Monday, March 27, 2017

The Problems with Mass Effect: Andromeda's hilarious animation and graphics

I've been playing Mass Effect: Andromeda and burst out laughing when I saw some of the animation of game play and cutscenes. Stories about the bad animation with the game have been spreading around the internet for months. Well, it's true. Some of the graphics are terrible. Watch this xLetalis video comparing Mass Effect: Andromeda with the original Mass Effect released in 2007.

Here is some more video of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which is even funnier.

So what's causing these problems with character animations?

1. Bodies and faces are badly designed.

I'm not going to post every article by feminist hating writers that say Mass Effect: Andromeda's women were made "uglier" But check out this article from The Sun which features pictures of the model Jayde Rossi who was the template used for the main female character Sara Ryder. Now the male model Steven Brewiss who is the template for the main character Scott Ryder looks just as much as the hunk in the game as he does in real life. However, it's obvious that modifications were done to make Jayde Rossi's face less attractive. Somebody gave her thicker lips, a more angular, larger nose and a puffy face. If I were Ms. Rossi, I would sue. I would agree that it looks like BioWare made the women uglier.

And what about the body design? Well, on both male and female characters, the arms seem too long. Character Cora Harper whose supposed to be a bad ass Biotic has a bizarre body. She's short, has way too thin waist but a large bottom with very wide hips. Here's the image. And to boot, you could stick her head on a man's body and it would not look out of place. Just change the hair. Okay, it's not that bad but there's something going on here. Update. I've been playing the game and Cora's bizarre body appears when she's on planets not in cutscenes or on the ship Tempest.

Is this the revenge for Miranda from Mass Effect 2 and 3? By the way Miranda looks like actress Yvonne Strahovski because that's who she was modeled after. But I digress. Look, the effect of ugly faces and weird body types is two fold. When Asari Peebee jumps ontop of you and sticks her mug in your face, you will literally yell. Their faces make you laugh when you shouldn't be. Second, I've noticed that Cora can walk bowlegged at times. The long arms are not animated and the whole effect makes her act like a string puppet rather than a human being.

This attempt by BioWare and EA to be politically correct will backfire. Look, I am a liberal but a politically incorrect one. Video games are art. And most of them are fantasy in that they let you become the hero. This is especially true in Mass Effect since you can make the lead character look like you. And the male gamer and female gamer who maybe is a lesbian gamer wants to woo the gorgeous woman. Yeah, I get the feminist view. In real life, women don't look like they do in most video games. This isn't real life. Actress Gal Gadot is beautiful. Should they have picked somebody uglier to play Wonder Woman? Don't get me wrong. Not every film or video game should be forced to cast a beautiful woman. But let the part dictate it.

2. Mass Effect: Andromeda doesn't understand how the face and body works. I don't know if they used motion capture or not but it looks like BioWare didn't. I mean going back to Cora, she walks with her buttocks way out with those long arms. It's not natural. Sometimes the arms don't move as she walks.

However, it's the emotions on the faces that fail the game. I'm sure somebody at BioWare understands the art of acting and how it can be portrayed by computer animation. For this game, it seemed like that person at BioWare was on vacation.

Actors perform with not just their voices but their faces. And one's face moves in multiple ways to convey emotions. Just watch the great Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal. (2006) You don't even have to listen to her dialogue to figure out what she is feeling. And a lot of the reaction in her face is subtle. We don't see this in Mass Effect: Andromeda particularly in cutscenes. Faces look like mannequins. Frozen. Then there are times where eyes move back and forth for no reason. It's hilarious.

But can acting be caught or portrayed in a video game? Yes. Just check out L.A. Noire, a game that came out in 2011! Here's a trailer for that great game.

Yeah, L.A. Noire used 32 high definition cameras to motion capture facial emotions but the concept is still sound. I'm sure BioWare could have done some of this without breaking the bank or at least have an animator put more attention into the facial performances. . I don't know if BioWare was trying to save money but this is a AAA game. They certainly didn't spend it on big name stars. Maybe next time BioWare should have somebody objective look at the product before they put it out.

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