Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (March 23, 2017)

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Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (March 23, 2017)

This week's Blog Herding contains excellent posts on two open-world juggernauts: Horizon Zero Dawn and Breath of the Wild. And that's just the beginning!

Community Blogs For March 16 – March 22:

The Essentials Challenge – Month One Update! Father Titan's blogging quest gives the blogging community a recap of his latest venture: Having the community write about some of the best video games. There's plenty more to come, so keep an eye on the blogosphere.

Mass Effect: Andromeda – Five Small Changes With Big Benefits

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Mass Effect: Andromeda – Five Small Changes With Big Benefits

BioWare’s newest installment in the Mass Effect series is now available, leaving Commander Shepard behind and putting players in control of a new hero in a new galaxy. Response to Mass Effect: Andromeda has been mixed among fans and critics (read our full review), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. However, with a few tweaks, appreciating what the game does well would be a lot easier.

The point of this exercise isn’t to list everything we wish Andromeda did differently (like fewer glitches and a more compelling villain). Instead, the focus is on a handful of minor adjustments that could make the game more enjoyable without overhauling the core experience.

The Virtual Life – Making Hard Choices With The Mass Effect Trilogy

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The Virtual Life – Making Hard Choices With The Mass Effect Trilogy

Hey gang, if you're worried about Andromeda spoilers, have no fear. I'm just talking about the original trilogy for this column.

Mass Effect 2 changed my life. I mean that in a very practical, defined way. I had been away from video games for a long time when my brother bought it for me. I was in college, a sophomore. I had switched my major to English and spent a lot of my nights writing bad fiction and reading lots of novels so I could sound smart in class and tell people how much I had read of Infinite Jest or War and Peace. I was, in more ways than I am now, a positively insufferable human being.

Naughty Dog's Approach To Gender Diversity And Inclusion With Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

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Naughty Dog's Approach To Gender Diversity And Inclusion With Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Back in 2012, creative director Neil Druckmann of Naughty Dog came forward saying that the team "flat-out refused" to move Ellie to the back of the cover for The Last of Us. It was a talking point that came up during the game's development: Could female leads sell in an industry that had a barrage of male protagonists? Druckmann debunked the myth, saying it was a misconception that female-led games couldn't sell, but women protagonists were nonetheless few and far between.

Much has changed since then. E3 2014 in particular saw a surge of female playable protagonists introduced in trailers. Demand for diversity is seen from the gaming audience, and developers are also taking more interest. Overwatch's game director Jeff Kaplan, for example, explained during a D.I.C.E. summit keynote this year that Blizzard's goal with the game's characters and world building wasn't just about diversity, but also strongly focused on "inclusivity and open mindedness."

Opinion – Xbox One’s Digital Game Errors Are Unacceptable

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Opinion – Xbox One’s Digital Game Errors Are Unacceptable

When Microsoft announced Xbox One back in 2013, it boasted an interesting approach to sharing digital games with family members and friends. However, this proposed feature came at the expense of being able to play those games while not connected to the internet. While community uproar eventually forced Xbox to rescind these unpopular policies before the platform launched later that year, it's clear that remnants of the approach are still present, and Microsoft needs to do something about it.

Following the backlash it received in 2013, Microsoft stated that player feedback matters, and that both digital and disc-based games would be fully playable without relying on a player's online connectivity. "After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc-based game without ever connecting online again," an Xbox blog post reads. [http://news.xbox.com/2013/06/19/update/] Later, the post says, "If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today."

Science-Fiction Weekly – Mass Effect Andromeda, Star Wars, Mystery Science Theater 3000

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Science-Fiction Weekly – Mass Effect Andromeda, Star Wars, Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mass Effect Andromeda has been criticized for its graphical mishaps, but don't let a strange walking animation hold you back from suiting up in the N7 armor again. While I can definitively say Andromeda is my least favorite chapter in the series, I still had a great time getting to know Ryder, her crew, and exploring the universe to find a new home. Andromeda is a huge game, offering the series' best combat, fascinating companion missions, and the strong hook of exploring the unknown. Each planet was fun to chart, and the secrets they contained made the effort worthwhile.

The main plot line disappoints in the end, largely due to the villain lurking in the shadows for too long and unleashing a confusing doomsday threat, but the story still delivers plenty of great moments, especially those centered around Jaal and Drack, two of Ryder's companions.

My biggest complaint in Andromeda is how familiar everything feels. The great expedition to a new galaxy is mostly seen through the eyes of the same species from Mass Effect 1-3. Many of them bring the baggage and topics we thoroughly explored with Commander Shepard.It feels like more of the same, just in a different location.

Super Replay – The Worst Sonic The Hedgehog Ever

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Super Replay – The Worst Sonic The Hedgehog Ever

When I decided to turn the 12.31 Super Replay into an annual event, I knew the focus needed to be on bad games. People enjoyed watching us suffer; that was the hook that stood out. We used Overblood as the foundation for the type of game we were looking for each year. Blue Stinger, Illbleed, And Martian Gothic were all games that delivered a similar stench. They were perfect selections for the annual Super Replay.

When Tim Turi left Game Informer to work at Capcom, I realized this Super Replay event wouldn't be the same without him. He played through all of these bad games, and, well, I don't think it would have been fair to continue on without him. Out of respect to Tim, we are moving away from the survival-horror angle, and are falling back on my original pitch: it needs to be a bad game period.

As it turns out, there are many different flavors of terrible video games, and I think we found another example in Sonic the Hedgehog that is every bit as enjoyable, campy, and unbearably bad as the original Overblood. The game is simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog, but it's often referred to as Sonic '06. It's developed by Sonic Team for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and is another failed attempt to give the blue speedster new life.

We're Live Streaming Mass Effect: Andromeda All Day

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We're Live Streaming Mass Effect: Andromeda All Day

We're live right now! Tune in on Twitch or Youtube, or by using the embedded video below.

Original Story:

Game Informer staffers are streaming Mass Effect: Andromeda for six hours, starting tomorrow at 11 a.m CT, and running through 6 p.m. Since we already showed off the opening moments of Ryder's journey into the Andromeda galaxy, we're showing off different content in this live stream, including a look at new planets, different companions, as well as a deep dive into multiplayer. Joe Juba, who just released his review for Mass Effect: Andromeda will be on the entire stream, guiding us through this massive RPG.

Get Ready For Our Mass Effect Andromeda GI Game Club

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Get Ready For Our Mass Effect Andromeda GI Game Club

Mass Effect Andromeda is almost here, and we want to play through the entire game with you. If you're not familiar with the GI Game Club format, we break up a game into multiple chunks and then discuss each segment in detail on The Game Informer Show podcast while reading off emails from the community that are sent in to podcast@gameinformer.com. We're looking for all types of emails, from lore-hounds to funny little things you might have noticed.

The first discussion will air on The Game Informer Show on March 30th, and will cover everything in the game up to the completion of the main story mission on the second planet. If you watched our live stream, you know that there is also a short introductory planet and we're not counting that one. So please send in your thoughts on anything/everything in the game up until you've finished the main story mission on the planet after the planet named Eos.

If you're looking for some discussion points to get the ball rolling, here are some suggestions: