Wumbo Wonders is series of blog posts in which I talk about my feelings and general thoughts about a video game I’ve recently completed. These are just random musings about the game, so I may be jumping all over the place. There will definitely be spoilers so read at your own risk!
I’ve played video games my entire life, and many of them have made me feel a variety of emotions. I’ve experienced happiness (Super Mario Galaxy), sadness (Assassin’s Creed II), vengeance (Red Dead Redemption), horror (Resident Evil 4), or sometimes just pure wonder (Journey). But rarely do I feel nostalgic. As I was saying my goodbyes to my squad mates in war torn London, waves of nostalgia began to course through my body. I couldn’t help it. These were characters that I’ve come to know and love throughout three games, and saying goodbye was tough. It’s a testament to BioWare on how they’ve been able to create such realistic and relatable characters, even if those characters aren’t even human. Yeah, you can call me nerdy and say “Oh, they’re just polygons. They’re not even real.” But take any sort of medium with a gripping story and interesting characters, and you’d be lying if you said that you weren’t emotionally invested in the fiction, whether it’s a video game, book, or movie.
I may be in the minority about this, but I think that the romance scenes can be somewhat cheesy. The animations and facial expressions sometimes look awkward in a love scene. However, if you romanced Liara like I did, you get a special scene with her when you talk to her in London. That scene is without a doubt one of my favorite moments in the entire trilogy. It was way better at conveying love and emotion than any of the romance scenes.
I also need to give a special shout out to my boy Garrus Vakarian. That dude is my bro for life. Commander Shepard and Garrus rank up there with the greatest bro combinations of all time, jockeying for position with Mario and Luigi, Marcus and Dom, and even Gootecks and Mike Ross. He is also the most self aware character in the entire franchise, which makes him even more lovable. The part when Shepard and Garrus are up on top of the Citadel and he says, “I’m Garrus Vakarian and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel,” totally cracked me up. And damn, who knew that he would get with Tali? Garrus Vakarian, I will miss you.
One of the main aspects that irked me about Mass Effect 3 was the absence of brand new characters. With the exception of James Vega and Javik (who is DLC), every single member of your team is someone that you’ve known before. I think the one of the greatest strengths of the first two Mass Effects was meeting and recruiting a wild menagerie of new characters. I love seeing old faces come back, but the lack of fresh faces in Mass Effect 3 severely disappointed me.
And finally, I need to talk about the ending. Much has been made about the ending. Actually, “much” is a gross understatement on how divisive the conclusion has been. After hearing the brouhaha about it, I’m glad I was finally able to experience it for myself. For what it’s worth, I didn’t particularly like it. Seeing the Reapers, these machines of mass destruction that are able to wipe out all organic life, being symbolized by a small AI boy was weird. Also, having that boy asking pretty much ask you, “Which ending do you want?” was weird. In addition, having all three endings be pretty much the same was weird. Basically, the ending left my scratching my head because it was so…weird. But that doesn’t mean that people need to make petitions, have rallies, or throw a massive Internet tantrum. Tons of books and movies have terrible endings, but ultimately, that is the ending the creator wanted. This is the way that BioWare had envisioned the ending, so let the creators stick by their artistic decision, no matter how awful it may be. In my opinion, it should have ended when Shepard was lying next to Anderson, seeing the destruction of the Reapers. But that’s neither here nor there, and where I think it should have ended doesn’t really matter.
The first Mass Effect was janky as shit. Mass Effect 2 was a great game, but I personally do not think it is as revolutionary and amazing as others. Mass Effect 3 ended poorly. All three games have flaws and are not perfect. But when you take the franchise as a whole and look at the totality of what all three games have accomplished, it cannot be denied that Mass Effect is one of the greatest trilogies ever in video games.