July 17th, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

The Action Sci-Fi Blockbuster We All Deserve

In case you missed it, there’s a new movie coming out from big time director Luc Besson, famous writer/producer/director for countless blockbuster films like The Fifth Element, The Transporter Series (the good ones), Leon: The Professional, Lucy, and Taken. This new feature’s full title is Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It’s shaping up to be one of the biggest sci-fi films of the year, especially in a year and a half that’s chock-full of the genre. You now have stuff like Ghost in the Shell, Westworld, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars and the upcoming Blade Runner 2049. But don’t let me tell you about it, have a look at the trailer above.

See that? Listen up Bioware, though this film may not even be out yet, the trailers alone already have more interesting plot developments and characters than all of Mass Effect: Andromeda. A 20-60 hour title. Even the small snippets of soundtrack from the trailer are better than the mess of an original score Andromeda had. EA Games’ faith in the series after launch is so low that it diverted the entire staff of the game off to other projects and have all but acknowledged the failings of the new entry. Even the multiplayer, usually a big holdout for some games, seems to be in its own death throes.

Indeed readers, if you are one of the many disenfranchised souls who had their hopes and dreams crushed with the lackluster-at-best Andromeda sequel to the Mass Effect trilogy, here is where you can lay your new aspirations. Valerian, despite sharing it’s name with an herb that promotes sleep, is a very ambitious and very stunning looking glimmer of hope coming to a theater near you. Launching on July 21st, this film is showing nearly Avatar or even Star Wars levels up hype and excitement. This is big for a new IP Not only that, but the visuals and costume design are so on-point, you’d be forgiven if you’d think that this film is actually a film version of a Mass Effect game. The action shots, the color palette, the plot; everything you need to make a perfect new space adventure project are her. This film is laying the foundation of what could possibly be a glorious new series, and if not a new series, at least a great new original movie.

And speaking of the costume design, is it a coincidence that the armor and outfits in Valerian seem very similar to Mass Effect? Is it possible that there was maybe even some inspiration from the game series? This new film may be an adaptation of an old graphic novel, but apparently Besson had considered making Valerian as early as when he was shooting the Fifth Element back in 1997. The news of the ambitious title tackling the title didn’t come until 2012. The Mass Effect trilogy’s release dates were in 2007, 2010, and 2012. Regardless of who inspired who and what inspired what, Valerian is showing a whole lot of promise and its bringing it’s whole universe along with it.

Fans of the original Mass Effect Trilogy enjoyed an exciting sci-fi romp filled with amazing characters, lore, action, and excitement. It’s a shame Andromeda was not able to hold up to the impossibly high bar that was set. It’s even worse that Andromeda was actually pretty bad for some people. But if you want to see a rich universe full of interesting aliens, cosmic conflicts, and explosive space epics, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is ready to deliver!

Saw the film. Everything I said above was accurate. Film was only slightly above average. It had great special effects and costumes, but dialog and action sequences were rather wooden. But to to delve further into the analogies, the protagonists Valerian and Laureline were like Renegade MaleShepard and Paragon FemShep existing together at the same time. But, instead of being brother and sister like Andromeda, they’re actually bickering partners, both in the space police and in the bedroom. Their lines were pretty bland for most of the film, yet somehow still more compelling than Scott and Sara Ryder, main characters who are so utterly forgettable I had to google what their names were while writing this blurb. So yeah! Go see this film if you want to see a considerably better high fantasy experience. One that is guaranteed to give you two hours and seventeen minutes more enjoyment than you will if you play Mass Effect: Andromeda.

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April 19th, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

My Name is Chet, and the Galaxy Map is my favorite thing in Andromeda.

In this video editorial, Kurt from Hard Mode Gamers goes at length to describe why he really really liked the galactic travel portion of Mass Effect Andromda. This was a feature that many disliked due to it feeling like a glorified loading screen. However, if you watch the video and see where he’s coming from, you may grow to appreciate it too.

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April 3rd, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Bethesda-Tier Bugs

We were supposed to talk about how Mass Effect plays but Kurt got fired up and just complained about bugs the entire time.

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March 26th, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a third person shooter with RPG elements, developed by BioWare and published by EA Games. The fourth in the series, Andromeda sought to avoid the troublesome ending of third game by setting it in an entirely new galaxy. Core gameplay revolves around making planets habitable for life while occasionally dealing with a new, galaxy-wide menace. This new game came out a whopping 5 years after the last entry, and did it do a good job?


No, it didn’t. You would think that for a game hyping up a 4K display optimization might mean some pretty mind blowing graphics, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. You may have seen some of the memes online about the trouble with the facial animations, and they are truly a disaster. Occasionally, some of the textures look decent at best, but there wasn’t a single moment in my time with the game where anything blew my mind. At no point did I have to pause and look at the scenery because on top of being not that technically impressive, a lot of the designs for the colonies and locations you spend your time at define the term “bland”.

STORY: 2/2

Possibly the only thing that really keeps the game going is it’s attention to the plot. Many characters can be talked to, even if they don’t have a quest to give you, making it feel like you’re doing more than just running errands for people who aren’t doing anything (though that does still happen). A lot of the plot threads lead to some very interesting conclusions and for the most part, if you give yourself the time to get to know your ship crew, you may be able to like about half of them. Yes, it is true that it has a slew of characters who are neither compelling or interesting, but it’s outweighed by the sheer scale of people you can meet in your travels. Additionally, and this is becoming common in today’s jumbo-sized games, a majority of the side quests yield more interesting stories than the main campaign offers.

AUDIO: 1/2

The original score for this game is largely forgettable and sometimes irritating. There’s this sort of screechy tone that finds its way into some of the more ambient tracks in the game while you are on the ship or a hub location. But that said, the weapons all sound unique enough to make them not only feel diverse, but also very powerful. Also, something should be said of the galaxy map. The traveling noise you get when you select a planet and hear a loud, bass heavy roar as your fly across the stars never gets old. If they had made exploring the galaxy more compelling, I’d be doing it all the time.


It’s popular now for games to allow the player to “play it your way” and that’s fine. But when you design a game to do so, you have to make sure all the elements work. Andromeda doesn’t quite grasp this, as it seems combat and inventory have been largely downgraded back to the system from the first Mass Effect game, which is mistakes 1-10 of this shipwreck. If you want to play the game like other titles and stick to cover shooting, the spotty auto-cover system is unsatisfying at best and a waste of time at its worst. Stealth is sometimes offered for certain enemy types but feels completely impossible to actually execute. For the most part you have to stick to a frenetic run and gun approach, and that would be fine if that too wasn’t also full of issues, primarily including input lag. It’s hard to make a game with jump jets boring, but the lack of interesting locations and overuse of the equally boring nomad ATV really turn this game into a snooze fest.

FUN: 1/2

As I got further and further into the game, I got more and more frustrated. You can start doing quests on one planet and go to another, but the sheer amount of quests that have you go from location to location and the confusing layout of the journal eventually wear down on you. Yet I kept coming back to this game and did roughly 90% of everything on offer, and that’s only because it is still a Mass Effect game. It’s just unfortunate that many elements stand in the way of your enjoyment. Enemy #1 of your enjoyment is the extremely numerous amount of bugs and glitches that hamper your immersion. Bethesda gets a bad rap for having bugs you can encounter roughly every hour after launch, but with Andromeda, it was almost as if they were trying to be competitive for “buggiest game” with glitches galore, practically every TEN MINUTES.

This game feels unfinished and rushed out the door. From a design standpoint, Mass Effect: Andromeda has regressed back to Mass Effect 1 with garbage combat, inventory, and quest tracking. It’s only the story and how much you can tolerate the amount of filler in between doing interesting things that will keep you playing this title. That’s a real shame, as I was looking forward to this, and to say that this game is a critical failure is the biggest understatement in gaming for 2017 so far. Galaxy map traveling was on point though, can we just have an exploration only game? I’d play that.

SCORE: 4/10

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