Evil Wins in the End.

Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR MASS EFFECT 3

Many have written at length about the faults of the conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy. Some have taken umbrage with the main conflict being resolved via the last-minute inclusion of a deus ex machina, some don't like how the story and characters play out in ways unlike what was previously established, some are upset with how certain elements of Mass Effect lore seem to be contradicted, and others are angry about promises made by the developers that may or may not have been kept. I won't reiterate any of those complaints here. I agree with some, and disagree with others.

My complaint is fairly simple. I don't like the fact that evil wins at the end of the game.

(What follows will be examples of dialogue with my Paragon Shepard.)

Shepard: "I need to stop the Reapers. Do you know how I can do that?"

Catalyst: "Perhaps. I control the Reapers. They are my solution."

Let's take this in for a minute. What do we know about the Reapers? From the previous games, we know that the Reapers are responsible for the annihilation of several species, in many different cycles. The exact numbers aren't revealed, but it could be trillions of lives that have been destroyed by them.

Catalyst: "We harvest advanced civilizations, leaving the younger ones alone. Just as we left your people alive the last time we were here."

Shepard: "But you killed the rest..."

Catalyst: "We helped them ascend so they could make way for new life, storing the old life in Reaper form."

Suspicions raised by the conclusion of Mass Effect 2 are confirmed by the Catalyst. We are taken by the Reapers, harvested, turned into mulch, and used to create new Reapers.

The Catalyst takes the form of a child, and speaks in a child's voice. It speaks calmly with intelligence and patience. But this doesn't change the fact that the Catalyst Child controls the Reapers. The Reapers kidnap and murder sentient beings for their own gain. Therefore, the Catalyst Child is responsible for those trillions of deaths. When you are responsible for the deaths of that many individuals, and you do so with full intent and without mercy, you are evil. Plainly and simply evil.

Shepard: "But you're taking away our future. Without a future, we have no hope. Without hope...we might as well be machines, programmed to do what we're told."

Notice what happens here. Shepard is face-to-face with the intelligence that is responsible for the murder of entire civilizations, including several thousands of human beings. Shepard does not confront the Catalyst Child nor does he/she denounce it's actions based upon a faulty premise of "Synthetics Always Turning on Organics," one that has been proven false within his/her own experiences.

Catalyst: "The Crucible changed me. Created...new possibilities. I know you've thought about destroying us. You can wipe out all synthetic life if you want. Including the Geth. Even you are partly synthetic."

Shepard: "But the Reapers will be destroyed?"

Catalyst: "Yes, but the peace won't last. Soon, your children will create synthetics, and then the chaos will come back."

Shepard: "Maybe..."

Catalyst: "Or do you think you can control us?"

Shepard: "Huh. So the Illusive Man was right after all."

Catalyst: "Yes. But he could never have taken control...because we already controlled him."

Shepard: "But I can..."

Catalyst: "You will die. You will control us, but you will lose everything you have."

Shepard: "But the Reapers will obey me?"

Catalyst: "Yes. There is another solution."

Shepard: "Yeah?"

Catalyst: "Synthesis."

Shepard: "And that is?"

Catalyst: "Add your energy to the Crucible's. Everything you are will be absorbed, and then sent out. The chain reaction will combine all synthetic and organic life into a new framework. A new...DNA."

Shepard: "I...don't know."

Catalyst: "Why not? Synthetics are already part of you. Can you imagine your life without them?"

Shepard: "And there will be peace?"

Catalyst: "The cycle will end. Synthesis is the final evolution of life. But we need each other to make it happen. You have a difficult decision. Releasing the energy of the Crucible will end the cycle, but it will also destroy the mass relays. The paths are open. But you have to choose."

No more is said. At this point, the player takes control and must choose one of the options laid before them to finish the game.

Despite these "choices" being offered by an evil intelligence, Shepard does not raise any objections. He/She asks questions here and there, but never challenges the merits of the options nor the arbitrary nature of their consequences. Shepard is even told about all of the choices resulting in the destruction of the mass relays, an action Shepard is all too aware of resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the wake, and doesn't say a single word. Nothing.

Remember what Shepard said before? "Without hope...we might as well be machines, programmed to do what we're told." How is what transpires any different than that? Shepard does not question the decisions nor does he/she attempt to formulate his/her own solution. In order to finish the game, the player must force Shepard to do the bidding of the Catalyst Child, arguably the most evil being in the universe.

This is the essence of my issue with the ending. Shepard may have stopped the Reapers, but it was at the behest of the same evil intelligence that created, enacted, and controlled them. It wasn't Shepard's actions or decisions that led to their demise. It wasn't the will of the organics nor the synthetics whose lives are at stake. It was the Catalyst Child. It decided to stop the Reaper Cycle, and instructs Shepard on how to wreak devastation upon the universe in order to reach his/her goal of stopping them for good.

This doesn't make Shepard a hero. This makes Shepard a henchman/ (henchwoman?).

Let me know how you guys feel about this. Whether you agree with me or you think I'm crazy, I want to discuss.

#1 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

MAJOR SPOILERS FOR MASS EFFECT 3

Many have written at length about the faults of the conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy. Some have taken umbrage with the main conflict being resolved via the last-minute inclusion of a deus ex machina, some don't like how the story and characters play out in ways unlike what was previously established, some are upset with how certain elements of Mass Effect lore seem to be contradicted, and others are angry about promises made by the developers that may or may not have been kept. I won't reiterate any of those complaints here. I agree with some, and disagree with others.

My complaint is fairly simple. I don't like the fact that evil wins at the end of the game.

(What follows will be examples of dialogue with my Paragon Shepard.)

Shepard: "I need to stop the Reapers. Do you know how I can do that?"

Catalyst: "Perhaps. I control the Reapers. They are my solution."

Let's take this in for a minute. What do we know about the Reapers? From the previous games, we know that the Reapers are responsible for the annihilation of several species, in many different cycles. The exact numbers aren't revealed, but it could be trillions of lives that have been destroyed by them.

Catalyst: "We harvest advanced civilizations, leaving the younger ones alone. Just as we left your people alive the last time we were here."

Shepard: "But you killed the rest..."

Catalyst: "We helped them ascend so they could make way for new life, storing the old life in Reaper form."

Suspicions raised by the conclusion of Mass Effect 2 are confirmed by the Catalyst. We are taken by the Reapers, harvested, turned into mulch, and used to create new Reapers.

The Catalyst takes the form of a child, and speaks in a child's voice. It speaks calmly with intelligence and patience. But this doesn't change the fact that the Catalyst Child controls the Reapers. The Reapers kidnap and murder sentient beings for their own gain. Therefore, the Catalyst Child is responsible for those trillions of deaths. When you are responsible for the deaths of that many individuals, and you do so with full intent and without mercy, you are evil. Plainly and simply evil.

Shepard: "But you're taking away our future. Without a future, we have no hope. Without hope...we might as well be machines, programmed to do what we're told."

Notice what happens here. Shepard is face-to-face with the intelligence that is responsible for the murder of entire civilizations, including several thousands of human beings. Shepard does not confront the Catalyst Child nor does he/she denounce it's actions based upon a faulty premise of "Synthetics Always Turning on Organics," one that has been proven false within his/her own experiences.

Catalyst: "The Crucible changed me. Created...new possibilities. I know you've thought about destroying us. You can wipe out all synthetic life if you want. Including the Geth. Even you are partly synthetic."

Shepard: "But the Reapers will be destroyed?"

Catalyst: "Yes, but the peace won't last. Soon, your children will create synthetics, and then the chaos will come back."

Shepard: "Maybe..."

Catalyst: "Or do you think you can control us?"

Shepard: "Huh. So the Illusive Man was right after all."

Catalyst: "Yes. But he could never have taken control...because we already controlled him."

Shepard: "But I can..."

Catalyst: "You will die. You will control us, but you will lose everything you have."

Shepard: "But the Reapers will obey me?"

Catalyst: "Yes. There is another solution."

Shepard: "Yeah?"

Catalyst: "Synthesis."

Shepard: "And that is?"

Catalyst: "Add your energy to the Crucible's. Everything you are will be absorbed, and then sent out. The chain reaction will combine all synthetic and organic life into a new framework. A new...DNA."

Shepard: "I...don't know."

Catalyst: "Why not? Synthetics are already part of you. Can you imagine your life without them?"

Shepard: "And there will be peace?"

Catalyst: "The cycle will end. Synthesis is the final evolution of life. But we need each other to make it happen. You have a difficult decision. Releasing the energy of the Crucible will end the cycle, but it will also destroy the mass relays. The paths are open. But you have to choose."

No more is said. At this point, the player takes control and must choose one of the options laid before them to finish the game.

Despite these "choices" being offered by an evil intelligence, Shepard does not raise any objections. He/She asks questions here and there, but never challenges the merits of the options nor the arbitrary nature of their consequences. Shepard is even told about all of the choices resulting in the destruction of the mass relays, an action Shepard is all too aware of resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands in the wake, and doesn't say a single word. Nothing.

Remember what Shepard said before? "Without hope...we might as well be machines, programmed to do what we're told." How is what transpires any different than that? Shepard does not question the decisions nor does he/she attempt to formulate his/her own solution. In order to finish the game, the player must force Shepard to do the bidding of the Catalyst Child, arguably the most evil being in the universe.

This is the essence of my issue with the ending. Shepard may have stopped the Reapers, but it was at the behest of the same evil intelligence that created, enacted, and controlled them. It wasn't Shepard's actions or decisions that led to their demise. It wasn't the will of the organics nor the synthetics whose lives are at stake. It was the Catalyst Child. It decided to stop the Reaper Cycle, and instructs Shepard on how to wreak devastation upon the universe in order to reach his/her goal of stopping them for good.

This doesn't make Shepard a hero. This makes Shepard a henchman/ (henchwoman?).

Let me know how you guys feel about this. Whether you agree with me or you think I'm crazy, I want to discuss.

#2 Edited by Sackmanjones (4652 posts) -
#3 Posted by Yummylee (21250 posts) -

No.

Online
#4 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@Abyssfull: Thanks for the insight.

#5 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3184 posts) -

in b4 "omg stfu hermoine"

But I agree with you. This ending sucks all around.

#6 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@Sackmanjones: Understood.

#7 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (3555 posts) -

This will probably be locked, but yeah, it's pretty much what you said. Ending sucks.

Remember reading those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books as a child? I think Mass Effect 3 would be great as one of those.

"Shepard stood there, on the citadel, having just been given the three choices. Shepard thought for a moment, but soon understood what was the right thing to do."

"If you want to kill yourself to gain a vaguely explained ability to somehow control the enemy force you've been fighting for over 90 hours by now, turn to page 173."

"If you want to arbitrarily sacrifice yourself so you can use space magic to drastically alter the DNA of every lifeform in the universe without their consent or knowledge, turn to page 173."

"If you want to Destroy the Reapers, the Geth, EDI, all the Mass Relays, and strand the Normandy crew on some random unknown jungle planet, turn to page 173."

#8 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@SpaceInsomniac: I waited to post this until a month after release. My hope was that it would be okay at this point. If it gets locked, oh well.

#9 Posted by joshthebear (2700 posts) -

For fucks sake another ending thread. Sorry to sound like a dick but this could've easily gone into one of the thousands of ending opinions threads. Not everyone needs their own thread to discuss the ending; there's your blog for that.

#10 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3555 posts) -

@Lord_Punch said:

@SpaceInsomniac: I waited to post this until a month after release. My hope was that it would be okay at this point. If it gets locked, oh well.

While you are talking about the ending, you do bring up a bit of a different topic. If the Reapers are evil, and Shepard does their bidding, then that's really sort of even worse than working with Cerberus. If they're not evil, and truly do want to save all organic life, then you're a dick for stopping them, and you've doomed everyone.

*sigh* I hate BioWare for this shit...

#11 Edited by JasonR86 (9608 posts) -

Hey!!! A ME3 ending thread! Fuck yeah!!!

#12 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

You actually raise some interesting points in a way that is much more intelligent than the 'huurrr dumb' arguments that have been doing the rounds.

I didn't consider it overly much at the time, as I was somewhat overcome by the lead up to the ending and actually found it quite interesting.

I guess the most logical answer to me (albeit one that isn't all that satisfying) is that Shep is just so fucked up by the preceding events and is rapidly approaching death, and thus is looking on this while in a form of shock-induced detachment. After so long and so much loss, he just wants it done, and he wants it done without considering the consequences or the greater ramifications of what it is he is doing at the behest of something that is his enemy.

The other idea, and one I like a great deal even if I doubt it's true, is the indoctrination theory tossed around on the net, and that the black shit encroaching on your vision during the sequence with TIM is the beginning of Shep being indoctrinated as being near-death finally crumbles his willpower, this making the following options a means of giving him the illusion of choice; hell, maybe it's similar to how TIM was ensared himself?

The most likely answer, unfortunately, is neither of those, and is instead that the game was rushed and the writers didn't consider the ending as well as they should have. I think the concept itself is a good one(unlike most people), but that the execution wasn't fantastic.

One thing I will say is that Space Baby isn't necessarily 'evil', in the same way that us eradicating a termite mound isn't evil. It's more about morality to a scale - the Space Baby would have to consider the sentient species' on a level equivalent to the Reapers to have any context of their actions being wrong, but instead the organic races are food to be hunted, or pests to be culled.

#13 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@joshthebear: You don't have to read it. You do have the choice of ignoring it.

#14 Edited by onan (1283 posts) -

@Lord_Punch: If you accept the fiction at face value, then "evil" doesn't win, "evil" is changed through the effort of organics with the Crucible, and that allows you to save the galaxy, and that's the only thing you can do. I think it's pure shit because there's no way at all that the Reapers win, according to the game, and that's one of the main reasons I'm looking forward to the extended cut. All risk is gone and there's no real reward for playing conservatively and carefully. My hard-earned "save the galaxy" ending is cheapened by the fact that anyone who bothered playing it at all gets almost an identical ending where they save the galaxy. It's obnoxious.

I did find it really interesting that Shepard took the Catalyst at face value purely because he was a kid. If a hologram of Harbinger had popped up instead, and said "Hey Shep, we promise we'll stop hurting everyone if you just grab those exposed circuits with your bare hands, or go stand next those energy cables and shoot them repeatedly, or hey, if you really feel like being a mensch, just, um, fling yourself into that big green beam of energy. ...Please? Scout's honor."

and then he does.

"That's it? That's all we had to do? Ask nicely..?" "I just kept trying to kill him with lasers and mutated abominations. Now I just feel foolish."
#15 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair: I guess I would have just wanted the game to make the Child more accountable. I wouldn't require Shepard to rail against the Child, unless it's a Renegade dialogue choice. But something to indicate that the storytellers consider what the Child did to be wrong.

I'm all for morally ambiguous endings, but it feels like there's a legitimate case for what is clearly "Right" and what is clearly "Wrong" in what is presented in the game's conclusion. No vengeance necessary, just recognition.

#16 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@onan: I don't really agree with the "Evil being changed" part of your response. The Catalyst Child is still under the same delusion that led it to create the Reapers. The only change it underwent was seemingly in what it's capabilities were.

#17 Posted by onan (1283 posts) -

@Lord_Punch: Well being super evil as it is, I doubt it would have invited the dying Shepard upstairs to the penthouse like it did, or offer him those options like it did. Maybe the whole point of the Crucible was to make the catalyst acknowledge it the cycles aren't working, forcing it to come up with a new solution. Shepard opened the ward arms, they docked the Crucible, and then a few minutes later gets the express elevator to a location he had no intention of wandering off to. A change of heart, then? That's what it seems like. A few minutes earlier it was manipulating the Illusive Man into trying to stop Shepard. After the docking, then...?

Maybe all that Crucible craziness was to get the Citadel/Catalyst computer to perform math incorrectly, so that when the computation that made the Reapers justified came out to 1 + 1 = 3, re-evaluation was in order. Still, I'd think everyone involved would have to know about the catalyst to have accomplished that. Silly ending either way.

#18 Posted by spazmaster666 (1965 posts) -

I think that whether or not what the child does is evil depends on whether or not what the child says is true about synthetics destroying organics. Sure the Geth turned out to be nice guys, but that by no means is proof that eventually organic life wouldn't cease to exist because of synthetics. If the child is looking on with the perspective of eternity, then a few trillion lives destroyed every 50,000 years, over a time scale of billions of years, to ultimately prevent organic life from perishing forever may not seem that bad. At least that's what I would have liked to argue. Unfortunately, the "synthesis" ending kind of negates my previous argument since if the child knew that he could end the cycle by simply combining organic life with synthetic life (the ultimate evolution as he said) then why has he not done it before?

#19 Posted by onan (1283 posts) -

@spazmaster666 said:

I think that whether or not what the child does is evil depends on whether or not what the child says is true about synthetics destroying organics. Sure the Geth turned out to be nice guys, but that by no means is proof that eventually organic life wouldn't cease to exist because of synthetics. If the child is looking on with the perspective of eternity, then a few trillion lives destroyed every 50,000 years, over a time scale of billions of years, to ultimately prevent organic life from perishing forever may not seem that bad. At least that's what I would have liked to argue. Unfortunately, the "synthesis" ending kind of negates my previous argument since if the child knew that he could end the cycle by simply combining organic life with synthetic life (the ultimate evolution as he said) then why has he not done it before?

He did. They're called the Reapers. Sovereign told Shepard this in the first game: "Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything."

They're the fusion of organic and synthetics. A similar concept pops up throughout Sci-fi, God-like beings who turn out to be incredibly powerful machines that use organic life as parts. If I recall correctly, that was the ultimate reveal of Xenogears, among other games.

#20 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@onan: Those are some interesting points to consider.

#21 Posted by DeShawn2ks (1052 posts) -

Bullshit

#22 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@spazmaster666: Many people have brought up that point about the geth and quarian reconcilliation not being undeniable proof that synthetics won't rise against organics. And I can understand that sentiment.

But the series has gone out of it's way to consistently show the Creator as being the antagonizing party in the Creator Vs. Created theme. Parents are almost always the transgressors (Liara's mother, Tali's father, Jacob's father, Miranda's father), whereas we only get a couple of times with the children getting out of line (Thane's son to a lesser extent, Samara's daughter in particular).

The quarians are revealed to have been the ones who started the conflict between them and the Geth. The Geth even showed restraint, and chose not to continue warring with the quarians once they were off Rannoch. EDI chooses on her own to work with her crew instead of betraying them to The Ilusive Man.

There's just not enough examples in the series to support the idea that "Synthetics Will Always Rise Against Organics." We have not been given any reason to believe this to be true.

#23 Edited by spazmaster666 (1965 posts) -

@onan said:

He did. They're called the Reapers. Sovereign told Shepard this in the first game: "Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything."

They're the fusion of organic and synthetics. A similar concept pops up throughout Sci-fi, God-like beings who turn out to be incredibly powerful machines that use organic life as parts. If I recall correctly, that was the ultimate reveal of Xenogears, among other games.

I disagree. There's nothing to suggest that the Reapers are a fusion of organic and synthetic on the DNA level, which is what "Synthesis" would have achieved. Also Sovereign clearly lied when he said the Reapers were "eternal." Eternity implies no beginning and no end. While I can buy the "no end" part since synthetics don't die (unless destroyed), the Reapers were most definitely created, as the Child himself attested to. Also, since the Reapers were created, then they didn't evolve at all, meaning the whole "pinnacle of evolution and existence" bit is also nonsense.

@Lord_Punch said:

There's just not enough examples in the series to support the idea that "Synthetics Will Always Rise Against Organics." We have not been given any reason to believe this to be true.

But given that the ending basically ignores the peace between the Geth and the Quarians (whether or not you actually managed to achieve peace) wouldn't that imply that the storytellers considered it irrelevant and wanted us to believe what the Child was saying?

#24 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@DeShawn2ks: Watch the sass, Captain Sassypants.

#25 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@spazmaster666 said:

@onan said:

He did. They're called the Reapers. Sovereign told Shepard this in the first game: "Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything."

They're the fusion of organic and synthetics. A similar concept pops up throughout Sci-fi, God-like beings who turn out to be incredibly powerful machines that use organic life as parts. If I recall correctly, that was the ultimate reveal of Xenogears, among other games.

I disagree. There's nothing to suggest that the Reapers are a fusion of organic and synthetic on the DNA level, which is what "Synthesis" would have achieved. Also Sovereign clearly lied when he said the Reapers were "eternal." Eternity implies no beginning and no end. While I can buy the "no end" part since synthetics don't die (unless destroyed), the Reapers were most definitely created, as the Child himself attested to.

@Lord_Punch said:

There's just not enough examples in the series to support the idea that "Synthetics Will Always Rise Against Organics." We have not been given any reason to believe this to be true.

But given that the ending basically ignores the peace between the Geth and the Quarians (whether or not you actually managed to achieve peace) wouldn't that imply that the storytellers considered it irrelevant and wanted us to believe what the Child was saying?

Is it fair to ignore 3 games worth of story progression and lore so that they can establish new story content with a last-minute deus ex machina? Does that really seem like an effective means of storytelling to you?

#26 Posted by spazmaster666 (1965 posts) -

@Lord_Punch said:

Is it fair to ignore 3 games worth of story progression and lore so that they can establish new story content with a last-minute deus ex machina? Does that really seem like an effective means of storytelling to you?

That's not the point. The point is what the storytellers are actually telling us at the end, not what they should be telling us. I can only go why what actually happens at the end, not what I would liked to have happened or what would have been logical.

#27 Posted by onan (1283 posts) -

@spazmaster666 said:

@onan said:

He did. They're called the Reapers. Sovereign told Shepard this in the first game: "Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything."

They're the fusion of organic and synthetics. A similar concept pops up throughout Sci-fi, God-like beings who turn out to be incredibly powerful machines that use organic life as parts. If I recall correctly, that was the ultimate reveal of Xenogears, among other games.

I disagree. There's nothing to suggest that the Reapers are a fusion of organic and synthetic on the DNA level, which is what "Synthesis" would have achieved. Also Sovereign clearly lied when he said the Reapers were "eternal." Eternity implies no beginning and no end. While I can buy the "no end" part since synthetics don't die (unless destroyed), the Reapers were most definitely created, as the Child himself attested to.

*Ahem*

http://koobismo.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4t5gby

I like this comic because it makes the extremely salient point that the concept of "combining DNA" is ridiculous. DNA is a defined thing. Say "essences" or whatever if you don't want to get called on it, but "combining DNA" ..? No.

As for the rest of it, I think we can also chalk that one up to "changed premises," since in the same conversation Sovereign says the Reapers created the Citadel and Mass Relay to direct the development of civilization in ways they wanted. Since the Catalyst is trying to take credit for their creation, it's some serious chicken & egg nonsense going on if you want to believe both.

It's also possible that he said "eternal" in terms of Shepard's perspective. After a certain point, once you start talking geological periods and origins of the galaxy and all that, "eternity" starts to lose a little meaning. The general thrust was "You are insignificant."

#28 Edited by spazmaster666 (1965 posts) -

@onan said:

*Ahem*

http://koobismo.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4t5gby

I like this comic because it makes the extremely salient point that the concept of "combining DNA" is ridiculous. DNA is a defined thing. Say "essences" or whatever if you don't want to get called on it, but "combining DNA" ..? No.

I'm only going by what the Child said at the end. I'm not saying it's possible in reality (i.e. we could easily argue that Synthetics aren't even alive). Again that's not the point. The point is to analyze based on what actually happens at the end of the game, not based on what you would perceive as logical.

@onan said:

It's also possible that he said "eternal" in terms of Shepard's perspective. After a certain point, once you start talking geological periods and origins of the galaxy and all that, "eternity" starts to lose a little meaning. The general thrust was "You are insignificant."

Sure, I can buy that. But what about the part that Sovereign says that the Reapers are the "pinnacle of evolution and existence" when in fact they were created and hence didn't evolve at all. Seems to me Sovereign was just blowing a lot of smoke up Shepard's ass.

#29 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@spazmaster666 said:

@onan said:

*Ahem*

http://koobismo.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4t5gby

I like this comic because it makes the extremely salient point that the concept of "combining DNA" is ridiculous. DNA is a defined thing. Say "essences" or whatever if you don't want to get called on it, but "combining DNA" ..? No.

I'm only going by what the Child said at the end. I'm not saying it's possible in reality. Again that's not the point. The point is to analyze based on what actually happens at the end of the game, not based on what you would perceive as logical.

@onan said:

It's also possible that he said "eternal" in terms of Shepard's perspective. After a certain point, once you start talking geological periods and origins of the galaxy and all that, "eternity" starts to lose a little meaning. The general thrust was "You are insignificant."

Sure, I can buy that. But what about the part that Sovereign says that the Reapers are the "pinnacle of evolution and existence" when in fact they were created and hence didn't evolve at all. Seems to me Sovereign was just blowing a lot of smoke up Shepard's ass.

Why do you believe the Child over Sovereign though?

#30 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@spazmaster666 said:

@Lord_Punch said:

Is it fair to ignore 3 games worth of story progression and lore so that they can establish new story content with a last-minute deus ex machina? Does that really seem like an effective means of storytelling to you?

That's not the point. The point is what the storytellers are actually telling us at the end, not what they should be telling us. I can only go why what actually happens at the end, not what I would liked to have happened or what would have been logical.

I'm not saying what specifically they should be telling us. But it is important that their conclusion be in keeping with the lore and themes that have already been established. To do otherwise is just poor storytelling.

#31 Edited by spazmaster666 (1965 posts) -

@Lord_Punch said:

Why do you believe the Child over Sovereign though?

Because Sovereign made his statement in the first Mass Effect game and the Child made his at the end of the third Mass Effect game. Unless Bioware is totally just trolling us at the end of ME3, I'm assuming what the Child said is canon and what Sovereign said is just a plothole.

@Lord_Punch said:

I'm not saying what specifically they should be telling us. But it is important that their conclusion be in keeping with the lore and themes that have already been established. To do otherwise is just poor storytelling.

Again, I agree with you. But if we were to go down that road, then the entire ending makes no sense and arguing about whether or not the Child is evil would be absolutely pointless.

#32 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@onan said:

@Lord_Punch: If you accept the fiction at face value, then "evil" doesn't win, "evil" is changed through the effort of organics with the Crucible, and that allows you to save the galaxy, and that's the only thing you can do. I think it's pure shit because there's no way at all that the Reapers win, according to the game, and that's one of the main reasons I'm looking forward to the extended cut. All risk is gone and there's no real reward for playing conservatively and carefully. My hard-earned "save the galaxy" ending is cheapened by the fact that anyone who bothered playing it at all gets almost an identical ending where they save the galaxy. It's obnoxious.

I did find it really interesting that Shepard took the Catalyst at face value purely because he was a kid. If a hologram of Harbinger had popped up instead, and said "Hey Shep, we promise we'll stop hurting everyone if you just grab those exposed circuits with your bare hands, or go stand next those energy cables and shoot them repeatedly, or hey, if you really feel like being a mensch, just, um, fling yourself into that big green beam of energy. ...Please? Scout's honor."

and then he does.

"That's it? That's all we had to do? Ask nicely..?" "I just kept trying to kill him with lasers and mutated abominations. Now I just feel foolish."

Yeah, the ending was quite bad.

But the more important and most poignant element of this post is actually the picture.

This image was the ending of ME2. A Reaper invasion. A fantastic conclusion to a fantastic game. No deus-ex-machina-catalyst-star-child required.

Online
#33 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@spazmaster666 said:

@Lord_Punch said:

Why do you believe the Child over Sovereign though?

Because Sovereign made his statement in the first Mass Effect game and the Child made his at the end of the third Mass Effect game. Unless Bioware is totally just trolling us at the end of ME3, I'm assuming what the Child said is canon and what Sovereign said is just a plothole.

@Lord_Punch said:

I'm not saying what specifically they should be telling us. But it is important that their conclusion be in keeping with the lore and themes that have already been established. To do otherwise is just poor storytelling.

Again, I agree with you. But if we were to go down that road, then the entire ending makes no sense and arguing about whether or not the Child is evil would be absolutely pointless.

How can what Sovereign said be a plothole if he said it first? I mean, your first sentence literally negates your second sentence.

#34 Posted by N7 (3573 posts) -
@Lord_Punch: Also, if what Sovereign said was a plothole, he wouldn't exist. Harbinger also said pretty much the same deal. "We are the Harbinger of your perfection." Taking what Sovereign and Harbinger said, that's a two to one score with Ghostkid falling behind.
 
Certainly they couldn't both be plotholes, or else what was the point of the Reapers? If what we were told of them FROM them turned out to be a lie(Why, even?), then how can we believe the dude who says he's controlling them?
 
No matter anyone's stance, the ending was poorly written and poorly executed to the point of contradicting the other games and making them pretty pointless.
#35 Posted by LiquidPrince (15842 posts) -

@spazmaster666: I'd like to point out that evolution doesn't only refer to genetic improvement. You can create a machine, then create a better one, and the second was an evolution of the first.

#36 Posted by TheHT (10880 posts) -

@Lord_Punch said:

@spazmaster666: Many people have brought up that point about the geth and quarian reconcilliation not being undeniable proof that synthetics won't rise against organics. And I can understand that sentiment.

But the series has gone out of it's way to consistently show the Creator as being the antagonizing party in the Creator Vs. Created theme. Parents are almost always the transgressors (Liara's mother, Tali's father, Jacob's father, Miranda's father), whereas we only get a couple of times with the children getting out of line (Thane's son to a lesser extent, Samara's daughter in particular).

The quarians are revealed to have been the ones who started the conflict between them and the Geth. The Geth even showed restraint, and chose not to continue warring with the quarians once they were off Rannoch. EDI chooses on her own to work with her crew instead of betraying them to The Ilusive Man.

There's just not enough examples in the series to support the idea that "Synthetics Will Always Rise Against Organics." We have not been given any reason to believe this to be true.

It's absolutely true that from what we've seen cases to the contrary of the Catalyst's claim, though this is not at all enough to assert or deny in any absolute terms that claim. But who exactly says you have to believe the Catalyst's belief? It's up to you to decide what you believe and whether or not you'll factor that into your final decision. Just like it's up to you to decide if the krogan/geth are worthy of life or are a risk not worth taking.

@spazmaster666 said:

@onan said:

He did. They're called the Reapers. Sovereign told Shepard this in the first game: "Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything."

They're the fusion of organic and synthetics. A similar concept pops up throughout Sci-fi, God-like beings who turn out to be incredibly powerful machines that use organic life as parts. If I recall correctly, that was the ultimate reveal of Xenogears, among other games.

I disagree. There's nothing to suggest that the Reapers are a fusion of organic and synthetic on the DNA level, which is what "Synthesis" would have achieved. Also Sovereign clearly lied when he said the Reapers were "eternal." Eternity implies no beginning and no end. While I can buy the "no end" part since synthetics don't die (unless destroyed), the Reapers were most definitely created, as the Child himself attested to. Also, since the Reapers were created, then they didn't evolve at all, meaning the whole "pinnacle of evolution and existence" bit is also nonsense.

Given what exactly the Reapers are and how they go about spending their time, I wouldn't deny that Sovereign actually thinks the Reapers are eternal or that it actually believes everything it told you. The Catalyst doesn't explicitly say the Reapers were created by it, just that it controls them, but this detail is ultimately insignificant.

They absolutely are the pinnacle of evolution and existence though. They're fully evolved AI. Not to mention they're somehow capable of incorporating organic life into themselves. Not the same as synthesis though. I suppose what they do would be more like transferring an organic consciousness to a fully synthetic body. Obviously not exactly the same or so simple, but the end result in both cases is not organic nor hybrid. But as far as snythetic evolution is concerned, they are absolutely fully evolved.

@onan said:

@spazmaster666 said:

@onan said:

He did. They're called the Reapers. Sovereign told Shepard this in the first game: "Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything."

They're the fusion of organic and synthetics. A similar concept pops up throughout Sci-fi, God-like beings who turn out to be incredibly powerful machines that use organic life as parts. If I recall correctly, that was the ultimate reveal of Xenogears, among other games.

I disagree. There's nothing to suggest that the Reapers are a fusion of organic and synthetic on the DNA level, which is what "Synthesis" would have achieved. Also Sovereign clearly lied when he said the Reapers were "eternal." Eternity implies no beginning and no end. While I can buy the "no end" part since synthetics don't die (unless destroyed), the Reapers were most definitely created, as the Child himself attested to.

*Ahem*

http://koobismo.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4t5gby

I like this comic because it makes the extremely salient point that the concept of "combining DNA" is ridiculous. DNA is a defined thing. Say "essences" or whatever if you don't want to get called on it, but "combining DNA" ..? No.

As for the rest of it, I think we can also chalk that one up to "changed premises," since in the same conversation Sovereign says the Reapers created the Citadel and Mass Relay to direct the development of civilization in ways they wanted. Since the Catalyst is trying to take credit for their creation, it's some serious chicken & egg nonsense going on if you want to believe both.

The synthetics very much have a foundation to being, just as organics do. Obviously not exactly the same as human DNA, but functionally there wouldn't be a difference. Denying this would be analogous to saying that a synthetic can never truly be alive because they are of a different form than organics.

It's this functional analog that would be combined with the organic counterpart. The foundations of synthetic and organic life combined. It's about as ridiculous as giant insect squid robot gods that wipe out all intelligent life, or Mass Effect's version of the Force, or sexy all female blue aliens that mind-meld with you and sometimes get sick and kill you by banging you. OK, maybe it's less ridiculous than those things. So if a little DNA-mixing is breaking the illusion for you, I really don't know what to tell you other than 'it's really not'.

The Catalyst includes the Reapers in referring to itself. We know that the Catalyst isn't bound to the Citadel. So it very well may not have originated from it. We also know that it controls the Reapers but not whether it created them or not. It could be the case that the Reapers were around and, being synthetic, were succeptible to the Catalyst's control. In any case, none of that makes it illogical that the Citadel and the Mass Relays were created after the Reapers came to be.

@spazmaster666 said:

@onan said:

*Ahem*

http://koobismo.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4t5gby

I like this comic because it makes the extremely salient point that the concept of "combining DNA" is ridiculous. DNA is a defined thing. Say "essences" or whatever if you don't want to get called on it, but "combining DNA" ..? No.

I'm only going by what the Child said at the end. I'm not saying it's possible in reality (i.e. we could easily argue that Synthetics aren't even alive). Again that's not the point. The point is to analyze based on what actually happens at the end of the game, not based on what you would perceive as logical.

@onan said:

It's also possible that he said "eternal" in terms of Shepard's perspective. After a certain point, once you start talking geological periods and origins of the galaxy and all that, "eternity" starts to lose a little meaning. The general thrust was "You are insignificant."

Sure, I can buy that. But what about the part that Sovereign says that the Reapers are the "pinnacle of evolution and existence" when in fact they were created and hence didn't evolve at all. Seems to me Sovereign was just blowing a lot of smoke up Shepard's ass.

How would you easily argue that synthetics are not alive? I suspect your definition of 'alive' would have to be fairly restrictive for this to work.

Despite not knowing what created the Reapers, it's not impossible for something to be created at the pinnacle of evolution, especially since synthetics do not naturally evolve. In the beginning of their awakening, it was the quarians who evolved the geth. Something could theoretically create a fully evolved AI, it's just a matter of knowing how. Obviously the case is different when it comes to evolving organics. Again, we've no reason to believe the Catalyst created the Reapers so this is all irrelevant. Interesting, but irrelevant.

#37 Posted by onan (1283 posts) -

@TheHT said:

The synthetics very much have a foundation to being, just as organics do. Obviously not exactly the same as human DNA, but functionally there wouldn't be a difference. Denying this would be analogous to saying that a synthetic can never truly be alive because they are of a different form than organics.

It's this functional analog that would be combined with the organic counterpart. The foundations of synthetic and organic life combined. It's about as ridiculous as giant insect squid robot gods that wipe out all intelligent life, or Mass Effect's version of the Force, or sexy all female blue aliens that mind-meld with you and sometimes get sick and kill you by banging you. OK, maybe it's less ridiculous than those things. So if a little DNA-mixing is breaking the illusion for you, I really don't know what to tell you other than 'it's really not'.

The Catalyst includes the Reapers in referring to itself. We know that the Catalyst isn't bound to the Citadel. So it very well may not have originated from it. We also know that it controls the Reapers but not whether it created them or not. It could be the case that the Reapers were around and, being synthetic, were succeptible to the Catalyst's control. In any case, none of that makes it illogical that the Citadel and the Mass Relays were created after the Reapers came to be.

Dude, what are you talking about? The foundation of a synthetic being is their programming. If you want to romanticize it, yes, you could make all sorts of correlations between organics and synthetics (Brains = CPU, etc), but at the end of the day, a synthetic is only the sum of the data that makes up their consciousness. Look at the Geth, none of their bodies matter, they're interchangeable, they spend most of their times not even in bodies, but in servers. When in bodies, like Legion, multiple Geth can share the same body. Sovereign said "each of us is a nation," which also points to the Reapers as being consolidated consciousnesses.

Synthetics don't have any analog to DNA. To accomplish what the Catalyst said it would do, end conflict, Synthesis would be some sort of mind meld, a half-way point where organic consciousnesses might have some group consciousness with synthetics or something so everyone well and truly understands each other, but honestly it's complete and utter horse shit and not at all what he said. I guess it only could possibly make sense to someone that knew absolutely nothing about genetics or computers, but anyone over the age of 12 or so would probably call BS on this.

At best, for the fusion the Catalyst is talking about, the wave would destroy all life in the galaxy and create a new breed of life that is partially silicon-based, but showing Joker with glowing green eyes and glowing circuit veins is just insanity. So everyone is exactly as they were, but now everyone is a cyborg?

There's a reason why sci-fi and fantasy tend to have mutually exclusive fandoms. People who like sci-fi tend to dislike stories about people who wave their hands and then --- MAGIC! That's what this ending is all about, though. Space magic. We'll accept readily the blue monogendered aliens, because on earth, that's an actual thing that happens in nature. I mean, aphids are all female, and they're born pregnant. The pseudo-science they cooked up behind the "mass effect" sounds plausible. Given the existence of this miracle form of matter, Element Zero, that has this effect, the ability to change the mass of objects, that enables everything in this fiction. Faster than light travel, telekinesis, force fields, everything. It's actually incredibly elegant, and kudos to Drew Karpyshyn for coming up with it.

This ending? Not so much.

#38 Posted by clstirens (847 posts) -

@onan said:

@TheHT said:

The synthetics very much have a foundation to being, just as organics do. Obviously not exactly the same as human DNA, but functionally there wouldn't be a difference. Denying this would be analogous to saying that a synthetic can never truly be alive because they are of a different form than organics.

It's this functional analog that would be combined with the organic counterpart. The foundations of synthetic and organic life combined. It's about as ridiculous as giant insect squid robot gods that wipe out all intelligent life, or Mass Effect's version of the Force, or sexy all female blue aliens that mind-meld with you and sometimes get sick and kill you by banging you. OK, maybe it's less ridiculous than those things. So if a little DNA-mixing is breaking the illusion for you, I really don't know what to tell you other than 'it's really not'.

The Catalyst includes the Reapers in referring to itself. We know that the Catalyst isn't bound to the Citadel. So it very well may not have originated from it. We also know that it controls the Reapers but not whether it created them or not. It could be the case that the Reapers were around and, being synthetic, were succeptible to the Catalyst's control. In any case, none of that makes it illogical that the Citadel and the Mass Relays were created after the Reapers came to be.

Dude, what are you talking about? The foundation of a synthetic being is their programming. If you want to romanticize it, yes, you could make all sorts of correlations between organics and synthetics (Brains = CPU, etc), but at the end of the day, a synthetic is only the sum of the data that makes up their consciousness. Look at the Geth, none of their bodies matter, they're interchangeable, they spend most of their times not even in bodies, but in servers. When in bodies, like Legion, multiple Geth can share the same body. Sovereign said "each of us is a nation," which also points to the Reapers as being consolidated consciousnesses.

Synthetics don't have any analog to DNA. To accomplish what the Catalyst said it would do, end conflict, Synthesis would be some sort of mind meld, a half-way point where organic consciousnesses might have some group consciousness with synthetics or something so everyone well and truly understands each other, but honestly it's complete and utter horse shit and not at all what he said. I guess it only could possibly make sense to someone that knew absolutely nothing about genetics or computers, but anyone over the age of 12 or so would probably call BS on this.

At best, for the fusion the Catalyst is talking about, the wave would destroy all life in the galaxy and create a new breed of life that is partially silicon-based, but showing Joker with glowing green eyes and glowing circuit veins is just insanity. So everyone is exactly as they were, but now everyone is a cyborg?

There's a reason why sci-fi and fantasy tend to have mutually exclusive fandoms. People who like sci-fi tend to dislike stories about people who wave their hands and then --- MAGIC! That's what this ending is all about, though. Space magic. We'll accept readily the blue monogendered aliens, because on earth, that's an actual thing that happens in nature. I mean, aphids are all female, and they're born pregnant. The pseudo-science they cooked up behind the "mass effect" sounds plausible. Given the existence of this miracle form of matter, Element Zero, that has this effect, the ability to change the mass of objects, that enables everything in this fiction. Faster than light travel, telekinesis, force fields, everything. It's actually incredibly elegant, and kudos to Drew Karpyshyn for coming up with it.

This ending? Not so much.

+1

#39 Posted by TheHT (10880 posts) -

@onan said:

@TheHT said:

The synthetics very much have a foundation to being, just as organics do. Obviously not exactly the same as human DNA, but functionally there wouldn't be a difference. Denying this would be analogous to saying that a synthetic can never truly be alive because they are of a different form than organics.

It's this functional analog that would be combined with the organic counterpart. The foundations of synthetic and organic life combined. It's about as ridiculous as giant insect squid robot gods that wipe out all intelligent life, or Mass Effect's version of the Force, or sexy all female blue aliens that mind-meld with you and sometimes get sick and kill you by banging you. OK, maybe it's less ridiculous than those things. So if a little DNA-mixing is breaking the illusion for you, I really don't know what to tell you other than 'it's really not'.

The Catalyst includes the Reapers in referring to itself. We know that the Catalyst isn't bound to the Citadel. So it very well may not have originated from it. We also know that it controls the Reapers but not whether it created them or not. It could be the case that the Reapers were around and, being synthetic, were succeptible to the Catalyst's control. In any case, none of that makes it illogical that the Citadel and the Mass Relays were created after the Reapers came to be.

Dude, what are you talking about? The foundation of a synthetic being is their programming. If you want to romanticize it, yes, you could make all sorts of correlations between organics and synthetics (Brains = CPU, etc), but at the end of the day, a synthetic is only the sum of the data that makes up their consciousness. Look at the Geth, none of their bodies matter, they're interchangeable, they spend most of their times not even in bodies, but in servers. When in bodies, like Legion, multiple Geth can share the same body. Sovereign said "each of us is a nation," which also points to the Reapers as being consolidated consciousnesses.

Synthetics don't have any analog to DNA. To accomplish what the Catalyst said it would do, end conflict, Synthesis would be some sort of mind meld, a half-way point where organic consciousnesses might have some group consciousness with synthetics or something so everyone well and truly understands each other, but honestly it's complete and utter horse shit and not at all what he said. I guess it only could possibly make sense to someone that knew absolutely nothing about genetics or computers, but anyone over the age of 12 or so would probably call BS on this.

At best, for the fusion the Catalyst is talking about, the wave would destroy all life in the galaxy and create a new breed of life that is partially silicon-based, but showing Joker with glowing green eyes and glowing circuit veins is just insanity. So everyone is exactly as they were, but now everyone is a cyborg?

There's a reason why sci-fi and fantasy tend to have mutually exclusive fandoms. People who like sci-fi tend to dislike stories about people who wave their hands and then --- MAGIC! That's what this ending is all about, though. Space magic. We'll accept readily the blue monogendered aliens, because on earth, that's an actual thing that happens in nature. I mean, aphids are all female, and they're born pregnant. The pseudo-science they cooked up behind the "mass effect" sounds plausible. Given the existence of this miracle form of matter, Element Zero, that has this effect, the ability to change the mass of objects, that enables everything in this fiction. Faster than light travel, telekinesis, force fields, everything. It's actually incredibly elegant, and kudos to Drew Karpyshyn for coming up with it.

This ending? Not so much.

The foundation of synthetic life-forms is their code. The foundation of organic life-forms is their code. There's no romanticism involved, only reduction. At the end of the day, an organic is only the sum of the data that makes up their consciousness. Their forms may be different, but the physical foundations for individual life, that which constitutes their consciousness, is in both. If you disagree, then please argue that life isn't impossible without any such functionally equivalent code, that one of the two (synthetics/organics) aren't alive, or even that the consciousness that constitutes life is separate from anything physical. That last one would make claims of space magic more interesting, that's for sure.

That geth live in different forms than organics, beyond even their synthetic shells, proves nothing with regards to a functional equivalent between the two. Shepard was able to enter the consensus with modifications, but is still an organic being. If anything, that's a case supporting the multiple realizability of life (particularly organic) which would only support there being a functional analog between organics and synthetics.

Synthesis isn't a "mind meld". It's a physical hybridization of the matter that is the physical foundation for individual life in organics and synthetics. By altering the physical makeup of all things, there's no more concern for the Catalyst and consequently no more conflict between organics and the Reapers.

This "mind meld" and this destruction of all life and creation of a new breed of life; I don't see why any of that is logically necessary for synthesis, especially since none of that ever happened. You've yet to explain why those are the only possible ways for the Crucible to spark synthesis, regardless of that fact..

You're willing to accept the 'miracle' of eezo but not the capability of the Crucible, an ancient tool with an unknown amount of highly developed intergalactic civilizations having contributed to it, being able to affect matter? Peculiar.

Maybe if the Catalyst's dialogue was all replaced with "yo dawg, check this shit out: Element Zero. roll them credits" you would find the ending more elegant.

#40 Posted by N7 (3573 posts) -
@TheHT: I will only respond to the eezo comment, but here on Earth we are only bound to one planet. Who knows the wonders that the universe has to offer? For all we know, there's some sort of solid matter that expands a thousand fold when in contact with an electrical current. We don't know. It all sounds plausible, therefore we go with it.
 
Also, I have the weirdest boner right now.
#41 Posted by StarvingGamer (7995 posts) -

Catalyst is not evil.

Case closed.

Online
#42 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@TheHT: "It's absolutely true that from what we've seen cases to the contrary of the Catalyst's claim, though this is not at all enough to assert or deny in any absolute terms that claim. But who exactly says you have to believe the Catalyst's belief? It's up to you to decide what you believe and whether or not you'll factor that into your final decision."

The problem is that all three of those decisions are based on believing what the Catalyst says to be true. You can't factor in calling it on it's faulty premise. The game doesn't allow that. The only option we have as the player if we choose to reject the Catalyst's conclusions is to turn off the console and not finish the game, which is hardly satisfying.

#43 Posted by Lord_Punch (138 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

Catalyst is not evil.

Case closed.

Compelling. So thought-out, so well-explained.

#44 Edited by StarvingGamer (7995 posts) -

@Lord_Punch said:

@StarvingGamer said:

Catalyst is not evil.

Case closed.

Compelling. So thought-out, so well-explained.

I thought it was self explanatory.

Your entire premise hinges on the belief that the Catalyst is "evil" which is, at best, subjective. The actions of the Catalyst are no different than the actions of Mordin and his work on the Genophage or the actions of Renegade Shepard and his/her eradication of the heretics/Geth. It's simply a matter of scale. Would you sacrifice one life to save the lives of thousands? Would you sacrifice a thousand lives to save the lives of millions? These decisions all reside within an incredibly murky moral gray area that cannot be defined in absolutes. Is the Catalyst misguided? Maybe. But the Catalyst is not evil.

Online
#45 Posted by vmehnert (219 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@Lord_Punch said:

@StarvingGamer said:

Catalyst is not evil.

Case closed.

Compelling. So thought-out, so well-explained.

I thought it was self explanatory.

Your entire premise hinges on the belief that the Catalyst is "evil" which is, at best, subjective. The actions of the Catalyst are no different than the actions of Mordin and his work on the Genophage or the actions of Renegade Shepard and his/her eradication of the heretics/Geth. It's simply a matter of scale. Would you sacrifice one life to save the lives of thousands? Would you sacrifice a thousand lives to save the lives of millions? These decisions all reside within an incredibly murky moral gray area that cannot be defined in absolutes. Is the Catalyst misguided? Maybe. But the Catalyst is not evil.

This.

#46 Posted by N7 (3573 posts) -
@StarvingGamer said:

@Lord_Punch said:

@StarvingGamer said:

Catalyst is not evil.

Case closed.

Compelling. So thought-out, so well-explained.

I thought it was self explanatory.

Your entire premise hinges on the belief that the Catalyst is "evil" which is, at best, subjective. The actions of the Catalyst are no different than the actions of Mordin and his work on the Genophage or the actions of Renegade Shepard and his/her eradication of the heretics/Geth. It's simply a matter of scale. Would you sacrifice one life to save the lives of thousands? Would you sacrifice a thousand lives to save the lives of millions? These decisions all reside within an incredibly murky moral gray area that cannot be defined in absolutes. Is the Catalyst misguided? Maybe. But the Catalyst is not evil.

That's the problem though. With the Genophage, you are told exactly why and how it was necessary. You are presented with "It's happened time and time again, and it will continue until the Krogan kill everything", whereas the whole ordeal behind the Catalyst is he says "SYNTHETICS WILL ALWAYS REBEL AGAINST THE CREATOR. EXCEPT THE REAPERS. NOW MAKE A DECISION." Uh, how? Why? In Mass Effect 2 and 3, you see that when given a chance, Synthetics are actually pretty cool. EDI is completely trustworthy, almost like a person. So are the Geth, even more so when they "evolve" with the Reaper code.
 
So you are told: This will happen. Disregard everything you know and everything you've seen. My truth is absolute but I will not explain why that is.
 
WHY is it necessary? HOW did it even happen? I don't care about the origin or backstory of the Reapers or anything stupid. HOW did you come to the conclusion that Synthetics will always, always rebel against their creator? The Geth are essentially in their infancy now and have so much room to grow, but they will grow as an individual instead of a collective, and who knows what EDI can do. Giving them a chance is the right thing, but not...?
 
That's the whole issue. We are told it will happen without anything else to go by, and then we see what happens when we treat the Synthetics like one of our own. So we've got conflicting opinions because of what we know, but also of this Ghostkid who's been haunting me in my nightmares, who is also the Leader of The Reapers tells us.
 
So while the Genophage was a case of "total grey-zone", it was still a much better solution than killing them all, which is what the Reapers have done. If that's not evil, I'm not really sure what is.
#47 Posted by onan (1283 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@Lord_Punch said:

@StarvingGamer said:

Catalyst is not evil.

Case closed.

Compelling. So thought-out, so well-explained.

I thought it was self explanatory.

Your entire premise hinges on the belief that the Catalyst is "evil" which is, at best, subjective. The actions of the Catalyst are no different than the actions of Mordin and his work on the Genophage or the actions of Renegade Shepard and his/her eradication of the heretics/Geth. It's simply a matter of scale. Would you sacrifice one life to save the lives of thousands? Would you sacrifice a thousand lives to save the lives of millions? These decisions all reside within an incredibly murky moral gray area that cannot be defined in absolutes. Is the Catalyst misguided? Maybe. But the Catalyst is not evil.

Whoa whoa whoa, rewind. Not murky at all. What happened with the Krogan, while kind of awful, was an imposed curtailing of their reproductive freedoms because they abused it and threatened galactic safety. I'm not saying it was right, but the people who made the decision are long dead, and it's almost on the level of the Chinese One-Child Policy enacted in 1978, and it's not like China is evil, they just don't have the resources to sustain a larger population so they place fines upon families that break the law and have additional children.

What the Catalyst authorized, or did, was cause the deaths of trillions or more sentient beings based on a theory. It is responsible for countless mass genocides. You see where I'm going with this. The Catalyst is basically immortal Hitler, but a billion times worse. He also claimed what he was doing was for the greater good, incidentally.

Seriously, how can you play through 100 hours of the suffering caused by the Reapers and somehow sympathize with them because, what? Because the leader appears to you as a kid? Would you readily sacrifice yourself on the word of a digital Hitler? ...I ...may be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure that makes you a Space Nazi. Just saying.

#48 Posted by StarvingGamer (7995 posts) -

@N7 said:

@StarvingGamer said:

@Lord_Punch said:

@StarvingGamer said:

Catalyst is not evil.

Case closed.

Compelling. So thought-out, so well-explained.

I thought it was self explanatory.

Your entire premise hinges on the belief that the Catalyst is "evil" which is, at best, subjective. The actions of the Catalyst are no different than the actions of Mordin and his work on the Genophage or the actions of Renegade Shepard and his/her eradication of the heretics/Geth. It's simply a matter of scale. Would you sacrifice one life to save the lives of thousands? Would you sacrifice a thousand lives to save the lives of millions? These decisions all reside within an incredibly murky moral gray area that cannot be defined in absolutes. Is the Catalyst misguided? Maybe. But the Catalyst is not evil.

That's the problem though. With the Genophage, you are told exactly why and how it was necessary. You are presented with "It's happened time and time again, and it will continue until the Krogan kill everything", whereas the whole ordeal behind the Catalyst is he says "SYNTHETICS WILL ALWAYS REBEL AGAINST THE CREATOR. EXCEPT THE REAPERS. NOW MAKE A DECISION." Uh, how? Why? In Mass Effect 2 and 3, you see that when given a chance, Synthetics are actually pretty cool. EDI is completely trustworthy, almost like a person. So are the Geth, even more so when they "evolve" with the Reaper code.

So you are told: This will happen. Disregard everything you know and everything you've seen. My truth is absolute but I will not explain why that is.

WHY is it necessary? HOW did it even happen? I don't care about the origin or backstory of the Reapers or anything stupid. HOW did you come to the conclusion that Synthetics will always, always rebel against their creator? The Geth are essentially in their infancy now and have so much room to grow, but they will grow as an individual instead of a collective, and who knows what EDI can do. Giving them a chance is the right thing, but not...?

That's the whole issue. We are told it will happen without anything else to go by, and then we see what happens when we treat the Synthetics like one of our own. So we've got conflicting opinions because of what we know, but also of this Ghostkid who's been haunting me in my nightmares, who is also the Leader of The Reapers tells us. So while the Genophage was a case of "total grey-zone", it was still a much better solution than killing them all, which is what the Reapers have done. If that's not evil, I'm not really sure what is.

It's no different than with Mordin and the Krogan. At the time when Mordin decided to bolster the Genophage as the effects were waning, there were no doubt numerous examples of Krogans that had integrated well enough into society and were getting along with their colleagues from the other races. But he believed that regardless of individual cases, the unavoidable end-game of a freely reproducing Krogan race would result in a galactic war.

So when the time comes Shepard is told that this will happen. Disregard everything you know and everything you've seen. The Salarian Ambassador's truth is absolute. And so Shepard is given the choice: cure the Genophage because you disagree with this belief and trust that every Krogan will behave like Wrex and Grunt or ensure the Genophage can never be cured because you agree with this belief despite the alliances you have managed to forge.

The situation with the Catalyst is no different. The Catalyst states its belief and Shepard is given a choice. If you disagree you can take control of the Reapers and remove them from the galaxy, trusting the races both organic and synthetic to continue to get along on their own without intervention, or if you agree you can eradicate all synthetic life to ensure that there will be no future uprising.

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#49 Posted by StarvingGamer (7995 posts) -

@onan said:

@StarvingGamer said:

@Lord_Punch said:

@StarvingGamer said:

Catalyst is not evil.

Case closed.

Compelling. So thought-out, so well-explained.

I thought it was self explanatory.

Your entire premise hinges on the belief that the Catalyst is "evil" which is, at best, subjective. The actions of the Catalyst are no different than the actions of Mordin and his work on the Genophage or the actions of Renegade Shepard and his/her eradication of the heretics/Geth. It's simply a matter of scale. Would you sacrifice one life to save the lives of thousands? Would you sacrifice a thousand lives to save the lives of millions? These decisions all reside within an incredibly murky moral gray area that cannot be defined in absolutes. Is the Catalyst misguided? Maybe. But the Catalyst is not evil.

Whoa whoa whoa, rewind. Not murky at all. What happened with the Krogan, while kind of awful, was an imposed curtailing of their reproductive freedoms because they abused it and threatened galactic safety. I'm not saying it was right, but the people who made the decision are long dead, and it's almost on the level of the Chinese One-Child Policy enacted in 1978, and it's not like China is evil, they just don't have the resources to sustain a larger population so they place fines upon families that break the law and have additional children.

What the Catalyst authorized, or did, was cause the deaths of trillions or more sentient beings based on a theory. It is responsible for countless mass genocides. You see where I'm going with this. The Catalyst is basically immortal Hitler, but a billion times worse. He also claimed what he was doing was for the greater good, incidentally.

Seriously, how can you play through 100 hours of the suffering caused by the Reapers and somehow sympathize with them because, what? Because the leader appears to you as a kid? Would you readily sacrifice yourself on the word of a digital Hitler? ...I ...may be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure that makes you a Space Nazi. Just saying.

How much theory is it? We can't know because we have no idea what the Catalyst, an entity millions of years old, has seen.

When Mordin chose to give the Genophage a boost to keep it working, he was basing his decision on a theory. The theory was that regardless of the current state of their society and the lessons they may have learned, if granted reproductive freedom the Krogan would multiply out of control and eventually wage war on the galaxy. If Renegade Shepard chooses to stop Mordin (random other Salarian dude) from eventually curing the Genophage, he/she is acting according to the same theory.

Mordin and Renegad Shepard are causing millions of still-births in order to preserve the billions of lives that would be lost in a second THEORETICAL Krogan Rebellion. Not only that, but they are ensuring the eventual extinction of the Krogan race which is basically a bigger, badder genocide.

So if I'm a space nazi, then so is Mordin and so is Renegade Shepard. Just saying.

Online
#50 Posted by N7 (3573 posts) -
@StarvingGamer: Yeah, I wrote out all of that and realized I was just putting more words in front of "He's not really evil, just misguided". Like curing the Genophage. Mordin was atoning for the mistake he made. At the time, it was the right decision. The benefits were too grand to ignore, but he saw the impact it was having and he set out to cure it. Depending on the decision Shepard makes, he succeeds or not.
 
The difference is still there, though: The Reapers killed trillions of trillions of people throughout their history, whereas the Genophage didn't. It stunted the growth of a galactic menace.
 
Similar, yes. Grayzone, yes. But totally different when you look at it. One was a necessary evil, whereas the other, an atrocity based on logical fallacies. "Synthetics will always overthrow the creator, but not the Reapers, who are Reapers. We don't want synthetics to kill you so we kill you with synthetics."

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