The ending of Mass Effect 3
When Mass Effect 3 first came out, I was ecstatic. I’ve been a fan of the series since its inception and always enjoyed the extent to which Bioware was able to craft a well-thought out and intricate setting filled with consistency and character. Some things (Mark Meer’s voice acting, the writing of most, if not all of the party members’ backstories and interactions) started off bland but as time went on they improved and went from strength to strength. I had a lot of fun playing through the final installment, because of the content, the polish applied to the combat system, and the resolution of plot threads many years in the making. I emphasise the quality of the Geth-Quarian storyline, it was a fantastic and poignant resolution in my eyes and I wish more stories could be like that.
I got the game late and when word started to filter back to me that there was considerable anger over the endings I begged my friends not to tell me what happens so that I could experience it for myself. I assumed that it was merely the internet being the internet again. Bioware has drawn a lot of hate since the release of Dragon Age 2 a few years ago, hate that I do not feel was justified. Imagine my surprise when people claimed that Bioware “betrayed” the fanbase, or when people started exhorting others not to buy The Old Republic and flaming anyone who said that they were excited about it. Anyone raising a dissenting view was labelled a Biodrone, along with those who uncritically defended Bioware’s games no matter how good they were. There were accusations of selling out or that the merger with EA had somehow compromised their integrity.
I wanted to divorce myself from all this and judge the endings with my own eyes. I even divorced my mind from the problems I encountered attempting to purchase the game on Origin – I could not enter Mauritius into my credit card billing address and so I was unable to pay for the copy I had waited for so long to get. For the most part I think I was successful. After self-evaluation I decided that my mind was clear and free of all prejudice. With that in mind, I began to play the final act.
With the endings laid out before me, I chose the Green path. I viewed it, and then I sat and thought about it while the credits played in the background. I decided that my feelings were much like those I had after the ending of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Those endings were entirely unsatisfying, a poor example of how to do multiple endings showing the consequences of one’s actions, and they told me nothing about how my choices had affected the world. I felt the same way about Mass Effect 3. I did not feel angry or cheated out of a magnificent ending to a magnificent tale; I was merely unsatisfied. I don’t know how any of the characters I’ve come to know and depend on feel about Shepard and the decision he made. I don’t know if the future turned out okay because of what I did, even in the short term.
What I did like was when the whole truth about the Reapers was revealed. I was fascinated by it. I found it interesting that they drew influences from transhumanist sources about the technological singularity. Overall wouldn’t say it tarnished my experience but, suffice to say, I’ve read visual novels with more satisfying endings and all that happens is that the protagonist ends up going out with the girl and eventually they marry and possibly have kids.
I read an article about the Reclaim Mass Effect 3 campaign. They say that they want to dispel any notions that they are a group of angry or entitled gamers, and that they want to show their admiration for the series by giving it the ending it deserves. I haven’t taken the pulse of the internet with regards to their attitudes on the game, so I can’t discern the truth of that statement, but actions speak louder than words. I will certainly have no reason to go to /v/ again for the foreseeable future, nor any of the chatrooms I visit (which all seem to turn into /v/ every time a new Bioware game comes out).
With that in mind, I’m going to hammer out some more playthroughs of Mass Effect, from start to finish. Try a few different playstyles, a few different romances. Explore all that the game has to offer.
Oh yeah, I also lurk around on The Old Republic playing one of my various toons, that I swap between in schizophrenic bursts. I’m on Rogue Moon, EU, if you want to look me up for a party. See you there.