This Week's Xbox Gem (Week of May 17th, 2017)

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] This week's Xbox Gem is the crazy sale happening over on Xbox Live, their Backward Compatibility Super Sale!

There are 285 Back Compat titles that make up this sale, so in this article I will highlight a few great ones that you may have missed! Oh, and to take advantage of these sale prices, you don't have to have Xbox Live Gold!

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Assassin's Creed Rogue is on sale for $9.89. This made the list because it never got released on the current generation of consoles, so it could have easily been missed!

Braid is on sale for $2.49! This was one of my first "indie games," and has a great story, visuals, and game mechanics!

Civilization Revolution is on sale for $7.49! This is a great console translation of the Civilization games! Be warned, time will slip away as you get sucked into this!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is on sale for $3.74! The sequel is available on current consoles, but many would say that this entry is the best of the series. I enjoyed my time with it, and it's a steal under $4!

Dragon Age: Origins is on sale for only $4.94! This game is AMAZING! If you've not played this, you really owe it to yourself to do so. This is easily the best of the Dragon Age series, and features an epic story with the classic BioWare decisions and conversations.

Earthworm Jim HD is on sale for $2.49! Come on! It's Earthworm Jim! Groovy...

Jurassic Park: The Game is on sale for $4.99. This is an early TellTale game, and could be viewed as a history lesson from the developer. The game's not the best of the studio, but of you enjoy their brand of games, you may like this. It was an easy one to miss when it came out.

Lost Odyssey is on sale for $6.24. The original release had FOUR DVDs! This is a big game, and one of the few JRPGs on Xbox. With a memorable story and characters, it's worth the asking price!

Mass Effect is on sale for $4.99! A legendary game, it's likely you didn't miss it, but if you did...

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is on sale for $4.94 Before Skyrim came Oblivion. This is on the list because it was released in 2009, and a new generation of gamers may have missed it.

The Orange Box is on sale for $4.99. This collection has five games from Valve: Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 1, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 & Portal. Nothing more needs to be said, those games speak for themselves. If you've not played these, GET IT!

Peggle is on sale for $2.49! Get it, you'll either thank me or curse me later.

Portal 2 is on sale for $4.99, so after you beat the original in The Orange Box, play this one! The cake may be a lie, but this amazing game is not!

Red Dead Redemption is on sale for $11.99. While this price isn't the lowest I've seen, I included it on this list in case you wanted to catch up before the sequel releases this fall! (The Undead Nightmare DLC is also on sale for $4.99!)

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is on sale for $4.99. If you saw my list of top 5 Star Wars games, you know why this is here, too...

 

There are some of the Backwards Compatible games on sale that I'd pick. What about you? Did you pick up anything from the sale, or think anything else should be added to this list? Hit me up on Twitter @VoicedByNathan or in the comments below!

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Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Many times during the game, your character asks, “Why did you come to Andromeda?” That same question can be asked of the player of any game, “Why are you playing this game?”

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Mass Effect Andromeda is the fourth installment of the Mass Effect lineage, technically taking place a few hundred years after the events of Mass Effect 3, but the characters are unaware of anything past the beginning of Mass Effect 2, since that is about the time that they began their journey to Andromeda.

In the course of the game, you get to see the new galaxy through the eyes of Pathfinder Ryder, the human responsible for finding and taming a new home for the human race. You have a set of “Golden Worlds” that were selected from the hundreds of possible planets in Andromeda, which could support human life. Your mission starts out as you try to identify the best option of these “Golden Worlds” for the human race to begin anew, but you quickly discover that it is not going to be an easy task to do so.

As you discover new planets, you also discover new threats, possible friends or foes, species and others that wish to join you on your mission. To enable you to effectively explore these new, vast worlds, you receive command of your spaceship, the Tempest, and a planetary rover called the Nomad. For me, planetary exploration is a hallmark of the Mass Effect series, and this entry has some of the best exploration, whether it is going to clusters and exploring the planets on the Tempest, or driving the Nomad across various environments. Driving the Nomad is fantastic, and harkens back to the Mako (in a good way) from Mass Effect 1. The Nomad does not have any weaponry, but features an all-terrain mode that enables you to climb the highest mountains, a booster to move you quickly around, and thrusters that let you hover for a short time. All of this combines to make one of the best vehicles I have used in gaming!

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As with any Mass Effect game, there are branching decisions to be made that will shape and tailor your personal journey. At least twice, I encountered a choice that made me set the controller down and think about the possible outcomes, and how I wanted Andromeda to be shaped. You could make a choice that one of your crew absolutely do not like, but you know it would be better for Andromeda. Those kind of decisions can make it difficult to choose, and really, there sometimes are not “correct” choices, just the lesser of two evils. This made me really invest more in Ryder, my crew, and Andromeda as a whole.

As mentioned above, the crew of the Tempest is a motivating force behind some of your decisions. As you progress through the narrative, hear their back-stories, and go on missions with them, your crew feels like a family. I genuinely began to care about their stories, and as the crew grew together, I wanted to make sure I was a good leader for them. After a shaky start, my progression as their leader felt earned, not given. Most of your crew could accompany you on missions, as you can take two companions with you. Obviously, you would want to consider which companions would augment your selected abilities, and create a formidable team. On the other hand, if you do not really care about those tactics, grab your two favorites and listen to their conversations as you explore Andromeda, hear their reactions to your decisions, and even get their thoughts before you make those decisions.

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When you put all of these things together, you get the sum of what a Mass Effect game is, and it has been done well in Mass Effect Andromeda… for the most part. Quite a few flaws mar this otherwise gem of a game. Most noticeably, I encountered quite a few issues with graphics, textures, and lighting. During a conversation, I spoke to invisible characters (that were not making use of cloaking devices), characters with obstructed faces due to improper placement of light sources that would cast an unfortunate shadow, and I had to exit out of the game completely a few times because I was not able to select dialogue options to progress the game. I also have a number of missions or tasks that I cannot complete because of some bug in the mission. Achievements are also not popping for feats that I know I accomplished. It is quite frustrating to see these types of issues in this otherwise great game, but I am hoping that with patches, most of these issues could be fixed.

When you tire of exploring Andromeda with the crew of your Tempest, you can switch over to multiplayer and run Horde-type missions with up to three other players. Its wave based, and cycles through hacking, survival, and VIP type waves, leading up to the final extraction wave. The missions can prove to be intense, especially when trying to get a full team extraction!

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In all, this is a fun and engaging game. As of this writing, I have spent over 90 hours with the game, and have really enjoyed it! It is unfortunate that this game has the technical issues, because I would definitely score it higher if I experienced them with less frequency. The story is worthy of entry into the Mass Effect canon, while I personally don’t think it’s as good as the Shephard storyline, it’s still compelling in its own right.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below, or hit me up over on Twitter @VoicedByNathan!

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