I will say this. I still recommend the Mass Effect series. It’s still – hour for hour, dollar for dollar – one of the best video game experiences I’ve ever had.
This post is PACKED FULL OF MASS EFFECT 3 SPOILERS. Don’t read it. ❤ I won’t be offended.
Here we go.
The build up was incredible. Shepard lived up to his namesake and (really) the entire purpose of the series, leading the charge, all of the armies of the galaxy united against their epic foe. Every character said goodbye. Shepard walked the final stretch alone. I loved it.
The path I chose became a rough one once I realized I was a sliver of reputation shy and needed to use a Renegade quick-time event (in my otherwise purely Paragon run) to not get fast-tracked to a Game Over screen. (I was actually pretty upset by this, but I got over it.)
Right up until Shepard actually sees the Catalyst for what it is, the game is everything I wanted.
You remember when you were a kid and you saw Return of the Jedi? Or maybe a better example is the last episode of Cowboy Bebop. Possibly a more widespread example is Back to the Future 3. Or how about whatever series or trilogy or whatever that you you read or watched, that you really enjoyed. When it ended, you experienced closure and a bit of sadness. Sadness that there’d be no further stories or adventures in this world. Lord of the Rings, post-Scouring. (Or if you didn’t read the books, Lord of the Rings after the ships sailed.) Sad, but it was okay.
That is not the feeling I experienced at the end of Mass Effect 3, because there is no closure. Possibly because there is only one ending.
This is what I’m really mad about. Sure, they make it out like there are three endings:
- Shepard nods to the Wachowski Brothers, jumps in the big beam, dies, and the Reapers go away.
- Shepard nods to the Wachowski Brothers, grabs two little beams, dies, and the Reapers go away.
- Shepard nods to Michael Bay, shoots a big tube, very nearly dies, and everything – including the Reapers – explodes.
All three of these identical endings actually end with the same three things happening.
- The Mass Relays are all destroyed, effectively ending interstellar civilization; i.e. Shepard failed.
- His crew was for some unexplained (and really inexplicable) reason mid-hyperspace jump, seemingly between relays, and they crash land on some leafy tropical planet where the crew can settle down and create an inbred colony. (Remember, Mass Relays gone, they’re stuck and alone here.)
- It was, of course, all the mad ramblings of some possibly inebriated grandfather to some unknown kid. Maybe we’re supposed to infer they’re descendants of the crew, or Earth (though the skyline says otherwise) or who the hell cares, it was apparently all some story and possibly the “details were lost”. (We call this a “cop out.”)
So, we got one ending. One ending. Three games, maybe a dozen cumulative plays all told: one ending.
Have you seen Wayne’s World?
What we got was the ending where the house explodes, Wayne limps out carrying a dead Garth, and the asshole gets the hot girl.
Where the hell is the Scooby Doo Ending? And what about the obligatory mega-happy ending?
Why is it that they couldn’t see clear toward giving us endings that 1. may not have satisfied their own needs for an ending to their epic and 2. would possibly have satisfied the simple people who wanted to see their hero not die like a wanna be Jesus. I hate that ending-style. The “ultimate sacrifice” is tired. It’s done. We have seen it. We were all sick of it when Matrix: Revolutions ended; why would you think it’d be okay now? Did you play the Path of Neo Video game? You know what happens to Neo in the end of that game? He lives. He kicks the shit out of Agent Smith, who becomes a giant monster mega Smith, and then he kicks the shit out of him again. He lives and he wins.
And here you are, killing Shepard and – really – everything he was fighting to protect.
How avant-garde of you.
Maybe you ran out of money? Hence the blatant recycling of scene renderings for the “three” (one) endings. Maybe we’re witnessing the result of you moving resources over to SW:TOR? I could guess all day. Here are the endings you need to give us. It’s easy. Pick the ball back up and do some of this:
- The Everybody’s-Doing-It Ending. You already did this. You did this three times. Shepard dies, the universe is screwed but life will endure. Good job. (Stop drinking at the office while you work.)
- The Scooby Doo Ending. It’s all a game or some bullshit. The Catalyst was bored for thousands of millenia and – hey – Shepard is his experiment, OR Shepard managed to figure out that he is the catalyst, or something else as equally brain-bending as Shepard discovering he is actually Darth Revan. The Catalyst and the Reapers leave, never to return. People are all like WTF and talk about what it means on forums for years.
- The Michael Bay Ending. You mostly have this. Shepard shoots a lot (of course his gun is involved) and blows everything up, including the Reapers. I don’t think the relays should die in this one, but then that would break the whole everything blows up thing. Well, now you have all of this human and non-human military possibly trapped at Earth with the Citadel (or what’s left of it). A new society emerges, they determine how the Reapers FTL worked and rebuild relays. Shepard gets the girl(s)/guy(s), whatever.
- The Mega Happy Ending. I was shocked not to see this. I almost believe that if I play through the game again, do every single side quest, and max out my War Assets and Rep that I would…but the Internet tells me different. Seriously such a no-brainer. Shepard via Paragon conversation options does what he does best: he talks the Catalyst down. The Catalyst is swayed, impressed, and believes he’s succeeded (or some bullshit) and that Shepard is evidence of that: the entire cycle-thing was just annealing and Shepard/humanity is the result. He and his Reapers retreat to some remote part of the galaxy and are either peacefully coexistent, completely unreachable, or just never come around again. His love interest followed him through the relay and they embrace while watching the Reaper fleets withdraw, listening to radio chatter saying “WTF they’re leaving?” followed by cheers. Big Star Wars Episode IV style fanfare for Shepard and his crew. Closing scene of Shepard, Joker, and Garrus throwing back Miller Lites on a beach somewhere. Fan service shots of Liara and Ashley in bikinis are fine, but unnecessary.
So get on that. No, I won’t pay for DLC to see it.