While it needn’t be said that discluding the Quarians is a ghastly sin worthy of decapitation, there is a second race in Mass Effect Andromeda that was handled poorly: the Krogan. What is wrong with them, you may ask? Simple: The Krogan are fucking soft!
I’m not talking about the pleasant kind of soft that you just want to cuddle with and feel content while your neko ears pop up and you start purring. I’m talking about a soft personality that is completely out of character with everything that has been established about this violent species of the Milky Way. The race that made people uneasy and whose intimidating posture made for excellent bodyguards and other professions that even older Krogan like Wrex gladly accepted.
What we get in the Andromeda are Krogan who are essentially grumpy softies. They’ll say a lot of stuff and if you’re lucky one will even make a threat, but by and large they’re all good guys who are pleasant, polite, respectful and a joy to be around. They’re massive frog teddy bears that make you feel secure, because you know they’ll protect you against all odds. And honestly, that’s just not the Krogan species. Where are all the headbutts of dominance? Where are the Krogan who don’t give a shit about your opinion and do whatever they want? Where are the crazy shotguns and scientists who complain about having to focus on anything not related to firepower? I definitely didn’t see Vorn complaining about being a botanist.
Remember those friendly Krogan in Mass Effect? Me Neither…
Drack has a habit of calling everyone “kid”, because he’s 1,400 years old. Ryder can say they don’t like it and Drack… Just obeys. No headbutt or anything. The game tries to explain this by you earning his respect by battling some Kett. Wrex idolised the ever living shit out of Shepard, but he didn’t just meekly follow everything Shepard said. During the issues with the Genophage he took charge of the situation whenever he felt like it, like jumping out of the Kordiak or dealing with the plan to use Kalros against the Reapers. Drack was a bit grumpy during his personal quest and he definitely made a threat, but ultimately he obeyed Ryder’s every command. Hell, he doesn’t even resist much if you choose against saving the Krogan in the Archon’s ship. We have a similar situation with your other Krogan companion: Virmire. Wrex will only back down if you make him understand why curing the genophage there is bad for his people. He needs to understand, because otherwise you have to kill him. Drack feels a similar sense of betrayal if you rescue the Salarians, but all he does is mope for a while and you need to maintain some distance. Granted, he’s angry and clearly makes it known, but it feels like a case of all croak and no bite. You know that the friendship is going to be restored.
And it’s this feeling that you also get walking through New Tuchanka. The Krogan are upset with Nexus, because they’ve been betrayed during the Nexus Uprising. They were promised a seat on the council if they dealt with the exiles and they were denied. When this happened they… just left? They didn’t kill anyone, they didn’t take over even though they definitely could, they didn’t even cause damage just on principle. And yet when you visit New Tuchanka they’re polite and happy to talk to someone from the Nexus, despite the supposed hostility between the two factions? Sure, some of them are a bit rude to you (passive aggressive y’all), but you can get a few quests and even form a battle bond with two Krogan. None of them tell you to fuck off or they’ll rip you to shreds.
And the funny thing is, there is a Krogan who is exactly like they’re supposed to act: Nakmor Morda. She’s aggressive, blunt, makes threats that she backs up, she even headbutts Jorgal Strux when he complains a bit much to her liking. And she makes ultimatums: either you give her what she wants or the alliance with the Nexus is off. That is exactly how Wrex acted, yet for some reason even Drack, a 1,400 year old Krogan who’s seen it all, is shocked to learn how much she’s changed. No, she hasn’t! She acts like she’s supposed to!
Now, you could argue that only the peaceful Krogan clans or individuals have left on Andromeda. Well, not really. Not only is there an Urdnot in New Tuchanka (Urdnot Grot, who happily harps on his good friend Drack, like Wrex does with Shepard), but it makes no sense that any of these peaceful Krogan could’ve lived to adulthood. Tuchanka is an extremely hostile planet where the meek and peaceful-minded Krogan die. It’s a dog-eats-dog world and resources are scarce, so much that they can’t afford to feed a Krogan who won’t defend the clan and fight with others to establish a hierarachy. That’s why a botanist like Vorn shouldn’t have survived, as Drack so thoughtfully lampshades. Every friendly Krogan we see in Mass Effect 3, Like Wrex and Wreav, are battle-hardened killers who don’t show any remorse for their murderous behaviour. And Eve refers to Wrex as a mutant! He is an oddity, because he’s such a friendly speciment of the species. His peaceful nature in regards to the Krogan race is so foreign that even some of his own clan members feel he’ll fail and die. This comes from clan Urdnot, a clan known for being friendly to outsiders. Mass Effect 2 and 3 tried to draw a point of comparison here that Andromeda missed: other Krogan are assholes compared to Wrex.
But all of a sudden we get around 1,200 Krogan who not only are a lot friendlier than Wrex, but have the same “sick of war” mentality Wrex has. The Andromeda Initiative took off between Mass Effect 2 and 3, so these Krogan are carrying mentalities that Wrex was considered an outsider for before even HE had them… Another tiny detail that the new team of writers missed, it would seem.
The awkward Plotphage
Another and final thing that annoyed me about the Krogan is the genophage. It’s a plot line that’s simply been done with. Mass Effect 3 spent around 1/4rd of its plot dealing with the genetic disease and you can choose how the story ends: cure or don’t cure the genophage. So the fact that this game has found a way to bring the whole story back is lazy. Don’t get me wrong, they gave a valid explanation, but what is there left to explore? This game definitely doesn’t explore it in a different way. Granted, the subject is only brought up in dialogue, but New Tuchanka makes it clear that the Krogans are still very much affected by the stillbirths that the genophage causes. It would’ve been so much more interesting if the game had explored how the Krogan dealt with the aftermath of Mass Effect 3 and showed us how the species was evolving now that their babies aren’t dying off by the thousands. It would’ve made for a natural evolution to the journey arc of the species instead of repeating the same shit over again.
But instead the majority of the plot we get regarding the Krogan is the alliance with the Nexus and their exaltation with the Kett. This mirrors the issues with the Council in the Milky Way and the malarky with the Salarians messing around with Krogan biology. I really hope that Krogan get more of a chance to shine if there is a second Andromeda game, but I sincerely doubt it. While new plot would be interesting the core problem remains: these Krogan don’t act like ME trilogy Krogan and I doubt the writers will change them much.
- The True Power of Friendship! – Why The Original Trilogy Was So Good
- Judging a Book By Its Cover? – Critiquing the plot of Mass Effect Andromeda
- Mechanics of the Impossible – Magic in the Originals & Vampire Diaries Universe
Copyright: The images used in this article are screenshots taken from the game series Mass Effect. We are allowed to use them under section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. The Mass Effect game series belongs to Bioware and EA Games.