Warning, don’t read this if you intend on beating Mass Effect 3 as I am going to spoil the hell out of it.
Mass Effect is possibly the most amazing and emotional videogame journeys to date. The idea of building on player choices and consequences coupled with the best character development and bonding in a videogame, its understandable that there is a lot riding on this ending. Yet I find myself absolutely heart broken by this fictional world and the deaths of its fictional characters. The general assumption to any long running series is that the ending will never be good. I disagree. While the ending to the Dark Tower series was controversial, it felt right and had a feeling of closure for example.
The fantasy of Mass Effect goes beyond the sci fi. The fantasy of Mass Effect is having your decisions and actions make a difference outside of your home. Its empowering and connects you with the main character. It connects you to the world around you and the characters around you. Your teammates success are based at least partially on Shepard’s words and supports. Peace in the galaxy between races is based entirely on Shepard’s desire to bring peace between races. So why in the world does the ending throw all of this away? Why does this game go all Akira on us?
There are basically 3 options for the ending all of which destroy the mass effect relays and the Citadel: 1) Control the reapers 2) Make everyone an organic machine hybrid. 3) Kill all machines. You die in all 3 with a possible chance to live at the end of killing all machines.
Control the reapers is what I did not want to do as a player. Its insinuated by the blue lighting and leaves that this is the paragon ending. The ending has the Normandy crashing on a planet. In my game Joker, Liara, and Javik get out. That’s it.
Make everyone an organic machine hybrid. This is probably the closest to a good ending the game gets but it achieves it through magic. Anyone with half a science degree knows the pseudo science presented in this ending is complete BS.
And the one Bioware considers the perfect ending, kill all the machines. This is pretty extensive though as it will kill EDI, the Geth, and any alien race reliant on their suits for survival (such as the Quarians).
Since the Citadel is destroyed in all 3 endings, this is confirmation that all those refugees die, Captain Bailey dies, the council dies, pretty much everything you did in the Mass Effect universe now almost doesn’t matter. Why in the end of Mass Effect 3 would you destroy everything that makes the series loved? Yes the world is nice and good BUT ANYONE CAN MAKE A COOL FUNCTIONING WORLD. The unique piece of the Mass Effect series is the excellent writing that really makes you fall in love with the characters. This isn’t the first space human looking to save the universe in a story teaming up with aliens. What makes Mass Effect 3 unique are the choices and excellent character development.
The more I think about the ending to Mass Effect the more depressing it is. No where are they now for your team. No idea how they got back on the Normandy. No idea what happened to the majority of your crew. No idea what happened to anyone really. Enjoy the magic of traveling through space? That’s gone now. Did you enjoy all the hard work you put into bringing peace between the Geth and the Quarians? Doesn’t matter now. Did you enjoy restoring the Krogans so they don’t produce still borns constantly and Mordin’s sacrifice for it? Doesn’t matter. NONE OF IT MATTERS.
Mass Effect 3 you are a wonderful game that has completely broken my heart. I kind of want to stop gaming now.