No one likes checking their email. I routinely end up with a few hundred unread messages in my various inboxes by the end of every week, creating a Friday afternoon chore I’ve come to loathe. But in Mass Effect: Andromeda, the email terminal has become one of the first things I check.
One of Andromeda’s major strengths is in text: tiny snippets of incidental writing that can be funny, or sad, or just contribute to building this brave new world. I’ve probably spent a huge number of hours hours in game just reading, whether I’m reading a survey account of various outer-system planets or snooping through the little personal messages found on NPC consoles. The emails that Ryder gets on her console, however, combines that feeling with another strength of the game’s: its strong cast of companion characters.
Warning: some spoilers ahead for the first mission on Habitat 7.
Very early on in the journey, Ryder receives an ‘introductory’ email of sorts from each companion. While none of them are actually framed as a formal introduction, what they do send is even better at showing what kind of person they are. Considering how much of our own communication is done digitally these days, the way characters type and share content in game is one of the best ways we can relate them to real people.
Jaal, for example, is every intern ever sending too-formal emails on their first day at work.
Kallo is the tech guy who, unbeknownst to most, has ‘tweaked’ the system for his own benefit.
Vetra is that person who agonises over an email for hours to ‘clarify’ something she regrets saying.
Liam’s the guy with a playlist (and a motivational speech) for everything.
Peebee is that person who hits you up to have a bitch about whatever (or whoever) is on their mind at four in the morning.
Cora is that person who went away on a spiritual retreat and now won’t stop telling you about the inspirational things her Yogini taught her.
And Drack is… well, let’s just say I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten this kind of email from my grandpa at some point in time.