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Some spoilers for Jaal’s personal mission, the salerian spy quest, and family resemblences in Mass Effect: Andromeda

Butch:

Ok, now I’m playing too much and it’s all blurring! But ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

So started the Journey to Meridian. Met Scott, who looks exactly like your Scott. Well, they did ok with Alec (if you count giving him creepyassed green eyes ok on the resemblance thing), so one out of two ain’t bad. Not sure why I give a shit about Scott yet. Yes, brother, great, etc, but he isn’t adding much to the narrative here.

Got that quest to the part where I have to research “Ghost Storm,” which proves that the folks thinking up military code names haven’t gotten any better in 700 years.

Then off to Havarl to meet a Salarian spy and to do Jaal’s mission. Did Jaal’s mission, which I liked. I did not kill the leader, and let him take his shot. I got two things to say on this:

1) I really liked that, after setting up Jaal as the black sheep, and, let’s face it, dweeb of the family, they gave him a chance to rise and be the hero of the family. Watching him earn their respect, after craving ours for so long, was pretty neat. Well done quest. I’ll probably have more about themes when I meet his mothers, but hey man, I wasn’t up for meeting mom yet. I mean, there’s the fling with PB, the whole Suvi thing….awkward….

2) So…at the crucial moment of the quest, the whole “do you kill him or let him potentially kill Jaal,” I metagamed, which made it far less punchy. I thought “There is just no fucking WAY that Jaal dies this early. He’s too important to the story, this is a bioware game, I do not need to save him because he isn’t really in danger.” Once you feel that, the urgency of the situation vanishes. I could feel myself saying “Go ahead, shoot, whatever, it’s a bioware game,” and I was right. And I can’t decide if that’s the game’s fault or not. On one hand, the game can’t help that I’ve been playing bioware games for years. On the other hand, setting up a narrative where you just KNOW a character AIN’T DYING does take the punch out of scenes like this, and knowing he just AIN’T DYING right then was, partially, because of the arc of the story. Whatchu think?

So did that, then trucked out to Voeld to get evidence on the Salarian doctor dude, did that, and now I’m on my way back to the nexus to give the evidence, talk the reporter out of prison, and hang out with the pathfinders.

Not a bad night.

Feminina:

I read in some review that the writer thought they intentionally didn’t make a big deal with the family resemblance because hey, adoption exists! Which…yeah…OK. I’m all for recognizing the many options for family formation. Adoption exists! Adopted kids are their parents’ kids! And yeah, maybe it’s better they didn’t make a big deal about it, just let you turn out to be adopted…if you happen to make a character that looks dramatically different from the parents…but maybe that’s also kind of a lazy way out? I dunno.

I mean, the word adoption certainly doesn’t come up in the game itself, which is fine because even if you’re adopted you may be completely secure in your identity as a member of that family and no one ever needs to talk about it (what with the other pressing issues of surviving in an alien galaxy and all). But still…I mean, if it’s ONLY potentially a thing that you think about if you happen to make a nonwhite character in a white family (my mother in the memory scenes was a LITTLE darker than dad and Scott, but certainly not as dark as my character), then is it a nice subtle nod to the reality of adoption, or is it just a convenient way to avoid making different character models for family members? If they really wanted to subtly nod to the reality of adoption, they could have made Dad and Scott look completely different, like dad is black and Scott (or Sarah, if the player plays Scott) looks Korean or something, and said nothing about it. Because hey, it’s a family, doesn’t matter who donated genetic material to whom, etc. Make a multicolor family from the beginning, instead of having it all depend on whether or not the player builds a white character. So I appreciate the idea, but I think that writer was maybe giving the game more credit than it deserves on this.

Not that I care particularly. I just figured I was adopted, or an interesting throwback to mom’s ancestors in Delhi, or something. Or maybe dad can’t father children and Scott and I are the products of two different sperm donors. Who knows?

Ah, Jaal’s mission. I was glad we didn’t have to kill his siblings. I also let the leader shoot at him, because Jaal asked me not to interfere and I was like “I need to trust my team, he said not to act, so I won’t.”

My experience of the moment may have been a bit different than yours because by that point I’d done almost everything I could do before proceeding towards the end and so instead of “he wouldn’t die YET,” I was thinking “the game is practically over, maybe he WILL die. But I have to trust him anyway!”

I will note, though, that neither of us thought it was terribly implausible that Drack could have been mad enough to leave the team after we didn’t save his scouts, so why would it seem so implausible that Jaal would also be able to leave the team (albeit more permanently) at a similar point in his arc in the game? You need to think these things through, dude: you’re not metagaming with enough detail!

Butch:

While you are quite right about my metagaming skills lacking in that we didn’t think Drack could leave, your three very well written paragraphs regarding character models are wrong. Why? Because they’re twins! I got all Pathfinder on Scott and he was all “Hey, I’m only younger than you by one minute.”

Like, if you’re going to put that line in there, make them look the same!

But I digress.

Played a little more, and got all caught up in the quest where the pregnant woman has gone missing, which was JUST getting interesting when I hit a roadblock because I don’t have an outpost on Kadara (Because I can’t find your latin lover! It says “Work with Reyes” and I would LOVE to, if I could find him).

Now…that’s shitty game/quest design. You should NOT have a mandate in the middle of a quest that’s just getting good that requires you to go do a couple hours (or more) of game on some other story line. I cannot think of a way this game could have wrecked the momentum of a good quest that I was enjoying more than they did here. I have to go to a different planet and work with Reyes? And probably do the PB thing and the Salarian thing cuz they’re there too? BEFORE I get back to this? WHAT?

Very annoying. Very, very annoying.

Where the hell is Reyes, anyway?

Feminina:

Oh, I know they’re twins, but they could in theory be adopted ‘twins,’ born within minutes of each other by coincidence. I mean, if you were in the mood to adopt a baby, and then got news that there were two available who were born in the same hour, wouldn’t you want them both because hey, it’s destiny?

Or they could be Ellen’s genetic children but not Alec’s, and the result of two different sperm donors whose donations got mixed up (accidentally or on purpose, who knows, not for me to judge), so they’re twins with different fathers.

My speculation is still valid!

You have no quest marker for Reyes? I think I was supposed to go meet him somewhere, and that was how things progressed. Go back to the bar on Kadara and see if he shows up.

Butch:

Go meet him somewhere. Try the bar.

That’s your default for everything.

But it’s often correct.

Feminina:

It’s the classic adventure/role playing game setup! Go to the bar!

Butch:

So true!

“I need a job/quest/purpose in life. Where’s the bar?”

Wouldn’t it be great if real life was like that?

Feminina:

Wait, it isn’t? Then how come all these guys keep buying me a pint and asking me to find their great-grandfather’s missing handaxe?

If their ancestral farms weren’t actually attacked by goblins, they really need to work on their pickup lines.

Butch:

Hang on. I need some time to figure out how to match that joke.

Feminina:

Take your time. I’ll be here all day.

Butch:

Too much pressure! Isn’t the stress of having to catch up on games enough? Have you no mercy?

Feminina:

Very little. But I am distracted by the need to put things into boxes (“what can I put into boxes tonight?” I think to myself at random moments), so we can let it slide this time.

Butch:

You’re probably so used to PLAYING AS CHLOE by now……

Feminina:

Maybe a little. But I am also putting things into boxes! I am!

Butch:

Shit. Try not to forget it all by the time I get around to it.

Feminina:

I just need a little something to take the edge off, man! I can’t take it, struggling through the days with no game! It was wearing me down! And I’m waiting for you on the Horizon Zero Dawn DLC, like a good friend, because you were going to do that next!

I was starting to hallucinate load screens. My fingers developed uncontrollable twitches from holding imaginary controllers. It was awful.

But I am still putting things into boxes.

Butch:

Well, at the very least, are you a) not done and b) enjoying it?

Feminina:

I’ve only played about an hour. I’ve already missed half the treasures. It’s fun so far, though! Good climbing and jumping and murdering dudes.

Butch:

And……Chloe.

Don’t rush.