Post-Mordin -- Mass Effect 3 thoughts

Posted by indieslaw (377 posts) -

Well, I've gone and done it. I've finished Mass Effect 3, despite my, and society's, misgivings.

And it was the right call. I finished it, and the conclusion wasn't so bad, so long as you weren't wanting to analyze its feasibility. Since I wasn't wanting that, it felt just fine. I know that what I saw was not at all what the vast majority of players experienced a year ago. I had all the context of the DLC, plus the comedown of good feelings from the The Citadel DLC stuff. This helped immensely.

But I even fucked up the ending sequences, and still managed to feel good at the end. I was streaming, and someone suggested that there was a hidden fourth ending that I could choose. So naturally I shot the sky-child in the face, heard the demonic "SO BE IT...", and got the 'fuck-you' ending from Bioware, apparently the one ending added after the fact.

I didn't reset in time, and had to redo the Citadel sequence, but this time, I fucked up the Illusive Man conversation, and got laid out by the guy because I didn't want to go renegade (paragons white knighting this sucka, sucka).

But finally, I got to the choices again, and made the choice that it felt like my Shepard would make, the green choice. And it was fine. Synths and organics cum ba ya'd. The stargazer spoke to his child. And since I didn't put one thought into the feasibility of things working out the way they did, i got my mindless satisfaction from seeing Joker outrun the Mass Effect.

And ultimately, that's what this whole project of mine, finishing these games, is all about. Mindless investigation into my mindless investments. Mindless dividends are about the best I expect.

I may have also become incredibly bitter and cynical about what these games can be. But as long as I'm mindless about it, it doesn't sting so very bad.

BioShock next.

EDIT: I went ahead and uploaded the gameplay video to youtube. It's here if you're interested, but here is about where the ending stuff kicks off.

#1 Posted by development (2570 posts) -

Whereas ME3 kinda wants you to forget everything that happens and just accept the ending for what it is, Bioshock Infinite begs you to sit and mull over it for a couple days. So you may find it kinda hard to be mindless with Bioshock.

#2 Edited by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

Man, they lowest-common-denominatored the shit out of the ending by dumbing it waaay down and people are still finding things to get hung up on?

Well, at least the title was clever.

#3 Posted by Chibithor (574 posts) -

I recently played ME3 for the first time, the refusal ending was the one I chose and I felt alright about that. I thought it was fitting enough and I managed to skip the colored beams. I wish you could do that before he gives his dumb speech though.

Whereas ME3 kinda wants you to forget everything that happens and just accept the ending for what it is, Bioshock Infinite begs you to sit and mull over it for a couple days. So you may find it kinda hard to be mindless with Bioshock.

Not Infinite, unless he mistakenly linked Bioshock 1.

#4 Posted by development (2570 posts) -

I recently played ME3 for the first time, the refusal ending was the one I chose and I felt alright about that. I thought it was fitting enough and I managed to skip the colored beams. I wish you could do that before he gives his dumb speech though.

@development said:

Whereas ME3 kinda wants you to forget everything that happens and just accept the ending for what it is, Bioshock Infinite begs you to sit and mull over it for a couple days. So you may find it kinda hard to be mindless with Bioshock.

Not Infinite, unless he mistakenly linked Bioshock 1.

I see. In that case... yeah, I take back everything I said.

#5 Posted by indieslaw (377 posts) -

@development Yeah, original Bioshock currently, I never actually beat it. But Infinite after that, I'm pretty sure. I know there's no direct connection, or little of one, but OG Bioshock is on the list.

@starvinggamer I'm not really hung up on anything. I pretty much liked the ending. The mistakes I made were mine.

@chibithor If I had stumbled on to that, instead of it being suggested that this was a hidden ending, I might have felt differently about it. But instead, I was kind of half joking when I shot him, and chat started screaming at me to restart, which kicked off some failure sequences, so it didn't really feel like a natural choice. That said, the Liara recorded message thing might have felt alright in another context, if maybe a little thin.

#6 Edited by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

@videorob: The comment about Joker just gave me horrible flashbacks to all the insane complaints people had when the game first came out.

#7 Edited by indieslaw (377 posts) -

@starvinggamer yeah, I kinda missed all that. For a year or more, since the big November leak pre-release I guess, I was dodging any topic that even mentioned Mass Effect 3, because I hadn't gotten around to the game and/or didn't want anything story-specific spoiled. So I was aware of the rage that built up before and after release, but didn't know any of the specifics of it.

Come game of the year time, dodging all that was worse than during the release. EVERYONE dissected the ending(s) in detail at that point, since it had been out for so long. But I stayed pure, up until that moment during my stream.

Really, the game is one to play with all the DLC. If anyone skipped it then like I had, now is a great time to go through it, with the last DLC out. I remember talk of the side stuff feeling a little thin at the time of release, but DLC gives you enough meat to chew on that the thinner stuff doesn't make you feel like something is missing. I see why it would have, but its way better now. Especially with the Citadel, going through that gave me all the good feelings that a safer ending scheme would have provided, so hitting the endings now, its really not bad. Balanced, that's how I'd describe it.

#8 Posted by onan (1286 posts) -

I'm not sure if I should envy you or feed bad for you. I envy you were able to walk away with a positive experience from the ending of one of my favorite franchises in recent memory, but I feel badly that you're not equipped to be really critical of the next Mass Effect project to be announced. You also missed out on the zeitgeist of Bioware hatred after the initial release. With the whole indoctrination theory stuff, it almost became something of an ARG.

The ending now is serviceable, but I almost prefer the trainwreck and everyone scrambling to make sense of it all. In a way, hating something is better than shrugging at the mediocrity.

#9 Posted by indieslaw (377 posts) -

I think I get what you're saying, but don't feel bad for me. I got to enjoy the game when it seemed like I wouldn't. You're right about the zeitgeist, it would have been cool to be part of the indoctrination conversation while it was happening.

I wouldn't say I'm not equipped to be critical of the next game, but you're right in that I won't be equipped with the standard loadout of criticisms. I'm comfortable with that, though.

In a way, hating something is better than shrugging at the mediocrity.

I totally agree with this sentiment. I was a passionate fan of ME2, and my feelings about ME3 are pretty ambivalent, trending towards positive. I'm glad I had the experience I did, but it'd be nice if it was backed up with the same passion the previous game incited.

#10 Posted by Brodehouse (10107 posts) -

I find the difference in reaction to the endings of ME3 and Infinite to be strange, especially considering how much they have in common.

#11 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@videorob: The comment about Joker just gave me horrible flashbacks to all the insane complaints people had when the game first came out.

People had problems with the ending some were unfounded while others were valid reasons for complaint such as the many plot-holes or just unclear wrap up of events. The extended cut was better but it went to far the other way by giving too much history of the future which makes it hard to continue in the mass effect world without a prequel or retcon of some kind.

#12 Edited by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

@phantomzxro: I can't remember a single "plot-hole" that I wasn't able to instantly debunk. Yes, the original ending left a lot to be inferred, but all the clues were there. Every reasonable person I talked to reached the same conclusions as me with the information provided. In my mind, the biggest problem with the EC is that it took an implicit ending that treated us like thoughtful adults and replaced it with an explicit ending that spelled everything out to us like children. There is not a single thing the EC tells you that you couldn't have figured out from the original ending if you were willing to use your brain.

#13 Edited by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@phantomzxro: I can't remember a single "plot-hole" that I wasn't able to instantly debunk. Yes, the original ending left a lot up to be inferred, but all the clues were there. Every reasonable person I talked to reached the same conclusions as me with the information provided. In my mind, the biggest problem with the EC is that it took an implicit ending that treated us like thoughtful adults and replaced it with an explicit ending that spelled everything out to us like children. There is not a single thing the EC tells you that you couldn't have figured out from the original ending if you were willing to use your brain.

I can respect having to be thoughtful and think about the ending but that does not cover a good chunk of the plot-holes. Like party members being with you on the assault but are suddenly abroad Normandy before the warp and crash. Also the larger point is i don't think people signed up for a thoughtful open ended ending when the series from day one used choices to give you an outcome. At the very least giving someone a choice at the end is not the same as having a player's choices impact the ending.

#14 Posted by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

@phantomzxro: You must have an incredibly broad definition of "plot-hole".

And I don't know where the idea came from that every choice would impact the ending. Choices are meaningful, and choices have impact, but expecting all of that to tie directly into the ending is an incredibly unreasonable (and actually quite silly) expectation. The whole point of the ending is that Shepard is alone. Gianna Parasini and Conrad Verner aren't going to show up and give you a high-five.

Depending on the choices you've made, entire races could be extinct or living in perfect harmony. If that's not impact, I don't know what is.

#15 Edited by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@phantomzxro: You must have an incredibly broad definition of "plot-hole".

And I don't know where the idea came from that every choice would impact the ending. Choices are meaningful, and choices have impact, but expecting all of that to tie directly into the ending is an incredibly unreasonable (and actually quite silly) expectation. The whole point of the ending is that Shepard is alone. Gianna Parasini and Conrad Verner aren't going to show up and give you a high-five.

Depending on the choices you've made, entire races could be extinct or living in perfect harmony. If that's not impact, I don't know what is.

I think my example is a sound plot-hole when people are at two places at once. I also don't think it a silly expectation at all when the game is build to do just that. I don't mean every little choice having some massive impact ala butterfly effect or anything, als having most of your choices just fall into a galactic readiness point system just seemed very cheap.

The point of the ending is seeing how all your choices played out which is not hard to do. Mass effect 2 did it just fine and you still walked out of that with the same type of ending. The reason it worked in mass effect 2 is you had different choices color that last mission and changed how you went about it. If you upgraded your ship all the way or who trusted you or not all shaped the results of that mission which made it more satisfying. Was there wildly different ending? No, but that mission went down pretty differently for everyone based on your choices.

That mission also did not have every tiny choice you made impact it but it still worked. The problem with the choices that did have impact as you say "killing off a whole race of aliens" had impact in the cut-scene you watched right afterward but when that final mission hit it all felt disconnected from everything else. You don't really see your hard work come to life, no Krogan & Salarian death squads or Geth & Quarian engineer team working together in the final battle. You get no war chatter of doomed human squad that are screaming out for Quarian support which won't come because you made the call to support the Geth which are busy stopping reaper troops.

These are the things we needed to see and i can't remember a game that has made a star child like character who just shows up at the end work in a deep ending. Than to use MP to earn galactic readiness which impacted the ending way more than your choices was crap too.

#16 Posted by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

@starvinggamer said:

@phantomzxro: You must have an incredibly broad definition of "plot-hole".

And I don't know where the idea came from that every choice would impact the ending. Choices are meaningful, and choices have impact, but expecting all of that to tie directly into the ending is an incredibly unreasonable (and actually quite silly) expectation. The whole point of the ending is that Shepard is alone. Gianna Parasini and Conrad Verner aren't going to show up and give you a high-five.

Depending on the choices you've made, entire races could be extinct or living in perfect harmony. If that's not impact, I don't know what is.

I think my example is a sound plot-hole when people are at two places at once. I also don't think it a silly expectation at all when the game is build to do just that. I don't mean every little choice having some massive impact ala butterfly effect or anything, als having most of your choices just fall into a galactic readiness point system just seemed very cheap.

I didn't realize that a time gap of 15-30 minutes could be classified as "at once". I guess I'm involved in a plot-hole every time I drive to work.

As far as the ending is concerned, well, I guess we were just looking for different things. I appreciated the solitude, the sense of isolation from everything else going on outside that made the weight on Shepard's shoulders that much heavier. It wasn't a, "Let's all pull together and win this," moment, and I was fine with that. If that's not what you wanted, that's fine too, but it just wasn't the story that BioWare wanted to tell at that point. There's nothing inherently wrong with that.

Also I played 0 multiplayer (before beating the game) and got the best ending, so... what?

#17 Edited by indieslaw (377 posts) -

I'm not sure if that is a plot hole, but yeah, it is a good plot question. It seems questionable that they'd have been able to make it back on the ship. It's not something that I picked up on, though, so it didn't bother me.

Some of the things you talk about did bother me though, @phantomzxro, mostly the overall sense of disconnect. I feel like having the decision be Shepard's choice alone makes narrative and thematic sense. But aside from the choice part, the whole end sequence on earth felt disconnected to me, too. Many of your final conversations happening via skype, or tele-kything, or whatever, that's kinda strange. Much better to have your whole squad there, like in the Citadel DLC. Better spot for it, better suited for the ending.

I mean, that's probably why the Citadel stuff exists, right? Bioware wanted that kind of ending for this series too, and made do with making it the final DLC.

I guess I'm saying this because what that ME3 feels like to me is the game that ran out of time. And you can see it everywhere on the periphery; in the sidequest content, in the amory system, in the end sequence. I think their main threads are pretty well fleshed out, and like I said before, I think the current state of the game with the DLC is pretty great, they shored up what they needed to.

But I really wish they could have pulled a Blizzard, and pumped the brakes on releasing it. It would have been better for the game and for the franchise if they had.

EDIT: I love spoiler tags too much to not overuse them.

#18 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@videorob said:

I guess I'm saying this because what that ME3 feels like to me is the game that ran out of time. And you can see it everywhere on the periphery; in the sidequest content, in the amory system, in the end sequence. I think their main threads are pretty well fleshed out, and like I said before, I think the current state of the game with the DLC is pretty great, they shored up what they needed to.

But I really wish they could have pulled a Blizzard, and pumped the brakes on releasing it. It would have been better for the game and for the franchise if they had.

EDIT: I love spoiler tags too much to not overuse them.

I think you are 100% right and i don't think ME3 is a bad game but only disappointing because of what could have been. If only they got some more time to fine tune some things and not just run it pass an EA assembly line to get it done. I would have like them to release just the MP game as its own thing for say 20 or 30 bucks then worked on ME3 some more and release it later down the line.

#19 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

I didn't realize that a time gap of 15-30 minutes could be classified as "at once". I guess I'm involved in a plot-hole every time I drive to work.

As far as the ending is concerned, well, I guess we were just looking for different things. I appreciated the solitude, the sense of isolation from everything else going on outside that made the weight on Shepard's shoulders that much heavier. It wasn't a, "Let's all pull together and win this," moment, and I was fine with that. If that's not what you wanted, that's fine too, but it just wasn't the story that BioWare wanted to tell at that point. There's nothing inherently wrong with that.

Also I played 0 multiplayer (before beating the game) and got the best ending, so... what?

Yeah that's a good one but really i can't see the logic of the Normandy swinging down to pick up your crew but somehow missing Shepard along the pick up. They amended this with the extended cut, which i will take but even that takes a good amount of disbelief because i fail to see how a whole squad of hammer tanks, airships and ground troops gets wiped out but the Normandy can causally fly in and have Shepard have a minute conversation with his parting crew who have been on a suicide mission with Shepard before leave unharmed. All the while as Harbinger just leaves the area because he believes everyone is died, not even checking that his mighty foe is no more.

Some say "oh its because the Normandy has cloaking and that harbinger could not see" but i give the wonder women invisible plane defense of i would think once the cargo doors are up and you see Shepard walking his crew onto a cloaked ship that harbinger could put two and two together. Ultimately what I'm saying is that whole part of the game felt like lazy or rushed writing. I can respect if that is what you got out of the ending and think that is really cool. But i don't know if you can claim that is what Bioware intended. Seeing as how there have been many reports of Bioware having to change the ending last minute which if rumors is to be believed was done with only two of the writers input.

Now that part i won't mark as fact because who knows what really went down, but we do know the ending was changed so i don't know how clear Bioware vision of the ending really is. Also i don't know when you played the ending but before the extended cut it was almost impossible to get the full 5400+ GR Point ending without MP or using the app game.

#20 Posted by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

@phantomzxro: No, I agree, the EC makes it worse. But there are plenty of ways it could have made sense pre-EC. For instance, if your teammates got incapacitated by one of the first blasts and were forced to crawl to safety, then they could have radioed Joker from a distance to pick them up. They wouldn't even know if Shepard was alive or dead because of how close she got before being knocked down.

As far as the ending goes, well, I went Blue so I didn't need the 4000 GR to get the "best" ending the week of release. That said, the impact of multiplayer is still incredibly minimal, as the only difference it would have made even if I did go Red would have been the extra 10-second stinger. Everything else would have been exactly the same.

#21 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@phantomzxro: No, I agree, the EC makes it worse. But there are plenty of ways it could have made sense pre-EC. For instance, if your teammates got incapacitated by one of the first blasts and were forced to crawl to safety, then they could have radioed Joker from a distance to pick them up. They wouldn't even know if Shepard was alive or dead because of how close she got before being knocked down.

As far as the ending goes, well, I went Blue so I didn't need the 4000 GR to get the "best" ending the week of release. That said, the impact of multiplayer is still incredibly minimal, as the only difference it would have made even if I did go Red would have been the extra 10-second stinger. Everything else would have been exactly the same.

But doesn't that sound like a stretch just as people mock the indoctrination theory as a stretch, which i believe more so than your crew members crawling away leaving Shepard behind or Shepard going ahead and leaving his half dead crew behind. That goes double if you had your love interest with you on the rush. Also the crew been on a suicide mission before so i find it hard to believe everyone but Shepard would leave the fight.

I don't think you can say the impact is minimal when you can't get the highest scoring GR outcome (before EC) without playing the MP. That fact alone makes it a shady ordeal, even if it is a small part the idea that you can't get the highest scoring outcome from just your single player choices alone is the compete opposite of what Mass Effect was about.

#22 Edited by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

@phantomzxro: No, it really isn't much of a stretch at all. If they were caught in a blast enough to hurt them but not kill them, how would they crawl after Shepard? If it was one of the first blasts, how would they even know how far she got or if she was alive? And reaching the Citadel was the entire point of the whole thing. Shepard doesn't even turn around to see what's behind her during the whole thing (or at least mine didn't). Her crew members could have been vaporized by the first blast and she wouldn't even know.

And yes, the impact is minimal. The only difference multiplayer made pre-EC was add a 10-second stinger to one of the three possible endings. That's about as impactful as leaving Avengers before the end of the credits.

#23 Posted by indieslaw (377 posts) -

I have always regretted that I left xmen 3 before the end-of-credits stinger. It doesn't matter what the content of it was, the psychological impact of leaving the close-out of the story incomplete bothers me.

#24 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@starvinggamer: Come on is that something Shepard would do just say oh well i guess they are dead and leave without checking in or commanding a search party. You clearly see harbringer leave for whatever reason at that point so it just seems weird for there not to be any mention of the status of your crew on the ground. Also it was a rush to the citadel so your crew knows where you went if they did not see you and if they were just as hurt as you, would they really just leave and say I'm sure Shepard got this even if he is half dead already or M.I.A.

Again i believe it does matter because it more then just a 10 second clip being that it is a charted ending that you can get. Your avengers example is one i would not use because it does not change your outlook on the rest of the film. I would say a fair example would be walking out in the last minute of inception which could change your outlook of the movie. That aside its the principle of the matter and the option to get all endings should be there for just single player gamers simple ending or not. Xbox version made this worse since you have to pay for MP, and to be frank the different endings (pre-EC) were only different because of "10 second stingers" that added something different otherwise the ending were theatrically the same.

#25 Posted by huser (1097 posts) -

@phantomzxro: I can't remember a single "plot-hole" that I wasn't able to instantly debunk. Yes, the original ending left a lot to be inferred, but all the clues were there. Every reasonable person I talked to reached the same conclusions as me with the information provided. In my mind, the biggest problem with the EC is that it took an implicit ending that treated us like thoughtful adults and replaced it with an explicit ending that spelled everything out to us like children. There is not a single thing the EC tells you that you couldn't have figured out from the original ending if you were willing to use your brain.

Rationalize an explanation sure. Debunk is something else as it would require evidence not simply an alternative.

#26 Edited by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

@phantomzxro: Shepard is knocked off her ass and out of contact with everybody. She is badly wounded and barely manages to stagger into the Citadel. How can she check in or command anything? And if her crew was injured and lost all radio contact with her, do you really think they would go digging through corpses along a wide-open half-mile stretch in the heart of Reaper territory that an entire battalion of soldiers couldn't cross, just in case she was maybe still alive somewhere?

@huser: Yeah, poor choice of words on my part.

#27 Edited by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@starvinggamer: Umm yeah why not, i did not see that many bodies on the floor when heading to the citadel. Also Anderson somehow could have radio contact so i don't see why Shepard could not ask Anderson about the whereabouts of his crew. Secondly before the star child bit someone contacted Shepard about the crucible not working, that would have been a perfect time to make sure his crew got out in time before his final choice.

This is kinda of the reason why the ending was too open or unexplained if you have to fill in the blanks for them with all this information that is not confirmed, brought up, or implied at any part of the ending until you see another "10 second stinger" of everyone walking out of the Normandy fine and right as rain.

#28 Posted by StarvingGamer (8470 posts) -

@phantomzxro: What? That's just part of the regular ending.

#29 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@starvinggamer: The point is Shepard would have made time to find out if his crew on the ground was ok and the 10 second scene you mock at is no different than the 10 second scenes that make the original endings different.

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