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Reviews Comments: A Poly-romantic Look At ME: Andromeda Mass Effect Andromeda game review by Nubian Satyress

Disclaimer: I loved Andromeda in most other capacities, although I have issue with the technical problems and many glitches. The following review ONLY critiques the romantic subplots of the game.

Being polyamorous for most of my adult life, it\'s often hard playing romantic subplots in videogames, especially ones with multiple love interests who can feel jealousy. Videogames like the Mass Effect franchise are often meant to be escapist fantasy for people in various ways, but they\'ve traditionally failed at doing so by stating you can pick ONE and ONLY ONE lover and that you\'re a bad person if you want more.

When the developers said Andromeda would buck this trend by allowing multiple romances at once, I was excited. Instead of picking one character I was interested in and sticking with them, I\'d try as many of them as possible and see who\'d be game.

What I got was more disappointment—in fact, this is even WORSE than what they\'ve done in the past. Bioware decided the best way to implement polyamory into the game was to split the romances into two types: \"true\" romances and \"flings\". True romances begin when you promise your partner that you love them and ONLY them. Flings are a lot more liberal on that take, but even that\'s a trap. Most of them acknowledge that you probably have other lovers out there, but they offer to help you live a double life and effectively CHEAT on your committed partner.

Basically, it feels as though Bioware gave even more of a middle finger to us polys by stating we\'re lying two-timers. Clearly, the ONLY love that means anything are the ones where two people promise sole ownership over each other. In the end, it just feels like a complete and utter copout.


  • Shin_Rekkoha
  • 3rd Apr 17
While this is all hilarious and sad in its own way, I do have a question about one line of your review that just doesn\'t make sense to me:

\"But they offer to help you live a double life and effectively CHEAT...\"

Aren\'t you literally cheating on every single one of your partners in this game unless they are also poly, regardless of what their dialog says? If all the characters are written to prefer a normal committed relationship, then even if the game supports it you are still \"cheating\". Why even make that distinction in your mind if you are poly? Then you\'re only ever NOT cheating with other confirmed polies, which really limits your options IRL and flat out removes most of them in games.
  • NubianSatyress
  • 3rd Apr 17
Well, that's how it works. A poly relationship is built first and foremost on trust. The exact structure of a poly relationship depends on what's agreed upon and what boundaries are set. Some polys don't care what their partner does as long as it's honest. Some want to meet their other partner(s) before anything sexual happens. Some only welcome partners that they can both share. And so on and so forth.

The main common thread in a poly relationship is that everyone in it knows it's a poly relationship and are following whatever "rules" has been set by their partners. In Andromeda, though, the "real" romances are exclusive and monogamous. The "poly" options aren't really "poly" because no mutual trust is established. At worst, there's the monogamous partner being lied to, and partners who don't want anything to do with the rest. At best, you have "a girl in every port" situation, which is honest at least, but generally treated as the "lesser" romance.

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