Review; Andromeda: Apocalypse

(I’ve been reading SF. The Expanse by James S.A. Corey to be precise. Some associative process made me realize that I hadn’t played the sequel to one of my most-liked SF-games, Andromeda; Awakening. So over the past few days, I did. It’s very good.
Andromeda Apocalypse — Extended Edition - Details (ifdb.org))

Of the Puny and the Vast.

Alone…

Alone in the deepest, most serious meaning of the word.

Before you a blackness the stars do not penetrate. Around you a galaxy collapsing under its own weight. Behind you an all-consuming, fast-expanding sphere of heat and radiation.

The remains of your exploded home are all that is following you. The supernova is gaining on you.

Andromeda: Apocalypse opens after the catastrophe on your homeworld that was the end of Andromeda: Awakening . There is a certain calm in the desperate knowledge that all is lost, there is no need to frantically try to prove your point to those who need to know. In fact, during this game’s reminiscences, it is called into question if anyone even wanted to know…

The map of Apocalypse is very satisfying to explore. A giant derelict alien ship, battered by time, meteors and who knows what else provides the perfect mix of ordered hallways and corridors on the one hand, and clogged, torn, or plain ripped apart tubes and plates on the other. Chaos and recognizable structure in the right proportions.

There are puzzles, and a few of them made me stop and think and check my notes. However, the rhythm of the game thrives on thorough but speedy exploration, on getting pást the obstacles, not snagged up mulling about them.

While staying true to the “catacombs-and-puzzles”-structure of the first game, thematically this game offers more room to philosophical ruminations. In between the explore/action sequences, there are intermezzos of a dreamlike or hallucinatory quality where the protagonist discusses the meaning and importance of being human in contrast to the vastness of time and space. That sounds bloated and arrogant when I inadequately summarize it like this. In-game though, it works. Mostly because these discussions take place in a friendly and familiar setting with the protagonist and his uncle bouncing thoughts and feelings off one another.

By the halfway point of the game, you will meet an NPC whose nature and knowledge will bring this emphasis on the short and limited versus the vast and ungraspable even more to the foreground.

By the endgame, I felt a bit sad for this friendly NPC.

Many intruiging questions and themes touched upon in a setting that is entirely appropriate for such thoughts.

Very good.

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