Mass Effect Andromeda Trial.
I didn’t like it very much. For a start, it runs like absolute dog shit for reasons I cannot fathom - it drops frames randomly, regardless of a scene’s complexity or whether it’s loading stuff in the background or anything of the sort. The combat also feels hopelessly clunky, thanks to a camera that can only switch shoulders manually and a character that takes up a third of the screen, as well as a cover system that resurrects some of the worst aspects of 1’s (it’s automatic and really picky about what counts as cover). But let’s get to the story. Oh god, the story.
So we open with our generic unrealistic SF spaceship (seriously, what the fuck is up with those engines) randomly dropping out of FTL for no reason other than to provide a good view of Andromeda. We then open up again with our character waking up, getting maybe thirty seconds to catch his breath (I couldn’t be arsed to mess with the character creator, so I just picked the sibling who didn’t look like a wax statue of a chimp) before the spaceship runs into a negative space wedgie. Boring crisis stuff gets bundled into a tutorial, the other sibling suffers extremely convenient non-fatal brain damage, and we encounter our Dad, who seems to have suffered more serious brain damage because his dialogue makes it clear he thinks we’re on a sailing ship in the 18th century. We’re introduced to a handful of redshirts and a character who is so obviously designed to look like a stereotypical punk lesbian that she can’t possibly be anything other than straight as an arrow. Dad gives a brief pep talk, we board a shuttle, and Mass Effect proceeds to once again annoy me with its Star Wars space physics. You were supposed to be hard SF once upon a time.
The shuttles take off and land vertically and have sliding doors on the side. For narrative purposes this makes them helicopters, and we all know what happens to helicopters in videogame intro sequences. The planet we crash on has floating mountains. And the game will make sure to point this out every five seconds. More tutorial stuff happens, and then we run into generic evil aliens who look kind of like Collectors and have digitigrade legs. (Seriously, does someone on the BW art team have a fetish for those?) Dad finds a Plot Device and nearly gets his son killed turning it off, then atones for this by getting himself killed instead, but not before giving you a plot device superpower and the ability to interact with mystery alien tech. You might at this point notice that, tiny implementation details aside, the intro planet mission is very similar to Eden Prime. And of course the main villain appears, and he’s a midget with a cute monkey face. Nope, can’t take him seriously.
We then visit the Not-Citadel. ALL THE MEMES happen, we’re given a ship, and I really, really hope there’s a moral choice section in the full game where you get to kill the posh shite with the tired face because I really, really want her dead. Apart from that, fuck-all of consequence happens, a few crushingly tedious sidequests aside. And then we visit the only explorable open-world area. For a moment, it comes dangerously close to being interesting, with little points of interest and a few missions where you activate the Pro- er, Remnant structures, meet a few new squad mates and get to drive around in a vehicle, and get in a fight at an abandoned base. Shame it lacks a gun, and the jump jets barely lift it up far enough to make it an improvised low rider, but it’s still nice to drive around and run over the wildlife. Or it was, until I was about to enter the big Remnant ruin and was promptly slapped in the face with “DEMO OVER, GIVE MONEY rubs thumb and fingers together”
I explored a bit more afterwards, seeing hos much of the map I could explore through the soft-wall radiation zones. I also roamed around the rest of the available planets, talked to a few of the characters (for some reason Renly Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell are on the Tempest), but there was a dearth of real content that I could find aside from the story stuff. And I was horribly bored by most of what I did find.