A staple of most BioWare games are the romance options and paths you can choose from. Whenever a new game is announced from the developer, one of the things fans instantly think about are the potential romances players will get to experience. Mass Effect: Andromeda is BioWare’s fourth game in the Mass Effect series, but with a brand new story and a whole new cast of characters. Andromeda has very loose ties to the original trilogy and is meant to stand apart from it. The game’s sort of blank slate gives players the opportunity to follow the adventures of Pathfinder Ryder and his/her team as they travel the galaxy in search of a new home. Finding viable home worlds is a tall order, but no one ever said a little bit of romance couldn’t be on the table either. Andromeda has a number of romance options for a female/male Ryder to choose to cozy up to. My first playthrough of the video game led me to choose crisis response specialist for the Andromeda Initiative Liam Kosta as my Ryder’s love interest.
Liam is one of the first crew members to join your team, along with Cora Harper, at the start of Andromeda. Liam and Ryder are thrown together, quite literally, during their exploration of Habitat 7. Their first interactions are an adrenaline rush of being sucked out of their ship and crashing onto the strange and new planet the Initiative is trying to see if its habitable for settlement. Liam is right there with Ryder to help her navigate her first mission with the Pathfinder team and ultimately when her father, Alec Ryder, dies.
Throughout the course of the game, like any BioWare game, Ryder has the opportunity to interact with her new crew. Several chats with Liam, and some loyalty missions in between, reveals that Liam used to work in law enforcement back on the Milky Way, he comes from a loving family, and he’s a half-glass full type of guy. Liam is also a bit restless, stubborn, and an impulsive risk-taker. He’s the kind of guy that is never quite happy with the work or effort the Initiative is doing and always feels more can be done. While Liam’s drive to be helpful and actually care about the good of everyone involved, this can, at times, lead to dangerous and dumb decisions that can put someone’s life in jeopardy. For instance, Liam gets frustrated when he’s trying to foster friendly relations with the angarans, but the Initiative either doesn’t want to make much of an effort to get the angarans to feel more at ease with the Initiative or the angarans don’t want to talk to him because he’s an untrustworthy outsider to them. This leads to him making a connection with one angaran willing to work with him named Verand. After giving some information about the Nexus, this leads to Verand’s capture and triggers the rescue mission to retrieve her in Liam’s loyalty mission “All In.”
Liam is a person who has his heart in the right place and is eager to help, to make the world a better place, but he does it without really thinking things through. As one Reddit user has said about Liam, “he’s like the guy who has everything all sorted and mapped out in his head, but sucks at executing it.” That sums up Liam right there, as far as his personal flaws go. Despite his shortcomings, Liam does have good qualities too. He’s outgoing, laid back, thoughtful, and naturally curious about learning things he doesn’t know or understand. Taking Liam and Jaal on missions outside of the Tempest, for example, will trigger a number of funny and insightful banter between these two. Liam is genuinely interested in knowing more about angaran culture and what their lives are like. I feel like Liam and Jaal build an easy and natural rapport from the start, even though Jaal takes some time to warm up to Ryder and the other crew. Liam has all the qualities of a love interest you’ll want to push past the “friend zone” with, except I found his whole romance path very vanilla and lacking.
The tepid reaction I got out of Liam’s romance path isn’t unlike how Kaidan Alenko’s romance starts out in the first Mass Effect. I wasn’t in love with Kaidan either when I decided to romance him in the original trilogy. However, Kaidan’s romance has the advantage of further developing his character and romance path with two more games. If it wasn’t for Mass Effect getting three games to round out the Commander Shepard story, Kaidan would have been a really forgettable BioWare love interest. Romancing Liam mostly felt like I was only scratching the surface of who he is and not really getting to the heart of his character. I also feel like there’s no slow build up to Liam’s romance either.
If female Ryder decides to start something with Liam and you talk to him enough, a scene gets triggered where there’s an implied one night stand that happens between the two. The player can decide to leave it as a one time thing or admit to wanting something serious to happen. I read that if you leave it as a one night stand, Liam will be cool with it and the both of you go on your merry way to focus on the work you’re joined together to do. If you have Ryder express that it’s more than just a one time romp between the sheets, then Liam is more than willing to continue a relationship with your Pathfinder and see where it goes. For some reason, the start of the romance with Liam happened way too fast. It’s a bit laughable when Liam suggests to your Ryder that they’ll go slow once you establish that you want to be in a relationship with him. For this reason, I found it difficult to take my Ryder’s relationship with Liam too seriously. Liam may be a laid back, “doesn’t sweat the small stuff” type of guy, but it makes me question if he’s really in the right head space to be in a relationship. Interacting with Liam for much of the game, especially when you’re locked into a romance with him, felt like Ryder and Liam were more best beer buddies than lovers. The few kissing scenes Ryder and Liam had were also very cringe worthy because of the awkward animation. Not so great if you’re trying to sell a romance to a player, and it did more to kind of feel less invested in their relationship. I think if a relationship like this one happened in real life, I doubt the romance would last too long. If I’m being completely realistic and honest, Ryder and Liam would have broken up sooner rather than later.
Despite not really feeling moved by Liam’s romance path at all compared to past BioWare romances I’ve experienced, Liam does have some nice romantic moments in the game. One that stands out is Liam’s surprise to Ryder. He modifies their jump jets, so when they take a leap off of a high cliff and are flying around for a bit, Ryder looks up and sees that they’ve made a sky heart once the two of them touch the ground. There’s also some fun banter moments Liam can have with other crew members about the intimate relationship he has with Ryder. When I took Liam and Drack out on a mission, Drack asks Liam how he and Ryder can get down to business in private when Ryder has SAM always close by. I forget exactly how Liam responds, but it’s something along the lines of SAM knows not to interrupt those kinds of moments between them. I had to giggle at banter like this one. BioWare is still at its best when they include really human moments like this one.
Liam’s romance path, as it stands, leaves a lot to be desired. I think if Andromeda became a trilogy, like the original Mass Effect series, there’s a chance Liam’s development can change my impression of him. Otherwise, Liam feels too underdeveloped and there isn’t much about his romance with Ryder that really made me care for it in the end. I really wanted to like Liam as a love interest, but it just wasn’t there. The next time I replay Andromeda, I’m opting for Jaal and keeping Liam firmly as Ryder’s beer buddy instead.