15/04/2018

Companion Returns: Andronikos, Ashara, Corso & Risha

I'm slowly continuing my goal of chipping away at KotET on more classes to be able to see the new companion returns. Having recently made it there on both my Scoundrel and my Sorcerer, I wanted to share some thoughts.

The spoiler-free version is that they were all disappointingly short, similar to the Arcann romance. I had expected something more in line with the class story snippets on Rishi, or the missions that some of your original companions give you while levelling that briefly have you visiting a planet. Instead it's just all talk again. I guess at least I know what to expect from future returns now.

I can't help but get the impression that Bioware just wants to get these companion returns over and done with. Since whatever original plans they may have had to reintroduce the old companions during a longer story consisting of more chapters were shelved, they are now left with this annoying deficit in players' companion rosters that people just won't stop asking about. Regardless of whether it fits into their new story plans, they've got to get it out of the way somehow. Oh well, at least they are trying.

What follows will contain some spoilers for the individual return missions. Spoilers end again after the screenshot of Ashara!


Corso & Risha

The quest title "Unhappy Returns" seemed apt for this one, because I wasn't particularly happy with it. It probably didn't help that this was the first one I did, which meant that my expectations in terms of length were still higher.

It starts with you receiving a message from "Skavak" and your character following a little trail of call-backs to chapter one of your class story on Nar Shaddaa. That was nice by itself, but it seemed strange to me that my character entered the final room on high alert and with her weapon out - she knows that Skavak is dead, so who else could have been leading her on than one of her old crew mates?

Both Corso and Risha basically seem to have achieved nothing in the six years or so since you were forcefully separated from them. Risha's excuse is that Dubrillion was pretty much razed by the Eternal Empire so everyone stopped caring about it and she then continued leading a nondescript underworld life instead. I get that this was an exceptionally difficult companion arc to bring to a satisfying conclusion, but nonetheless this felt like a poor way of doing so to me. After all that she's gone through, Risha is willing to just give up on her heritage because the planet is in ruins? I didn't get the impression that she was in it only to get rich; I thought she cared about the position and the people too. I'm not going to say that this is out of character exactly, but it just didn't mesh with my image of her.

Meanwhile Corso has just been... tagging along and being Corso. Seriously, no further character development in six years? He may have been a bit of a dork, but he also used to have values, principles and goals. Again, it just strikes me as odd that he would have been happy spending six years tagging along with a woman who doesn't even particularly like him. Maybe there is more to either of these if you romanced Corso or Risha (which wasn't the case for my smuggler).


Andronikos

Hylo has captured a pirate that was harassing Eternal Fleet ships - and lo and behold, it turns out to be Andronikos, who claims that he's been doing this for all these years in search of your inquisitor.

I liked this one a bit more, maybe because my Sorcerer had romanced Andronikos. I genuinely had to think about rekindling the romance with him, as she had started a thing with Theron in the meantime. In the end I decided in his favour though because spending six years in search of her seemed like incredible loyality (something that a light-side inquisitor in particular would value), even if somewhat hard to believe in itself.

Ashara

You find Ashara meditating on Voss, where she tells you that she's intentionally spent the last few years away, doing good in her own name, and that she basically considers herself all grown up now. You can take her on "as an equal" or leave her.

Again, this one was actually interesting to me because I had to hesitate to make up my mind. I've ranted in the past about how I think Ashara has one of the stupidest acquisition stories of all companions, which potentially (depending on the exact path you take) makes her out to be a complete idiot. If I had been given the chance, none of my inquisitors would even have taken her on. However, once you have her... she's alright I guess. Still, telling her that she might as well continue to go her own way hardly seemed like a cruel rejection. And accepting her as an equal seemed a silly thing to do for the inquisitor of all people. I did go with that in the end however, figuring that my Sorc would probably be happy to add a more powerful Ashara to her Alliance army, while inwardly chuckling to herself about how the silly girl could ever consider herself an equal to a Force user of her level...


Of these three stories, I think I liked Ashara's best, even though she's my least favourite companion of the lot. I liked that she went her own way in a meaningful manner and actually had a compelling reason to stay away even after learning of the inquisitor's return and rise to power.

I suppose I'm biased as I'm coming at this from the point of view of someone who's engaged in few romances in this game. I get the impression that many who are very attached to their romanced companions want to see them come back and be all: "I've been looking for you forever, my life was nothing without you!" (which is kind of how Andronikos comes across), and I can definitely see the appeal. At the same time though, when I think about my own life, look back at any major event in it and then compare my life then to how it was six years later - things always turned out to be very different, with things having changed a lot and me having moved on. Now, not everyone works like that, and I can definitely see some companions getting hung up on their romance with the player character and being unable to let go, but if you didn't actually romance them it just makes them look like somewhat creepy stalkers. "We were barely even friends, why the hell didn't you just move on?" But I guess I'm probably in the minority with that attitude.

Knowing what's coming up, I'll have to work on finishing things up on my agent, bounty hunter and consular next!

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