WARNING – This post contains spoilers for Mass Effect: Andromeda. Check out the Mass Effect website for more information on the game.
Andromeda started with a preamble that covered much of the same information as the initial Andromeda Initiative briefing video, set over scenes of the Ark Hyperion setting out. Flash forward 600 years and change, and Esme Ryder wakes up, badly in need of a hot cup of coffee.
Something is definitely wrong. Lexi, the Asari medic, is on edge [though I hope that level of snark is her default, and that we see more of her]; they’re under pressure to get the Pathfinder team revived…, and then the Hyperion crashes into something.
No sooner has Cora arrived on the scene to restore gravity to the room and suggest Esme gets her ass up to the bridge, than Scott Ryder’s cryo pod malfunctions. He’ll live, but they need to keep him in a medical coma. Convenient.
There’s a chance to wander around the room before heading to the bridge, so I had Esme chat with a few people, and have a look at the video wall. It seems there’s a fair amount of marketing still ongoing for this mission, and I found myself suddenly very suspicious of Jien Garson. The Y-button is now used for interactions, which meant Esme kept jumping up and down because my fine motor memory hasn’t adapted yet. That’ll make for some fun out in the field.
Once out of the room there was another explosion, which was partly an excuse to try out the scanner, but after Esme had located and fixed the problem, I heard one of the techs say that they could have lost the entire cryo bay. Possible sabotage then [Hi, nice to meet you, I’m paranoid].
Up on the bridge Captain Dunn and Alec Ryder were mid discussion about what to do next. Having crashed into some kind of dark energy cloud, which has taken out the power, the Hyperion is running on reserves. There also seems to be something wrong with the so-called Golden Planet. Ryder Sr. wants to check it out, and Esme agrees with him. The Captain reluctantly agrees [I think I missed something here, because I could not figure out what the Captain wanted to do instead of sending a team out to check the planet]. Time to prep for a mission.
There was another chance to chat with the Pathfinders in the locker room. Cora told Esme to go find her helmet, which seems designed to persuade you to investigate the room – there were a few datapads with excerpts from the Pathfinder manual (including a reminder on First Protocol), and Ryder Sr.’s lucky rock [Yes. Really.]. The fact that they were going out armed was treated as unusual, which seemed strange until I remembered that, unlike in previous Mass Effects, these people aren’t soldiers. Esme was issued a pistol. I’m not sure if the limited weapons are due to still being in the tutorial phase, or a limitation of the game trial, but suspect it’s the former.
The shuttle ride down began the next wave of “Oh, shit!” moments. The planet’s a bust, has alien architecture on it, and the lightning storms cause both Pathfinder shuttles to crash, cutting communications with SAM (the A.I.. I’ll get to that), and stranding Esme on the planet’s surface.
Crew Dossiers (CONFIDENTIAL):
It seems Cora and Esme already know each other. She still reminds me of Miranda, only she’s confident rather than arrogant.
Endeared himself to me immediately because 1) gave Esme a little wave when they were both coming round in the cryo bay, and 2) English accent. From their brief chat in the shuttle it seems they haven’t met before, but everyone knows who Esme is. Yay.
Formal in front of the Captain; a bit more relaxed around his team. Since his shuttle is now missing, I assume he’ll be out of the picture for a while.
Fisher, Kirkland, and Greer were the only ones I caught names for. An overheard conversation gave a little of Kirkland’s back-story (comes from Eden Prime; looking to start over after the ‘trouble’ there) which was a total “feels” moment. Fisher and Esme seem to know each other a bit, as he asked about rumours that the Captain and Ryder Sr. don’t see eye-to-eye. He also made clear that he follows Ryder, which made me wonder whether Esme’s going to be in for some peacemaking down the line.
I was initially confused – why was no one freaking out about the A.I. onboard? I mean, all the stuff with the Geth and Sovereign happened right before they left. I guess Esme already knows about it though, since Ryder Sr. developed it [Ooh, now I’m wondering if he was involved in developing a certain A.I. that went rogue on Luna]. I assume it will go crazy and try to kill us all in due course.
Worth a brief mention because it seems he wouldn’t normally go out with the Pathfinders (Cora suggests he’s needed on the Hyperion), and because there was definite tension when he talked about Ryder Sr.
Explore the Planet. Search for Survivors!