Andromeda Part 4: Habitat 7

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Nov 6, 2018

Filed under: Mass Effect 163 comments

In Mass Effect Andromeda, you can play as either Scott Ryder or Sara Ryder. Unlike Commander Shepard, you’re not hot-swapping the gender of the protagonist. If you play as Sara then you have Scott as your sibling and if you play as Scott then you’ve got Sara for a sibling. Your sibling ends up stuck in the fridge for most of the game and they’re not really relevant until the very end, but the Ryder twins really are two different peopleThey still have a lot of identical dialog, but you know what I mean. and not just a Maleshep vs. Femshep aesthetic choice.

For the purposes of this write-up, I’ll be discussing the plot in terms of having Sara as the main character. As with my series on the Mass Effect trilogy, it’s just easier to pick one sibling rather than juggle neutral pronouns and use slashes to refer to Sara/Scott or Scott/Sara.

It Begins

Come on, the loading screens in this game aren't THAT bad.
Come on, the loading screens in this game aren't THAT bad.

Sara wakes up in the Cryo Bay at the end of their 600 year voyage. The dialog does a pretty good job of explaining the premise to the player without dropping into heavy-handed exposition mode. I mention this now because while some of the dialog in this game is shamefully bad, there are spots like this where it keeps things reasonably brisk and efficient by the standards of the genre.

The ship has just arrived in the Heleus Cluster, which is part of the Andromeda galaxyWithout the mass relay network, we can no longer have a galaxy-wide adventure. I really appreciate that the writers stuck to this and didn’t feel the need to go “big” again.. Sara is on the “Pathfinder” team. Her Father, Alec Ryder, is the Pathfinder for the human ark and is in charge of scouting out their prospective home. 600 years ago they picked out several promising planets in the Heleus ClusterThe story explains that scientists used a mass effect relay to “look” into the distant galaxy, which is how they were able to see so much detail over such insane distances. This is one of the details I’m willing to handwave as part of establishing the new premise. that could be suitable for settlement.

Alec Ryder is an N7, which is the same designation as Commander Shepard. I’m sure this is a deliberate move on the part of the writer, to have a Commander Shepard stand-in to hand the franchise over our new hero.

Alec Ryder is an excellent leader.
Alec Ryder is an excellent leader.

The ship runs into some strange tendrils of… what? I don’t know. The characters call it “dark energy”, but it looks like mold to me. This stuff is called “the scourge”. It’s an energy cloud of space-mold that reaches across the cluster. The important part is that for now, flying through it messes up the ship. Equipment goes haywire. Scott’s cryo pod gets damaged and the team has to keep him under rather than thawing him out for duty.

Scott and Sara are both on the ten-person Pathfinder team. This looks like some pretty flagrant nepotism. Are we supposed to believe that, among the 20,000 people on the human ark, both of Alec’s kids just happen to be in the top 10? Don’t get me wrong, I can totally get behind the notion that Alec was able to wrangle his kids these high-profile positions. He’s one of the founding members of the Andromeda Initiative and was free to hand-pick his team members. My problem is that nobody else in this world seems to notice this. Charges of privilege and nepotism ought to hang over Sara’s head constantly, yet nobody ever brings this up.

The Human ark has arrived to find that their intended homeworld – Habitat 7 – looks wrong. It was supposedly a “golden world” when they left the Milky Way 600 years ago, but since then it seems to have gone off.

The Pathfinder team jumps in a shuttle to go down and scout the planet, which is plagued by constant electricity storms. On the way down some lightning blows the shuttle in half. Sara freefalls to the surface and only survives because of her jump-jet boots.

Screw it. Let's head back to the Milky Way.
Screw it. Let's head back to the Milky Way.

We meet up with some of the other members of the team, get our navigation and movement tutorials out of the way, and watch some snazzy cutscenes of alien strangeness. The game is admirably slow in its opening. All told, I think it’s over twenty minutes between the time where we hit the “New Game” button and the point where we shoot our first mook. That’s normally a bad thing in a game, but in a story-heavy RPG like this the lore is the content. The story isn’t just here as an excuse to shoot space orcs behind cover. We’re also here for the the lore, the characters, and dialog choices. I wouldn’t tolerate a slow opening from the likes of Bulletstorm, Wolfenstein, or DOOM. But here in the RPG genre a rushed opening can harm your story. I’m glad the team was allowed to adopt a pace that made sense for the story, rather than being forced to adhere to modern shooter conventions.

So we’re 20 minutes into the game, and so far everything feels roughly Mass Effect-ish. We meet characters, learn backstory stuff, and generally acclimate ourselves to this new world. So far so good. But this is where things get stupid, because now it’s time to meet…

The Kett

I know it's hard to see the dark face through the bloom and flare, but their faces are SUPER derpy thanks to the tiny wide-spaced eyes.
I know it's hard to see the dark face through the bloom and flare, but their faces are SUPER derpy thanks to the tiny wide-spaced eyes.

These enemy designs are just awful. As we’ll learn later, the Kett are gene collectors and operate kind of like an organic version of Star Trek’s Borg. They find new species and “exalt” them by splicing in Kett DNA, which turns them into space-monsters. That’s a cool idea for popcorn sci-fi, but it’s undercut by these terrible designs. These guys are supposedly the pinnacle of engineered evolution, but they look like melted plastic action figures. Their faces have vaguely derpy expressions, and then they have big monster teeth in an attempt to make them look scary. They’re covered in these pointy bones that are supposed to make them look tough, but instead makes them look like someone dropped them in glue and rolled them in cat litter. They don’t look scary, proud, cunning or imposing. The design is incredibly busy without offering any compelling detail. It’s as if someone took the ultra-generic design for the Collectors in Mass Effect 2 and tried to somehow make them less interesting.

So we crossed the vastness of dark space to find ourselves in a galaxy millions of light-years away, 600 years in the future, and we encounter upright bipeds with human facial arrangements, human limb configuration, and who stand at about human height. They talk with their mouths and they use firearms that look like lumpier versions of the stuff we brought with us. (They even use compatible ammunition!!!!) The aliens the writer ditched back in the Milky Way (Elcor and Volus) are more “alien” than the inhabitants of Andromeda! Compare these guys to the Krogan, Hanar, or Geth. All of those races look far less human than the Kett.

This is where I’d normally put “How I’d have done it”, but I’d like to put that off until later in the story. Party because it will be easier to explain once we know more about these guys, but also because there are a lot of other things going wrong in this section and I don’t want to get sidetracked right now. So let’s just shoot these guys and move on.

I do like that the Andromeda Initiative has policy for first contact situations, and that the game will allow you to attempt a peaceful encounter. It doesn’t work out of course, but I’m glad we can try for the purposes of roleplaying.

The Weather Tower

I've never been to this galaxy, but I'm sure there's a button in that tower to deactivate this apocalypse.
I've never been to this galaxy, but I'm sure there's a button in that tower to deactivate this apocalypse.

The team manages to regroup and fix their remaining shuttle, but the storm is too violent for them to risk taking off. In the distance the team can see this huge alien tower. It’s not Kett in design. (The Kett are actually studying it, which is why they’re here.) Alec looks at the tower, and he figures it must be controlling the storm. He assumes that if we can take the tower we’ll be able to find a control panel and shut down the machine, which will end the electrical storms.

And he’s right on all counts!

The story just introduced us to the central obstacle: The golden worlds are a bust and their climates are a mess. And ten minutes later the writer turns around and offers a magical solution to the problem in the form of alien technology that’s apparently effortless to figure out and control. The rest of the game will be spent fighting over these alien climate towers.

This is wrong in two ways. One, this is just too convenient. We were barely introduced to the central conflict before we were presented with a magical solution we don’t understand and did nothing to earn. The other problem is that this just kills all sense of mystery.

The whole thing reminds me of the Crucible from Mass Effect 3. The writer hands us an insurmountable problem, and then they give us a magical technology that will solve the problem for us. You don’t get to unravel mysteries and find answers that lead to a solution at the end, you get the solution at the beginning and then you just have to shoot all the dudes standing between you and the button to activate the magic solution-machine.

How I’d have done it:

To REALLY fix this you’d have to back up and change the entire premise of this story, and that’s a really big fix. And “write a different videogame” isn’t really useful advice. But even constraining myself to the scenario at hand, I think there’s a lot we can do to improve it.

The most obvious thing we can do is take away the copy of the script that Alec Ryder seems to be carrying around. I know the writers are really enamored of their surrogate Commander Shepard and they don’t want to make him fallible, but presenting him as Mr. Perfect is hurting this story in multiple ways. The first thing we need to do is have him misunderstand this alien tech.

We present the situation a little differently: The Humans can’t leave while the storm is raging. They (wrongly) assume that the storm will blow over on its own. The problem is that they’re afraid that the Kett will amass and wipe them out if they sit still that long, and they can’t hope to evade the Kett while carrying the wounded. When Alec sees the big alien tower pumping out energy, he assumes it’s some sort of alien super-weapon. He figures he can use it to wipe out the Kett in the area, and then they can wait for the storm to blow over. Even if they can’t use the superweapon, the assault ought to draw the Kett away from the wounded.

Then once we clear the tower Alec discovers he was wrong. It’s not an Alien weapon, it’s a device for climate regulation.

This doesn’t really fix this section of the game, but it does fix the silly notion of Alec looking at an alien outpost from a mile away and instantly intuiting what it does and how it works. It reinforces the notion that our heroes are the aliens here.

At the start of this chapter we were treated to fantastical imagery: Floating rocks, a vortex of lightning, twisting cliff faces, and wild plant life. The artist is trying to create a sense of wonder and alienation. It’s an admirable effort, but that sense of marvel and trepidation is completely undercut by having our heroes instantly understand the world around them. I realize having them accidentally fix the climate is still a huge contrivance, but it least it would support the intended mood.

Once final nitpick is that we never come back here. We fix the electrical storms and then just leave. Maybe that’s due to the toxic atmosphere, but considering what a terrible dump the rest of the planets are it seems odd this one doesn’t at least warrant a mention. It’s the most visually interesting of all the planets, and when I began driving across the second lifeless orange desert planet on our journey I started to really miss this place .

 

Footnotes:

[1] They still have a lot of identical dialog, but you know what I mean.

[2] Without the mass relay network, we can no longer have a galaxy-wide adventure. I really appreciate that the writers stuck to this and didn’t feel the need to go “big” again.

[3] The story explains that scientists used a mass effect relay to “look” into the distant galaxy, which is how they were able to see so much detail over such insane distances. This is one of the details I’m willing to handwave as part of establishing the new premise.



From The Archives:
 

163 thoughts on “Andromeda Part 4: Habitat 7

  1. Redrock says:

    Charges of privilege and nepotism ought to hang over Sara’s head constantly, yet nobody ever brings this up.

    I don’t think this issue is entirely ignored. Cora brings this up and it’s the crux of your relationship with her. The “my face is tired lady” also does, if I recall correctly. And I don’t think those are the only two instances. Granted, it’s not brought up as much as it probably should be, but it’s not like it’s not there at all. Also, I think context matters here. It’s not like Alec is a prime minister who appoints his kids to government positions. This is a combat team that will be undertaking some extremely dangerous missions. Do they get extra pay? We don’t know. What I’m saying, just being on the Pathfinder team isn’t necessarily that much of a privilege. It’s not a government or military operation, so the fact that the hiring process is basically up to Ryder isn’t that egregious.

    1. Gautsu says:

      This. Tan brings it up multiple times if you argue with him too. About the only ones who don’t are the other pathfinders

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Who’s Tan? I’m really close to finishing the game and that name doesn’t ring any bells. That’s what happens when there are two slightly memorable characters at most.

        1. Gautsu says:

          Sorry ,Tann, (damn autocorrect) the Salarian in charge of the Nexus played by Kumail Nanjiani

          1. Dreadjaws says:

            Ah. *facepalm* I’m an idiot, how the hell did I not realize that? It’s only a missing letter!

            1. Joshua says:

              It’s okay. Have you dealt with Saber? I was finishing up side missions, literally got to the resolution of one, and just sat there wondering… who exactly I was talking to, why I was talking to them, and who I killed for them.

              Andromeda’s characters are… rather uninteresting, main story or otherwise. Tann was cliche as far as personality goes.

              1. Dreadjaws says:

                Frankly, I have no idea if I’ve deal with Saber. I finished the game yesterday, and I already don’t remember the great majority of the characters.

    2. Trevor says:

      Cora is, justifiably, upset that she is passed over for Pathfinder (especially coming after her time in the Asari Commando unit where her CO tells her to move on, that there’s no place for her there). She brings it up a lot in the beginning of the game. And then, if you’re Scott Ryder you can hit on her (you can hit on her as Sara as well, but she says she’s straight immediately and you get locked out of the flirting dialogue options). So, not only does she get passed over for a promotion because of nepotism, the under-qualified son who is now suddenly her boss is sexually harassing her. I just feel bad for Cora.

      1. ccesarano says:

        (you can hit on her as Sara as well, but she says she’s straight immediately and you get locked out of the flirting dialogue options)

        Now it’s been a long time since I’ve played any of these games and thus I don’t recall the nitty gritty of the Asari, but I was under the impression that “straight” didn’t exist for them for multiple reasons. Is this literally her defense? That she’s not attracted to other “women”? I feel like it would be more true to her species if she responded negatively to both Ryders no matter what gender they were.

        Granted it would also be interesting to explore what happens when a member of a species whose sexuality does not reflect our common heterosexuality feels… well… I guess heterosexual? I dunno how to describe it, but I think it could be an interesting thought exercise if you do a bit of swapping of commonalities. However, I don’t know if I’d trust the current writers to be deft enough to approach such a task without firstly offending or insulting those that do not fit the gender or sexuality binary, let alone causing the player to think over what it means to be different philosophically.

        1. Shamus says:

          Cora is human. You’re probably thinking of Lexi (the doctor) or Peebee (the Remnant specialist who doesn’t seem to know anything about the Remnant). I’m pretty sure those are our only two Asari friends.

          1. ccesarano says:

            Oh! I probably should have looked that up first, then. For some reason I assumed she was the Asari on the team. Now I feel embarrassed.

          2. Taellosse says:

            Peebee isn’t a Remnant expert. She’s just fascinated by their technology, and understands it slightly better than the other Milky Way colonists. She doesn’t know any more about the race that left it all behind than anyone else (and only kind of cares about them as a society – she’s much more of an engineer than an anthropologist).

            The only way her knowledge is really all that improbable within the story is that she appears to be able to use Remnant tech as well or better, after several months of study, than the native Angarans, who’ve had generations to do the same thing. That wouldn’t be hard to swallow if the Angarans were significantly inferior technologically to the Initiative, but they’re not.

            1. guy says:

              I thought Ryder was the Remnant expert and Peebee was, like, a smuggler or something and was providing me with stuff on the condition I not ask what truck it fell off the back of. She did not strike me as a science type on first impression.

              1. Taellosse says:

                She’s not a “science type” – she’s a space hacker. And Ryder’s not a Remnant expert, either – SAM is. Ryder’s just SAM’s remote sensor and waldo.

                1. guy says:

                  I generally see Ryder+SAM as a joint protagonist character; SAM is essentially a super power Ryder has.

        2. guy says:

          Cora was a member of an Asari commando unit but is herself human.

          1. ccesarano says:

            My bad, I should have done the research. Thanks for letting me know!

        3. Agammamon says:

          And not being attracted has never been an excuse in ME before.

          My character got raped in ME1 – here I am trying to avoid all the ‘romantic options’ and suddenly I’m in a cutscene banging a squid.

          1. BlueHorus says:

            ??? Ain’t no rape in ME1’s story*.

            Though I had a related experience in a playthrough: I was playing Manshep, talking to all my team-mates to get to know them…and eventually Liara and Ashley cornered me and decided to demand that I choose between them.
            I tried my best to say ‘I don’t want to sex either of you, I’m just friendly!’ (The game did not help with this)

            Anyway, Ashley got the message, but Liara – still came to my quarters one night. I managed to pick the option closest to my reaction ‘TAKE THE HINT YOU SILLY BITCH**’ and she left, though…

            But yeah, The game really does push you into the ‘romance’ options.

            *Unless…is there a Hanar Romance Mod I missed?
            This one would find that most amusing indeed!

            **For full effect, repeat this line in your best Freddie Mercury or Skeletor impression.

            1. Dreadjaws says:

              If you play as fem Shepard, you have to practically treat Kaidan as shit if you want him to stop trying to romance you.

              1. Mormegil says:

                Fortunately there is an easy way for you to dissuade Kaidan permanently :)

    3. guy says:

      I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume that Alec’s kids clearly have the necessary qualifications and were on the short list of elite soldiers who were both willing to join the expedition and could be reasonably relied upon to follow Alec’s orders, vs. Spectres and Council military not being willing to resign and merc elites not being trusted.

      1. NAMENAMENAMENAME says:

        I wouldn’t say so. Both of the Ryder twins have canon backstories but they aren’t exactly top tier specialists in their respective fields. The twins have some “informal” training from Alec and apparently grew up on the Citadel so are used to meeting new alien species. Scott joined the Alliance military and was assigned as part of the garrison guarding a mass relay, he spent the time bored out of his mind and ended up getting kicked out because of his relation to his father after Alec got caught trying to DIY up an AI. Sara meanwhile also joined the Alliance… Only to get stationed on Mars, guarding research facilities around the prothean ruins, she started working increasingly as an assistant to the researchers there before the whole “Alec and AI” debacle kicked her out of the military as well.

        In comparison, the two human squadmates in the game also were part of the original human Pathfinder team. Cora Harper was in the Alliance military as a biotic and managed to join a Citadel cross-species training program that saw her serve attached to an asari Commando team where (unlike the Ryder twins) she saw live fire combat and picked up an (imo) embarrassing love of all things asari, seriously her loyalty mission was embarrassing. Liam Kosta was a police officer who later joined a cross-species crisis-response organisation (I can’t remember if it’s a Citadel thing or an NGO) called “Heavy Urban Search Terrain 1” where he helped rescue people from collapsed buildings e.t.c after natural disasters. Both Kosta and Harper can point to their past careers as proof that they can work in high risk scenarios and bring a perspective and skillset to the team that Alec may otherwise lack.

        As dull as they are, the human squad-mates are skilled professionals with ample experience in a wide range of situations, meanwhile the Ryder twins have no actual experience and the most notable part of their skillsets being “personally trained by Alec”. This isn’t like ME1 where prior to the game even beginning Shepard was a decorated soldier with an established rep as someone who could get shit done, the Ryder twins are both so green I doubt either had ever fired a weapon in a combat situation before. Whilst obviously the player character goes on to become the deadliest creature in the Andromeda galaxy with thousands of confirmed kills against the kett in a short few weeks/months, from an in universe perspective no-one should have been aware of that. All anyone looking at the bios of the human Pathfinder team should have seen were a mixture of specialists and two rookies with mediocre military records and the same surname as the CO. This gets even worse when you consider that one of the last things Alec does before dying is transfer his Pathfinder status to the player character rather than Cora, the team’s second in command. At that point I think the only possible excuse Alec could have against him being a massive nepotist would be if he was aware that Scott/Sara had Player Character Powers and thus inherently mechanically superior regardless of backstory

        Also, it should be noted that I don’t recall any in-game comments to the effect of the Initiative having struggled for recruits. In the game it seemed like everyone who joined had felt it perfectly reasonable to volunteer for a one way trip to another galaxy, so I don’t think we can automatically assume that Alec had found himself with two empty slots on his team and the only people he could trust not to immediately try to mutiny and kill him in Andromeda were his own children.

        1. guy says:

          I kinda took it as implied that the Initiative just didn’t have the ability to draw on the Council militaries directly. So “ex-soldier who helped the Mars research team and was discharged for political reasons” is not actually a bad CV for the Pathfinder team. Presumably Sarah’s theoretical job would be “help study mysterious alien technology and shoot things to an acceptable standard” vs. Cora’s job being “shoot things real good”. If there’d been no kett then Sarah would be helping Alec analyze the tower while Cora and Liam stood around feeling stupid.

          Bear in mind that the Initiative is kinda idealistic and didn’t have a strong military component; even the Pathfinder team was only expected to fight in self-defense. So I think it fairly likely that the list of ex-military applicants who both wanted to stay military vs. retire as civilians and could be trusted to follow the very strict rules of engagement was actually pretty short. I do think Alec pulled some strings but it’d have been seen as like scoring an entry-level job rather than a key role.

          Inheriting SAM is another matter, but it’s a fiat accompli so there’s little point in complaining. I do think Sarah is a better SAM-bearer than Cora, though there’s no reason in particular the SAM-bearer needs to be in charge.

          1. NAMENAMENAMENAME says:

            >Bear in mind that the Initiative is kinda idealistic and didn’t have a strong military component; even the Pathfinder team was only expected to fight in self-defense. So I think it fairly likely that the list of ex-military applicants who both wanted to stay military vs. retire as civilians and could be trusted to follow the very strict rules of engagement was actually pretty short.
            I’ll concede that, though I do think you’re underestimating how important the Pathfinder teams are made out to be in universe.

            Speaking of how idealistic the Inititative is though, it did rather bug me reading the weapon bios in the game. I know it’s a bit grognardy of me but I noticed that despite being a non-military organisation (and elsewhere in the game the Initiative is portrayed as such) they went to quite some lengths to build a fair armoury before settign off. Obviously this is for gameplay reasons to introduce some variety in the shooting but a quick scan of the wiki shows us the peaceful colonisation project decided to bring along:
            >Weapons that were supposed to go into the hands of N7 soldiers (the N7 Valkyrie literally states ‘How the Andromeda Initiative procured a crate intended for N7-trained Alliance fighters remains a mystery’).
            >Specialist STG weapons (such as the Scorpion, a grenade launching pistol).
            >Weapons that were still in development when the Initiative set off (the Andromeda bio for the M-90 Indra states it was still in an ‘early design phase’ when the Initiative got the bluprints and that they finished development in Andromeda.
            >Anti-materiel riflles (they have both the Widow and the smaller Black Widow variant).
            >Asari commando/justicar guns (the Disciple).
            >The Reegar Carbine from the quarians on the off chance they encounter geth, (with a minor retcon in the bio making it named after Reegar specifically rather than his family in general). Incidentally, this is an ME3 weapon that if the bios I’m reading are correct was implied to have been a recent upgrade of an already recent anti-geth weapon the quarians had made, meaning it also seems to have been retconned into existence several years earlier to make the trip.
            >Cerberus guns obtained in semi-legal auctions (according to the bio for the M-25 Hornet).
            >Weapon variants specifically designed and produced by the Initiative for their trip such as the X5 Ghost and L-89 Halbered (based off of the M-8 Avenger and M-96 Mattock, both weapons that incidentally also made the trip).
            You’ve really got to wonder how well organised the Initiative started off given that whoever was in charge of weapons procurement for what limited self-defence purposes the Initiative thought it might need apparently slept through the introductory seminars on the Initiative’s purpose before being given a blank cheque to purchase enough small arms to occupy the Citadel.

            Then again… Given who is implied to be funding this…

            1. guy says:

              Well, the general sense I got was that we had very, very good military equipment but not a lot of it. And probably we just bought a bunch of licenses to manufacture them and could print out whatever gun we felt we needed on site because that is how you make guns in Mass Effect.

              So it’s what you’d have if you told someone that you had like a thousand security people and have dug through the couch cushions and pulled out three billion credits for your small arms budget because:

              A project as massive in scope as the Andromeda Initiative is extremely expensive. Expenditures are known to have reached quintillions of credits.

              What you don’t have a lot of is people who want to go colonize another galaxy for basically no reason because less than 1% of the Milky Way is explored and they don’t believe in Reapers. That gets you wild-eyed dreamers and people who murdered someone and would like to leave before they get caught.

              1. Gautsu says:

                Then again for every settlement you start what are the choices? Science or military. They obviously knew they were going to need some sort of protection, from themselves if nothing else

                1. guy says:

                  That’s why you have weapons and warships period, but relative to the size of the Arks you don’t have much, and the military outposts I think are repurposed from civilian settlement equipment and recruiting from the civilians to bulk out the troop numbers. It seemed to me that it’s a civilian expedition with a small but well-equipped security detail.

                  I also got the impression from Codex entries that the Initative’s civilian leadership (probably with some pressure from The Benefactor) was basically humoring Alec by letting him bring as much weaponry as he did “just in case”.

          2. Joe Informatico says:

            Yeah, I get the sense the Initiative aspires to that Starfleet ideal (or James Cook) of being reasonably good at diplomacy, navigation/pioneering, wilderness survival, field science, archaeology, and combat, not just really awesome at one or two things. Like, the Pathfinder’s whole deal is they can switch their job on the fly.

            1. guy says:

              I figure their ideal was to be peaceful explorers but they conceded they might need a security detail. They don’t have much and it’s pretty light, but it’s the best money can buy (plus some stuff money can’t buy that “fell off a truck” courtesy of Cerberus). And the Pathfinder team is supposed to, basically, do what you do in the prologue except without crashing the shuttle.

              Also frankly I felt like Cora’s response to being passed over for Pathfinder demonstrates she’s not qualified. She is hardly diplomatic about it, and the role requires diplomacy. You can’t give her the SAM uplink for… some reason… so complaining about it accomplishes nothing save irritating her boss. Ryder admittedly lacks in the command presence department but did pull off her First Contact mission so smoothly it looked trivial. It was actually pretty tense in the moment; the Angarans had prior alien contact but to our knowledge only with kett, so they were very on edge and it felt like they were ready to shoot us all at the slightest provocation. I’m pretty sure if Cora had been Pathfinder there she’d have led the team and maybe the whole expedition right into their graves

        2. Viktor says:

          Wait, one of your squadmates was part of a group called “Heavy UST”? That’s laying on the romance option a little thick.

        3. Vinsomer says:

          I thought Alec Ryder transferred SAM to Ryder for 2 reasons beyond mere nepotism:

          1. It helped Ryder’s chances of survival after inhaling the toxic atmosphere. After all, SAM was initially conceived as a symbiotic AI to help heal Ryder’s mother.

          2. It was encoded with Alec Ryder’s memories, which were specifically about Ryder’s mum and where she was hidden.

          It’s less a question of ‘why did Alec Ryder pass over Cora for Ryder?’ and more ‘Why did Alec Ryder just not get a greybox like Keiji which would have allowed for him to not have to entrust SAM to a family member?’

          1. guy says:

            I don’t think those are really sufficent reasons to pass control of the most powerful asset the expedition has to an unqualified candidate, and from what we see of Alec I think he’d agree; they’d be a factor but he doesn’t seem the type to endanger the expedition for personal reasons and wouldn’t transfer control of SAM to his daughter unless he (though not necessarily for entirely sound reasons) thought she was a good Pathfinder.

            Honestly I think he skipped Cora because he thought she’d be a bad Pathfinder and his kids would be better. Because, well, Cora is a soldier. She is a very good soldier, but with the crisis the Pathfinder will be basically in charge of foreign and domestic policy for the Ark as well. At a minimum, the Pathfinder is going to lead the military and exploratory component, and the kett force that to be the priority. Cora strikes me as likely to balance these priorities badly and end up stuck in a war that the expedition can’t win without allies she won’t make.

            1. Geebs says:

              My headcanon is that Cora is such a crashing bore that SAM utterly refused to share head-space with her.

              I can tell you, I didn’t like being in the same vehicle as her, and being in the same room was really pushing it. A long lift journey would have driven me to madness. Alec and SAM made the right call.

        4. stratigo says:

          Liam probably would have refused it and Cora makes a poor choice for being the human pathfinder since she really rather be an asari and would treat all problems and people like her imagined asari commando would. Not really suitable for the human pathfinder.

          Also, yeah, 100 percent nepotism. But that’s just what humans do.

    4. Dreadjaws says:

      Yeah, I did a Ctrl+F search for “Cora” as soon as I read that bit because I hoped someone brought this up. Granted, Cora’s lack of a facial expression other than “bored” doesn’t give her dialogue much of an impact, so it might not look like she’s that upset by it, but clearly the intention is that until the whole deal with her loyalty mission is dealt with, she’s still upset and jealous of the protagonist.

      Then there’s Addison (the “my face is tired” lady), but she complains about everything, so I don’t know if it’s fair to count it.

  2. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    I’d take this a bit further by having the heroes understand that the tower is creating local storms (why would they have fallen on the one building that handles that planetwide?) but they have no idea how to shut it off. The best Alec and Sam manage is to find how to make it overload, but the Kett arrive before they have a chance to put any sort of timer on it.
    Alec passes on the pathfinder torch to Cora’s silent horror and after a short but emotional speech to Sara, send them away. The shuttle barely manages to slip off the atmosphere before the tower (filled with charred Ketts and Alec) readjusts itself and the storm begin again.
    That way we have a close call, we get how out of their depth the heroes are in this new galaxy, and we know they’ll have to find a better way to affect that ancient tech.

    1. Lars says:

      Yes. The Alec sees a super-weapon and wants eradicate the newly found specimen Kett sounds very wrong.

      Other possibility: Find a landet Kett transporter which can savely navigate the storm. and capture it Have Alec badly wounded in the process but not killed. Let him pass on the AI to Sara but still be alive and useful to the Andromeda Initiative.
      While flying away and seeing the tower from above he assumes, that this thing controls the storm. So the goal is set: find a way to control this tower.

      1. silver Harloe says:

        Alternative fix to the fix Shamus proposed:

        “I don’t know what that tower is, but the Kett seem interested in it. If we get there and study it we might learn something helpful about their motivations, or maybe leverage control of the tower to negotiate with them.”

        1. guy says:

          I thought it was fine as-is; it’s clearly a giant alien machine, it’s clearly busted, and there’s a super hell storm centered directly overhead. Alec has an AI in his head and can put two and two together.

          1. Gargamel Le Noir says:

            The idea would be to make it less obvious what the tower does, even visually. When your story is meant to involve discovery and wonder but everything ends up painfully obvious, it doesn’t work. Just a big tower crawling with ketts with crazy energy readings would have been more intriguing.

            1. guy says:

              I think if you’re going that route you’d be best served by not figuring it out in the prologue mission at all. Have it serve as a landing platform above the worst of the storm you put a beacon on top of to guide in a rescue shuttle, and at most you trip an alarm and summon a swarm of defense drones but don’t actually find the control panel. If it’s an enigmatic mystery you shouldn’t find the on switch in twenty minutes under fire by accident.

              It’s a stretch even actively looking, but that does help establish that SAM is really awesome and therefore the Pathfinder is critical to have along.

          2. silver Harloe says:

            “it’s clearly a giant alien machine, it’s clearly busted, and there’s a super hell storm centered directly overhead.”

            ah, so it was clearly a power generator and the hell storm was an accidental byproduct of its malfunction.

            no, wait, it was clearly a communication center critical to military activity in the area, so their enemies created a hell storm to disable it.

            oh, even more obviously, it’s scientific instrument designed to study the pre-existing hell storm, but was abandoned after they gathered enough data and it has fallen into disrepair.

            actually, it’s a “terra” forming device, making an environmental we would consider hostile. it’s functioning as intended, but it looks broken to us because we don’t understand their aesthetic principles.

            1. guy says:

              Well, I would have guessed weather device from the esoteric hell storm myself, though the others are possible. We know the storm is less than six hundred years old so it’s almost certainly artifical in origin, it’s planetwide but most intense around the tower, and we don’t see any other obvious source. So I think the inference that it’s the cause of the storm is pretty solid, and that it’s intended to manipulate the weather and probably not to generate a storm so severe it crashes our shuttles strikes me as a pretty reasonable inference as well. And whatever it’s supposed to be doing, if it’s generating the storm now we need to make it stop.

              1. Philadelphus says:

                We know the storm is less than six hundred years old so it’s almost certainly artifical in origin, it’s planetwide but most intense around the tower, and we don’t see any other obvious source.

                Or maybe it’s just a natural storm on this planet? I mean, how long did the scientists back home have to study it*? A decade or two? Maybe this is just the once-in-a-century weather for this planet and we just got really unlucky and showed up on a bad day. Mars occasionally has natural planet-wide dust storms, but if we only studied it for a few months before sending an expedition we might have a similar thing happen to them. Also planetary climates change over time, sometimes quite rapidly; maybe this is just this planet’s equivalent of the Little Ice Age or something.

                Or is weather control an established facet of the Mass Effect universe? Because then the jump to “This building is obviously controlling the weather!” makes a lot more sense.

                *Actually serious question, since I haven’t played the game.

                1. guy says:

                  Some degree of weather control exists, yeah. But also the storm engulfs the entire planet and is making rocks fall up and then get blasted apart by lighting bolts and generally does not give the impression that it’s a phenomenon that’s going to stop short of it tearing the entire planet apart. Nor is what we saw through the telescope really consistent with this being a storm that happened in the past.

                  There’s a reason I use the phrase “esoteric hell storm”.

                  1. Philadelphus says:

                    Nor is what we saw through the telescope really consistent with this being a storm that happened in the past.

                    That’s a fair point I suppose. From the description it sounds like it probably would leave noticeable scars.

                    1. guy says:

                      Yeah, there’s a reason it’s considered to render the planet uninhabitable (the air is also poison but it isn’t immediately obvious that’s directly related) and it’s both shredding the geography and wrecking the ecosystem and it is very doubtful it’d leave behind the verdant paradise we were anticipating.

                      Also the descriptions kind of undersell it; my initial impression was that we’d taken a wrong turn into WH40K and landed on a Daemon World where the local Daemon Prince decided gravity is for suckers and lightning is so much prettier than sunlight. The only real question is whether it’s generated by something on the planet or if it’s from the Scourge and that was generated by a massive failure of an esoteric super-reactor. I think the answer ends up being it’s both; feedback loop between the tower and the Scourge.

  3. Liessa says:

    The ‘nepotism’ issue is actually raised by some characters, including the director on board the Nexus who has the infamous “my face is tired” line (I’ve forgotten her name). She’s an asshole about it but she’s absolutely right, and it drives me crazy that the game won’t allow you to acknowledge this. Still, we’ll come onto that scene later.

    There’s one particular line of dialogue in the Kett battle that drives me up the wall with its sheer cluelessness, and that’s when they first attack and Liam(?) says something along the lines of “This is against the rules in any galaxy.” Like, dude, you arrived about five minutes ago – how the hell do you know what the rules are? But of course, it turns out he’s right and the Andromeda aliens are just like the Milky Way ones. To me this line sums up the most fundamental problem with the game: the characters magically know how everything works in Andromeda, because most things work the same way as they did back home. Yawn.

    1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

      The face-is-tired character’s name is Foster Addison, but it’s quite telling that nobody remembers her name. I had to Google it myself. I just remembered that she had that stupid line and that she corrects our grammar in our very first conversation, but then says plenty of grammatically things wrong herself that we’re unable to call her out on.

  4. Henson says:

    Party because it will be easier to explain once we know more about these guys, but also because there are a lot of other things going wrong in this section and I don’t want to get sidetracked right now.

    That’s as good a reason as any to party!

    …Yeah, I’m an ass.

  5. BlueBlazeSpear says:

    Something I appreciated about the character of Alec Ryder was the fact that he was given some character and had a discernable personality. Pretty much all of the primary characters in the Andromeda story tend to be some version of cheery or light-hearted; they’re basically climbing over each other to get in the next quip or zinger. Alec actually offers something different: He’s… severe. He’s gruff – particularly toward his underlings, including his own children. He doesn’t have time to laugh or make jokes. When I look back at the character, he often seems like the only person who’s acting appropriately to the fact that they’re screwed and they’re far away from home and it’s on them to do something about it. I actually didn’t like the character, which I think is a good thing: He actually inspired me to have feelings about him. Most other characters just left me feeling “meh.”

    I think I could have appreciated the nepotism of the situation a lot more had Alec had some line that was along the lines of “I know that you and Scott don’t have a lot of experience, but I know that you both are tough and capable and will rise to the occasion. But, honestly, I just wanted to have my kids with me…” something along those lines. It recognizes that our character is green, but is bursting with potential – and it also actually makes Alec look like an actual parent and it helps completely justify everything that he goes on to do.

    And speaking of that, will there be a “Habitat 7: Part 2” post? Because some other rather important story stuff happens here that you didn’t address. Including the fact that Alec Ryder dies in the stupidest way possible – off screen no less – and further abuses his nepotism by passing on SAM to Sara instead of passing it on to Cora as the chain of command would’ve dictated. And the fact that we then learn that SAM is the actual protagonist of the story and that Sara is just the meat-car that drives him around.

    And story-wise, it seemed completely stupid to me that the very first thing that happens when you land on Habitat 7 is that the faceplate on your helmet gets damaged and that you’re able to fix it quite easily. Yet the mission on Habitat 7 ends with our character taking a much shorter fall, then somehow damaging the faceplate of the helmet again, but this time, we’re unable to fix it. Then Alec dies by giving you his helmet – which isn’t damaged, despite taking the same fall – and staggers off to die instead of doing the much more reasonable thing of swapping his helmet back and forth with Sara for the few minutes that they had to wait for the shuttle. I know that people want to say that the helmet is damaged more severely the second time around and was, thus, beyond the same type of repair that was employed the first time. But why add this confusion? By all accounts, the technology we use to fix the helmet the first time is basically space magic that has had no rules established to it. If you’re going to do something logistically confusing like this, you at least have to handwave it, right? You’ve got to address it in-game why a thing worked perfectly fine in one instance and then failed 15 minutes later, right? It completely took all of the dramatic bite out of Alec Ryder’s death because I was sitting there scratching my head. No wonder Sara wasn’t particularly moved by her father’s death either.

    She certainly did prove the Geth right though: Windows are definitely a structural weakness.

    1. Liessa says:

      Your first paragraph raises another good point that struck me immediately when watching early gameplay videos: None of the characters seem to be taking the story seriously. There’s nothing wrong with humour in a serious story – the original trilogy has plenty – but the Andromeda characters feel like a failed attempt at a sitcom, constantly making snarky remarks in the most inappropriate situations. The poor writing consistently undermines any attempt to create tension, because if the characters don’t seem to feel any genuine concern about their plight, how can the audience?

      And yeah, the ‘broken faceplate’ thing makes no sense. Why establish that you can fix these things with the magic omni-tool, then have Ryder not even attempt this later on in the same mission? At least show her trying and failing, maybe because the magic omni-gel runs out or something.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        None of the characters seem to be taking the story seriously.

        I think this would have killed the game for me more than anything other flaws, if I’d ever tried to play.
        I’ll say a lot of bad things about Commander Shepard, but one thing you could always rely on him/her for is that they took the threat seriously. I’ll but even when they were reduced to stupid, laser-firing robo-bugs they were still dangerous.
        “WE FIGHT OR WE DIE” has been mocked, and quite right too – but think how that scene would have gone if Shepard had come out with some ‘witty banter’ instead while Earth was being destroyed…
        (Almost as bad a starting a Star Wars film with a ‘Yo Momma’ joke while the Rebel base is being destroyed)

        Presumably/hopefully there is a planned part 2 by Shamus which will cover Alec Ryder’s death.

      2. BlueBlazeSpear says:

        To me, the most egregious example of this is during Liam’s loyalty mission when your entire strike team is literally inches and seconds away from being sucked out into the vacuum of space – with no helmets on – and Liam’s actually WISECRACKING about it! What makes it slightly more stupid is that Ryder can join in on the wisecracking… when they’re literally moments away from a horrific death. I mean, there’s gallows humor, but then there’s that. It’s one of those moments where they’ve clearly read the script and they know that they’re fully suited up in their plot armor. It’s really a shame because there are a lot of things about that mission that are fun and interesting. But I assume that Shamus will be covering that when the time rolls around.

        1. NAMENAMENAMENAME says:

          If you’ve ever played the Citadel DLC in ME3 I feel you can see where the origins of this writing came from. In the DLC you see a lot of the same refusal to take things seriously as the more egregious parts of Andromeda, but it felt less intrusive there. Don’t get me wrong, it still felt a bit off to me and there were several instances where it seemed the game was trying too hard to be funny but not as much as Ryder and co. In Citadel you spent your time fighting random mercenaries rather than the Reapers and given how a theme of the DLC was that Shepard and crew were top-tier badarses it made sense that they’d see stuff like “there’s a platoon of mercs trying to kill Shepard” as something relatively light and easy to deal with when the main story missions were things like “Thessia is under attack and there’s nothing we can do to stop it!” Ultimately the DLC is supposed to be a rather light hearted couple of hours filled with references to the past games rather than something that’s meant to be taken as a serious addition to the main story.

          The problem with the same kinds of humour in Andromeda was that the writers didn’t seem to have the same sense of scale or awareness that having the characters crack those jokes indicated that the player shouldn’t view the threat depicted as intimidating. If I recall correctly on Eos as part of a side-quest (Defeating the Kett) the commander of a local Kett military base makes some threats over a radio and shortly afterwards Ryder imitates him to the amusement of their companions. In doing so the game takes the primary military threat to the Initiative on the planet (admittedly one who isn’t important to the plot) and makes him a joke.

        2. Asdasd says:

          If anything it sounds like they’d read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

          But yes. I love Firefly but Joss Whedon has a lot to answer for. (Or I guess Marvel does for copying Whedon and everyone else does for copying Marvel.)

        3. Liessa says:

          Oh God, that scene. That entire mission has some of the most jaw-droppingly bad writing I’ve ever seen in a game, at least one written by native English speakers.

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      A note: when the suit is damaged at the start of the mission, there’s a fracture and the omnitool pretty much just seals over that section. At the ending, the entire faceplate shatters. There’s nothing to glue over… it’s gone. The problem with “switch helmets back and forth” is that the younger Ryder is incapable of taking care of themself at that moment (they require immediate medical attention when you return to the ship) and Papa Ryder can’t hold their breath for long enough to get a useful amount of oxygen into a wounded person and then make the swap without a severe risk of his son/daughter dying. Because Papa Ryder would hold his breath when it’s not his turn, younger Ryder would likely just try to breathe since they’re not fully in control of themself and suffocate.

      Potential reply: “well they should have explained that with dialogue in the game.” Er… no. When the problem is suffocation, you CANNOT have the characters currently suffocating TALK about that. That should be obvious.

      1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

        This is sort of what bugs me about it. Every one of my objections could be handwaved in a trivial way, but the game never manages to do that.

        We can say that the initial helmet/faceplate damage wasn’t actually fixed. Heck, there might even be something buried in the codex that says “here’s what the omni-tool can fix and here’s what it can’t” that explains that it only just “glued” the helmet cracks. But what we’re shown in the game makes it look like the faceplate is magically fixed. There’s not so much as a scuff on it. To me, it seems that any reasonable person seeing that scene would conclude “Wow – one more magical power of the omni-tool is that it can fix faceplates.” Then mere minutes later, we’re in another situation where the faceplate needs fixed again and suddenly the same space magic that worked before suddenly can’t fix it now. And there’s no in-game discussion about why that is. The helmet is clearly more damaged the second time around, but the game had done nothing to set the limits on what the omni-tool could and couldn’t do.

        Maybe during the initial damage as you repair the faceplate, Liam could’ve said “You may have sealed the fractures, but the integrity is now compromised, so I’d avoid taking another direct blow to the face.” Or something like that. Just something that says “This thing that seems magical now will actually not be able to fix anything when you actually need it to.” Instead, what it currently looks like narrative convenience where the space magic works when it’s convenient and it fails where it’s convenient.

        Bigger picture, I don’t even know why this narrative choice was made. Do we even need the initial scene of the faceplate cracking and being repaired? Just have it break the one time and don’t bother making us wonder why it worked one time and not another. Even if we can handwave it after the fact.

        As far as the helmet swapping goes, my quieter objection there is that helmets from different types of armor sets that are on two different-sized people would even be swappable in the first place, but I can live with this one because it makes reasonable sense that making parts standard and interchangeable as possible would only help you in space. But they literally are just having to survive for a few minutes. That’s like one – possibly two – helmet swaps. Heck, my cousin who’s an actual Marine can hold his breath for three minutes. But Alec – this futuristic space Marine – can’t do it? You would expect an N7 to be unusually resourceful and be a good survivor. Even if Sara is lying there unconscious, breathing is an autonomic function: You don’t need special medical attention to get a living body to breath no matter what other trauma it’s going through. Swapping the helmet a couple of times shouldn’t be the big deal that it’s made out to be here.

        If we need Alec to die here (and I don’t even know if that’s necessary, narratively speaking), we – or I, at least – need to see him being resourceful and clever and failing. There needs to be some reason that the basic stuff won’t work. Maybe put the shuttle 20 minutes away instead of a few? Now the crazy amount of helmet swaps becomes dangerous to everyone involved. And when Alec is dead, give us the freaking body! Seriously. The lack of body and the lack of emotion from all involved made me think that Alec was going to pop up magically alive at some point later in the story and it just never happened.

        I agree with you that most of my objections are easily dealt with, but the game is where they should be dealt with and they’re not. Sitting here now, I can spin entire yarns that make sense of the story, but that’s not how good storytelling works.

        1. guy says:

          I don’t think it’s necessary to explicitly explain that the omni-tool cannot instantaneously repair an unlimited amount of damage, given that the crack takes a bit to seal. It can be inferred that the more severe damage (IIRC from it getting struck hard dead-on vs. something glancing off) overwhelmed the suit’s self-repair capacity from the face that the faceplate doesn’t self-repair.

          1. Liessa says:

            The point is, it cost time and money to animate that scene with Ryder fixing the faceplate – so why even bother if it’s not going to be relevant later, in a very similar situation? Sure, there are plenty of reasonable explanations for why it might not work the second time, but that makes it all the stranger that the game doesn’t bother showing one. It feels almost like they’re deliberately trying to create a plot hole – or, much more likely, they originally intended to have a ‘trying and failing to fix the helmet a second time’ scene but it got cut for some reason. Either way, we’re left with something that looks inconsistent, because it seems like Ryder just forgot about something that could potentially save her life.

            1. guy says:

              Well, it sets up the fact that the faceplate isn’t invincible and the air is dangerous while simultaneously showing that the suit was designed to seal small breaches and thus that your equipment was made by competent people.

              1. guy says:

                I really liked that first crack scene on its own merits, because basically the omnitool is a tiny super 3d printer; as long as it has the necessary materials it can make anything within a certain size. So of course they use that to repair small breaches. But it can’t replace a whole faceplate instantly any more than it can instantly manufacture a pistol. It takes time and material.

            2. BlueBlazeSpear says:

              That’s really all I’m getting at with the faceplate thing. It’s not the hill that I want to die on considering that there are things way more wrong with the story. But to me, it’s symptomatic of why this story often doesn’t work.

              My objections are writing-based, not theoretical technology-based. Why would a writer dig themselves into this hole when it’s unnecessary? Why introduce a problem, show it being solved with relative ease, then re-introduce the same problem shortly after – albeit a worse version of it – and not have it be able to be solved in the same way? Or at least acknowledge why it can’t be solved in the same way? Had we not had the first example, the second example would’ve never stood out as “wrong” to me. It’s not like the faceplate fixing technology ever comes up again anywhere in the story. I would’ve never questioned the lethality of the broken faceplate if the one and only time we saw it is the time that it got Alec Ryder killed.

              The nerd in me will gladly sit here all day and debate with fellow fans the efficacy of the omni-tool helmet repair technology in Andromeda. People here are smart and good-natured and generally just as nerdy as me, so that kind of theoretical discussion tends to be a blast for me. But while we may go back and forth on it, I see it more as a concurrent issue running parallel to my issue with the writing even though they may have the same precipitating event. I don’t expect the writing to be bulletproof, but I don’t like thinking “Hey, wait a minute…” this early in a game – during the opening part when it’s trying to earn my trust.

              1. guy says:

                Honestly I tend to go with the theory that anything that’s in the Codex is part of the story and it’s there to answer these questions. Most importantly, the Codex contains the stuff every character already knows and would not bother explaining out loud. Particularly not Alec in the middle of a crisis; he brought Sarah because he trusts her to have at least basic competence.

                Narratively I think it was a way to establish that a broken faceplate will kill you without redshirting someone. There’s a small crack that’s quickly patched and you can breathe a sigh of relief, then later it explodes into fragments.

                1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

                  I thoroughly enjoy the idea of the Codex and what it stands for. But I think that we may disagree about how they’re supposed to function within the game.

                  To me, a good codex entry is complete flavor text that gives us tons of delicious worldbuilding that is fun and fantastic to know; just some extra fluff for us nerds to geek out on.

                  I think that a bad codex entry is one that’s a catchall meant to explain our gaps in knowledge about the events of the game we’re playing. If I have to go burrowing through codex entries to make sense of the bit of story I just saw, then the writer of the story didn’t do his job.

                  This is something that really frustrated me with the codex entries of ME2 and ME3: They became less about being flavor text and became more of a quick and dirty way to try to handwave plot holes, confusing story beats, and apparent contradictions in lore.

                  As great as codex entries are, I feel that they should be supplementary nerd-fodder and not required reading. If there’s some fantastic codex entry about the omni-tool’s helmet repair functionality that defines the parameters of its capabilities, that’s awesome, but it shouldn’t be a situation where I see the Alec Ryder death scene, find myself confused about the lack of helmet repair, then have to go looking for a codex entry that says “It can fix cracks, but it can’t fix breaks” for me to say “Ah-ha! I’m back, baby!” But I think that we’re clearly just talking about personal tastes on this one.

                  1. guy says:

                    Eh, ME1 stuck absolutely critical information to understand the stakes of the climax in the codex. No one ever explains the whole drive-discharge mechanics and how they constrain non-relay FTL when the centerpiece of the story is that Sovereign is going to leave you all stuck with non-relay FTL and you need to open the Mass Relays to allow reinforcements to arrive because the Citadel is inaccessible otherwise.

                    Apparently a lot of people missed that non-relay FTL even existed despite the fact that you use it constantly.

              2. Trevor says:

                I agree completely. The first helmet break is an unnecessary and clumsy raising of the stakes. There’s already dialogue about how the atmosphere of the planet is toxic, you don’t need to show it 3 minutes later with a broken helmet scene. If you think the purpose of the scene is to show how kewl the omni-tool 3D printer/scanner is, have Alec die a different way. There’s no reason to have so substantially similar scenes play out in two different ways so close together.

                If you’re going to have the helmet break death anyway, at the very least include a line of dialogue about why the fix that we saw work earlier doesn’t work now. As BlueBlazeSpear says, it’s just clumsy and bad writing.

                But if we’re going to talk about suit integrity, I always get a kick at how Peebee’s exposed midriff outfit does not change, even if you bring her out onto the tundra of the ice planet Voeld.

                1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

                  There’s no reason to have so substantially similar scenes play out in two different ways so close together.

                  I’ve spent several long, meandering posts trying to express what you’ve said in this one sentence.

                  And I totally agree that Peebee’s bared midriff is absolute nonsense in many of the environments the pathfinder team experiences. But to be fair on that point, that’s been an issue since back in ME2 when Jack would go into equally dangerous environments wearing nothing but cargo pants, a belt across her nipples, and a small breathing mask that didn’t even cover her eyes.

                  1. Trevor says:

                    Yes. Liara’s excursion suit is just a strapped on breathing mask with no eye protection. I’m sure the answer for why that works for her and Jack is “Well, BIOTICS” (I mean, the answer for why is because those characters are supposed to be sexy and so the chainmail bikini rules apply, but in-universe it’s probably biotics).

                    Andromeda just makes it more ridiculous by having places where if you stand for too long you will die because of how cold it is. And there’s Peebee just hanging out, abs and head tentacle things apparently immune to frostbite. Liam’s wisecracking doesn’t get much of a smile out of me, but Peebee’s abs of vacuum-and-cold-proof steel do. (I get that he’s supposed to be lighthearted and earnest and not taking things seriously is kind of his thing, but his schtick doesn’t work for me)

                2. shoeboxjeddy says:

                  And I disagree completely. The last time breathable air has even been a problem in the Mass Effect franchise was at the very beginning of ME2 where Shepard begins to suffocate to death as his/her ship explodes behind her. If we’re all the sudden going to bring up the very pressing concern for an astronaut that their air supply will fail, it’s good to establish: a) how that would happen and b) how they normally fix such things. So the helmet takes a crack and your competent character fixes the small crack, since they are competent enough and uninjured enough to do that. Then later, when the ENTIRE FACEPLATE is destroyed, we are hopefully aghast as to how deadly the situation is. Yet somehow, people don’t get how losing the entire faceplate is different from a small fracture. It’s the difference between cutting your finger and cutting your finger OFF! A bandaid won’t work on the second thing even though it worked on the first. An explanation in dialogue would be completely inane “oh the omnitool can’t make an entire helmet out of nothing before you suffocate and die. Duh.”

                3. guy says:

                  I did not see them as substantially similiar; to me it’s like if a boat sprung a leak and someone grabbed the patch kit off the wall and sealed it, and then later half the hull exploded. The helmet sealing is a tiny automated patch kit.

                  The narrative purpose is basically the same as having a monster wander by to establish a threat then leave, then later bust down a door and charge into the room.

                  As for Peebee, I guess biotics. Jack and Samara were the same way on spacewalks.

                4. Liessa says:

                  Exactly. Once again, the problem is not that you can’t fanwank an explanation for why the tool wouldn’t work the second time (and why Ryder wouldn’t even try it). The problem is that you have to fanwank an explanation, because the game doesn’t bother to give one. I don’t like it when writers assume their audience will just fill in the gaps for them, especially when the general quality of the writing is poor and they’ve done nothing to deserve that generosity.

                  1. Ant says:

                    Constating that the omnitools can fix small breach but can’t replace a whole faceplate isn’t fanwanking, it’s literally what we see in the cinematics. There would have been a need to fanwank something if the omnitool effectiveness wasn’t consistent, like it can generate a new helmet but not repair small cracks. The writer don’t have to justify the limit of the omnitool in the same way they don’t have to justify the maximum length of a jetpack jump, the adherence of the vehicule, its maximal speed and so on. Imagine how pleasant and natural it would be if the characters recite the technical manual of every equipment they use.

        2. shoeboxjeddy says:

          I guess I never understood the confusion that people had with the faceplate because there’s a clear visual difference between “a crack that you can put space duct tape on for now” and “the entire pane is shattered and gone. There’s no fixing it.” That doesn’t need explanation at all in my view.

          Regarding this:
          “Heck, my cousin who’s an actual Marine can hold his breath for three minutes. But Alec – this futuristic space Marine – can’t do it? You would expect an N7 to be unusually resourceful and be a good survivor. Even if Sara is lying there unconscious, breathing is an autonomic function: You don’t need special medical attention to get a living body to breath no matter what other trauma it’s going through.”
          The problem isn’t with Alec. He can and will hold his breath. The problem is with his kid when it is not their turn to wear the helmet. They will keep on breathing because they’re not conscious enough to hold in breaths. This attempting to breathe will kill them.

          1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

            This is where I think that I may get burned by Mass Effect 1. It sets up this impossible point of comparison. I have this weird sense that a Mass Effect game should have this kind of issue, then give us the ability to go around to everybody and ask their take on why the omni-tool would’ve failed on this one and I would’ve gotten opinions where I would’ve thought “Okay, I can live with that.” Though slightly in defense of your point, Jenkins dies in a way that’s almost as ridiculous as Alec.

            And I have this sense that fellow N7 soldier Shepard would’ve figured something out. Not ME3 Shepard though. That guy gleefully ate every sh*t sandwich that was handed to him. Whether it was some ridiculous helmet swap or something else, I have a sense that Shepard would’ve at least tried and failed at a couple of things before saying “Okay – I’ll just die now in this stupid way to save your life…” Maybe early Shepard just gave me an exaggerated impression of what an N7 Marine is good for.

            1. guy says:

              ME 1 would have had a codex entry on spacesuits that includes the line “minor breaches are easily repaired by an omni-tool, but this is insufficent for catastrophic failures of suit integrity.” It might have thrown in a single Tali line before going down to the planet to remind everyone of this fact, followed by a dialogue option to thank her or point out you know how your suit works.

              1. Asdasd says:

                “As a space gypsy, here is my opinion on [$POINT_OF_INTEREST]”

                1. Viktor says:

                  Okay, I realize that this is a no-politics zone, but could we at least avoid using racial slurs? That seems like basic politeness.

            2. Khizan says:

              Not trying the helmet swap thing makes perfect sense to me.

              It was a life or death situation with only seconds to make a decision, and he decided that his child was going to live through it. Maybe he’d have tried the helmet switching thing with Cora or Liam, but with his kid’s life on the line he wasn’t willing to take a chance with it and chose the one option he knew would save them, even though it cost him his life.

  6. Jabberwok says:

    “As we’ll learn later, the Kett are gene collectors and operate kind of like an organic version of Star Trek’s Borg. They find new species and “exalt” them by splicing in Kett DNA, which turns them into space-monsters.”

    So….they’re Reapers. That’s disappointing. If they wanted space zombies again, they could’ve just used Reaper tech. There’s no reason they couldn’t show up in Andromeda, in small, non-apocalyptic doses.

    1. BlueBlazeSpear says:

      At least the Reapers started out as terrifying, unknowable space-gods. The Kett are immediately just a pile of mooks that seemed to be specifically designed to die from our gunfire.

      The Kett are like uninteresting, human-scale Reaper wannabes who aren’t nearly as intimidating or interesting.

      Something I’ve said in various forms is that this game seems to copy virtually everything from the original trilogy except for what made the original trilogy great.

      1. modus0 says:

        Only the Kett are genetically modifying individuals into individual Kett, whereas the Reapers were taking entire species and turning them into a single Reaper.

        The Kett also seem to need living specimens, while the Reapers seem to prefer dead ones.

        1. Jabberwok says:

          But the Reapers also converted members of every species into thralls, the various enemies you fight throughout the trilogy. The low level concept that actually matters in gameplay terms is almost identical. They could swap the color palettes for the Kett enemies and say you’re fighting new species of Reaper thrall. You could replace the Kett with the Reapers, or the Borg, or the Zerg, or the Flood. They’re rehashing something that’s already overused with slight variation, which sounds to me like it doesn’t really serve much purpose and isn’t as good as what they wrote before.

          1. guy says:

            Well, it does let you fight Husks without this inevitably leading to a confrontation with a Sovereign-class Reaper who just kills you all and gets them out of continuing from any of the endings of ME3.

            Also, the kett are actually missing what makes the Borg or the Zerg or the Flood work. Think about it: how often do people just up and beat any of those? The first real “victory” against the Zerg is using the psi emitters to pull a massive portion of the Swarm to Antiga to allow Tassadar to burn them from orbit. Then when the trick is repeated on Tarsonis Tassadar refuses to annihilate it and instead tries to defeat the Swarm without using his planet killers. And it fails; the Swarm overruns the planet and his fleet and then Aiur. The only other way to beat the Zerg, ever, is to disrupt their coordination; kill the Cerebrates or the Overmind or Kerrigan or engage the Psi Disruptor.

            You can’t do that? Well, you have one objective then:

            Fight until the last Protoss falls

            1. Jabberwok says:

              Yeah, this is kind of what I mean. The Kett are like neutered versions of these other concepts. That said, I do think they could have come up with some reason why Reaper husks were around in Andromeda without having to fight the Reapers themselves. Maybe it’s just not time for the harvest, maybe there are only a couple actual Reapers hanging about, maybe the husks are autonomous for some reason, who knows. Maybe the big guys were all killed in the Milky Way, but there are still orphaned husks in Andromeda (like the Zerg without the Overmind); impaling people on spikes to build up their numbers in an attempt to construct a new Reaper.

              I mean really, a completely original race probably would have been the best way to go for what is essentially a reboot, but this has so much in common with the old concept, I’d almost have preferred they reuse it.

              1. guy says:

                Well, I had thought they were more interesting when I didn’t know they were actually just transforming people and thought they’d hoisted the skull-and-double-helix and were here to steal all our good genes because all the good genes are their divinely-granted right.

      2. jbc31187 says:

        “The Kett are like uninteresting, human-scale Reaper wannabes who aren’t nearly as intimidating or interesting.”

        I think the word you’re looking for is “Collectors.” Bland and obscure motivation, “intimidating” design, and fights just like every biped species in the universe. At least the Collectors had a few visually different mooks to throw at you.

    2. guy says:

      I think the kett concept isn’t bad, though the impression I got was that they were splicing alien DNA into kett rather than the other way around. So they’re hunting Asari to upgrade themselves with biotics.

      The problem with the kett is that I have no memory of their units whatsoever. I don’t even remember their tactical theme. They should have all kinds of esoteric powers and weird combos like an engineer strain that deploys drones paired with a biotic strain that casts barriers on them.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Quite. I get the impression that it’s a failure of implementation, rather than the idea itself.

        They’ve been harvesting genes for how long? Great! Let’s have spider ones that climb walls, bulky ones for high-gravity environments, psychic floating ones, flying ones with wings, tunneling ones, armored kamikaze ones with blade -arms…

        …or, just endless waves of testicle-headed mooks using ugly versions of the same guns as us. That’s just as good, right?

        1. guy says:

          Yeah, if they’d been more varied and interesting they’d be on the level of ME1 Geth and provide a good source of endless waves of mooks to gun down, which the game mechanics flatly require.

          I’d have restructured the plot a bit too to make the kett more like an anthill we’ve inadvertently kicked than like a normal villain. We can skirmish with their outer expansion and win but we need to figure something out fast before their central command takes notice and buries us under a tidal wave of warships. Maybe after Eos we determine that if we take control of all the Remnant towers we can shift the Scourge to seal off the Heleus Cluster completely, or maybe we need to form local alliances to push back the kett.

        2. jbc31187 says:

          ME1 Geth had some enemy variety- the quadrupeds of various size, the big red guys, the drone-types, and the wallcrawlers. The latter especially were annoying to fight but they fit well with the story premise. Any species could field heavy armor or drones or mobile weapons platforms, but only the Geth could make a sniper that could climb walls and leap across the map. Did the Kett have anything like that?

          1. guy says:

            The Kett have about as much variety as one of the ME2 merc companies. Their exotic is a varren that cloaks, and they use shields and have grenades.

            The other thing about the Geth is that they had a theme; they’re all robots and they trend heavy on shields. That means going up against them makes you load up on shieldbreakers and hacking and the like, and usually there’s reasonably frequent switch ups of enemy types so that doesn’t get stale. The kett have guns and their second healthbar is shields but it’s not widespread like the Geth and their gimmick is cloaking and smoke grenades, which is basically the least interesting gimmick Cerberus had on their gimmick guys.

  7. Sarfa says:

    On the tower- did they need to have anyone intuit any meaning behind it when they spot it?

    That is, couldn’t the logic of going there simply have been “This is a giant ass storm. That’s a building that doesn’t seem to be getting knocked over by the storm. That tower is thus both shelter and probably a location we can easily defend from the Kett until the storm stops”. Once there you can have the player investigate why it’s pumping energy into the sky, and thus discover what the tower is for and figure out how to use it. Or figure out what it’s not for (that is, come to a wrong hypothesis), figure out how to use it and get completely unexpected results.

  8. Mortuorum says:

    Another problem with the Kett is the design of their technology, or rather the lack of design. Their weapons are at least distinctive, if ugly. (I assume the designer was going for pickles with triggers.) However, their architecture is depressingly mundane. The first time I saw it, I thought “bus terminal”, which I later revised to “bus terminal with a coat of military green paint.” Nothing after that really made me change my opinion. So not only did the Initiative travel millions of light years to fight lumpy humanoid aliens, but lumpy humanoid aliens whose design aesthetic is “depressed Soviet satellite nation.”

    1. Henson says:

      Why would that be a problem? Doesn’t a drab design further characterize the Kett as a soulless race of brainwashed species?

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        The problem is that “soulless race of brainwashed species” is incredibly boring.
        Their personality is literally that they have no personality. Neither as individuals, and almost none as a collective species.
        And the little personality they do have is basically “Evil Cultists”.

        These guys have “Gameplay Cannon Fodder” written all over them. Even the popular sci-fi FPS games have more interesting designs for their antagonists than this.

        1. Henson says:

          I mean, I agree that it’s boring, but that’s the choice that Bioware made for their story. Changing the look of their design aesthetic isn’t going to fix that. You might as well make their visual aesthetic support their species’ essence, even if that essence is bleh.

          1. Echo Tango says:

            Better idea: scrap the boring design entirely, and have mechanics, theme, and visuals all line up into an interesting sci-fi species.

        2. guy says:

          Well, they’re not inherently less interesting than, say, Tyranids. They basically are Tyranids who have metalworking.

          However, unlike Tyranids you don’t have to engage in an epic three-part quest to secure a sample of their base genome to devise a deadly toxin, claim an ancient interstellar sensor array to analyze their deployments, and persuade someone to give you control of a massive manufacturing center to produce the toxin, then launch a suicide mission to use the toxin on their primary hive ship. You just shoot them.

          1. BlueHorus says:

            Hah, just finished a post mentioning Tyranids below, and this turns up.

            But another facet of the Tyranids is that they never speak or explain themselves (at least, not since that one ‘diplomat’ unit was retconned).They’re just an implacable force of nature, and that makes then scary in a whole different way.
            Meanwhile the Kett – I assume – have a generic ‘holier-than-thou’ spiel that they happy spout*?

            *Again, I assume.

            1. guy says:

              Basically, yeah. Not really an inherent problem either, but there’s no point in attempting to talk to them except to get them to gloat about their plans. They might as well say “We are the kett. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Power down your weapons and surrender your ships. Resistance is futile.” and then cut the transmission.

        3. BlueHorus says:

          These guys have “Gameplay Cannon Fodder” written all over them.

          Remember the hybrids from System Shock 2? Normal humans with worms sticking out of their heads who alternated between saying ‘Join ussss’ and screaming ‘KIIILL MEEE!’?
          Or the headcrabs, whose only purpose in like was to glomp onto your face and use you to make more headcrabs?
          Now those were a soulless alien race done well. Sometimes a lack of personality is better than a generic one.

          You know what? Just a game about the Andomeda Initiative turning up and finding out that they’ve stumbled into the territory of Mass Effect’s take on the Zerg or the Tyranids could be interesting, in its way.
          More so that everything I’ve heard about the Kett, honestly.

      2. Mortuorum says:

        I’d like to think that a clever enough artist would have come up with something that was drab and still alien. There’s nothing in kett design that would look out of place in the context of a human society.

    2. Pax says:

      I think “pickles with triggers/engines/interior storage space” describes almost all kett technology, architecture, and furniture. The kett have obviously received our TV signals from the early 21st century and are Pickle Rick fans.

    3. Kestrellius says:

      …wait. So, they’re the Grineer?

      I feel like I should have realized that earlier.

      1. Distec says:

        Yeah, the Grineer were the immediate comparison in mind.

        The Grineer are also kinda generic. But from what little I’ve played of Warframe, they’re at least capable of arousing feelings of disgust and… sympathy! They’re a genetically crippled race that wears its history on its ugly, decaying face. And even if they did manage to successfully take over the galaxy at any point, you get the strong sense that they are doomed regardless. Warframe is nowhere near being some pinnacle of game writing, but it does show that you can inject even a pulp, tropey, ultra-aggressive, conquering “baddy” with some pathos to make them interesting.

        The Kett are gruff rock men, and I see nothing beyond that. I’ve not played Andromeda, so maybe I’m giving them short thrift by comparison.

        1. guy says:

          Well, also Warframe has more not-Grinner who feel like major players. Andromeda has the kett and the Remnant drones, and the latter just hang out at cool artifacts using lasers to tell you not to touch very insistently. So the kett are the only enemy that pose a cohesive threat; you fight other enemy types but they’re basically like pirate or merc bands. You need to fight them when you go to planets, but at least to me it felt like if it weren’t for the kett we’d say “eh, screw those planets”. After the first one, when we had the big discussion about which to go to I understood the goals were to collect the other Arks which were probably also under kett attack, find allies or weapons to help fight the kett with subobjective of get the Turians to stop shooting the non-kett (because of course the Turians are shooting the non-kett) and I dunno maybe put down some outposts if we get the chance.

  9. Hal says:

    Hm. I didn’t think about this in previous entries, but that 600 year time span stood out to me this time around. Does any of their equipment or technology decay over that time period? Especially the parts of the ship that have been running continually for that length of time.

    I realize it’s a minor detail, so I doubt the game suffers if it’s completely unaddressed.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Yes actually. A lot of the sleep pods break down. This causes people to die or wake up paralyzed. In the case of your sibling, they nearly get scrambled to death, which is why they cannot help the player for the largest part of the story.

    2. guy says:

      Well, remember that these are dedicated intergalactic colony ships, so they were designed for a 600-year trip. There’s some minor glitches, but mostly if it weren’t for the Scourge everything would be running smoothly. Because they wouldn’t have gone otherwise.

      1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        Having said that, it’s not like they were able to test-run most of this technology.

        Presumably this tech hasn’t been around for 600 years, and nobody traveled to another galaxy before. They could try to make everything as resilient as possible, but it would always be a gamble.

        1. guy says:

          Well, a bit, yes, but Mass Effect has sophisticated VIs and the capacity for self-repairing systems. So it’s reasonable to expect that all essential systems will remain functional unless there’s an errant meteor strike. Citadel is self-maintaining for 50K years at a stretch, after all. That’s Reaper tech, but it’s an example they could draw on.

  10. Freddo says:

    Not sure whether to blame old age or years of reading Shamus for having developed a habit of spotting “clown show” moments in games. Sadly enough, put enough of those in a row and immersion is broken. Going by memory:
    1> Getting thrown out of the shuttle because on our very first mission on an unknown dangerous planet we had to hang out the door going “wheee” rather than buckling up in our (presumably) crash resistant seats.
    2> The face plate crack. Given that face plate technology could comfortably soak all damage in previous games and in the rest of this game, I expected the face plate to withstand any blast that doesn’t also turn the inhabitant of the armor into bloody pulp. And all so the writers can feed us generic-sad-selfsacrifice-scene#1
    3> Skip a bit ahead to encountering the Nexus. Played out nicely for 5 minutes until you encounter the first human, at which point it again was a case of the writer of the game portraying the crews of our ship as well as the Nexus as comically inept for a cheap dramatic moment.
    At that point I lost all emotional attachment to the story line. And the writers sure didn’t do anything on the nexus to restore faith in their abilities.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      The Quarians depend on their suits to live even more than every other species does. In ME2, Kal’Reegar’s suit is compromised during gunfire. So there’s very much a precedent for this.

      1. Trevor says:

        There’s also a handwave in the Codex that explains why Tali can get shot up and blown up over and over again and not pick up any infections. The suit automatically repairs and deploys antibiotics or whatever. Unless it needs to fail at a dramatically appropriate moment, like Kal’Reegar. But Tali’s suit never breaks when she’s getting shot at by Geth mooks or slashed by melee Krogan attacks.

        1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

          It also has the handwave of being gameplay. Like how your own character can get shot to within an inch of their life, but still hurl themselves around like a cannonball and get back to full health within seconds. And then do it again several times per minute.

          It also helps that Kal isn’t a party member, so he doesn’t have a personal track record of invulnerability like Tali does.

        2. Karma The Alligator says:

          Reegar himself tells you he’s swimming in antibiotics when you meet him.

  11. Trevor says:

    Instead of the Crucible, I would argue the Andromeda writer is trying to recall the beacon on Eden Prime. On the intro planet of ME1 (which we also never go back to), we go down to a planet with Nilus, who is the badass and guides us over the comms for most of the adventure. We encounter the geth, the dudes we’ll be fighting for most of the game, as well as the space magic Prothean artifacts that will be the plot hooks for the rest of the adventure.

    Like Nilus, Alec dies, leaving us to become Spectre/Pathfinder, the space magic artifact explodes and we end up unconscious just in time for the title screen. It’s the rare time you have evidence of subsequent BioWare people having played the original game.

  12. ccesarano says:

    Of all things I’m reminded of Stargate Atlantis. While I never realized it at the time, I think my favorite episodes of the first season being The Storm and The Eye are because it had nothing to do with the Big Bad Epic Threat of Space Vampires. It was instead another human colony native to the galaxy that took advantage of the Atlantis expedition’s vulnerability to try and seize control of the planet. It’s where we got to see a darker, more lethal angle of Sheppard (ha!) that set him apart from O’Neil, and it presented a bit of a dilemma that felt like it could have fit in Star Trek. What do you do when the culture you interact with is still behind you technologically, but is advanced enough to know that you have tech that they want? What happens when they don’t like your Prime Directive?

    Now, Stargate was always different in that they never had a prime directive, but there are also plenty of episodes that engage with the trials and troubles that result in partaking in local politics. Especially because, in Stargate, you weren’t always more advanced. Sometimes you yourself wanted the technology of the planet you just arrived at, and then comes the bartering.

    Your last post covered a lot of this potential, and here it sounds like immediately they took a turn in the worst direction. It is also why I found myself becoming less interested in Stargate Atlantis, stopping some time in season two. It’s far more interesting to have the characters with their backs to the wall. In Atlantis, they decided that the Earth and Atlantis could keep in touch at any time, giving them a readily available Deus Ex Machina. Here in Andromeda, it’s nothing so specific, just the sense that they were building this out like… well, like a video game. Your previous post illustrated so much interesting stuff that could have occurred between just the Milky Way races, let alone any new species. Just the idea of unity breaking down and trying to return to some semblance of civilization is a fine enough conflict. But add onto the notion that, as you said, we’re now the invasive species, and it becomes far more interesting.

    But rather than have blurred lines of good and bad, we’re given Obviously Bad Evil Jerks to shoot, and our characters are undeniably the heroes because Admirable Admiral Gandalf of the DM’s Cherished NPC Brigade is going to identify precisely what that Alien technology is and how it works. Dramatic weight is immediately lightened, mental and philosophical engagement is severed, and the gameplay becomes little more than pew pew.

    I imagine that EA themselves would not allow a game to exist without a clearly defined bad guy, especially as they’re going to want another trilogy. I’m willing to accept that. But I still believe there are far, far better ways to go about it than this.

  13. James says:

    Like others have mentioned, a lot of the story here fell flat. I was particularly annoyed by the squadmate we were stuck with (Liam?), who was instantly your best friend, had a quip about everything, and tonally seemed to not fit the story that’s being told. This trend continued once we met up with the remainder of the squad. Characters were totally bland, but had essentially one character trait that was used to define their whole personality. The whole Papa Ryder is gruff, up until his Jack and Rose Titanic style sacrifice to show his love, didn’t click with me at all. Everything felt very rote and by the books.

    Additionally, the gameplay didn’t click with me either. Things seemed functional but not fun. I remember previous games where mixing the biotic powers and gunplay was really fun, but here i just felt like I was pressing a button every few minutes. The melee attack felt unsatisfying; I didn’t feel satisfying hit animations with any weapon or power. It just didn’t feel fun.

    I tried sticking with the game until it opened up more, but neither the story, characters, or gameplay improved to where this game would feel fun or interesting. Driving was the closest it got, but it still was not even as satisfying as driving in the Halo series.

    1. Geebs says:

      Liam is the Kett of Mass Effect companions: blandly designed, dull, and overly familiar

      1. Mortuorum says:

        If I got to pick my crew, Liam would have gotten the boot. What little personality he does have is grating. I did like the bit about the car, though.

      2. BlueBlazeSpear says:

        I think the thing that annoyed me most about Liam was that I felt like I didn’t understand what he was talking about half the time. I felt like he was often referencing previous conversations that we never actually had. Multiple times, I wished there was a dialogue option to be able to say “Whoa – stop. Wait a second. WTF are you talking about?”

        I’ve even wondered if there had been previous conversations scripted that had gotten cut for some reason and the rest of the dialogue wasn’t smoothed out to allow for the gaps. Or maybe I was missing various optional conversations and the game just had to keep jumping ahead to catch up where those conversations should be. I’m pretty rigorous about constantly exhausting chat options with squadmates and peripheral personnel though.

        But even during his loyalty mission, I wanted to be like “Wait – slow down a minute here. Why exactly are we here?” Because it seemed like this unnecessarily complicated chain of events. Liam gave someone some top secret Nexus access codes? Then that person got captured by space pirates? And now we have to recapture the ship to ensure that the pirates don’t discover that they have a prisoner with Nexus access codes or something? I think that’s what’s going on here.

        But I don’t even understand why Liam would have those codes in the first place, much less grasp his wishy-washy reasoning for sharing those codes. We had a conversation earlier where he talked about being impatient where my reaction was basically “Hey, man – that’s rough.” And I guess that was enough of an inspiration for him to commit high treason. Did I miss some steps in there? What’s weird is that, upon learning about his actions, our only two options are to say “I understand what you did,” or “That was a messed up thing you did.” There’s never talk of actually punishing him for what could be considered a rather severe crime.

  14. guy says:

    I think the Remnant tech is actually pretty good in concept, but its implementation feels like a legacy of being a much larger game, where Remnant tech basically acted like Rifts in Dragon Age Inqusition and there were maybe fifty towers with Habitat 7 establishing that SAM was needed onsite so you’d have to clear each in person. To carry as big a chunk of the story weight as they do each activation needs to be much more complex. Maybe one’s been ripped into three pieces and you need to scavenge parts to jury-rig it, one’s infested with an AI virus and you need to study subsidiary facilities to figure out how to force a factory reset, and one is in perfect working order! Just ask the endless legion of war robots it’s pumping out constantly!

  15. OldOak says:

    Come on, the loading screens in this game aren’t THAT bad.

    Not bad _at all_ I’d wager. Actually after my third or fourth run, it (they?) itched me so bad, I had to replace my previous StarCraft II wallpaper, with extracts from Mass Effect: Andromeda (it took a while to find the right tools to get to them, but they’re quite nice).

  16. Agammamon says:

    Without the mass relay network, we can no longer have a galaxy-wide adventure. I really appreciate that the writers stuck to this and didn’t feel the need to go “big” again.

    They don’t need the Mass Relays. 600 years to Andromeda means over 4,100 light years/year average velocity. Even if they accelerate to that speed really slow (meaning their top speed is way higher) that’s still less than 10 years from one side of the galaxy to the other.

    The volume contained in only a couple of weeks of travel time could encompass more than 1,500 star systems alone.

    Still bothers me – how can you not at least wiki the distance and size of a galaxy? Then you can figure out numbers that won’t destroy one of the central pieces of tech in your series.

    1. guy says:

      In Andromeda as it stands, the Scourge traps you in the cluster; you don’t know safe paths through it for large ships and even the Tempest has to scrape death clouds.

  17. guy says:

    I do like that the Andromeda Initiative has policy for first contact situations, and that the game will allow you to attempt a peaceful encounter.

    See, this is why I don’t think colonialism as a theme really works. Because naturally the Andromeda Initiative has first contact protocols. It’s been in the planning phases for a long time and is drawing on knowledge accumulated over the millennia since the Asari took to the stars. They’ll have protocols for everything. They will be good protocols. It’s basically like a Mars mission; you don’t go until you’ve triple-checked everything.

    It takes a catastrophic and unforseeable event like the Scourge to prevent them from executing their preplanned contingencies to resolve basically anything, at which point the catastrophe eats the story and it’s a disaster movie. The interactions with the Angarans in the game as it is are defined by the mutual threats of the kett and the Scourge that you must ally against.

    And I don’t think you can satisfyingly change that unless you ditch the Andromeda Initiative plot entirely in favor of it being a rag-tag refugee fleet that took a blind jump through a Mass Relay. Then you have a random assortment of whatever you could grab instead of a meticulously planned selection of the Milky Way’s enormously advanced terraforming tech.

    I’d rather have the settlement and first contact stuff run like clockwork because there’s a 50,000 page manual and make the game about the fact that the Scourge isn’t in the manual at all and the manual entry covering the kett recommends prayer. Because those aren’t solved problems in Mass Effect and an intergalactic expedition cannot bring the necessary equipment to solve them. You don’t have the tech to clear that much Dark Energy period and you couldn’t afford to buy enough dreadnoughts for a sustained war the way you could buy those prefab merc outposts on every blasted hellhole in ME1.

    1. Shamus says:

      I’m not sure why you’re still on this point. I gave several example story hooks. If those don’t work for you, then fine. But it’s not like making settlement a theme of a game about settling a new galaxy is some outlandish concept.

    2. RoboticWater says:

      I don’t know how you can say this when two of the largest (and quite recent) events in Mass Effect’s lore, the First Contact War and the conscription of the pre-spaceflight Krogan, are decidedly colonial issues. Clearly Mass Effect is a universe where colonialism hasn’t been figured out.

      But even putting that aside, colonialism is such a complex and persistent issue even today, despite our millennia of colonialism for reference because the nature of each contact incident is so wildly different and governments can never follow a rule book even if they have one. The disparity between tech levels, cultural attitudes, current regimes, geopolitical climates, etc. all change the game drastically.

      And all that can get thrown out the window if the one of the parties is genuinely alien. Yeah, if you, as a writer, go out of your way to make aliens essentially human, and generally accepting of colonists, of course, that’s not a problem worth writing about. You’ve deliberately made it that way. But you didn’t have to make aliens that followed the rules. That’s the magic of SF.

      “The Scourge isn’t in the manual at all.” But isn’t it though? Yeah, not literally “The Scourge (TM),” but deadly, immovable space anomalies? That’s pretty much all of space. And if you can just fix everything with hand-wavy ancient alien technology, then how is that problem even remotely interesting? Same with the Kett. They’re no different than any other Bug-Eyed Monster (that’s literally a SF trope). They’re Collectors with more sentience? That’s basically just Nazis; we know how to deal with Nazis.

      1. guy says:

        Well, because the First Contact War was actually a pretty trivial issue of no actual long-term consequence in and of itself, which is why the Turians call it the Relay 314 Incident. It lasted about a month before the Citadel Council noticed this was happening and told the Turians to knock it off. This creates some bad blood but were it not for TIM and Saren’s encounters with a Reaper artifact that Indoctrinated them both and the attendant consequences the First Contact War probably wouldn’t be a big deal by the time of ME1 because Anderson would be a Spectre and Cerberus would not exist. And the conscription of the pre-spaceflight Krogan was special-cased by the fact that an endless horde of ravenous space bugs (aka basically the kett) were coming to devour the galaxy. Otherwise the Salarians would have just not gone there, like the Council subsequently opts to not go to the Yahg.

        The Scourge isn’t in the manual because unlike other space hazards like vaccum it is not specifically solved and is beyond the capabilities of the ships’ shields and hulls to withstand and cannot be gotten rid of by off-the-shelf equipment. Hence you need to figure something out onsite. Which could come in many forms in the abstract, but this is Mass Effect and you’re playing Totally Not Shepard so you get Not The Cipher and gather Not Prothean artifacts. The kett are a problem we know how to deal with if we have enough guns. We do not have enough guns. Therefore we must get enough guns. Presumably with help from other people who hate the kett.

        1. guy says:

          To me, the biggest problem I see with making the game center around colonialism and how you impact the natives is, well, what happens if you go full Prime Directive and just avoid them? How bad is that? If it’s too bad it’s not a practical option, and if it’s not very bad you can just do that. And assuming you have no kett who will relentlessly and endlessly hunt you for no good reason, then, uh, who do you shoot in this shooter? You advance the plot by talking to aliens and shooting at aliens, so you have a lot of trouble with advancing a plot about minimally interacting with aliens. Either the science team solves the problem of settling the blasted radioactive hell world (which Eos demonstrates they could were the kett not shooting at them) or they do not and you cannot settle the blasted radioactive hell world.

          1. guy says:

            Also I don’t perceive the Milky Way as having urgent territory pressure such that an expedition of 80,000 people would want to meaningfully engage in territorial disputes with multisystem empires or that multisystem empires would lay specific claim to all places adequate for use by a small-scale colony. The territorial conflicts are either the Rachni’s all-consuming hunger or over specifically prime real estate rather than simply habitable territory, which may be left largely unused because it’s just kind of annoying. Notably Lessus, home to the Ardat-Yakshi monastary and basically nothing else because it’s gravity is slightly too high, it has some somewhat dangerous native diseases, and it has bad soil, so the Asari decided to just stick a prison monastery there. And as the Initiative I’d actually prefer to settle a place like Lessus over a place like Eden Prime because the aliens are more likely to shrug and ignore it than to dump hundreds of thousands of soldiers onto it to take it back.

            Hell, I’d rather settle space. The Migrant Fleet looked decently livable.

  18. Dreadjaws says:

    Come on, the loading screens in this game aren’t THAT bad.

    I know you’re joking, but I’m going to use it as a cue to complain again. By God, the loading in this game is atrocious. Loading screens don’t look that bad at first, but that’s because they’re constantly disguised under repetitive animations. At some point, you start wishing for loading screens, because these animations get old really fast.

    But the real problem is the “draw distance” loading. Full disclosure: I’m playing on PS4, so maybe things are better on PC, but if you run through a stage rather than walking you’ll find that things don’t load fast enough for them to show up before you do. This wouldn’t be a problem if it was just a visual thing, but, oh no, it isn’t.

    Run to a door, NPC or other interactive bit of scenery and you’ll notice that pressing the “interact” button/key won’t do anything until the game “catches up”. The other day I fell off a bridge I was running on top of because I assumed only the visuals weren’t loading in time, but it turns out the entire physical geometry of the object hadn’t loaded, so I fell through, watching the bridge finishing forming on top of me a couple of seconds later.

    Worse of them all: enemies will simply stand up still if you’re too far, because their behavior doesn’t load until you’re close enough. If you keep your companions from running ahead and reach engaging distance, you can easily pick them off with a sniper rifle without them reacting at all.

    Man, I don’t even want to imagine what this game was like pre-patching.

    1. guy says:

      When Shamus was streaming they apparently disguised this with invisible walls so Ryder ran in place at the wall until it loaded. At least, there were some disappearing invisible walls shortly after landings.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Wait, what? There’s a streaming of Shamus playing this game? How did I miss that?

        In any case, yeah, it’s easier to disguise in indoor maps, but in the open world it becomes painfully evident.

        1. Shamus says:

          The stream was archived here:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLnFygaMH74

          The first 10 minutes is dumb setup stuff, but I do eventually play the game. It doesn’t really get good until I reach the Asari Ark around an hour and a half.

          1. Dreadjaws says:

            Ah, neat. Thanks!

  19. Decius says:

    There’s 20,000 humans on the Ark. EVERYONE on the Ark got there by being in the top .1% of humanity at what they do AND having great connections. Sara and Scott happen to be among the best at being protagonists because of some combination of shared genetics and shared environment, and that environment also included having the connections to make it onto the Ark.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      EVERYONE on the Ark got there by being in the top .1% of humanity at what they do AND having great connections.

      I’m not sure if that’s ever mentioned in the story, but it’d be a reasonable assumption… if the game supported it, which it clearly, absolutely doesn’t.

    2. Gethsemani says:

      Or they are the .1% most desperate and with nothing to lose of humanity. The Andromeda Initiative was launched prior to widespread knowledge of the Reapers and the events of ME3, so why would the top .1% of humanity, or any other race, leave their great lives behind for what basically amounts to 18th century pioneering on intergalactic distances, with plenty of chances to end up dying a slow, miserable death on a world that contained unknown horrors after all your supplies run out and you are unable to get new ones?

      1. jbc31187 says:

        The Andromeda Initiative only really works if you’ve read the script and realize that this is a sequel and the Milky Way is done, story-wise. This isn’t “go colonize this new, unknown planet in danger space,” this is “everyone and everything you know and love will be dead and dust by the time you wake up, and if the writers gave a shit there’d be a non-zero chance that all your fancy space guns are six hundred years obsolete. You’re a stranger and the locals want you dead. And there’s a bunch of breeding krogan that need to eat, and aren’t too picky.”

        If you know the Reapers are coming and Shepard’s going to screw the pooch in one of three terrible ways, then leaving the Milky Way is a pretty sweet gig, even if you’re tilling the soil for the rest of your life instead of hanging out in your space jacuzzi enjoying your space internet. If everything’s fine and the Reaper claims are dismissed, why the hell would the best and brightest leave a society where their skills are both necessary and rewarded for a chance to die in the pitiless void between stars?

        1. guy says:

          I felt like a good chunk of the cast were basically misfits; they had skills but either didn’t like their society or had lost out to political struggles and wanted a new start in a new galaxy. Which is why we have a Krogan as a high-ranking engineer; maybe in Andromeda people will respect a Krogan engineer. So we have competent people but not our pick of the galaxy’s best.

  20. Jabrwock says:

    I would have stuck with the “recognize the tower as weather control” but flip the situation. The tower isn’t causing the storm… it’s barely holding it back. They blow up the tower, and the storm briefly subsides (explosion disruption, whatever), letting them escape. But as they take off and congratulate themselves, the storm comes back stronger than ever, because the tower was the only thing holding back whatever it was that was causing the storm to begin with. So they’re left with the mystery (what’s causing the storms) and no answers (wasn’t the machines, but it’s a clue that someone somewhere understood them enough to try to stop it, but by blowing up the tower they’ve lost any hope of examining the tech on this planet to find out how it works). Also explains why we don’t come back. With the tower gone the storm renders the surface completely uninhabitable.

    1. guy says:

      I don’t think that works for establishing the Pathfinder role properly; it’s a straightforward military solution and the Pathfinder is supposed to be an armed explorer. Thus, Alec’s instinct when confronted with an alien weather machine endangering the expedition should be to turn it off, not blow it up. Alec might well decide to blow it up if in danger of being overrun by kett, since he is an N7 as well as a scientist, but the tower is huge and you don’t have an antimatter bomb on you so you’d have to find or jury-rig a self-destruct, which requires figuring out how to work it anyways.

      If you want a specific reason to leave Habitat 7 (sidenote: according to the wiki if you 100% viability on every planet the Initiative rechristens it Ryder-1 and begins terraforming to detoxify the atmosphere, though it’s going to take a couple decades) make it the kett’s fault. Given their overall characterization there could be a transmission like this:

      BLASPHEMERS! That relic is for the Chosen alone! None of you are fit to even stand upon it! You have defiled it and proven your genetics are without value! We shall cleanse it and you with it!

      Then the kett begin shelling the tower, you have to escape in a hurry (Alec dies) and your shuttle slips away as the kett fleet maneuvers to join the bombardment, blasting the surface for miles around into magma. Possibly the tower is destroyed outright swiftly and they continue to bombard the rubble long past all reason, possibly the tower structure comes through without a scratch.

      Since you’re going to spend the whole game fighting kett over these towers, might as well establish they really, really hate letting anyone else touch them.

  21. Gautsu says:

    Sometimes you take things for granted that you shouldn’t. Case in point two days ago I was trying to help up a buddy who had never played D&D make up a Pathfinder character. You start to realize that concepts you take for granted can be completely foreign to someone with a different perspective.

    The only problem I had with the faceplate scenario at the beginning was that it showcased the only bug I experienced in my play through (subsequently patched since then), where the rain on Habitat 7 ran down the inside of the faceplates rather than the outside.

    After 4 games and thousands of hours of playing ME games (including MP) I just assume that everyone has read all the codex entries (or listened to as the case may be) and that everyone is familiar with the setting, ignoring the number of gamers who haven’t and who came on board with this entry. It never occurred to me that people would have trouble understanding that an omni-tool can repair a crack but cannot replace something that no longer physically exists. My bigger problem is the way that the cutscene where your father dies takes away agency from you as a player and again, just like every time Shepherd gets his ass kicked, causes you to be damaged and knocked unconscious no matter how well you have been playing.

    I think one of Andromeda’s biggest flaws was how much of the interesting (I almost said best, but I think the changes to combat are the best part of the game) was how much was gated off into the later parts of the game.

    The murder investigation and the question of who the benefactor was. Almost everything about your father’s creation of SAM. The specific parts of each race the kett are trying to take.

    For people who were disappointed towards the beginning placing all of the ‘good’ content towards the middle/end was a bad design choice. ME 1 had the Citadel section to really hook us after Eden Prime. ME 2 had Omega and a couple of great recruitment missions. ME 3 had a bunch of hype and hope to string us along. Andromeda doesn’t really kick in until after the first vault, almost exactly like how DA:I doesn’t kick in until you get to Skyhold. That’s really too long to take to hook players on a game that is serving as an apology for the ending of the previous title.

    1. guy says:

      I think it is very telling that nothing in that spoiler is the driving thrust of the story. DA:I kicks off its mechanical fortress management and broadens your horizons big-time when you get to Skyhold, but the moments I remember most are my Inquisitor with the Inquistion’s mages behind her sealing the Breach and the fall of Haven to the Red Templars.

      In Andromeda I remember that Aegis was cool but maybe limited weapon selection too much while active and the Remnant towers, and they don’t have the story prominance of the Breach.

      I also remember that the kett were a cool concept but their troops were boring and I wanted the ME3 husks back.

      1. guy says:

        Really, from a gameplay perspective the ME3 husks were my favorite enemy in the franchise because they’re all distinctive. Their basic generic gun mook infantry is the cannibal, which eat their dead to enhance themselves. The human husks are a zombie swarm, which distorts the basic cover shooter loop because they rush you. The maurauders are a team buff unit with an assault rifle deployed en masse so you shoot them first but there’s usually several and they’re harder targets than their comrades. The brutes are fairly straightforward minibosses but they serve that role well. The ravagers are armored artillery pieces that spawn tiny bombs. I resent the Banshee instakill but their distinctive shriek, mobility, toughness, and heavy damage output make them stand out as minibosses as well.

        The kett are not that interesting.

        1. Gautsu says:

          They are literally resized, versions of the same model with different abilities (minus the fiend) and the krogan kett I can’t remember the name of

          1. guy says:

            That was what had made me assume they were all just one species to begin with and were splicing in extra traits that looked interesting, hence their overall uniformity. When checking to see how they worked on a gameplay level (it turns out the reason I don’t remember them being interesting is that they in fact are not interesting) I discovered that no actually it’s eventually revealed that they are in fact transforming other species into kett because kett are sterile.

            That… I… what? Can’t you just clone yourselves? Shouldn’t you be extremely insistent on taking us alive? I figured the reason you were murdering us was to throw our corpses into a processor that extracted DNA and turned everything else into organic soup to dump into your cloning tanks.

  22. The Rocketeer says:

    Compare these guys to the Krogan, Hanar, or Geth.

    You make me terribly sad.

  23. Gethsemani says:

    The thing I always liked the most about the Habitat 7 mission is that it actually makes you feel like pioneers in an unknown place. If you go off the beaten path you can find a bunch of Kett ruins and Ryder and Liam can look around and speculate about what they are seeing and what it all does and means. Along with the floating rocks and general feeling of alienation in the opening sequences, the game quickly sets the mood that this is something else, this is new and unknown.

    Sadly, that feeling of actually being pioneers and pathfinders vanishes pretty quick. Once you are driving around planets that look mostly like Earth, fighting enemies that are mostly re-skins of earlier ME enemies and the old Milky Way races start showing up with regularity, it all sort of just feels like the fact that you are in Andromeda only gets lip service every now and then. It gets especially bad when you do the missions for the first colonies, at which point you are back in old Mass Effect 1 territory in terms of ambiance.

    1. guy says:

      I think the colonies really ought to be like ME1 in terms of ambiance; they are basically the same as the ME1 colonies except they happen to be in Andromeda. An Earthlike planet is an Earthlike planet in any galaxy and the ME1 colonies look the same because somewhere there is a company that sells identical modular boxes. So you go to a new galaxy to settle and you establish an outpost and everything is boxes and it’s going to be Feros except with slightly different reasons they’re having trouble with food/water/power/raiders because those are the problems colonies have.

      I think the mistake is simply that the Remnant tower activations are too easy and you do them right away. If the colony on Eos was underneath a crackling shield dome for 70% of the game it’d feel more distinctive and make the environment more threatening and unfamiliar, yet also feel like you’ve brought the Milky Way to Andromeda because beneath the dome everything is boxes. You’d have to reduce the gameplay impact of the radiation (maybe when you visit the Vault you find the SCRAM button helpfully labeled in Alien that you eventually determines means Emergency Shutdown) to allow the player to explore but could borrow the Fallout geiger counter sound to indicate you probably shouldn’t linger.

  24. GoStu says:

    Glad I’m not the only one that disliked the Kett. They’re like what you’d get if Clippy showed up when you were doing your design doc and he asked:

    “It looks like you’re writing a sci-fi story. Do you want me to help create villains?”

    I didn’t think much one way or the other of the character design for the average grunts but their leader has a toilet seat for a head. Or maybe a kettlebell. Once I saw that I couldn’t take him serious any more.

  25. CygnusRubrum says:

    I’m glad that my buddy and I aren’t the only ones that think the kett look terrible. I told him that I thought they looked like buff collectors. He proposed ‘evil walnuts’. I think Mass Effect, as a series, never had particularly good art direction. Any sharp-eyed person would notice that the rate of asset recycling is very high, throughout the original trilogy.

    1. guy says:

      Asset recycling is a budget thing, not an art direction thing. I think their art direction was pretty good in the original trilogy, and the problem was what they were told to generate art for and their technical limitations.

      They also ran with the asset recycling limitation by making the buildings look and feel like Standard Template Constructs. Everything looks the same because they buy buildings off the rack at the building store.

  26. “they picked out several promising planets in the Heleus Cluster” by looking with a mass relay?

    I call semi-bullshit on this one. They could have dropped the mass relay looking part as scientists today are able to detect up to multiple potentially habitable planets around a star (and new planets in general are being discovered almost every month). And this is “in the future” so their Hubble or whatnot telescopes are way better than now. They could have gone hard sci-fi on the discovery part actually.

    1. NAMENAMENAMENAME says:

      Not an astrophysicist here but I’m pretty sure the issue here is that conventional telescopes are limited by the speed of light. Even if you were to pick out habitable planets in Andromeda- and reach them in a reasonable amount of time- you’d still have to make decisions based off of what the galaxy was like 2.5 million years ago because that’d be how long the light had travelled to reach your telescopes. That’s a fairly long time for things to change between the information you used to plan and the reality of the situation when you arrived. Part of the ‘mystery’ of the Remnant and the Scourge in ME:A is that they’re both phenomena that apparently happened in the past few hundred years, completely blindsiding the Initiative.

      The magic geth relay-telescope however was able (somehow) to give up-to-date (for when the expedition was planned) information on the Heleus Cluster. It’s stupid and makes no actual sense but is necessary to justify the expedition running into the problems of a lack of worlds- otherwise the Initiative would either have never set off in the first place or made sure to have had back-up plans for long-term fleet based survival for if they’d managed to roll the dice catastrophically bad and couldn’t find any planets to settle immediately after arriving in Andromeda… Which would have robbed the Ryder’s of a lot their importance as suddenly there would be no plot reason why colonisation would be urgently needed rather than something that could be kicked back a century or two to allow for manual terraforming.

  27. RCN says:

    Does the pathfinder team at least has a token linguist to try dealing and interacting with the new alien tech a la Daniel from Stargate?

    Because if not that seems like a pretty glaring flaw in the composition of the Andromeda initiative. And they absolutely should not figure anything about the alien tower.

  28. Hellfire says:

    How could you forget the best part? The supreme baddie watches a video of a guy using the alien computer, strikes the same pose and gets pissed when it doesn’t work. Something even Bugs Bunny would be ashamed of.

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