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Spoilers for the “maybe we’ll help you” kett-related mission in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Butch:

Gonna call the game out:

So finished chasing down relays. Didn’t take the dude’s deal (more on that in a second) and when he said “I hope you enjoyed chasing my relays. That will be all the satisfaction you will get out of this” I almost threw my controller at the set. Fuck you, game. That was just mean.

But here’s my real beef: We’ve talked a lot about the problem of games doing scenes where the hero is not there. We have issues with them, and last night is why.

The reason I turned the dude down was that I thought that the archon was a disorganized mess, and I’d rather have a disorganized mess who’s alienating (HA!) his team than this Invictor dude who seemed both evil and organized.

But here’s the thing: the reason I knew the archon was a bit of a mess was from the scenes that RYDER WASN’T IN. I made my decision, at least in part, based on information Ryder didn’t have and didn’t know. I knew it, but she didn’t. As far as Ryder knows, at this point, the archon is just fine, is in complete control, and all is well. The only thing she has to go on is Invictor’s word. I had more, and it figured in my choice.

And that’s not cool. But I don’t know how to get around it. Bothers me, though.

I almost forgave it, though, just for the line, after Invictor is being all nasty, where Ryder goes, in a deep voice “I am PATHFINDER blah blah blah.” I could have hugged the game for that.

I then spent too much time finding the thing on Eos for PB, only to be told I now have to go to Havarl to get something else for PB. Thank God the NOMAD can drive off cliffs, cuz if I had to go around everything to get there and waste time I would’ve been REALLY pissed.

Game never ends. You’re probably finished with Chloe, too.

Feminina:

I have not even started AS CHLOE. Maybe tonight.

Ha. The line about having fun chasing relays was kind of a low blow.

And I don’t know, you KIND of know the archon isn’t in perfect control of everything…we’ve found a few datapads or recordings or whatever in kett facilities, talking about how he’s ignoring messages from home, how he’s overreaching because of his personal obsession with Meridian, whatever. You’re right, a fair bit of that was scenes Ryder wasn’t there for, but Ryder has encountered some evidence.

I didn’t take the dude’s deal either, but in my case it was because I had just talked to all the first contact survivors the Moshae told me to talk to, and an important message I got from them (no real spoilers) is “don’t trust the kett, they’ll lie and try to manipulate you” so I thought “a bunch of people with experience told me not to trust kett, therefore I better not trust this guy.”

So…I mean, I get what you’re saying, it definitely isn’t honest in a story to let a character make decisions based on information she doesn’t actually have, and I remain no fan of the whole idea of giving the player information the character can’t have, but one could argue there are other legitimate reasons to make that decision and maybe you the player had one reason but Ryder the character had another, so decision-making, specifically, is not as big a concern of mine as is general point-of-view inconsistency.

I agree, though, that having this well-organized, determined guy take over for an overreaching archon who may be losing control of things isn’t a good deal for us.

Hmm, how tempting, “I’m still totally going to try to wipe you all out via exaltation, but I WILL help you with this one issue.” Respect for the honesty though, I appreciate that he didn’t come in all “we’re definitely your friends, the archon is the only one who wants to exalt everyone, we just want to live in peace!” because that would have made my decision a lot harder (could I turn down a plea for peace and harmony? even if it’s almost certainly a lie?).

Butch:

Very low. “Hope you enjoyed the complete waste of time!”

So apropos of a lot of this game, sadly.

And there was some evidence, but you’re being forgiving. The real “Archon getting yelled at” scene was the one on the Salarian ark, which we did not attend.

Bugged me. And is a problem that will continue to crop up in games.

And this keeps coming up in games, doesn’t it? It may be the biggest hurdle to game narrative right now.

I might do the one with the Moshae’s people next. Mop up PB’s thing on Havarl, then Aya, which I have been blowing off for weeks.

That kett dude was very honest, that he was. Very much so. But remember, they don’t think exaltation is bad. He even referred to “when we are family.” FAMILY! So these guys don’t see this honesty as a threat. They think they’re doing us a favor, much like the European imperialists thought when they came here (or anywhere). If anything, Invictor seems to think he’s even NICER than the archon. After all, siding with him will get everything done, everyone exalted, faster, which he thinks is something we should WANT.

Which, you know, is an interesting flip on the whole imperialism thing.

Feminina:

The kett conviction that everyone is going to love exaltation as soon as they have it forced on them IS handy in that it encourages them to be very open about their intentions. It also seems to be true, as far as it goes, although as I’ve complained before, we have no real sense of how genuine and conscious the exalted kett’s enthusiasm is.

Is that an “I personally am sincerely happy in my new role as Kevin, and all is right with the universe” or is it “there is no I there is only Kevin Kevin does as Kevin is told and is happy to do it”?

Of course, one could ask the same thing about pretty much any Kevin. Who ARE these guys? What makes them so enthusiastic about trying to kill the unkillable hero? We may never know.

Still, we could ask similar questions more meaningfully of the non-Kevin kett who aren’t, you know, the big leaders in charge of stuff (since being a big leader in charge of stuff may favorably dispose one towards the system that put one in that position). Are they actually, consciously happy to be kett (or at least, as happy as the humans we meet are to be human, the krogan to be krogan, etc.)? Or are they just wiped of any feeling that’s not happiness at being kett? There’s a difference, and I’d be interested to explore that, as well as to explore the questions of how happy humans are to be human, and why, and whether that’s something worth fighting for.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff in the idea of the kett. Maybe they’ll do more with it in future games.

Butch:

Well, a complication of the kett conviction is that we’ve never really heard a Kevin say it. The folks who seem very rah rah kett are all pretty senior kett. Archon, Invictor, the Cardinal, etc. The chosen haven’t expressed an opinion. The only time I’ve heard one talk was that wounded one the Angaran was torturing, and it was unclear if he was just grunting monosylabically because he was grievously injured or because that’s how chosen talk.

So there may be a division of enthusiasm.

But there is a mystery to Kevin, in terms of motivation. It’s as old as games. What did the ghosts have against pac man? What did those angry mushroom things have against Mario? What ARE those mushroom things, anyway?

I digress.

Again, we come back to Imperialism. Were the grunt soldiers that came with the Spanish anything more than just grunts being told what to do? Or were they true believers? Were the captains consciously happy to be imperial murderers, or were they so brainwashed by church and king that it never occurred to them to be anything else?

Sigh, you had to mention future games. Bioware has said that Mass Effect is “on hiatus” and will only make more Mass Effect if they can make it “fresh and relevant.” That sounds ominous. But the thing sold, so there’s hope.

Feminina:

“Fresh and relevant.” Well…I guess they’ll let us know, then.

I hope they’re working on something else awesome. Ideally something full of masked balls, heists, flirting, and group hugs.

Butch:

Well, this Anthem doesn’t look like it. Looks like Destiny with Mechs. TitanDestinyFall. Boo.

But usually they do an ME, then a DA. We’re due for a DA. I’ll play a DA happily.

Feminina:

Well, you’ll play a DA. But happily? If it’s full of shards and collectible bottles and angsty dudes with flag quests? Ha.

I’m with you, though. Bring on more DA! Anytime. Except, maybe not RIGHT now because we’re kind of busy.

Butch:

Yeah. When we have an opening. HA!

Feminina:

As soon as I’ve moved and finished the stuff on my immediate to-play list and cleared out the backlog on my PS+ account, I’m ready!

Butch:

It’s gonna be awesome.

Who are we kidding, it’ll go to the head of the line, easy.

Unless there’s something else.

Feminina:

Between that and Horizon Zero Naptime, it would be a tough call.

Butch:

And yet, I always have this ambient worry of having nothing to play at some point. Or, I shouldn’t say that. I have this ambient worry of getting to a point where what I have to play is stuff in my backlog that I meant to get to, but I’m not 100% thrilled about, and getting sucked into three months of playing a game that I don’t want to play, because you so know I’d finish whatever anyway. I want a steady supply of games I’m pumped about.

Feminina:

What are we excited about after PLAYING AS CHLOE? I can’t remember anymore. Eight months of MEA has erased my memories of everything else.

Butch:

I’m excited for anything with Chloe. Plus Horizon expansions. And, don’t forget, the first episode of the new Life is Strange is out……

Feminina:

Yeah, that should keep us busy for a while. Plus I never did finish Day of the Tentacle…hahahahahahahahaha. I mean the Witness. I might actually go back to that, someday, if I ever have the time.

Butch:

HAHAHAHA!

Too bad you didn’t do that one, though. It was good.

Feminina:

Yeah, it’s a real shame. If only I’d been able to sprint, I bet I would have loved it. But you filled me–and, more importantly, the blog–in on the important parts. I’m good.

Butch:

And you did Dear Esther. We’re even.

Feminina:

It’s true, I did. We ARE even!

Butch:

And for a while you had Life is Strange on me, but I caught you.

Wait, how the hell did I catch you? I NEVER catch you!

Feminina:

Well, I did a couple of random things you didn’t do, like Portal 2 (OK, that was catching you from LONG ago) and that one about the…neon light speedy person…and Remember Me…and some Witcher 3 DLC…

Butch:

Oh right….I didn’t really catch you.

But I avoided big robots! And cloud sex. One is better to avoid than the other.

Feminina:

Indeed.

I never caught you on Fallout 3, if that helps. At this point, I think it’s safe to say I never will.

Butch:

True.

But this must end! We need to stay on the same page! Which is why you should go pack. Your PS4. For a while.

Feminina:

If only I had it together enough to pack anything at all.

Anyway, we can’t pack the PS4 early, because we rely on it to stream O’Jr.’s daily Voltron fix, without which he would surely perish. It’s not just MY machine, you know.

Butch:

GET IT TOGETHER FEMMY!!!

And then teach me how.

Feminina:

If I ever figure it out, I will share. It’s what good blogmates do.