Nothing is Wrong with Mass Effect 3's Ending

This topic is locked from further discussion.

Posted by BitterAlmond (401 posts) -

I played to the end of Mass Effect 3 last night, mostly to understand what all the hubub was about. A friend of mine was raving about how it made no sense, about how it was "total garbage," etc. I thought it was fine. I liked it. It turned out pretty much exactly how I knew it was going to. There are a few plotholes, but nowhere near as many as most people are complaining about.

Note that from here on in are some enormous spoilers.

The "twist" at the end (if you can call it that; everything in the game pointed to it) was hardly unexpected. So the Reapers built the Citadel and the Mass Relays. I think we were told that in ME2 if we followed a certain dialogue sequence with someone or another. The Crucible is more or less reverse-engineered Reaper tech, turning the Relays against them. Okay.

Most of the "plotholes" can either be explained or chalked up to "video game magic". Don't tell me Mass Effect can't have video game magic, because that's exactly how the titular "Mass Effect" works. Even if you somehow decrease the mass of an object until it has negative mass, the speed of light remains the same. Eezo doesn't change the laws of physics.

For example, my friend asked me, when I told him it all made sense, how did Joker get all the team away from Earth in time to avoid the explosion? Video game magic. How did I have time to talk leisurely with my entire team before firing off missiles into the Reaper guarding the beam up to the Citadel? Video game magic. How do I always seem to stumble upon Cerberus attacks at just the right time, even if I spent what must equate to several in-game days flying all over doing other things? Video game magic. It's part of the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy these games.

There's the big issue of everyone rebuilding, of all the fleets stuck on war-ravaged Earth and not having enough food. If you brought the Quarians along, they're not even carbon-based life forms so they can't eat Earth food. The answer is that yes, some people will starve, and yes, the Quarians will have a tough time of it. But the Quarians have been growing their own food on ships out in space for centuries. They'll be okay. And Earth may be a bit scorched, but the Reapers weren't exactly destroying farmland to try to starve us humans to death. I'm sure that most of the underpopulated agricultural land on Earth is still just fine.

When Shepard got blasted by the laser, I thought he was dead. It seemed to tear everyone else to bits, after all. Whether or not he actually gets up afterwards is open to interpretation, but I think he did. This is made a little funny by the fact that he's wearing his N7 armour even if you're wearing something else before. I can't decide if this is an intentional plot device to suggest a dream, or just lazy modelling. Judging by how Shepard's helmet seems to pop on and off without much rhyme or reason throughout the game, I'm leaning towards lazy modelling.

The whole indoctrination "theory" floating around the webs isn't a theory, it's what you're meant to assume happened. Maybe Bioware didn't make the cues loud enough, but it seemed pretty clear to me. Sure, the details on when and where are a little fuzzy, as well as exactly how much of the final scene is truly real, but the plot itself is solidly planted for all to see.

The one thing I can say is a big plothole is the destruction of the Mass Effect Relays. It was mentioned earlier that blowing one up tends to destroy the entire solar system it orbits. I know that Bioware can easily just say "Oh, the Crucible destroys the Relays from the inside out instead of with conventional firearms, limiting the blast" or something like that, but as it stands, it reminds me a little of the destruction of the Death Star in Episode VI and how it should have destroyed the moon of Endor (they did clear that one up; Star Wars canon now states that hours after the party scene at the end of the film, all the humans leave and the shockwave from the Death Star arrives and vaporizes all the Ewoks. They were so cute, too).

On a whole, though, I don't understand why everyone's so upset. I suppose some people expected more distinct, separate endings, but the story of the trilogy is a bit too weighty to really be strongly affected by whether or not you shot Wrex in the first game. Get over yourself.

#1 Posted by BitterAlmond (401 posts) -

I played to the end of Mass Effect 3 last night, mostly to understand what all the hubub was about. A friend of mine was raving about how it made no sense, about how it was "total garbage," etc. I thought it was fine. I liked it. It turned out pretty much exactly how I knew it was going to. There are a few plotholes, but nowhere near as many as most people are complaining about.

Note that from here on in are some enormous spoilers.

The "twist" at the end (if you can call it that; everything in the game pointed to it) was hardly unexpected. So the Reapers built the Citadel and the Mass Relays. I think we were told that in ME2 if we followed a certain dialogue sequence with someone or another. The Crucible is more or less reverse-engineered Reaper tech, turning the Relays against them. Okay.

Most of the "plotholes" can either be explained or chalked up to "video game magic". Don't tell me Mass Effect can't have video game magic, because that's exactly how the titular "Mass Effect" works. Even if you somehow decrease the mass of an object until it has negative mass, the speed of light remains the same. Eezo doesn't change the laws of physics.

For example, my friend asked me, when I told him it all made sense, how did Joker get all the team away from Earth in time to avoid the explosion? Video game magic. How did I have time to talk leisurely with my entire team before firing off missiles into the Reaper guarding the beam up to the Citadel? Video game magic. How do I always seem to stumble upon Cerberus attacks at just the right time, even if I spent what must equate to several in-game days flying all over doing other things? Video game magic. It's part of the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy these games.

There's the big issue of everyone rebuilding, of all the fleets stuck on war-ravaged Earth and not having enough food. If you brought the Quarians along, they're not even carbon-based life forms so they can't eat Earth food. The answer is that yes, some people will starve, and yes, the Quarians will have a tough time of it. But the Quarians have been growing their own food on ships out in space for centuries. They'll be okay. And Earth may be a bit scorched, but the Reapers weren't exactly destroying farmland to try to starve us humans to death. I'm sure that most of the underpopulated agricultural land on Earth is still just fine.

When Shepard got blasted by the laser, I thought he was dead. It seemed to tear everyone else to bits, after all. Whether or not he actually gets up afterwards is open to interpretation, but I think he did. This is made a little funny by the fact that he's wearing his N7 armour even if you're wearing something else before. I can't decide if this is an intentional plot device to suggest a dream, or just lazy modelling. Judging by how Shepard's helmet seems to pop on and off without much rhyme or reason throughout the game, I'm leaning towards lazy modelling.

The whole indoctrination "theory" floating around the webs isn't a theory, it's what you're meant to assume happened. Maybe Bioware didn't make the cues loud enough, but it seemed pretty clear to me. Sure, the details on when and where are a little fuzzy, as well as exactly how much of the final scene is truly real, but the plot itself is solidly planted for all to see.

The one thing I can say is a big plothole is the destruction of the Mass Effect Relays. It was mentioned earlier that blowing one up tends to destroy the entire solar system it orbits. I know that Bioware can easily just say "Oh, the Crucible destroys the Relays from the inside out instead of with conventional firearms, limiting the blast" or something like that, but as it stands, it reminds me a little of the destruction of the Death Star in Episode VI and how it should have destroyed the moon of Endor (they did clear that one up; Star Wars canon now states that hours after the party scene at the end of the film, all the humans leave and the shockwave from the Death Star arrives and vaporizes all the Ewoks. They were so cute, too).

On a whole, though, I don't understand why everyone's so upset. I suppose some people expected more distinct, separate endings, but the story of the trilogy is a bit too weighty to really be strongly affected by whether or not you shot Wrex in the first game. Get over yourself.

#2 Edited by mordukai (7150 posts) -

Oh yes please lets discuss this subject even more because people haven't talked about enough. Can we at least have some time off to rest before this DLC comes out because we call know the shit storm is gonna come back bigger and shitter.

Will it be too much of me to ask the mods to actively start locking and/or deleting every thread/blog about the ME3 ending?

#3 Posted by Sackmanjones (4689 posts) -
@BitterAlmond Take cover. Hell will be here shortly
#4 Edited by believer258 (11820 posts) -

Yes, Mass Effect 3's ending feels lackluster and uninteresting. Anyone else that wants to put forth their goddamn "theories" and "thoughts" on the matter are just as uninteresting simply because they can't find anything else to fucking talk about.

#5 Posted by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

I don't think Joker being able to get the team off of Earth and to a Relay in an impossible amount of time falls under the "video game logic" category. It is setup in the game that this "Mass Effect" exists and is possible. Whether it is in our reality is not the point. They tell us this is how something works, we say "okay" and hold them to it. Joker does something that isn't explained in the game at all and is impossible given what we know of the world. Someone was posting links about this kind of thing in narrative structure on the forums before, maybe they would be so kind as to post it again in here.

Also, you seem to believe in the indoctrination theory but are A-OK with the ending? Indoctrination Theory basically makes it so that the game resets back to when Shepard got shot by Harby and is not actually over. Reapers are still chillin' on Earth.

Almost all of what you have said has been said on this site already I might add.

#6 Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish (1726 posts) -

I'm so tired of this. The whole thing about 'video game magic' being excusable is so bad. Just watch this. It directly addresses that bs and a lot more. There are also some brilliant articles that address your points. 

#7 Posted by LawGamer (165 posts) -

@BitterAlmond said:

The whole indoctrination "theory" floating around the webs isn't a theory, it's what you're meant to assume happened. Maybe Bioware didn't make the cues loud enough, but it seemed pretty clear to me. Sure, the details on when and where are a little fuzzy, as well as exactly how much of the final scene is truly real, but the plot itself is solidly planted for all to see.

I'll take a bit of issue with you on this point. While I agree with you that this is probably what Bioware intended, the fact that it is unclear to most players is precisely what makes the ending a bad one.

When I need to write a brief for a case, what matters is that the audience I'm intending my message for understands that message. It doesn't matter how clear the theory is in my head, or how good it looks on paper if no one else can comprehend it. If I need to produce a 20 minute YouTube video explaining my argument to the judge it was a bad argument, irrespective of its various legal merits.

Granted, this can get frustrating when you get people so dense that they can't seem to add two plus two. However, no matter how stupid I think them to be, it is still my job to lead them by the nose until they understand the point I am trying to make. The responsibility for clarity is mine, not the audience's.

So yes, the indoctrination "theory" is probably what Bioware wanted all along and some players "got" the ending. However, it appears the vast majority did not and this failure falls on Bioware. They should have realized that by trying to make a game with broad appeal, they ended up with a broad audience. This was not a game produced solely for geniuses or people with enough spare time to go back and meticulously pick out every little shred of evidence that pointed to Bioware's intention.

#8 Posted by phantomzxro (1572 posts) -

@SuperWristBands said:

I don't think Joker being able to get the team off of Earth and to a Relay in an impossible amount of time falls under the "video game logic" category. It is setup in the game that this "Mass Effect" exists and is possible. Whether it is in our reality is not the point. They tell us this is how something works, we say "okay" and hold them to it. Joker does something that isn't explained in the game at all and is impossible given what we know of the world. Someone was posting links about this kind of thing in narrative structure on the forums before, maybe they would be so kind as to post it again in here.

Also, you seem to believe in the indoctrination theory but are A-OK with the ending? Indoctrination Theory basically makes it so that the game resets back to when Shepard got shot by Harby and is not actually over. Reapers are still chillin' on Earth.

Almost all of what you have said has been said on this site already I might add.

this! well put sir.

#9 Edited by Encephalon (1251 posts) -

@BitterAlmond said:

The whole indoctrination "theory" floating around the webs isn't a theory, it's what you're meant to assume happened. Maybe Bioware didn't make the cues loud enough, but it seemed pretty clear to me. Sure, the details on when and where are a little fuzzy, as well as exactly how much of the final scene is truly real, but the plot itself is solidly planted for all to see.

What I wonder about Indoctrination Theory is, does the validity of the theory hinge upon the assumption that post-game DLC is forthcoming? A lot of supporters for the theory seem pleased and impressed by it. Does that change if this is literally the end of the Mass Effect trilogy?

#10 Posted by JeanLuc (3579 posts) -

@Vegetable_Side_Dish: Oh good, I didn't have to post that video. Somebody did it for me.

#11 Posted by IBurningStar (2166 posts) -

I just wanted to come in here to say that we don't need any more threads on this subject and that the 27 we already have open are more than enough to accommodate everyone's opinion of the ending. Oh, and that the Indoctrination Theory essentially leaves the entire series with zero resolution, as opposed to just being a let down.

#13 Posted by Trace (3553 posts) -

Given that we've had loads of threads regarding ME3's ending, including many discussing the exact topics in here, I'm going to lock this and ask the discussion continue in some other open ending thread on the Mass Effect 3 board. Thanks!

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