Don't Fear the Reaper: My Journey on the Normandy.

Warning: This blog contains Mass Effect 3 spoilers.

Ever since finally finishing (and blogging about) Mass Effect 1 and 2 a couple of months ago, I’ve been eager to jump into Mass Effect 3. I absolutely love the Mass Effect universe, and I was keen to see how Commander Shepard’s fight against the Reapers ended. I’d managed to, more or less, stay away from major spoilers about the ending and, despite the internet outrage, was cautiously optimistic about the third installment in the franchise.

Much like my first thoughts on Mass Effect 2, my initial impressions of Mass Effect 3 were somewhat mixed. On the one hand it opens with a bang. The reaper invasion of Earth. It immediately sets the tone. The galaxy is in turmoil. It’s a crisis. It sets up a fantastic sense of urgency which I absolutely love. On the other hand, I could see my personal effect on the Mass Effect universe being tapered. In Mass Effect I chose Anderson to be the human representative on the citadel council. It was a decision I regretted in Mass Effect 2. It was clear the position wasn't suited to Anderson. Yet in the beginning of Mass Effect 3 he is an Admiral on Earth. There is no explanation for this through in-game dialogue. It is mentioned only in the Codex that Anderson used to be councillor, but he stepped down and Udina took over.

That’s not an entirely unexpected plot point considering how Anderson felt about his previous position, but the complete lack of in-game explanation was jarring. There was a perfect point in the opening scene to explain this: When Shepard and Anderson are walking along a ledge talking about going to the council, Shepard asks if he’s sure they’ll listen. Anderson replies “no, but you were a council Spectre, that has to count for something”. At that point, Shepard could easily say something like “And you used to be a councillor, that has to count for something too” and Anderson could reply saying that the position was never right for him and that it’s Udina’s job now. It is a perfect place for an explanation like that. But instead they ignore the issue completely, only explaining it in a codex entry. That issue didn’t seem to repeat itself later in the game. All my other decisions seemed to have a lasting impact on the galaxy, or in cases where they were negated by other occurrences, the events were always explained. But considering how important your decisions are to the Mass Effect universe, this initial blip was pretty awful, especially when it could have been solved so easily.

The other main thing I can criticise the game on is its pacing, and how that factors into the storyline. Upon leaving earth, the situation is dire. It’s an “Oh shit, we’ve gotta go get help right now or earth will be destroyed” type situation. Yet through the rest of the game there is a real clash between the sense of urgency and the things Shepard is doing. One minute Admiral Hacket is talking about how awful it is on Earth, the next I’m having dinner and drinks with half of my crew on the Citadel. It factors into the missions too. Several of the missions have a level of urgency comparable to the Suicide Mission in Mass Effect 2, and while that’s awesome, stopping to listen to relatively mundane audiologs takes something away from that experience.

In the grand scheme of things though, those complaints are minor. A game which such a massive scope built around decision making is always going to have some oddities on that front. And set during a massive war with near-invincible enemies, there is going to be some weird pacing. The alternative would be to have constant action with very little time to do side quests and interact with characters, and no one wants that from a Mass Effect game.

Moving onto the things I liked about the game, and I’ll start with the reason I love Mass Effect so much - the story. The story really comes together in Mass Effect 3. The overarching relationships between the species reach new levels. The Quarians and Geth united. The Krogan and Turians together. Humanity’s role in this, both the alliance campaigning to ally the races and Cerberus on the opposite side of it is extremely interesting too. Ultimately, virtually every race put aside their differences and come together to fight the Reaper threat, which is wonderful to watch.

The story on a more personal level is awesome too. The relationships between Shepard and her crew/former crew continue to develop. The big coincidence of bumping into every single former crew member on various missions is slightly weird, but I can get over that. It’s a video game and it’s nice to meet all of my former comrades again, even if it does get a bit predictable. I'm at an Asari monastery for Ardat-Yakshi and surprise surprise, Samara shows up. I'm on a geth ship and who do I bump into, that's right Legion.

There are certain, extremely powerful moments in the story too. Seeing Mordin sacrifice himself to cure the Genophage. And Liara witnessing the destruction of her homeworld. Both those moments sent shivers down my spine. I had become attached to these characters, and witnessing these things was truly gut-wrenching. There are plenty of really awesome scripted moments in the game which are a truly awesome spectacle. My personal favourite moment was on Tuchanka, fighting a bunch of Brutes with a reaper overhead, then setting a giant Thresher Maw on it. It was amazing. It really felt like there was this giant machine overhead, and taking it in such a spectacular way was fantastic. And Udina betraying the council was crazy. I never liked Udina, but I never thought he'd side with Cerberus. Yet it was totally believable too. A fantastic plot twist.

There are also a bunch of really cool moments on the smaller scale. The Normandy feels more alive than it ever has. In both previous games, crew members stay in their specific location of the ship. You'll never find them elsewhere. In Mass Effect 3, they can be found in any number of places, often interacting with eachother, which adds life to the ship. Joker and Garrus telling jokes on the bridge was hilarious, as was Tali getting drunk. And Garrus and Tali getting together towards the end was really sweet. They make a lovely couple!!!

So, you’re probably all waiting for me to talk about the ending, right? That’s what everyone is obsessed about. OK, I will do. I’ll start off with the mission itself leading up to the conclusion of the story. That final mission on earth was extremely dull and uninteresting. Fighting the reaper forces through the ravaged streets of london should have been awesome. But it was a drab affair. There was no atmosphere. It was just a matter of shooting a bunch of enemies, running around and pushing a button or two, then killing more enemies. Totally uninspired. I expected more considering the epic final mission of Mass Effect 2. Instead I ended up bored and just wanted to to get through it and see the ending.

The ending itself though, I don’t see what the big deal was about. I thought it was a decent ending. The whole revelation of the catalyst was weird, certainly. I definitely wasn’t expecting anything like that. And the final decision was slightly forced. But overall they handled it far better than I expected. They could have done a bland conclusion where the crucible is a big weapon, it kills all the reapers and everyone lived happily ever after. How boring and predictable would that be? Or the Reapers could have won and destroyed all life, totally destroying the universe and potential for more stories in the Mass Effect fiction. Which would have sucked, right? They were backed into a corner. There aren’t many places to go with the story. An powerful, apocalyptic force threatens to destroy all life in the galaxy. Someone has to win, and doing that in a unique and interesting way is not an easy task. But they still managed to do something different. It was weird and unexpected, but I certainly didn’t find it to be bad. I don't get the internet rage comments at all.

In fact, certain aspects of the ending have great potential for the future of the fiction. The Mass Relays are destroyed. Large numbers of aliens are stranded in the Sol system. Add to that the destruction caused by the Reapers and you have total disarray. It’s going to be chaos. Relationships are going to be strained and the galaxy is going to be a changed place. The Mass Relays will be rebuilt - the Protheans built a Mass Relay on Ilos and on the Citadel. If they can, so can humanity and the current alien races. They will reunite the galaxy. It isn't the end of the Mass Effect universe. But regrouping and rebuilding is going to be crazy. It’s going to be an almost impossible task, and seeing that will be fantastic.

So ultimately, I had a really great time with Mass Effect 3. The Mass Effect trilogy are some of my favourite games this generation. I want to replay them at some point, playing renegade. I've been playing all three games as a "chaotic good" type alignment. My Shepard always had the good of the universe at heart, but doesn't care who's toes she steps on to achieve that. I'd like to see the story from a fully renegade perspective. I won't be doing that any time soon though. I need a break. It's been a truly fantastic series.

25 Comments
25 Comments
Posted by MattyFTM

Warning: This blog contains Mass Effect 3 spoilers.

Ever since finally finishing (and blogging about) Mass Effect 1 and 2 a couple of months ago, I’ve been eager to jump into Mass Effect 3. I absolutely love the Mass Effect universe, and I was keen to see how Commander Shepard’s fight against the Reapers ended. I’d managed to, more or less, stay away from major spoilers about the ending and, despite the internet outrage, was cautiously optimistic about the third installment in the franchise.

Much like my first thoughts on Mass Effect 2, my initial impressions of Mass Effect 3 were somewhat mixed. On the one hand it opens with a bang. The reaper invasion of Earth. It immediately sets the tone. The galaxy is in turmoil. It’s a crisis. It sets up a fantastic sense of urgency which I absolutely love. On the other hand, I could see my personal effect on the Mass Effect universe being tapered. In Mass Effect I chose Anderson to be the human representative on the citadel council. It was a decision I regretted in Mass Effect 2. It was clear the position wasn't suited to Anderson. Yet in the beginning of Mass Effect 3 he is an Admiral on Earth. There is no explanation for this through in-game dialogue. It is mentioned only in the Codex that Anderson used to be councillor, but he stepped down and Udina took over.

That’s not an entirely unexpected plot point considering how Anderson felt about his previous position, but the complete lack of in-game explanation was jarring. There was a perfect point in the opening scene to explain this: When Shepard and Anderson are walking along a ledge talking about going to the council, Shepard asks if he’s sure they’ll listen. Anderson replies “no, but you were a council Spectre, that has to count for something”. At that point, Shepard could easily say something like “And you used to be a councillor, that has to count for something too” and Anderson could reply saying that the position was never right for him and that it’s Udina’s job now. It is a perfect place for an explanation like that. But instead they ignore the issue completely, only explaining it in a codex entry. That issue didn’t seem to repeat itself later in the game. All my other decisions seemed to have a lasting impact on the galaxy, or in cases where they were negated by other occurrences, the events were always explained. But considering how important your decisions are to the Mass Effect universe, this initial blip was pretty awful, especially when it could have been solved so easily.

The other main thing I can criticise the game on is its pacing, and how that factors into the storyline. Upon leaving earth, the situation is dire. It’s an “Oh shit, we’ve gotta go get help right now or earth will be destroyed” type situation. Yet through the rest of the game there is a real clash between the sense of urgency and the things Shepard is doing. One minute Admiral Hacket is talking about how awful it is on Earth, the next I’m having dinner and drinks with half of my crew on the Citadel. It factors into the missions too. Several of the missions have a level of urgency comparable to the Suicide Mission in Mass Effect 2, and while that’s awesome, stopping to listen to relatively mundane audiologs takes something away from that experience.

In the grand scheme of things though, those complaints are minor. A game which such a massive scope built around decision making is always going to have some oddities on that front. And set during a massive war with near-invincible enemies, there is going to be some weird pacing. The alternative would be to have constant action with very little time to do side quests and interact with characters, and no one wants that from a Mass Effect game.

Moving onto the things I liked about the game, and I’ll start with the reason I love Mass Effect so much - the story. The story really comes together in Mass Effect 3. The overarching relationships between the species reach new levels. The Quarians and Geth united. The Krogan and Turians together. Humanity’s role in this, both the alliance campaigning to ally the races and Cerberus on the opposite side of it is extremely interesting too. Ultimately, virtually every race put aside their differences and come together to fight the Reaper threat, which is wonderful to watch.

The story on a more personal level is awesome too. The relationships between Shepard and her crew/former crew continue to develop. The big coincidence of bumping into every single former crew member on various missions is slightly weird, but I can get over that. It’s a video game and it’s nice to meet all of my former comrades again, even if it does get a bit predictable. I'm at an Asari monastery for Ardat-Yakshi and surprise surprise, Samara shows up. I'm on a geth ship and who do I bump into, that's right Legion.

There are certain, extremely powerful moments in the story too. Seeing Mordin sacrifice himself to cure the Genophage. And Liara witnessing the destruction of her homeworld. Both those moments sent shivers down my spine. I had become attached to these characters, and witnessing these things was truly gut-wrenching. There are plenty of really awesome scripted moments in the game which are a truly awesome spectacle. My personal favourite moment was on Tuchanka, fighting a bunch of Brutes with a reaper overhead, then setting a giant Thresher Maw on it. It was amazing. It really felt like there was this giant machine overhead, and taking it in such a spectacular way was fantastic. And Udina betraying the council was crazy. I never liked Udina, but I never thought he'd side with Cerberus. Yet it was totally believable too. A fantastic plot twist.

There are also a bunch of really cool moments on the smaller scale. The Normandy feels more alive than it ever has. In both previous games, crew members stay in their specific location of the ship. You'll never find them elsewhere. In Mass Effect 3, they can be found in any number of places, often interacting with eachother, which adds life to the ship. Joker and Garrus telling jokes on the bridge was hilarious, as was Tali getting drunk. And Garrus and Tali getting together towards the end was really sweet. They make a lovely couple!!!

So, you’re probably all waiting for me to talk about the ending, right? That’s what everyone is obsessed about. OK, I will do. I’ll start off with the mission itself leading up to the conclusion of the story. That final mission on earth was extremely dull and uninteresting. Fighting the reaper forces through the ravaged streets of london should have been awesome. But it was a drab affair. There was no atmosphere. It was just a matter of shooting a bunch of enemies, running around and pushing a button or two, then killing more enemies. Totally uninspired. I expected more considering the epic final mission of Mass Effect 2. Instead I ended up bored and just wanted to to get through it and see the ending.

The ending itself though, I don’t see what the big deal was about. I thought it was a decent ending. The whole revelation of the catalyst was weird, certainly. I definitely wasn’t expecting anything like that. And the final decision was slightly forced. But overall they handled it far better than I expected. They could have done a bland conclusion where the crucible is a big weapon, it kills all the reapers and everyone lived happily ever after. How boring and predictable would that be? Or the Reapers could have won and destroyed all life, totally destroying the universe and potential for more stories in the Mass Effect fiction. Which would have sucked, right? They were backed into a corner. There aren’t many places to go with the story. An powerful, apocalyptic force threatens to destroy all life in the galaxy. Someone has to win, and doing that in a unique and interesting way is not an easy task. But they still managed to do something different. It was weird and unexpected, but I certainly didn’t find it to be bad. I don't get the internet rage comments at all.

In fact, certain aspects of the ending have great potential for the future of the fiction. The Mass Relays are destroyed. Large numbers of aliens are stranded in the Sol system. Add to that the destruction caused by the Reapers and you have total disarray. It’s going to be chaos. Relationships are going to be strained and the galaxy is going to be a changed place. The Mass Relays will be rebuilt - the Protheans built a Mass Relay on Ilos and on the Citadel. If they can, so can humanity and the current alien races. They will reunite the galaxy. It isn't the end of the Mass Effect universe. But regrouping and rebuilding is going to be crazy. It’s going to be an almost impossible task, and seeing that will be fantastic.

So ultimately, I had a really great time with Mass Effect 3. The Mass Effect trilogy are some of my favourite games this generation. I want to replay them at some point, playing renegade. I've been playing all three games as a "chaotic good" type alignment. My Shepard always had the good of the universe at heart, but doesn't care who's toes she steps on to achieve that. I'd like to see the story from a fully renegade perspective. I won't be doing that any time soon though. I need a break. It's been a truly fantastic series.

Moderator
Posted by Phatmac

Glad someone found something good about the ending. Before ME3 I was crazy enough to get an N7 tattoo, after that ending I don't want to be near that series. I also wish they didn't make this new ending dlc. Bioware reaped what they sowed and a new ending won't fix that. Mass Effect 3 was great in some spots, but it is a flawed game that had immense potential. Hopefully other games can make me not care about Mass Effect as much as I do right now.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

All I will say is that I would take "boring and predictable" over the atrociously bad mess that is the ending of that game. Okay, I'll add that the ending doesn't make sense. But that's it. I mean it.

Posted by natetodamax

I too didn't think the ending was an abomination like many others thought. The kid being the catalyst was probably the only thing that I really thought was dumb, but I wasn't left with flaming hatred when the credits rolled.

Overall, I really enjoyed Mass Effect 3. There were some disappointing aspects, sure, and playing through most of the game while sick like I did was annoying, but it was well worth it. Glad you got around to playing it and liked it!

Posted by Eribuster

Nice read. I didn't mind the ending much either.

Posted by Ravenlight

@MattyFTM: Do you think there's room for a fourth Mass Effect game, or is the series done after whatever DLC ME3 gets?

@Phatmac said:

Before ME3 I was crazy enough to get an N7 tattoo, after that ending I don't want to be near that series.

With some creativity, you could make the tattoo say Never Again.

Posted by Phatmac

I recommend people that like the ending to come see this video which greatly explains my problem with the ending in great detail.

Edited by MattyFTM

@Voxel said:

I too didn't think the ending was an abomination like many others thought. The kid being the catalyst was probably the only thing that I really thought was dumb, but I wasn't left with flaming hatred when the credits rolled.

I figured that the catalyst was intentionally manifesting itself as something familiar to Shepard. Since Shepard was having nightmares about the kid, it makes sense that he'd be fresh in Shepard's mind and that the catalyst take that form.

@MooseyMcMan said:

Okay, I'll add that the ending doesn't make sense. But that's it. I mean it.

It was certainly a bit vague. And I certainly understand why that might be annoying to some people, but I wouldn't say it doesn't make sense.

@Ravenlight said:

@MattyFTM: Do you think there's room for a fourth Mass Effect game, or is the series done after whatever DLC ME3 gets?

I certainly don't think there is going to be a straight up Mass Effect 4 directly following on, but there is most definitely room for expansion in the universe. Personally I'd like to see something focused on the First Contact War. Maybe a first person shooter akin to Star Wars Battlefront, but in the Mass Effect universe. And as I said, I'd be really interested to see the rebuilding effort following Mass Effect 3. And there definitely will be more Mass Effect games EA know it's a money maker, they'd be fools not to.

Moderator
Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Phatmac said:

I recommend people that like the ending to come see this video which greatly explains my problem with the ending in great detail.

My real final statement is that this man speaks the truth. Watch this video. It's maybe a little goofier than it should be, but it gets to the core of the problem(s) like nothing else I've seen/read on the internet.

Posted by rjayb89

Well, I literally got mindfucked by Liara so Mass Effect 3 is all awesome.

Posted by AngelN7

Yeah , ME3 was Mass Effect alright in my opinion not as good as 2 in some parts in other even better than the first 2 , the banter between the characters was great (Javik is the best "new" character you should get From Ashes) and man the story was a rollercoaster for me, my love interested died , I helped some people even when the circumstance didn't make their case compeling (I'm talking about the Krogans and not having Wrex in that mission) but overall pretty good and a lot of fan service there , for me the ending wasn't bad but dissapointing they had the opportunity to tight arround everything with the Stargazer and child plot thing but they didn't , still is a pretty good game I enjoyed it.

Posted by VIGGO123

It seems we had a very similar experience playing this game, and I agree with you on most points except the ending.

Where the ending falls short for me is in the delivery. Mass Effect has always been a series of choices, choices that not only impact the game you are playing, but also carries on in the sequels.

When you have gone through three games where almost every choice has an impact on the story, big or small, taking all that away from you at the very end is just wrong.

I don't know if you've seen the different endings, but it basically boils down to what color you want the explosion to be. The 17 endings we were promised before release are nowhere to be seen, and what about all the major choices we made throughout the game? The results are no more than a five second change in the cutscene.

You seem quite certain that this isn't the end of the Mass Effect universe, that even with all the relays gone, they will somehow get the galaxy back together. But what you have to think of is that the Citadel itself is gone, the hub controlling all the other relays. And even if they somehow knew how to build a new citadel, where would they get the resources, or the manpower? The majority of the galactic fleet is trapped within the Sol system, and if the science teams were with the Crucible the brightest minds in the galaxy are trapped here as well.

Oh, and let us not forget the plot holes. The fucking plot holes!

How come no one saw Shepard entering the teleport beam? How did Anderson get there before me? Who the fuck is this ghost child, and why do you introduce a new antagonist in the last five minutes of the game?

Wait, isn't a relay explosion like a supernova? Powerful enough to wipe out a starsystem.

How did Joker and the crew manage to escape? Weren't they on Earth with me? In fact, why the fuck would he? He was there to save my ass in the end of ME2, and now he just packs up his shit and leaves?!

Yeah, it might have gotten a bit rant-y at the end there, and while I enjoyed 99% of the game, I really hope they can get things right with the Extended Cut.

Posted by AngelN7

@MooseyMcMan: I like how he used the same style that guy who did the Star Wars prequels reviews for his own video, and yeah I'll have to agree the game definetively abandoned a really important aspect of what the series was about right after you talk with the Illusive Man... also for some reason that particular interaction with the Illusive man is kinda "scary" to me is like a boss fight where the boss dosn't want to fight you but rather convice you that you're in the wrong.

Posted by Toms115

i disagree with you about the ending. was such a cop out, imo. it was so odd and saddening to me that the large majority of that game is awesome and then the last five minutes consists of amateur-hour sci-fi noodlings. you literally ascend to the ending in a stream of white light, and then some never before seen VI (or whatever the fuck that was) explains to you that reapers are actually galactic saviours. and shepard just accepts that. 3 games, hundreds of hours of trying to not be killed by reapers, and that's it: the reapers were trying to save organics all along... by killing them every 50,000 years. completely destroys the image of reapers being apathetic death machines.

Edited by MattyFTM

@MooseyMcMan said:

@Phatmac said:

I recommend people that like the ending to come see this video which greatly explains my problem with the ending in great detail.

My real final statement is that this man speaks the truth. Watch this video. It's maybe a little goofier than it should be, but it gets to the core of the problem(s) like nothing else I've seen/read on the internet.

@VIGGO123 said:

It seems we had a very similar experience playing this game, and I agree with you on most points except the ending.

Where the ending falls short for me is in the delivery. Mass Effect has always been a series of choices, choices that not only impact the game you are playing, but also carries on in the sequels.

When you have gone through three games where almost every choice has an impact on the story, big or small, taking all that away from you at the very end is just wrong.

I don't know if you've seen the different endings, but it basically boils down to what color you want the explosion to be. The 17 endings we were promised before release are nowhere to be seen, and what about all the major choices we made throughout the game? The results are no more than a five second change in the cutscene.

You seem quite certain that this isn't the end of the Mass Effect universe, that even with all the relays gone, they will somehow get the galaxy back together. But what you have to think of is that the Citadel itself is gone, the hub controlling all the other relays. And even if they somehow knew how to build a new citadel, where would they get the resources, or the manpower? The majority of the galactic fleet is trapped within the Sol system, and if the science teams were with the Crucible the brightest minds in the galaxy are trapped here as well.

Oh, and let us not forget the plot holes. The fucking plot holes!

How come no one saw Shepard entering the teleport beam? How did Anderson get there before me? Who the fuck is this ghost child, and why do you introduce a new antagonist in the last five minutes of the game?

Wait, isn't a relay explosion like a supernova? Powerful enough to wipe out a starsystem.

How did Joker and the crew manage to escape? Weren't they on Earth with me? In fact, why the fuck would he? He was there to save my ass in the end of ME2, and now he just packs up his shit and leaves?!

Yeah, it might have gotten a bit rant-y at the end there, and while I enjoyed 99% of the game, I really hope they can get things right with the Extended Cut.

I certainly get the frustrations. It is vague, and I can understand why that would frustrate people. You all raise very good points. But I, personally, don't find them to be a huge deal. I was hugely invested in the Mass Effect fiction. I played the games. I read the first three books. I read the first two comic series'. I loved them all. If anyone was going to be outraged by a lackluster ending that goes against the series, it should probably be me. But the vagueness of the ending doesn't bother me. I think I kind of like the mystery of it. I like that, even though it's over, I still have questions. There is still mystery behind the reapers. I still want to know more about the future of Mass Effect, just like it has always been through the series.

As for your point about the Citadel & Mass Effect Relays, on my ending (I chose to destroy all the synthetic life) the Citadel wasn't visibly destroyed. There were explosions, sure, but we never saw it completely destroyed. And the very final scene was Shepard (or someone with an N7 dog tag, anyway, you don't see their face, but it has to be Shepard) lying in the rubble, breathing. There is no way she could have survived re-entry to earth, so it must be rubble on the citadel, right? Which means it's damaged, but not destroyed.

Ultimately, I understand why you feel the way you do about the ending, but I personally don't share those feelings.

@AngelN7 said:

Illusive Man... also for some reason that particular interaction with the Illusive man is kinda "scary" to me is like a boss fight where the boss dosn't want to fight you but rather convice you that you're in the wrong.

I had the exact same reaction to that Illusive man section. It was very tense. You had an indoctrinated Illusive man, and two, very badly injured soldiers. Anything could happen, and that made the whole situation very tense and nervous. It was a very good scene.

Moderator
Posted by ShaneDev

I had a similar reaction to the ending. I was pretty meh about it. I thought it was good of them to give some bigger picture to the Reapers but the whole thing felt a little odd to me and maybe a little rushed. The big plot holes are what annoy me simply because they are so blatant. Why was the Normandy going through a Relay and why was my whole team on it? If they had relayed a sense of some time passing between the push on the Citadel and the ending I could forgive it but they didn't.

The Star Trek 2 mind meld with Liara right at the end leaves them open to bring back Shepard and so does that scene where he survives one of the endings. Could be interesting to see where they go with it but the huge differences in the endings means it would be pretty hard to make another game. Of course they could just pick an ending and make it canon but that would seem weird.

Posted by ZombiePie

I'm going to get to this game this summer...I promise.

Moderator
Posted by Gravier251

At first I felt it was alright, though after digging into everything surrounding the indoctorination theory I actually really love the potential of the ending. There are all manner of subtle details; e.g. if you have over 5000 combat readiness the "catalyst" crouches down to you while you are there awake and says "wake up". under 5000 and it angrily asks "why are you here?".

If the ending is taken at face value it is alright, and has interesting possibilities going forward. If indoctorination holds true then I really love the ending. Potentially pulling off player agency within a situation that involves mind control/indoctorination. Giving players the choice to go along with options that are in line with Saren's crazed ramblings or the illusive man's. Rather than sticking to the goal we have had for 3 games. The fact that most people do not pick destroy is kind of interesting. So I really like the prospect that there are subtle clues and hints as to the reality of the situation, while not being so overt as to colour the players judgement.

It is easy to resist mind control within the confines of a game, if people have dialogue options of "I buy into it" vs. "no, I don't believe you". People will just exercise their out of character insight/perspective and ignore the influence. I really enjoy the notion that the ending may well have been an occurence of insidious indoctorination that gave the player full agency over the matter to resist it while at the same time presenting it in a way that screws with the players head and inclines them towards making a call that is counter to everything they have stood for throughout 3 games.

Videos such as this do a decent job of portraying the theory:

Posted by SlightConfuse

I didn't mind the ending it put the universe in an interesting place. The lead up to it was a bit contrived but nothing bad. It was essentially the ending to human revolution but a bit more connected

Posted by Tylea002

Because I love going over my personal frustrations with that ending, I shall again! I applaud what they're trying to do, to tie it up in a big mystical, bittersweet, final, crazy motherfucking ending. I applaud that they don't just go and the Crucible was a big gun and killed all the reapers yay the end. I hated the Crucible as a plot device, with it's obvious deus ex machina-ness, and was truly hoping for the ending to go "Yo, The Crucible's totally a reaper trap, why the fuck else would they bring it to earth and give a lift to the citadel? They designed that shit to give the races a beacon of hope, to prevent mass suicides, and help with the harvesting - because Civilisations last longer when they hang onto hope." I thought that was going to be the direction it went in, and it could have ended in the inevitable, unchangeable death of motherfucking everyone and I would have been happy, because it would have made sense, and dammit we united a Galaxy. Who cares if it was for nothing, when the chips were down, we stuck together, and that's the true beautiful ending.

And it's that theme of unification against all odds that defined mass effect 3 - and none of the endings at all represent that. Not synthesis, because the whole point of ME3 is celebrating diversity, rather than shitting on it. As you know, cause you're a smart dude who's heard all these points a million times on the internet, Synthetics vs Organics was not the main theme of Mass Effect 3. Granted, if you were able to call the Star Child on this, to show him how The Reaper worldview is fundementally flawed for the Mass Effect universe, thus creating this Next Generation Encounter at Farpoint type ending, that would have been great as well, but unfortunately not. Now, I'm only talking thematically here, and ignoring all the millions of in-universe plotholes and lore contradictions, because I grant you it is annoying to listen to someone go on about the Mass Relays exploding and the details of the science in the universe, but for many, that was what made Mass Effect special. That they did take the time to think about the science. There was an internal logic and explanation for everything, and it increased the richness of the world. Sacrificing that for the last five minutes is at odds with why people love the game in the first place.

And don't get me started on the Garden of Eden planet. *shudder*

The thing is, they could have had a good ending, bittersweet, good music, good visuals overall, and seeing Joker terrified the ship's about to crash was HEARTBREAKING. But it was just awful for me, so alas, I could not enjoy.

Edited by MattyFTM

@ShaneDev said:

The Star Trek 2 mind meld with Liara right at the end leaves them open to bring back Shepard and so does that scene where he survives one of the endings. Could be interesting to see where they go with it but the huge differences in the endings means it would be pretty hard to make another game. Of course they could just pick an ending and make it canon but that would seem weird.

I think with the future of the universe they have to pick an ending and make it cannon. It would be weird, but I don't see how they can get around it. What they'll probably have to do is do a prequel or two over the next couple of years until everyone has more-or-less forgotten about their specific ending, then select a cannon ending and go onwards from there.

@Gravier251 said:

At first I felt it was alright, though after digging into everything surrounding the indoctorination theory I actually really love the potential of the ending. There are all manner of subtle details; e.g. if you have over 5000 combat readiness the "catalyst" crouches down to you while you are there awake and says "wake up". under 5000 and it angrily asks "why are you here?".

If the ending is taken at face value it is alright, and has interesting possibilities going forward. If indoctorination holds true then I really love the ending. Potentially pulling off player agency within a situation that involves mind control/indoctorination. Giving players the choice to go along with options that are in line with Saren's crazed ramblings or the illusive man's. Rather than sticking to the goal we have had for 3 games. The fact that most people do not pick destroy is kind of interesting. So I really like the prospect that there are subtle clues and hints as to the reality of the situation, while not being so overt as to colour the players judgement.

It is easy to resist mind control within the confines of a game, if people have dialogue options of "I buy into it" vs. "no, I don't believe you". People will just exercise their out of character insight/perspective and ignore the influence. I really enjoy the notion that the ending may well have been an occurence of insidious indoctorination that gave the player full agency over the matter to resist it while at the same time presenting it in a way that screws with the players head and inclines them towards making a call that is counter to everything they have stood for throughout 3 games.

Videos such as this do a decent job of portraying the theory:

When I made my final decision, I completely avoided the control option because I thought that firstly, I'd be just as power hungry as the Illusive man if I did that, and secondly, the catalyst could be manipulating me. I haven't looked into the indoctrination theory too much, but it definitely seems like an interesting idea.

Moderator
Edited by kmdrkul

IMO the ending needed more....

Cowbell. Ba-dum-tish! B-]

Posted by Irvandus

here I was hoping the comments would be something other than another ending argument.

Posted by Anupsis

The catalyst should have been Kaiden or Ashley, not some kid no one really cares about and was put in just for the shock value of a kid dying.

Edited by MentalDisruption

After beating the game my reaction to the endings made me realize a great deal about how invested I am in the series. If it were any other game I could just shrug it off and say, well they made an ending I think is shitty, oh well. But it actual frustrates me that I don't get to see a good ending for all of the characters I grew to love (other than the fact that they aren't killed by the reapers, but at this point that's not saying much).

I agree that the entire mission on earth felt dragged out and boring. The only part of it that was good was when you got to talk to your squad mates before starting the run to the beam. There's not even a final boss. We get to run through a wave of enemies and push a button while a reaper is firing lasers down on us. Gee, didn't we do that in the first third of the game already? Oh wait, that first time was two buttons. My bad. And everything after that is just horribly slow walking to get to a less than satisfying decision. That mission was the first time that I ever felt like I didn't want to be playing the game, but I forced myself to finish it because I needed to see it end at least once.

Oh and I agree that the catalyst should have taken the form of Kaiden or Ashley. Having to slow motion run after that kid in dream sequences was stupid and annoying. If anything he should have been running after the squad mates he just lost. Although he does hear their voices, and that is the one thing that kind of redeemed those sections for me. Hearing Mordin and Legion is actually sad. My squad mates are something I care about and are something that would emotionally distress my Shepard. Some kid I saw for a second at the beginning of the game is not.