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Mass Effect: Andromeda - Review Thread

Game Information

Game Title: Mass Effect: Andromeda
Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Media: E3 2014 Mass Effect (Untitled) Teaser
E3 2015 Announce Trailer | EA Play 2016 Video
N7 Day 2015 Video | N7 Day 2016 Cinematic Reveal Trailer
4K Tech Video | 4K Gameplay Trailer
'Join the Andromeda Initiative'
Cinematic Trailer #2
Combat Weapons & Skills | Combat Profiles & Squads
Exploration & Discovery | Multiplayer
Scott Ryder Launch Trailer
Natalie Dormer
Sara Ryder Launch Trailer
Developer: BioWare Montreal Info
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: NA - March 21 2017
EU - March 23 2017
More Info: /masseffect | Wikipedia Page
Review Aggregator: OpenCritic - 72 [Cross-Platform] Score Distribution
MetaCritic - 70 [PS4]
MetaCritic - 77 [XB1]
MetaCritic - 73 [PC]
Arbitrary compilation of BioWare games -
Entry Score (Platform, Year, # of Critics)
Baldur's Gate 91 (PC, 1998, 16 critics)
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn 95 (PC, 2000, 30 critics)
Neverwinter Nights 91 (PC, 2002, 34 critics)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 93 (PC, 2003, 33 critics)
Jade Empire 89 (XB, 2005, 84 critics)
Mass Effect 89 (X360, 2007, 74 critics)
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood 74 (DS, 2008, 55 critics)
Dragon Age: Origins 91 (PC, 2009, 67 critics)
Mass Effect 2 96 (X360, 2010, 98 critics)
Dragon Age 2 79 (X360, 2011, 75 critics)
Star Wars: The Old Republic 85 (PC, 2011, 73 critics)
Mass Effect 3 93 (X360, 2012, 74 critics)
Dragon Age: Inquisition 85 (PC, 2014, 45 critics)


Attack of the Fanboy - Kyle Hanson - 4 / 5 stars (PC)
Mass Effect: Andromeda fails to deliver a compelling plot and the journey to a whole new galaxy offers little that's new or exciting. Still, it does give you the same quality gameplay the series is known for and you'll enjoy your time with your new crew, even if they're no replacement for the originals.
CGMagazine - Chris Carter - 7 / 10 (XB1)
At times, Mass Effect: Andromeda can feel like an expansion and not a true follow-up.
COGconnected - Paul Sullivan - 88 / 100 (PS4)
The fantastic combat and strong story points far outweigh the technical missteps and more cringeworthy moments.
Destructoid - Brett Makedonski - 6.5 / 10 (XB1)
Mass Effect: Andromeda spends a lot of time not really feeling like a Mass Effect game. If anything, it feels like a spin-off -- the sort of thing created by another studio that's unsure about what direction to take it. Like in the game itself, there are problems with the atmosphere. But Andromeda is very clear that it doesn't aim to be like the other Mass Effects. New beginnings, not funerals -- for better and for worse.
GameSpot - Scott Butterworth - 6 / 10 (PS4)
In many ways, Andromeda feels like a vision half-fulfilled. It contains a dizzying amount of content, but the quality fluctuates wildly. Its worlds and combat shine, but its writing and missions falter--and the relative strength of the former is not enough to compensate for the inescapable weakness of the latter. As a Mass Effect game, Andromeda falls well short of the nuanced politics, morality, and storytelling of its predecessors. For me, the series has always been about compelling characters and harrowing choices, so to find such weak writing here is bitterly disappointing. Yet even after 65 hours, I still plan on completing a few more quests. The game can't escape its shortcomings, but patient explorers can still find a few stars shining in the darkness.
GamesRadar+ - Andy Hartup - 3.5 / 5 stars
Andromeda provides an interesting premise and story, but is let down by poor combat, excessive padding, and over-complication
Gaming Nexus - Kinsey Danzis - 8.8 / 10 (XB1)
Mass Effect: Andromeda doesn’t quite live up to the hype, but it comes close. Considering the situation in which the developers found themselves, they put out an addition to the franchise that really feels like returning home even though you’re millions of light years from Earth. With stunning scenery, a distinct Mass Effect feel, and an abundance of things to do, it’s a worthy investment for any Mass Effect veteran or newcomer—but don’t expect it to be perfect.
Hardcore Gamer - Adam Beck - 3.5 / 5 (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is an unbalanced experience.
PC Gamer - Chris Thursten - 80 / 100 (PC)
Marred by inconsistency and in need of a polish pass, this vast new sci-fi frontier nonetheless rewards dedicated exploration.
PlayStation Universe - Kyle Prahl - 8 / 10 (PS4)
Andromeda’s first adventure is plagued by frustrations. But memorable characters, a satisfying story, and deep RPG systems ultimately win the day.
Press Start - James Mitchell - 9 / 10 (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda manages to successfully bring back the sense of exploration and discovery that fans have longed for since the original Mass Effect, whilst honing and improving the already enjoyable combat mechanics of Mass Effect 3. The result is something truly special – a metaphorical slow burn, a hybrid that is sure to appeal to fans of both the original game and its flashier sequels. Despite this, Andromeda is hampered slightly by its lack of visual polish and presentation, which can kill the wonder and fantasy as quickly as it builds it.
USgamer - Kat Bailey - 3 / 5 stars (PS4)
Mass Effect Andromeda falls short of its predecessors, but it's still a competently executed open-world action RPG with an interesting world and tons of quests to complete. Its biggest shame is that it doesn't make better use of its setting, opting instead to go with more of the same. Hopefully BioWare will be more ambitious when it comes time for the inevitable sequel.
Xbox Achievements - Richard Walker - 80% (XB1)
You might initially turn your nose up at Mass Effect: Andromeda, but stick with it and you'll be richly rewarded with a vast space opera that gets better and better. It has problems, but they pale into insignificance once you're swept up in the exploits of Mass Effect: Andromeda's Pathfinder.
Stevivor - Steve Wright - 9.5 / 10 (XB1)
Savour the experience, boys and girls, and delight in carefully-placed groundwork that will ensure more adventures to come… and hopefully more for your twin to do.
Eurogamer - Edwin Evans-Thirlwell - Unscored (PS4)
It's gripping stuff, and a reminder of the greatness of the Mass Effect trilogy - its intelligent reworkings of pulp sci-fi cliche, the taut splendour of its scenarios and aesthetic, the colour and dexterity of its writing. All that's still in here somewhere, I think. But then you pop out the other end of the mission, back into Andromeda's labyrinth of drudgery and obfuscation, and remember that you're a long way from home.
GamingTrend - Travis Northup - 80 / 100 (XB1)
Mass Effect Andromeda is a return to the original Mass Effect game in ways both good and bad. Interesting characters, solid gameplay and RPG mechanics, and the revival of the open-world elements of the series will immerse and delight longtime fans. However, wooden characters, a light story, and plenty of glitches hold this title back from fulfilling its full potential.
MMORPG.com - Catherine Daro - 8.7 / 10
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a very solid game. BioWare had obviously taken their lessons both from original Mass Effect trilogy as well as Dragon Age series and mixed it with fair dose of experience of other AAA titles of late. It is not Inquisition in space, although the influence of it is clearly seen.
RPG Fan - Derek Heemsbergen - 78% (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda presents plenty of great ideas, but these tend to be either aped too closely from its predecessors or buried under issues that are surmountable yet frustrating all the same.
Metro GameCentral - GameCentral - 6 / 10 (PS4)
What could have been an all-time classic action role-player is let down by a surprisingly poor script and unengaging characters.
TheSixthAxis - Dominic Leighton - 8 / 10 (PS4, PC)
I found it hard to be excited during the opening hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda. It feels too safe, too much like what’s gone before, but then it clicks. There’s a moment where the galaxy opens up and you find yourself embarking once more on a huge mission across compelling, beautifully constructed planets, surrounded by memorable characters. Sadly the glut of technical missteps serve to cheapen proceedings, but this is still an adventure you don’t want to miss out on.
PlayStation LifeStyle - Keri Honea - 6.5 / 10 (PS4)
With the vast love of the Mass Effect series, Andromeda was never going to make people 100% happy, the same way the ME3 ending didn’t make people happy. The BioWare team put so many great things in place, but the main story, the characters, and most of the writing keep the game from being great. Sadly, technical mess keeps it from being good.
Shacknews - Brittany Vincent - 6 / 10 (PC)
Unfortunately, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a frustrating mess of bad design decisions, bugs, glitches, and narrative missteps. It could have been so much more, but it ends up falling flat on its face. While there are things to enjoy about it, they're few and far between -- your time is much better served replaying the original trilogy or exploring the widely available mods out there. You'll end up being much more fulfilled and feeling as though you've used your time in a productive manner.
Polygon - Arthur Gies - 7.5 / 10 (PS4, XB1)
But it’s my time with the cast that I’m still thinking about, and the mysteries about the world that haven’t been answered that make me feel like I’m waiting once again for a new Mass Effect game. And if I’m judging a game by where it leaves me, Andromeda succeeds, even if it stumbled getting there.
Ars Technica - Lee Hutchinson - Early Review (PC)
If you are a die-hard Mass Effect fan who has a personal Shepard head-cannon, Andromeda is an insta-buy, no questions asked. It's the first Mass Effect game we've gotten in five years and potentially the starting point for a new series. It has many of the same traits that made the original Mass Effect trilogy great, and it feels right. If you’re not a die-hard Mass Effect fan, watch some YouTube videos first to make sure the game will be for you.
Post Arcade (National Post) - Chad Sapieha - 8.5 / 10 (PS4)
But for each hour I spent participating in humdrum combat I spent at least two or three engaged in thought provoking conversation or exploring strange new environments, learning more and more about the fascinatingly complex web of worlds, people, and problems that BioWare’s writers have woven. That’s why I play Mass Effect games. And it’s why Mass Effect: Andromeda, like its predecessors, is a blissfully easy recommendation for anyone looking for more than just another run-of-the-mill shoot ’em up set in space.
RPG Site - Andrea Shearon - 7 / 10 (PS4, PC)
Ryder’s tale feels like a solid beginning to something new. It needs more than a little polish, and probably some extensive work under the hood, but Andromeda has reassured me Mass Effect can exist without the Citadel, Earth, Shepard or even Ryder. This new galaxy left me with more questions than answers, but I’m okay with that. I hope another entry to the series means more exploration into every corner of humanity’s new home.
AngryCentaurGaming - Jeremy Penter - Rent (PC)
This is actually a 'Rent' or 'Deep, Deep Sale' on PC. The game has enough issues that right now there is no way I feel comfortable telling people to run out and get it. Because sure it can offer 60 hours, but I can flick my nuts for 60 hours, but it doesn't mean I want to.
IGN - Dan Stapleton - 7.7 / 10 (XB1, PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda only occasionally recaptures the series' brilliance, but delivers a vast and fun action-RPG.
Forbes - Paul Tassi - 8.5 / 10 (PS4)
I have a feeling that Mass Effect fans will enjoy the game, but I don't think anyone will claim it outclasses the original trilogy, outside of maybe the very first game. If you could combine the story and memorable quests of the originals with the combat, visuals and scope of Andromeda, you would have the perfect video game, though I think what's offered here will satisfy most.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - John Walker - Unscored (PC)
As a follow-up to the previous trilogy, it's a timid and tepid tale too heavily reliant on what came before, too unambitious for what could have been, trapped in a gargantuan playground of bits and pieces to do.
Digital Trends - Phil Hornshaw - 2.5 / 5 stars (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda often comes off like a giant checklist of Mass Effect–themed content, but what it's missing is the wonder and excitement that made the last Mass Effect games feel special. The previous games had their issues, but combined their elements to create a vast, interesting world full of deep characters with conflicting desires and experiences that made us feel connected to it.
Critical Hit - Geoffrey Tim - 8 / 10 (PS4)
Mass Effect Andromeda is a fresh start – but in borrowing liberally from the first game it’s made many of the same mistakes. In spite of them, it’s an exciting space adventure that delivers everything that’s become important to Mass Effect: Great characters, fun exploration and a climactic tale of good vs evil.
Game Revolution - Aron Garst - 3.5 / 5 stars (PS4)
Although familiar in some regards, this is a positive in Andromeda’s case. Though, a truly successful revival needs to be innovative, not repetitive, and Andromeda often falls into a trap of tedium. It's a shame because it could have been so much more.
Fenix Bazaar - Gaetano Prestia - 8 / 10 (XB1)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is an important first step for a franchise looking to enter into a new generation. It might get off on the wrong foot, but some crafty navigation quickly gets it back on track.
Video Game Sophistry - 6 / 10 (PS4)
Ultimately, there is a lot of fun to be had here. There are moments here that matter, but this game requires that confluence of idea to really shine, it needs a thesis. Great art needs to tell a story in it, and subjectively if you found something beautiful in this I understand, but there is objectively some problems with this masterpiece that make me want to go back to the Milky Way galaxy, find my crew, and never go to Andromeda.
God is a Geek - Chris White - 8.5 / 10 (PS4)
A welcome return to Bioware’s space opera, introducing great characters, an interesting story and some fantastic designs, always providing things to do.
Areajugones - Antonio Vallejo.T - Spanish - 9 / 10 (PC)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a great project by BioWare and it is a stunning experience. Amazing narrative and plot, a true feeling of exploration and a very dynamic combat system. Even though its animations may not be the best ones, this game offers hours and hours of action and entertainment.
Arcade Sushi - Luke Brown - 7 / 10 (XB1)
Bioware brought a lot more planets, combat, exploration and mechanics to the table this time around, but more isn't always better. There may be no stronger case for keeping things simple than Mass Effect Andromeda.
IGN Spain - José L. Ortega - Spanish - 8.5 / 10 (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a great game, but far from being perfect. It will satisfy the expectations of the fans but fails on delivering a master piece with errors in almost every aspect of the game.
GameInformer - Joe Juba - 8 / 10 (PS4)
When taken as its own journey (and not in comparison to Shepard’s saga), Mass Effect: Andromeda is fun, and the important parts work. The narrative isn’t astounding, but keeps you invested and drives you forward. The combat is entertaining whether you're in single-player or multiplayer. The crew isn't my favorite, but I like them and they have some good moments. Even with its other problems, these are the largest forces shaping your experience with Mass Effect: Andromeda, and they make it worth playing. At the same time, I was often left looking through a haze of inconveniences and dreaming about the game it could have been.
GameMAG - xtr - Russian - 7 / 10 (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda has many noticeable problems, including strange animation, ugly characters, logically incomplete quests and numerous minor flaws. But this game offers an interesting main plot, nice RPG system and a huge world where you can explore different planets, solve puzzles, fight giant monsters, uncover secrets of the universe and participate in the colonization of deep space. Of course, this is not the Mass Effect we wanted, but a very large and interesting game, which significantly extends the known universe.
GamesBeat - Jeff Grubb - 55 / 100 (PC)
Games have to fit into our lives, and that's not always fair. Mass Effect: Andromeda might've worked a decade ago on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but it doesn't work in a world that is delivering games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In this reality, BioWare's latest role-playing game is old, broken, and often boring.
Worst of all, it's going to disappoint fans of the Mass Effect series.
GamePro - Rae Grimm - German - 87 / 100 (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a gigantic Sci-Fi epic and brave restart for the series, that doesn't reach the magic of its predecessors.
M3 - Niklas Alicki - Swedish - 5 / 10 (XB1)
Bioware's highly anticipated space adventure sadly fails to deliver on some critical points. Wonky animations, a boring set of characters and so-so story elements have officially de-railed the hype train for Mass Effect: Andromeda.
GamePlanet - Matt Maguire - 8 / 10 (XB1)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a paradox: it's both disappointing and excellent. A mammoth title, it delivers tons of great content, but hamstrings itself with a poor first few hours, a few horrible systems, and some uninspired scenarios. Even so, it's pretty great!
IGN Italy - Francesco Destri - Italian - 7.8 / 10 (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is disappointing in many aspects (not just the visual ones), even if sci-fi mood, exploration, crafting and multiplayer are well done.
GameSpace - Suzie Ford - 8.5 / 10 (PC)
Whether it’s the combat system that is both new and familiar or multiplayer with its improvements or the interesting variety of quests or the epic score that screams Mass Effect, it all gels together into a whole. Ryder’s galaxy is as well-suited to her as the Milky Way was for Shepard. If we’re lucky, there are a lot more adventures in store for Ryder and her crew.
LevelUp - Luis Sánchez - 7.5 / 10 (PC)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a game that forgot how to be a Mass Effect game. While it fails to deliver a compelling narrative and has little to offer, It’s the combat and planetary exploration the element that holds together this contrasting experience. The result is a game drifting away in the open and cold space.
DualShockers - Giuseppe Nelva - 7.5 / 10 (PS4)
Perhaps Mass Effect Andromeda will serve as a wake-up call for BioWare, letting them realize that it’s time to evolve beyond the change of setting and cast. In the meanwhile, we’re still given a game that might not be the monumental fresh start that the masses expected, but is still a quite solid experience than many will enjoy.
Atomix - Alberto Desfassiaux - Spanish - 85 / 100 (PS4)
Despite its problems with the facial animations, Mass Effect Andromeda is a great entry of one of the must beloved franchises of all time. Great side quests, a compiling story, memorable characters, a solid combat system, decisions that matters and a deep atmosphere, makes this game a must have to every SciFi fan.
GamingBolt - Rashid Sayed - 8 / 10 (PS4)
Despite its vague links to the trilogy, Mass Effect: Andromeda can largely be described as a soft reboot for the series. For the most part, this has worked out really well for Bioware, giving them a launching pad to take the story ahead in future installments. The game is not without its problems, but the wealth of content on offer here will suck you right into the experience.
We Got This Covered - Edward Love - 3.5 / 5 stars (PS4)
Good? Yes. Great? No. This new Mass Effect is full of stuff to do, but it's a game that's been designed by consensus, not conviction.
PCMag - Gabriel Zamora - 3.5 / 5 stars (PC)
Despite its rougher edges, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a fine third-person shooter that features terrific space exploration. If you can overlook the clunky menus and graphics issues, you're in for some fun space hijinks.
Kotaku - Patricia Hernandez - Unscored (PS4)
Nobody anticipated how much work building a new home would really take, and in a way, the entire game is about mitigating everyone’s disappointment. The truth is that Andromeda itself isn’t the promised land players hoped for either, but there is a lot that’s good in this flawed new frontier for Mass Effect. The question is: will you play long enough to find it?
Generación Xbox - Felipe Ubierna - 9.2 / 10 (XB1)
After 5 long years of waiting, Mass Effect returns in a big way with a new title that meet our expectations. A more polished combat system, good RPG elements, an intriguing plot and a high level secondary missions that lay the foundations of this new story. It does not reach the perfection, but it is one of the best games that we have been able to play this generation.
GamePlanet - Chris Brown - 7 / 10 (PC)
Judged purely on its own merits, Mass Effect: Andromeda is a good game. But this is BioWare, and Mass Effect being merely good feels like a failure. It's a little clumsy in places, and daft in others, but I found it mostly endearing despite these quirks.
Oyungezer Online - Utku Çakır - Turkish - 5 / 10 (PC)
Mass Effect Andromeda is a souless and a poor game that gets overwhelmed by the success of its predecessor. It's bug filled gameplay, non-inspired storytelling and horrible animation quality makes it one of the the biggest disappointments of all time. Will we ever see a new Mass Effect game? To be honest I couldn't care less after Andromeda.
Cheat Code Central - Lucas White - 3 / 5 (PS4)
There's a decent game in here somewhere, but Mass Effect: Andromeda feels like a collaboration from Mass Effect fans rather than a group of known and established developers.
GameSkinny - Synzer - 9 / 10 stars (XB1)
The negativity around the game baffles me, because I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience with it. I guess that's why they're called opinions. If you are a fan of Mass Effect, RPGs, or open-world games, this is one to pick up.
Push Square - Robert Ramsey - 6 / 10 (PS4)
Mass Effect deserves better than Andromeda. The series has stumbled into a new generation, weighed down by tedious open world tropes and a catalogue of performance issues on the PS4. That said, it's not quite the disaster that some would have you believe. There really is a good Mass Effect game here, complete with endearing characters and great combat, but it's buried beneath a mountain of unnecessary clutter. In time, patches may sort many of its problems out, but until then, we can only recommend Andromeda to the BioWare faithful.
PCGamesN - Kirk McKeand - 8 / 10 (PC)
If you look at it as a reboot, a starting point for the series, there's lots of promise in that future. The first Mass Effect had countless problems, far more than here, but that will always be remembered as a classic, despite leaving similar threads hanging. Ultimately, this is a story about laying the foundations of a civilization, and it feels like BioWare were doing the same for the future of the franchise. In that way, these RPG developers have become Pathfinders themselves.
GameCrate - Nicholas Scibetta - 7.4 / 10 (PC)
Mass Effect: Andromeda manages to feel both overloaded with content and spread too thin. There are great battles to be won, puzzles to solve, and satisfying social interactions, but they're hidden behind layers of presentation problems and tedious travel times.
SA Gamer - Garth Holden - 8 / 10 (XB1)
Get ready for a whole new galaxy and more problems than you can shake a soap opera at.
EGM - Ray Carsillo - 6 / 10 (XB1)
There is a strong core of characters and story bedrock laid down in Mass Effect: Andromeda, but between questionable design choices, boring missions, and glitches galore, it’s hard not to view BioWare’s journey to a brand new galaxy as anything less than mission failure.
NZGamer - Keith Milburn - 7 / 10 (PC)
Exhilarating combat, marred by awkward interactions and pervasive bugs.
Guardian - Jordan Erica Webber - 3 / 5 stars
Problems are inevitable in a game of such epic proportions but there is a lot here that will make you want to keep playing
GBATemp - Austin Trujillo - 5.9 / 10 (PC)
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In Andromeda, I was beholden to beautiful environments and robust gameplay, yet marred by inhuman animations and a story more loose than spare change in a long woolen sock. Andromeda is a galaxy of empty promises and one I could not find enjoyment in.
The Escapist - Ron Whitaker - 3.5 / 5 stars (PC)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is a game that takes few risks and pushes few boundaries. It's a Mass Effect game designed to make fans of the series feel at home, but technical issues and lackluster writing leave it feeling like a missed opportunity to regain the prestige the franchise once enjoyed.
Azralynn - Azralynn - 79 / 100 | Written (PC)
Andromeda builds on most of the things I liked in the earlier Mass Effect games and exceeds at creating more satisfying gameplay mechanics. It's a real shame that the game didn't get more polish in the character animation department, but if you can look past all these issues there's still plenty of fun to be had with it.
VGChartz - Brandon J. Wysocki - Unscored (XB1)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is like a good book that you don’t want to put down, nor do you want it to end. The litany of complaints and problems are little typos or creases in the pages. You’d be hard pressed to miss them, but you gladly look past them to continue the stellar experience.
Cerealkillerz - Gabriel Bogdan - German - 7.5 / 10 (PS4)
Mass Effect: Andromeda is an action-packed parody of the previous titles. Besides countless technical issues it feels like the developers really don't know where to take the series. If you're looking for a thrilling story or thoughtful dialogues, you'll probably be disappointed. Action-Fans will still get some carefully thought out Gameplay-mechanics and a fun multiplayer-part.
Worth Playing - Chris "Atom" DeAngelus - 7 / 10 (PS4)
At the end of the day, Mass Effect: Andromeda isn't bad so much as it is disappointing. The core gameplay has been improved from Mass Effect 3, and the multiplayer is almost worth the price of admission on its own. Alas, it's dragged down by a weak presentation, poor plot, and a general lack of ambition.
Gamerheadquarters - Jason Stettner - 7 / 10 (XB1)
I look forward to the next entry, but there are steps needed to bring Mass Effect back to its proper form.
ZTGD - Ken McKown - 8 / 10 (XB1)
Mass Effect Andromeda is a great game with some serious side effects.
IBTimes UK - Holly Nielsen - 3 / 5 stars (XB1)
To the credit of BioWare, despite Andromeda's many flaws I still wanted to visit the planets with my teammates, to progress and colonise new worlds. It is a solid game, but one with issues that appear worse than they are due to high expectations the developers have earned from a stellar history of better RPGs. Would I be thrilled about the prospect of another game set in the Andromeda galaxy? Probably not. However, if future games can push past the familiar and embrace ideas of the "unknown" that Andromeda aspires to, but never realises, then I do think the series still has something to offer.
Game Rant - Denny Connolly - 4 / 5 stars (XB1)
Mass Effect: Andromeda starts out just a bit too slow, but is sure win over fans of sci-fi action RPGs once the real open-world space exploration begins.
Gadgets 360 - Pranay Parab - 8 / 10 (PS4)
There are several annoyances with the game, but, overall, BioWare has delivered yet another stellar role-playing experience with a fascinating story to boot.
TotalBiscuit - John Bain - Unscored | Multiplayer (PC)
Pause Resume - Craig Shields - 3 / 5 (PS4)
Andromeda isn’t the return to form for Mass Effect that we were hoping for. Its issues are obvious from the opening few hours and if you can manage to accept them, Andromeda is capable of providing an interesting and combat heavy RPG.
Use A Potion - Daryl Leach - 8 / 10 (PS4)
I have no doubt that it’ll probably be one of the most divisive titles released this generation, but for me it certainly delivered on its promise of providing a compelling, action-packed adventure.
Brash Games - DjMMT - 8 / 10 (PS4)
It is not the best the franchise has to offer but it’s definitely a great start to a whole new trilogy and I highly recommend it to both veteran players and those who have never played Mass Effect before.
GameSpew - Richard Seagrave - 7 / 10 (XB1)
Once you get over the fact that it’s not quite as polished as its predecessors nor does it further the series in any meaningful way though, you can still appreciate what it is: a Mass Effect game through and through.
Giant Bomb - Brad Shoemaker - 2 / 5 stars (PS4)
Andromeda largely feels like a shoddily assembled facsimile of the previous Mass Effect games.
Thanks OpenCritic for the review formatting help!
submitted by ninjyte to Games


In honor of Chernobyl's Nominations and Awards - Part 1

u/ppitm has done some annotation of Chernobyl's script, referring to it as masterful but flawed in that the show's scrupulous use of available sources to English-speakers had misled it. I call it a mangled train wreck that is like leaking intestines twisted and folded like a pretzel several times over. Scores injured, one fatality - the truth. The show's primary problem wasn't that key sources were unavailable to it, it was that the top source on the topic, written by experts and intended to be rather comprehensive on the matter of what happened, available in English was demonstrably not understood if at all actually read. Consequently misleading pro-Soviet interest claims - it was in the Soviet interest for operators to shoulder the blame - often tracing back to Chernobyl's aftermath and in instances just plain nonsense escaped critical attention and were presented as truth.
I'll be using the script for episode 5.
Even a planned Soviet city can look beautiful on a day like this. Alive. Someone's dream of home...
At the risk of starting on the wrong foot, one day God pulled his pants down, squatted over what is now New York City and took an average-looking large dump with some relatively bright advertisements on it. Irresistibly inspiring it has been reproduced in miniature facsimile countless times by those who eat its famous pizza that is at the place in the food pyramid where the dead pharaoh lies. Yet it's someone's greatest city on Earth, because they live in it or want it to be.
The bigger point is this statement is an indication of an amateur mistake - being led by basic stereotypes. "Even a planned Soviet city can look beautiful on a day like this", meanwhile Bryukhanov was well on his way to planting a rosebush for every man, woman, and child in the city. Stereotypes are perfectly understandable and no one is above them, but as we are going to see the information prominently available makes them untenable here. Craig Mazin mistakenly portrays scientists as puppy-eyed nerds whose modest lives dedicated to knowledge render them pure, blames the KGB for overriding the scientific community on nuclear safety, portrays plant bosses as crass promotion seekers with dubious aptitude, and Dyatlov specifically as hellbent and incompetent.
APRIL 25, 1986 2:00 PM
FOMIN sits patiently across from Bryukhanov's desk. DYATLOV sits in the other guest seat. Glances at Fomin. Casually disdainful of him. Silence.
Then, finally:
I hear they might promote Bryukhanov. This little problem we have with the safety test? If it's completed successfully... yes, I think a promotion is very likely. Who knows, maybe Moscow.
Dyatlov's eyes narrow.
Naturally they'll put me in charge once he's gone. And then I'll need someone to take my old job. I could pick Sitnikov...
It takes a moment for Dyatlov to swallow his pride. Then:
I would like to be considered.
Craig Mazin has said that he regrets Adam Higginbotham's Midnight in Chernobyl came out too late for him to use so it's very unfair to use it against him but on this one occasion (along with the rosebushes) I will as INSAG-7 doesn't address an allegation like this. Pages 22-23:
By the spring of 1986, Chernobyl was, officially, one of the best-performing nuclear stations in the Soviet Union, and the word was that Brukhanov's loyalty to the Party would soon be rewarded. According to the results of the latest Five-Year Plan, the plant was due to receive the state's highest honor: the Order of Lenin. The staff would win a financial bonus, and Brukhanov would be awarded the star of the Hero of Socialist Labor. At the Ministry of Energy, the decision had already been taken to promote Brukhanov to Moscow, and Fomin would take his place as plant director. The news would be announced on the May 1 holiday, with a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
Brukhanov had also raised Pripyat from nothing, creating a beautiful model town cherished by its citizens. And despite the appointment of a city council, almost every decision about the atomgrad - no matter how trivial - remained subject to his approval. From the outset, the architects had called for the city to be populated with a lush variety of trees and shrubs - birch, elm, and horse chestnut; jasmine, lilac, and barberry. But Brukhanov was especially fond of flowers and ordered them planted everywhere.
The safety test does indeed seem to have been a little problem. So little, apparently, that on page 84:
Simulating the effects of a total power blackout on a single unit of the Chernobyl power plant was a deceptively simple process, and many in the control room mistakenly regarded the rundown test as a matter mostly for electricians. The reactor's role seemed almost incidental. The test program closely duplicated one conducted on Unit Three in 1984 - which, although it failed to produce the desired results and keep the circulation pumps running, had nonetheless concluded without incident. Nikolai Fomin, the chief engineer, had ordered that test himself and without clearance from above and saw no reason to behave differently this time. He did not notify the State Committee for Nuclear Safety, NIKIET, or the specialists at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow of his plans. He didn't even bother to tell Director Brukhanov that the test was taking place.
If anything they ruined their promotions and Brukhanov may have been unaware the test was taking place, lol.
Time to turn to INSAG-7, pages 51-52:
The Commission considers that it is wrong to regard these testing programmes as purely electrical ones, since they involve a change in the electricity supply to the unit's essential systems and require interference in the protection and blocking system. Such tests should be classified as complex unit tests and should be approved by the General Designer, the Chief Design Engineer, the Scientific Manager and the regulatory body. However, regulations NSR-04-74 and GSP-82, which were in force at the time of the accident, did not require the plant managers to obtain approval for such tests from the aforementioned organizations.
The main idea of the programme is to test the design basis conditions as realistically as possible and there is nothing wrong with the programme itself. In the light of contemporary approaches to the development of testing programmes for conducting similar tests at nuclear power plants, the programme documentation in question is not entirely satisfactory, primarily in terms of its safety measures. However, the operating documentation as a whole (regulations and instructions), together with the programme in question, provided sufficient basis for the safe testing of the planned operating conditions. The causes of the accident lie not in the programme as such, but in the ignorance on the part of the programme developers of the characteristics of the behaviour of the RBMK-1000 reactor under the planned operating conditions.
The problem was that this ignorance of the de facto operators of the reactor was not a product of their own incompetence - you learn and behave according to what is available to you, it was not up to them to determine the knowledge basis of the whole field and write general operational procedures accordingly. That is the area of high level institutes and scientists. Local engineers just had to write and execute a program in accordance to available rules and understanding handed down. The test was mandated, but the program was left to them. The fact that they were writing the program themselves becomes important in understanding why the target power value was 700 MW and why operators would deviate from it.
Next in the script we have Legasov entering the picture with the KGB chief. There is considerable evidence that prior to Chernobyl Legasov was not at all the prudent saint he is portrayed as. I'll see where I'll end up fitting this if at all here. Ironically his sauciness overlaps with some of the nonsense his character says in episode five. First as he's pleading with the KGB chief who is remarkably maligned by Craig Mazin's writing, which on this astonishing fact alone deserves Emmy consideration:
And these rewards are not yours yet. First, your testimony at the trial.
Comrade Charkov, I understand my duty to the State-- but you gave us assurances. You said the reactors would be made safe. It's been months. There have been no changes made, no changes even discussed...
First, the trial. Once it's over, we will have our villains, we will have our hero... we will have our truth.
After that, we can deal with the reactors.
INSAG-7 page 49:
The Commission considers that the negative properties of this type of reactor are likely to predetermine the inevitability of emergency situations and that they certainly do not demonstrate that such situations are likely to be extremely rare and would occur only in the event of an extremely improbable combination of reactor operating procedures and conditions adopted by the unit personnel.
Thus, it seems that the reactor designers were well aware of the possible dangerous consequences of the reactor characteristics and understood how the safety of the RBMK-1000 reactor could be improved. This is confirmed by the fact that the main technical measures to enhance the safety of the RBMK-1000 reactor [26] were announced less than a month and a half after the accident.
Let's supplement this with a Midnight in Chernobyl one more time as the irony is too good, page 276:
[During the Vienna conference like four months after the explosion] Pressed by reporters on the disadvantages in the reactor design he had mentioned, Legasov replied, "The defect of the system was that the designers did not foresee the awkward and silly actions by the operators." Nonetheless, he acknowledged that "about half" of the USSR's fourteen remaining RBMK reactors had already been shut down for technical modification, "to increase their safety."
Meanwhile in HBO Chernobyl's made-up world the KGB chief is jerking Legasov around, seemingly genuinely uninterested in the prospect of another Chernobyl and having the authority or the orders to risk it:
Charkov dismisses him with a wave of the hand. Nothing left to say. Legasov opens the door to exit, and:
Oh, I should mention-- the trial is going to be somewhat delayed.
Talk to Shcherbina.
Shcherbina's in Kiev. I haven't heard from him in--
He returned to Moscow an hour ago.
Charkov gives Legasov that smile again.
Or so I've been told.
The KGB DRIVER opens the door fully to let Legasov out. Legasov EXITS and watches as the ZIL drives away.
In fact, what Legasov said in Vienna here is nothing short of the main talking point of Soviet spin. Bzzzzz (buzzwords actually applying). Even after the Soviets had to admit the control rods introduced positive reactivity (page 13 of INSAG-7),
Some analysts found that with the diminished void coefficients it was difficult to match the time history of the power excursion as it had been published by the Soviet scientists at the Vienna meeting. A search therefore began for an additional mechanism that might have come into play. It was in this connection that the positive scram effect of safety rod insertion came to be publicly postulated, apparently first in some western analyses.
Detailed analysis indicated that the reactivity injected by the positive scram, when added to that provided by voids from increased boiling, was sufficient to generate a severe reactivity driven transient, comparable with that described at the Vienna meeting.
Most analyses now associate the severity of the accident with the defects in the design of control and safety rods in conjunction with the physics design characteristics, which permitted the inadvertent setting up of large positive void coefficients. The scram just before the sharp rise in power that destroyed the reactor may well have been the decisive contributory factor.
they apparently phrased the revelation (which they had already addressed with one of the safety measures promptly announced after Chernobyl) in the following manner (page 30):
A report by the I.V. Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy [3], approved after presentation of the report [1] to the IAEA, states that: "the primary cause of the accident was an extremely improbable combination of violations by the unit personnel of operating instructions and procedures, in the course of which deficiencies in the design of the reactor and the control rods of the control and protection system emerged" (no words are italicized in the official version). Moreover, as is stated in the same report [3]: "... it is fairly obvious that the only version that does not contradict the available data is the version that deals with the effect of the control rod displacers.''
Mind you, the italicization is not mine. The problem with HBO's Chernobyl is encapsulated by this quote - it's the description of episode five. Hook, line, and sinker.
Here's another perhaps more digestible thread on Soviet lies. There is going to be overlap between these threads and this one but there is richness in the details, especially in the stuff the mini-series makes up or takes from deceitful sources that INSAG-7 contradicts. This is pretty damn fun. The irony of the spin is that Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union himself, may not have understood how prescient he was here:
I am very concerned about the work of the government commission, which is investigating the causes of the catastrophe. We will raise this issue very strictly and very extensively at the Politburo, and we will not allow them to manipulate us with all kinds of professional conclusions, which are actually just excuses.
This was not a mere case of "statecraft". Granted scientists were assisted in lying (the government and the KGB ultimately assisted them rather than thwarted them), the lying started with them, and its full extent may have been understood by few even within the Soviet "power structure".
Early this morning. He broke his glasses and used the shards--
(his wrist)
They got to him in time. He's in the hospital, under observation.
Guilty conscience?
Or he was making a statement.
Legasov doesn't answer. He just removes his glasses, weary. Turns them around in his hand. Thinking about Fomin again. Mystified by the man's actions.
His glasses...
Fomin was making a statement with his suicide attempt alright.
Because I'm brutally stubborn. Which you were hoping for.
Right. So. As if to convince her...
Charkov is saying they're going to fix the reactors after the trial.
Do you believe him?
A pause. No. Of course not. But Khomyuk leans in.
The State will never willingly fix the reactors, because acknowledging the problem means admitting they lied. They will have to be forced.
Forced? What is she on about?
At the trial, you're going to tell the truth. You're going to convince a jury.
Legasov stares at her as if she's lost her mind.
It's a show trial. The "jury" has already been given their verdict...
I'm not talking about them. The Central Committee has invited members of the scientific community to observe the trial. Our colleagues. From Kurchatov, from Sredmash, from Minenergo...
And now Legasov sees where she's going.
They will be sitting in the crowd, listening to every word you say. A jury only we know is there. And when your testimony arrives at the moment of the explosion... that is when our jury will finally hear the truth.
And do what with it?
Insist on reforms. Not just to the RBMK, but the entire industry.
No, no, no... no.
They need us to function. If we refuse to work unless--
This is obviously bs. As far as the industry as a whole is concerned, Soviet premier Ryzhkov had a slightly different take inside the Politburo:
RYZHKOV: How could something like this happen here [in our country]? What are the causes of this biggest accident in the world? We have been walking toward it for a long time. And we accumulated the danger. By chance? But there are too many coincidences. No, this is a causal chain, which emerged in our energy industry. And lack of discipline. Had it not happened here and now, it would have happened in a different place. At the dawn of NPS's, everything was built strictly and reliably. Gradually, the nuclear power industry spread beyond Slavsky (i.e. beyond the boundaries of responsibility of the head of the Ministry of Medium Machine-Building), but the discipline did not follow with it. And besides, we pumped up the reputation of Slavsky and Aleksandrov [the preeminent scientist who is my top candidate for the deception that occurred] too high. We lowered oversight at all levels, and our vigilance got dull. There has not been a single year without accidents at NPS's. The accident at the Leningrad [NPS]--no conclusions were drawn. The Ministry of Medium Machine-Building, science, the Ministry of Energy--they are not at the level that is required by nuclear energy. And [there was] a lack of communication between agencies.
Conclusions should be strictly objective. A lot depends on it.
The fate of the country is being decided, and here, in front of our eyes, at the Politburo, like a wall against a wall [like a street fight--colloquial]: the Ministry of Medium Machine Building, Ministry of Energy, the Academy of Sciences ... And what is there below [the Politburo level]?!
There were deficiencies ... and everything was concealed, put away somewhere to prevent revelations. The bosses' sense of responsibility got dull. We cannot guarantee that it will not happen again without taking serious organizational and technological measures.
What should be decided:
- define the type of the reactor. Cancel the Chernobyl type.
- create a Ministry of Atomic Energy. Give it part of Medium Machine Building.
- create a Charter--like Aeroflot and the Ministry of the Maritime Fleet has.
- give absolute right of access to the State Oversight [Agency]. Now they are not allowed anywhere, even to [civilian] aviation and the fleet.
- create an Interagency Council, but not under Slavsky, at the Academy of Sciences or the State Committee on Science and Technology, or even better at the Council of Ministers.
- involve the Ukrainian party organs to analyze the consequences.
And Gorbachev was downright salty:
GORBACHEV: You just amaze me. Everything we have collected now on Chernobyl leads to only one conclusion--these reactors should be banned. They are dangerous. And you are trying to defend your parochial reputation.
MESHKOV: No, I am trying to defend the nuclear energy industry.
GORBACHEV: And whose interests are more important? We have to respond to this question. Millions of people in our country and abroad are demanding it from us. We have to put an end to the situation where NPS's are built at the level of thinking of the [19]20s or [19]30s. We must think at the level of Chernobyl. In the United States, after the big accident, they have not built a single new bloc!
We have been hearing from you (scientists, specialists, ministers--A. Ch.) that everything is under control here. And you expect us to look up to you as if you were gods. This is where it all started. Because the ministries and all the scientific centers got out of control. And it all ended in failure. And even now I do not see that you are contemplating any conclusions. You are all just stating facts, or even trying to smooth over some of them.
The [station] personnel are to blame for the accident [he did not know all the facts and the "smoothing" that was going on]; but the scale of the accident is due to the design of the reactor.
We live in a democratic society. And everybody can express their opinion.
Where centralization is needed, we don't have it; however, where a simple nail needs to be hammered in, thousands of agencies get involved. There is not a more dangerous object than a NPS, there is energy to the millionth power; they are more dangerous than any military object. Academician Dollezhal raised concerns in his time, but he was judged as incompetent and publicly humiliated at a press conference in front of foreign journalists.
This is where the monopoly in science and in industry leads. The problem of energy production in every aspect--scientific, experimental --turned out to be out of control.
[Reads expert opinion] The reactor was unreliable. And you did not do anything about it. It did not raise your concern. Why weren't theoretical studies funded? Where have you been? Academician Aleksandrov himself said that. But he also missed something. Today he is agonizing over it, although he bears great blame.
Mazin may not have had access to this either but INSAG-7 makes it sufficiently clear Chernobyl was largely a scientific failure. Blaming the KGB and the government for it acting against an oppressed scientific community (which was apparently exalted in the Soviet Union) is in essence a Western peasant fantasy, the equivalent to some nimrod in present-day Russia fantasizing about the CIA. The funny thing is the politicians were hot about this, their impulse was truth and reform. But something did indeed cool them down. The public position was "crafted" and the extreme statements were not acted upon.
EXTREME CLOSE ON: the letters A3-5 (AZ-5 in Cyrillic).
Khomyuk stares at the Volkov article. Exhausted from torturing herself. Wishing she'd never read it. Wishing she didn't know.
Do you know what happened to Volkov? The man who wrote the report you found? They just removed him from his position at the Institute. Sacked for the crime of knowing. And you think these scientists, handpicked to witness a show trial, will somehow be stirred to action? By me? Because of some heroic stand I take in defiance of the State?
There's one Volkov on page 60 of INSAG-7:
Somewhat earlier, on 1 May 1986, V.P. Volkov, head of the I.V. Kurchatov Institute Research Group on the Reliability and Safety of Nuclear Power Plants with RBMK Reactors, provided A.P. Alexandrov, Director of the I.V. Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, and subsequently the leaders of the country, in a letter of 9 May 1986, with another version of the accident which attributed it "not to the actions of the operating personnel, but to the design of the reactor core and a lack of proper understanding of the neutron physics processes going on in it." This version suggested that the accident was caused by a positive reactivity excursion following the insertion of the RCPS rods as a result of their defective design and the large positive void coefficient of reactivity.
And a different one in one of Dyatlov's short articles that the mini-series' creator deems untrustworthy:
Curve 2 of Figure 3 is shown in INSAG-7 as the actual dependence at the same time of the accident on 26 April. This is a Jesuitical approach – neither a lie nor the truth. A similar void effect existed at all RBMK reactors, and not only on 26 April. The curve was obtained several years prior to the accident by an employee of the Kurchatov Institute, V. Ivanov, and was subsequently confirmed by measurements. The administration did not believe Ivanov. They understood that an explosion threatened, but they did not check this out either by calculation or by experiment. So there you have it. One might ask why Ivanov did not squeal? Only one person squealed, and that was V. I. Volkov, who was quickly disposed of with an invalidity pension.
This sounds like the right one, except what is being referred to here is a worse positive void coefficient than the design calculation. "Khomyuk" is referring to the AZ-5 scram/shutdown button, as we see in the trial later. INSAG-7 makes interest comments on this topic, page 13:
The existence of the positive scram effect was first acknowledged by Soviet experts at the Conference on Nuclear Power Performance and Safety in Vienna in 1987. The SCSSINP Commission report states that this phenomenon had been known of at the time of the accident and that it had first been identified at the Ignalina RBMK plant in the Lithuanian Republic in 1983 (Annex I, Section 1-3.8). Although the Chief Design Engineer for RBMK reactors promulgated this information to other RBMK plants, and stated that design changes would be made to correct the problem, he made no such changes, and the procedural measures he recommended for inclusion in plant operating instructions were not adopted. Apparently, there was a widespread view that the conditions under which the positive scram effect would be important would never occur. However, they did appear in almost every detail in the course of the actions leading to the accident.
Page 15:
The SCSSINP Commission (Annex I, Section 1-3.8) reports that, after discovery of the positive scram effect at Ignalina in 1983, the chief engineering organization informed other organizations and all nuclear power plants with RBMK reactors that it intended to impose restrictions on the complete withdrawal of control and safety rods from the core. Such restrictions were never imposed and apparently the matter was forgotten.
Pages 43-44:
The Chief Design Engineer [22] and the Scientific Manager [two of the top Soviet institutions rather than people, the Scientific Manager being the Kurchatov Institute] knew about this effect before the accident. It was discovered experimentally in NovembeDecember 1983 during the physical startup of Ignalina Unit 1 and that of Chernobyl Unit 4, i.e. almost two-and-a-half years before the Chernobyl accident [23]. The Physical Startup Commissions proposed some measures to eliminate these negative effects, but none of them were implemented before the accident. ... The Scientific Manager drew attention to the extremely dangerous nature of this effect. In particular, it was noted that "When the reactor power decreases to 50% (for example, when one of the turbines is switched off), the reactivity margin is reduced as a result of poisoning and distortions of the axial field are observed up to \power peaking factor] Kz * 1.9. Triggering of the EPS in this case may lead to the introduction of positive reactivity. It seems likely that a more thorough analysis will reveal other dangerous situations" [24]. The following proposals were then made, which, had they been implemented, might have prevented the Chernobyl accident on 26 April 1986:
The Scientific Research and Design Institute for Power Technology had recognized the possibility of a positive reactivity excursion [22] and had suggested some measures to offset this effect. However, the technical measures were not implemented by the Chief Design Engineer ... The Chief Design Engineer proposed organizational measures to eliminate the dangerous upper position effect of the RCPS and made the following recommendation: "that the number of rods which may be fully withdrawn from the core (up to the upper limit stop switch) should be limited to 150 for the RBMK-1000 reactor and that the other, partially inserted rods must be inserted into the core by at least 0.5 m" [22].
The recommendation permitted a positioning of the RCPS rods whereby the breeding characteristics in the lower part of the core at a height of 1.2 m would increase when the rods moved simultaneously in response to an emergency protection signal. If this recommendation had been implemented it would have been possible to have an ORM of 3-5 manual control rods, which would have contravened the requirements of section 9 of the Operating Procedures, where the minimum permissible ORM is specified as 15 manual control rods.
It's like they were playing Hot Potato, or depending on what you read Cold Potato. This is an interesting research topic.
As Stepashin recites the charges, Khomyuk leans in to whisper to Legasov. He puts a hand up. Yes. He sees them.
Legasov glances over his shoulder, and we see: SIX PEOPLE, four men, two women, seated together in the audience. Men and women he knows. Scientists. The invisible jury...
In contrast, the HBO Chernobyl script reads like comic relief.
To test this theory, the reactor is placed in a reduced power mode-- 700 megawatts-- to simulate a blackout condition. Then-- the turbines are shut off, and as they slowly spin down, their electrical output is measured to see if it is sufficient to power the pumps. The science is strong-- but a test is only as good as the men carrying it out. The first time they tried, they failed. The second time they tried, they failed. The third time they tried, they failed. (beat) The fourth time they tried-- was on April 26th, 1986.
According to pages 51-52 of INSAG-7 the science is not so strong:
The tests were necessary because one of the most important emergency operating modes had not been properly tested prior to commercial operation of units in this series. The proposal to use the rundown mode of the turbogenerator to supply power for the unit's internal requirements was made by the Chief Design Engineer [27] in order to guarantee forced circulation in the reactor cooling circuit by providing reliable electric power supply to the main circulating pumps and feedwater pumps. The rundown concept was accepted and included in the design of plants with RBMK reactors (see, for example, the Technical Safety Report for the second stage of the Smolensk nuclear power plant: "In a design basis accident, involving total loss of power for the unit's internal requirements, cooling water is fed to the damaged part by feedwater pumps powered by the turbogenerator rundown").
According to the design requirements for total loss of power in the event of a DBA, electric power supply to the feedwater pumps of the third subsystem of the emergency core cooling system (ECCS) had to be provided by the mechanical energy of the rundown mode of the turbogenerator. However, Chernobyl Unit 4 was commissioned in December 1983 without having been tested under these conditions. Such tests should be an integral part of the pre-operational testing of the main design basis conditions carried out at different power levels.
In 1982, the corresponding tests were carried out at Chernobyl Unit 3 under an agreement with the firm Dontekhehnergo with the participation of representatives of the General Designer and the S. Ya. Zhuk Gidroproekt Institute. The tests showed that the requirements, in terms of the characteristics of the electrical current generated by the turbogenerator rundown, could not be met for long enough and that the turbogenerator's excitation regulation system had to be improved.
Additional tests with a modernized rundown unit were performed in 1984 and 1985. The 1982 and 1984 programmes provided for, the connection of the turbogenerator in rundown mode to one main circulating pump on each side of the reactor, whereas the 1985 and 1986 programmes provided for connection to two main circulating pumps. The 1984, 1985 and 1986 programmes provided for disconnection of the ECCS by manual isolating slide valves.
The emergency operating mode hadn't been properly tested prior to commercial operation of units in this series. Testing in 1982 of Chernobyl Unit 3 (it's unclear what series is being referred to, and I still don't even know if this test had been completed successfully at another RBMK facility) was unsuccessful as apparently a system needed to be improved. A 1984 test was unsuccessful too and I'm not sure any other test was successful.
To understand what happened that night, we have to look back ten hours earlier.
To how the xenon poisoning maximum was passed and as opposed to accumulating xenon content was decreasing. Here is a good cut-off for the next part.
submitted by sticks14 to chernobyl