Liam Kosta: How to Bounce Back

Liam is still getting a lot of hate from those who have played Mass Effect: Andromeda. I've made it no secret that he doesn't deserve the hate that he gets. Now I have to just flat out say it. Liam is my favorite Mass Effect squad mate. I don't mean in Andromeda, I mean in any Mass Effect game. Sorry Grunt, sorry Jak, sorry Garrus and sorry Tally. Liam is my favorite because over the course of the game he shows more character progression than any squad mate that isn't Wrex ever did. He's also not a bad person getting a pass for being Shepard's friend.

Before we look at Liam let's look at some squad members of the past. There's Wrex, I can't say anything bad about him. He's a squad member that went from battle hungry to exceptional leader of the Krogan. The problem is, he was only a squad member for one game. All of his character development was done off screen. Every time we saw him he had changed as a person but we'd never watched him change. The squad of Mass Effect 2 was fine, but they were all expendable. Outside of their loyalty missions we didn't learn anything about them. There was no time to get attached. We knew Thane was dying and he had a son? But that's it. Miranda has a sister, Jacob and his father have a rough relationship and Jak went to prison. We know Tali can't leave her suit in Mass Effect, then suddenly she's the equivalent of a princess.

Then there's Garrus. I won't lie, Garrus was one of my most used squad members, especially with that invincible Garrus build. If I had to put it bluntly he's a space racist, a sociopath and if it was for the commander he'd be an intergalactic menace. People are always quick to point out how racist Ashley was in Mass Effect 1, but nobody brings up how racist Garrus was in the whole trilogy. There's moments when he confronts Tali about how she can't leave her suit. He played a direct part in the Genophage. When he's left to his own devices in Mass Effect 2 he's just executing criminals secretly as Archangel because that's what he likes to do. But wait, they're not actual criminals, they're mercenaries, a legal job in the Mass Effect world. Yet Liam freaking out after being attacked by Kett the moment they land is out of line. He's not just shooting people he considers undesirables. Garrus is not a good individual, people like him because they've grown attached to him.

Now, let me tell you why Liam is great. He's the only character that evolves alongside yours. Liam lands on the planet, is instantly attacked and almost dies. He freaks out and after killing the Kett he fires a whole clip into the dead body before realizing the fight is over. Later he attempt to better relations between The Alliance and Angara, only for it to go wrong. Even if you choose to yell at him over the situation he still blames himself more than anyone else. Liam came to Andromeda because he thought it would be a new home and when he got there he was instantly attacked. That's not home and it shattered his expectations. The rest of the games he's going back and forth between trying to be happy go lucky Liam we meet in the med bay and distressed crying Liam. Some people have suspected he's either bipolar or suffering from PTSD. When there are theories like that out there, a great character has been written.

Liam is obsessed with trying to do everything he can. In the end he finally realizes there's nothing he can do as an individual. He organizes a movie night and a soccer game. He does what he can do and he finally feels some relief that he made a difference to just a handful of people. There's moments where he's tense and freezes up, but after the soccer game he finally relaxes and is back to normal. While we were focused on Ryder, Liam had an entire character arc in the background.

Think about it. Liam starts as an eager young recruit. After the first encounter with the Kett he suffers a mental breakdown. Following the meeting with Angara he bonds with Jaal in attempt to form some normalcy but everyone is suspicious of one another. This leads to him starting his own behind the scene operation. When that fails he feels hopeless because everything he's done has failed so far. Finally he organizes a soccer game and realizes that he doesn't have to do major things to make a difference. He specialized in disaster relief, and Andromeda was disaster for him.

There's been complaints that Liam is forced into being Ryder's best friend when that's just not true. Peebee gets more screen time than any other crew member even when she isn't chosen as a love interest. Peebee is who the game wants as your best friend, not Liam. If anything Liam is alternate view of what could be Ryder. While Ryder rises to the occasion, Liam crumbles under pressure. In the end they both overcome the odds, but Liam is what happens to most of the people from the Initiative. Nobody was prepared for this and he broke, but he found his way back.

Liam is not Ryder's best friend unless you choose to take him on every outing. Liam is not forced down your throat. Liam is not the worst crew member ever. Liam reigns as the undisputed best crew member in the Mass Effect Series. Most importantly he serves as an example of how to come back from the edge of insanity. Liam can be defined by the Big Sean lyrics "Last night I took an L but tonight I bounce back."

You can hear Darrell on the CP Time and Powerbomb Jutsu podcasts. He also plays classic arcade games on The Cabinet. You can also check out his playthrough of Sleeping Dogs or Skyrim
Liam Kosta: How to Bounce Back Liam Kosta: How to Bounce Back Reviewed by Blerds Online on Thursday, September 07, 2017 Rating: 5

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