Return to Andromeda
September 16, 2017

Wow. This game took a beating, critically. The initial release was pretty buggy. My own progress was stopped when a mission wouldn't generate the next objective, leaving me with no way to progress, and the last manual save too long ago.

Coming back to it now, I decided to start over with Sara Ryder instead of Scott. I pushed through parts of the early game that were familiar to me, and eventually reached the unknown. The game's been patched a fair bit, and it looks and plays a lot better than I remember.

So today I played for about 5 hours, which is not a common thing for me these days. It's different to the Mass Effect trilogy. So far the story hasn't really had any moments or critical choices like the trilogy would throw at you. The choices seem to be whether you're militaristic or scientific. I guess it's a lot like Star Trek, which seemed to go back and forth on this idea episode to episode. If I were to compare Andromeda to Star Trek, this game is closest to Voyager. Janeway and crew are trying to get back home, but Ryder's Pathfinder squad are tying to find a new home in a strange new part of the universe.

I'm not far enough into it to know what's really going on with the Remnants and the Kett. I hope the story is building up to something.

The character interactions, though, are clearly the best part of this. Ryder's crew - the squad and the rest of the people on the ship - are all quite interesting characters so far, with stories to tell. What I like a lot is that most of the characters aren't shy about how they feel about their shipmates. It makes them feel like real people - different people thrown into close quarters, where personalities will gel and clash.

They also move about the ship from time to time, and you'll often walk up to them and overhear them chatting about stuff. It's quite cool.

They all seem quite different to what we've seen before, which is nice. Two human squadmates, both very different to Ashley, Kaiden, Miranda, etc. A female Turian, which is something I don't think we saw in the first game. A very old Krogan. A young Asari, plucky compared to the more reserved and mature Asari we're used to. And a member of a new species, who doesn't quite know what to make of all these new aliens that have just arrived in his corner of the universe.

I hope this isn't it for the Mass Effect series. Will we get another game or two during this console generation? The Mass Effect trilogy stands as one of the finest gaming experiences of the 360/PS3 era.

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