So, I just beat Mass Effect 3. Spoilers in "Spoiler Block."

Let me start off with one thing: I love these games, and have been "obsessed" with them since the first one in 2007.

I started playing Mass Effect 3 a few days ago. And, as a "rabid fanboy" of the series, I loved every minute of the game. Well, not every minute, because the scanning stuff was a little silly, and there were a few poorly designed bosses, but those things weren't nearly bad enough to negate all of the game's positives. Story, game play, voice acting, etc. I loved all of it.

Until the ending. After I beat the game (tonight), I was...confused. No, that's not the right word. But I didn't know what to think at first. The ending is strange no doubt, but nothing about it made me angry. At least until I went online to read up on the other endings.

Then I found out that apparently the "Effective Military Rating" has to be at 5,000 to get the best ending. No problem, my "Total Military Strength" was over 7,000. But wait, because I don't pay for Xbox Live, the "Galactic Readiness" was at 50% for all sectors, so that drops it to about 3,500. S***. I did everything I could in the game. Every mission, every fetch quest, everything. Unless I missed something, and something big, there was no way I would be able to get that number up to 10,000.

That's messed up. Yes, new copies of the game (which I bought) come with a code for two days of Xbox Live Gold. Yes, I could have used that and played the online day and night to try to get the readiness as high as possible, and then race to beat the game before the two days ended (I'm willing to beat that once you're not Gold, it resets/blocks access to it, because of course it would).

The problem is the idea that in order to get the best ending in the single player portion of the game you need to play a bunch of the multi-player portion of the game. I don't mind that multi-player can exist as a means to boost it, if anything I think that's neat, and a great way of incorporating the multi-player into the fiction of the universe. But requiring it for the best endings? Especially when a higher rating shouldn't even effect the ending!

All right, here are my thoughts on the actual ending. It's hidden on the off chance you haven't beaten the game yet. You've been warned.

All right. When I got to the ending, I chose the "Destroy" path because my mission was to destroy the Reapers, and that's what I did. So, I blew up the Reapers, Shepard got caught up in an explosion, then, for some reason the Normandy was traveling through a Relay, and crashed on a planet with characters in it who were on the ground with Shepard before hand. And then Buzz Aldrin was on a snowy planet overlooking another planet with a kid.

But, after going online, I read that if your "Effective Military Rating" is higher, there's a few extras seconds that reveal that Shepard is alive. So, I found a video, and there is indeed an ending that appears to show Shepard living. But I didn't get that because the meter wasn't high enough.

Yes, I realize that in the long run, this probably won't matter because I don't really see how BioWare can move forward with a Mass Effect 4 that would import a save from this game. And yes, I realize that I may be wrong, and maybe it is possible to get over 5,000 "Effective Military Rating" without going online. But if that is possible, I'd to see just how it is possible. Again, I'm almost positive that I did EVERYTHING. Okay, I suppose I might have been able to squeeze another hundred or two out of it, but I serious needed another 2,500 or so.

I dunno. The endings are weird. Are the bad? Maybe. None of them are how I would have ended the game. I almost want to write how I would have ended the game, but that's not really the point. The point is that these are games that I have played and replayed since 2007, and I absolutely loved this game until the ending, and finding out that despite my best efforts, I didn't get the best ending, and probably couldn't get the best ending. Maybe two days are enough to get the meter up. I dunno.

I feel a little sad. I love these games. And now they're over. Or this story arch is, at least. I'm sure EA isn't going to stop making Mass Effect games so long as things with the Mass Effect name sell. Maybe next time it'll be a game about Blasto. Sorry that the video is from a rival site (sort of, it's on YouTube). It was the first one that came up. Or they'll use my idea and make it about a couple of smugglers traveling the galaxy just trying to get by (and would basically just be Han Solo the game, but in Mass Effect). But I suppose that probably won't happen.

If you're still reading this, then thanks. I don't thank you duders enough. So, I reward you with footage of the greatest known living voice actor, who sadly is not in Mass Effect 3 (though I wish he was).

I guess one thing I can say about the ending of the game is that it feels like an ending. I feel like I'm done. Not necessarily done in a good way, but not a bad way either. Just...done. I wonder what the DLC will be. From Ashes was all right. The squad mate added was very well written and voiced, and there was a lot of dialog with him and about him, but the mission that came with the DLC wasn't great. Worth the $10 if you're obsessed like I am (but make sure you get the DLC before you start playing, or very early on).

In other news, Yakuza: Dead Souls came out. I haven't played it yet, or purchased it yet. I intend to play it, but I don't know when I will. I sort of want to play Journey, but I'm still not sure it's worth the $15 price.

As some suggested on my last blog, I've taken a break from working on my book. I do have a few friends who said they were going to read it, and I'm hoping we'll be able to convene and discuss it later this week. I guess that would involve breaking my "break" from the book much earlier than people suggested, but whatever. I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to not work on it when I'm waiting for publishers/literary agents to respond to me (I haven't even attempted contacting any yet).

But life goes on, even if ME3 didn't end the way I would have ended it. For the record, if I wrote the ending, it would have ended with Shepard, Anderson, Hackett, Wrex, Garrus, Joker, and all the rest of the crew of the Normandy having a barbecue. Then Garrus almost dies when he accidentally takes a bite from a hamburger, but he's okay, and they all have a good laugh about it as the scene fades to black and the credits roll.

Okay, that'd be a little silly, and I might not have my facts straight about how Turians react to human food (but I know they can't eat it). Also, my book does not end with a barbecue. There may be grilling in it though.

Update: Okay, I put in the two day Xbox Live Gold code that came with the game, and I played the game online a bit this morning. Turns out it doesn't take very long to get enough Galactic Readiness to get the meter over 5000, so I guess as long as you can play games online, and got that two day code, getting enough Readiness is fairly easy. I still think hiding the best ending behind multi-player is questionable at best though, but I suppose I'm in the minority, since I don't pay for Xbox Live.

6 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by MooseyMcMan

Let me start off with one thing: I love these games, and have been "obsessed" with them since the first one in 2007.

I started playing Mass Effect 3 a few days ago. And, as a "rabid fanboy" of the series, I loved every minute of the game. Well, not every minute, because the scanning stuff was a little silly, and there were a few poorly designed bosses, but those things weren't nearly bad enough to negate all of the game's positives. Story, game play, voice acting, etc. I loved all of it.

Until the ending. After I beat the game (tonight), I was...confused. No, that's not the right word. But I didn't know what to think at first. The ending is strange no doubt, but nothing about it made me angry. At least until I went online to read up on the other endings.

Then I found out that apparently the "Effective Military Rating" has to be at 5,000 to get the best ending. No problem, my "Total Military Strength" was over 7,000. But wait, because I don't pay for Xbox Live, the "Galactic Readiness" was at 50% for all sectors, so that drops it to about 3,500. S***. I did everything I could in the game. Every mission, every fetch quest, everything. Unless I missed something, and something big, there was no way I would be able to get that number up to 10,000.

That's messed up. Yes, new copies of the game (which I bought) come with a code for two days of Xbox Live Gold. Yes, I could have used that and played the online day and night to try to get the readiness as high as possible, and then race to beat the game before the two days ended (I'm willing to beat that once you're not Gold, it resets/blocks access to it, because of course it would).

The problem is the idea that in order to get the best ending in the single player portion of the game you need to play a bunch of the multi-player portion of the game. I don't mind that multi-player can exist as a means to boost it, if anything I think that's neat, and a great way of incorporating the multi-player into the fiction of the universe. But requiring it for the best endings? Especially when a higher rating shouldn't even effect the ending!

All right, here are my thoughts on the actual ending. It's hidden on the off chance you haven't beaten the game yet. You've been warned.

All right. When I got to the ending, I chose the "Destroy" path because my mission was to destroy the Reapers, and that's what I did. So, I blew up the Reapers, Shepard got caught up in an explosion, then, for some reason the Normandy was traveling through a Relay, and crashed on a planet with characters in it who were on the ground with Shepard before hand. And then Buzz Aldrin was on a snowy planet overlooking another planet with a kid.

But, after going online, I read that if your "Effective Military Rating" is higher, there's a few extras seconds that reveal that Shepard is alive. So, I found a video, and there is indeed an ending that appears to show Shepard living. But I didn't get that because the meter wasn't high enough.

Yes, I realize that in the long run, this probably won't matter because I don't really see how BioWare can move forward with a Mass Effect 4 that would import a save from this game. And yes, I realize that I may be wrong, and maybe it is possible to get over 5,000 "Effective Military Rating" without going online. But if that is possible, I'd to see just how it is possible. Again, I'm almost positive that I did EVERYTHING. Okay, I suppose I might have been able to squeeze another hundred or two out of it, but I serious needed another 2,500 or so.

I dunno. The endings are weird. Are the bad? Maybe. None of them are how I would have ended the game. I almost want to write how I would have ended the game, but that's not really the point. The point is that these are games that I have played and replayed since 2007, and I absolutely loved this game until the ending, and finding out that despite my best efforts, I didn't get the best ending, and probably couldn't get the best ending. Maybe two days are enough to get the meter up. I dunno.

I feel a little sad. I love these games. And now they're over. Or this story arch is, at least. I'm sure EA isn't going to stop making Mass Effect games so long as things with the Mass Effect name sell. Maybe next time it'll be a game about Blasto. Sorry that the video is from a rival site (sort of, it's on YouTube). It was the first one that came up. Or they'll use my idea and make it about a couple of smugglers traveling the galaxy just trying to get by (and would basically just be Han Solo the game, but in Mass Effect). But I suppose that probably won't happen.

If you're still reading this, then thanks. I don't thank you duders enough. So, I reward you with footage of the greatest known living voice actor, who sadly is not in Mass Effect 3 (though I wish he was).

I guess one thing I can say about the ending of the game is that it feels like an ending. I feel like I'm done. Not necessarily done in a good way, but not a bad way either. Just...done. I wonder what the DLC will be. From Ashes was all right. The squad mate added was very well written and voiced, and there was a lot of dialog with him and about him, but the mission that came with the DLC wasn't great. Worth the $10 if you're obsessed like I am (but make sure you get the DLC before you start playing, or very early on).

In other news, Yakuza: Dead Souls came out. I haven't played it yet, or purchased it yet. I intend to play it, but I don't know when I will. I sort of want to play Journey, but I'm still not sure it's worth the $15 price.

As some suggested on my last blog, I've taken a break from working on my book. I do have a few friends who said they were going to read it, and I'm hoping we'll be able to convene and discuss it later this week. I guess that would involve breaking my "break" from the book much earlier than people suggested, but whatever. I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to not work on it when I'm waiting for publishers/literary agents to respond to me (I haven't even attempted contacting any yet).

But life goes on, even if ME3 didn't end the way I would have ended it. For the record, if I wrote the ending, it would have ended with Shepard, Anderson, Hackett, Wrex, Garrus, Joker, and all the rest of the crew of the Normandy having a barbecue. Then Garrus almost dies when he accidentally takes a bite from a hamburger, but he's okay, and they all have a good laugh about it as the scene fades to black and the credits roll.

Okay, that'd be a little silly, and I might not have my facts straight about how Turians react to human food (but I know they can't eat it). Also, my book does not end with a barbecue. There may be grilling in it though.

Update: Okay, I put in the two day Xbox Live Gold code that came with the game, and I played the game online a bit this morning. Turns out it doesn't take very long to get enough Galactic Readiness to get the meter over 5000, so I guess as long as you can play games online, and got that two day code, getting enough Readiness is fairly easy. I still think hiding the best ending behind multi-player is questionable at best though, but I suppose I'm in the minority, since I don't pay for Xbox Live.

Posted by Tylea002

Thispretty much sums up all the fans complaints with the ending that aren't 'I'd have liked it to be happier or with more answers.' My reaction when I played ME3 was first, eh that was odd, to then researching and thinking about it and just, yeah, it really is as bad as people said.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Tylea002: I actually already saw that. My first thought was that of anger at the document always referring to Shepard as "she" and "her." My pro-male Shepard/anti-lady Shepard line of thinking shall not end!

Posted by Tylea002

Those FemShep purists and their pronouns! Always getting in the way.

But yeah, the ending is terrible when viewed in the context of the rest of the story. Bioware have no way out, changing it pisses of people, not changing it causes a different PR shit storm, it's all quite interesting to watch it play out. Hopefully they just run with the indoctrination thing, even though only a crazy person would believe they intended it, and release something at some point that continues it, but either way, no one's getting out of this thing clean.

A real shame, Mass Effect should have held up as one of the pinnacles of game storytelling. Alas, it doesn't, and with everything surrounding it, this probably won't die down for a while. But if Bioware do stay silent, I look forward to the ME Pax Panel, if I can find clips of. I'm sure the fans will go to great lengths to prove why they have legitimate complaints and totally not come off like assholes.

Yeah.

Posted by BawlZINmotion

@Tylea002 said:

Thispretty much sums up all the fans complaints with the ending that aren't 'I'd have liked it to be happier or with more answers.' My reaction when I played ME3 was first, eh that was odd, to then researching and thinking about it and just, yeah, it really is as bad as people said.

I felt the same way. If Bioware games didn't have such strong writing and those interactive story elements, the developer could very well be a hole in the wall. The ME3 ending is pure lazy and does little to conclude so many dangling plots. You constructed so many relationships with other characters, spent so much time trying to save the galaxy, and it all goes unanswered when Commander Sheppard goes dark. B... fucking... S. Period.

Posted by Mento

For all this rigmarole about terrible endings, it turned out just to be the Matrix Reloaded choice again. Or the Evangelion choice, if you'd rather. That old "hero, choose what will become reality for everyone, at your peril" chestnut. It's been done, and in pretty much every large-scale sci-fi/cyberpunk fiction worth a damn. So at least, in that respect, it continues the Mass Effect tradition of mercilessly cribbing ideas from its peers (though not necessarily in a bad way; sort of like Star Wars and its Flash Gordon "influences").

To be fair, they painted themselves in a corner early on with invincible crayfish robots from outside space as the antagonists. How else are you supposed to defeat them, short of what was effectively a big ol' reset button?

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Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Mento: But they didn't have to destroy the mass relays and have the conversion with the ghost kid looking thing.

I still maintain that a happy ending with a barbecue would have been better.