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Mass Effect: Andromeda Brings Postcolonialism To A New Galaxy (Spoiler Free)

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Video games are here (they can be queer) and we need to get used to them making a cultural impact through interactive storytelling. I had played Sid Meier’s Civilization series all throughout my undergrad years, as any respectable International Relations student would, but it wasn’t until my 20’s that a roommate suggested I use their Xbox for a role-playing game.

So let me introduce you to the game that got me hooked and talk a little a bit about the way the latest installment is confronting postcolonialism through story development and casting.

The Mass Effect Trilogy Had A… Mass Effect

The original Mass Effect series was a huge critical and commercial success in the gaming industry. Made by the Canadian company Bioware, the third and final installment of the trilogy in 2012 had approximately 50% of it’s sales are in North America and 40% in Europe. Publisher Electronic Arts estimated that Mass Effect 3 sales were upward of $200 million in that same year.

Throwing a party with all your space friends.
Throwing a party with all your space friends.

As a role-playing game, story and characters are the main attraction of the game. The third-person combat is still important, but if the plot doesn’t resonate with the audience then most of the fun of combat vanishes. The story is largely affected by the player’s decisions in-game and is so integral to the Mass Effect experience that players became infuriated when they thought all their decisions had become nullified by the ending.

Bioware puts a lot of effort into character development and any visit into the fandom will reveal just how much audiences love them. The producers were able to attract highly visible talent like Martin Sheen, Freddie Prinze Jr.. Seth Green, Carrie Anne Moss, and Tricia Helfer and Michael Hogan of Battlestar Galactica fame to make characters even more lovable.

The company is generally aware of its particular appeal
The company is generally aware of its particular appeal

If you’re interested in the impact of gender, race, and sexual representation in the Mass Effect series there’s also plenty to mine. Particularly in the sex department. There is celebration and criticism aplenty. You might even want to check out my investigation of alien sex in fiction media here.

Beyond those messages of representation, however, let me point out that the big moral of the Mass Effect trilogy is that cooperation between different species is good. Specifically, cooperation that is embodied in an intergovernmental organization. Space United Nations. Space European Union. A clever Vice piece took the plot of Mass Effect and transposed it into the Brexit debate with a Remain slant.

 

 

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda, Galactic Civilization Reboot

For all the good bits about being governed by a multi-species galactic government, the Milky Way was far from perfect. There were enough discontents present to start pining for a whole new galaxy. In  Mass Effect: Andromeda you play a “Pathfinder”, a job that mixes exploration and colonial affairs. Sara/Scott Ryder was put into cryo-sleep between games one and two and traveled through dark space for 600 years to reach the Andromeda galaxy. Whatever happened in the Milky Way, its gone and totally irrelevant to your new story.

The kett. You know they're "bad" because their leader wears a cape in space.
The kett. You know they’re “bad” because their leader wears a cape in space.

The Andromeda Initiative is a private organization that set out to colonize a number of “golden worlds” in the Heleus cluster. The developers of the Initiative knew that they would likely come across new alien species in Heleus, and so in the beginning of the game you’re given a bit of background on protocols for First Contact. There is one alien species that will be hostile to you, a group of invaders called kett, and another native species that is not hostile but definitely skeptical, the angara.

The angara. You know they're "good" because they have blue plants.
The angara. You know they’re “good” because they have blue plants.

 

The angara live on a number of planets in the Heleus cluster but a generations long disastrous war with the kett and a natural disaster have destroyed their infrastructure and most of what they knew about their history. They are vulnerable, but you and your team from the Milky Way are not. Little details about first contact with natives in North America are dropped in side conversations where characters say that “this time will be different”.

And so you are presented with a series of choices throughout the game to see if you really will be different. Every action you take in fighting the kett and clearing the natural disaster, both threaten all of you equally, you must negotiate power with the angara. You can use them as serfs for your outposts and cannon fodder for your war, or you can make them equal partners in rebuilding both civilizations anew.

Africa: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Jaal Ama Darav, straight ladies new #1 alien crush.
Jaal Ama Darav, straight ladies new #1 alien crush.

Even more curious are accents the creative directors chose to give the angara: products of British colonialism. North American accents are of course also a product of British colonialism, and everyone is speaking English, but they are largely the default in this game. British accents sometimes make an appearance and at least one alien race speaks universally with a created accent that sounds a little Slavic. However the angara are a mix of Australian, New Zealand, South African, and other African accents. The voice actor for your angaran squadmate, Nyasha Hatendi as Jaal, is British-American actor of Zimbabwean descent. Hatendi speaks normally with a British accent, but for Andromeda he (or the directors, or even both) chose an African accent. Perusing the names of other voice actors listed in the game, we see a number of other African names, though no specification on whether or not they played both angara or Milky Way species. You can take a look at the principal voice actors and their characters here.

A fan-made Javik meme, using his favorite word for the Milky Way species.
A fan-made Javik meme, using his favorite word for the Milky Way species.

This is the second time Bioware has included an African accent in their representation of an alien. The first was with the bonus character of Javik in Mass Effect 3. That voice actor, Ike Amadi (whose exact African ancestry I am unable to determine) speaks normally with an American accent but also put on an African accent to play an ancient “vengeful warrior”. I bristled a little bit at first, but then relaxed at the special sort of irony of Javik derisively referring to all the other species as “primitives”.

 

If somebody on the creative team put that in on purpose, then perhaps they also put a key exchange between Jaal and a curious human in there too. “We are not mystical others,” Jaal tells a (black) human Liam in a side conversation. It is a common thread in all their conversations, with Jaal trying to convince Liam that the angara are pretty much just like every other sentient species in the universe: diverse and often contradictory. Somebody on the team, perhaps even Nyasha Hatendi himself, had maybe been reading some Edward Said and/or Franz Fanon and it accidentally on purpose seeped in.

Edward Said is judging your alien crushes.
Edward Said is judging your alien crushes.

Although there is something to be said about constantly presenting African accents as exclusively alien. Certainly they give a Euro-American audience the connotation that this species is from far, far away. But does it reinforce the idea that Africans are “others”? Are Africans themselves not present in a spacefaring human society?

Shut Up And Take My Money

Andromeda, like any cultural product intended for the masses, is unlikely to go to deep into these issues. It has to stay simple in order to be understood by the widest possible audiences. But it seems clear that Bioware as a company wants to appeal to progressive values and critical race theorists, and that I think is a positive direction for media in a capitalist society.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is the first installment into what we can assume will be a multi-part story. The game debuted in March 2017 and Bioware is currently working on downloadable content (DLC) that will add new mini-adventures to the current game. Let’s keep an eye on what happens.

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  • JohnT

    I’ve loved Bioware games for years (since the original Mass Effect). The storytelling is the main draw, but the dialogue and action are usually good too. I do like their attitude towards gender, sexuality and race, which comes down to ‘it’s a free world – be who you want to be’ – you can almost always play as whichever you of any of those. Race doesn’t affect anything but appearance, but gender and sexuality drive different dialogue and different romance options, which tend not to have any major advantages or disadvantages. Some non-player characters are hetero, some homo, some bi.

    Mass Effect Andromeda isn’t quite as tightly plotted or as classic a space opera as its predecessors. One subtle and interesting thing it does do is move away from the typecast alien species found in the first series. There the wise and graceful Asari were almost all clever and graceful, the dutiful Turians were almost all conflicted by duty, the violent Krogan were suitably aggressive and the humans tended to be slightly xenophobic. Andromeda is about misfits – the restless Turian who cares not one whit about duty, the human soldier who is almost obsessively pro-Asari, the Asari scientist who is an irreverent crook share space with their more classic counterparts. Again, it really pushes the underlying Bioware philosophy of ‘Underneath, we’re all
    people. Each person should choose what fits them, and if they don’t actively harm you in doing so, then good for them.’

    • Well said! Gay male fans did find good reason for disappointment in this game though. http://www.newnownext.com/mass-effect-andromeda-gay-romance/03/2017/

      • JohnT

        I think that they have a point but are slightly over focusing on sex. As an actual character, Gil (the male gay love interest) is portrayed as a more well-adjusted, amusing and sympathetic person than his female hetero counterpart (at least in as much of the game as I have seen).

      • Murc

        It’s somewhat more complicated than that, although you’re of course correct.

        Scott Ryder has fewer romance options than his sister; seven to her eight, and three to her four on the core team. (Which I’m defining as “people you can ride around in the Nomad with.”) That, by itself, is not a big deal.

        But. Gay Scott has precisely two options compared to the five options for Gay Sara, and Sara has two options on the core team compared to zero for Scott.

        That’s not cool.

        Bioware has had this sort of issue before, and I’m gonna be blunt: I think they have it because dude gamers are way, way more comfortable with watching girls make out for their titillation than they are with watching guys make out.

        Or more succinctly, this.

        • JohnT

          That’s fair. Can’t argue with the maths

        • That is a great comic.

        • Origami Isopod

          Bioware has had this sort of issue before, and I’m gonna be blunt: I think they have it because dude gamers are way, way more comfortable with watching girls make out for their titillation than they are with watching guys make out.

          It’s not just a matter of comfort. (Het) dude gamers think that games should always cater to them. If there exists one game that doesn’t bristle with misogynist violence and male-gazey fanservice, then the “SJWs” are taking over gaming and soon the otaku will have nothing to play.

        • apogean

          They’ve already announced that the next major patch will address the lack of gay romance options. Admittedly, they should have thought beforehand instead of needing to be chastised, but it’s being taken appropriately seriously.

          • njorl

            They’re adding an entirely new Volus character just to meet that need.

        • apogean

          Also, the other Bioware RPG that I have significant experience with, Dragon Age: Inquisition, is far more egalitarian in this regard. There’s a male and female romance option for a male Inquisitor, a male and female romance option for a female Inquisitor, and two options available to both male and female Inquisitors (Also two more male options for female Inquisitors that are restricted by race.)

          Honestly, I think Bioware’s track record is pretty great over all.

      • Sly

        The general rule of thumb for Bioware games is that the writing team for the Mass Effect franchise consistently does a worse job on issues of gender and sexuality than the writing team for the Dragon Age franchise.

    • njorl

      …and the humans tended to be slightly xenophobic.

      They had the second largest fleet of warships in the galaxy before they ever met another spacefaring species. That’s a bit more than “slightly xenophobic”.

    • Aexia

      I like the representation of family in the game compared to the first trilogy. You and your squad members have family that you interact with regularly, not just in a one-off side quest.

      • apogean

        The memory quest was obnoxious, but the memories themselves were quite affecting, in my opinion.

  • twbb

    Ahh, Sid Meier. One of the mail drivers of my academic path was Alpha Centauri.

    • Rob in CT

      Dude really did have his name on some good games.

      Civ, of course.
      AC (I never really liked it for whatever reason)
      Pirates!
      RR Tycoon.

      The # of hours I’ve spent on Civ, RR Tycoon & Pirates is probably a horrifyingly large number.

      • It’s worth noting (not that you were suggesting otherwise) that Meier’s name was on those games because he really did design and program them up through Civ 1. He personally created more hit games in a decade than some entire companies manage over a lifetime. Really one of the most brilliant game designers ever.

    • twbb

      (main, not mail)

  • NeonTrotsky

    Is it still socially acceptable to complain about how lame the ending to mass effect 3 was?

    • Murc

      If this is wrong then I don’t want to be right.

    • rewenzo

      ME3 was so amazing up to that point, too.

      • Murc

        Right?

        One of the best games I’ve ever played right up until the last ten minutes.

        The most annoying point is how it comes outta nowhere, too. I was like “okay, I’m going to have to fight through the Citadel and face Harbinger in battle to turn on my superweapon, right? That’s where this is going, clearly. Oh, huh, the Illusive Man? Are we wrapping that whole thing up now? Okay, cool, but AFTER that we’ll holy shit this is the ENDING? The final boss really was Marauder Shields? What the balls!”

        • [Spoilers for Mass Effect 3 and Deus Ex follow.]

          So what’s funny to me about ME3’s ending is that it’s actually the exact same set of options as the original Deus Ex: in the face of a cybernetic threat to humanity/sentient life, you are given the option to destroy it, assert control over it, or merge with it. The thing is, Deus Ex implements this choice as a series of objective chains in a sprawling endgame level. As you progress along each set of objectives, characters in favor of one outcome or another contact you to offer encouragement, guidance, threats, bribes, frantic pleas, etc. You can even change your mind partway through and switch to another ending path (all of the options require one final triggering action, and none of the other options are closed until that final action). Each ending choice results in a brief but distinctive cutscene that shows the immediate effects of your actions and other characters reacting to it.

          This does a great deal to make that final choice feel meaningful, like something you have actually committed to in deed, not just selecting an option from a list.

          Fast forward to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which was well-received other than some complaints about boss fights — and the ending. The issues with the ending were twofold. First, the final level turns into pretty much just a wade-through-the-corpses killfest in a game that generally avoided that. Second, the final decision (which mirrors the first game’s, with the addition of a “fuck this, I’m not deciding” suicide option) comes down to literally being presented four buttons to press and choosing one. Nothing you do in the game or the final level affects that choice whatsoever. And the ending cutscenes are all essentially the same, a somewhat abstract narration about the game’s themes, just with a different color overlay and some modified text.

          Anyway, it amused the hell out of me that a year later Mass Effect 3 came out with exactly the same flaws in its ending.

          • Aexia

            I didn’t finished ME3 until after the DLC so I found it just fine.

            The choices available at the end *are* constricted by your choices in the series but if you’ve been super thorough in completing every side quest and getting the best outcomes in all the storylines, all of them become available and you end up with “pick an ending”.

            But if you were less thorough though, you might just have one choice. (plus the “do nothing” ending that the DLC added)

            I think they made a mistake in opening up all the options if you had a high readiness level. They should’ve had another ending and blocked off one or two of them permanently depending on your earlier choices. Then have another dependent on readiness.

          • Murc

            The thing is, Mass Effect and Deus Ex are two different genres and had established two different frameworks and expectations.

            Like… we had an expectation in Mass Effect that we could win without also perpetrating a horror on the galaxy or on ourselves. That kinda came up on us sideways and it wasn’t that satisfying even without the copy-pasted endings.

            Bioware really likes to have its cake and eat it too; it wants to give people “meaningful choices” but it also doesn’t want to make content people won’t see. I dislike this approach; either don’t pretend we’re making meaningful decisions in-game, or actually make them meaningful and accept the fact that people who make them will lock content away from themselves.

            • Yeah, ME is space opera and should have some form of a happy ending, even if it’s a hard-fought one. Reaching the ending already requires substantial sacrifices both on a personal and civilization level — both good friends and entire populations are destroyed by the end. Some kind of catharsis is necessary.

              • Murc

                And the thing is, it actually ALMOST gets there.

                The highest-end red ending, where you kill the fuck out of all the Reapers and then live, would have been, not ideal, but I think acceptable to most people, especially after they hurriedly backed away from “the mass relays are destroyed, which means that a third of the fleet you brought with you is going to starve to death and galactic civilization is going to implode.”

                Except the red ending requires geth genocide and for you to murder your friend EDI.

                And it’s like, fuck me, why did I spend all that time on Rannoch again? For THIS bullshit?

                I would have no objection to ME having some bad endings. Or even dark endings. But there wasn’t a good ending! At all! You couldn’t win. In the first two games you could win and the expectation was you could win in this one as well.

                Plus, as you say, there’s a real lack of catharsis. I don’t want to push a button. I want to fucking murder Harbinger in his dumb stupid cuttlefish face. Pushing a button can be a part of that but not the ONLY part.

                • JohnT

                  For me it was even simpler – over 3 massive games I’d constructed Shepherd. I liked her, liked her style and was invested in her future. It sucked that i couldn’t provide her with one (other than as a disembodied AI mind thing)

                  Apart from that i actually thought the extended ending was fine

                • Murc

                  I liked her, liked her style and was invested in her future. It sucked that i couldn’t provide her with one (other than as a disembodied AI mind thing)

                  Well, you can; she can live through the red ending.

                  I know a fair number of people who decided “in my head, here’s what happens after the blue ending; Shepard orders all Reapers but one to fly into the sun, then she gets the incredible array of super-scientists she’s made buddies with to build her a new body, which she downloads into and then has the LAST Reaper flown into the sun. Boom, problem solved.”

                • rewenzo

                  Yeah.

                  [SPOILERS]

                  Mass Effect was about assembling a diverse team of friends from around the galaxy to combat a unifying threat to all life in the galaxy. In the course of this, you had to get people who hated each other to work together, and you had the ability to right all sorts of historic wrongs. I made peace between the geth and quarians! Cured the genophage! Saved the Rachni from extinction! Allied with the Leviathan! By the end of the game, Shepherd is the greatest citizen of the Milky Way Galaxy of all time.

                  It seemed to me that the theme of Mass Effect, up until the end, was that life in space was not zero sum. That all life was precious, even if it was completely alien to our own, including artificial intelligence or hive mind insects.

                  The ending turned that on its head, by either forcing you to (i) kill all synthetic life, including members of your crew; (ii) radically alter every single life form in the galaxy on a molecular level without their consent; or (iii) kill yourself and thereby brainwash your enemies.

                  And the third choice, which is the best choice, was strongly suggested to be the bad one.

                  Besides this tonal shift, the how of it didn’t make any sense. The superweapon that all intelligence in the galaxy has been working on forever just magically convinces the Reapers to to stop pursuing their single minded obsession that they’ve followed for millions of years? Why? Why would killing the Reapers kill all synthetic life? Why is this acceptable to the Reapers? If you can merge synthetic and organic life into one, why not just do that, instead of killing all organic life?

                • SNF

                  One theory I’ve seen about killimg the Reapers also killing other synthetic life is that it’s because the Crucible targets anything with Reaper coding.

                  EDI was based on Reaper tech, and if the Geth survived Rannoch, then they uploaded Reaper coding into themselves.

                  So the two major artificial life forms in the Milky Way have substantial Reaper tech in them by the end. That makes them a target for anything that systematically kills the Reapers.

          • sharculese

            [Spoilers for Life is Strange]

            This is the big problem I had with chapter 5 of Life is Strange (besides the fridging stuff, which was gross in its own way.)

            My first time through, I told David that Chloe was dead, then as soon as he killed Jefferson I went back and redid the whole sequence because I had grown to like David and didn’t want him to have to deal with that. And then the little blue butterfly that indicated points you can’t go back from didn’t show up for either path, and I realized that literally no choices I made in this chapter would matter and the ending would be independent of shit like whether I’d shored up my relationship with Kate or Warren, which until then had been the whole point of the game.

            • At some point I’ll have to play that game. (Don’t worry about the spoilers, I’m not a spoiler-sensitive type.)

              I really don’t mind if games don’t allow you to substantially affect the story with your actions. Some of my favorite games have a single ending, but you can get there having made dozens of decisions that have various degrees of moral impact. I’d go so far as to say that I really dislike it when games constrain your ability to make a “good” choice if you’ve played the game “evil” up to that point, etc.

              But there’s definitely something to be said for the principle that decisions that feel like they matter should matter. If a major character commits murder or dies, like you mention, that should be something that persists through the game. I guess I’d say that my principle isn’t that the player’s actions should change the narrative but that momentous events in the story should mean something. If you were reading a novel or watching a TV show and a major character killed another, it would be a shock and a disappointment if it didn’t turn out to mean anything.

              tl;dr – I’m cool with games having you embody the protagonist of a predetermined story, but that predetermined story needs to actually work as drama.

              • sharculese

                You should play LiS some point, even with its flaws it’s still a very good game that does things no other game is doing, but, since you haven’t played it yet, I’ll be kind of oblique about what I’m talking about.

                LiS was released chapter by chapter in five segments. Part of the draw was that the decisions you made about how to interact with your classmates would matter. And that was true. For the first four chapters. There were even major milestones that could only be accomplished if you did the right things ahead of time. It was an amazing encapsulation of navigating high school relationships, set in a gorgeous Pacific NW milieu with a cool indie rock soundtrack.

                Chapter 5 threw all that out of the window. Except for a few choices that, as said above, the game makes clear don’t matter, it’s a straightforward slog to a binary ending. That’s made worse by the fact that a lot of the stuff in chapter 5 is really really gross.

                The ending tries to tie everything back into the game’s time travel mechanic, which creates a scene that is… poignant, I’ll call it poignant, but it makes most of the decisions you’ve spent the game making feel meaningless.

                I should say that I still recommend it. It clears the low bar of being the best game about high school ever made. But it has it’s frustrations.

        • JMP

          I don’t get it. Maybe it was because all the whining about Mass Effect 3’s ending (I got it probably a year after it came out) set me up to expect the worst ending ever, but it was perfectly OK. Certainly not up to the never ending whining about how horrible it was supposed to be. Maybe it wasn’t great, but it was perfectly fine.

          This seems to be one of those things where people on the internet seem to think that the only grades they can give something are A+ or F-.

          • Murc

            Yes, of course. That’s what it is. It couldn’t be that a ton of people genuinely thought the ending was dogshit, which it 100% is. It has to be that people “on the Internet” are pathological in some way.

      • Colin R

        Eh. The gameplay in ME3 was more fun than any previous incarnation, but I could tell from early on that the story wasn’t going to be possible to resolve satisfactorily. I’m largely on board with Shamus Young’s retrospective; the first game introduced a lot of neat ideas and some thorny problems, and the second game basically failed to develop the good ideas or correct the problems. By the time they got to the end of 3 it was too late to fix the story.

        What’s infuriating about the end of 3 is that it’s not profound, and in trying to be profound they robbed themselves of an easy and satisfactory ending: just let you defeat the Reapers. Without a kick in the junk. That’s all anyone really needed. Instead we get a ‘twist’ out of nowhere that doesn’t fit the story that was told.

    • Patick Spens

      I mean, it’s wrong, but you do you.

    • When the extended ending came out, I took it much better. Not my favorite, but I didn’t think it was as bad as everyone made it out to be.

    • njorl

      No. It is now viewed as last ditch effort by the reapers to assimilate Sheppard. The holographic child is really a hallucination created by the reapers. If you choose anything other than destruction, it means the Reapers successfully assimilated you and the cycle continues. Obviously, no would ever build those silly options into the doomsday device. There is only the capacity to destroy the reapers, or the capacity to delude yourself into making up an excuse not to.

      • Murc

        The indoctrination theory is neat but it doesn’t really hold up.

  • LeeEsq

    The exotic and different will always be treated as alien. I’ve had non-Americans take positive delight in my harsh New York accent including one young Swede of color on the Stockholm metro remark that listening to my brother and I talk is like a Hollywood movie. A bit of light exoticism/alienism is preferable to xenophobia and racism.

    • Ronan

      My impression is the New York accent is universally admired, Though that might die out with De Niro. Out of the US, I like the Boston accent, and as Ive got into Fargo (the TV show) the Minnesota, North Dakota one aswell.

      I once had an American girl wonder if me and my friend were speaking English(we were)

      • NewishLawyer

        Europeans seem to love New York accents. Many Americans do not.

        My New York accent is weird. When I was 22 I lived in Japan and all my housemates were from the UK, Australia, and Canada. They all said “We can tell you are from New York, we just can’t tell from where in New York.” Pop culture told them enough that there were different NY accents.

        • CP

          I never had a problem with New York accents until recently, but Trump’s voice has made it like nails on a blackboard for me.

          • NewishLawyer

            Accents are interesting. When most people think of accents, they generally seem to think of the more working class ones. Stuff like Bernie’s Brooklyn accent (you know a New Yorker when they have lived outside a state for decades and still can’t shake their accent), Trump’s Queens accent. The Boston accent is either extremely upper crust* or working class (Southie).

            There are some sounds/words where my New York/Long Island accent flares up or I have to speak very slowly to tamper down on my accent. But a grad school professor also said I had a “North of New York” accent (despite being from Long Island). I suspect that “North of New York” is short-hand for well-to-do suburb.

            *The upper class Boston accent seems to be more of a Massachusetts accent in general. The guy I knew in college with the most stereotypical Massachusetts accents was from “Wostah”. All my friends from the Boston-Metro area are accent free.

  • Origami Isopod

    Video games are here (they can be queer) and we need to get used to them making a cultural impact through interactive storytelling

    Just curious: what do you think of Ian Bogost’s essay claiming that video games are better without stories? His argument seems to be that games as a medium aren’t well suited to the chronological unspooling of a story but to being in the “here and now.”

    • NewishLawyer

      The only video games I ever really liked had stories. I was never able to get into first person shooters. I always preferred JRPGs when I played video games.

      But I’m the weirdo for my generation for growing out of gaming. I stopped doing it in grad school/law school and never picked it up again. I find a lot of modern video games take too much time and devotion and cash.

      • CP

        I’m the weirdo in my generation for having never really gotten into gaming in the first place, but my housemates are into them and I enjoy watching them play. Largely because of the stories. Occasionally, I’ve even gone to YouTube and watched the uninterrupted film version of a video game.

        • I also watched a roommate play Deus Ex and enjoyed the plot. But if I can’t create my own character, then I have no interest in playing.

    • He is lame.

      People play games, not just video games but all games, for a variety of reasons. I never got into gaming until I found games that allowed me to either build a world or put me in a new world.

      But maybe his argument is just that the narratives games come up with suck?

      • Origami Isopod

        I don’t think that’s his argument. I think he just prefers a certain mode of play and he’s mistaking his preference for something universal. He’s more thoughtful about it than most writers would be, but that’s what it comes down to.

        He’s getting a lot of pushback in the comments.

        • sharculese

          This.

          MY roommates found out I’ve had a working Super Nintendo sitting in my closet for a year, which means we’ve spent the last two weeks playing a bunch of old school platformers, games where story is basically non-existent and it’s all about setting up fun situations for you to work through.

          But my box of SNES cartridges also has Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, and Secrets of Evermore sitting in it. Those are a longer investment, but they have a different pay-off.

          Preferring one to the other is perfectly sensible. Saying one is better than the other is not.

      • Lt. Condition

        The issue with people who have this line of thinking is that we’re talking about a medium, not a style or a format. Saying video games are better without stories is the equivalent of saying that research articles are better than novels. Europa Universalis and Civ are not the Witcher 3 in any respect except that they’re both experienced via computer. Lumping them into the same category is lazy and belies a lack of understanding of the versatility of the medium.

    • cleek

      personally, i’m ambivalent on video game stories. i never really get into them, or develop feelings for any character. i just accept that the story is the framework/setting of the game and get to playing.

      • paul1970

        I hardly ever play video games, and in movies my taste is high-end. But I did play one version of Grand Theft Auto, and there’s a side mission where the “hero” (i.e. mass murdering gangster) does nothing more than give a lift to a drug-addicted prostitute, and I found I had tears in my eyes. Immersion is a funny drug.

      • I develop many feelings for many fictional characters across multiple mediums. It’s just what I do.

    • mnuba

      His argument seems to be that games as a medium aren’t well suited to the chronological unspooling of a story but to being in the “here and now.”

      I do think this applies to RPGs to some extent though. As much as I love them, this is a problem I’ve always kind of had with them from a narrative standpoint – For me the ability to suspend the narrative indefinitely to do side quests or explore or whatever ends up breaking my immersion by removing the sense of urgency from the plot. I am noticing that (good) games are getting better at working around this, though. (Sidenote: this is something I’ve always liked about the Persona series – the school year timeframe does a really good job of feeling expansive and lengthy while still driving the plot forward).

      The industry is too young and evolving to rapidly to compare fairly to films at this point, I think, unless you’re comparing them to films at a similar age (which would be…what, films from the 40s or 50s? In which case I don’t think games are lagging particularly far behind in terms of using the medium to effectively tell stories.)

      • twbb

        ” The ability to suspend the narrative indefinitely to do side quests or explore or whatever ends up breaking my immersion a little bit by removing any sense of urgency from the plot”

        I LIKE the lack of urgency. I remember way back in the day I just could not get into The Magic Candle, despite being my favorite genre (tile-based CRPG), because you were given a time limit and a counter at the top of the screen.

      • rewenzo

        For me the ability to suspend the narrative indefinitely to do side quests or explore or whatever ends up breaking my immersion by removing the sense of urgency from the plot.

        For me one of the frustrating things about Mass Effect (at least 2-4) is that there’s a lot of priority missions that seem very urgent and a lot of side quests that are also presented as very urgent and you can lose the ability to do some of these missions or side quests if you don’t do them right away and there’s no indication as to which are which. As someone who likes to do things methodically I find myself doing a lot of running around like a chicken without a head.

      • Patick Spens

        The forties started with Citizen Kane, so I’m going to go ahead and say that video games are absolutely lagging behind as a story-telling medium. They certainly have other virtues, but skillful telling a story (as opposed to being a place where stories happen) is not one of them.

      • NewishLawyer

        That’s another thing that got me out of video games. I hated how all the side quests are sort of optional but not really because you will eventually meet a boss that you can’t defeat unless you get some sidequest weapon and/or do an old-fashioned run around level build.

        A lot of fans really seem to like that though. I certainly have friends who love and gush over all the sidequests and getting all the weapons and spells.

        The age thing is another issue for me. A lot of video game characters (especially in JRPGS) are still very young, often teenagers. The “old” and “worldly” characters are often younger than I am and I am only 36* and it does feel kind of odd to be playing a 19 year old character for some reason to me. Yet alone a high school student.

    • Domino

      Disagree. My favorite game (the first Bioshock) is my favorite because of it’s story (it’s an okay FPS). The reason I think Bioshock Infinite (the third and final part of the series) is the most disappointing game I’ve played is entirely because of it’s story.

      The issue too is how many different genres of games there are, and how different ones benefit from different kinds of stories. No one plays Call of Duty for in-depth and deep storytelling. On the flip side, The Witcher 3 is considered one of the best games of the generation because of the depth of it’s story.

      Tom Bissel’s archive at Grantland is a great place to read his perspective (as a writer) on video games.

      • I am a fan of the Bioshock soundtrack, but I don’t want to play because you can’t customize the main character. Great aesthetic though.

    • I’m sympathetic to this argument, because I am not personally a big fan of narrative-heavy games. I’m really enjoying the new Zelda, for instance, and it has been criticized for having very little story content. I’m also not very interested in the idea that my actions in a game should substantially affect the outcome of the story.

      I think the headline does the argument a disservice. It doesn’t seem like he’s arguing that games shouldn’t have stories, but instead that games should have gameplay that serves the story and vice versa.

      Another way of putting it might be: there is a power in being able to identify with the character you are playing, to make them act and manipulate the world, that allows unique storytelling techniques that are not possible in novels or films. It’s unfortunate to discard that in favor of making the player read a lot of notes. BioShock has a lot of recordings in it, but I barely remember any of them. I certainly remember swimming out of the wreckage at the beginning, and the first time I used a plasmid, and the “would you kindly” scene.

    • sappymallow

      Holy cow, no. We have a complicated home life that limits leaving the house often and gaming has been a wonderful escape for my family. Right now we’re playing D&D together which is the progenitor of the modern story-based video games, but each of us has a preferred video game genre. My preference is story-based games, which started with Legend of Zelda and the original Final Fantasy, but the games I can point to that hooked me forever were all Bioware games, especially Mass Effect and Dragon Age. The first time I played Mass Effect and took the Mako out on a new planet was thrilling to me. I’ve loved science fiction forever and had wanted to be an astronaut as a kid but was too fat and bad at math, and casual space travel is out for my lifetime so virtually being able to explore a new world was pretty exciting. Not to mention the alien archaeology which is literally my dream job.

      But the first Dragon Age was…special. I’ve been meaning to write an article about it for ages because it evoked real feelings for characters that continued once I had turned the game off. I’ve been fond of characters in books and shows before, but this was another level that I’d never experienced, and it’s entirely due to the interactivity of the story.

      Bogost’s question, “why does this story need to be told as a video game?” misses the aspect of escapism and the purpose of interactivity. He also sets up a “one true game” premise that belies the variety of play styles and games available. My family may all come together to play D&D but we have different game genres we gravitate to. My spouse likes dungeon crawl and puzzle games, the kid likes chatty mulitplayer FPS and sandbox games like Minecraft, and I am in the RPG and Civ camp, though I like a good puzzle or word game that doesnt abuse microtransactions. Different strokes for different folks, so why not make that story into a video game?

      • sibusisodan

        Enchantment? Enchantment!

        Love DA. My wife and I played it obsessively after we were first married.

        • NBarnes

          Morrigan disapproves.

    • Halloween Jack

      Bogost has gone from someone who had something genuinely interesting to contribute to videogame theory to yet another reflexive contrarian writing clickbait for the Atlantic.

  • CP

    Although there is something to be said about constantly presenting African accents as exclusively alien. Certainly they give a Euro-American audience the connotation that this species is from far, far away. But does it reinforce the idea that Africans are “others”? Are Africans themselves not present in a spacefaring human society?

    The Star Wars prequel era is the worst when it comes to this kind of thing, and it’s one of the few things The Clone Wars animated show embraced with enthusiasm instead of making it better. Hey, I wonder what accent we can give the alien with head appendages that kind of look like dreadlocks? Jamaican! Of course.

    Ahem. Moving on from my pet peeves…

  • random

    When Mass Dragon Age Effect came out, I was impressed that Bioware had managed to make games that were more generic and unoriginal than any of their previous games that were actually based on pre-existing IPs like D&D and Star Wars.

    When I look at these games, I get to thinking maybe Ebert had a point. They’re basically the video game equivalent of the Transformers film franchise.

    • Domino

      The point Ebert took back before he passed away?

      Criticizing the whole medium based on one example is lazy and wrong.

      • random

        I think I didn’t express myself very well here, I don’t actually agree with that point that Ebert originally made.

        Point is that “KOTOR, But Without Jedi” really is a soulless and brainless corporate product designed by a committee of accountants and lacking any motivating artistic vision or originality. There are tons of games out there that don’t suffer from that problem of course.

  • Lt. Condition

    The problems I have with this game (specifically the writing) are legion, but I’ll to focus on the colonialism. Before I begin, though, it’s worth noting that the lead writers of the first two ME games departed prior to the third, and the dialogue has been almost uniformly worse without them. ME 3 largely struggled through on the strength of the existing characters.

    For all of its open-mindedness the game is still human-focused and within that North-American focused (or, at least, Anglophone focused). In some respects that makes its opening cast feel less diverse than that of the Enterprise from the original Star Trek. Given the opportunity they had, this was the most vanilla of extremely safe choices and, I think, a mistake.

    Speaking of safe choices, the treatment of the Angara and, much more importantly, the Kett. Much of my problem with this game was that instead of being essentially about exploration and colonization, they just of kind of rehashed the politics of the original ME trilogy (did we really need another Krogan genophage plotline, this time with the moral ambiguity of the rebellions and Mordin’s choice erased?) and added a single new race that for the most part are just…the good guys. What ambiguity there is resides mostly at the margins, where you’ve observed it. If we were to put this in an alternate-history context, it’d be like Asian explorers found the Caribbean while the Spanish were in the midst of their genocide, and the Spanish declared war on them. The only real decisions it forces on you are whether you will continue being slightly less dickish to the natives.

    The issues it raises deserve serious treatment and ME:A falls pretty woefully short. Back in 2007, when the first ME game came out, this may have been seen as progress but frankly, we’re in a world where a solid number of video games are far braver in their handling of social issues, and their ability to address complex and ambiguous situations has grown substantially. For a game with the legacy this series has (and the price tag), they could have done much better.

  • In case anyone was wondering, Jaal is my boyfriend and I am very happy. My husband doesn’t get it, but he’s just bitter because he doesn’t like any of his available space dates.

    • Murc

      In case anyone was wondering, Jaal is my boyfriend and I am very happy.

      Someone in a relationship has to be the happy one and it sure as shit wasn’t going to be Jaal. :)

      My husband doesn’t get it, but he’s just bitter because he doesn’t like any of his available space dates.

      Right?

      Cora’s haircut has more personality than she does. Peebee has legitimate mental problems (I firmly believe that she’s hyper-empathetic and this is emotionally crippling for her; that’s why she either bails on people or has to periodically go into a sensory deprivation tank to stay sane) and some people aren’t going to want to sign up for that.

      Suvi’s entire emotional conversation chain is poorly written and kinda janked. Keri and whatsherface, the angaran lady, are also-rans. Reyes is a stereotype, and… Vetra is okay. Nothing special, but okay.

      • mnuba

        Cora’s haircut has more personality than she does.

        Right? I didn’t think it was possible for Bioware to write a more boring human squadmate than Jacob Taylor, but they sure showed me.

        • Murc

          ME:A is constantly trying to cash emotional checks with regard to your squadmates that it doesn’t have enough capital to cover.

      • JohnT

        I like Reyes (and date him). A bit of urbanity and nastiness as a counterpoint to my otherwise goodytwoshoes Ryder.

      • There’s an adorable moment between my Ryder and Jaal where they go, “You’re the alien” and then “No, YOU’RE the alien!”

        It’s very sweet.

        Gay men also get the option to become fathers-to-be with Gil.

  • cpinva

    sorry guys, i’ll still take the Crash Bandicoot series over all this stuff. it obviously never had the amazing 3-D graphics of later games, but it was fun as hell to play.

  • Murc

    So question for the group:

    I am super convinced that there will be a DLC for this game or a future game whose plot hook is “a Reaper followed the arks here from the Milky Way to finish the job, and now you gotta deal with it.”

    Am I nuts or not-nuts?

    • JohnT

      It would be a bit cynical but of a piece with some of the laziness shown in ME:A e.g. the meager 2.5 additional species, including the Collector-like Kett, the fact that both living species are still human-sized humanoids…(I know part of that is due to limitations in the graphics engine, but it’s a pity and lacks the ‘ Protheans engineered everyone’ handwave in ME). Reusing models from ME3 would fit with that. I hope they don’t (except as an option for a virtual arena as per Mass Effect: Citadel – that was fun).

      To be honest I am enough of a Bioware fanboy to think that they could and might well up their game. For example, the Geth started off as a Orc-like mindless enemy in ME1, but were developed in much richer and interesting ways in ME2 and ME3. I’m presuming that the DLC is more likely to feature extra arks colliding with the new Heleus in interesting ways.

      • Murc

        the meager 2.5 additional species,

        I’m gonna be honest; it feels like they’re in-between a rock and a hard place there.

        You’re all “only 2.5 additional species.” But if they’d brought in a ton of new species, other people would be like “I’m not here for these motherfuckers! More focus on the turians, the asari, the guys I already care about please!” I mean, you already had people being all “quarians and drell or GTFO.”

        • JohnT

          That’s fair although then another premise would have worked better! I guess my problem is actually more with the fact that to date (I’m about half way through) it’s made for slightly dull interspecies relations (as per Lt Condition: oppressed resisting Angara, pointlessly vicious Kett, more or less random outlaws). And the resulting 2 species seem less well written: the Angara lack the deep spiritualism of the Drell or the weirdness of the Hanar and Elcor. And the Kett lack the richness and tragedy of post ME1 Geth, the ideology and drive of Cerberu or, the majesty of the Reapers

          • Murc

            The big problem with the angara is that to the extent they have a culture, it is revealed to you by angara standing in front of you and talking about their culture.

            MEAs big failing, the one from which all its other failures derive, is that it loves to tell you things rather than show you things. It loves to have an angaran stand in front of you and talk about the deep spirituality and family bonds of their culture rather than showing angarans being spiritual and having important family bonds. The NPCs are like walking Codex entries.

            Case in point: Moshae Sjefa. She’s supposed to be this combination of a scientist and a priest, an astoundingly driven and intelligent inventor who is also a major spiritual leader of her people.

            She does none of that in-game. She invents nothing. She counsels and advises no-one except maybe sometimes Ryder and only if you prod her to do so. She doesn’t do science.

            This is the case up and down the game. It isn’t universal, but its a common undergirding problem. I don’t want to walk up to someone and have them give me a five-minute speech about why they’re in Heleus. I want them to show me why they’re in Heleus.

            • Lurker

              With all respect, this is a common problem in all visual media. It is quite difficult to depict a scientist or a spiritual person. Most are, in fact, somewhat non-visual things.

              A scientist makes most of the work either in the lab or by a computer. Mostly, the only thing separating a great thinker from a buffoon playing around aimlessly is the fact that the great thinker gets things done, but the timescale for that is slow. You don’t write groundbreaking articles in a day or two. The brilliancy is inside the head, and you feel it only if you are, yourself, near to the level of the greaf mind.

              Similarly, a strongly spiritual person does radiate a certain aura, but that is mostly visible only to people who have at least some spiritual life themselves. Simply showing a person praying does not demonstrate active inner life of contemplation. Demonstrating active spiritual life is difficult, and very culture-bound. It is much easier to tell than show.

              • JohnT

                Mass Effect 2 has a decent stab at both archetypes. The ship researcher Mordin is continually spitballing ideas rather than hammering at a computer and has nutty hobbies. Reminds me of quite a few scientists I know! His arc also includes a nice little reflection on ethics of research. Meanwhile Thane Krios is a very spiritually focused character.
                In both cases I would say the character is made by the voice performances, which are great and idiosyncratic, so that aligns with your visual point.

              • Lurker is on the right track. A number of rpg’s I’ve played have had those kinds of expository encounters. Its backed up with other details and codex entries, but it’s also just a pretty standard quirk f the medium.

        • rewenzo

          I assume the in-game explanation for lack of species is that you don’t have a galaxy to work with, only a cluster, so you’re not going to get that many species.

          But from a story perspective you could have added another 10-12 species, but it would have made a different game.

          • No. But that is a fair assumption until you get to later chapters in the story. There is a reason angara are the only sentient species native and currently living in Heleus

    • rewenzo

      On the one hand, 600 years to a Reaper isn’t much time at all. On the other hand, though, do the Reapers care about life outside the galaxy? As long as they know that you’re not coming back, why should they follow you to Andromeda?

  • hey so

    Beyond those messages of representation, however, let me point out that the big moral of the Mass Effect trilogy is that cooperation between different species is good. Specifically, cooperation that is embodied in an intergovernmental organization.

    I dunno. This is probably true of a Paragon playthrough, but a Renegade run has Shepard constantly bucking the system and things work out more or less okay for everybody. I mean, Renegades pretty much assassinate the Council at the end of the first game and then save the Milky Way regardless. How much more UKIP can you get, really?

    To continue, the humans are belligerent and xenophobic because, well, we totally would be, of course, but also because starting us out on a war footing makes resisting the Council a more viable option within the story’s world for Renegades. It’s also worth noting that humanity’s first contact was with the Batarians, which kind of left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth, and that the entire second game is essentially Renegade-path apologism until the Reapers completely brainwash Cerberus in 3.

    So “cooperation is good” is not the theme of the series; it’s the belief of a particular player who follows the Paragon path and is rewarded for doing so (in keeping with the previous paragraph, literally the only bad outcome from Paragon choices in the entire trilogy is the death of a friend from Cerberus).

    If I have to pick a theme for Mass Effect, I think it’s the cyclical nature of systems and how they accommodate new cultures and ideas through either finding a place for them within the established order (humans, turians) or crushing them completely (krogans, rachni), both in service of perpetuating the status quo. We also see the reactionary stance (Cerberus) and the player is left to make their own judgments of whether the system is worth preserving (the fundamental ideologies of Paragon vs. Renegade that drive player agency). The Reapers are a macguffin, but also neatly bookend the idea of cycles in that the Milky Way itself is such a cycle.

    • Multiple themes! But the cyclical theme doesn’t really become clear until ME3 plus DLac.

      • hey so

        But here’s the thing: the existence of the Renegade path disproves your thesis that Mass Effect’s message is that cooperation will save us. It can save us; it’s certainly one way. The game, though, is explicit in that it’s not the only way. Christa Shepard plays straight Paragon and saves the galaxy, but maybe Nigel or Marine Shepard play Renegade and save it by ripping the Council to shreds.

        I’m sorry, but I think you’re ignoring how monstrous the Citadel order really is. It looks like a participatory Federal government, but it’s run entirely for the benefit of the Asari and Salarians, and everybody else is granted authority based on how useful they are to them. The humans come in militarized and the Asari and Salarians, rather than be threatened, immediately move to cast humanity in the same enforcer role they’ve cast multiple species before them: namely the Krogans and the Turians. One of these groups happily got its hands dirty and kissed the ring, so now it gets to be on the Council (as a distant number three, natch); the other did not and were rewarded with literal genocide. Does this sound like an order one ought to collaborate with?

        This isn’t me projecting any political beliefs on the text. It’s all right there through the Renegade path, interacting with Garrus or any Krogan, and in the entire second game (which happens because the Citadel straight up does not care that humans are being kidnapped by the Collectors). Mass Effect is tremendously skeptical of centralized power, and maybe the biggest failing of the writing (other than the utter cock-up of 3’s original ending) is that no Paragon choices go badly for the player so Paragon players can happily ignore it.

        • hey so

          Also, the cyclical theme is pretty explicit through the whole trilogy, most notably in the status of humanity as the latest in a series of military pawn species, but also in a broader species-elevation-and-conflict cycle played out by humans vs. Batarians, Rachni vs. Krogans vs. Turians, Quarians vs. Geth, etc., always ending to the benefit of the Asari and Salarians.

          Basically, kill everyone and leave the galaxy to the Elcor.

          • SNF

            Sovereign also reveals that the Reapers operate in a cyclical way in ME1. It was a theme from the get-go.

        • SNF

          The Renegade path still has a decent amount of cooperation, particularly if you take advantage of all the persuasion options. It’s just that instead of convincing people to help you, you intimidate them and you’re willing to discard them if necessary.

          A Renegade Shepard will still probably convince the Quarians and the Geth to unite, for example. And you let the Council die, but there’s a successor Council. It’s just that Humanity basically dominates the others, rather than having an equal partnership.

          A Renegade Shepard also still convinces their teammates to stop fighting, when you have the loyalty conflicts in ME2.

          Renegade Shepard is more willing to shoot someone suspicious rather than trust them or give them a second chance, but other times a Renegade Shepard is very willing to cooperate with a potential ally.

          The main counter example is the Rachni, but you don’t exactly have a lot of reason to trust the Rachni when you meet their queen in ME1. A Renegade Shepard doesn’t want to take the risk that the Rachni will attack the other Milky Way races again.

          By the end of ME3, both a Paragon and Renegade Shepard will have similar amounts of cooperation between the various species in fighting to retake Earth. The main difference is that Renegade Shepard loses support from the Krogan* but in return gets increased support from the Salarians.

          So I think the theme is there in both main routes. It’s just that it’s emphasized more in Paragon Shepard’s route.

          *Assuming Wrex is the leader of the Krogan, and not Wreav. If Wrex died in ME1 and Wreav replaced him, then the Krogan never realize that you sabotaged the genophage cure.

          • hey so

            The way you tell it, it sounds more like “thank God Shepard is here to save us all from our woeful incompetence.” It’s not cooperation; it’s strongarming.

            Which, I guess, is the message in Paragon, too.

            • SNF

              Yep. Mass Effect is all about basically Green Lantern-ing a galaxy’s problems away.

              Either you’ll convince them of your rightness with an inspiring speech, or you’ll intimidate them through sheer force of badassery, or they’re the Council.

      • hey so

        EDIT: dupe

  • hey so

    Anyway, Mass Effect could have twice the thematic focus and characterization it does and it wouldn’t be half as strong as Persona.

    FITE ME

    • Persona is a good series but lord almighty does it have some viewpoint problems. I tend to prefer the other Megaten series both because I don’t give a shit about the dating sim elements of Persona and because Persona’s attempt to comment on real-world issues is almost comically reactionary. I cannot believe there is a game in 2017 that has a wide variety of romantic options, including your high school teacher, but absolutely no gay representation whatsoever.

      • hey so

        I cannot believe there is a game in 2017 that has a wide variety of romantic options, including your high school teacher, but absolutely no gay representation whatsoever.

        I suppose I can’t disagree with any of that.

        SPOILER: If you romance Kawakami, when you beat the game you get a post-credits cutscene where you fast-foward twenty years and lose a runoff election to Marine Le Pen.

  • Yougottawanna

    On accents: some Angara have African accents, some have British accents, and some have American accents. They mention this in the game, though it’s buried in a dialog tree somewhere – if I remember right, the African-sounding ones are from Havarl, the British-sounding ones are from Voeld, and the American-sounding ones are from Aya.

    What the postcolonialist implications of this are, I have no idea, but worth mentioning.

    • Murc

      The in-universe explanation, of course, is that they’re all using real-time translators constantly.

      • SNF

        The magic translator machines kinda bug me. It just seems really implausible, particularly when he series attempts to kind of make sense in justifying its sci-fi in other places.

        I don’t see why they couldn’t just say that there’s a Galactic Common Language (so no one is actually speaking in English, it’s just translated into English for the player’s benefit).

        I guess there’d be a problem with some species having trouble making the appropriate vocalizations, especially the Hanar. But there could be technology that lets them vocalize Galactic Common words.

  • SNF

    I’m a huge fan of the series, especially 2 (which is one of my favorite games), but I’ve heard bad things about Andromeda. I’m also kinda wary of another open world game by Bioware after how bloated Dragon Age Inquisition was. But it’s still a Mass Effect game so I’ll probably have to play it at some point.

    I’m thinking I’ll probably wait a year or so. By then there will probably be a GOTY version with all the DLC, and they’ll have maybe fixed some of the problems I’ve heard about (like the animations) with patches.

    I’m guessing you’ve been enjoying it a lot though? Is it worth getting it sooner than I was planning?

    • Oh yes I am definitely having fun.

    • hey so

      Bioware games go on sale sharply and frequently. You should hold out a bit if you’ve got other things on your plate.

      Andromeda’s not as awful as people are saying, but I’d be enjoying it a lot more if I’d paid $20 for it.

      • SNF

        Do they? In my experience the DLCs at least generally stay the same price . Although Dragon Age Inquisition having a GOTY edition makes me hope Andromeda will have something similar.

        And yeah, I have a lot of other stuff to play, which is one reason why I can wait. Still working on Zelda, I just started Nier Automata, I have to go back to The Witcher 3 at some point and I haven’t picked up Persona 5 yet.

        • hey so

          Do they? In my experience the DLCs at least generally stay the same price .

          PS4 version’s currently on sale for $40 on Amazon, about 1 month after release. You might think this is because the game’s getting trashed but DAI went through the same thing, and after a year it was regularly showing up for like 15 bucks.

          Still working on Zelda, I just started Nier Automata, I have to go back to The Witcher 3 at some point and I haven’t picked up Persona 5 yet.

          Then wait. No amount of DLC, post-release patching, or LGM exigesis is going to bring Andromeda anywhere near the level of any of those games.

  • libarbarian

    Sid Meier’s Civilization

    Ugh. I loved civ too, before I realized how problematic it is.

    • which version? Because later versions DLC really diversified the representation.

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