Andromeda Part 11: The Vault in Our Stars

By Shamus Posted Thursday Dec 27, 2018

Filed under: Mass Effect 146 comments

So the team is here on the planet Eos to fix the climate by fiddling with the inexplicably intuitive and user-friendly alien vaults.

Once we get the Nomad and do a little tutorial stuff, we settle into the rut the game designer has planned for us: Drive to three different monolith towers, shoot the inhabitants, do the puzzle, and then go to the alien vault to reset the global climate.

The Monoliths

SAM is the worst. He's constantly explaining everything without actually TELLING you anything. It's really weird.
SAM is the worst. He's constantly explaining everything without actually TELLING you anything. It's really weird.

The three Monolith towers work something like this: Once you’ve murdered whoever is guarding itThe Kett, ancient guardian robots, or (very occasionally) local pirates or other assorted jerks., you’ll find a console. The aliens who built this thing may be from another galaxy, but by a strange coincidence they just happened to use computer consoles that are the right size for a human being. You’ll need to hop around the environments and do some light platforming to reach hidden glyphs on the tower. Once you scan those, SAM can hack the alien computer or whatever. You do a sudoku puzzle, the tower lights up, and you drive to the next one.

It’s not bad by the standards of BioWare puzzles. Or at least, the first couple are okay. But when you realize you’ve got to do three of these on every planet the whole thing starts to feel very Ubisoft-ish. It wouldn’t be so bad if each tower had a different gimmick, but the designer runs out of ideas very quickly and from there you’re just repeating the same task again and again.

Once you do three towers, a secret vault will open up somewhere on the map.

The Vaults

Credit where it's due: Sometimes the cinematographer manages to set up and frame a really cool shot like this one. It's not often, but it makes me wonder what this game might have been with a less troubled dev cycle.
Credit where it's due: Sometimes the cinematographer manages to set up and frame a really cool shot like this one. It's not often, but it makes me wonder what this game might have been with a less troubled dev cycle.

The vaults are more involved. They have a lot of no-stakes platformingIf you fall into the abyss, you’re instantly teleported back to solid ground. and trivial yet time-consuming puzzles. Maybe you’ll find yourself in a massive chamber with computer consoles in the far corners, and you need to activate the consoles in the order A, B, A, C, A. It’s not hard, but you have to do a lot of hopping between platforms and kill a bunch of dudes every time you reach a console. It might take you ten seconds to solve the puzzle conceptually, but it’ll take you five minutes of hopping and shooting to enact your solution.

I really dislike these sections, but not because of the hopping and fighting. Those are fine. The shooting is standard and the platforming is inoffensive. My problem is that SAM won’t shut his stupid robot mouth long enough for you to experience an air of mystery or even think for yourself.

Pathfinder. You’ll need to find a console to open this door.

Pathfinder, look for a console to reset this machine.

Pathfinder, if you activate these consoles in the right order, it may open the door for you.

Pathfinder, you’ve activated this console, and that should restore power to the previous room.

Pathfinder, this shaft leads down to the main chamber.

Thanks SAM. I was starting to feel a slight tingle of curiosity, but you managed to head it off before it bloomed into genuine interest.
Thanks SAM. I was starting to feel a slight tingle of curiosity, but you managed to head it off before it bloomed into genuine interest.

SAM does this throughout these missions. He’s supposedly a hunk of metal in your headActually the hunk of metal in your head is connected to the mainframe back on the ship. Fine, but how does he see through walls and read the memory of alien computers? That shit isn’t coming to him through my eyeballs., but he clairvoyantly knows everything about how everything around you works, and he’s constantly explaining things to you a step at a time. He’s always making assumptions about how this technology works and his assumptions are always correct, to the point where this alien technology feels completely mundane. The game never allows you to ponder a puzzle. The moment you walk up to a console, SAM immediately chimes in with what it’s for and what you need to do to turn it on. SAM theorizes that somewhere there must be a console to restart the atmosphere cleaner, and that’s exactly how it is.

These vaults are frustrating because I find the spaces to be visually interesting. These places are screaming that they’re part of a grand mystery, but the game won’t let you enjoy a single moment of uncertainty or wonder.

How I’d have done it:

My first instinct is “do a different plot”, but that sort of goes against the spirit of these suggestions. So I’ll constrain my advice to the scenes at hand. I understand we’re no longer doing details-first sci-fi. Fine. That’s disappointing to me, but we have to judge the game we got, not the game we wanted.

This is such an easy problem to solve! All you need to do is cut most of SAM’s dialog. The player already knows they’re here to fix the planet with space magic. Just let them explore the place on their own, at their own pace. It’s not like players are going to be baffled by this linear dungeon of combat and Sesame Street level puzzles. SAM’s narration is like watching 2001: A Space Odyssey with a guy who keeps talking over the movie and telling you everything that’s about to happen, leaving you with nothing to do but wait for events to play out.

Laying aside the damage this narration does to the pacing, it also ruins the mood. While I can accept that there’s no science behind the vaults and they run entirely on inexplicable space-magic, that’s no excuse to make them so accommodating for our team. Instead of having everyone constantly making correct guesses about the technology, have them make incorrect (yet plausible for the genre and possibly humorous) guesses about what they are and how they work.

There’s already some dialog in here where characters will blurt out a comment about how cool this stuff looks. I appreciate having my teammates react to what’s going on, but it would be even better if these barks showed that your team really has no idea what they’re doing.

Liam: (As the player is exploring a tower on the surface.) Maybe these machines are working fine. Like, maybe the aliens that built this place LIKE the radiation. Maybe it’s that they eat or whatever.

Cora: (After defeating a batch of robots.) Maybe that’s what happened to the people that built this vault. Maybe they lost control and were killed by their own defense robots.

Liam: (Upon reaching the plant room.) Woah, check it out guys. More plants! Way down here where there’s no sunshine. Maybe the robots just really like having a garden and they don’t want us trampling it.

Vetra: (Upon reaching the lower levels.) Maybe this place is supposed to be a bunker. Maybe there was some sort of cataclysm on the surface and the builders took shelter here?

Liam: (If the player lingers in one room for too long.) Maybe the builders are still here, but they’re so tiny we can’t see them? But then why would they build their consoles this big? Nevermind.

Liam: (Upon reaching the final room.) What if, like, these PLANTS are the ones that built this place? Maybe they just move real slow or something. What do you think? Guys?

Maybe they reach the first tower, and they assume it will clean the air when they turn it on. But then it doesn’t, and they realize they need two more towersBe sure to give the player some cool loot or revelatory exposition to avoid the “Princess is in another castle” feeling.. Have them assume a console will cut power to a forcefield, but then it does something else entirely and takes them in an unexpected direction. They reach the second gravity shaft and assume it’s going to take them down again, but instead it lifts them up. They assume a console will activate the obviously posed killer robots, but then it just turns on the lights. They laugh nervously, start doing a puzzle, and halfway through the robots wake up.

All of this would help sell the idea that these places are crazy alien tech, and not a murder dungeon with a big glowing “ON” button at the end. These vaults look really cool and they might make for a tense scene if SAM’s omniscience wasn’t constantly obliterating all sense of mystery.

Peebee

The pupils in her eyes are huge, which is part of what makes her seem so child-like. That, and her body language. And personality. And inane dialog.
The pupils in her eyes are huge, which is part of what makes her seem so child-like. That, and her body language. And personality. And inane dialog.

As we’re exploring the monoliths, we meet Peebee. Peebee is aggressively annoying. To be fair to the writers, this is entirely deliberate. To be fair to me, that doesn’t make it okay.

Peebee is an Asari. Asari live for a thousand years. Their defining attribute ought to be “maturity”. But Peebee has the personality of a 13 year old. She’s impulsive, unreliable, self-absorbed, pushy, and opinionated. She’s the last person I’d bring with me on any mission more important than a beer run.

This could be okay, as a deliberate effort to design a character that plays against type. I imagine it would be humorous to befriend a Krogan poet, or a berserker Salarian. The problem is that this game has basically turned all of the aliens into different flavors of humans. None of the Asari in the game feel like Asari to me. They’re not patient, aloof, wise, or placed in positions of powerAside from on the Asari ark, obviously.. They’re bartenders and mooks, and you could swap out their character models for human ones without needing to alter the dialog at all.

So in a world where the Asari have lost everything that made them special, Peebee doesn’t feel like she’s playing against type. She just feels like yet another human with an Asari paintjob.

Peebee talks like a human. At one point Ryder asks her what “Peebee” stands for and she jokes that it stands for “Peanut Butter”. Now, I’m not saying it’s impossible that this Asari has heard of peanut butter, but is that really the best way to characterize an alien? Does she need to constantly speak in human-centric idioms and make reference to things from Earth? Isn’t the entire point of having alien friends the ability for them to offer fresh viewpoints that a human couldn’t give us?

It also feels like the writer missed the point of having annoying characters. Pairing a straight man and a clown is a time-honored trope and it’s been used in everything from romantic comedies to buddy cop movies. You create two wildly divergent personalities and you let them bounce off each other. The problem is that Peebee’s antics are all one-sided. Her annoying personality would be fine if the player was allowed to express their annoyance, but our dialog wheel here in Andromeda has been reduced to the binary choice of “totally agree” and “slightly agree”.

In Saint’s Row, you end up with a lot of goofballs on your team. Some of them are even annoying. The key is that this trait is then used to fuel the banter between the characters. The Boss teases Pierce about being a sellout. They poke fun at Matt for being a NERD. They mock Shaundi for being too high-strung. We never get anything like that in the relationship between Ryder and Peebee. You never get the two of them trading insults or doing jokes with callbacks. Peebee just says something childish and Sara responds in her usual tone. There’s no sense of tension, rivalry, or exasperation.

Even ignoring her grating personality, her dialog is cringy, obvious, and overly verbose. The two of you meet in one of the Monolith ruins, and she tells you that she refers to the long-gone aliens that built this place as “Remnant”. Then a few lines later she says she’s really into studying “rem-tech”. And then she breaks this down, explaining that it’s short for “remnant technology”. Then she explains that she likes to shorten words because it makes things easier. Is the writer trying to show she thinks the player character is stupid, or does the writer think the player is stupid? I can’t tell.

You'be been studying this tech for months? Wow. You must have learned a great deal. Too bad the dialog wheel won't let me ask you about any of this, since it's THE CENTRAL MACGUFFIN THE ENTIRE CONFLICT IS BUILT AROUND.
You'be been studying this tech for months? Wow. You must have learned a great deal. Too bad the dialog wheel won't let me ask you about any of this, since it's THE CENTRAL MACGUFFIN THE ENTIRE CONFLICT IS BUILT AROUND.

Peebee is supposedly obsessed with Remnant tech. You might think that this means she’s our go-to character for remnant details and backstory, but instead Peebee talks mostly about herself and all the remnant stuff is left vague because worldbuilding is for losers.

Even if we accept her personality as a good design for an Asari and even if we decide we want a “quirky” companion, her dialog really needed another editing pass to tighten it up.

How I’d have done it:

Classic BioWare games often had characters pulling double duty, where their personal story also did a bunch of worldbuilding. This idea has mostly been abandoned and now everyone just talks about themselves.

It would have been great to have a smart, analytical, grounded character that was into the Remnant. Their dialog could provide insight and backstory, the way Liara did for the Protheans, Mordin did for the Genophage project, or Legion did for the Geth.

As much as I dislike this character, she actually has my favorite line in this section of the game. She finds some random Remnant gizmo and assumes it must be a “symbol of authority”. Then the next time you see her she runs through the room saying, “It’s not a symbol of authority! The Remnant still shoot at me!” This part of the game needed a lot more of that sort of thing. Although it’s odd that the only person making wrong assumptions about the Remnant isn’t the one who landed two hours ago, but the Asari that’s supposedly been studying them for months.

Like I said, this needed another editing pass.

Sure, the aliens invented spinning red sirens to alert you of danger, but they haven't yet unlocked the secret of yellow and black hazard tape.
Sure, the aliens invented spinning red sirens to alert you of danger, but they haven't yet unlocked the secret of yellow and black hazard tape.

After you reach the final chamber of the vault, Sara can push a button and the vault “reboots” or whatever. SAM describes it in terms over “overriding the lockdown so the vault can be restarted”, which makes it sound like the vault runs on Windows 95. The whole point of having mysterious alien technology is that we can have it do things without needing to explain how it works, but then SAM exhaustively explains the operation of the system with so much certainty and familiarity that you have the worst of both worlds. The place has no sense of mystery or wonder. You spend tons of time and dialog explaining things, but the player never gets the satisfaction of understanding or discovery.

Rebooting the vault releases a death cloud that chases you out of the vault. Luckily, the aliens that built this place adopted “spinning red light cone” as their universal symbol of emergency and danger, just like a 21st century human ambulance. What are the odds?

Clean

We've got rocks, irradiated sand, and stagnant water. Everything we need for a thriving colony.
We've got rocks, irradiated sand, and stagnant water. Everything we need for a thriving colony.

Once you return to the surface you discover that – just as everyone assumed – the vault has cleaned up the radiation. I don’t know if it’s just been cleaned from the air, or also from the ground, or what. Regardless, you can now start your first real colony.

Once you found your colony on Eos, you’re given a choice: Do you want a military outpost, or a scientific one? This is really annoying, since the only correct answer is, “PLANT CROPS AND SCREW EVERYTHING ELSE YOU DUMMIES!”

Look, I wouldn’t be doing the “But what do they eat?” thing again, except the game brought it up. I’m totally ready to accept the notion that they were smart enough to bring several years worth of food. I’ll bet you could fit a lot of Pop-Tarts in that immense 16Km tube that’s wrapped around the central hub of the Nexus. But then at the start of the game the writer explicitly stated that the Nexus was out of food. If that’s true, then nothing else matters. Grow food now or die. Why would anyone found a scientific outpost if we don’t have the means to feed our people? This isn’t a Cerberus operation and we’re not here to study the effects of starvation on colonists.

After you make this decision, you travel back to the Nexus and someone makes it clear that the scientific outpost is supposed to study HOW to grow food on this alien world. That’s information we really should have given the player before they made the decision. This is one of a tiny number of real choices you have in the game. It has almost no impact on anything else and is mostly cosmetic. Worst of all, the proper context isn’t given until after you’ve made the decision.

Atrocious.

Everything is fine.
Everything is fine.

It doesn’t matter anyway. The new colony is only a couple of acres. Even if the scientists instantly figure out how to grow crops in this lifeless orange desert, I don’t imagine these two acres are going to feed the hundreds of people living on the Nexus. Or even the handful of people living here.

How I’d have done it:

Just don’t bring up the food thing. Don’t give us details up front if you’re going to turn around and tell us the details don’t matter. Figure out what genre you’re working in before you start writing, and explain the rules so the player can understand the choices they’re making.
 

Footnotes:

[1] The Kett, ancient guardian robots, or (very occasionally) local pirates or other assorted jerks.

[2] If you fall into the abyss, you’re instantly teleported back to solid ground.

[3] Actually the hunk of metal in your head is connected to the mainframe back on the ship. Fine, but how does he see through walls and read the memory of alien computers? That shit isn’t coming to him through my eyeballs.

[4] Be sure to give the player some cool loot or revelatory exposition to avoid the “Princess is in another castle” feeling.

[5] Aside from on the Asari ark, obviously.



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146 thoughts on “Andromeda Part 11: The Vault in Our Stars

  1. Shen says:

    Stop imagining a much better Liam – it makes me sad.

    Honestly, I could probably forgive so much of this game if it weren’t for bloody SAM and stupid Daddy Ryder. For a protagonist titled “Pathfinder,” it’d be really nice if we weren’t always in the passenger seat.

  2. Raion says:

    Are the Towers of Hanoi one of the puzzles, or have Bioware truly lost their way?

    1. Dev Null says:

      Don’t be silly; you can’t have an adventure game without a ludicrously-ported and repetitively simple Hanoi-clone. That’s the definition of the genre!

    2. Asdasd says:

      I know I’ve found a community I can call home when this is the second comment.

      1. Tom says:

        I was already grinning ear-to-ear after the snark about this not being a Cerberus “”””””Research”””””” operation and the delicious “what do they eat” callback; the Hanoi jab just cemented it for me.

  3. Jabberwok says:

    I had tried not to be judgemental with early screenshots and video, but Peebee’s character design annoyed me immediately. Knowing about her personality only confirms that reaction. I dunno, it sounds like some of the writing in this game was more suited to your average, irreverent Pixar comedy (or Marvel blockbuster) instead of a universe inspired by Star Trek. And how they handle aliens just drives that home. The whole point of aliens in Star Trek was to package together a specific set of personality traits and values. All of the alien companions in the original trilogy serve as examples of the archetype their race represents. The Asari weren’t designed for comedy relief. And purposefully undermining that stereotype doesn’t automatically create good writing.

    Also, SAM sounds a lot like the Dinklage bots from Destiny (floaty things, forget what they’re called). Lots of completely meaningless exposition, coupled with a tour guide.

    1. Liessa says:

      It doesn’t help that she’s introduced by having her knock the PC to the ground and sit on their chest.

      I really hate the ‘designed to be annoying’ excuse. The thing about deliberately annoying characters is that they’re still annoying. Yes, it can work as comedy if the script acknowledges this and gives you a cathartic way to deal with them (watch any episode of Blackadder, for example). But you need really good, witty dialogue to pull that off, and the Andromeda scriptwriters just aren’t up to the task.

    2. trevalyan says:

      This description of Peebee reminds me of no one so much as Sera from Inquisition. Also a massively immature, LOLWACKY, irresponsible, proudly ignorant hoodlum who is completely inappropriate for anything a remotely responsible leader may consider. It’s not so much that I wanted to expel her from Skyhold: I would happily have put her head on a pike if the dialog option came up. A major turnoff from modern Bioware games, especiallly because yup, they are not only keeping this archetype but increasing their importance as characters.

      NB: I can deal with goofy or antisocial characters: HK-47, Black Whirlwind, and Grunt are examples of Bioware characters who are breakout stars at this role. Even Mission from KOTOR played a mischievous teen mascot, and was worth keeping around. Round it off with Atton Rand and Lambert the witcher.

      1. AndrewCC says:

        But you CAN call out Sera, her personal quest lets you berate her then kick her out. Sera also gives a weak motivation for how she is, even if her morality is warped.

      2. Guy says:

        I kinda liked Sera, though I put her on my mental list of troublemakers we can’t take anywhere and so she didn’t get out much. She had connections with the Orlesian peasant rebel underground and occasionally I helped her go meet a “friend of Red Jenny’s” and then later we got schematics for a Bee Grenade. We had dwarven Mad Runecrafters in the basement, so having a mad Bee Grenadier hanging out upstairs didn’t seem too out of place.

        Vivenne was the character I lost my temper with in her first twenty minutes of screentime. I was playing a coolheaded rationalist Tal’Vashoth* Inquisitor, and by the time I got to her recruitment mission I’d spent several hours of playtime dealing with repeated iterations of someone questioning her and her replying with whatever most closely approximated “I have no insight or opinion on Chantry religion; all I know is I have this magic brand that lets me close holes in the sky that are raining demons. Can I borrow some soldiers?” and in Vivenne’s recruitment mission someone attempted to challenge her to a duel and I was like “Finally, a socially acceptable reason to beat the shit out of someone for not taking me seriously!

        And then Vivenne interrupted and froze the guy and asked what I wanted done with him and I picked the option to shrug and say I don’t care because he wasn’t actually important now that she’d blown the chance to win a trial by combat in front of spectators. And then I asked her about the Mage-Templar war and she blamed everything on the rebel mages without acknowledging that they had valid concerns about Templars wanting to kill them all or make them all Tranquil. And I lost my temper at her and never spoke to her again.

        People online have repeatedly told me that was just Vivienne playing the Orlesian Great Game and not what she really thought, which might be true but would be part of my first Inqusitor’s entire problem with the Great Game, which is that everyone in Orlesian high society seems to treat it as an actual game where the goal is to collect points rather than as a metaphor for the deadly struggle for power over the most powerful nation in the area. So maybe Vivienne got to add a few points to her scoreboard for hiding her true feelings when talking to me, but the practical consequence was that the Inquisitior had no faith in her political judgement whatsoever and did not allow her any input into decisionmaking.

        *minor but persistent irritant: every time someone call her a Qunari or Ox-head or whatever I wanted her to calmly mention that the correct technical term is Tal’Vashoth as she was born as a Qunari but no longer follows the dictates of the Qun as evidenced by the fact that she’s a mage and talking, and then get back to the subject at hand. I was only really annoyed about that when Iron Bull called her a Qunari because he knows better

        1. Ofermod says:

          Orlesian Great Game? I’m assuming that’s basically the same thing as Daes Dae’mar (AKA the Great Game) from Wheel of Time (and probably many other things, to be fair).

          1. guy says:

            Same principle, yeah. The section at the Orlesian Court was kinda fun, but also annoying because my character was here to thwart the assassination of the Empress and the summoning of an army of demons* and didn’t really care about petty power plays among the Orlesian nobility and was quite willing to just tell people true things and not participate in some stupidly complicated dance of lying to people so everyone will be impressed by how good a liar I am, which seemed to be how the Great Game is played in Orleais. Because I was playing a smart and self-controlled Inquisitor I refrained from attempting to flip the table on the basis that it wouldn’t help.

            *This turned out to be totally unrelated but I’d fallen through a time warp to a bad future and heard about both events and given that the Breach opening had involved the death of the Divine my working theory was that the enemy had a blood ritual requiring a sacrifice of a woman of high rank and would be using the Empress to summon the army.

          2. Taellosse says:

            “The Great Game” is actually an often-used term for the practice of international politics in the real world, too. The term generally presumes the full range of tools in play, too – diplomacy, spycraft, assassination, and military deployments.

            The tendency for people with power that are insulated from direct consequences in such activities to treat it as an actual game is also true to life, incidentally. It’s part of where “power corrupts, etc.” comes from, after all.

        2. Linneris says:

          Well, technically, the Qunari Inquisitor was born and raised outside the Qun, so the correct term is simply “Vashoth” rather than “Tal’Vashoth”.

    3. Gethsemani says:

      Andromeda was probably aiming for something of a lighter mood than the original trilogy, as evidenced by Liam being care-free (or careless, as it turns out), Vetra being a sassy black marketeer and PeeBee being Liara if Liara was annoying and rude instead of awkward and uncertain. The problem is that this lighter mood is constantly undercut by the game’s amateurish attempts at creating drama.

      My problem is that I think the writers don’t really think PeeBee is annoying. I think they intended for her to be an irreverent prankster, a breath of fresh air compared to ms. Tired Face, Director Tann and the rest of the obstructionists in the Initiative. Just as with Liam, you can’t ever call her out on her stupidity, her lack of personal space or her inability to be serious. But just as with Liam, they misjudged how much they could play those tropes up. Where Liam comes off as reckless and unable to judge risk instead of charmingly carefree, PeeBee comes off as an arrogant prick who will not listen to reason. In many ways PeeBee echoes Sera from Dragon Age: Inquisition, with the difference that DA:I at least acknowledges that Sera is a divisive character and allows the player to get rid off her at pretty much any point (that she isn’t called out on gaslighting the Inquisitor in their romance is still weird though).

      1. Jabberwok says:

        I’m actually beginning to realize how much I hate it when RPGs force you to play the straight character. I don’t think this was a problem in classic CRPGs because the dialogue options gave you a lot of ways to respond to any NPC’s personality. But railroading the player, removing their ability to be expressive, just makes “fun” characters like this come off as the writers having fun at the player’s expense, rather than the player having fun.

        1. Guy says:

          I often enjoy playing the “straight man” role, but I appreciate Fate:Grand Order letting you play the zany character. Your trusted subordinate Mash Kyrielight respects and looks up to you and deals with your eccentricities and I just keep picking the sillier dialogue options because it’s so funny watching her reactions.

          Also, there’s a sidequest where Fergus, whose defining trait in womanizing, goes on a holodeck adventure to try flirting with the women of the cast, and the PC basically says “hang on, let me get my popcorn” because both player and character know this is going to end hilariously. It builds up to him flirting with the resident composed Japanese lady who speaks politely and is insistent on being a proper wife and that is Berserker Kiyohime with the skill Mad Enhancement at Rank EX.

          1. Mattias42 says:

            I know I zig when almost the rest of the community zags on that game, but I thought Dragon’s Age II did a wonderful job with its humor without falling into the tired old ‘straight-man/goof’ duality.

            If you play Hawke as the ‘snarky’ type, the actual characters react to it as… well, they would. Some joke back. Some are sarcastic about it. Some roll their eyes. One or two even outright express comfort once or twice in the way that ‘if Hawke’s still making stupid jokes, fighting this scary thing can’t be THAT bad!’

            Added a lot of character to the whole gang, and it let me have a couple of real ‘WHAM’ moments, simply by picking ‘charming’ or ‘straight-faced’ instead on stuff my Hawke actually took deadly serious.

            Really wish more games would try that ‘x, y, or z style dialogue, with altered lines if somebody that normally favors x suddenly says y,’ but I’ll acknowledge that it’s a crazy amount of extra work.

            1. Kavonde says:

              Amen! For all the crap DA2 gets shoveled onto it, the ability it gave you to craft a personality for Hawke and have other characters react to it just hasn’t been matched elsewhere.

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          Welcome to the world of fully voiceacted games where lines cost money and can’t be added easily if someone thought of a new dialogue idea at the tail end of the dev cycle. And because AAA games are held up as the standard of industry and paragons of genres smaller devs emulate them.

          I know I’ve brought this up a couple times before but this is something that I appreciated in DA2, you had a lot of dialogue options that, even when they ammounted to the same end result, let you define the tone and the personality of your character.

      2. trevalyan says:

        Great minds think alike. The fact Sera looks like an uglier Joffrey Baratheon cosplaying as elven sniper Tauriel the Taurrible is definitely a further petty reason to despise her.

    4. Agammamon says:

      I’ve never played the game, never heard any dialogue, but the first picture I saw of her was the one where, for some reason, she’s knocked down one of the characters and is crouched over them.

      The expression on her face in that picture was enough by itself to tell me that this was the annoying, childish, sidekick.

      I guess that’s a win for the animation team?

      1. GoStu says:

        That’s her first introduction to the team: she jumps out of nowhere, knocks over the main character, and sits on them for a chat. It’s also the point where I started to hate her. (and it made me dislike Ryder even more)

        You just went through a fight to get to that place, and then someone jumps out in something that looks a lot like an attack. It would have been totally in-character for your squadmates to have ventilated her, maybe even reflexively. I was personally rocking a shotgun and my squadmates (I think) were doing the same; it should have been two trigger-pulls and no more peebee.

        1. Jabberwok says:

          Missed opportunity for a Renegade quicktime event right as she tries to jump out…

          1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

            Interestingly enough, there is an interrupt that allows you to throw her off of you before finishing the conversation.

  4. Olaf Olafson says:

    Peebee’s writing isn’t even human-centric. She is *US-centric*.

    No continental European, let alone someone from an Asian or African country would think about Peebee->PB->Peanut butter. They might not even think about peanut butter at all, ever.

    1. Tonich says:

      Totally. Add to that the fact that they’d all need to be speaking (supposedly modern-day) English for this joke to work.

  5. Sarfa says:

    You say here that after the decision about what the outpost is going to do you’re told that the scientific one is going to be studying how to grow food on that planet. If you pick the military one, are you then told that the outpost is going to be a big fort to defend the field where they hope to one day grow food on that planet?

    1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

      The couple of times that I’ve played it, I’ve chosen “science” because it’s just the thing that makes the most sense to me if the longterm goal is to not have everyone starve to death, but I suspect that the choice only matters how some of the Nexus leaders react to the news.

      I’ve put a fair number of hours in both playthroughs and not once have I actually seen a field get planted on Eos. And I’d have to assume that fields big enough to fill the needs of the Initiative would have to be huge. But I don’t recall seeing so much as a single settler of Prodromos (what the ultimately name the successful settlement on Eos, if Shamus hasn’t mentioned that) planting so much as a vegetable garden, much less plowing the hundreds of square miles of fields that they would require to meet the Initiative’s crop needs.

      1. NAMENAMENAMENAME says:

        I picked “military” on the basis that the Inititative had tried the “science” route twice before pre-Ryder and got run out by the kett for not having enough guns twice before as a result. Honestly, I’m not even sure the difference between the two is even a cosmetic one. Other than a couple of settlers in the colony mentioning militia training/duties, the only remotely militaristic thing I recall the military version of the settlement having were a few automated gun turrets at the entrances to the camp- which I’d presume were the bare minimum given that I don’t ever recall seeing a Podromos sans the guns (or with some sciencey thing instead).

        Which of course, made me a bit annoyed later on when an angaran diplomat in a side-quest complained about how militaristic the Initiative seemed given they had set up a military base as their first colony…

  6. ElementalAlchemist says:

    does the writer think the player is stupid

    I assume this must be a rhetorical question, because, yes, obviously. The entire game is aimed at the broadest mass market possible, so they have to cater the absolute lowest common denominator. Hence why SAM constantly prattles on. You have to hand hold when you are designing a game for people that probably struggle to hit start on a control pad.

    Speaking of SAM, I’m pretty sure it’s a she (voice actor-wise at any rate).

    This isn’t a Cerberus operation

    Except it is, because the whole package wasn’t already terrible enough, why not shovel Cerberus in there as the cherry on top?

    1. Henson says:

      I always refer to SAM as a ‘she’ because I’ve got a sneaky suspicion the writers intended her to possess the essence of Ryder’s mother.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        They probably cut the plot twist where SAM was made from Ryder’s mother! Sure, they could have used a supercomputer, but dead relatives are more grimdark.

        Now THAT’s a Cerberus operation.

        1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

          And it was actually way more expensive, complicated to make, the mother would have just enough conciouscess to be aware of her surroundings (but not enough to actually do anything), and it makes SAM far less competent that it otherwise would have been.

          Because it’s not Cerberus if you’re not shooting yourself in the foot.

        2. DeadlyDark says:

          Wait. Are we sure, that Ryder siblings aren’t intended to be Shinji and Rei?

      2. Dreadjaws says:

        Yup. That was my suspicion too. I often wonder if they cut that out because they were out of time to develop it, they forgot about it or it was just so awfully cliche that even they realized it was too much.

        1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

          I think that one of the big problems with this game’s story was that the writers kept punting so much of the story off to the presumed sequels that there wasn’t really any story being told within this game.

          If there was a SAM-is-Ryder’s-mom-as-an-AI story to be had here, it probably got pushed farther down the line with all of the other interesting story points that were pushed off into the sequels.

  7. Modran says:

    You could spin Peebee as an Asari fascinated by human (ok, US) culture and as such using as many catchphrase as she can, almost always at the wrong time.
    I know some people like that with japan culture, for example.

    1. Karma The Alligator says:

      But is there still an actual US culture in the ME universe? Because I was under the impression that it had become a central ‘human culture’ mostly.

      At least the people acting like that *now* have a multi-culture excuse

      1. Joe Informatico says:

        It’s a universal human culture in the same way Star Trek is: basically American, with the occasional superficial nod to non-American culture, usually through foreign accents, cuisine, or costume.

    2. RFS-81 says:

      I’d love an alien like that. Or have them mix up different cultures. “Howdy, Commander Shepard-san!”

      1. Guy says:

        There was a gag in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha where Admiral Lindy, who was a human from space, had Japanese stuff all over her quarters, including “the thing that goes donk” (it has a real name, but it’s that thing where water pours into a bamboo tube and eventually it tips over with a “donk” sound and it’s the universal anime symbol for “rich and traditional Japanese house”) on her spaceship. And then she gets a cup of green tea and drops two sugar cubes into it and Nanoha gasps in shock and begins fidgeting because she’s 10 and not sure how to tell someone that you’re not supposed to do that with green tea.

      2. Modran says:

        Oh yeah, so much this !

  8. Geebs says:

    If anything, I found Peebee one of the least irritating characters in Andromeda. At least she’s supposed to be one-note, as opposed to, say, Cora who is supposed to be deeper but HEY DID I EVER TELL YOU I WAS AN ASARI COMMANDO?

    1. TLN says:

      Let’s just agree that all the characters are irritating.

      1. Ayrshark says:

        I’d argue Drack and Vetra aren’t all that bad. Mostly because they seem to act in at least a semi-competent manner, which, I’ve found is a massive improvement over pretty much everyone else in-game. Often including Ryder.

  9. Echo Tango says:

    How much of Shamus’ suggestions could actually be modded in? I haven’t bought the game, but judging by what’s already available on Nexus Mods (one of the downloads is a modding tool), I think a lot of Shamus’ changes could actually be put into the game[1]. Silencing SAM’s dialogue / removing his lines – sounds do-able to me. Changing the dialogue of other main characters without changing the overall game structure seems like it could be done. Some of the mods are changes to characters’ 3D models, so changing some of the planets to look more mystical / alien sounds like it’s possible too.

    [1] There’s even a ‘fixpack’ mod, which does some minor alterations to game scripts too, like stopping dialogue about water tanks if the player has already solved the water-finding quest. I think a lot of Shamus’ ideas are actually feasible with the tools available to modders, without needing the stuff the real devs / writers had.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      How would you change voice acted dialogue with a mod? Is the mod creator going to dial up the voice actor and ask them to work for free?

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Replace all the dialogue scenes with comic-book style still-image stuff, or find somebody who does voice impersonations.

        1. Syal says:

          Voice impersonations are overrated, just have one guy speak all the new lines and start them with “This is [relevant character]”.

      2. BlueHorus says:

        Shutting SAM up would be entirely possible – you’d just disable his dialogue completely during some points during the game. Like the vaults.

        Also, I’ve seen some mods that ‘hired’ volunteer voice actors for new NPC parts, so in theory you could completely replace the voice lines of a character or scene. If you had the patience.

      3. Fizban says:

        There once was a time when dialogue was conveyed through mystical boxes full of letters some called “text.” It can be pretty jarring if you aren’t consistent when things are voice acted and when they’re just dialogue though, so any attempt to fill it out that way would suffer that, since you’d probably have to replace more than is feasible to make things consistent. Assuming the various modding tools could even produce useful text boxes for the purpose- triggering subtitles would be easy, but presentation is everything and subtitles without sound are terrible if you’re hearing.

        1. baud says:

          One thing that could work for aliens from the Andromeda galaxy: just use gibberish and the subtitles are the translation, like Bioware did for some aliens in KOTOR. (you could handwave the translation to work done by another team before you arrived or a small quest on first contact) And since the gibberish can be reused, you don’t even need to do new recording if the text changes! Win-win!

          1. Mr. Wolf says:

            Jata bata wanna needy bo.

            It gets old. It gets old fast. It gets old really fast.

            1. evilmrhenry says:

              It helps if you record more than 3 lines of fake dialog.

              1. Echo Tango says:

                You could also record several shorter lines of gibberish, and randomly switch between them, and throw in random pauses between them, so it sounds like the alien is spreading sentences or paragraphs.

                1. Syal says:

                  Durka durka, dur kakakadur.

        2. shoeboxjeddy says:

          Text boxes are acceptable at a certain budget and type of game. However, if the rest of the dialogue is voiced, suddenly switching to text for important conversations would be like the episodes of Evangelion where they ran out of money and stopped animating anything. Immersion breaking and ultimately kind of creepy.

          1. Echo Tango says:

            We’re talking about modders fixing a badly broken game here. 1. It’s an improvement on what’s pretty bad. 2. The budget for this game is already spent; The mod-fix is running on good will and generosity.

            1. shoeboxjeddy says:

              Badly broken is a vast overestimation. It doesn’t crash, the quests complete as they’re supposed to etc. If you want badly broken, Bethesda is over that way *gestures in a direction* This is a mediocre game, not a badly broken one.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Soooo… what I’m reading from this is that Bioware is quickly spiraling towards Bethesda’s level of “we’ll just throw out this world and let modders fix the details”…

      1. Agammamon says:

        Except for the ‘let modders fix the details’ part.

        BGS (outside of FO76) is good about supporting that part.

  10. BlueBlazeSpear says:

    I didn’t like the vaults at all in this game. The wonder wears off pretty quickly after that first one. It’s interesting how “alien” gets expressed in these vaults. They’re cavernous. They were built with hexagonal shapes in mind instead of squares. Things were built at 45 degree angles instead of 90 degree angles. It’s edgy, y’all. I got over it pretty quickly. Mostly because I was always there to do a very specific job. And any time I land on a new planet, it’s the first thing that I clear when I can so that I can get it over with and it makes it easier to get around most of these planets.

    At the Habitat 7 vault, Alec Ryder is able to trigger the vault at the console that’s conveniently right inside the door. Later on, there’s a conversation (that involves no dialogue wheel to allow for asking questions) where Sara asks SAM approximately “Hey, you know how my dad did this same thing right inside the door? Why are we spelunking into the depths of these city-sized machines when my dad’s way was a lot simpler?” SAM’s basic reaction is “Your dad’s way was dangerous and it got him killed. That’s not an option for you.” Wait – what? Why not? It would at least be nice to explore why we can’t do that. What’s the danger? Who gets to decide when to weigh that danger against the benefit? You’d think that the Pathfinder gets to make these calls. But since everyone else is bossing Sara around, I guess why not SAM too.

    I knew that I wasn’t going to like the Peebee character when I saw the first promotional clips of her and I saw her running around and shooting while showing off her midriff. I’m one of those nerds who thinks that all of the characters running around in these hostile, alien environments should be wearing hardsuits with all of the protections that they afford. I’m fine if they want to wear more casual things when they’re on the Nexus or on the ship, but you meet Peebee out in the middle of a radioactive desert and she dresses like and acts like a sorority girl well into the throes of spring break. Frell off with that.

    I swear it’s like Peebee’s character was originally meant to be a human, but then someone decided to switch her race at the last moment and there wasn’t time to change her dialogue to reflex that change. And if you’re trying to tell a proper story, the a character can’t just be a personality trait with a Mass Effect alien skin slapped over it. The characters have to actually add something of substance to the narrative if you’re offering a story experience. Ashley wasn’t just a “space racist,” she was our gateway to the First Contact War. Kaiden wasn’t just an awkward, taciturn lieutenant, he was our introduction to biotics. I’ve said it a bunch, but I’ll say it again: Look at Andromeda’s rough equivalents to Ashley and Kaiden: Cora and Liam. What are they adding to this story? They could be changed to “Vicks” and “Wedge” and the change would mean nothing to the story.

    Arguably, the Remnant are a pretty big deal to Andromeda. And Peebee has been actively studying them and is the closest thing we have to an expert. This should, theoretically, make her a vital character to the story. But this game somehow manages to not do that at all. She doesn’t offer up anything useful about the Remnant that Sara couldn’t have figured out on her own. Not that it matters anyway, because the Remnant actually don’t matter to the story at all. They’re mindless automatons that are just there to be another enemy type. Through them, we learn nothing of the technology that created them or the vaults. We only ever interact with them by shooting them. And the only thing that comes from Peebee’s half-hearted study of them is a VI construct if you complete her character mission. Even if she wasn’t a bad character, she’s still a pointless one; pointlessness is a mantle that she shares, sadly, with most all of the other squadmates.

    1. Trevor says:

      I like your typo in the last sentence. It’s like you wanted to say “all” but at the last second, to be less confrontational you went for most. But I think you were right the first time. All of your squadmates are useless and pointless at everything except combat. Vetra’s supposed to be this great smuggler type but there’s never a moment where her skills get you through a problem. In ME2 there’s the problem that the Collectors paralyze people in order to kidnap them. It’s Mordin who comes up with the solution that makes you immune to their paralysis gizmo. That makes Mordin seem like a useful companion and not just a weirdo who talks fast and is useful against armored foes. Andromeda never lets any of its characters do anything useful like this.

      On the level of competency you’ve got SAM at the top. SAM solves all your problems. He’s the most competent. Then there’s Ryder, who is somewhat useful, although mostly as the minivan that drives SAM from place to place. At the bottom is everybody else, who are like the wacky cats that Ryder has to herd. Some of them are supposedly good at things, but they’re never allowed to show it because SAM steps on their toes and does whatever for them faster and better than they could. Maybe SAM should have been an on-board companion for a single character game.

      1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

        “Most all” was more of a stylistic choice than an accidental correction/typo, but your characterization of my intent is still on the money. I don’t know that any of the characters matter, but I did want to leave a little ray of light there for Jaal, who is dangerously close to being a character who actually matters to the story.

      2. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        Even ME2 had this problem to a large extent.
        Sure, Mordin got to do something useful, and you could use some of your squadmates during the suicide mission, but outside that most of the team isn’t really contributing much outside of combat sections (competent).
        Heck, for most of the game you don’t even know why you’re collecting all these people, besides some vague mandate of “build your team”.

        I mean, what did Garrus contribute during the storyline? Or Tali? Or Jack? Drell-assassin guy? The krogan? The human companions at least get speaking lines (unfortunately), but everyone else is just so much background fodder.

        Even Mordin’s contribution comes out of nowhere. He never talks about researching a protection for the stun-bugs, or even that he’s got one captured. We have no idea what his protection is, how it works, and why it sometimes doesn’t work.

        1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

          I should probably preface every critical post I make of Andromeda with “My favorite Mass Effect game by far is Mass Effect 1 and many of my gripes about Andromeda are the same gripes that I had about Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.”

          Shamus had a very legitimate critique of ME2 that amounted to “Without knowing what the nature of the suicide mission will actually be, why are we collecting assassins and emotionally unstable biotics and the like?”

          But, on the whole, I am kinder toward the characters in ME2 than I am toward the characters of MEA, for a pretty basic reason: The characters were the main story of Mass Effect 2. The Collector plot line was juvenile and half-baked, it didn’t address any of the main plot threads from ME1, and created even more plot headaches for ME3. But it’s also a comparatively-small section of what pulled the game’s story forward. It was so much more about recruiting these characters, getting to know them, completing their loyalty missions – unless you’re meta-gaming and intentionally trying to set up various fail states.

          So when asked “What does Garrus actually bring to the story of ME2? What does Mordin bring?” My answer is pretty simple: “everything.” ME2 is my least favorite installment from the original trilogy, but even I can defend it for what makes it great: The character interaction. The Collector side-story is dumb as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t care for how much they “streamlined” the RPG elements from the first game – but give me Garrus-as-Space-Batman all day. Give me Mordin unironically singing The Pirates of Penzance. Give me a Geth who can’t explain why he’s wearing Shepard’s N7 armor. That’s the story. The characters, by definition, are bringing something to it. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re multi-faceted. Garrus may be a wisecracker, but he’s constantly having the internal battle of “How far is too far?” and we get to have an impact when he’s face-to-face with that decision. Mordin may sing comedy opera, but he’s also got to reckon with the reality that he’s directly responsible for the continuation of the Krogan Genophage and, again, our actions and words shape the outcome of how he decides to deal with it.

          Lest it feel like I’m moving a goal post, let me relent this point: Maybe I’d care more about the squad mates in Andromeda if I spent 70% of the game recruiting them, conversing with them, and earning their “loyalty” (ugh, I still hate that term in this context) and I wouldn’t be asking “What purpose do these characters actually serve here?” It would be apparent. They’re the story. But what we get instead is an overarching plot that has nothing to do with these characters and writers who make no attempt at bridging that gap. You’ve either got to make these characters important metafictionally (world building, table setting, thematic thrust), or make the characters important textually – make them required to the story.

          As far as I can tell, Andromeda didn’t succeed on either of these fronts. Since we didn’t spend so much of this game recruiting them and getting to know them, I can only presume that the goal was (or should have been) to make them vital to the story in another way. And that totally doesn’t happen. They’re just… there. This doesn’t make them “bad” by definition, but it certainly begs the question of why we should care about them.

          1. Guy says:

            My biggest structural criticism with ME2 was that the squadmate stories were too self-contained and there weren’t enough missions in the Collector story. Freedom’s Progress has just Miranda, Jacob, and guest-starring Tali. Horizon was good until Kashley was all whiney but only Mordin was significantly involved. The Collector ship was mostly a Shepard-and-EDI show, the Derelict Reaper was Legion’s recruitment mission in disguise, and the attack on the Normandy was all Joker and EDI.

            I felt very strongly there should have been a bigger Collector mission tree so there’d be time for the squad to be a squad, not just people crashing on our array of space-couches.

        2. Sleeping Dragon says:

          To be fair ME2s premise was that you were trying to build a team of field experts from diverse fields (tactics, biotics, combat, infiltration, engineering, diverse sciences) largely because you didn’t know what expertise you’d need on the other side of the omega relay. The idea still has serious issues. for example what if instead of an easily blowable base you encountered an actual Collector planet, or an entire system, or a star cluster (I guess reconaissance and sabotage remain an option), but ultimately there was no guarantee any specific skillset would be helpful. And you do use a bunch of characters during the suicide mission which is a mechanic I was rather surprised didn’t come up again in Bioware games as it was, in my opinion, pretty fun and justified the existence of the companions you didn’t haul around with you.

          1. Coming Second says:

            I do not understand why they’ve never repeated the suicide mission formula (as far as I’m aware; I gave up on actually playing Bioware games after ME3), because talking to veterans and casual players alike it’s clear that it’s the most successful set piece they’ve put together in their modern era. Of course you can pick holes in it but the delivery is excellent, perfectly suiting a game focused on getting to know the cool cast of characters you’ve picked up. I remember being utterly gripped the first time I did it, elated when I finished with everyone alive.

            You’d think a company as ruthlessly focus-grouped as Bioware would have noticed the overwhelming approval they received for ME2’s deneoument, and iterated upon it repeatedly. Again, it’s a type of scenario that makes perfect sense for a developer now focused on delivering characters first and details a very distant second. That they haven’t suggests to me that they’re not just eye-rollingly bad at writing these days but incompetent more generally.

    2. Ninety-Three says:

      I knew that I wasn’t going to like the Peebee character when I saw the first promotional clips of her and I saw her running around and shooting while showing off her midriff.

      I’m not sure if that’s a good reason to judge the character. The decision (dating all the way back to ME2) to sexualize every woman because something something mass effect fiields is obviously indicative of some kind of flaw with the game, but somehow it manages to infect the visuals without actually reaching the characters themselves. See Samara: her outfit was ridiculous but instead of acting like you might expect a character wearing that to act, she was a space paladin and the most straightlaced person on the ship.

      1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

        Your critique of my critique is a fair one. Because this particular gripe is one of mine that goes back to ME2. It seemed positively insane to me you could take Jack into the most hostile of environments and she’d be wearing loose pants, a belt across her chest, and a breathing mask. And I’m pretty sure that ME2 invented the low-angle cam specifically so they could have shots that were so far up Miranda’s butt that we could basically see her soul. But as ridiculous as those design choices were, the characters themselves were able to win me over with what they actually brought to the game.

        I don’t want to claim to be the costume expert or deputize myself as the “prude police,” so let me course-correct a bit by saying that having the first motion video of Andromeda include Peebee jumping and shooting in her midriff set up an unnecessary hurdle in my mind for this character to overcome to win me over. She did not clear that hurdle. Had she otherwise brought value to the game, I could’ve forged on ahead happily the way I did with Jack or Miranda. But as it was, my initial reaction was “Oh, good – another space midriff,” but then never had that impression challenged by the character herself.

        Even when I do judge a book by its cover, I’ll actually read the book to see if my initial judgement was mistaken. Sometimes, it is mistaken, but I found nothing to challenge that initial presumption about Peebee. Unfortunately.

        1. Guy says:

          I file this under “mandatory EA T&A” and try to ignore it; at least ME maintains a rule that only powerful biotics get to have exposed skin in space so there’s setting coherency.

          1. Ninety-Three says:

            Oh no they don’t, ME3 Ashley wears a space jacket that’s perpetually unzipped enough to bare skin, and has the temerity to call out Miranda’s outfit while wearing it.

            1. Guy says:

              Admittedly I killed Ashley in nuclear fire on my playthroughs so I never did see her ME3 outfit. That said, I’m specifically referring to the spacewalk sections when every non-biotic on my team went with a full suit regardless of their standard attire because space be deadly.

        2. Coming Second says:

          I can put together a devil’s avocado for the outfits in ME2 in terms of specific tone. In ME1, you were essentially a space boy scout: the special boy/girl representative of the Alliance military, meant to be setting an example of humanity at its best. You had an Alliance ship crewed by standard naval personnel, and about half of your team (Kashley and Garrus) were basically military goons. So everyone wearing by-the-book outfits made perfect sense, thematically and pragmatically.

          In ME2 however, you’ve cut loose and are working for a terrorist paramilitary organisation. All of the people you are recruiting are rogues or lone wolves. Tonally at least, it makes sense to represent this by having various members of the team wear risque outfits, show the player they’re in sketchy territory beyond where they were in the first game. It’s not subtle, and it often (particularly in the case of Jack) looks completely ridiculous, but I can see what a director might have been trying to convey.

          Of course, this only makes sense in the context of the first couple of games; once Bioware started doing it in every title it can’t be excused as anything but mindless, lowest denominator wank service.

        3. jbc31187 says:

          ME1 gave every character two-three models, depending on where they were. Wrex, Garrus and Tali had their initial outfit you meet them in that they wore around the ship, in addition to whatever armor they wore while exploring or fighting. Liara had her Star Trek lab coat and wore light armor in the field. Kashley had three total- work uniform on the ship, field armor, plus they’d wear their original armor sometimes. It was awkward at times- Kashley, why did you dig out your old clothes for this one conversation?- but at least they were wearing something practical. I don’t miss the old inventory slog, but I never got why they couldn’t give your troops something decent to wear in a vacuum beyond some suspenders and a breather mask.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        On the note of judging by looks, I was never really interested in ME:A (I gave up on the franchise after ME3) so I basically skipped all the promotional material, but just by moving in the videogamey circles of the internet I did see stuff like single shots of some of the characters and from those I actually kinda liked PeeBee because my first reaction to her mugshot was “oh, she looks like she’s practically + sized for an Asari, (or what we’ve been shown of the Asari)” and I thought that was great especially considering that models cost money so someone made her like that on purpose. Reading the post I think they were probably going more for a child-like look (with the face at least) rather than trying to make the race more varied, oh well.

    3. Shen says:

      Oh no, Peebee was definitely intended to be asari. You can tell by the way she straddles you in your first encounter. The writer learned that asari = “the sexy ones” and clearly got overexcited. Of course, this is just an inherent problem with the asari that only Mass Effect 1 managed to skirt.

      1. Geebs says:

        I’m really not that big on reading the codex; is there a lore-friendly explanation in Mass Effect 1 why 95% of the Asari are pole dancers? Either it’s some really, really subtle commentary about how hard it is for women to break through the glass ceiling, or they’ve basically always been treated as gratuitous blue space totty, even in The Good Mass Effect.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          I forget if it’s in the Codex, but somewhere there’s a throwaway line about how almost all young Asari spend time as either dancers or mercenaries (the other dedicated role for the species in ME1). There is not an explanation at to why they do this.

          So yeah, gratuitous space totty. It is funny to see poor Chris L’Etoile’s hard scifi codex break its spine bending over backwards to justify Asari biology though.

        2. Agammamon says:

          Because they’re ‘mono-gender’ (but all appear explicitly like women by human standards)- but can ‘reproduce with any species’.

          Even in ME1 they were set up as fanservice right from the get-go. They just got flanderized from ME2 on.

          In fact, its so hard to *not* bang an Asari in ME1 that despite trying my hardest not to, out of nowhere in the middle of a conversation my character simply jumps to a cutscene of him banging the one he was talking to at the time.

          1. guy says:

            Yeah, the Asari were definitely in the first game for fanservice; what was different in ME1 was that the writers took their corporate-mandated fanservice race and ran with it. There’s a lot of Asari pole dancers around, and there’s the Consort, who is a very high-class prostitute (the dialog wheel is badly labeled; Shepard complains about not being paid enough so she gives a freebie to go with the credits) but the Asari are also rulers of the Milky Way.

            I am completely serious; the Council is an Asari creation because the Asari won the race for the Citadel big time and opted to split the winnings. They have the Destiny Ascension, the most powerful warship known to exist. It’s the flagship of the combined Citadel Fleet with an Asari commander, a symbol of Asari power and authority. Humans are innovative, but there’s stuff like Medi-Gel where humans invented it but the Asari pulled out some prior art and secured the patents for it, discussed on Novaria. The First Contact War ended because the Asari stepped in. Asari Commandos are famed across the galaxy; being able to beat Benezia’s so easily is remarked on and I’m pretty sure that’s meant to be a clue that Indoctrination makes people less competent.

            Part of why I’m disappointed in Andromeda is that it dropped that aspect of the Asari, at least on the Nexus. All that survived was Cora having served with Asari commandos, which she brings up a lot, but it is like a British soldier talking about their time with SEAL team 6 when trying to argue they’re better-qualified than another soldier. Everyone overlooks Asari power because they’re the blue-skinned space babes and usually don’t wield it openly, and by Andromeda the writers do too.

            1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

              Arguably, there were three big events that made the last reaping cycle unique enough that Shepard and the gang were able to finally stop the Reapers where so many cycles had failed before:

              – The Rachni Wars taught the dominant species of the cycle to not go opening mass relays willy-nilly.

              – The Protheans managed to sabotage the conduit, preventing the Reapers from using their usual tactics and forcing them to fly in from dark space the old fashioned way instead of them instantly seizing and destroying the galaxy’s governing structure.

              – The dominant species of the cycle are the Asari, who value diversity both culturally and biologically. They were the perfect recipe for bringing the galaxy together while still allowing diversity to flourish. One could argue that what doomed the Protheans was that they stomped out all diversity in their cycle and having only one style of thinking greatly hobbled any strategies they attempted to implement.

              While I don’t think that the original Mass Effect is some unimpeachable work of perfection, I think it is worth noting that it did take a fan service thing like a “sexy to everybody” race and made it integral to the story. Andromeda doesn’t do anything like that with any of the races. The fact that all of the random Asari have the exact same face model doesn’t help their cause.

          2. Boobah says:

            (but all appear explicitly like women by human standards)

            There’s one conversation that implies that Asari are like Vorlons, only substitute ‘attactive female’ for ‘angelic being.’ We only perceive them as looking human because both the player and their avatar are human.

            The implication is a psychic and/or biotic racial ability. Or just some really drunk people, since the exchange is, IIRC, overheard in a bar.

            The comparison to Vorlons does nothing to downplay the whole ‘steering the galaxy with a velvet glove’ thing, tho.

        3. guy says:

          Young (100-300) Asari traditionally run off to space-Vegas to sleep with a bunch of people or join a gang and go around blasting prople with biotics before settling down and comIng home to be queens of the Galaxy.

          That said I’m pretty sure that statistically most Asari in ME1 are mercs or Benezia’s Asari Commando kill team, and the Citadel fleet was commanded by an Asari admiral and the Asari Councilor seemed to be First Among Equals.

          1. Coming Second says:

            Yeah, as I understood it becoming strippers or mercs in their youth is the Asari equivalent of the gap yah. Run around, have fun, find out what it means to live a lot longer than anyone else, then come back with that experience to rule the galaxy.

            1. Geebs says:

              The explanation still kind of doesn’t really work for me; in general I’m not inclined to believe that anybody, let alone rich kids, goes and works as a stripper in a dive bar* (like, say, Fist’s) for fun, unless they have some seriously overwhelming need to justify the purchase of a pair of perspex high heels.

              That’s like, say, Bill Gates’ kids going to work in KFC for a year to help with their university application.

              (* similarly I don’t imagine that anybody who works as a pole dancer gets into the career because they see it as an opportunity to sleep with the sort of guys who hang out in strip bars (and probably eat there, too))

              1. Coming Second says:

                If we stretch ourselves to imagine Asari life on their settled worlds as being one of utopian luxury and ease, we can imagine slumming it and chasing cheap thrills amongst the fleeting races to have appeal. They bear markers of a race approaching post scarcity in this respect. We can also conjecture about there being actually poor Asari on the fringes who don’t have much choice in the matter, and of course out-and-out criminals.

                But I mean they’re a race of space babes and that’s transparently the role they’ve always played, trying to justify it as anything else is silly really. Heaven forbid we actually get to ask a stripper why she’s doing it.

  11. ccesarano says:

    It sounds to me, based on the comments here, that the writers were trying to be less Star Trek and more Firefly with its cast, where anyone could spit out a witty comment at any time. The problem with people trying to imitate Joss Whedon is that, as over-rated as he can be, even he knows how to keep characters… well, in-character. Similarly, even if a character wasn’t as serious as another, they had their serious moments. See Kayleigh, the most light-hearted character who still expressed feelings of hurt when upper class judged her for her more innocent, child-like taste in fashion (note child-like, not childish), etc. I don’t know how well Andromeda pulled this off, but it sounds like the actual drama is entirely confused. They aren’t as witty as Whedon and they fail at the drama, which always felt more impactful because of the wit.

    And as someone said above, Peebee’s botched lines could have been amusing if, say, the character communicators malfunctioned or had interference in the Vault (they have communicators that auto-translate in ME, right? Like in Star Trek? That’s why everyone speaks English?). Perhaps, as another comment noted, she was interested in human culture and tried to learn English (again, problem being US/Anglo-centric), and screwed up her phrasing. Of course, it would be more interesting if she kept screwing up which language she was trying to speak, jumping in and out because she only studied the different languages of Earth on a surface level. As regards to culture, give her the sort of perspective Papa Weasley had of non-magic users in the Harry Potter books, or a somewhat less ridiculous version of the seagull from Little Mermaid.

    Then again, is she interested in Remnant tech or Human culture? If she’s got the personality of a 13 year-old, perhaps she’s got an interest in anything but Asari, but that keeps her from understanding any culture beyond a surface level. The problem is she considers herself an expert, which means we can establish a character arc where she learns how little she actually knows and is forced to calm down and mature.

    But that would be well thought-out writing, and I feel like the entire purpose of Peebee is, again, to be a Whedonesque character that Tumblr fandom can make GIFs and fanart out of.

    In regards to SAM, it reminded me of Navi from Ocarina of Time. The irony is that Navi only spoke to you if you clicked the button to do so, and such companion characters are completely absent in the latest open-world Zelda game that encourages you to figure everything out on your own.

    What times we live in that Nintendo has begun to shove players into the deep end of the pool without a life vest while so much of the industry is too scared to even let them in the kiddie pool without five lifeguards watching.

    1. MilesDryden says:

      SAM is worse than Navi. it’s Fi from Skyward Sword.

      On top of everything else this game did wrong, it based its companion character on the WORST one EVER.

      1. Asdasd says:

        Fi had a neat design and concept, but the way they (mis)used her as the gaming equivalent of a helicopter parent was a real shame. Which is weird as I thought the Fi of the previous game, Midna, was pretty much spot on in terms of not being overly encroachy.

        1. guy says:

          I like Fi’s character conceit and speaking style in a vaccum, but it fills an ungodly number of text boxes. Never had a problem with SAM because the game doesn’t pause to let him talk.

        2. MilesDryden says:

          Midna is the gold standard for assist characters, IMHO.

    2. Guy says:

      In regards to SAM, it reminded me of Navi from Ocarina of Time. The irony is that Navi only spoke to you if you clicked the button to do so, and such companion characters are completely absent in the latest open-world Zelda game that encourages you to figure everything out on your own.

      What times we live in that Nintendo has begun to shove players into the deep end of the pool without a life vest while so much of the industry is too scared to even let them in the kiddie pool without five lifeguards watching.

      Nintendo has just gotten subtler about it. You get a forced tutorial in combat, bombs, stasis, magnesis, and frost platforms, then you get a forced tutorial in minimal hang-gliding, then more tutorials await at your quest-markered destinations, and there are tutorials about non-critical but helpful things like cooking and horse riding and taming scattered about. And Ghost Zelda pops in to give you a tutorial about Blood Moons

      I’m pretty sure the reason that Breath Of The Wild doesn’t have an AI in the slate is because players were so mad about Fi, and Nintendo decided to ditch their tutorial fairy narrative conceit and break up tutorial duties among a massive cast of characters. Plus they’d decided to do an open world game so having ghost Zelda keep interrupting to tell you that you need to free the Divine Beasts and destroy Calamity Ganon would get real old even though I liked Flashback Zelda and her ragtag multiethnic band of mech pilots.

  12. Lkjjo says:

    Did I get that right: You‘ve got an artificially intelligent little helper in your head who can explain the function of alien technology when it first encounters it, but can‘t/ won‘t solve Sudoku puzzles?

    1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

      SAM is space magic. He can make Ryder biotic. He can make Ryder a technician. He can interact, manipulate, and control hyper-advanced alien technology. He can control Ryder’s life functions in some theoretically-scary ways. But Sudoku is, indeed, a bridge too far.

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        Even the mighty space-macguffin is powerless in the face of simple logic puzzles.

        1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

          Who says this game is less Star Trek-y than previous Mass Effect games? This is right from that episode of TNG, I, Borg, where they devise that Borg “virus” that essentially is a “divide by zero” logic error that will crash the system. Sudoku for the win!

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      OMG, we need a mod to replace the puzzles with captchas XD

  13. Phil says:

    The Vault in Our Stars

    Admit it: you started this entire series just to make that one pun, didn’t you.

    1. Tizzy says:

      If he did, he was right all along. Here I am, scouring the comments for mentions of the pun before I’ve started reading the article.

    2. Philadelphus says:

      Agreeing that that is an awesome pun title.

    3. braincraft says:

      As soon as I saw it, I imagined the author salivating at the prospect of deploying that pun.

      I know I would.

  14. BlueHorus says:

    So, just to point it out: Mass Effect 1 had the Protheans.

    This name bears similarities to the name Prometheus, the ancient Greek titan who (according to legend) made humanity out of clay. Which is similar to the way that – in the first games – all Mass Effect technology is reverse-engineered from what everyone thinks is recovered Prothean technology.
    Also, Prometheus legendarily stole fire from the Gods and gave it to humanity. An act for which he was punished, but nonetheless – his actions changed human life. Similarly, the Protheans discovered the cycle of Reaping and managed to sabotage it, spiting their Gods, even though they were all wiped out in the act. And their actions made it possible for the next series of races to escape the cycle.

    So the very name Prothean references the way in which Council races are shaped by the Mass Relay system (though they were actually made by the Reapers) as well as the way they stole something form their creators and were punished for it.

    Meanwhile! In ME Andromeda we have the Remnant. Which means ‘a remaining, usually small part’.

    The Remnants left behind easy-to-use supercomputers that fix planets with Space Magic. They were there, now they’re not, shoot the bad guys and make the problems go away with the Vaults, player.
    Is there more to the Remnant? To their name? I hope so, but it’s a pretty forlorn hope.

    *sigh* Just another of the ways in which Mass Effect used to be smarter.

    1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

      It is worth noting that the Remnant aren’t a race unto themselves. They’re just some leftover tech by a yet-unmentioned race called the Jardaan. The Remnant themselves aren’t even at the level of being an A.I., or V.I. for that matter – they’re just automated killbots that attack any moving thing that comes into their scanning range. Their name is accurate, albeit clumsy on the thematic front.

  15. Dreadjaws says:

    SAM does this throughout these missions. He’s supposedly a hunk of metal in your head[3], but he clairvoyantly knows everything about how everything around you works, and he’s constantly explaining things to you a step at a time. He’s always making assumptions about how this technology works and his assumptions are always correct, to the point where this alien technology feels completely mundane.

    This is the major problem I have with SAM’s dialogue. But it’s not just relegated to alien tech: every time the main characters are stumped SAM suggests an untested course of action that “might” be the solution (such as “This door can only be opened by a sex robot inserting its dick in its keyhole. If you bring me the robot, I might be able to coerce it into doing it.”).

    This always works. Every. Single. Time. And it pisses me off to no end. I understand uncertainty is a necessity while dealing with unknown people in unknown worlds, but this is not uncertainty, is certainty wearing glasses with a fake nose and mustache. You already know it’s going to work, so why say “might” instead of “will”? If you’re not even going to entertain the notion of failure, then at least don’t make it so transparent.

    1. Fizban says:

      On the other hand, being obliged to follow the instructions of a character who is known to to have bad “guesses” is annoying. But then, you could still do quite a bit to excuse it by having even a single instance of a long series of bad “guesses” followed by a lampshade of “oh, guess I’m only right 95% of the time,” and then their instructions are right forever after. Still terrible for the game overall if you don’t also slash the dialogue down to something reasonable, but at least avoids swinging too far the other way.

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        It could be more palatable if the instructions were presented as a suggestion or observation. Like “this button seems connected to the thingamajing, maybe pushing it will do something.”

        And if you want to do it properly, make it a puzzle. Give the players a bunch of things they can do (hit button, move thing, stand there), all vaguely related to a goal they’re trying to accomplish. Then let them figure it out, possibly with some suggestions from SAM if they ask for it. Also half the things do nothing of value.

        1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

          Sometimes, the game actually does make you figure it out without the help of SAM, albeit by accident.

          There’s a point in the first vault where you have to kill all of the Remnant in the room and once you do, two consoles pop up out of the floor that you have to interact with. I went into the room and killed all the Remnant, yet nothing was happening. SAM was telling me to interact with the two consoles, but they were still stuck in the ground. I finally noticed that there was a blue dot on my radar indicating that there was still a non-aggressive Remnant nearby and by tracking the dot, I finally discovered that there was a Remnant cannon in the room that didn’t become active when everything else did. So I shot it to pieces and the consoles came out of the ground. SAM was no help on that one.

          1. Karma The Alligator says:

            That’s not a puzzle, though, that’s a flag that failed to trigger properly (I imagine the cannon was supposed to be used by something else, which would have triggered its ‘hostile’ flag).

      2. Nessus says:

        Make it a plot moment instead of random. Use SAM’s successes to lull the player into automatically assuming she’s always right, then pull the rug out at a thematically crucial/appropriate moment.That’s perilously close to the now worn down to the bone “ally double cross plot twist”, but having it be an honest fuck-up instead of a betrayal would be new. And IMO it’s possibly better suited to an interactive media than a betrayal.

        1. Syal says:

          Banner Saga being a solid example; certain characters are always right, until they make the mistake that kills them.

  16. Brightwalker says:

    I think folks are being a little unfair regarding Peebee’s personality, but only as it relates to the Asari in general. Yes, Asari do live for 1,000 years, but the previous games made it clear that they mature at a commensurately slow rate. See Matriarch Aethyta’s (bar owner on the Citadel) life story for an example. Many Asari spend their first 100 years or more doing juvenile stuff like working in strip clubs or being mercenaries: their rebellious teenager phase lasts way longer than a human’s. So if we assume that Peebee is relatively young by Asari standards, it makes some sense that she would act somewhat immature and flighty compared to other, older Asari.

    1. ElementalAlchemist says:

      Peebee is around the same age as Liara when you first meet her in ME1 (Liara was 106). Liara was unusually bookish and withdrawn for an Asari of that age, so it’s pretty clear they were going for a polar opposite type of thing for Peebee. Which is actually a good idea, given that it would be easy to fall back on making each crew member a clone of a someone from the earlier games (Drax was basically Wrex 2.0). But like almost every other character in the game, they had no idea how to actually create a likeable character embodying the role they wanted. The went too far down the route of trying to make her wacky and zany without the writing talent to pull it off. That sums up so much of the game really. People in way over their heads in terms of ambition far outstripping their talent/ability to realise it.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Surely you mean “Drack”. I don’t remember the Destroyer being in this game.

        1. baud says:

          I’m pretty sure Drax would have been an improvement over any of the characters of Andromeda

        2. Gautsu says:

          It’d because he moves so slowly he mastered the art of being invisible

        3. Arthur Douglas says:

          I didn’t see him. Checks out.

        4. ElementalAlchemist says:

          Lol. Shows you how much of an impact even their best character made on me. Can’t remember his name properly.

  17. Dorenkosh says:

    Huh. I had no idea that Asari was supposed to be seen as child-like in any way. Based just on close-up face pictures on gaming sites and the sort of common-reference one-note symbolic storytelling I was expecting, I assumed she was borderline psychotic.

    Or, in other words, “She got crazy-eyes. You tellin’ me she ain’t crazy?”

    1. Philadelphus says:

      The raccoon mask definitely doesn’t help in that regard.

  18. paercebal says:

    One thing that annoyed me a lot…

    Take a look at the close-up photo of PeeBee, and what do you see, behind her “mask-like” paint?

    Eyebrows.

    Just to be clear, asari do not have eyebrows. In Mass Effect, Liara had eyebrows-like tattoos. How many asari actually sported tattoo-like eyebrows in any of the original trilogy? One: Liara. What are the odds PeeBee somehow got eyebrow-like tattoos, for whatever reason?

    This is never explained, and never addressed. And they are hidden behind the strange face paint, but are still clearly visible.

    I believe the designers somehow wanted to avoid the uncanny valley, and gave this love interest eyebrows despite the fact she could have had any other kind of tattoo that would result is a cool design.

    Bonus rant: The asari faces in Andromeda are all the same (if we except color), despite them having different faces in the original trilogy.

  19. PhoenixUltima says:

    [looking at the first image of Peebee]

    Some-BODY once told me/
    the worrrrrld is gonna roll me/
    I ain’t the sharpest tool in the sheddddddd

  20. baud says:

    My problem is that SAM won’t shut his stupid robot mouth long enough for you to experience an air of mystery or even think for yourself.

    At first glance (without playing the game) it look like an overreaction following a focus group test where the players said they didn’t know what to do. And the reaction went too far in the other way and added too much indications.

  21. Decius says:

    Also, figure out how radiation works in your wold, explain it to the player, and stick to it. If the air has heavy metal particles in it, that is a thing that can be solved with paper filters- now your air doesn’t have dangerously radioactive particles in it anymore.

    If your water has heavy metals in it, a similar solution exists. That and a few minutes gives you water that isn’t radioactive anymore.

    Heavy metal contamination of soil is somewhat harder to clean. The easiest way to get clean soil from contaminated soil at scale is to grow two algae from it; one variant that does concentrate the contaminants, and one that doesn’t. Dump the contaminated variant in your smelters, and dump the clean variant in your compost heap to make clean soil. Don’t ever swap those.

  22. Philadelphus says:

    Ooo, going for something like the excellent Motel of the Mysteries in tone, with people making educated—but completely wrong—guesses as to the functions of unknown items? That would be pretty good.

  23. RFS-81 says:

    Out of all the uncanny valley faces in this game, why is that first close-up of Peebee’s face the one that gives me the creeps?

  24. ClaimedInfinity says:

    Hail to the mods that remove SAM’s useless comments, up-armor Peebee and remove her “mask” tattoo. And fix some other things. Unfortunately you can’t add your own dialogue yet, only remove some existing lines.

  25. Mr. Wolf says:

    The ghost of Thomas Jefferson strikes again! Having saved the Earth by purifying the Potomac Tidal Basin using his GHOST MAGIC he has departed to remove the radiation from uninhabited alien worlds. A true hero of the Asari-American-Andromedan people!

  26. OldOak says:

    I guess the asari in ME: A was one of the ugliest discomfort compared with the previous instances of the game.
    With the only exception of Peebee, who is singularly youthful and has a happier face, all the others have poor (almost) singleton facial mimic, no difference between young and old/experienced. The voice acting* is as monotonous (usually a tired/old hag tone), lacking any personality the asari thrived in all the other Mass Effect games.
    Where is Aria, Benezia, Aethyta, Liara, Shiala, Rana Thanoptis, or any other asari in the crowd we were used with?
    All the asari in Andromeda seem sheepishly similar, hell, even the tactician Cora was looking up to.
    Ruining the asari was another bitter score ME: A left with the players.
    [*] And the overall voice acting in Andromeda is so poor, it doesn’t even worth the effort to start complaining about.

    1. ClaimedInfinity says:

      Voice acting in Andromeda is as dull as in Mass Effect 1. Well, maybe slightly better. And I personally couldn’t care less if it’s an asari or a human I’m speaking with, because from the very first game the asari were basically just a race of blue-skinned human females. We are told by the game they are wise and experienced as compared to the other races but we NEVER see that.

      1. Coming Second says:

        They really buried this in ME3, when we find out actually the Protheans gave the Asari everything they ever needed and they’ve just been living off it ever since.

        The only competent race in Mass Effect is humanity, all of the other races are fucking children born to be ruled (including the Reapers!), and honestly all of the games drive this rather unsettling message home over and over and over again.

        1. Adrian says:

          Someone hasn’t been paying attention to the turians.

          There was just one species that managed to kill Reapers without Shepard helping and, news flash?

          It wasn’t the humans.

          While the salarians are basically a species that is in perpetual Bond movie mode (minus the sex), with their elites being badass superspies, mad scientists, or both, the turians just clean up everyone else’s messes while resignedly grumbling about it.

  27. Gaius Maximus says:

    Back when previews for Andromeda were coming out, I was on the fence about whether to get the game or not. (I eventually came down on the side of not.) I remember Peebee as being the companion most focused on in the previews and nothing in them made me any more enthusiastic about getting the game. Everything about her just screamed Poochie from The Simpsons to me.

  28. I’m fine with the “atmosphere cleaner” being the same with the same interface etc. That’s how I’d design it, why make a UI that is different for each deployed cleaner?

    I would for the gameplay just have the sudoku puzzle for the first cleaner, then the rest would have their puzzles solved through quick (or exiting?!) cutscenes. Implying that the player character now knows how to do this automatically.
    Since it would just be a single puzzle the difficulty could be higher as well.

    Although it would be cool if there was a callback to the puzzle near the end of the game with a slight twist.

    It takes a very special kind of masochist to enjoy grinding the same thing over and over gain.

    Also… how the hell did they run out of food on the nexus? Don’t we see a bunch of trees in the nexus inner surface? tHose are huge trees or plants, growing food on the nexus should not be an issue.

  29. Dreadjaws says:

    Oh, my God. I was reading some stuff on Andromeda and found out that SAM’s dialogue was even more prevalent before the major patch. Holy crap, are you kidding me? Are you telling me that all this time I had been playing the toned down version? How is that even possible? Did SAM just comment on your every action before?

    Pathfinder. You’ve just stood in front of a door. If you interact with it, you might be able to open it.
    Pathfinder. You’ve just successfully opened the door. If you walk through it, you might be able to enter the room behind it.
    Pathfinder. You’ve just entered a room. If you use your eyes to look around, you might be able to find objects or people to interact with. Alternatively, if you turn around, you might be able to use the same door to exit the room. I calculate a 78% chance of success.

    1. Henson says:

      I don’t know if this is still the case, but pre-patch SAM would constantly butt in to tell the player about nearby mineral caches. And I do mean ‘butt in’. It cancelled whatever dialogue was currently being played, and it happened all the time. So ambient conversations while exploring – you know, character moments, the thing you play Bioware game for – were often being cut off by a notification about loot.

      Does this still happen?

      1. OldOak says:

        … Not to mention the announcement takes so long that you actually fail to deploy the mining drone, because you are well passed the area at the time it ends (you cannot deploy the drone while the announcement in _on_). And yes, the butt in observation is also valid.

  30. AndrewCC says:

    That pun in the title…
    Shamus, I think you should apply for a job with Eurogamer, you’d fit right in.

  31. Scourge says:

    All I can think off is : Shephard goes to Shepard Goes to Andromeda

  32. Wangwang says:

    Shamus, since you are a big fan of Spider-man, please tell me what you think about Into the Spiderverse.

  33. Khazidhea says:

    My biggest grievance with PeeBee is that her dialogue line when you get a headshot is (something along the lines of) “whoa, that’s one in a million”. With a sniper build you’ll be hearing it a LOT.

  34. Furo says:

    Peebee in that screenshot reminds me of the Overly Attached Girlfriend :)

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