Mass Effect: Andromeda | Complete Review
I’ve superificially enjoyed Mass Effect: Andromeda.
After spending some time in the fanbase, it became more transparent most of the disappointment garnered by Andromeda doesn’t come from its prominent flaws, but from the fact that it was created under the Mass Effect franchise. Andromeda, just like Dragon Age: Inquisition, has seemingly led to the creation of Anthem, meaning its gameplay style is under the same umbrella as all three games, and is drastically different from its predecessors. ME:A does diverge from the original trilogy, so much so, it works very well as a stand-alone game. Despite having never played any of the previous ME games (does one minute in Mass Effect 1 count?), I’ve never struggled to understand the Mass Effect universe and its lore. I’ve also never missed the previous protagonists or companions, which felt like a main reason why the fanbase felt let down, and a reason for this underwhelming response to Andromeda. I wasn’t attached to any of these characters, and so I didn’t care. Codex entries are enough to inform players on the world they’re entering, and considering the game takes place in a ‘brand-new’ galaxy with new alien races, the story is exciting enough on its own. It does stray enough from the original trilogy that it can be enjoyed on its own. But while Andromeda could have benefited from being delivered to the public under a fresh new title, I don’t think it being a Mass Effect game was one of the game’s greatest “sin”. Because most importantly, it seems the bulk of the disappointment lies in the writing, the open world, and the game’s amount of content.
Andromeda had pretty ambitious premises, and from the first walkthrough mission on Habitat 7, I was hooked. The game opens up with an organisation of galactic proportions aiming to settle an entire star cluster for all four of the races making the journey. What more can one ask? Space, space travel, spaceships, celestial bodies, space and more space. Although I immediately suspected the Initiative of corruption, since my paranoid mind always goes in that direction, and my imagination ran really wild with what the plot could have been, I was instantly sold on the idea of four major arks each carrying one race of aliens crossing the universe for over 600 years at the speed of light, to ultimately meet with the Nexus at journey’s end, a hub for all four arks and races to join and connect. The magnitude of such a vast enterprise, the level of organisation which I imagined was required for all of it to function properly, and the visual of all four arks and the Nexus travelling through the dark, star-filled universe all contributed to a very positive initial response to Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Just by looking at the size and technological complexity of the arks and of the Nexus, I can tell that human economy has exploded and risen to the point that zillions of dollars were spent on those ships and on all the resources which would accommodate a deep space, interstellar journey. Although Andromeda suffers from the ‘always day’ syndrome – which is a clear drawback considering the vast potential for time elapsing differently on each new planets in this galaxy – each planet looks sublime, particularly Voeld after settling it, as this wintery-like world stuck in an ice age is constantly bathed in the lights of the aurora. Havalr is also rather pretty, with its highly purplish and blueish hues (or is it just my graphic card that does it?). Meridian is also a pleasant surprise, as it is the first human-habitable planet we find in the cluster, and its landscape is marvellous; foreign enough to look realistic at first glance, yet still obviously fertile and habitable and green.
Having completed other, recent BioWare games, however, I knew that that initial impression wouldn’t last very long. And indeed, after barely arriving at the Nexus, it hit me that, once again, the bulk of any story, its characters and dialogues, were missing; substantial dialogues and cutscenes had been curtailed, and replaced by an onslaught of pointless fetch quests and always more grinding, as has become characteristic of recent BioWare games.
Dialogues & Characters Dynamics
Whether that’s with random NPCs, named characters from the Nexus, or companions, any characters you speak with has a frustratingly narrow amount of dialogues and cutscenes. It’s clear the game is thin on conversational content the minute you land on the Nexus. The first characters you’re presented with usually make an impression, especially when you’re fresh off your spaceship, but here, whether that’s with Kandros or Director Tann or Addison, the amount of cutscenes with them is incredibly limited. You’ll never have an exchange with real substance beyond the initial introductory conversation. Director Addison will kindly you give one quest to complete some time mid-game, then tell you not to waste her time when you bring a subordinate’s suspicious activities to her attention, and that’s it. Sure, you will have a holographic conversation with her each time you create an outpost, but that’s still it. Tann has a few more cutscenes than his colleagues, considering he’s highest in the chain of command, and yet still far too few for my taste; don’t count on speaking to him the next time you’re dropping by the Nexus for a quest, because he has nothing to say.
You could say that the bulk of the dialogue is usually reserved for companions (and we’ll get to that in just a bit), and so we’re not expected to dwell on these NPCs for too long or expect much in the way of interaction, but there’s next to no realism in speaking so little with a member of the Nexus leadership. There should have been more dialogue options to develop the relationship further if the player wanted it.
That impression is reinforced straight after boarding the Tempest. Ryder makes his rounds, exhausts all conversation options with all companions, and the next time you try speaking to any of them… no updates. Which doesn’t change for most of the game. The conversation wheel with any character remains bare most of the game, unless a significant plot point calls for it. Beyond serving its initial purpose of introducing the character’s background—and in fact even when the plot does call for it—players will experience a new cutscene, but the dialogue tree still won’t be updated. It’s reached the point where I stopped far too early to seek out companions for conversation because I knew I’d be in for a disappointment.
Again, that’s not realistic (or, dare I say, immersive): people who spend weeks holed up on the same spaceship would speak to each other a little bit more than that. It also feels under stimulating not to be able to talk to companions. Companions and other NPCs are supposed to emulate humans in the real world. By keeping interactions so low, it feels like being deprived of human interactions, and replacing that kind of content with fetch quests doesn’t make up for it. As I settled planets and made significant progress with the story, the game only rarely graced me with a fresh, new cutscene per characters. Despite pouring hours into bringing planets to 100% viability, these achievements didn’t warrant even the smallest conversation, which felt pretty underwhelming.
For a brand that likes to prize itself on being so characters oriented, this game is hopelessly thin on content. BioWare’s past reputation has trained its fanbase to expect privileged character dynamics, which, as the years pass, diminishes more and more. It is one of the game’s most glaring issues, especially considering that BioWare games are still advertised as favouring character developments and meaningful connections with companions.
Furthermore, the real problem is that even when there is a conversation to be had, that conversation is shallow and lacks depth compared to previous BioWare games. There’s a lack of emotional substance.
There’s this characteristic speech pattern, that’s pretty Americanized and military-like. Characters routinely ditch the grammatical subject of a sentence and no longer make complete sentences, as if they skipped grammar classes while being too busy playing military back home. What reflects from speech style and pattern is what a person understands of life, and how much they understand about it. The speech style of the characters reflect a pretty narrow world-view: there are very few concepts that enter the world-view of these characters: the Kett are dimensional enemies, the Initiative are the good guys working on the important mission of eliminating the bad guys.
The fact that Andromeda devolved into this reduced understanding of life feels frustrating. I would sometimes struggle to understand what was said because of how ludicrously reduced the language is. There was a lot of jargon as well, and I would have preferred if the characters had spoken normal and correct English. Given the futuristic, space setting, it would make sense that Andromeda had a more modern speech pattern, just like Inquisition has its corresponding medieval and high fantasy setting. But that’s not what this was at all. These bite-sized dialogues, with few ideas being exchanged, just felt like the writing had brain damage. Straining to listen to this butchery of the English language, and of the purpose of language in general, gave me more than one headache, and I had to stop playing for a few hours after each session. Listening to these conversations felt like I was losing a few braincells every time, and I would advise against playing this game almost only for this reason.
To exemplify, let’s take a look at an interaction between Ryder and one of the Tempest companions, which we’ll compare with a conversation from a previous Mass Effect game.
It’s quite hilarious in this bitter, disappointing way, because right after () delivers that single, bite-sized line, no option exists for the player to answer something meaningful beyond a short and formal farewell. This depthless dialogue is one of the many you’ll get in-between major plot achievements when no cutscenes are available. Most conversations are unrealistic and unnatural. Exchanges with so few words being spoken and with so little meaning conveyed in them is terribly frustrating and headache inducing; if human beings actually communicated the way ME:A characters communicated, it would, once again, suggest some form of cognitive damage or alarming lack of emotional depth.
Let’s now compare that conversation with one from previous Mass Effect games, between Shepherd and Liara.
Although I’ve never completed the original trilogy, the difference is instantly striking, refreshing, palpable. The quality level, the dedication put into the game and its emotional bagage is far higher. The change in engine is also visible at once; despite Frostbite being technically more modern, the graphics’ realism is also far superior to Andromeda, which gives more weight, more credibility to any of the alien races featured. Part of it is the characters’ heights, as they all seem to have misteriously shrunk in Andromeda; it feels like dealing with adults, not children.
I can’t understand why, across Anthem and Andromeda (or around the world, for that matter), intelligence levels have fallen so dangerously. Not only is the important content almost absent, it’s also unrewarding when it’s there. Interactions between characters decidedly used to be richer and more meaningful in previous games than they are now. I can’t understand why the production quality has been suffering so much, but for sure, it produced a game that wasn’t all that enjoyable when you start to dig beyond the superficial layer of cool space imageries. Below, we’ll also see how these meaningful interactions have also been replaced with open world content.
I heard a few times that there are books and comics available, which expand on Andromeda’s story and characters. I have no intentions of reading any of them. Resorting to side content to build on a story that should and could have been available in-game from the start feels like a cheap strategy I have no interest in participating it. The game has several hours worth of content and an excessive amount of fetch quests. The plot-focused content that was scattered across books and comics could have made it into the game to make it richer. It’s alright when some books and comics build on an already richly established world. It’s another when the main game is thin on content, and everything that could have made the story interesting was crammed in different mediums. Well, no, thanks.
The plot itself is interesting, its premise at least, but is not built upon enough. It feels like the game created a premise to introduce the gameplay itself, so we spend most of the game trying to make planets habitable, but it feels a bit empty. The interesting sections, like Alec Ryder’s memories, who is behind the Initiative, and the conspiracy theories the story hinted at, should have been part of the game’s core structure. But as it is, ironically, it feels like what should have been main quests are ultimately side quests. Everything is too superficially explored.
It used to be that playing a BioWare game involved making meaningful choices with tangible consequences. I remember several decisions from Dragon Age: Origins, that players still discuss among each other to this day because there are significant differences in making one choice versus another. These choices are also compelling enough that they regularly drive in new or returning players. I remember researching my choices a number of times because the stakes felt high enough to provoke that level of involvement. While it’s difficult for these decisions to carry onto the next games, there are still some tangible results showing in subsequent games.
I’m sure no one’s surprised to hear that this aspect of gameplay is missing to the point of being non-existent. Let’s talk numbers: in Andromeda, there are around 5 major decisions with a lasting and significant impact on the story, and 5 decisions related to planet specific sub-missions and companions loyalty missions. Needless to say, there aren’t that many threads on any sites discussing either of these decisions, and when there are threads to be found, the discussion is never quite as in-depth. I’ve only had to look up three of my decisions, and it was only towards the end-game that it finally hit me how few significant, consequential choices I had to make.
Anyone who knows me knows how invested I am on how we imagine and portray aliens in our media and scientific discourses. Overall, the Angarans don’t differ much from other Milky Way races. Like most other alien races in pop culture, they’re humanoid in design and not very original. They also suffered from the game being rushed. We have very little facts on the Angarans, biologically or culturally.
I really liked the part where Angarans are raised by the community. But what bugged me the most about them, was their supposed heightened emotional capacities. We’re being told, repeatedly, and not shown, that the Angarans are supposedly highly sensitive creatures, super emotionally expressive. Except they never really have great displays of emotions that back that up. Not compared to the humans or the Ketts or any other races. Human characters already lack particularly charged interactions or outbursts, either emotionally or intellectually. In comparison, the Angarans aren’t particularly more expressive than that.
I’ll make a potentially insulting comparison that I feel is the best fit. In The Vampire Diaries, protagonist Elena Gilbert, now a newborn vampire, suffers from the same symptoms all newbie vampire in the series suffer from: heightened emotions. Except, just like with the Angarans, she displayed a level of emotivity that just barely reached the human average; other characters before and after her displayed more emotions and with more intensity than she did in this part of her journey. The level of emotional intensity in Andromeda characters also barely reaches the human average.
So, in this sense, there’s consistency in the writing when the Angarans as well are incapable of showing more emotions than the average character (human or not). It was sad to see all that potential being mentioned and hinted at, but never explored and tapped into. It got my hopes up, even though I’d have otherwise never expected that kind of depth if the game hadn’t claimed it would be there. And so it’d have been better if this supposed Angaran trait hadn’t been mentioned at all, if it wasn’t going to be explored well. It’s nice they claim not to believe in the meagre human technique of bottling up feelings and that all emotions belong right in the open for the purpose of healing (which they’re absolutely right about), but it would have been nicer to see it.
The Kett had some interesting features: their biology, their inability to reproduce leading them to take over the genetic makeup of other races. Their structure and highly militarized organization. But they were also incredibly one-dimensional, obviously evil with no redeeming traits or nuances, and the Archon was a stereotypical megalomaniac.
It seems a general flaw of Andromeda, where, just like with Anthem, the game over-promised with years of content, while under delivering by having too little of it. It’s sad because, by withholding content, they ensured that the game remained a stand-alone game instead of what could have been a first instalment. The Kett have the same problem; it feels like they had potential for more, but that potential was withheld, anticipating further instalments.
Companions & Romance
One of the major disappointments was the characters and their romances. I got to a point where I preemptively stopped being surprised, so I could avoid that disappointment, which is rather depressing. Most of the characters had potential, but only a few were developed enough. It feels like the space that could have been used to create more companions and relationships oriented content was swallowed to fit more fetch quests.
The major flaw of the romances lies in cutscenes being too sparse and too spread out. It’s a complaint more related to the gameplay itself, but the amount of fluff content is so massive, it swallows up the player’s time. Each romance has an average length of 30 minutes worth of game play, within a game with over 120 hours of content. It’s easy to forget you were even pursuing a romance with one of the companions, or like I mentioned before, to even speak to them, when you’ve spent over five hours running around some planet to make it viable.
Cora Harper is the Cassandra Pentaghast of Andromeda. She’s the first female companion we meet, and acts as the protagonist’s guide as she takes care of exposure and helps us through the first mission. So just like with Cassandra, her romance is one of the most developed ones in the game. She is also the character with whom we share the most interactions, and the one showing the most nudity. Cora also has your average porn actress vibe, and is meant to appeal to a male audience.
She’s the companion that is most expanded upon, romanced or not, and her romance is also the most rewarding in the game, and it shows. There’s a significant amount of conversations and cutscenes available with her where she’s explored as a character. While the amount of content, and the quality of it, is still lacking and under-stimulating compared to previous games, it’s still there.
It also seems a significant portion of the budget went straight into animating her sex scene, because scenes with other companions either pale in comparison or are non-existent. When playing as Sara Ryder, players better fancy Jaal or use the power of their imagination in other romances when the screen fades to black. It almost feels like because Cora’s path is the most fleshed out, other characters were eclipsed and left aside instead of being equally developed. I mean, even the kissing animations were just better with Cora than with anybody else.
Beyond him not being as emotional as the game liked to claim, Jaal’s romance is one of the best after Cora’s. I feel like while Cora’s romance was aimed at male audiences, Jaal was aimed maybe more at female audiences, or at bisexual and pansexual audiences. What felt refreshing for me was that, unlike the rest of the crew, he does not speak in this headache inducing Americanized/militarized way. Interactions with him feel more natural because of it. Jaal’s romance path, or even friendship, is made better with his cultural background of having being raised by several mothers and having multiple siblings, which adds some interesting titbits to his character. Like with every other characters, the whole thing would have been better if the game had had the appropriate amount of depth it needed, and if it had been more developed. But for the level it’s at, his romance was enjoyable. It’s also one of the few romances, apart from Cora’s, that shows a decent amount of nudity, that also offers an alternative cutscene to the sex scene, and, the only romance to have actual foreplay.
Liam is, by far, the most average, dull, unappealing character I’ve ever seen in a story. I barely have anything to say regarding his character, because nothing we ever learn of him, whether that’s his background or motives, ever truly make him shine in any way. Nothing about him stand out of the ordinary. When we get to complete his loyalty mission, it’s just him, having accidentally messed up, which reinforces me in my idea that he’s uninteresting. If Liam had not been a part of my crew, or if the game had presented me with a choice between keeping him in the team or kick him out, I would have kicked him out. His love scene is also a common fade to black.
Peebee is already a tad bit more interesting, and her loyalty mission is reminiscent of Leliana back in Dragon Age: Origins, all of which leads to Ryder gaining her loyalty. At first, Peebee keeps others at a fair emotional distance because of her past, and of course, her character arc revolves around healing that wound – although again, the game’s lack of depth ruins the intended effect. But on paper, it’s there. If more time had been dedicated to flesh her emotional states better, her romance would have been more memorable. The continuation of the Asari melding was also one of the romance’s peak.
Reyes’ romance was intense enough, until you actually seal the deal. After several quests of back and forth flirting and a few cutscenes, once he took over Kadara port and Ryder finally settled the planet, we return to the hopelessly bare dialogue wheel. I didn’t even sigh when I saw that. The few new line Reyes has to say are the same whether romanced or not, and no new content is added beyond that point, which it remains so until the very end of the game, which was farther down the line by that point. I was also confused whether he was meant to just be a side conquest, because I went straight for Gil afterwards.
There’s only one issue with Gil’s romance, and it’s the game’s aforementioned lack of development for the companions. His romanced storyline had potential, but isn’t explored enough, and I felt like Ryder didn’t have enough options to respond with, beyond a two routes option of either being thrilled at the idea of being a father, or to refuse. I would have loved to put Gil’s foreplay scene before the fade to black, with Jaal’s and Cora’s sex scenes together, to get a much more complete moment, and have that with every single romanceable companions.
There are far too many quests (“missions”) that are not actually useful to the completion of the story.
There are 20 main missions, the Priority Ops. These missions are the best written in the game; the balance between combat and storytelling makes for a smooth experience and a fast pace. But the amount of actual story content is incredibly small. Which I wouldn’t think is an issue, if it hadn’t been masked by all the extra fluff around in the form of side quests, that are irrelevant to the story. It spread these 20 main missions very thin across the game.
There are 95 Heleus Assignments, which is the biggest amount of missions in the game. However, not all the Heleus Assigments are or feel necessary or relevant. A number of them, such as the strings of missions required to settle each of the planets feel rewarding as they not only indirectly pursue the story, but also introduces us to several NPCs, which helps flesh out the world. But other assignments, that don’t lead to settling planets or don’t involve relevant NPC interactions, leave players to run or drive around the landscape in an almost eternal silence. Some assignments are also repetitive; for instance opening vaults is fun, but always involves the same puzzles.
And then, there are 61 Tasks. This is the fluff, the extra, superfluous content. The content that doesn’t add to the story, that doesn’t build upon it, that doesn’t enrich it. The content that, if it wasn’t there, wouldn’t make one bit of difference. Or it would make a difference, for the better. These missions shouldn’t have existed at all, or, it should have been possible to relay them to other NPCs or crew members, similarly to war table missions in Inquisition. I feel that by having these tasks as minor, side assignments that can be delegated, would have enriched the game far more, while this burdens it. All of these tasks are incredibly mundane, repetitive and unrewarding, like hitting rocks for science, or scanning plants. It also doesn’t make sense for the Pathfinder themselves to be doing certain manual tasks that don’t lead to either settling a planet or making the space more liveable. The Pathfinder is meant to find a damn path for humanity, and it’s not their job to be hitting rocks for science. These tasks are like your most disliked home chores that you attend to because you want your home to be clean. They’re also annoying because they’re always visible on the map whether they’ve been activated or not, like a stain on your furniture, and it almost compels me to complete them just so I can clean up the map, even though I don’t want to.
Just like in Inquisition, the main content itself is around 50 to 60 hours. But when you add all the extra fluff, the game can be stretched to over 100 to 200 hours. Considering the uselessness of tasks and certain side quests, I feel that the studio either wanted to cover up the lack of content, which as I said wouldn’t be an issue in and of itself, to have “only” 60 hours worth of plot, or wanted to ensure players would remain hooked to the game, just like many social media are designed to keep you on their website or apps. Both reasons feel contradictory to the purpose of storytelling. Like the game has got two purposes: to tell a story, and to keep players hooked on a quest loop. One foot in, one foot out, and so neither of these goals are accomplished well. To this day, I maintain that only The Witcher: Wild Hunt did that successfully. These 60 hours are also a complete experience, that includes enough content for exposition and to introduce the lore, Allies and Relationships missions, etc, making everything else, well, once again, unnecessary.
The game did the Priority Ops well. When you get lost in side missions, there’s no real stakes or urgency. You could put them off, you could quit halfway, it wouldn’t matter. Which is why I say those quests are superfluous, because they’re not necessary at all to the story. But once you ditch the side quests and give priority ops and companion quests your full attention—which is what I did towards the end of the game—the pace picks up drastically. The quality of storytelling rises exponentially. The atmosphere nearly metamorphosed. Suddenly there was a real sense of urgency, missions were exciting. It felt like there were real stakes in completing the missions, like if I didn’t hurry fast enough to do these quests, then the world would fall apart. Several moments stood out for me, like when the Archon severed the connection between Ryder and SAM, or when the other twin woke up from their side-lining coma. The game became fun and engaging, which it should have been from the start.
It was only after completing the game that I realized that by not completing Elaaden, quite literally the only planet I did not make liveable because of how burn out I was after so many of these missions, I had missed a crucial plot point in the form of the Primus, the Archon’s ‘right hand’, offering a deal that would help in the final fight against the Archon. The fact that I missed such an important piece of the story simply because I was exhausted from completing irrelevant missions which brought next to nothing to the story was incredibly infuriating.
It felt strange to visit only five planets in a massive cluster of over 20 systems, and you’re inside a spaceship travelling at the speed of light. It was also a bit frustrating to see different planets, but not being able to land on them, even if they did have a surface. I assumed that maybe more planets would have been accessible in the further instalments that were scratched. That being said, considering my previous complaints regarding the missions, I don’t know if more planets available would have been all that beneficial or manageable.
At some point, I also felt that maybe the maps should have been larger; I doubt their size are representative of every planet’s full scale. At the same time, they’ve obviously scaled down to be more palatable, and, once again, considering what I said regarding missions, and thus how hard it was to fill the already existing maps with proper content, I don’t know if making the maps larger even for the sake of realism would have been wiser. I just recall how in Inquisition, The Hinterlands’ map was shamelessly gigantic, and if that could happen there, I don’t see why it couldn’t here. An interesting way to go about this could have been to make extra areas of the map available after settling a planet, like a secondary chapter of happenstances on that planet once it’s been colonized for the Initiative. But of course, that would require more content to fill the space, and hopefully none which would involve more tasks…
Otherwise, riding in the Nomad is a fucking nightmare. Surprisingly, in comparison to horses in DA:I, it’s still actually an upgrade; party banter, as rare as it is, still activates when inside the car, and it is implied that Ryder and co are sitting inside it, instead of only seeing the Inquisitor riding through the landscape alone, as if companions were suddenly stuffed in their pocket.
But, what is the point of a car that can’t climb hills? What is the point of a car that stagnates, or worse, falls down the road when trying to speed up or jump? I got a headache out of it more than once, and wasted far too much time manoeuvring around the landscape, trying to ride on the side of the road and carefully time the moment I’ll press shift to make sure I’ll actually manage to climb that fucking hill. And obviously, it doesn’t work every single time, at which point I’d be forced to leave the car behind to pursue that quest that’s 1500+ meters away on foot. That was particularly fun to do in non-habitable planets where I had to hurry and make sure I wouldn’t die either from sweltering heat or from inhumanly frigid temperatures. I’ve given up on several quests because of it—and to hammer down on the previous subject, what’s worse, having given up on these quests made absolutely no difference in the end because none of them were essential to the story, It’d have been funny if a cluster-wide pandemic had been started just because I couldn’t reach the quest marker…
I played Andromeda years after its release, meaning the game looked far better than people complained on release. I understand it was a huge turn-off for the first wave of players, but since I was spared, I felt that the animation was smooth enough, and not too different from other recent BioWare games. Looking at previous versions online, Ryder usually looked drunk and about to topple over. There’s a pretty significant difference in the newest patches, where expressions are much more pronounced and defined, which I felt was rather adventurous compared to other recent BioWare games, for instance Inquisition, where expressions weren’t bizarre or unnatural but were also quite tame.
Otherwise, ME:A is a stunning looking game. Everything from the start menu and its typography, the inventory, to the atmosphere of each planet, looks amazing. The game nailed the futuristic look, the space aesthetic is incredibly visually pleasing. Watching the Tempest travelling from system to system (however empty they all were) was a real treat for the space nerd in me, and although some complained of the repetitive animations when departing and landing a planet, I never tired of them.
When stripping the game of its side quests, the doors are opened for more exploration of characterization and relationships. The story becomes far more engaging. The graphics and the space aesthetic were always stunning, and once the game was properly patched, facial expressions became credible as well as adventurous.
Characterization and relationships, however, were completely lacking. Characterization and relationships are always the nitty-gritty of fiction, the core of every story, because it’s what human attention is always drawn towards. Characters are always the very core of a story, because that is through them that we sublimate ourselves and project ourselves into, and seeing reflections of our emotions into characters is what fiction has always been about. Most fictional works that work, is fiction that zooms in on that, that naturally focuses on that and develops it to a satisfying level. I just can’t understand why, lately, certain games (and films, series, etc) seem to struggle with that aspect of story telling. I just don’t understand what goes on behind the scene, that creating stories with human content has become seemingly so difficult. The half-baked dialogues were never going to be enough.
I ultimately never replayed Andromeda, I didn’t have the incentive for it. That one playthrough had some enjoyable moments, but was overall too draining and not rewarding enough to leave behind a good taste, mostly a lot of dissatisfaction, and not much interest in sticking around for more.
“The study of fiction is the study of reality.”
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