The Ethereal Sigh

A Twitter friend recently held a poll asking which format of games was preferable – digital or physical.  I used to be a physical devotee; I took great pride in my collections of stuff, be they books, CDs, games, etc.  I felt that the object was just as worthy of obsession as the actual art within.  I painstakingly arranged my DVD shelves by director and genre; my bookshelves were a bit more haphazard but there was a logic in their arrangement that I could see; certain books just belonged together, and so they were.

This started to change in 2004, when I got married.  Instead of hiring a DJ, I bought an iPod and made a gigantic mix, and suddenly I realized the genius in having my entire CD library in my pocket instead of lugging around a discman and 2 20-disc CD wallets in my backpack all day.

And then at some point I got a Kindle, and ever since then I’ve almost exclusively bought e-books.

And so you can see where this is going:  I am a slave to the cloud.  I bought (much) bigger hard drives for both my Xbox One and my PS4, and while I might own 200 games among both systems, I think I only own 3 physical discs (both accompanied my PS4 purchase, before I knew any better).

I bring this up because last night, had I owned a physical copy of Mass Effect: Andromeda, I would have forcibly ejected it from my Xbox and snapped it in half.  I’d been stuck in this one particular battle on a very dreary, snowy planet for the last few days, and last night I was determined to figure out how to upgrade my equipment and actually beat the damned thing, and so I did all that stuff (and it’s so poorly executed in the menus, you guys, the whole thing could’ve been radically simplified if the developers looked at the most recent version of The Witcher 3 and just stole their UI wholesale) and then went back and… and… the loading screen never finished loading, and no matter how many times I went back and reloaded I’d keep getting stuck.

I did eventually have to backtrack to an earlier save which wasn’t fucked up, and I decided to abandon that particular mission entirely for the time being, and now I’m stuck with some bullshit Sudoku puzzle where I know I’m solving it correctly but the game keeps saying I’m wrong.  But at least the game is working, again, sort of.

I don’t know why I’m continuing to give ME:A the benefit of the doubt.  If this was any other game, or any other developer, I would’ve given up a dozen hours ago.  I keep wanting it to get better, to get closer to the Mass Effect experience that I’ve loved for so long, and it keeps… not doing that, at all.  As it happens, there’s nothing else on my gaming plate besides my backlog, and I’m still not sure if I want to bother with Final Fantasy XV until the infamous Chapter 13 gets patched.  (In fairness, I’m barely into Chapter 1 or 2, so I presumably have a long way to go before that point.)


Author: Jeremy Voss

Musician, wanna-be writer, suburban husband and father. I'll occasionally tweet from @couchshouts. You can find me on XBL, PSN and Steam as JervoNYC.

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