I didn't intend to post this on the forums, that was accidental. It was supposed to be just a blog post for my five followers. They seemed to like it.
But now it's here, so please be gentle. Like I said; this was a reply to the news story by Alex about the Extended Cut release, and a dozen pages of comments complaining about how no-one ever said anything about *why* Mass Effect 3's ending was bad, just that it was.
Quick recap, because basically no-one actually reads this before accusing me of starting a flamewar:
The ending of Mass Effect 3 was inadequate compared to the endings of Mass Effects 1 and 2 and Dragon Ages 1 and 2, generally because it was not player-choice-driven like the rest of the game(s). And here's a full-length novel worth of ranting explaining why I think that.
The press coverage of the Mass Effect 3 Ending controversy was dominated by fans being generalized as whiny and entitled, *not* that the game actually had a bad ending and fans wanted it fixed. As much as I dislike being a part of that angry rabble, I think they are correct, and here's an awful lot of rambling text explaining why I think that.
In preparation for the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut which I'll hopefully get around to playing today, here's the comment I made to Alex's news story about its release. If you read it, and especially to the four of you who started following me because of that comment (thanks!); I didn't add to it.
To the ones of you that didn't read it; I talk about the Mass Effect 3 ending, why it was so terrible, and why it was so disappointing that Giant Bomb (and the games press in general) hardly put any effort into understanding one of the biggest developments in game design in years.
Obviously, there are spoilers for Mass Effect 3, a little bit of Dragon Age II, and incidentally, the '60s TV show The Prisoner. That one's less obvious. But hey; now you know.
Also, I haven't played through the Extended Cut. That will happen over the next couple of days. And after that, it may take a while for me to digest what's wrong about that, or hopefully, what isn't. And then I'll let you know what I thought.
Until then, for posterity (and also quest points for first ever blog post):
Why Mass Effect 3's ending was so bad, why Giant Bomb and everybody else did such a poor job of covering it, and what I thought of the whole thing.
Warning: Wall of text follows.
While the ending of Mass Effect 3 was hugely disappointing to me, both as a fan of Mass Effect and of good storytelling in games, what I found even *more* disappointing was the horrible gaming press coverage of the entire thing.
BioWare makes a game. People complain about the quality of the story, and want it fixed. Specifically, to not be the worst piece of storytelling done by a company that does the *best* storytelling in games.
And not only that, the ending is the single most important story beat in the entire game, and arguably of the entire series. And as rushed and lackluster the game as a whole was, even according to BioWare the ending was improvised in the last month of development. And it shows. Terribly.
And then, anyone complaining is "entitled and whiny".
This is especially disappointing from Giant Bomb. Just a few months earlier, you gave BioWare two awards...
The first award: "Most Disappointing Game of 2011" for Dragon Age II. I was going to write something about how this applies to Mass Effect 3, but I don't need to; if you do a find-and-replace of DA2 for ME3 on the actual award text, you should get it.
"Disappointment can blossom from a number of different sources--your own personal expectations based on the previous entry in a series, or the developer's previous output, promises made during the game's pre-release PR cycle--and no game disappointed quite as thoroughly on all fronts in 2011 as Dragon Age II.
Even without the BioWare name, or even the relatively freshly minted Dragon Age name to live up to, Dragon Age II is an RPG that feels half-finished, its attempts at scope undermined by pervasive sense of a crushing development deadline. Where they could cut corners, they did. It's hard not to be disappointed when a series goes from so high to so low in just one iteration."
Mass Effect was a real classic, it had its flaws but they were worth overlooking. Mass Effect 2 fixed all those flaws, and expanded on the original in all the right ways, and it stands as one of the top games of this console generation, if not of all time.
People can't even be bothered to talk about Mass Effect 3 a couple of months after release.
And the second award: The “Check Yourself Before You Wriggety-Wreck Yourself” Award for Things That Need to "Take a Break" Before They Become the “Worst Trend” runner-up, for EA's renaming of EA Los Angeles as "BioWare Victory". And this was for watering down BioWare's well-earned name as top storyteller in gaming.
The fact that EA released a lackluster space RPG is a bad enough reason for people to be disappointed.
For it to be BioWare that made it, that makes it *personal*.
Giant Bomb should really be agreeing with the "entitled and whiny fans" for BioWare no longer making great games.
It *should* be unacceptable for BioWare to have screwed up like this!
Now, as for all the fans being this angry rabble that does nothing but cry like babies with impotent rage... Did they really do that?
Here's the list of things I've heard them do:
Complain on the BioWare forums.
Complain about the ending in other places.
Threaten to report EA to the Better Business Bureau for false advertising.
Send multi-coloured cupcakes to BioWare.
Collect $80,000 for charity.
Make long-winded videos of YouTube deconstructing the ending.
Send death threats to Casey Hudson on Twitter.
I'll get to the last point, but as for the others: Are those *bad*?
For those complaining that "oh no, here's another place for people to complain about Mass Effect 3's ending"; what the hell are you doing on those threads?
I'd say at least half of the comments on this post, about how people are going to complain about Mass Effect 3's ending, are PEOPLE COMPLAINING ABOUT PEOPLE COMPLAINING about Mass Effect 3's ending.
The people who don't want to talk about Mass Effect 3's ending, are *far* more obnoxious about it than the ones who actually *do*. I haven't seen a single, thought-out, logical, well-reasoned post or comment about why we should stop talking about Mass Effect 3's ending. I've seen a few of those that defend the ending. I've seen a *lot* that critique the ending. But most of what I see is people yelling for everyone to shut the fuck up already.
Can't you just, you know... Not engage in the discussion? Why are most of the comments "I don't even care"...?
It's not that hard to stay away from Mass Effect 3 ending discussions, you know.
And is it bad to complain about false advertising to the appropriate authorities? ...Especially when you actually have a point? Mac Walters *did* say you wouldn't just get a choice between A, B and C (you do). Casey Hudson *did* say the Rachni queen would show up in the ending (she didn't). Casey Hudson, on the Bombcast, said quite clearly that you don't need to play multiplayer to get the "good ending" (you do). Poignantly, once the story blew up, Vinny said words to the effect that "didn't he say to our faces that wasn't so", but the Bomb Crew decided that clearly the fans were wrong.
Now, sending multi-coloured cupcakes to BioWare was probably more annoying than clever. (Haha, they have different colours, but taste the same, just like Mass Effect 3's ending!) But it's not like it was letter bombs.
And then, somehow, collecting money for charity turned into a bad thing. Somehow, the fans who did that were even worse than the ones that sent death threats to the writers.
And *those* people; they're disgusting. And I don't associate with them. But as disgusting as it is, they were actually less disgusting about it this time around; remember when one of the BioWare writers mentioned that she was more into writing than gaming? In a casual interview, years earlier? And how she was harassed off the internet for it?
And it's not much of an argument, but they probably expected it. People have mentioned Arthur Conan Doyle here and there, and how he was pressured by fans into writing more Sherlock Holmes after he killed the character off. And that was 1903. I would like to add an even better example; Patrick McGoohan ended his TV show The Prisoner with the main character unmasking the villain, who was wearing a gorilla mask, and it turned out the villain was the main character, and then the main character and a lesser villain drove off in a house while singing Dem Bones. And McGoohan received death threats over *that*, in 1968.
(And I've seen that show, and that was a terrible ending, just for the record. But not as bad as Mass Effect 3! At least the end of The Prisoner *fit*. It was a weird show...)
In the grand scheme of things, I think that "complaining about Mass Effect 3's ending" is a dark chapter in internet history.
Not because of all the complaining, except for the disgusting bits.
No, I think it's dark because, for once, people actually sat down and reasoned out why "the final plot point of a story had narrative incoherence", which is a god-damn mature thing for the internet to be upset over, IN A GAME. And then nobody wanted to listen.
Games have really bad endings, I don't know if you've noticed. And finally one came along that was so bad that gamers just wouldn't allow it to happen ever again, and for all the talk about having game "critiques" instead of "reviews", it was such a missed opportunity to have this perfect case study come along of how not to do it, and it's been mostly ignored.
Now, if you've made it this far, and you're curious, here's *my* critique.
The ending was a rushed, hurried mess, and it shows. The game as a whole was unforgivably rushed overall; there was no valid reason they couldn't have delayed it six months more for polish. But the ending is the one point that they *couldn't* get away with screwing up, but they did.
The ending was... Inadequate.
Although I think the game starts falling apart at Thessia, I'll start where the narrative *completely* crumbles.
After the run to the beam, whatever drive and coherence the game had, goes away. (Yes yes, Indoctrination Theory, I'll get to that.)
The walk through the spooky citadel was real... Bad. Purely from a level design perspective, the weirdly textured piles of "stuff" along the sides had no business being in a 2012 game, let alone Mass Effect. I *guess* it was supposed to be decomposing bodies? Or a 64x64 JPEG of that, stretched over a blob of polygons?
If the intent was to have Shepard walk through the horror of what the Reapers were doing, it didn't work. And doing it in an abstract environment you've never been in before certainly didn't help; let's say you'd had piles of decomposing bodies on the Presidium, that would be a bleak and terrible version of something you *know*. And then it morphs into something you don't know. As it is, where on the Citadel *is* this? What's going on? Why are the textures so bad? Why haven't you mentioned the Keepers since the first game, are they important *now* suddenly?
Then you make it to Anderson and the Illusive Man. This chat was also bad. Now, it was supposed to be a reference to how you could talk down Saren in the first game; but the Illusive Man has so much less of a presence in the story that it just feels cheap. You spent all of Mass Effect chasing after Saren, and then you fight Saren, or you can talk him down. With the Illusive Man, you spend the whole game chasing after the Crucible so you can defeat the Reapers and the Illusive Man gets in the way, and then you walk into him and talk him into killing himself. The Illusive Man is *basically* not part of the story, and Cerberus has far to large a part in this game. You fight them as much as the Reapers! A boss fight would actually have helped here; that's how you confront antagonists in video games as a medium, and "dialogue wheel" is not really satisfying *gameplay* for dealing with the assigned antagonist of the series. And it's not even a particularly good dialogue wheel. You either talk him down, or don't, game over. Apparently, the plan was to have a big ol' boss fight with TIM in his lair, but they cut that. Which was bad, because they replaced him with a ninja guy from the books who has absolutely no characterization (and I even *read* the books) and when you *do* confront the "proper" bad guy, it feels terribly out of place, both in narrative, as well as *physically* in the game world.
As for Anderson, he felt oddly out of place. He never struck me as a character that was an integral part of the series; he's the guy who gives you your first job. He's not part of your crew, you don't spend any real time with him, and as awesome as Keith David is, he's just there so that the Illusive Man has someone to shoot that you are *supposed* to care about, but the game gives you no reason to. If that had been a crew member or Joker or someone, that would have been something. If the Illusive Man shot Liara, I'd have cared! Furthermore, the scene is kinda absurd; you can't stop The Illusive Man from shooting Anderson anyway, only influence "how badly" he gets shot. Now, for me, he did not get badly shot, and I liked the scene where he tells Shepard she did good, kid. It was poignant. (Although, having an extended nod towards John Carpenter's The Thing taint the emotional high point of the series is *probably* not appropriate.) But then he just sort of... Stops? Did he die? Fall asleep? What? Once again, the art just didn't hold up well enough. You'd need far better texture work and animation to convey his final death. Or a death rattle sound or *something*. So that was confusing.
Then, Hackett telling Shepard it didn't work. I don't think *this* "worked". Without any sense of a raging battle going on, and then the battle *continuing* to go on, it just sounds like Hackett sent Shepard a voice mail. Other than Shepard sounding completely worn out, which *did* work, I thought that plot turn was kinda comical. "Shepard, uh, did you forget to turn it on or something?" [THE PRICE IS RIGHT LOSING HORN] But, like I said, Shepard being completely at the end of her rope was well done, and well acted even. I liked the "What do you need me to do?". Poor Shepard.
And now for the fun part; the God Child.
I probably didn't mind this as much as most, certainly not at first. The conversation itself went alright for me, but I do remember I stumbled a bit on the part where the kid mentioned that the Geth and EDI would die if you destroyed the Reapers. Now, you could fill in the blanks yourself that this is because both EDI and the Geth use Reaper tech, which would have contrasted nicely with the earlier choice of saving the Geth by allowing Legion to upload Reaper code to them; this is what finally dooms them.
But... The game actually doesn't say this, and I should not have to rely on fan fiction to tell the story, when it would have taken them half a sentence to actually say that. And they did spend half a sentence on something that contradicts itself, the God Child hinting that Shepard would die because she is half synthetic. Uh... How? Are those Reaper implants? Is there Reaper code in Shepard? Those *were* Cerberus implants, and Cerberus did use Reaper tech elsewhere (EDI), but... Shouldn't the game have mentioned at some point that there's a little Reaper in Shepard? The game never says that! And worse, if the implication is that "technology" dies alongside the reapers, that's pretty bleak for pretty much the entire galaxy. Then again, unless this was *meant* to imply that joining synthetic and organic ain't bad, 'cause look at Shepard and Shepard is kinda awesome, so that's an option you could consider! ...But then again, the game never actually says that.
It's really bad that the final dialogue of the game is full of holes. I didn't notice most of those holes at first, but unless you went through that and never noticed *anything* amiss, I don't think it works. From what I guess (and read in The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3), the point was for the dialogue to leave out enough of the boring details that you would fill in the blanks yourself; unfortunately, the game doesn't give you the tools to do that. The Codex does *not* explain if Shepard has Reaper tech or not, the Codex does *not* explain how disabling reapers would disable the Geth or EDI, and there's a big parade of other plot holes left by that dialogue that the Internet will happily give you lists of. If you bother to actually read it.
And then the actual choice itself. I chose green, to combine Reaper and synthetic DNA somehow, not because I believed that the Reapers have any reason to continue existing, but that I thought that the geth did, even though I thought it made no sense as part of the choice.
And then the ending was a two-minute cutscene of the reapers landing peacefully, and people cheering like in Independence Day, and then the Normandy crashes on some planet for some reason, and then Joker and EDI step out as if they were Adam and Eve, which is appropriate for the Synthesis ending. And then I settled in for that Animal House ending that these games have, like Dragon Age: Origins or Fallout or what have you, showing what happened to the different characters after the story concluded, showing off the effects that Shepard had on the game world, and the consequences of the choices you made.
...Aaaand then Liara and Tali stepped out, and I'm pretty sure they *died* earlier.
And then the end credits rolled, and then there's a bit with Buzz Aldrin talking about Shepard's legend, which is basically an ad for DLC. And I assumed the internet uproar was because this was the terribly sloppily made ending that was supposed to be a joke ending, and they didn't get it, like accidentally stumbling across the Reptite ending in Chrono Trigger. (If you defeat Lavos at a very specific time, everyone ends up as a dinosaur. Kinda like making everyone a cyborg, and having a clumsy Adam-and-Eve reference. Except it was *supposed* to be a joke.)
And then, after mulling it over for a day, I went back to the autosave and re-did the choice to get the other two endings, the "wrong" one first (controlling the Reapers) and then the "right" one (killing the hell out of the Reapers).
And they were all that same terrible joke ending.
And it's the worst drop in storytelling quality, in games, that I have ever come across. Possibly across any medium.
Now, I didn't expect Deus Ex: Invisible War to have a great ending, 'cause it's kinda a crappy game, and it had a kinda crappy ending. Same with Deus Ex: Human Revolution; neat game, not a terrific storytelling showpiece, ended the way it had been told up until then; clumsily.
But then it's the same exact ending that Mass Effect 3 has, structurally.
And you can just *feel* that they were setting up short cutscene after cutscene of different characters and what they did after the war (yes, like Animal House); Tali returning to Rannoch, Wrex returning to Eve on Tuchanka, Liara pining for the totally dead Shepard, and then towards the end you put the little joke of Joker and EDI as Adam and Eve, appropriate for the Synthesis ending. But then they only had that last one, and put all the other characters in it too because they were probably *supposed* to have one for each character, but didn't, and improvised. Poorly.
Mass Effect 3 was a great story; it was rushed in spots, but it kept up right to the end. Missions like Tuchanka and Rannoch are fantastic examples of interactive storytelling at their best; choices made through three games all came together and led to a variety of outcomes.
And then they completely forget how to write an interactive story at all, in the end.
And then it gets worse; even after they threw together a rushed game and an even more rushed ending, they went on to say how it took all your choices into account, how it wouldn't be a choice between A, B, and C and then credits, and even down to specifics about how you did not need to play multiplayer at all to get the "best" ending. Not to mention how, even before they released Mass Effect *1*, they said that your saves would carry over and it would all build to an epic conclusion that wouldn't need to be compromised in its storytelling, because they were making a trilogy and then nothing more.
And the sum total of impact you can have on the ending to the series, is to choose between "Reapers die", "Reapers leave", "organic life becomes cyborgs", and then a two-minute cutscene and end credits. And another cutscene, pointing out how you should buy the DLC.
There is a grand total of six end states for the entire series. Red 1 (everyone dies), Red 2 (Reapers die), Red 3 (Reapers die, Shepard doesn't), Blue 1 (everyone dies), Blue 2 (Reapers leave) and Green 1 (Everyone becomes a cyborg). That's it. And content-wise, the cutscene only changes in colour, and whether the Reapers fly away or crash.
And then you can only get Red 3 or Green 1 if you play enough multiplayer.
So, here's my take on how Mass Effect 3 ends:
You talk The Illusive Man to death like the end of Mass Effect.
You have a chat with Keith David as he's dying, like the end of The Thing.
You chat to the builder of the machines, like the end of The Matrix Reloaded.
You jump in the beam like in Alien³ leading to the technological singularity ending from Deus Ex: Invisible War, or take control of the Reapers like taking over the big computer at the end of Deus Ex, or you destroy all technology like the end of Deus Ex: Invisible War (again).
And then you have the ending of Independence Day.
And then your crew crashes on an alien planet, like Gilligan's Island.
AND THAT'S IT.
Mass Effect 3 had nothing interesting to say about the end of Mass Effect.
And from a studio that actually understands how to write good stories, the *best* stories in gaming, that's pretty unforgivable. And for them to have not screwed this up before, and suddenly doing it now, is simply shocking.
Mass Effect ended on a cliffhanger for the next game.
Mass Effect 2 ended on a really neat puzzle of figuring out which of your crew members to assign to what so everyone makes it out, followed by a somewhat silly bossfight, followed by a pretty cool cliffhanger for the next game.
Dragon Age: Origins ends on a slightly cheap-looking Animal House ending telling what people did after the war. (My Warden went away with Leliana.)
Dragon Age II, otherwise a trainwreck, ended with Varric finishing off his retelling of what the Champion did and how it affected the world.
Mass Effect 3 just kinda ran out. You talk to the Kid, and then the game tells you nothing meaningful about what happens to any of the characters or factions that you have been deciding the fates of for three games. The most you ever get to hear about any of them, *vefore* the ending, is the War Assets book. Which was interesting, but way too cheap. And when none of that comes up in the ending, that's real bad.
From the time you assault the Cerberus Base, no meaningful changes to the plot happens as a result of any choice you've ever made, with the only exception being the crew members you can say goodbye to before the final push. The Rachni Queen, or the geth and quarians, the asari, the turians, none of that shows up again after you've done with those missions.
All these interestings things are set up, through three games, and none of them paid off.
The last time that any choice you've made, influences the story in any way, is when Miranda does or doesn't survive the encounter with her father. After that; nothin'. And *certainly* not a fulfillment of the promise that every choice you've made affects the ending.
Unless you count the War Assets. And you shouldn't.
Patrick made a blog post about how he wanted to see *his* Mass Effect trilogy story through to the end, even with the mistakes he made in getting Miranda killed. If she did survive Mass Effect 2, and you actually did everything "right" in keeping her alive in Mass Effect 3, her only impact on the ending to the series, after being a main character for the last two games? "25 points". And a phone call. And only 12.5 points if you didn't play multiplayer.
That's not a worthy send-off for any character, and that's all you get for any of them, unless they happen to step off the crashed Normandy in your randomly chosen line-up.
Here's a better example:
My friend, who finished before me, didn't import his previous savegames, and ended up sacrificing the geth to save the quarians. Then he played multiplayer to geth the Effective Military Score up. He got the green ending.
My other friend, who is kind of a jerk, sacrificed Tali to save the geth, and he played some multiplayer to get the EMS up a bit. He got the green ending.
Me, I transferred my saves across four computers in as many years, and because I'm awesome, I saved *both* the geth and the quarians. And then I got the EMS up to 100% just in case.
And then I got the green ending.
For a series where you have been able to make choices that greatly impact the story being told, and a series which had been the prime example of the kind of great storytelling you only *can* do in games, that's just terrible.
And that's why the ending of Mass Effect 3 sucks.
As for any loose ends to tie up:
"It's not about the destination, it's the journey!"
You're wrong. The Mass Effect series has, at its core, been about influencing the story through your choices. It's a role playing game. And a pretty good one.
And even if you argue that the geth/quarian conflict, and the krogan genophage, and the fate of the Rachni queen, and so on, are all wrapped up *during* the game, and those count as endings? You're still wrong. The end of the geth/quarian conflict was fantastically told, it depended on your choices through three games, and it had massive implications for the state of the galaxy. But after that story wraps up, the only change to Mass Effect 3 from then on is whether or not Tali is a crew member. You never see the geth, or the quarians again, even though the game says that it's going to. I'm pretty sure that if you save just the quarians, instead of both the quarians and the geth, that only *one* line of dialogue changes. It's a build up to resolving the *real* conflict of the game, and it's a build up-that never pays off. Not a single one of your choices influence anything that happens in the ending, other than if you have enough EMS. And multiplayer influences that just as much as single player, which is disgusting.
"So what if this game sucked, it doesn't make the other games suck less!"
Yes it does.
Playing through Mass Effects 1 and 2, you're constantly reminded of how your choices have consequences. Even for the first half of Mass Effect 3, you still get those consequences presented to you; it sure isn't nice to see Legion die to save the geth and make peace with the quarians, but that's what Mass Effect 2 built towards. Same thing with Mordin; he got a fantastic send-off. I made a choice in Mass Effect 2 to save the genophage cure data, because I believed that would give the best payoff in 3, and it did. Blowing up the Council (accidentally) in 1 was a mistake, and I paid for it in 2. And having it carry over into 3 as well, improved that choice in 1; I actually ended up with an extra ally 'cause I messed up in the first game. And that's a wonderful way my playthrough of the Mass Effect games became so rewarding.
But when so many of the choices made throughout the previous games *don't* have a payoff at the end, that makes those setups worth less. Saving the rachni queen in 1 was a big choice, then, and it had very little payoff in 2. That was a disappointment. And now that the final state of the galaxy doesn't care in any meaningful way if she lives or dies in 3, that makes that original choice in Mass Effect 1 also meaningless. That game is worse now that 3 has proven that that choice is *actually* meaningless, and not like it was in Mass Effect 2 where her brief cameo hinted that it was meaningless now, but was *going* to be important. And then it wasn't. Getting a bonus 100 War Asset points for keeping her alive is not meaningful. I can get that by playing Multiplayer.
And there are a *lot* of characters and factions and solar systems and such that end up not having any meaningful consequences.
Any future playthroughs of Mass Effect 1 and 2 *is* going to be influenced by Mass Effect 3. For some, like choices related to Mordin, Mass Effect 3 made Mass Effect 2 better. For most, however, failing to even attempt to tie up the loose ends makes the first two games worse.
I kept Liara alive through three games, I made her the Shadow Broker, I romanced her in all three games (I did cheat on her with Kelly Chambers, but then again, who didn't), and what happened to the Shepard's One True Love?
Meh, says Mass Effect 3.
"The Indoctrination Theory is actually really clever! It's totally a fantastic ending"
It doesn't tie up any plotlines in any meaningful way. So no.
Also, if BioWare intended this to be what actually happened to Shepard, they did a pretty poor job of getting that across. And if that's a kind of puzzle for the player to figure out, it's a pretty terrible puzzle. I should know, I've designed puzzles that were really bad.
But worst of all: If the true ending to Mass Effect 3 can be summed up as "it's all a dream", then the first step is to add "The Wizard of Oz" to the list of terrible places they stole the ending from.
And then the final step is to realise that apparently, BioWare ARE THE WORST WRITERS OF ANYTHING IN HISTORY.
You don't end stories with "and then it was all just a dream".
I'll end this Great Wall of Text with how I experienced the ending of Mass Effect 3.
Here's a pretty good facsimile of my thoughts as it happened:
"Huh. Uhm. Okay, the beam was to cyborg everyone... And then the one where Anderson was blown up was the one that killed the reapers and also the geth. And then the one that zapped The Illusive Man was the control one. And I don't want to do that, 'cause fuck those Reapers. Having them around can't be good. And that's what The Illusive Man wants to do, and that didn't work out for him that great.
Now, which side was the Anderson one... Left...? Right...? Uhm... Can I ask the kid for the options again... No. Okay... Well... I don't want to kill the geth, I don't mind fucking over EDI, she's even willing to sacrifice herself, but the geth are an awful lot of units with souls, *and* they're helping the quarians so I don't want to bone them up either... Although, *how* does this kill the geth...?
Uhm. I guess I'll go with the Deus Ex option. Or was that Deus Ex: Invisible War? Man, that game was kinda bad. Right, into the beam, Shepard! It's a shame you can't take the Reapers with you!
...Huh. That looks like Christ imagery, but also, uhm... Alien³. Uhm. That's a pretty shitty movie. Oh, I hope this isn't the bad ending that guy on the Amazon User Review mentioned, which is the only thing I've heard about this game because I've been avoiding spoilers.
Okay, green wave spreading across, soldiers cheer at the victory over alien invaders like in Independence Day... Normandy is travelling through a Mass Relay, probably hauling someone away for some reason... Hm, and there it crashed, and Joker and EDI steps out. Well, this isn't anything like Adam and Eve at all. And, wait, Liara? And Javik and... Uh... Didn't Liara *die* earlier? I guess they'll explain more when they show the next cutscene like in Fallout... WHAT!? END CREDITS!? ...Uh. Huh. Huh! Huh... Maybe there's something after the end credits.
Hey, I know that voice, that's Buzz Aldrin. And he's still not learned to be a voice actor since he was on The Simpsons.
Hm, they solved how you get into future DLC a bit more elegantly than Mass Effect 2 just kicking you back to the Normandy...
*That's* how they ended Mass Effect 3? Those two cutscenes?
Man, no wonder they're complaining about this ending, if this is the "good" ending and the most difficult one to get. Man, I have to go through the end again to get to the non-joke endings tomorrow."
And then, after playing through to the ending choice the day after...
"Okay, now to get the non-joke ending. Man, that ending yesterday was terrible. Let's see, now that I've evidently taken the wrong choice, let's take the second-wrongest choice so I can save the best choice for last. Controlling the Reapers, that seems like a great idea! I have no compulsions against doing what The Illusive Man wants to do! Zapping Shepard with electricity, that seems awesome! The Reapers are *never* gonna rise up again ever!
...Wait. That's the shot from yesterday, the Independence Day one. Uhm. And that's the wave from yesterday, except blue... Oh. Uh oh. And that's the Normandy traveling through space... Uh... And there the Normandy crashed... And that's EDI and Liara and Tali... And end credits.
Oh. Oh. I... Oh. If... Oh. Oh man.
Destroying the reapers, that can't possibly be *this*, can it? Right, I heard someone mentioning that Shepard survives if you have enough EMS, and I have all of the EMS. Okay, autosave, take me away.
Right. Shoot the fusebox like in Commander Keen V. Don't know why Shepard is walking towards the explosion, seems counterproductive. And... Oh no. That's the Independence Day shot. Except the Reapers are crashing, so it's even more Independent. And then a red wave. And then the Normandy. And then this time, no EDI, that makes sense. Wait. No it doesn't. And then...
Uh, is that guy in N7 armour Shepard? 'Cause that's clearly guy armour. Is it Anderson? That moan *could* be Jennifer Hale, I've heard her moan in games before. Keith David could probably not moan at that pitch. So I guess that's Shepard. And they didn't re-render the video for FemShep, huh.
And that's the end of Mass Effect.
I *see* why the internet is upset about this, yes.
...I hope they fix this with DLC."
P.S. Really sorry about the wall of text, it looked way smaller as I was typing it.
For four hours.
So don't nobody say that fans of Mass Effect never articulated what complaints they had about the ending.