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Monday, March 19, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Ending and DLC: Rant (SPOILERS!!)

Not the most captivating title I'm sure but it does contain all that's been running through my mind since I finished Mass Effect 3. Originally this was supposed to be a review of Mass Effect 3 and how it truly lived up to all the hype, but then something happened. I finished Mass Effect 3. Don't be mistaken, the journey it takes you on is one of the best sci-fi adventures out there. While some actions on the part of the writers seem to suggest that the game is more linear than it let on (rachni, leaving earth, must build super weapon), it still showcases consequences and such from past games. Further more, you still have those eagerly awaited moments and easter eggs with your crew and friends. Its just unfortunate that the writers decided to go with a cop-out ghost in the machine ending. Now for the ending, to realize the over all consensus for the ending one would only need to Google or youtube the words 'Mass Effect' and 'ending'. By extension my thoughts and feelings for the ending goes hand in hand for what I fear the gaming industry may be trying to accomplish with DLC's. As well as not really giving a damn, since mediocre games go for just as much as great games.

I'll start off with why I didn't like the ending and lead in to why it may not have been as bad as people have been leading on. First off it goes against what the game was supposed to be about, which is making choices and facing consequences. You are for all intensive purposes Shepard and attempt to make a place for humanity in the galaxy as its representative. Through either an altruistic paragon out look, or by an any means necessary renegade view. Through Mass Effect 1 and 2 your decisions are supposed to leave an impact on the galactic community, which in turns affect future game play. Yet the end of ME3 gives you one of three general deus ex machina options that are the same inevitable ending. All of which leaves the entire galaxy screwed and disconnected from one another, an entire armada stranded on earth, Shepard's legacy reduced to a child's fairy tail, and all your work to unite the galaxy is all for not. Point is, there is no real conclusion and not even a hint as to what's to become of the galaxy. An obvious reason why this ending is so hated is because it answers nothing. A bit after ME2 and ME3 when we talk to old shipmates we find out what's been going on with them and by extension the galaxy. For true ME fans we all felt a wave of nostalgia and even a connection with these characters, yet we have no idea what happens to them afterwards. Need I even mention the Normandy supposedly fleeing from the battle and stranded on some random planet. All we have at the end is guess work and theories with no real framework based on virtually nothing. Don't let this imply that I wasn't ready to see Shepard die, because in all honesty I half expected it. A hero who's been through what Shepard been through usually doesn't see the full scope of his work or sacrifices, add to the fact he's actually died before and it wouldn't be much of a shock.

What I would take as acceptable from the ending is that to destroy such a threat as the reapers you would have to make a sacrifice. Giving it some real thought, the destruction of the citadel and relays along with the reapers make some sense. Remember ME1 and Legions reference in ME2, the relays and citadel were all ways for the reapers to essentially force their idea of order on to the galaxy. With all of that now destroyed, there goes any further influences from the reapers. Despite all this being said to me from what looks to be a representation of Shepard's guilt and symbolic failure to stop the reapers. This is all just told to me and there's no real argument or conversation here like any other conversations seen in any of the three games. Shepard just nods his head and agrees completely with what this AI is telling him. In ME2 you demanded to see proof that colonists were in danger and the Illusive man complied. Something else that bothered me was that the writers decided to explain the Reapers purpose. Why? In all the previous games we kept hearing that the reapers purpose were beyond mere biological understanding. We could have accepted this, the reapers being countless of years old with no real beginning or end who's actions fall outside the boundaries of our imagination or comprehension. But, not only are their actions and reasons easily comprehensible but also debatable.

In short Bioware could have made an epic ending for its epic game but fell way short. I'm sure there were countless things they could have done with the ending and still make it controversial enough for fans to talk about. Yet they resorted to this. Its a shame they went with an ending that just reduced the ME galaxy to almost nothing.

Now the worst part of the ending, according to countless online arguments and videos, is that it may not even be the real ending. That's right, apparently Bioware decided to piss off its fan base first than have us clamour for a DLC for the 'real' ending, or some sort of happy ending. Great marketing strategy by the way Bioware if this holds any truth. I'm against this as it will only cheapen the experience even more. Though if they do go as far as changing what they've already written I'm not going to buy it. Not to make a grand gesture of any sort, but I did already pay $60 for an experience I got. At most I may watch the ending if some one posts it online, which almost feels inevitable. It may not have been what I wanted but its what I got, and I can only hope it doesn't happen again.

*Since posting this I have heard about the ending being an indoctrination expereince on the part of Shepard. I'm not going to post anything about it here untile Bioware, if ever, decides to post something about it. Only because I haven't really seen Bioware say much about just little hints here and there, even though fans seem to be buying it and even bringing some compelling proof. Or until a DLC (complete with youtube clips) that will apparently conclude the game, apparently the first day DLC wasn't bad enough.

Below post a comment on what you think about the ending and the possible indoctrination theory.

                                           CNN on the confirmed DLC

Someone who know Mass Effect talking about the ending. 

The indoctrination theory.

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