steyliff” which is why it’s listed in the title. Whatever you do, DON’T attempt to start this in the evening (your evening, not the game’s evening). This is one seriously long dungeon. And seriously, take a hell of a lot of potions and elixers with you as you will need them. There are 9 camp sites in this dungeon, with anywhere between 7-10 levels between each one. In terms of levels, I’m referring to the room you arrive in to battle the monsters. The hardest battles you face are against the Tonberry’s, no matter what level you are at. These guys seem like you’re barely whittling away at their HP but take a huge chunk out of yours. Then of course, you start facing off against Master Tonberry’s. There are a variety of strategies you can employ in fighting either of these, but seriously, make sure you are well stocked. By the time I got to the boss, I was trying desperately to stretch out the last of my supplies, and managed to get there in the end with about one or two left of all potions and elixers. The bonus is, my characters are now Level 99, they were Level 85 going in but the first night I attempted this it got to 1 am and I had to get up reasonably early the next day so I had to send the characters back to the start of the dungeon – which is a disappointing part of these missions in that they didn’t allow you to save the game whilst in the dungeon itself. I attempted it the next day and almost got to a point where I was going to give up and return to the surface when I realised that the monster in the next room was in fact the Boss, and so pushed forward so I could complete the mission. I’ve still got a few more of these to go yet, and some more hunts to complete so there’s still plenty to do with this game, which is why it’s been my favourite game this year.