The Andromeda Experience – 8

It has been a long time since I gave you an update on my progress through the Heleus Cluster.  Truth be told, I went through quite a long period of not playing Andromeda because there was so much else going on.  I put some time in a while ago and then had a break and I’ve gone back into it in the last week.  This is just a brief potted history of what I’ve been up to during that time.  I’ve made a bit of progress but it has felt, for a time, as if I’ve been doing a lot of backwards and forwards and not actually making progress towards the end goal.  I’ve been taking care of a lot of side quests and ignoring some of the more exciting, story-driven stuff.

Beautiful Havarl

After Voeld, I went off to explore the next big sandbox, Kadara. It turns out that Kadara Port is Andromeda’s answer to Omega, with it’s very own Aria T’Loak in the form of rebel leader Sloane Kelly.

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Downmarket Aria T’Loak

It all just feels like a bit of a cheap knock off of something that the franchise has already done much better. Add to that the fact that the planet of Kadara is a bit of a grim place and it all makes for a bit of a buzzkill just when I was getting into the game. Kadara is a mountainous, pointy (thanks Drack for that observation) place without much to look at. By now I’ve done all the Remnant vault activation and scanning and things so it all feels a bit tired in that regard. It’s just not a very exciting place to drive around. It doesn’t have the jungle beauty of Havarl or the Arrakis associations that Eos has, and it’s not like being on Hoth like on Voeld. It’s just a little, meh.  I’m waiting to see if Elaaden is any more inspirational.

Another atmospheric take-off shot

One thing I really appreciated when I did my last playthrough of the original Mass Effect game was the quality of the side missions. OK, so in terms of playability, it was the same building every time with crates and people in different places, but the stories in the background always felt like they were meaty enough to plump up into a Star Trek episode if you needed to. Finding multiple supply crates that are all helpfully marked out for you on the map feels so yawn-worthy. I think I really needed to get back into the narrative aspects of the game.

Going back to Eos was nice after all this time.  I took care of an attempted coup and then wiped out the Architect out in the desert

What’s that comin’ over the hill, is it a…

I also took care of a couple of loyalty missions. Dealing with Jaal’s mate (and the Roekaar) was fun, involving a good shoot out back on Havarl, even if some of it – the usual defuse the bombs in three minutes – was very reminiscent of ME1’s opening mission on Eden Prime

After Jaal was nailed down, I went and found the Asari Ark – finally, some decent action. It was well-written and a nice change of pace. The Valiant fight at the end was good, but it just felt like the same thing over again.

The Valiant gets his!

That’s the third ‘ascendant’ I’ve taken out so far in the game, all with names like Valiant or the Special One or whatever. It’s a little too much of a pattern. These loyalty missions are somewhat interesting but not on the same scale as ME2 – Miranda’s and Legion’s I particularly remember as being quite special. It’s the storytelling that is missing. But is that me? Am I obsessing about getting ‘everything done’ when I should be following the story. It’s a hangover from ME3 where you had to do everything in order to have a chance at the end. But then it never felt like a chore on ME3.

Seriously, Reyes Vidal looks like an Action Man

Since starting this post, I’ve finished up everything on Kadara. I wasn’t aware of a bug that existed where Reyes Vidal (most irritating character in the game so far) is not marked on the map and you have to just know where he is – which I didn’t. It took some looking up on the Internet to find out where I had to go.

For some reason, the doors at Kadara Port take an excruciating amount of time to open

His missions were uninspiring. One of them involves going to a party, which immediately made me think of Kasumi’s loyalty mission in ME2, but the way it played out was dull in comparison. Also, I thought the game was trying far too hard to make a relationship between him and Ryder. I needed an option to throw a bucket of water over him or something in order to get the point across that I was not interested.

My ship’s engines remind me of Event Horizon

Anyway, that’s where I am at the moment. I’ve cleared up a lot of the little bits that I thought I should do, and now I’m looking forward to getting back to the main thrust of the story. Should I go to Elaaden, or go after the Archon? Guess I’ll have to make that decision next time.

Here’s a few clips of my progress…

Thanks for reading

You can check out the story so far here.

The Andromeda Experience – 1

The Andromeda Experience – 2

The Andromeda Experience – 3

The Andromeda Experience – 4

The Andromeda Experience – 5

The Andromeda Experience – 6

The Andromeda Experience – 7

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