4 Reasons Why The Mass Effect 3 Debate Refuses to Die

Shamus Young

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4 Reasons Why The Mass Effect 3 Debate Refuses to Die

More than two years later, people still argue over the ending of Mass Effect 3 and the series as a whole. Why are people so passionate about it?

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Zhukov

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Y'know, some of us played all three games (multiple times even) and still considered the sequels to be huge improvements, both in gameplay and storytelling.

Although the "Human's Are Special" undertones can admittedly fuck right off. As can the ending of course, at least the original one.

If nothing else, I agree with your final point of a whole bunch of different people wanting a whole bunch of different things.
 

Shamus Young

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Shamus Young said:
"Lots of people compared it to 2001: A Space Odyssey."
And the comparison usually goes something like ...
"Arthur C. Clarke can get away with a deus ex, star child ending ... but you, sir, are no Arthur C. Clarke."
 

blackaesir

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Zhukov said:
Y'know, some of us played all three games (multiple times even) and still considered the sequels to be huge improvements, both in gameplay and storytelling.
Or we liked somethings better in the gameplay and story departments and some things worse, because everyone has different personal preferences.

And also the extent to which Mass Effect 3 did allow us to resolve various ongoing issues (Geth vs. Quarian in particular), those resolutions could in turn make the ending more or less nihlisitc depending on what a given player did.
 

SonOfVoorhees

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I played the first two when they were first released. I then rebought them to play before ME3. Out of all 3 ME games, ME3 is the only game i didnt replay. The ending wasnt that great and that killed the replay. But before that seeing the Rachi pissed me off as I killed the last one in ME3. Also by then all the stuff your character did was only shown in emails. In ME2 it wasnt like you could play as Wrex if you saved him in ME1. So i knew from ME2 that the whole "your choices change the world" was bullshit and cosmetic. Your choice whether to kill the council or save them in ME1 made no real difference to ME2. Your choice to destroy or save the base in ME2 made no difference to ME3. So for me, ME3 lost a lot what made me love ME3.

But for the debate, its no difference to any other game/movie/book that disapointed me in my life. ME3 went into its case and i sold it and moved on to another game. Some people act like ME3 raped and killed their wife and kids. Just really over the top.

Regardless of everything. The ME universe is still one which i would love to travel in again. Regardless of the ending, its the stories and characters that make it for me. An one boring ending wont change that for me.
 

TheMadJack

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I'll probably replay the ME series eventually, but I'll stop playing the third when at the end--as you meet the child--as it's mainly irrelevant from that point on.
 

Zombie Badger

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I think the real reason that ME3's ending is still such an open wound is that the preceding series had spent five years building up to it. Everything was leading to this moment and when five years of emotional investment is met with disappointment it's not going to be forgotten quickly.
 

Shamus Young

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The reason I never finished the first game was the UI. Not the genre, not the difficulty not the gameplay (those I liked a lot).

Its UI was Dog Shit. Whoever made that (and the War Thunder UI) needs to change their line of work. They just suck epicly at it.
Mass Effect 1's UI was a mess and something I would expect from a newbie Half Life 1 modder. Not from a AAA developer...
 

Shamus Young

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1) It was a good series of games. It lives long. You can rekindle discussion about FFVII or Doom after all this time too.
2) The ending was controversial. Some love it, some hate it, nuff said.
3) New people keep getting to the game. I only played it last year and when I did, I wanted to discuss it. Other people play the game for the first time today.
4) It was a fucking moronic controversy in the first place. Of course these live the longest.
 

wastaz

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My main problem with ME1 was the atrocious Mako. I love that game, but every time it makes me go into the Mako I want to throw my controller out of the window and kill small furry woodland creatures (won't anyone think of the small woodland creatures?!)

ME2 and 3 had different tones and I do believe they dropped the ball on the ending, but I really wish we could all focus on the real problem with this game series instead.
KILL THE MAKO!
 

DaWaffledude

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I feel like anything important I have to say on the subject was covered here, and anything else is just me spewing preference and bias.

That being said ME1 is my favourite game of all time, and I had to force myself to finish ME2. Also, I love the Mako. Sue me.
 

Notshauna

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I really wish people will stop saying some found the ending amazing, it's a cop out and is full of the usual mass media "fair and balanced" bullshit where they always find someone "on the otherside" no matter how wrong it is. The ending is terrible it's indisputable, it's not surprising that people like the ending, I like the Super Mario Bros. movie but it's still terrible. Mass Effects ending is still an illogical convoluted mess that tried to staple reasoning on to mad gods, offer a "big" decision when one wasn't needed and ended up with a hook to the next game that is more poorly written than some of the stuff I wrote in diapers.

It's plain and simple what it should of been, no fancy crucible rewriting the directive of reapers, it's a weapon plain and simple, you don't know what you do until the AI informs you. No more magical star child informing you of everything about the reapers and they're stupid directive, just a simple AI saying hey what you built will do this. And this weapon is a super nova bomb, there is a simple binary choice set it off at full power destroying all of the reapers and everyone in the Sol system as well, or set it off at lower power, potentially escaping, and causing the people in Sol to survive but failing destroy all of the reapers (but, they'd retreat to recuperate their numbers). And after that there'd be a Dragon Age Origins style reveal of the victory celebration revealing if Shepard survived (if you have to include galactic readiness make that be the factor that decides it).
 

teh_cabbage

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Oct 13, 2010
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I know I can't be the only one who vastly preferred the first Mass Effect's gameplay to the second. I liked the Mako, I liked the inventory management, I liked the shooting! I was more upset by ME2 than ME3, though admittedly ME2 convinced me to not bother with ME3, and as a result I only only actually know ME3 from the Spoiler Warning season, so that might explain why I don't really have much in the way of strong feelings.
 

Therumancer

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Shamus, I think your analysis of this is deeply flawed because it considers some fringe components to be serious "sides" of the discussion and omits perhaps the most important part of this entire thing:

The most important part of the ME3 fiasco is that Bioware made specific promises about the ending of the game and what it would include. Bioware made it clear with direct statements that Mass Effect 3 would both answer all the outstanding questions and would NOT include a simple "choose A B or C ending". Bioware proceeded to put in a "choose A B or C" ending anyway, what's more many of the biggest questions in the series were not answered. Bioware released an app that was "behind the scenes" of ME3 and in that app they had the devs saying "well, we decided not to answer a lot of the big questions because they work better as mysteries and give us material for later games in the franchise". Add to this some leaked information about how Bioware actually had no plans for the ending until late in the process, and how what they did was inspired by an adolescent fan whose fan-letter got taped to a director's door, and you can see why there was a riot.

It should also be noted that changing the game genera in this case is a little different than your presenting it. Mass Effect (the original) worked as a self-contained story. It was also a game in a very niche genera as you pointed out. The problem isn't so much that Bioware decided to make a sci-fi shooter, but that they made it "Mass Effect 2" basically claiming that an entirely different kind of game, with entirely different core principles (as you pointed out) was "more of the same" following the first game. Basically Bioware should have created an entirely new franchise for that, and left a game a lot of people fell in love with alone rather than ruining it by stamping a "2" on something entirely different and then claiming anyone who complained about this was being unfair.

When it comes to that transition, also consider that it's not really fair or accurate to say that the first "Mass Effect" as any kind of an underperformer, or that it's criticisms by the shoot-bro crowd were especially relevant. After all it succeeded well enough where they wanted the franchise name for other games. It could have succeeded just fine where it was even by AAA standards but basically EA/Bioware wanted more money, and figured it could piggyback off of the success of the first game by using a title people loved, while otherwise making an entirely separate kind of game and using some of the same story elements and lore. This did indeed move more units, but it also meant that all those people who came to the game because of the first one felt rightfully betrayed, as they were being exploited, probably to form a "safe" foundation if for whatever reason they didn't draw in a whole new market.

The same can also be said about "Dragon Age 2" to an extent, which also pours fuel onto this fire. A game that was specifically created and hyped as a series acting as "the spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate" and using similar sensibilities was turned into a brawler. Not just a brawler, but a lazy one, where you see loading screens suggesting tactics conceived back when the game was still going to be a real RPG (like suggesting having fighters block for mages in a party formation).

I'll also say that I don't think the ending of "Mass Effect 3" went over anyone's head. The problem with the ending is that it didn't fit with the rest of the series, which even in the first game involved a hero who pretty much resolves no-win scenarios. Furthermore the whole organic vs. technological argument and the "inevitability of conflict" makes no sense if you subverted the whole logic by say bringing peace between the Geth and their creators... or even just sided with The Geth for that matter.

The actual reason for the ending is pretty much to level the universe, so they have a blank slate for franchise potential. Basically with the way they ended things with exploding gates and the like they can argue that anything survived or didn't survive, and feel free to pretty much ignore the entire trilogy in moving forward with the franchise... which was the bottom line because a series intended to end as a trilogy at most got turned into a franchise by corporate suits who insist on milking anything and everything dry. The ending is crap for fans, but pretty much perfect for developers who want a relatively blank slate to work from.

Rather than a lot of separate voices "talking over each others heads" there are disagreements, but pretty much everyone agrees that the ending was garbage, and that Bioware should create a new one, more in keeping with the spirit of the series. Not to mention that any such ending needs to be done so it is not simple a "choose A, B, or C" option because Bioware promised it wouldn't be one. What's more any such ending and the events leading up to it, should resolve a lot of the bigger questions leading up to that. If Bioware wants to do more "Mass Effect" after achieving that, more power to them, but the whole "Line" is united in the stance that Bioware needs to keep it's promises in regards to the trilogy and give the story of Shepard a proper ending fitting the character and the spirit in which it has been operating.
 

Zorg Machine

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This is just plain wrong. I was really invested in the games and not only did I think that they got better and better with each game, I though that the gameplay especially got better and better. The third game in the series was awesome and lived up to all of my expectations and the sole reason I got so angry was because of the horrible ending. On a side note, I didn't think that the ending to Bioshock was bad at all. Sure, it may have peaked with Ryan but the ending wasn't a disappointment.

I was perfectly fine with the ending given by the extended cut and when that came out I could finally put the series as one of my most loved game series ever made. The reason why it's still so fresh in my mind is that it was clear that after making this amazing universe and continuing the grand story they decided to ship the game before they had finished the ending. It's like staying in a five-star hotel and having a wonderful morning but when you get your breakfast it turns out they just shoved a bunch of eggs up a pigs arse rather than having me wait for my bacon and eggs. Sure they took the time to cook it up later but nothing will make me forget that image.

I'm also very annoyed at the DLC situation (The citadel DLC was perfect in every way though) as Javik should obviously have been part of the base game and the Leviathan DLC was a bit too important to have been introduced after I had already finished the game.
 

Reaper195

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Zhukov said:
Y'know, some of us played all three games (multiple times even) and still considered the sequels to be huge improvements, both in gameplay and storytelling.

Although the "Human's Are Special" undertones can admittedly fuck right off.

If nothing else, I agree with your final point of a whole bunch of different people wanting a whole bunch of different things.
This. The difference between playing the first game and second reminds me of the gameplay difference between Bioshock and Infinite. Bioshock wanted to be played like System Shock, but through enemies and weapons at you like it was a shooter. But it did not have fluid shooter controls and felt incredibly heavy and clunky. Infinite fixed that by adding swift movement, a proper aiming system, and the best revolver since anything in Red Dead Redemption. Mass Effect 1 is so goddamn hard to play during the combat sections because the combat is not really deigned for a shooter. They should have kept the turn-based thing from KOTOR. Or got rid of a lot of the RPG elements which did sweet fuck all like the ability to buy for less and sell for more at shops, or the inventory system. I never bothered to sell things (Omni-gel like a mofo!), and simply swapped my weapon of choice to a better one when I got it from killing an enemy. , and particularly 3, completely fixed that. I'd still argue that the games are Role Playing Games, since you play as Shepard, and guide how her (Never played the games as MaleShep. Dat Jennifer Hale) character develops.

I will admit, I was a bit miffed when Bioware said the ending wouldn't be "Select one of three options" and it turned out to be "Select one of two options. A third is available if you did some correct stuff. Also, a fourth was added which shouldn't have been added considering how little effort was put into it". But story-wise, I enjoyed the ending. I thought it was well done. I wish the DLC, particularly the water one which I can't remember what it was called, was part of the main game, but it is what it is. EA aren't ever going to change until their company crumbles around them.
 

Trishbot

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I loved all three games... until the final moments.

The Extended Cut helped greatly... but it's just hard to forget how bummed out you were at the time. It's like being told you're going to Disney world, only instead you wind up at a funeral and are told it was all a joke. Sure you can go to Disney world later, but it was heartbreaking and disappointing the first time and it's just flat-out hard to forget those feelings or disassociate them from the series.

I'll say it like this: I bought every Collector's Edition, bought every DLC, played every game multiple times, and when I got to ME3's final moments... I had no desire to ever go back to that series and see that ending ever again or buy any of the DLC that followed. To this day, I'm still waiting for a sale on Leviathan and Omega (which sells for more than the game itself does).
 

Eclectic Dreck

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Charcharo said:
The reason I never finished the first game was the UI. Not the genre, not the difficulty not the gameplay (those I liked a lot).

Its UI was Dog Shit. Whoever made that (and the War Thunder UI) needs to change their line of work. They just suck epicly at it.
Mass Effect 1's UI was a mess and something I would expect from a newbie Half Life 1 modder. Not from a AAA developer...
At the time, one would not have considered Bioware to be AAA. Both Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect began their lives and spent most of their development before being acquired by EA. I suspect you'd find the budget for either game would be remarkably low if indeed it were possible to actually get such information.
 

Redd the Sock

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You missed a big one:

ME3 was a finale.

Serialized narrative is rarely done in video games and done well even less. Most games fall into 3 catagories:

1) the episodic: Few games do this anymore, but it's a standard: every game is it's own story set in the same universe, yet is devoid of much world building. Games like Mario, Metroid, or the Batman Arkham series might have some shared connections between games, but are treated with seclusion from each other and as such, the buildup and investment isn't there, so a bad ending doesn't feel like quite the waste.

2) The reset: every game starts over, even if the character types are reused, it's always a new Link, a new Final Fantasy or a new Disgaea. Again, less attachment, less problem when something goes wrong.

3) the running narrative: Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, Metal gear. The games with stories that keep us coming back for more to see what happens next. Things build, get convoluted, but keep interesting if you can keep up. Thing is, these rarely try and end. Metal Gear 4 and God of War 3 produced finales to their stories, but on the other hand Resident Evil kept going until it fell apart, and Mortal Kombat needed a do over.

So with most games not trying to a continuing story or pushing it well past anyone's interest, ME3 was something to be cherished. A multi-game story that built to a climactic ending before we got sick of it or it had to be forcibly extended. A story we could be hyped for while not being held back by other games' need to not cut off a sequel. I mean, after seeing the final battle with Umbrella in Resident Evil largely not happen, or resigning ourselves to never seeing the "final" battle With shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat, or are still waiting for all the plot threads to be tied up in Kingdom Hearts, this was huge.

Then they blew it.
 

senordesol

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My problem with ME3's ending is rather simple.

We were teased throughout the series with a reckoning.

There was no reckoning.

That's it. That's the long and short of it. Kill the Rachni Queen? Doesn't matter. Rescue the Council? Doesn't matter. Failed to gain all of the war assets? Doesn't (really) matter.

You can go through the entire game, making decisions at complete random, and not have it make a damn bit of difference to the outcome. That's where people get are getting pissed.
 

Scorpid

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If they go back to ME1 and what made it great I'll probably dive back in. But I didn't buy ME3 because of ME2. ME2 felt like them narrowing their vision to practical tunnel vision on shepard and his/her "destiny" and not the cool universe they setup in ME1. After hearing the BS surrounding ME3 I knew my choice to hold off on getting it was justified so I'll just be happy that ME1 at least satisfied all my video gaming wants in a way that none have since then. I hope they don't go triple AAA balloning budget and make what ever next ME like the Halo series where they've gone beyond beating a dead and once oh so profitable horse, to the point of mockery. This entire article has actually drudged up all my old feelings on this series and how it should of been... now I'm sad again. Thanks EA, Thanks Shamus.
 

oldtaku

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They promised us consequences from our decisions.

ME2 delivered this really well. Among other things, depending on what you decided, the entire crew could be saved or lost.

With ME3, no matter what you did you got the same outcome. Your choices were all pointless except locally.

Without that promise of your choices making a difference, well, the ending would have been the ending (and a reasonable one). As it was, it just took your entire decision tree, choked it off, and discarded it. Obviously that happens sometimes in life, but it went against the promise of the series.
 

the_retro_gamer

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The way I look at it is that people had invested themselves so much into this series that for it to end on a sour note it hurt them beyond repair. Then you have the people that thought the ending was good and still have much enthusiasm for the ME. Now we have two polar opposite sides with a burning enthusiasm for the game and thus the debate doesn't die. Though most can be said with other works of fiction that people tend to over invest themselves in.
 

Shamus Young

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I'll always say the first Mass Effect game had a ton of potential. None of the systems they put in place worked very well, but if they could figure them out, they could truly make something incredible.

Unfortunately, they never did. While I still very much enjoyed the second and third games (Ending aside), I'll always feel like there was a missed opportunity there.
 

Smurf McSmurfington

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Zorg Machine said:
It's like staying in a five-star hotel and having a wonderful morning but when you get your breakfast it turns out they just shoved a bunch of eggs up a pigs arse rather than having me wait for my bacon and eggs. Sure they took the time to cook it up later but nothing will make me forget that image.
That is both the greatest and most amusing analogy I've ever heard in regards to this situation.
 

wswordsmen

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My problem with the ending was the ending was a rocks fall everybody dies ending. That the writers were convinced was actually happy. Forget that the Mass Relays should have wiped out every solar system they were in. The galaxy's economy depended on trade between worlds and without the Mass Relays that was impossible, so the entire fleet was going to starve to death.

The writers seemed to totally ignore the question of what came next.
 

Retsam19

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Therumancer said:
Shamus, I think your analysis of this is deeply flawed because it considers some fringe components to be serious "sides" of the discussion and omits perhaps the most important part of this entire thing:

The most important part of the ME3 fiasco is that Bioware made specific promises about the ending of the game and what it would include. Bioware made it clear with direct statements that Mass Effect 3 would both answer all the outstanding questions and would NOT include a simple "choose A B or C ending". Bioware proceeded to put in a "choose A B or C" ending anyway, what's more many of the biggest questions in the series were not answered. Bioware released an app that was "behind the scenes" of ME3 and in that app they had the devs saying "well, we decided not to answer a lot of the big questions because they work better as mysteries and give us material for later games in the franchise". Add to this some leaked information about how Bioware actually had no plans for the ending until late in the process, and how what they did was inspired by an adolescent fan whose fan-letter got taped to a director's door, and you can see why there was a riot.
Umm, do you have statistical analysis on hand to say which parts of the discussion are "fringe" and which ones are "serious"? Or are you just picking the parts that you think are "most important" and saying the article is flawed for not happening to mention the one issue you care most about?

And then you launch into how the most important problem is that they broke some promises that they made in some press statements? I'm going to make my own unfounded statistical statement and say that the VAST majority of players of Mass Effect 3 didn't read BioWares press statements or otherwise follow information about the development of the game, so, yeah, I find the idea that this is somehow the "most important part" a bit funny.
 

Joabbuac

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wastaz said:
My main problem with ME1 was the atrocious Mako. I love that game, but every time it makes me go into the Mako I want to throw my controller out of the window and kill small furry woodland creatures (won't anyone think of the small woodland creatures?!)

I know this is strange, but i actually really liked the Mako, with his bumpy random physics and suspension. When i got to the point of being able to control it well, i found all the mako sections a joy, my favorite is the one on noveria.
 

Shamus Young

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Mass Effect 3 Ending. Never has so much ended in so little. No boss fight. No epilogue. All your choices result in nothing but a color swap. Add a nice thick layer of resented DLC. Like making love to a woman and at the climax of the third sweaty round she suddenly grabs your quad and gives it a savage twist, then wordlessly departs, leaving you unfinished.
 

R Man

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I think that this article was a little shallow for such a big topic. Note that it ignores Biowares conduct, both before the game was released and afterwards, which infuriated many fans. The last point is a good example. It is true that there are many different arguments about the ending and disagreements about why the ending was bad, or how bad it was. However, these arguments, though different, are not separate. They all come from a single source, the poor quality of writing in the ending.

To be honest I think that the reason this argument has refused to die is that no one at Bioware, either as individuals or representing the company, has come out and revealed definitively what actually happened and explained it, even if they did so to defend the ending. The closest we got was a quote from the Penny Arcade forum, which was quickly hushed up. As a result the issue has had no resolution or closure. There has been no dialogue, and fans are still in the dark about what actually happened and why.
 

UberPubert

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I don't think I ever actually voiced my opinion on ME3's ending before, at least not in great detail, because I felt like other people had done it more justice than I could, but this particular bit reminded me of one of my larger hang-ups on player criticisms of the ending:

Some people really thought that after three games and hundreds of hours of gameplay, they were entitled to a happy (or at least non-nihilistic) ending. Others didn't need a happy ending, they just wanted the main character (and maybe their love interest) to survive. Other people didn't care about Shepard, they just wanted to know how things turned out for the rest of the galaxy after making all those supposedly important choices. Everybody wanted something different and almost nobody got what they wanted, so we have this huge angry crowd all asking for different things.
I am seated firmly in that third camp where I did not care about Shepard at all. I think caring about a blank slate players are meant to project onto as a vehicle to explore the game is absurd when so many more interesting and fleshed-out characters exist. Shepard may have been the center of attention in the game's universe, but that was only to provide players with a front row seat to every important event, and a personal audience with the most significant characters - that's just how protagonists in these kinds of games are.

Seeing a character like that die at the conclusion of the trilogy felt very natural and I wasn't upset by it in the slightest. Once they'd released the free extended cut DLCs I was perfectly satisfied with seeing how the rest of the universe turned out and I moved on.
 

webkilla

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One of the things that bugged me the most about the ME3 ending wasn't just the "choose what instagram filter gets put over the final cinematic", or "your choise in romantic interest ultimately has no effect on the game's ending" - no...

It was that for what it sort of tried to do - it didn't.

IIRC one of the writers for the game leaked that the head writer wrote the entire ending himself - not letting the team vet or re-work he'd written, as was otherwise the norm to ensure that everything fit together. Supposedly the head writer was big on morally grey endings, endings that weren't all black/white or good/evil. Ok, so he wanted some endings that presented something like that...

And we sure got that, right?

Blue ending: Shepard takes control of the reapers. humanity gains a massive new resources, lots of ancient knowledge and tech... but do we get to see the effects of that in the epilogue? What if Tali was your love interest, could male-Shep use a Geth as a kind of proxy to still be with her... or any other love interest? Or not, if Shepard completely looses his/her humanity from the process? This ending raises all these questions, but answers none of them.

Green ending: Like the above - so many questions, hardly any answers. How would the Quarians respond to suddenly merging with the geth? There should definetely be two VERY different reactions depending on whether they made friends or wiped out most of the geth. Again what about the love interest?

Red ending: if anything, this ones raises the least amount of questions - and yet... what if you'd had the Geth and Quarians make friends? How would they respond to gaining such allies, then losing them again? What about EDI and Joker? How does Joker react to EDI getting killed?

I could, in all honesty, have fully accepted the game's ending - if these questions had been answered. But they were not.

I get that the lead writer wanted an ending that said "in war you can't always win 100%" - fine - but the god damn show me what is lost and what is won, don't leave me wondering what happened.


And whoever came up with the idea of the starchild should just crawl up his rear and stay there - because I'm revoking his license to do anything creative, permanently.
 

Sniper Team 4

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Zombie Badger said:
I think the real reason that ME3's ending is still such an open wound is that the preceding series had spent five years building up to it. Everything was leading to this moment and when five years of emotional investment is met with disappointment it's not going to be forgotten quickly.
That sums it up for me. I was really invested in my Shepard, her choices, her love life, and basically everything that I did in those games. To find out that none of it mattered, that my Shepard ended up the same as all the others, and that nothing I did actually mattered, was a real kick to the face. All that investment, time, and energy, gone.

That, and the fact that BioWare promised this exact thing would not happen. No A,B, or C ending, and yet that's exactly what we got.
 

RealRT

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Anticlimactic, stupid, tries to fool you into thinking it's deeper than it is, emotionally manipulative - any of these describe the ending perfectly. I didn't like ME1 that much - the story didn't do it for me, I already played it in a little game called KotOR. ME2 I adored and it retroactively made me like ME1 all the more. Some build ups from 1 were nicely paid off and there were new build ups for 3... that didn't pay off. The ending was just the icing on a cake. The Extended Cut made it just underwhelming instead of offensively horrible, which I'll take. Still, no Mass Effect 4 for me, no sirree.
 

BareHope

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Shamus Young said:
The first Mass Effect was a slow-paced, high-concept sci-fi opera. ... The humans seemed kind of small and unimportant in comparison. ... By the third game, all of that had changed.
I'm not sure what game you played, but by the end of ME1 Shepard leads a human army against Souvereign and his Geth, and is victorious. So humanity stopped being small and unimportant by the very end of the first game, and Shepard arguably became one of the most important (though not yet THE most important) persons in the galaxy.

In the same vein the game(s) stop being episodic, slow-paced and high-concept (whatever you mean by that) in the Virmire mission, even before the end of ME1. It's half story-driven, with the reapers first taking note of Shepard, and half driven by conflicts in the relationship of the main character with the crew, notably Wrex and Ashley/Kaidan.

So most of the 'changes between games' were completed by the end of the first game.

Which is simply good storytelling. The nearer you get to the climax, the more the worldbuilding needs to be phased out into the background, or at least relate to the struggle of the main characters. And so I fail to see a conflict between 'old guard' ME1 and 'new bunch' ME2+ players in that regard.
 

MiracleOfSound

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TopazFusion said:
[
As it turns out, the 'explosions' aren't explosions at all. They're just 'energy waves' that spread the Synthesis DNA code / Reaper control code / Reaper kill signal, everywhere in the galaxy.
But in the original ending, we're not told this. In the original, pre- extended cut ending, it just looks like everything is blowing the fuck up.
Not to mention we see the Citadel actually blowing up.
 

Trunkage

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Mass Effect's problem, as a series, was: I am a person on the ground with very little firepower. The Reapers are super intelligent, powerful god like creatures. And in no way was there an appropriate way to conflict with them. Soveriegn was destroyed with only a small little help from Shep. ME2 stopped agents of the Reapers but didn't help repel them. All the Reapers taken down by Shep before the ending of ME3 was not by Shep her(him)self. It required a worm and a fleet of ships, with marginal input from Shep.

It never dealt with Shep's inability to do anything when (from what I've read from the forums) most people wanted a fight to end it.
 

balladbird

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wastaz said:
My main problem with ME1 was the atrocious Mako. I love that game, but every time it makes me go into the Mako I want to throw my controller out of the window and kill small furry woodland creatures (won't anyone think of the small woodland creatures?!)
KILL THE MAKO!
The mako was my only real qualm with the first mass effect, as well.

Not so much the exploration with it, mind. That was time needlessly time consuming, but not actively annoying. Any time you were forced to do combat with the mako, though? Yeah, to hell with the mako. >.< Forget hitting a target while in motion, and you'd best be sitting in juuuust the right distance if you want your chain gun to do anything. Couple the need to sit still and eat fire to hit your enemy with a shield that takes all of thirty seconds for the enemy to destroy, and around 5 minutes of inactivity to restore, and you have all the ingredients for a godawful experience.

Half an hour of my time on any mission that involved mako combat could be explained as follows:
-drive up to the sweetspot so that my gun can hit one of the missile turrets,
-knock down its shields with the machine gun, then finish it with the grenade launcher.
-By now my shield is gone and I'm taking damage! Retreat behind the nearest rock
-get up from console, make a sandwich, check on the weather, eat sandwich, return, shield is alllllmost done charging, let it finish
-get into the sweet spot of the next turret
-repeat all above steps until mako combat is done, ponder if the remainder of the game will be worth it, realize it totally is, and continue.


As to the genre shift... I'm a long time fan of RPGs and have never been much for action games, though the last console generation warmed me up to the latter considerably with gems like Uncharted or TLoU. Thus, ME2's change of pace didn't bug me too much. The narrative focus changed, but as a result of this change the characters felt more integral to the plot, and I found myself more attached to them and their struggles, so I felt it was a change I could get behind.

ME3 dialed up the "Humanity, fuck yeah!" themes a bit more than I would have cared for, and the ending was an anticlimax, but it had enough of the strengths from its predecessors to make it worth playing... though to date it's the only game in the series I haven't replayed.
 

Nimcha

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I think people were just expecting completely different things for a lot of reasons. They were expecting a somewhat fixed cutscene where everything played out according to every choice they made. In stead, there was one final big choice that made a lot of difference. Also, I think in general people are not familiar with science fiction storytelling where open ended endings are very common.

I actually liked the ending and there's nothing wrong with it in thematic or story terms. Silly things like the relays can be explained easily, but that's also a problem. People channel their disappointment into endless quibbles over small details that either don't matter or are already explained in the actual story.
 

Trunkage

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Notshauna said:
I really wish people will stop saying some found the ending amazing, it's a cop out and is full of the usual mass media "fair and balanced" bullshit where they always find someone "on the otherside" no matter how wrong it is. The ending is terrible it's indisputable, it's not surprising that people like the ending, I like the Super Mario Bros. movie but it's still terrible. Mass Effects ending is still an illogical convoluted mess that tried to staple reasoning on to mad gods, offer a "big" decision when one wasn't needed and ended up with a hook to the next game that is more poorly written than some of the stuff I wrote in diapers.

It's plain and simple what it should of been, no fancy crucible rewriting the directive of reapers, it's a weapon plain and simple, you don't know what you do until the AI informs you. No more magical star child informing you of everything about the reapers and they're stupid directive, just a simple AI saying hey what you built will do this. And this weapon is a super nova bomb, there is a simple binary choice set it off at full power destroying all of the reapers and everyone in the Sol system as well, or set it off at lower power, potentially escaping, and causing the people in Sol to survive but failing destroy all of the reapers (but, they'd retreat to recuperate their numbers). And after that there'd be a Dragon Age Origins style reveal of the victory celebration revealing if Shepard survived (if you have to include galactic readiness make that be the factor that decides it).
Wait... so are you saying that you wish to impose your dislike of the ending on everyone else. I hate bands like Nickelback, that hasn't stopped them from earning a crust (and a golden crust at that.) My hatred of them doesn't make people like them less. You saying it was a terrible ending doesn't make 'them' think they same as you. They are allowed to think its awesome all they want. And people are allowed to report on that.

Personally I found it an average ending. One the same level as all Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Arkham Batman, Far Cry, Dragonage series. And no where near as stupid as GOW, especially number 2. I don't think we've actually ever had a really good ending to any game.

And, like you said, an end credits like Dragonage or New Vegas would have made all your decision worth a lot more
 

GloatingSwine

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We should all consider ourselves lucky really.

It's not often you get to witness the precise moment a videogame company disappears up its collective arsehole.

But that's what happened ten minutes from the end of Mass Effect 3.
 

hazydawn

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senordesol said:
My problem with ME3's ending is rather simple.

We were teased throughout the series with a reckoning.

There was no reckoning.

That's it. That's the long and short of it. Kill the Rachni Queen? Doesn't matter. Rescue the Council? Doesn't matter. Failed to gain all of the war assets? Doesn't (really) matter.

You can go through the entire game, making decisions at complete random, and not have it make a damn bit of difference to the outcome. That's where people get are getting pissed.
No, it's not that simple. That's one of the points certainly but like the article said people wished for different things. I didn't like that part either but the main problem for me was the damn starchild, the three retarded choices, and all in all it just went totally against the built up themes of the series. Other people only wanted a happier ending. I wouldn't have minded Shepard and the whole of the Normandy and Earth dying if it were better storytelling wise.
 
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Shamus Young said:
4 Reasons Why The Mass Effect 3 Debate Refuses to Die

More than two years later, people still argue over the ending of Mass Effect 3 and the series as a whole. Why are people so passionate about it?

Read Full Article
thank you for summing this up so articulately. I did always feel bad for saying I hate ME2 and ME3 because it sold out ME1.

Now I can say ME1 was niche and became something that is common place with ME2 and 3. which is still a douche move by BW, I got sold something in ME1 that they told me I could invest in for the trilogy, just for it to become a bait n switch.

Although another point would be series/plot inconsistencies, such as with the Arachni for example
 
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senordesol said:
My problem with ME3's ending is rather simple.

We were teased throughout the series with a reckoning.

There was no reckoning.

That's it. That's the long and short of it. Kill the Rachni Queen? Doesn't matter. Rescue the Council? Doesn't matter. Failed to gain all of the war assets? Doesn't (really) matter.

You can go through the entire game, making decisions at complete random, and not have it make a damn bit of difference to the outcome. That's where people get are getting pissed.
I'd go with that too.

When I completed ME1, I expected Shep to die in ME3. Although I thought all them decisions I made with Shep were gonna have repercussions on the galaxy I left behind, that everything I did would matter in the big picture. but it didnt. I fell in love with a Lovecraftian dream, and woke up with a generic hangover.
 

Kingjackl

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trunkage said:
Mass Effect's problem, as a series, was: I am a person on the ground with very little firepower. The Reapers are super intelligent, powerful god like creatures. And in no way was there an appropriate way to conflict with them. Soveriegn was destroyed with only a small little help from Shep. ME2 stopped agents of the Reapers but didn't help repel them. All the Reapers taken down by Shep before the ending of ME3 was not by Shep her(him)self. It required a worm and a fleet of ships, with marginal input from Shep.

It never dealt with Shep's inability to do anything when (from what I've read from the forums) most people wanted a fight to end it.
You've touched on an important point there, which is that there are limits to what can be done in a series like this. I have seen so many fan-proposed alternatives to the ending, and they never seem to realise that their whoop-de-doo space battle or Indoctrination Theory-style 'journey to the centre of the mind and punch your way out' idea just doesn't work. While the actual ending was hardly a success, it's pretty clear that it was an attempt to give Shepard some agency in a situation where s/he should have forfeited it long ago.

Perhaps you could argue that the premise was flawed from the very beginning. A game where your enemies are giant indestructible starships would make more sense as a space-flight simulator to be honest. Instead of running around fighting proxy battles with corrupted foot soldiers for 3 games, maybe the core gameplay should have been about flying around in the Normandy launching proton torpedoes at the Reapers' thermal exhaust ports.

I don't agree with Shamus' point of view that the changing of genre between ME1 & ME2 was in any way relevant to the ME3 controversy, especially not when ME3 actually had the best RPG elements of the three. Besides, Mass Effect 1 was an action shooter as well, it just wasn't a very good one. The rule with RPG fans these days seems to be that the quality of an RPG is directly proportional to the shittiness of its combat. I'm sorry, but it's no good having the deepest dialogue tree or the most obtuse loot tables if it's not fun to play.
 

SNCommand

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My impression was that people hated it for leaving things unexplained and not ending on their terms

But frankly I think leaving the ending ambiguous was in no way detrimental, in fact it would have made a sequel much easier to make

As for not ending on the player's terms, well, there's always people who don't appreciate such things, but there's not much one can do with that, except for that one guy who created his own little happy end modification, I think the fact that this [http://www.moddb.com/mods/mehem-the-mass-effect-3-happy-ending-mod] exists and has over 20 000 downloads with a 9.6 out of 10 rating tells you much

Personally I thought the bittersweet and otherworldly ending we initially got wasn't that bad, and I think the extended cut eliminated any questions people had
 

MirenBainesUSMC

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This is probably one of my favorite topics of gamedom only because I instantly swept into the store, lore, and the great writing from ME1... ME1 had everything you possibly wanted in an action story arch.

A main villain you could focus on whom may or may have not been totally in control of himself ( Saren)

Picking up a few characters a long the way, each from a different culture with visible signs of a loose but forming bond as they traveled the known universe.

Romance. Death. And of course Shepard whom had a knack for that Indiana Jones-esque " Oh No is he....." and then he arises from the ashes to get back into the fight. It was the best and most complete games of the two.

I would argue the problems of ME3 started with ME2 when we had to totally diss-associate ourselves from the main characters of the 1st game and were teased by their cameo appearance although some altercations ( Such as when you save Ashely Williams and she tells Shepard that he was a Cerberus Hack) were pretty tough to swallow, especially if you chose to romance them. Liara acted like you were a ghost whom she didn't want to have anything to do with you... and you were left going... What the -----? They basically did a Re-boot between the series in which the 2nd game should have been a bridge between what they started and how they were going to finish it...and that never ends well. A new ship. New characters. New everything.

So when people grumbled and said " Ok...ok...so you killed the man. Brought him back to life. That is your one SF rule used by Issac Asimov to suggest something happened of which you didn't have to explain how. Fine. We got very detailed character bios, their own lives, own stories, and it was more of a piece of electronic literature than a game. People got very, very, very, attached to their favorites and depending upon how you played the game would theoretically give you YOUR experience in ME3. I stress YOUR because I know some people ( like myself) Who actually replayed the game 110x just to have separate saves in order to play different time-lines that ME3 would promise.

When ME3 came along.... it was character butchery. In fact once again, if someone was a lazy gamer whom didn't feel like playing the last two, there were things set up to where they didn't have to play it because they could re-set the course of the past through annoying gimmicks and chosen answers. They had all the characters they needed but they somehow figured adding a lesbian yomen Traynor , a news reporter Allers, and James Vega. Um hello. We had over 8+ characters people really wanted to continue but you gave us these cookie cutter add ons PLUS you diminished many roles of other ME2 characters like everyone's favorite Merc Zaheed Misani, Jackob Taylor, Grunt and Jack... Miranda Lawson. News Flash. You don't take characters that you wrote immense story lines for in your 2nd episode only to make them temporary squad members for linear " levels" in your next big finally game. That was an awful and damning choice.

Lasty --- yes. The ending was probably the last straw. You put up with the massacred characters...were Irked by the seemingly DA2 style run and fetch " Quests", so why not just be happy with......and....ending...that....gave...you....the star child.

Wow Bioware. Simply Wow.
 

Vault101

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I thourght it did die

in that it happned and as bad as the ending was we're over it...or at least I am

of coarse should anyone defend it I do feel my blood preausre rise...

SNCommand said:
My impression was that people hated it for leaving things unexplained and not ending on their terms
being ambiguous is all good and well

IF IT WORKS

in this case it didn't work, leaving us without (desperatly needed) answer did not do anything good, it didn't do what it was suposed to do

compare it to Portal 2....which gave us exactly as much info as we needed
 

MirenBainesUSMC

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And may I add..

Most of the pain and damage was done before the Citadel DLC, Leviathan, and et al. Bioware was always a day late and a dollar short with their bad PR --- literally thumbing their nose at the fan base.... Hense when someone mentions Casey Hudson, you'll literally get rotten tomatoes thrown.
 

Shamus Young

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All the controversial debates, especially on the internet, are exactly as you say; People talk past eachother. They can't see it from the other persons perspective, there is crucial information missing to them, there's lack of sympathy, there's an unwillingness to understand and there is hostility.

When it comes to gender issues, racial issues, religious and sexuality issues this is completely natural for many reasons. You could argue that this issue was due to subjectivity and it would likewise be natural; Except it's not subjective.

Now, to explain why this is still a controversial topic, the explanation lies right here on the internet.
As people were starting to complain about this dissapointment, a similarly vocal crowd formed on opposition. Suddenly, people who disliked the ending for any reason were being called entitled, overreactive, whiny and other things not only by this opposition, but by sites like this one in articles, in videos and podcasts. Almost all "journalistic" pieces on this had either an overt or subtle jab towards the fans who felt this way.
Imagine if Critical Miss or The Escapist called any other group "entitled, crybaby wusses" [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comicsandcosplay/comics/critical-miss/9541-Mass-Effect-3-Retake-This], or joking that feminists should give out blowjobs to have issues resolved [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comicsandcosplay/comics/critical-miss/9539-Mass-Effect-3-The-movement] - You'd have to be fucking mental to do that.
(Note that I'm not insinuating that womens issues and this particular topic are the same or remotely close - The point is that websites pissed on people that were clearly angry and somehow thought this was a good idea, satire or not. In a similar way, if you, like me, don't acknowledge feminist issues, you still shouldn't portray them as whiny crybabies, at least not when the internet is scalding hot with heated arguments.)

When fans began demanding a change, started "Retake Mass Effect" and sending cupcakes, the whole thing exploded because people rose up to defend the gaming industry and developers, something that we've never seen in such force.

Bioware proceeded to pander to the masses and with disdain they released an extended ending without any indication that they understood any of what people had complained about.

I won't lie, when I saw the title of this article my face began to twitch and I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. Shamus, through that shitstorm that we went through, my biggest dissapointment wasn't the ending itself or the way Bioware handled it. It wasn't even that people argued in the pettiest way possible about it, but it was when gaming websites almost collectively started shitting on these people with sarcasm, disdain and pompous attitudes that showed the true colors of gaming journalists almost across the board.

This is why people are still talking about it and why it takes so little to get it going again.
 

zinho73

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Don't forget the lies, man. That's what bothers me the most.
Not the hype, not the sub-par writing (although it hurts and is very present in the first scene of the game too). Interview after interview Hudson and the other writer promised things that simply did not happen.
 

ExtraDebit

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Zombie Badger said:
I think the real reason that ME3's ending is still such an open wound is that the preceding series had spent five years building up to it. Everything was leading to this moment and when five years of emotional investment is met with disappointment it's not going to be forgotten quickly.
Exactly! I would forever remember mass effect series with disappointment precisely because I cared and love the series. If I had to nitpick there are a ton wrong with it as well:

1) Tekken 6, a fighting game, got more character customization that mass effect 3 which was supposed to be a RPG hybrid.

2) The challenge of the enemies didn't evolved, they just rush and shoot at you, they never give us any enemies that need us to think and use our skills.

3) Too linear, most of ME3 is get from point A to point B and shoot everything in between.

4) Doesn't have enough potential to fuck up. In GTA games, we can have a car chase and then suddenly we are forced into a gun fight on the highway because we crash our car and fly out the window then we spotted a boat near by so it's now a gun fight to the docks which then turned into a boat chase, all this mutated from a simple mission of getting from point A to point B, the mission could very well be just a car chase or any number of permutations because the game was dynamic. This is not so with Mass Effect in story or gameplay.
 

Therumancer

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Retsam19 said:
Therumancer said:
Shamus, I think your analysis of this is deeply flawed because it considers some fringe components to be serious "sides" of the discussion and omits perhaps the most important part of this entire thing:

The most important part of the ME3 fiasco is that Bioware made specific promises about the ending of the game and what it would include. Bioware made it clear with direct statements that Mass Effect 3 would both answer all the outstanding questions and would NOT include a simple "choose A B or C ending". Bioware proceeded to put in a "choose A B or C" ending anyway, what's more many of the biggest questions in the series were not answered. Bioware released an app that was "behind the scenes" of ME3 and in that app they had the devs saying "well, we decided not to answer a lot of the big questions because they work better as mysteries and give us material for later games in the franchise". Add to this some leaked information about how Bioware actually had no plans for the ending until late in the process, and how what they did was inspired by an adolescent fan whose fan-letter got taped to a director's door, and you can see why there was a riot.
Umm, do you have statistical analysis on hand to say which parts of the discussion are "fringe" and which ones are "serious"? Or are you just picking the parts that you think are "most important" and saying the article is flawed for not happening to mention the one issue you care most about?

And then you launch into how the most important problem is that they broke some promises that they made in some press statements? I'm going to make my own unfounded statistical statement and say that the VAST majority of players of Mass Effect 3 didn't read BioWares press statements or otherwise follow information about the development of the game, so, yeah, I find the idea that this is somehow the "most important part" a bit funny.
No, and I really don't need one having followed the issue and that's something that comes up more often than just about anything else involving the ending, and has also inspired stunts like a bunch of cupcakes with "A B C" (otherwise all the same) being mailed to their offices. It's also apparently a big part of why a lot of people who started out defending Bioware, like Jim Sterling, seem to have taken the other side, the whole thing basically being a generally shitty thing to do when you consider everything. Or at least I'm guessing that's a big part of why he did given that he spends tons of time railing against this kind of behavior in the games industry.

But yes, game developer promises are a big deal when people buy a game because of what they have been told was in the game, especially when they find out later, that the company never had any intention of keeping those promises.

I mean it's fine that you don't like my point, but you should really leave it at that. As I've been following this pretty much since day #1 and watched how much things exploded when Bioware's statements in their behind the scenes app were revealed, and have been listening to the arguments, this is ultimately a big factor in just about everything. Unless of course your defending Bioware at which point the defense usually comes down to "Well, they lied in press statements and you should just accept that because it's the way it is. It's your fault for believing what they said."

The thing that makes "the line" fairly unique is that it's being held against Bioware, and isn't a few different viewpoints all pretty much taking at each other. Sure that DOES happen, but at the end of the day even after years everyone is united against Bioware, and there are some points on which pretty much everyone agrees.

The true test of "the line" however will be when ME4 comes out, and whether or not it maintains enough "membership" and fire to tank the game through not buying it if Bioware doesn't change the ME3 ending, via the intro of ME4 if nothing else. This being done even if it's a great game, since really the gameplay and such has always been secondary to the central point.

Now the fringes within this are people who say go after ME3 in it's entirety as opposed to saying "it was a great game except for the ending which must change and better conform to the promises made" which is where "The Line" stands. That crowd are those who for example attack the writing because of the space ninja, or how ME3 took that character which didn't fit into the plot and had him kick Shepard's butt to escape in direct defiance of the outcome of a fight you just had with him (which is something a lot of games have done the equivalent of, but was new, and kind of annoying for ME3). People are far more divided on things like that. Then you of course go back to the whole Prothean thing and the day #1 DLC to get that story-centric squadmate. Some people have been pushing to force EA to refund the cost of DLC that should have been part of the game to begin with, that's another fringe position even if lots of people have been upset about that one.

Your of course free to disagree with me, but I still maintain that the issue of ME3 cannot be fairly raised or analyzed without the promises made by Bioware, and the direct statement that they game would not have a "choose A B or C" type ending when that is exactly what they decided to put into the game. The fact that none of the endings are satisfying to fans simply compounds the basic problem, along with the fact that for a game where "decisions matter" nothing you did up until that point, including things that directly undermine the whole point of what happened, mattered one way or another, which of course was again counter to what was said about the game and it's ending.

Of course along with that comes the simple point that Bioware by it's own admission apparently rushed the whole ending of the game out. While it's a point you hear less frequently, a lot of people point out that the whole ending sequence of the game is a joke, not just the star child part. This is of course starting with the fact that a lot of what you do during the game is to obtain, develop, and prepare resources for the inevitable final battle. A number of the key choices in the game also directly involve Citadel security. This has lead to comments that it was messed up that The Citadel is magically overrun at the end of the game no matter what defenses it had, and the resources you gathered mean nothing in the end except perhaps one mild scene showing Shepard breathing on a pile of rubble. Reading the flavor text, background, etc.. as a lot of people pointed out by the time of the final battle the good guys are supposed to be using technology equal to that of the Reapers, indeed a lot of it is Reaper tech, something they have not faced before. What's more knowing what's coming they have developed things that no other species has ever used on them before, meaning that by definition the Reapers should not in control of the battlefield due to not having been able to predict what they would be facing. If you read the flavor text of some things you recover, by the time of the final battle ships should be carrying things like singularity missiles (ie missiles that create a black hole at the point of impact). If you did your job well, the Reapers should not have ever been able to just sweep in and take The Citadel, and the entire space battle should have been very different, as opposed to more or less seeing the Reapers ignoring stuff thrown at them and ripping alliance ships to pieces... as the good guys would have been firing back with a lot of their own guns, and missiles dragging them into special anomalies and stuff. It should have been god awful nasty in both directions, and of course the whole point was that if you gathered up/developed enough of this stuff it probably should have been a reaper massacre.... while brought up less often, the point here being that it's not just the final ending selection, the entire climax of the game pretty much disregards everything else you've done up until that point. Your sitting here going "oh hey wow, our ships are now carrying singularity warheads, that's going to be bad news for the reapers" or whatever and feel like you've accomplished something... and nope... the good guys get massacred, Shepard gets sucked up in a beam, and meets Star Child. Less people complain about the whole sequence of events being garbage, but that's another point that's out there.
 

AD-Stu

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Some interesting points in the article - I agree the "lots of factions wanting different things" thing is definitely a factor in why it won't die.

The big picture for me though is this is perhaps one of the ultimate examples of what can go wrong when you don't start with the end in mind. Even Drew Karpyshyn admits he only had a vague idea of how the series was going to end if he had've been at the helm the whole time (spoiler alert: the vague ideas he did have were even more bleak than the ending we got - though good execution could at least have made it satisfying). But throw in writer changes, lore changes to suit gameplay tweaks (LOL thermal clips) and innumerable changes made purely for fanservice and it's easy to see how it became a big mess by the end.

Casey Hudson saying over and over again "it's all about the fans, the fans are like our cowriters, blah blah blah" then turning around and trying to play the "artistic integrity" card definitely didn't help either.
 

MirenBainesUSMC

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Therumancer --- Yeah you brought up other good points. The tech. What happened to the new and improved armor and laser cannons that were learned from the Collector Tech? You would have thought that the war like Turians would have had multiple cannons of such nature on their battle cruisers.

It was and still is a mess. You can tell the people running the show suddenly began to wing-it in terms of the details to the ME universe.
 

MirenBainesUSMC

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But throw in writer changes said:
then[/b] turning around and trying to play the "artistic integrity" card definitely didn't help either.

I believe the 3rd Installment was reaching for the casual of casual players. I remember watching the partying for the open-day release and the commentator they were using said " I've never played Mass Effect but I'm sure to buy this one!". Why? Because there's more button mashing and shooting?

I suppose I am also expected to apologize for wanting such crazy and scary things like dialogue, an actual working story, and RPG elements.
 

The Great JT

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I thought the ending was just confusing at first and the DLC fixed it (though fixing shouldn't have been needed if they just made it right the first time), but I was more in the camp of "what happened to the galaxy as a whole?" I fully expected one, some or all of the squadmates would live, I got a larger squad through ME2 with no problems, I was banking on Shepard dying/sacrificing him or herself/taking the Reapers with him, so I was mostly wondering what's going to happen to everyone else.

I will say this, I hate the ending for one reason: the endless debates basically make everyone forget the entire rest of the game. It' really unfortunate since the game is so fun and has lots of great character moments. NEVER FORGET MORDIN.
 

Shamus Young

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Honestly, Mass Effect 3 was still a better game then Mass Effect 1, which failed at everything it did. Shite plot, mediocre writing, awful world building, exploration so bad they shouldn't even have bothered including it, copy pasting levels, garbage gameplay, and awful graphics with terrible optimization.
 

AD-Stu

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MirenBainesUSMC said:
I believe the 3rd Installment was reaching for the casual of casual players. I remember watching the partying for the open-day release and the commentator they were using said " I've never played Mass Effect but I'm sure to buy this one!". Why? Because there's more button mashing and shooting?

I suppose I am also expected to apologize for wanting such crazy and scary things like dialogue, an actual working story, and RPG elements.
I dunno if it was reaching specifically for casuals (they may have dumbed some stuff down from ME1, but it's still a long way from Flappy Birds too), but I think they definitely hurt themselves by trying to cater for players who were new to the series. If you've got new players super-excited about the third installment of your epic trilogy, you use it as an opportunity to sell them the first two games, not to mess with the third game just to cater to them...
 

RevRaptor

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Yea mass effect was a beautiful dream but its execution was a total mess. So many disappointed fans, I really like the games but they could have been so much more.

For me the the moment that really signalled the third game might be in trouble was right at the start when you couldn't import your Shep because the character generators were not compatible from game to game. That's just sloppy and then to add insult to injury they removed the weapon holster and ready animations because they couldn?t fit them in with the new shiny graphics. Gods that was a shitty decision, totally broke immersion every damn time I put my weapon away.

Despite that I really did enjoy the game, I didn't have high hopes for it but I did enjoy it :)
 

AD-Stu

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LOL - that's true, the face import bug annoyed the hell out of me. I actually went as far as getting a screendump of my ME2 Shep up on a laptop next to the PC trying to make them match... couldn't.

There were all sorts of bugs (one assumes because things were rushed) that annoyed me about ME3. The quest log was beyond awful, which seems strange because it was something they'd done just fine in the first two games. And the animation bugged me too, made FemShep in particular look like she was trying to jog around with a nasty case of chaffing :p

Like the problems the first two games had though, I can forgive all that stuff. The ending, on the other hand...
 

JMac85

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I stopped playing as soon as Shepard got on the elevator, and accepted the indoctrination theory as the "real" ending.

Yeah, the striping of RPG elements was a bother, I like micro-managing equipment for my character and my squad, but I liked the Mass Effect series more for the story and universe building. The third game took a big steaming shit all over it. Mostly because the head writer of the first game (who was the co-writer for the second) wasn't involved with the third. Go figure.
 

The_Blue_Rider

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The ending to Mass Effect 3 would have been absoultely fine.... Had it been in a series that actually had themes relevant to that.

Organics vs Synthetics was never the main theme of Mass Effect, the main theme built up through Mass Effect was unity, being able to overcome anything should we work together. It ties in well with the squad you build throughout each game, 2 and 3 are all about coming together to defeat a threat that we could never defeat individually.

The Reapers destroyed countless civilizations through dividing and conquering them thanks to the Citidel. Our cycle was the first where we had the chance to stick together and take the fight to them as a united galaxy. Mass Effect 3's ending goes against everything the games had stood for before that
 

4173

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I agree with some of Shamus' points, but the thing that really bugs me is the game telling me that rather than fighting the Reapers because they are threatening the galaxy and everything living in it, what I should really care about is EARTH because I'm (the player) a HUMAN...
 

Shamus Young

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Eclectic Dreck said:
Charcharo said:
The reason I never finished the first game was the UI. Not the genre, not the difficulty not the gameplay (those I liked a lot).

Its UI was Dog Shit. Whoever made that (and the War Thunder UI) needs to change their line of work. They just suck epicly at it.
Mass Effect 1's UI was a mess and something I would expect from a newbie Half Life 1 modder. Not from a AAA developer...
At the time, one would not have considered Bioware to be AAA. Both Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect began their lives and spent most of their development before being acquired by EA. I suspect you'd find the budget for either game would be remarkably low if indeed it were possible to actually get such information.
Maybe. After all AAA means high budget, not good games (at least no anymire, and thank God, since quality cant be measured).

I do wonder whether Shamus will respond to Therumancer. Escapists staff never do respond to direct things though...

Rainbow_Dashtruction said:
Honestly, Mass Effect 3 was still a better game then Mass Effect 1, which failed at everything it did. Shite plot, mediocre writing, awful world building, exploration so bad they shouldn't even have bothered including it, copy pasting levels, garbage gameplay, and awful graphics with terrible optimization.
Is that a fact?
Truth is, we ALL here should stop thinking we know facts on game quality. We dont. We know some things, and a few know tech (actual objective thing), but game quality we dont.

My ONLY gripe with Mass Effect 1 was the UI. For many that is a SMALL thing. For me, it was enough to stop playing a game that cost me 1/4 of the monthly salary of HALF my countries population. I F*cking HATE terrible UIs.

A different example is...
Bioshock Infinite. For me its a 6/10 game at most. For comparison, Ryse son of Rome is a 7.
That is my informed opinion from playing both games and having experience at games. DOes not make it fact though.
 

Therumancer

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theluckyjosh said:
Shamus Young said:
"Lots of people compared it to 2001: A Space Odyssey."
And the comparison usually goes something like ...
"Arthur C. Clarke can get away with a deus ex, star child ending ... but you, sir, are no Arthur C. Clarke."
Well, also Arthur C. Clarke was writing a different style of science fiction as well, and that ending fit with the rest of the movie, which was basically an atmospheric pot boiler/mind trip to begin with. In comparison "Mass Effect" was always high adventure, even in the first one, the bottom line is Shepard is an epic hero, and the whole idea has always been about him beating overwhelming odds, albeit he was never as much of a conceptual underdog as he was in the first game. The trippy, surrealistic, ending didn't fit the game, and the overall message and issues inherent in it directly contradicted events in the game. This is beyond the whole point that we were told there would not be a "pick A B or C" ending at the end.

Now in comparison something like "Dead Space" could have a series finale like this (and might already have it, I haven't beaten DS3), as a big part of the entire premise was things getting into your head, the Necromorphs are supposed to make people go crazy just by being present, the Markers get into people's head, and the hero winds up literally grappling with his own hallucinations when the forces he's up against try and mentally force him to kill himself and stuff. If Issac Clark was to say wind up in communion with the main marker and have it pretty much tell him "I am here to eradicate human life because it's for the best... choose which form of suck occurs from this point onward" it would blow chips but at least you could say it sort of fit with the series... which is a horror game. In such a case a lot of people would be disappointed, doubtlessly including me (I'm kind of a romantic, even when it comes to horror), but if it was done right it could still be awesome and I doubt you'd get the same kinds of mass complaints and years-long anger.

A better example would be sort of like if "2001 A Space Odyssey" suddenly had people dueling with light sabers and stuff well beyond the established tech level... perhaps after having the equivalent of Ming The Merciless step out of the Obelisk and go "Muhwahahaha foolish humans, I subverted your computer, and now I shall finish you... prepare to DIE". It wouldn't have fit the tone of the movie up until that point. If he had done that, it wouldn't have been a classic of science fiction, and would be widely mocked for being so dumb. Of course at the same time it still wouldn't have been reviled as much as ME3, because Mass Effect 3 capped a trilogy, and the ending was so bad that it pretty much undermined everything that had come before it, not just being a bad ending, but making everything else bad by association once you know where it all ends up. Sort of like if someone takes a shit into a gallon of ice cream, sure, you might be able to pull the turds off the top, and the rest of the ice cream might technically be fine and safe to eat, but your going to throw it away because you know someone plopped a giant turd right there on top of it, the turd ruined everything, even if one argues the rest of the ice cream is not tainted.
 

Karadalis

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Okay... where are all these people that wanted a "happy" ending that these game journalists claim allways exist and thus everyones argument about the bad ending is just entitlement?

When the whole thing blew up i never saw anyone claiming that they wanted to see shepard take his chosen fuckdoll and ride with him/her/it into the bloody sunset on the mako.

Never... people where pissed because the ending made no sense, because Bioware came out not 2 weeks before launch and claimed it wouldnt be A, B or C and that all choices would matter (2 weeks before launch, they actually directly lied to peoples faces knowing very well what the ending would be like) Not to mention that nothing in the original endings made any god damn sense.. like the normandy escaping and leaving everything and everyone behind without so much as a word of explanation... da fuck?

And then how they behaved after the whole thing blew up in their face and people called them out... claiming "artistic integrity" (while working for EA... HAH thats a laugh!) that people where simply feeling "entitled" and should get off their high horse (yeah how dare people to expect to get what they paid for and where promised... what world are those people living in?)

In short bioware reacting like an arrogant douchebag to the whole situation and placed the whole blame at the players feet. They even made a rather cynical additional fourth ending to the original three where when you reject the BSchilds options everyone simply dies.


And the reason the argument doesnt die is mostly how bioware conducted itself and how much disdain they showed for their customers and how little value they gave about peoples opinions and feedback. Simply put: Bioware looks down on their own customers and that is something that irks people till today.
 

Therumancer

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Charcharo said:
Eclectic Dreck said:
Charcharo said:
The reason I never finished the first game was the UI. Not the genre, not the difficulty not the gameplay (those I liked a lot).

Its UI was Dog Shit. Whoever made that (and the War Thunder UI) needs to change their line of work. They just suck epicly at it.
Mass Effect 1's UI was a mess and something I would expect from a newbie Half Life 1 modder. Not from a AAA developer...
At the time, one would not have considered Bioware to be AAA. Both Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect began their lives and spent most of their development before being acquired by EA. I suspect you'd find the budget for either game would be remarkably low if indeed it were possible to actually get such information.
Maybe. After all AAA means high budget, not good games (at least no anymire, and thank God, since quality cant be measured).

I do wonder whether Shamus will respond to Therumancer. Escapists staff never do respond to direct things though...
I've gotten responses from Escapist staff before, but it doesn't happen very often. I don't expect one here either because among other things I'm pretty unpopular due to my politics and stuff. I've directly addressed Shamus before. :)

No big deal though, I mean I made the point I wanted to for those reading, it's at least there for consideration. If Shamus is reading this, and he does something similar in the future, perhaps he'll think differently about it. At the end of the day it's his column though and as such a platform for his opinions, which I can respect, even if I strongly disagree with them.
 

Drago-Morph

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TopazFusion said:
If you played "The Arrival" DLC for Mass Effect 2, you might expect that each exploding relay is also destroying its host star system, thus wiping out the galaxy you just spent three games trying to set right.
I'm glad you brought this up.

That relay-exploding overview is the most sloppily put together animation you ever did see.



Each 'explosion' is MASSIVE, many many times bigger than a fucking supernova. And the 'explosion' that the Normandy is seen fleeing from, is actively damaging the Normandy.

To someone who's played every game and all the DLCs, this looked very much like the entire fucking galaxy was blowing up. And worse yet, the same thing happens no matter which 'color' you pick for the ending.

As it turns out, the 'explosions' aren't explosions at all. They're just 'energy waves' that spread the Synthesis DNA code / Reaper control code / Reaper kill signal, everywhere in the galaxy.
But in the original ending, we're not told this. In the original, pre- extended cut ending, it just looks like everything is blowing the fuck up.


The other stupid thing about this animation is the way the explosions originate from the very outer edge of the galaxy, at the bottom of the map.

Okay, umm, which relay is that supposed to be? It's certainly not the Sol Relay (aka: Charon Relay), because the Local Cluster is NOT on the outer rim of the galaxy:
It's obvious the game artists really screwed up here. There was clearly no collaboration between them and the writers.

What we're left with, are images and animations on our screen, that absolutely fail to show what the writers are actually trying to get across.
Holy shit, really? I thought the relays were blowing up, too. I was really pissed at that, for two reasons: one, it meant that you were the bad guy, since at least the Reapers just killed the people and let new species rise up. You just blew up the whole galaxy, ain't nothing ever coming back from that. Two, it meant that the entire ending was nonsensical; every shot after that where everything wasn't very very dead was wrong. It made no sense. It was literally like I spent 5 years, 3 games, and countless hours having one of the best rides of my life only to have it end in some sort of strange fever dream.

I was pissed for a few days, but I just stopped caring entirely about the ME franchise before the Extended Cut. So it's news to me that I didn't genocide the entire galaxy that one time.
 

Briantb

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I'm one of those people who played ME for hundreds of hours even picked them up when the came to PlayStation and replayed them to have my choices in ME3 so yeah I'm a little annoyed that all those choices didn't mean a damn thing and all I got was three different colored endings. Even with the extra ending dlc content its still a poor excuse of an ending. Adding the multiply to increase your war assets for the final battle was just annoying. I don't mind there being a multiplier just don't force me to play it to get a better bad ending. In the end your right there's quite a few arguments as to why this topic will not die anytime soon. (Or at least in till everyone who's played it has died)

In the end I truly enjoyed the story and gameplay of ME3, which makes the ending so much more annoying for me.
 

Therumancer

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4173 said:
I agree with some of Shamus' points, but the thing that really bugs me is the game telling me that rather than fighting the Reapers because they are threatening the galaxy and everything living in it, what I should really care about is EARTH because I'm (the player) a HUMAN...
Well, understand that there are some themes about that in the game as well.

See, conceptually Humanity is the newest species entering into intergalactic society, but it's also a very powerful one comparatively speaking. First contact came in the form of a war fought against the Turians who are the strongest military force in the galaxy, and humanity did pretty well given the situation, so well in fact that it's scary, given that one would have expected humanity to be crushed outright (and it would have been had the full force of the Turian military entered into it, but as limited as the clash was the Turians were paying dearly for their successes). Humanity also successfully stood up to, and demolished, a couple of other minor space powers, the Batarians, the organized pirate clans. The result is that a lot of the elder races distrust humanity as newcomers, and don't listen to humanity when they should. A big part of the plot initially is that a lot of people don't want to see a Human Specter because they dislike and distrust humanity. What's more while humanity has largely been playing "good galactic citizen" including limiting it's number of Dreadnaughts and such, the Council has made a point out of not doing it's part in helping to protect human colonies and the like. A lot of the ethical questions that exist with the Batarians for example exist because The Council refused to intervene when the Batarians intruded on human territories, but of course conversely refused to intervene when humanity got a little... excessive, with it's retaliation. The second Mass Effect game has The Council refusing to honor it's general commitment to protect colonies, by pretty much leaving the Earth Military to it's own devices to protect it's own colonies when it asks for help. Furthermore when the council is presented with evidence in the first game, it refuses to do anything about the various problems that are mounting, and arguably the whole finale at the end was because The Council was dismissive towards humanity and it's warnings. This is why the final moral choice was "do we let the council die or not?" that's not purely a good or evil choice (Renegade isn't evil) because frankly The Council caused the entire mess with it's anti-human bigotry and refusing to accept evidence that was being plopped down right in front of it.

As they point out a few times, the whole Paragon/Renegade choice system isn't good or evil, Shepard is a good guy and trying to do the right things no matter what you select. If your renegade your a lot more ruthless and anti-alien, but in the scope of the game that isn't evil because it's not baseless bigotry, the council really has been screwing humanity and causing problems. As Renegade-Shep points out, why should he give a crap about aliens, when they are willing to just let human colonies die, and why should Earth Military help support their wars and police actions when The Council ignores earth when it has asked for support against groups like The Batarians and Pirate clans? Paragon Shep takes the attitude that he can change things by being nice to everyone, Renegade Shep takes the attitude that earth is on it's own no matter what nice words are thrown around. Who is right? Well that depends on player choice. I prefer the attitudes of Paragon shep, but I do notice that even if you play Paragon through the first game, The Council is pretty much saying "we don't care about human colonies" in the second game, which according to the database if I remember is exactly the same attitude they have been having all along.

Now yes, it is a bit of humanity-horn blowing that the most important artifact in the universe came from Earth-Space and as such earth becomes the flashpoint of the storyline, but that's not a huge deal. It is important to note though that the Alien races have been telling humanity "play by our rules, but we won't help you" since the very beginning. Not being willing to help defend earth is nothing new, and they ALWAYS have an excuse, every single time. This is a big part of why you can walk around with the whole "recruiting to defend earth" agenda even without some of the final reveals which get everyone involved. Basically the elder races take the attitude that humanity is a race of brutish children who have to be handled with care because of our power and technology (they could wipe us out, but it would hurt to do it, and genocide isn't something they do casually, as they are still grappling with the moral implications of the Krogan plague... besides we aren't that directly hostile or malevolent) they actually think things that hurt and slow down humanity are good as they help keep us in our place since we're not really ready to be involved in galactic affairs like the big three (hence why there is no Human council member to begin with). At the same time the minor species are envious that the council actually deals with humanity and takes them seriously to any degree, given that humans are a relatively new discovery. The basic point there being that military force is trumping say economic contributions, with a new military power getting it's reps face time with the council regularly, where the guys who spent 5000 years building the galactic economy (the Volus) don't even get their own embassy office, meaning the "minor" races aren't exactly part of the humanity fan club either.

Basically the point to begin with is pretty much "Humans are having trouble again, we ask the council for help, and they do nothing and leave us to our own devices". Remember refusing to seriously help defend earth comes after the mess they caused by not listening to humanity's reps during the first game, and refusing to help human colonies in the second game even when a bigger threat is discovered, sure they always have a good sounding excuse, but the point is they always have an excuse. This is also why Cerberus as a group can be fairly heroic in concept, the leadership might be pretty evil in it's endgame plans (or turns that way) but their whole "protectors of humanity" thing is not without merit because after all... humanity really can't rely on anyone else. Also while they never explored it other than mentioning it, they made it clear Cerberus did sort of have it's opposite numbers among the other species. If anything it could be argued the major difference between Cerberus and The Council was that Cerberus was honest about not liking aliens and putting earth first, The Council tended to lie about it and come up with excuses, but it all came down to the same
basic thing. The Elusive Man was a piece of work, but the rank and file Cerberus guys? As you saw in ME2 a lot of them were good guys, doing the hard things that needed to be done in a truly hostile universe... and without Cerberus humanity actually would have been destroyed, along with the rest of the galaxy eventually.

That's my thoughts at any rate.
 

one squirrel

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ME3s ending caused the fans to go "Heeeey waaiit a minute, there is something seriously fishy going on. I better step back and have better look on the whole thing!" And what they found wasn't pretty. Fans (including myself) finally realized, that the whole plot had more holes than a swiss cheese. It had been hold together the entire time by nothing more than a few beloved characters and an atmospheric universe.
For me, playing the ME series was like eating a cheap cake: it tastes really good, but afterwards you feel a litte sick because the thing was way too sweet and the nuturitive value was close to zero.
 

Therumancer

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Briantb said:
I'm one of those people who played ME for hundreds of hours even picked them up when the came to PlayStation and replayed them to have my choices in ME3 so yeah I'm a little annoyed that all those choices didn't mean a damn thing and all I got was three different colored endings. Even with the extra ending dlc content its still a poor excuse of an ending. Adding the multiply to increase your war assets for the final battle was just annoying. I don't mind there being a multiplier just don't force me to play it to get a better bad ending. In the end your right there's quite a few arguments as to why this topic will not die anytime soon. (Or at least in till everyone who's played it has died)

In the end I truly enjoyed the story and gameplay of ME3, which makes the ending so much more annoying for me.
Actually I think the issue would die if they actually did create a proper ending for the game. No ending will of course make everyone happy, but they can achieve creating an ending that everyone does not hate, and which fits in with the rest of the series and it's tone. The effort would also mean something, and would probably not go unnoticed. The "clarification" DLC was kind of an insult because it really didn't change anything.

At it's core though I think a big part of the problem is that EA/Bioware (probably mostly the former) doesn't want to change things because in doing so, and acknowledging the fans being right, they will be giving the consumers power, and that's one thing the game industry does not want to see happen. EA would doubtlessly rather let Bioware and all of it's IPs like Mass Effect die, than concede to fans over something like this and change something.

Right now the best case scenario would be to change the ending somewhat with the intro to the new Mass Effect game, that way they can sort of concede the point without surrender, and consider it under "inconsistincies" common to sequels. Of course I'm not holding my breath for that either.
 

Therumancer

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one squirrel said:
ME3s ending caused the fans to go "Heeeey waaiit a minute, there is something seriously fishy going on. I better step back and have better look on the whole thing!" And what they found wasn't pretty. Fans (including myself) finally realized, that the whole plot had more holes than a swiss cheese. It had been hold together the entire time by nothing more than a few beloved characters and an atmospheric universe.
For me, playing the ME series was like eating a cheap cake: it tastes really good, but afterwards you feel a litte sick because the thing was way too sweet and the nuturitive value was close to zero.
Actually people were well aware of those holes, as was EA/Bioware which is why so many people were irritated when they did not do what was promised and answer the outstanding questions. Indeed a lot of the riot happened when it was revealed that they never planned to plug those holes and give answers, because they wanted to retain the mysteries to answer in future games. This is something that goes along with the whole "we were promised no choose A B or C ending".

Now granted, chances are it wouldn't have been possible to answer all those questions with any kind of finesse in one game, but no real effort was made.

I'll also say that there are less holes than many people might think, a lot of details are actually present in the encyclopedia thing than answer some of the questions.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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I am surprised Young didn't bring up the tonal whiplash in the ending, because that is what I see a lot of people pissed off about. The fact that ME3 up until the end is a typical heroes journey about rallying the troops and doing a last stand in the face of massive odds. It is tonally quite similar to the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica but as soon as the ending starts we get an ending that discards the tone of the previous 20+ hours of gameplay in favor of something that feels like 2001. The tone changes, the theme changes and the premise gets thrown on its' head in an ending that's a literal deus ex machina.

That, along with the broken promise of no "Choice A, B or C ending" is what I mostly see people reacting to. It also seems rather legit to me, because Bioware broke the trust between developer and player, in that their final product was not what they promised nor what could reasonably have been expected based on hype or previous games.
 

Shamus Young

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So who is this mythical person that thought the ending of ME3 was great (or, really, anything but moderately bad at best?)?

Is Armond White doing video game reviews now?
 

Autumnflame

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People loved the series that much.

The fan fic, fan art, theories, the community that developed .

Mass effect was the modern day Epic. Something we hadnt seen in our generation and unlikley to see again

People pored millions into Dlc, merchandise, The games, comics Ect Ect.

Overall themes ran through the games core ideals and mechanics. and it was all thrown out at the last minute.

Bioware till that point was seen as the company that could do no wrong

They ALWAYS delivered and gave the people what they wanted even if the didnt know it

The ending to ME3 however was a spit in the face to every fan of the series.

Even though it was a huge mistake by Bioware.

The fact that people were so passionate and loved their work previous to that is something any other developer has to envy
 

ajr209

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Mr. Young couldn't be more wrong in this article, both in explaining "Why The Mass Effect 3 Debate Refuses to Die" and in using a tone that for the most part shoves the blame onto the consumers who were wronged rather than the company who was wronging them.

Lets start at the beginning- in interviews during the early stages of development bioware employees stated that while he ending hadn't yet been written it would change based on decisions the player made throughout the course of the series and as already pointed out by others specifically would NOT be an a b or c type ending.
When it came time to actually write the ending EA took it away from the main team and gave it to a couple of other guys, cutting the people who were writing the damn rest of the game and had put their reps on the line by saying it would not be an abc ending and choices would matter out of the loop. This is largely to blame for the ending seeming so disconnected from the rest of the game. These new writers gave it an abc type ending that stayed the same no matter what the player had previously done thus blatantly breaking the word of people who actually cared about the project and weren't total hacks.
But why would EA knowingly and willfully piss away every ounce of good will bioware had built with their space opera? Money. Well short term quick money anyway, a little bit of thought might have led them to the conclusion that in the long term they'd lose customers for future games and with them lose more money than they stood to gain with their plan. EA wanted to see if they could get away with withholding the "good" ending, and some other content that led up to it, from a multiple ending game and selling it to the consumer as DLC. I hope anyone reading this can appreciate what a dangerous precedent this succeeding would be. This coupled with a comparatively rushed production schedule, two years instead of three, makes what was made out to be the grand finale to an epic journey turn into a cynical cash grab.
Some people like to paint the situation as fans bullying EA into sacrificing artistic integrity by going back and reworking the ending to please them, not saying that's what mr. Young did I'm just saying I've seen it a lot. That wasn't the case. They already had the shit and only released it for free when the massive backlash forced them to abandon trying to wring whatever they were planning on charging out of the consumer, people were supposedly already getting death threats so one can imagine the kind of clusterfuck it would have been if it wasn't free. Artistic integrity went flying write out the window long before the game was ever released.

To sum it all up the reason the mass effect debate refuses to die is because the issue isn't just the tale of a story concluded badly, it's the embodiment of much of what's wrong with the AAA gaming scene: Promises wantonly broken, a project rushed beyond necessity, multiple teams not communicating with each other, vital things that should have been on the disc being withheld for aftermarket sales, consumers getting treated to the old bait and switch, a sequel becoming a cynical cash grab, an attempt to implement yet another industry damaging business practice, and a greedy corporation who shortsightedly tried to squeeze their loyal customers for more than the sixty bucks they were entitled to completely ignoring that thanks to repeat customers you make more money in the long term pleasing your fans rather than screwing them.
 

maxben

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Sgt. Sykes said:
1) It was a good series of games. It lives long. You can rekindle discussion about FFVII or Doom after all this time too.
2) The ending was controversial. Some love it, some hate it, nuff said.
3) New people keep getting to the game. I only played it last year and when I did, I wanted to discuss it. Other people play the game for the first time today.
4) It was a fucking moronic controversy in the first place. Of course these live the longest.
I love how you just ignored the whole article and are responding to nothing in it. Hell, you could write what you wrote having read the title alone, and I'm guessing that that is exactly what you did.

On my end, I was one of those who got angry at ME2 and stopped playing the series altogether so I don't have anything to say on the ending. I did feel upset and I have not purchased a Bioware game since (though I might buy Dragon Age Inquisition providing that it gets much better reviews then II did)
 

ecoho

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Jim_Callahan said:
So who is this mythical person that thought the ending of ME3 was great (or, really, anything but moderately bad at best?)?

Is Armond White doing video game reviews now?
TopazFusion said:
Jim_Callahan said:
So who is this mythical person that thought the ending of ME3 was great (or, really, anything but moderately bad at best?)?
There were several of them floating around this forum, last year and the year before.

Most of them are banned now, for being insulting and inflammatory against what they call "ending-bashers".
no a few of us are banned because they couldn't keep their mouths shut. The majority are alive and well on these forums just not engaging with people who we'll never convince the game was good.

OT: honestly I got to say two things make this a hot topic
1.the hype was way too much. I mean come on there really was no way they could end this series with everyone happy but when people saw the first ending(a very early draft that looked pretty good)they went bat shit on how it was a BS ending and thus we ended up with an ending that while ok was not what it could have been.

2. people thinking they wasted money on the game. This is most likely the big one and is by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Every time this point comes up I always ask how long did they play before it went sour for them and 99% of the time they say till the last 15 mins. Ok assuming your not rushing through that's at least twenty hours of game play so roughly 10 movies worth of time. movies cost $8 a seat at my theater so roughly $80 for the same amount of fun, assuming you can find 10 movies worth watching that is. (and yes I know Netflix is cheaper but talking froma point of a new release)
 

Foehunter82

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I hate the Mass Effect 3 ending, pure and simple. That said, I'm just no longer interested in complaining about it anymore, as I've more or less just accepted the fact that Mass Effect is intended to fit into the Lovecraft Expanded Universe. The Reapers are just disembodied Cthulhu heads floating around in space - very, very deep space. They are a cold, uncaring, almost unstoppable force in the universe, very much like Lovecraft would describe. Their true intentions and motivations are unknown and unknowable. Those that cross paths with them tend to slip into the Indoctrinated state where they start obey and even worshipping the Reapers. The ending only completed the hopelessness involved in Lovecraftian horror by effectively requiring the death of Shepard by making a choice between A, B, and C endings that were effectively meaningless and illogical, all because Starthulhu (if he actually existed at all*) said so.

Face it, Mass Effect is really just Lovecraftian horror in space that was given a poor ending because Karpyshyn ran off for Austin before the ending was completed. Would his ending have been better? It would have been less than perfect, but I happen to think that it would definitely have been better.

*Frankly, I think the Star Child was just a Reaper deception.


ecoho said:
2. people thinking they wasted money on the game. This is most likely the big one and is by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
Not sure about your point here. You seem to be saying that people should shut up about what they feel simply "because math". The ending felt like a betrayal of promises that had been made (not just before release but way back during and after Mass Effect 1's development), and so many people feel that they were manipulated and taken advantage of without receiving what they were, in fact, promised.* I'm sorry, but your point cuts too close to the "You paid, now you have no right to feel anything other than joy at being screwed over" for my taste. People don't function in accordance with cold, impersonal algorithms. They have feelings. Their logic isn't based solely on pure data, but also on how the facts and experiences make them feel. If a person feels that the game was a waste of money for them, then that is their opinion. Frankly, I have often felt the same way with games. Buy a hyped game, get it home, and find out that is sucks, but, of course, you can't return it because EULA.

People often believe the hype, and because they do, they start developing expectations. When a key expectation isn't met, they feel let down and want to voice their opinion on the matter. Should people manage their expectations? Sure. Developers could also stand to be more realistic about their hype and/or promises they make throughout development. Developers need to quit the BS, get real, keep the promises they make, and don't overstay their welcome(loads of DLC, for instance). And "because business" cannot be used as a legitimate excuse, frankly. There is a right (ethical) way to do business, and a wrong (unethical) way. Right now, the AAA developers are big on using unethical means to make money.



*It wouldn't surprise me at all if we were to find out that EA/Bioware managed to Bob Orci their previous statements off of the internet.
 

Rodolphe Kourkenko

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It's not only the ending. I don't know for others but i played the game only once and find it rushed and the more you progress trought the story the more it's obvious. After Tutchanka, you can see the number of side missions dwelling (oh some will say "it's because it's war against the reaper but it was more a war against Cerberus), the choice that matter less and less to finish in a big A,B or C choice without any kind of consequences based on the player's choice. And the auto dialogue, the fact you need dlc to have a full story, the ninja assassin with big plot armor and all the half truth PR speech before the launch... And i'm sure i forgot a lot of things.

It's a lot for a single game. I don't care about it and have little to no interested in the IP today, they'll have to make a really good game to bring me back, some other are way more interesting and good today.
Bioware is just an overhyped studio that make overhyped games imo.
 

ajr209

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ecoho said:
2. people thinking they wasted money on the game. This is most likely the big one and is by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Every time this point comes up I always ask how long did they play before it went sour for them and 99% of the time they say till the last 15 mins. Ok assuming your not rushing through that's at least twenty hours of game play so roughly 10 movies worth of time. movies cost $8 a seat at my theater so roughly $80 for the same amount of fun, assuming you can find 10 movies worth watching that is. (and yes I know Netflix is cheaper but talking froma point of a new release)
With going to a movie theater I can walk out and demand my money back from the manager if it's bad. Ever try returning a game that wasn't defective or bought used? Your argument falls apart because if I don't like a movie I can do something about it and if I liked the bulk of the movie but felt the ending just ruined it I'm only out ten bucks ($8? I don't think I could even get into a matinee for that) and two hours. If' I buy a game and don't like it and it wasn't used I'm stuck with it, sure I can just stop playing or sell it but no matter what I do I'll never recoup that money and If I liked the bulk of it but thought the ending just ruined it I'm out sixty bucks and an entire days worth of time.

And you're also not taking into account those who had carried over characters from the previous games. For them after at least 60 hrs and $180 having the whole time believing that their choices mattered and that it would have an impact on the end of their journey because that's what bioware was telling them from day one... only to find out far too late that it didn't. None of it mattered. They could have picked up the 3rd game and and never bothered with 1 or 2 and they would have wound up with the same results. That's a hell of a lot of time and money to spend just to have the rug pulled out from under you at the last moment.
 

Shamus Young

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TopazFusion said:
Jim_Callahan said:
So who is this mythical person that thought the ending of ME3 was great (or, really, anything but moderately bad at best?)?
There were several of them floating around this forum, last year and the year before.

Many of them are banned now, for being insulting and inflammatory against what they call "ending-bashers".
Hey now, I'll have you know all my warnings have been for being insulting and inflammatory outside ME threads! I haven't said a single terrible thing to an 'ending-basher'! ...[sub]yet[/sub] If you're gonna generalize us, at least get why we get warnings right. Jeez.

Jokes aside, I didn't mind the Mass Effect 3 ending, even the original one - it certainly wasn't the best ending in the world, but it definitely wasn't the worst. With the Extended Cut they were able to solve a whole heap of issues the initial cut had, which was pretty damn good, though many who felt 'burned' by the initial ending were still bitter about it.

I can see why people hated the ending as well - From around half-way through Mass Effect 2 I was kinda predicting a lack-luster ending with some form of Deus Ex Machina being pulled out of an ass somewhere (The Reapers, funnily enough, were just too damn strong an opponent to beat 'conventionally'), and Deus Ex Machina endings always feel... lower quality than usual. Coupled with various writing issues, the fact that they glossed over massive amounts of vital information (what happened to the people on the citadel? Why are the relays exploding? Why is the citadel exploding? What happened to the people I helped over the course of the game? What the hell is the Starchild?) and the fact that the
ending does come out of nowhere rather anti-climatically. Extended Cut covered *most* of those issues (So, where's Commander Bailey?), but as said for many the damage was already done with the lackluster original cut.

Ah well. I still enjoy playing through the trilogy every now and then. The ending suits me just fine, and I'm ok with that. I just avoid most ME Ending threads 'cause I think I'm in the minority of 'it wasn't that bad' and most Ending threads tend to focus on the point of 'So, what part of the Mass Effect Ending sucked the most for you?'
 

Malk_Kontent

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My biggest problem with Mass Effect 3 is that I KNOW that BioWare is capable of SO MUCH BETTER. It's the same problem I have with aspects of Dragon Age 2. Personally, I think that EA put pressure on them and forced them to do a rush job on both games, leading to an overall inferior product.

If I had a way to do so, I'd make my own ending for Mass Effect 3 that addressed my issues with the game. I'd let the Star Child start out with its big ol' monologue, and then have my Shepard cut him off, saying that in this cycle, we have grown outside of his flawed paradigm, and to go ahead and go through my memories as proof. Following that would be a montage that highlighted any/all of the important actions & choices I made throughout the three games, after which the SC would agree, and then most of the Reaper forces would shut down, leaving them open to being destroyed by the allied forces... Except for Harbinger and a number of other Reapers under its direct control.

The SC would let Shep know that somehow Harbinger has exceeded its control, and that Shepard would have to bring that group down, which would segue into the REAL final mission: Shepard, placed in overall command of ALL the allied forces, is sent against Harbinger and the Reapers under his/her control. They won't be as POWERFUL as they were throughout the rest of the game, but they're STILL pretty formidable! Shepard sets up a battle plan, utilizing everything s/he has under his control, leading to a final battle INSIDE Harbinger itself, not unlike the Suicide Mission in ME2, but with different units, based on the assets you've assembled, assisting at different points and helping shape the overall conflict.

At the end, we could even have a sequence at Harbinger's core, where you try to convince it that it doesn't need to continue the conflict, which can make for some entertaining end-drama, and maybe you can even convince it to stand down, though it will probably self-terminate in that circumstance. Afterwards, the Star Child, along with it's VAST knowledge of all the cycles before, can help galactic civilization reach the next level, with a big happy ending for everyone, WITH something a bit more exciting than the Happy Ending Mod. of course, that's just MY idea... But i think it would be better than what EA/BioWare fed us!
 

Avalanche91

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The ending was messy enough as it was, but the way it ended was unforgiveable. Just a message of 'buy more dlc' and a vague indication that Joker and the crew (some of which were with you on the ground in the original ending) crashlanding on a jungle planet.

Was it really so difficult to give us an epilogue or even a text scroll to inform us of the consequences of our choices?

'Liara continued working as Shadow Broker and used her resources to aid planets ravaged by the reapers.'
'Ashley traveled the galaxy, fulfilling her duty as the second human spectre. She returned to earth to train a new generation'.
'Garrus was approached by the new Primarch to become a spectre, but refused the position. He attempted to live the high-life for a few years until boredom kicked in and he decided to begin a new vigilante group.'
'Zaeed crashed a space cruiser filled with explosives into a meeting between the Blue Suns and the Bloodpack. His body was never found.'
'Joker never actually landed on that weird planet for no reason, it was just the acid kicking in'.

I remember someone actually doing this in great detail. The ME3 ending generator or something. You ticked of all the important choices you made and the thing gave you an actually satisfying epilogue, even taking the dumb war assets into account. If fans are doing a better job than you're writers, you probably need new writers......
 

Littaly

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Reading the article it's kind of obvious why people won't stop talking about it. Because it's really interesting and there's so much to talk about!

There are so many aspects of it that you can argue for and against and so many theories of why it ended up the way it did. It's not just people talking past each other, it's speculation about questions we may never get an answer to. And that kind of stuff is impossible to stop discussing, no matter how pointless it is xD

I personally believe the games suffered from too many, too shabby rewrites. It kept saying it had this big plan for an overarching story, but constantly seemed to shift focus and couldn't nail down it's own themes. Someone probably believed the ending was brilliant and thematically correct when they wrote it, and I'm sure in some sense it was, but over the corse of the games it had sent so mixed signals about what it was about that when it came down to tie it together it fell apart.

Of course, I have no way of proving that, it's just a theory, and it will forever just be a theory, and that's why I can't really let it go xD
 

Fairly Chaotic

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wswordsmen said:
My problem with the ending was the ending was a rocks fall everybody dies ending. That the writers were convinced was actually happy. Forget that the Mass Relays should have wiped out every solar system they were in. The galaxy's economy depended on trade between worlds and without the Mass Relays that was impossible, so the entire fleet was going to starve to death.

The writers seemed to totally ignore the question of what came next.

When it comes to ME3 topics I've become an echo chamber. I've echoed this before and I guess I'm doing it once more. The whole writing team wanted to deliver everything that was promised to the players. All story lines were to be wrapped up and they wanted a massive battle involving all the alien and synthetic species based on the choices the player made.

But lo, one writer, one stupid writer, said nay, I have the best idea on this. Said idiot locked himself in a room with the writing materials and completed the rest of the writing by himself. This single writer is responsible for star child and the lack of other story elements. The rest of the writing team was wondering what the heck was going on and later when the finished product was revealed the whole team had a WTF moment. So the same reaction that gamers had upon completion of the game, the staff had already experienced the same thing.

Writer allegedly slams ending [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.355616-Mass-Effect-3-Writer-Allegedly-Slams-Controversial-Ending]

This doesn't cover everything I mentioned. Some articles covering the writing team's reaction to the game have been removed from the internet.
 

Shamus Young

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TopazFusion said:
Shanicus said:
Hey now, I'll have you know all my warnings have been for being insulting and inflammatory outside ME threads! I haven't said a single terrible thing to an 'ending-basher'! ...[sub]yet[/sub] If you're gonna generalize us, at least get why we get warnings right. Jeez.

Jokes aside, I didn't mind the Mass Effect 3 ending, even the original one - it certainly wasn't the best ending in the world, but it definitely wasn't the worst. With the Extended Cut they were able to solve a whole heap of issues the initial cut had, which was pretty damn good, though many who felt 'burned' by the initial ending were still bitter about it.
Heh, believe it or not, I still love the series. But I love picking holes in it too.
And there are a LOT of holes to pick :D
Oh yeah, so many, many holes. I tend to gloss over many of them - I'm a sucker for solid characters - but I could probably drum up at least 2 hours worth of 'Why is this not making sense'.

Shanicus said:
Why is the citadel exploding?
Yeah, what happens to the citadel is a rather glaring plothole.

According to the codex, gravity on the citadel is mostly maintained via centrifugal force, ie: the way the citadel slowly rotates.

But at the end on ME3, the citadel is shown opening right up like a flower, which would mean everyone still on it (assuming there is anyone still alive) would experience zero G.

In any case, we dunno if anyone on the citadel is still alive, as by the time we get there, the station is closed up and there are piles of dead bodies everywhere. That doesn't bode well for everyone we helped and saved there. (Kelly?! What happened to you!?)
According to the writers at least, many of 'em didn't even make it before the arms closed to begin with. Man, so much for doing all those mini-quests.
 

Aggieknight

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IMHO Worst article you've ever done, Shamus (and I've been reading your articles and comics for years). I think you completely missed the point of this angst after two years.

There are many reasons why I'm still bitter about the ending, and most have been described.
 

Something Amyss

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It's not because "nothing could have satisfied fans".
Although that's probably true here. I don't think there was any way to satisfy the base with an ending. Now, I sort of hate the "the fans are unpleaseable" argument because it's basically a cop-out, but three games of choices plus whatever players read into their character? I don't even know where to begin with that.

Which dovetails nicely with point four (and the overall point of the comic). Yeah, a good chunk of the audience weren't pleased. They wanted different things. Some wildly different. Pleasing everyone given the circumstances would have been hard. Maybe impossible.

This is especially true with any franchise that offers big promises over a protracted period of time. Compare it to Lost. Yes, the ending was crappy. Yeah, it was a cop-out. But after so much hype, how were they going to please fans with radically different interpretations? And Lost doesn't even let you choose the actions of Sawyer and Sayeed.

I think one of the biggest issues was actually that the story was so nonsensical that people were actually making up another story to try and make sense of this one. This isn't an indicator (to me, your mileage may vary) of a fanbase who just pulled a "haters gonna hate," but rather fans who were desperately trying to make the ending "good." While I think maybe the fanbase couldn't have been pleased, it's not for the usual dismissive reasons.

It makes sense if you don't think about it.

Though I'm not sure what that has to do with artistic integrity, since I'm not sure Bioware ever had any.

Zhukov said:
Y'know, some of us played all three games (multiple times even) and still considered the sequels to be huge improvements, both in gameplay and storytelling.
That's probably why he said "a lot," rather than "everyone," though.

#notallmasseffects

TopazFusion said:
It's obvious the game artists really screwed up here. There was clearly no collaboration between them and the writers.
Considering the end was changed at least once, it's possible that at one point there was collaboration and the changes left them with assets that didn't fit. And, of course, this being the modern gaming industry, postponing a launch is a suggestion looked upon as fondly as high treason.

I'd add that the last bits of Mass Effect 3 seem rather disjointed--even by the standards of the rest of the game. This is one of the reasons people came up with the "Indoctrination Theory," and while insisting that my version of events was true would be just as silly is IT, I wonder if it doesn't perhaps support such a hypothesis. I guess what I'm saying is: HL3 confirmed!
 

Something Amyss

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Aggieknight said:
IMHO Worst article you've ever done, Shamus (and I've been reading your articles and comics for years). I think you completely missed the point of this angst after two years.

There are many reasons why I'm still bitter about the ending, and most have been described.
But wasn't the end point of the article that there were many different reasons and people were arguing at cross purposes?

That doesn't sound like a "bad article," that sounds like he agrees with you.
 

4173

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Therumancer said:
4173 said:
I agree with some of Shamus' points, but the thing that really bugs me is the game telling me that rather than fighting the Reapers because they are threatening the galaxy and everything living in it, what I should really care about is EARTH because I'm (the player) a HUMAN...
Well, understand that there are some themes about that in the game as well.

See, conceptually Humanity is the newest species entering into intergalactic society, but it's also a very powerful one comparatively speaking. First contact came in the form of a war fought against the Turians who are the strongest military force in the galaxy, and humanity did pretty well given the situation, so well in fact that it's scary, given that one would have expected humanity to be crushed outright (and it would have been had the full force of the Turian military entered into it, but as limited as the clash was the Turians were paying dearly for their successes). Humanity also successfully stood up to, and demolished, a couple of other minor space powers, the Batarians, the organized pirate clans. The result is that a lot of the elder races distrust humanity as newcomers, and don't listen to humanity when they should. A big part of the plot initially is that a lot of people don't want to see a Human Specter because they dislike and distrust humanity. What's more while humanity has largely been playing "good galactic citizen" including limiting it's number of Dreadnaughts and such, the Council has made a point out of not doing it's part in helping to protect human colonies and the like. A lot of the ethical questions that exist with the Batarians for example exist because The Council refused to intervene when the Batarians intruded on human territories, but of course conversely refused to intervene when humanity got a little... excessive, with it's retaliation. The second Mass Effect game has The Council refusing to honor it's general commitment to protect colonies, by pretty much leaving the Earth Military to it's own devices to protect it's own colonies when it asks for help. Furthermore when the council is presented with evidence in the first game, it refuses to do anything about the various problems that are mounting, and arguably the whole finale at the end was because The Council was dismissive towards humanity and it's warnings. This is why the final moral choice was "do we let the council die or not?" that's not purely a good or evil choice (Renegade isn't evil) because frankly The Council caused the entire mess with it's anti-human bigotry and refusing to accept evidence that was being plopped down right in front of it.

As they point out a few times, the whole Paragon/Renegade choice system isn't good or evil, Shepard is a good guy and trying to do the right things no matter what you select. If your renegade your a lot more ruthless and anti-alien, but in the scope of the game that isn't evil because it's not baseless bigotry, the council really has been screwing humanity and causing problems. As Renegade-Shep points out, why should he give a crap about aliens, when they are willing to just let human colonies die, and why should Earth Military help support their wars and police actions when The Council ignores earth when it has asked for support against groups like The Batarians and Pirate clans? Paragon Shep takes the attitude that he can change things by being nice to everyone, Renegade Shep takes the attitude that earth is on it's own no matter what nice words are thrown around. Who is right? Well that depends on player choice. I prefer the attitudes of Paragon shep, but I do notice that even if you play Paragon through the first game, The Council is pretty much saying "we don't care about human colonies" in the second game, which according to the database if I remember is exactly the same attitude they have been having all along.

Now yes, it is a bit of humanity-horn blowing that the most important artifact in the universe came from Earth-Space and as such earth becomes the flashpoint of the storyline, but that's not a huge deal. It is important to note though that the Alien races have been telling humanity "play by our rules, but we won't help you" since the very beginning. Not being willing to help defend earth is nothing new, and they ALWAYS have an excuse, every single time. This is a big part of why you can walk around with the whole "recruiting to defend earth" agenda even without some of the final reveals which get everyone involved. Basically the elder races take the attitude that humanity is a race of brutish children who have to be handled with care because of our power and technology (they could wipe us out, but it would hurt to do it, and genocide isn't something they do casually, as they are still grappling with the moral implications of the Krogan plague... besides we aren't that directly hostile or malevolent) they actually think things that hurt and slow down humanity are good as they help keep us in our place since we're not really ready to be involved in galactic affairs like the big three (hence why there is no Human council member to begin with). At the same time the minor species are envious that the council actually deals with humanity and takes them seriously to any degree, given that humans are a relatively new discovery. The basic point there being that military force is trumping say economic contributions, with a new military power getting it's reps face time with the council regularly, where the guys who spent 5000 years building the galactic economy (the Volus) don't even get their own embassy office, meaning the "minor" races aren't exactly part of the humanity fan club either.

Basically the point to begin with is pretty much "Humans are having trouble again, we ask the council for help, and they do nothing and leave us to our own devices". Remember refusing to seriously help defend earth comes after the mess they caused by not listening to humanity's reps during the first game, and refusing to help human colonies in the second game even when a bigger threat is discovered, sure they always have a good sounding excuse, but the point is they always have an excuse. This is also why Cerberus as a group can be fairly heroic in concept, the leadership might be pretty evil in it's endgame plans (or turns that way) but their whole "protectors of humanity" thing is not without merit because after all... humanity really can't rely on anyone else. Also while they never explored it other than mentioning it, they made it clear Cerberus did sort of have it's opposite numbers among the other species. If anything it could be argued the major difference between Cerberus and The Council was that Cerberus was honest about not liking aliens and putting earth first, The Council tended to lie about it and come up with excuses, but it all came down to the same
basic thing. The Elusive Man was a piece of work, but the rank and file Cerberus guys? As you saw in ME2 a lot of them were good guys, doing the hard things that needed to be done in a truly hostile universe... and without Cerberus humanity actually would have been destroyed, along with the rest of the galaxy eventually.

That's my thoughts at any rate.
Sure, that works quite well in ME1 and (mostly) works in ME2.

In ME3 though, after the prologue everything* is all about liberating Earth. All the missions Shepard undertakes for the Turians, Krogan and Geth/Quarians are sold as necessary to get the support to push the Reapers off Earth. Earth isn't presented as containing an abundance of resources/trapped military forces and only gains tactical importance (for a stupid reason, but that's a separate discussion) late in the plot. Interesting race politics had their place in the first two games, where the threat(s) were at least somewhat mysterious and removed from the center of galactic politics and Saren and the Cerebus connection biased information.

In the face of the fully manifested Reaper assault, Shepard/Hackett's fixation on "rescuing" Earth looks incredibly petty, short-sighted and, IMO frankly stupid. The idea that the other races would be willingly to, or should (from a tactical sense) commit resources towards Earth leads me to believe their generals have the sense of toddlers. In meme form:

Step 1: Liberate Earth
Step 2: ???
Step 3: The Reapers are no longer a problem

The closest the game ever gets to justifying the behavior of supposedly seasoned military beings is a) Shepard feels incredibly guilty about the death of a random child, b) the galaxy is willing to commit suicide** because Shepard was a bro. It's ludicrous and insulting and the game hopes no one will notice because the player is too busy thinking "Oh shit, I live on Earth too."


*Yes, there is the Crucible sub-plot, but it is so nebulous, mcguffiny and mysterious (in a bad way) that it barely provides any drama during the first playthrough of the game. In the cold, hard light of time and distance it's fluff only in the game as a mechanic to deliver the final cutscene and give the player a handy guide to how far through the game they've played.

**If the game had truly committed to telling a story in which the protagonist(s) had no hope that would be different, but it doesn't. The Crucible plot gasps along on life support, alternate military options are never proposed/discussed/rejected, Noah's Ark scenarios are never a part of the game and the game vacillates wildly on how effective Alliance and Council military is against the Reapers. I felt way more dread during the suicide mission in ME2 than I ever did during ME3 (which could have used for a nice morbid twist at the end, but the writers decided against that option. Instead they opted for out of the blue Word of [Authorial] God: Your cause is now officially doomed because we want you to pick your colour-coded ending).
 

Something Amyss

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GloatingSwine said:
A summary of the ending of Mass Effect 3 and audience reaction thereto:

Well, in the sense that dealing with the ending and the "because I said so" mentality feels like driving spikes into your body....

It sort of amazes me how the ME ending parallels The Matrix. Except in the Matrix, Neo is given two options and keeps finding a third. In ME3, We're given three endings and told those are our only choices, because reasons. Then the extended ending gave us the "fuck off" option, which at least lets us choose to not just listen to child ex machina (who has been wrong all the time, and needs a new option, and depending on player actions may even be wrong within this story regarding organics and synthetics), but the quality of that outcome is somewhat...questionable. And, of course, it came later.

And if this comes off as praise for The Matrix part 3, that should show just how screwed up ME3 was.
 

Yeager942

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SonOfVoorhees said:
I played the first two when they were first released. I then rebought them to play before ME3. Out of all 3 ME games, ME3 is the only game i didnt replay. The ending wasnt that great and that killed the replay. But before that seeing the Rachi pissed me off as I killed the last one in ME3. Also by then all the stuff your character did was only shown in emails. In ME2 it wasnt like you could play as Wrex if you saved him in ME1. So i knew from ME2 that the whole "your choices change the world" was bullshit and cosmetic. Your choice whether to kill the council or save them in ME1 made no real difference to ME2. Your choice to destroy or save the base in ME2 made no difference to ME3. So for me, ME3 lost a lot what made me love ME3.
THIS

Bioware sold ME as a game that would react and branch off to your decisions. Choosing the fate of the Rachni, Council, and Collector Base were agonizing decisions, but all those choices amounted to was cosmetic dialogue and a different number on the galactic conflict track. It was foolish of me to expect that amount of intricacy in a AAA game, but then I look at what Witcher 2 did, and every promotion Bioware told us to sell the game rings hollow.
 

Shamus Young

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maxben said:
I love how you just ignored the whole article and are responding to nothing in it.
I'm not responding to the contents of the article because I don't agree with it. In fact I don't see the point of it since Shamus spends most of the time talking about differences between ME1 and ME2 which has nothing to do with ME3 and certainly not its ending or the controversy surrounding it. In fact the very reasons that Shamus dismisses right at the beginning are the reasons why the ME3 debate still lives.

ME becoming another GOW-style dumb shooter with ME2 had its own controversy but ME3 as a game returned a lot of what was good about ME1 without its bloat.

Interestingly, for a lot of BW/RPG fans, ME2 was the favorite because of the character interactions, despite the game being so dumbed down. I'd even say that a lot of people would prefer ME3 to be just a continuation of all the character stories of ME2 regardless of the game mechanics or the main story. Something like what the Citadel DLC did.
 

zinho73

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one squirrel said:
ME3s ending caused the fans to go "Heeeey waaiit a minute, there is something seriously fishy going on. I better step back and have better look on the whole thing!" And what they found wasn't pretty. Fans (including myself) finally realized, that the whole plot had more holes than a swiss cheese. It had been hold together the entire time by nothing more than a few beloved characters and an atmospheric universe.
For me, playing the ME series was like eating a cheap cake: it tastes really good, but afterwards you feel a litte sick because the thing was way too sweet and the nuturitive value was close to zero.
The original script made sense. It was not brilliant but made sense. They decided to change it and added an enormous dose of nonsense splattered with laziness in a scale never seen before.

Other bad endings on other titles (like Fallout 3, Half-life 2 and others) are just poor ideas. Here, the bad ideas have a serious dose of incompetence and misleading marketing. I actually find the ME3 ending disrespectful.
 

Notshauna

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trunkage said:
Notshauna said:
I really wish people will stop saying some found the ending amazing, it's a cop out and is full of the usual mass media "fair and balanced" bullshit where they always find someone "on the otherside" no matter how wrong it is. The ending is terrible it's indisputable, it's not surprising that people like the ending, I like the Super Mario Bros. movie but it's still terrible. Mass Effects ending is still an illogical convoluted mess that tried to staple reasoning on to mad gods, offer a "big" decision when one wasn't needed and ended up with a hook to the next game that is more poorly written than some of the stuff I wrote in diapers.

It's plain and simple what it should of been, no fancy crucible rewriting the directive of reapers, it's a weapon plain and simple, you don't know what you do until the AI informs you. No more magical star child informing you of everything about the reapers and they're stupid directive, just a simple AI saying hey what you built will do this. And this weapon is a super nova bomb, there is a simple binary choice set it off at full power destroying all of the reapers and everyone in the Sol system as well, or set it off at lower power, potentially escaping, and causing the people in Sol to survive but failing destroy all of the reapers (but, they'd retreat to recuperate their numbers). And after that there'd be a Dragon Age Origins style reveal of the victory celebration revealing if Shepard survived (if you have to include galactic readiness make that be the factor that decides it).
Wait... so are you saying that you wish to impose your dislike of the ending on everyone else. I hate bands like Nickelback, that hasn't stopped them from earning a crust (and a golden crust at that.) My hatred of them doesn't make people like them less. You saying it was a terrible ending doesn't make 'them' think they same as you. They are allowed to think its awesome all they want. And people are allowed to report on that.
I'm not saying that they can't like the ending, I'm saying they have to acknowledge that it's a bad ending. And just because someone believes something doesn't mean it should be held in equal regard as the rest of possibilities, the entire basis of reward season is that there is a degree of objectivity when you say that Citizen Kane is a better movie than, say, the Super Mario Bros movie. And by the same token I can objectively say that the opinion the the ending is bad, despite others saying otherwise.
 

Therumancer

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[

Sure, that works quite well in ME1 and (mostly) works in ME2.

In ME3 though, after the prologue everything* is all about liberating Earth. All the missions Shepard undertakes for the Turians, Krogan and Geth/Quarians are sold as necessary to get the support to push the Reapers off Earth. Earth isn't presented as containing an abundance of resources/trapped military forces and only gains tactical importance (for a stupid reason, but that's a separate discussion) late in the plot. Interesting race politics had their place in the first two games, where the threat(s) were at least somewhat mysterious and removed from the center of galactic politics and Saren and the Cerebus connection biased information.

In the face of the fully manifested Reaper assault, Shepard/Hackett's fixation on "rescuing" Earth looks incredibly petty, short-sighted and, IMO frankly stupid. The idea that the other races would be willingly to, or should (from a tactical sense) commit resources towards Earth leads me to believe their generals have the sense of toddlers. In meme form:

Step 1: Liberate Earth
Step 2: ???
Step 3: The Reapers are no longer a problem

The closest the game ever gets to justifying the behavior of supposedly seasoned military beings is a) Shepard feels incredibly guilty about the death of a random child, b) the galaxy is willing to commit suicide** because Shepard was a bro. It's ludicrous and insulting and the game hopes no one will notice because the player is too busy thinking "Oh shit, I live on Earth too."


*Yes, there is the Crucible sub-plot, but it is so nebulous, mcguffiny and mysterious (in a bad way) that it barely provides any drama during the first playthrough of the game. In the cold, hard light of time and distance it's fluff only in the game as a mechanic to deliver the final cutscene and give the player a handy guide to how far through the game they've played.

**If the game had truly committed to telling a story in which the protagonist(s) had no hope that would be different, but it doesn't. The Crucible plot gasps along on life support, alternate military options are never proposed/discussed/rejected, Noah's Ark scenarios are never a part of the game and the game vacillates wildly on how effective Alliance and Council military is against the Reapers. I felt way more dread during the suicide mission in ME2 than I ever did during ME3 (which could have used for a nice morbid twist at the end, but the writers decided against that option. Instead they opted for out of the blue Word of [Authorial] God: Your cause is now officially doomed because we want you to pick your colour-coded ending).

But also do not forget that Earth is a homeworld, and most of the other races would do the same for theirs. It's also the center of the Human alliance and where it's central command structure and government is located. If Earth falls, humanity is pretty much reduced to it's outlying colonies and becomes at most a fringe race, as Earth is still apparently the most heavily populated planet. It could be argued that the destruction of earth might also result in
the slow destruction of humanity.

The thing to understand is that at the time Shepard is recruiting, most of the other home worlds are not under attack, the other races are mostly holding back "just in case". Furthermore the Turians, Asari, and Salarians (the "elder races" in this universe who have been holding things together) are still involved in their continued circle jerk, and are supporting each other, and effectively taking a general "fuck everyone else" attitude.

Besides, let's not forget that due to the events of the previous games, Humans are the only reason these other races are still around. Like it or not, it's a valid plot point. One of the reasons why Humanity needs help to begin with is that Humans were the only ones to respond in force to Sovreign because The Council ignored the warnings like idiots, a good portion of it's fleet was lost in that battle, this was also why it had trouble with The Keepers in defending it's colonies where it lost even more because the Council pretty much says "deal with your own crap, we don't like you so we're not going to back you up" in very diplomatic terms of course, and dealing with that threat which they ignored even when there was evidence shown that this was a very big deal to everyone, saved the galaxy yet again.

Now granted, this is arguably high-adventure, humanist fantasy where humans are proving themselves the saviors of an ungrateful galaxy, but that's the tone of the series, these things happened.

Let me put it to you this way, you save the galaxy multiple times, put yourself in jeopardy by using your military to protect those who are paranoid about it, and then the species you saved go "well thank you, but we didn't like you being a major species anyway, so we're not going to defend your homeworld, the destruction of the center of your civilization means you'll no longer be a factor in galactic affairs, and maybe even die off entirely, which is kind of what we wanted anyway because your very existence has been shaking up our thousands-year long social order, and letting the Reapers do it helps absolve us of the moral dilemma of doing it ourselves". That's kind of what the council is saying.

It should be noted as well that when it comes to these races saying "we don't have the resources" they are kind of lying about it, which is why when Shepard shows up and helps out on some of the Turian colonies where battles are being fought to prevent them from getting to the homeworld and so on, all of a sudden the guys he's saved realize "oh yeah, I guess we can spare some forces after all". In some cases like with the minor species that have a military, the Hanar for example, all he has to do is save an Ambassador or whatever and then it's "Oh well, I guess we aren't under such pressure that we can't help your homeworld, we'll send what military we have".

To be honest I think some people missed the subtext in this game, and haven't realized that both "personalities" for Shep are alarmingly stupid. The Paragon version is Naïve, and the Renegade version takes paranoia to an extreme (but is actually somewhat justified, although he tends to be a jerk about it). Several NPCs are quite blunt in saying they can read the writing on the wall, and when you think about it, it's fairly obvious.

Now, if things were handled realistically, I do not think they would play out quite like this. Humanity probably wouldn't be so important right off the bat, and of course I don't think various enlightened species would be murderous xenophobic jerks (even if very diplomatic) after an accidental war which blew over. At the end of the day it might be high fantasy, but everyone is kind of a butt head.
 

Shamus Young

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zinho73 said:
Other bad endings on other titles (like Fallout 3, Half-life 2 and others) are just poor ideas.
What's the issue with Fallout 3 and HL2? Both endings made perfect dramatic and narrative sense:

F3's core storyline was basically a series of parables about the necessity of sacrifice (of yourself or others, depending on your alignment) for the greater good, and how the selfishness of a few in the scramble for survival had screwed things up for everyone and was likely to make it worse. What happens to your character was the narratively necessary closing of either a variant of the hero's journey or a redemption arc... the bit where you usually have a party-member that's ostensibly immune to radiation there is less a plot hole than a mechanical bug that they didn't realize didn't quite fit.

HL2's was a simpler loop-arc, and again made perfect sense. In HL1 you start by opening pandora's box, then you blow something up and close the box. In the second game YOU come out of the box, a god-being releases you with the intent of doing what you're good at, and, despite your struggles... you do, and something blows up, driving out the outsiders again... then you go back in the box. Where Fallout was about choice, Half-Life was about inevitability, plus a bit of meta-commentary on shooters that's a bit dated since it references mostly a genre that died out 5 years into a 15-year development cycle.

Sure, the dialogue wasn't brilliant in either case, but it's clear that they actually had a writer and she actually knew her stuff. So I wouldn't call either 'bad'.

... this sort of loops around to the central discussion of exactly why ME3's ending was OBJECTIVELY bad rather than just people not liking it: it was literally bad writing, a deus ex machina. God appears, he exposits some stuff that's mostly unrelated to the plot to this point, then he offers you a set of choices that are mostly de facto equivalent.

The Deus ex machina ending has worked in exactly one video game, and conveniently it was called Deus Ex (yes, I'm aware that they repeated it in the sequels, but there it didn't work, generally). However, it only worked for two reasons: (1) It was a shaggy dog joke consistent with the game's references to Illuminatus!, a brick joke regarding the title, and a pun, acknowledging the fundamental silliness of game and setting that had to that point gone unacknowledged. (2) The choices you were given were informed, not by exposition, but by the rest of the plot and (3) largely you had the choice because you'd put a lot of work into SEIZING the choice, it wasn't just handed to you by fate. Casting the player as the god that created the deus ex machina actually sort of makes it not one, in a way.

ME3 had none of those redeeming qualities. Stage just rotates, Zeus says well done, Heracles, and offers you a seat on the throne or to keep adventuring. Wasn't even a respected dramatic device in the time period the practice originated, it was the equivalent of writing a romance novel about a shirtless werewolf and a sparkling vampire falling for a boring mary sue.
 

Trunkage

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Therumancer said:
Briantb said:
I'm one of those people who played ME for hundreds of hours even picked them up when the came to PlayStation and replayed them to have my choices in ME3 so yeah I'm a little annoyed that all those choices didn't mean a damn thing and all I got was three different colored endings. Even with the extra ending dlc content its still a poor excuse of an ending. Adding the multiply to increase your war assets for the final battle was just annoying. I don't mind there being a multiplier just don't force me to play it to get a better bad ending. In the end your right there's quite a few arguments as to why this topic will not die anytime soon. (Or at least in till everyone who's played it has died)

In the end I truly enjoyed the story and gameplay of ME3, which makes the ending so much more annoying for me.
Actually I think the issue would die if they actually did create a proper ending for the game. No ending will of course make everyone happy, but they can achieve creating an ending that everyone does not hate, and which fits in with the rest of the series and it's tone. The effort would also mean something, and would probably not go unnoticed. The "clarification" DLC was kind of an insult because it really didn't change anything.

At it's core though I think a big part of the problem is that EA/Bioware (probably mostly the former) doesn't want to change things because in doing so, and acknowledging the fans being right, they will be giving the consumers power, and that's one thing the game industry does not want to see happen. EA would doubtlessly rather let Bioware and all of it's IPs like Mass Effect die, than concede to fans over something like this and change something.

Right now the best case scenario would be to change the ending somewhat with the intro to the new Mass Effect game, that way they can sort of concede the point without surrender, and consider it under "inconsistincies" common to sequels. Of course I'm not holding my breath for that either.
I think you need to read through a lot of these posts. The ending is offensive in many different ways to different people. Maybe adding an epilogue would help. But I want an ending similar with more of a Corianna 6 (B5) twist (even as an extra option to the original colour options), a nuclear option (either you blow up the galaxy or let the Reapers win, or even tricking Starchild into thinking that you'll blow up the whole galaxy if the Reapers don't leave), a willpower option where you finally convince the Illusive man to help (perhaps with kamikaze Cerberus pilots taking down Reapers before indoctrination takes over again) or some negotiation, a working together solution like what happened on Rannoch. A big fight between Shepherd and the Reapers (as many purport they want) would have gone totally against the theme of the series. The nuclear option sounds pretty silly too, as Shepherd tends to bring people together, not break them apart.

Many people talk about the colours being the problem. How would you end it? Maybe add a mix of possible ending like I listed above? That's the same issue just without colour. If you play a video game, you have been trained to expect one or a couple of endings. That's how it work. For example, Spec Ope: The Line has three endings. Yes they don't involve colour, but it has a destruction, death or give up endings. Your previous choices don't affect it. New Vegas has two: destroy faction or force some or all to accept terms. Far Cry 3 has two: which person(s) you wish to kill. Skyrim has one. They are all the same. The actual ending is boring in most game (I actually would have thought ending Far Cry 3 with Vass would have made it better). I'm playing Skyrim again and am postponing the end game.

I think Casey Hudson comments beforehand was totally misleading (I don't he understands what people were looking for before and after the explosion on the internet). He made it worse. The Epilogue (including what the Normandy does) is lacking to say the least. Which is like putting salt on the wound. And OMG the worst offence for me was Kai Leng.
 

Trunkage

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Notshauna said:
I'm not saying that they can't like the ending, I'm saying they have to acknowledge that it's a bad ending. And just because someone believes something doesn't mean it should be held in equal regard as the rest of possibilities, the entire basis of reward season is that there is a degree of objectivity when you say that Citizen Kane is a better movie than, say, the Super Mario Bros movie. And by the same token I can objectively say that the opinion the the ending is bad, despite others saying otherwise.
Did you know that some people actually liked the ending. I.e. it is not bad for them. I.e. they have to acknowledge NOTHING. It may not smart or even a "good" choice. But saying "you have to acknowledge its bad" will actually help them think it good. To see this in action talk to someone who is a creationist (or evolution), Keynesian (or Friedman), racist, capitalist etc. with the opposing view, and than add that phrase. See what happens. You don't win arguments by degrading someone else's beliefs. See Greg Tito and DA2 for further references
 

ecoho

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ajr209 said:
ecoho said:
2. people thinking they wasted money on the game. This is most likely the big one and is by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Every time this point comes up I always ask how long did they play before it went sour for them and 99% of the time they say till the last 15 mins. Ok assuming your not rushing through that's at least twenty hours of game play so roughly 10 movies worth of time. movies cost $8 a seat at my theater so roughly $80 for the same amount of fun, assuming you can find 10 movies worth watching that is. (and yes I know Netflix is cheaper but talking froma point of a new release)
With going to a movie theater I can walk out and demand my money back from the manager if it's bad. Ever try returning a game that wasn't defective or bought used? Your argument falls apart because if I don't like a movie I can do something about it and if I liked the bulk of the movie but felt the ending just ruined it I'm only out ten bucks ($8? I don't think I could even get into a matinee for that) and two hours. If' I buy a game and don't like it and it wasn't used I'm stuck with it, sure I can just stop playing or sell it but no matter what I do I'll never recoup that money and If I liked the bulk of it but thought the ending just ruined it I'm out sixty bucks and an entire days worth of time.

And you're also not taking into account those who had carried over characters from the previous games. For them after at least 60 hrs and $180 having the whole time believing that their choices mattered and that it would have an impact on the end of their journey because that's what bioware was telling them from day one... only to find out far too late that it didn't. None of it mattered. They could have picked up the 3rd game and and never bothered with 1 or 2 and they would have wound up with the same results. That's a hell of a lot of time and money to spend just to have the rug pulled out from under you at the last moment.

so you had fun for over 60 hours with the exception of the last 15 mins and because of that you feel you wasted your money? please go out and have 60 hours worth of fun for less then $180 ill wait. honestly outside of books youll find that hard to do. now you are entitled to your opinion I just find it rather different from my own.
 

zinho73

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Jim_Callahan said:
zinho73 said:
Other bad endings on other titles (like Fallout 3, Half-life 2 and others) are just poor ideas.
What's the issue with Fallout 3 and HL2? Both endings made perfect dramatic and narrative sense:

F3's core storyline was basically a series of parables about the necessity of sacrifice (of yourself or others, depending on your alignment) for the greater good, and how the selfishness of a few in the scramble for survival had screwed things up for everyone and was likely to make it worse. What happens to your character was the narratively necessary closing of either a variant of the hero's journey or a redemption arc... the bit where you usually have a party-member that's ostensibly immune to radiation there is less a plot hole than a mechanical bug that they didn't realize didn't quite fit.

HL2's was a simpler loop-arc, and again made perfect sense. In HL1 you start by opening pandora's box, then you blow something up and close the box. In the second game YOU come out of the box, a god-being releases you with the intent of doing what you're good at, and, despite your struggles... you do, and something blows up, driving out the outsiders again... then you go back in the box. Where Fallout was about choice, Half-Life was about inevitability, plus a bit of meta-commentary on shooters that's a bit dated since it references mostly a genre that died out 5 years into a 15-year development cycle.

Sure, the dialogue wasn't brilliant in either case, but it's clear that they actually had a writer and she actually knew her stuff. So I wouldn't call either 'bad'.

... this sort of loops around to the central discussion of exactly why ME3's ending was OBJECTIVELY bad rather than just people not liking it: it was literally bad writing, a deus ex machina. God appears, he exposits some stuff that's mostly unrelated to the plot to this point, then he offers you a set of choices that are mostly de facto equivalent.

The Deus ex machina ending has worked in exactly one video game, and conveniently it was called Deus Ex (yes, I'm aware that they repeated it in the sequels, but there it didn't work, generally). However, it only worked for two reasons: (1) It was a shaggy dog joke consistent with the game's references to Illuminatus!, a brick joke regarding the title, and a pun, acknowledging the fundamental silliness of game and setting that had to that point gone unacknowledged. (2) The choices you were given were informed, not by exposition, but by the rest of the plot and (3) largely you had the choice because you'd put a lot of work into SEIZING the choice, it wasn't just handed to you by fate. Casting the player as the god that created the deus ex machina actually sort of makes it not one, in a way.

ME3 had none of those redeeming qualities. Stage just rotates, Zeus says well done, Heracles, and offers you a seat on the throne or to keep adventuring. Wasn't even a respected dramatic device in the time period the practice originated, it was the equivalent of writing a romance novel about a shirtless werewolf and a sparkling vampire falling for a boring mary sue.
In order to be brief I wasn't clear. I agree with you: those "alleged" bad endings are just poor implementations of something that made sense (and they can be discussed using logic).

ME3 is objectively bad. Deus ex machina plots were frowned upon since the ancient Greece.
 

ajr209

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ecoho said:
ajr209 said:
ecoho said:
2. people thinking they wasted money on the game. This is most likely the big one and is by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Every time this point comes up I always ask how long did they play before it went sour for them and 99% of the time they say till the last 15 mins. Ok assuming your not rushing through that's at least twenty hours of game play so roughly 10 movies worth of time. movies cost $8 a seat at my theater so roughly $80 for the same amount of fun, assuming you can find 10 movies worth watching that is. (and yes I know Netflix is cheaper but talking froma point of a new release)
With going to a movie theater I can walk out and demand my money back from the manager if it's bad. Ever try returning a game that wasn't defective or bought used? Your argument falls apart because if I don't like a movie I can do something about it and if I liked the bulk of the movie but felt the ending just ruined it I'm only out ten bucks ($8? I don't think I could even get into a matinee for that) and two hours. If' I buy a game and don't like it and it wasn't used I'm stuck with it, sure I can just stop playing or sell it but no matter what I do I'll never recoup that money and If I liked the bulk of it but thought the ending just ruined it I'm out sixty bucks and an entire days worth of time.

And you're also not taking into account those who had carried over characters from the previous games. For them after at least 60 hrs and $180 having the whole time believing that their choices mattered and that it would have an impact on the end of their journey because that's what bioware was telling them from day one... only to find out far too late that it didn't. None of it mattered. They could have picked up the 3rd game and and never bothered with 1 or 2 and they would have wound up with the same results. That's a hell of a lot of time and money to spend just to have the rug pulled out from under you at the last moment.

so you had fun for over 60 hours with the exception of the last 15 mins and because of that you feel you wasted your money? please go out and have 60 hours worth of fun for less then $180 ill wait. honestly outside of books youll find that hard to do. now you are entitled to your opinion I just find it rather different from my own.
First of all way to completely miss the point. If a large part of why a player is buying a series is because decissions made in the game affect what happens later in the game and in future games only to find that they didn't affect really anything other than which cameos you got in the last game and that the whole damn time the player could have rolled some dice to pick their choices and it wouldn't have changed the outcome one bit then a main reason they bought the damn thing in the first place was made void. A main reason for buying something not actually being there makes by most reasonable standards buying that something a waste of time and money. Secondly there are plenty of places I can get a comparable amount of entertainment time for the same price if not less, for example with entire seasons of TV shows costing usually between 20 and 40 dollars on DVD or Blu-ray I can get an entire series for that price. Thirdly stop trying to feed people this the journey is the destination nonsense.
The most wonder filled tour in the world doesn't count for that much when the destination is a sewage treatment plant and was only a sewage treatment plant because the guy you booked the tour from wanted to see if he could wring more money out of you to have the tour end somewhere else.
Do you get that that last bit was large part of why people were pissed? If it was just bad most people would have just gone well that sucks and moved on. It wasn't simply bad it was purposely bad. The purpose being wring more money from the player, the third ending wasn't originally slated to be free. If you go back and read the rest of the thread for many, if not most, people it wasn't just that it could have been better.
 

ecoho

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ajr209 said:
ecoho said:
ajr209 said:
ecoho said:
2. people thinking they wasted money on the game. This is most likely the big one and is by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Every time this point comes up I always ask how long did they play before it went sour for them and 99% of the time they say till the last 15 mins. Ok assuming your not rushing through that's at least twenty hours of game play so roughly 10 movies worth of time. movies cost $8 a seat at my theater so roughly $80 for the same amount of fun, assuming you can find 10 movies worth watching that is. (and yes I know Netflix is cheaper but talking froma point of a new release)
With going to a movie theater I can walk out and demand my money back from the manager if it's bad. Ever try returning a game that wasn't defective or bought used? Your argument falls apart because if I don't like a movie I can do something about it and if I liked the bulk of the movie but felt the ending just ruined it I'm only out ten bucks ($8? I don't think I could even get into a matinee for that) and two hours. If' I buy a game and don't like it and it wasn't used I'm stuck with it, sure I can just stop playing or sell it but no matter what I do I'll never recoup that money and If I liked the bulk of it but thought the ending just ruined it I'm out sixty bucks and an entire days worth of time.

And you're also not taking into account those who had carried over characters from the previous games. For them after at least 60 hrs and $180 having the whole time believing that their choices mattered and that it would have an impact on the end of their journey because that's what bioware was telling them from day one... only to find out far too late that it didn't. None of it mattered. They could have picked up the 3rd game and and never bothered with 1 or 2 and they would have wound up with the same results. That's a hell of a lot of time and money to spend just to have the rug pulled out from under you at the last moment.

so you had fun for over 60 hours with the exception of the last 15 mins and because of that you feel you wasted your money? please go out and have 60 hours worth of fun for less then $180 ill wait. honestly outside of books youll find that hard to do. now you are entitled to your opinion I just find it rather different from my own.
First of all way to completely miss the point. If a large part of why a player is buying a series is because decissions made in the game affect what happens later in the game and in future games only to find that they didn't affect really anything other than which cameos you got in the last game and that the whole damn time the player could have rolled some dice to pick their choices and it wouldn't have changed the outcome one bit then a main reason they bought the damn thing in the first place was made void. A main reason for buying something not actually being there makes by most reasonable standards buying that something a waste of time and money. Secondly there are plenty of places I can get a comparable amount of entertainment time for the same price if not less, for example with entire seasons of TV shows costing usually between 20 and 40 dollars on DVD or Blu-ray I can get an entire series for that price. Thirdly stop trying to feed people this the journey is the destination nonsense.
The most wonder filled tour in the world doesn't count for that much when the destination is a sewage treatment plant and was only a sewage treatment plant because the guy you booked the tour from wanted to see if he could wring more money out of you to have the tour end somewhere else.
Do you get that that last bit was large part of why people were pissed? If it was just bad most people would have just gone well that sucks and moved on. It wasn't simply bad it was purposely bad. The purpose being wring more money from the player, the third ending wasn't originally slated to be free. If you go back and read the rest of the thread for many, if not most, people it wasn't just that it could have been better.
and if everything proceeding the sewage treatment plant was great(and in some places simply groundbreaking) you will find very few people who would care as they got their moneys worth. Also yeah I believe the journey is more important then the destination, but just going by shear logic if you loved 60+ hours of something and hate 15 mins of that same something one can deduce you had an enjoyable experience.

As to "the ending wasn't going to be free" BS that keeps getting spout those are rumors that have no proof and as such are invalid.

Now I suggest that we end this debate here before we dissolve in to just insults as nether of us is going to convince the other of who is right as we both believe we are. Agree to disagree seems like the best course of action now.
 

ajr209

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ecoho said:
ajr209 said:
ecoho said:
ajr209 said:
ecoho said:
2. people thinking they wasted money on the game. This is most likely the big one and is by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Every time this point comes up I always ask how long did they play before it went sour for them and 99% of the time they say till the last 15 mins. Ok assuming your not rushing through that's at least twenty hours of game play so roughly 10 movies worth of time. movies cost $8 a seat at my theater so roughly $80 for the same amount of fun, assuming you can find 10 movies worth watching that is. (and yes I know Netflix is cheaper but talking froma point of a new release)
With going to a movie theater I can walk out and demand my money back from the manager if it's bad. Ever try returning a game that wasn't defective or bought used? Your argument falls apart because if I don't like a movie I can do something about it and if I liked the bulk of the movie but felt the ending just ruined it I'm only out ten bucks ($8? I don't think I could even get into a matinee for that) and two hours. If' I buy a game and don't like it and it wasn't used I'm stuck with it, sure I can just stop playing or sell it but no matter what I do I'll never recoup that money and If I liked the bulk of it but thought the ending just ruined it I'm out sixty bucks and an entire days worth of time.

And you're also not taking into account those who had carried over characters from the previous games. For them after at least 60 hrs and $180 having the whole time believing that their choices mattered and that it would have an impact on the end of their journey because that's what bioware was telling them from day one... only to find out far too late that it didn't. None of it mattered. They could have picked up the 3rd game and and never bothered with 1 or 2 and they would have wound up with the same results. That's a hell of a lot of time and money to spend just to have the rug pulled out from under you at the last moment.

so you had fun for over 60 hours with the exception of the last 15 mins and because of that you feel you wasted your money? please go out and have 60 hours worth of fun for less then $180 ill wait. honestly outside of books youll find that hard to do. now you are entitled to your opinion I just find it rather different from my own.
First of all way to completely miss the point. If a large part of why a player is buying a series is because decissions made in the game affect what happens later in the game and in future games only to find that they didn't affect really anything other than which cameos you got in the last game and that the whole damn time the player could have rolled some dice to pick their choices and it wouldn't have changed the outcome one bit then a main reason they bought the damn thing in the first place was made void. A main reason for buying something not actually being there makes by most reasonable standards buying that something a waste of time and money. Secondly there are plenty of places I can get a comparable amount of entertainment time for the same price if not less, for example with entire seasons of TV shows costing usually between 20 and 40 dollars on DVD or Blu-ray I can get an entire series for that price. Thirdly stop trying to feed people this the journey is the destination nonsense.
The most wonder filled tour in the world doesn't count for that much when the destination is a sewage treatment plant and was only a sewage treatment plant because the guy you booked the tour from wanted to see if he could wring more money out of you to have the tour end somewhere else.
Do you get that that last bit was large part of why people were pissed? If it was just bad most people would have just gone well that sucks and moved on. It wasn't simply bad it was purposely bad. The purpose being wring more money from the player, the third ending wasn't originally slated to be free. If you go back and read the rest of the thread for many, if not most, people it wasn't just that it could have been better.
and if everything proceeding the sewage treatment plant was great(and in some places simply groundbreaking) you will find very few people who would care as they got their moneys worth. Also yeah I believe the journey is more important then the destination, but just going by shear logic if you loved 60+ hours of something and hate 15 mins of that same something one can deduce you had an enjoyable experience.

As to "the ending wasn't going to be free" BS that keeps getting spout those are rumors that have no proof and as such are invalid.

Now I suggest that we end this debate here before we dissolve in to just insults as nether of us is going to convince the other of who is right as we both believe we are. Agree to disagree seems like the best course of action now.
Well if you are going to completely ignore every point I make to stick to the same fucking nonsense that I already broke down several times then not talking to each other anymore would probably be the best solution. And no I do NOT agree to disagree,only to not waste anymore of my time arguing with you after this post. You have every right to like whatever you damn well please, that's your business and I never tried to get you to stop liking only to get you to understand why people feel cheated, but you have absolutely no business trying to dictate to others what they should or should not feel about what they spent their hard earned money on. You are wrong for that I'm not inclined to pretend otherwise.
 

Tien Shen

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I don't need to go over the massive plotholes of ME3's ending (extended included). Fans are still passionate because there's still no closure, Bioware refused to own up to their colossal mistake, and they are teasing a new future Mass Effect title when ME3 hardly wraps it. I am not happy if the new one is a prequel cause it all basically boils down to,"What's the point of playing this prequel when I know how bad it's going to end?"

And if the new title is a sequel, then the question everyone asks,"How will the deal with the ME3 ending?"
 

Darkness665

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Good article Shamus. Well stated even.

And yet another fan reaction. Loved ME1, ME2 - meh. Fun-ish but once I saw the heat clip (aka ammo) I knew some putz developer hadn't play the first game. Or the marketing droid claimed that the shooter had to have ammo dam it (and got the river blocked instead of a curse). Either way Bioware blew the deal. Never gonna trust them again and EA lost my trust with project $10 and the president that should have been strangled but they kept paying him for way too long.

Result, I don't buy Bioware after ME2 (as in no ME3). While I enjoyed ME2 it was not a great game and wasn't worth playing more than once. Indeed, it punished you to do a NG+ with it as you lost all the bennies from rolling your ME1 character over. Stupid, just totally killed a second play through. I played ME1 five times, one was because of a screw up but it didn't really upset me; Rats, have to play it again. Okay, cool. Hell, I might even play it on Steam just for fun (what a concept). Of course if ME3 was available on Steam I might rethink that, but it isn't so tough.

I had hoped they would get that bringing some of the ME1 view back would improve the final product but the trailer showed some twit sniper in the tower of London or such - ejecting a stupid heat clip. I just get tired of having to run around and pick up every stinking bit of ammo because I have a stinking star ship but cannot get enough ammo to fire my weapons. When the first game the issue was having the right ammo at the right time for the right crew. Such that going from a mediocre run and gun to kick their butt and want to do it again. ME3's trailer gave me just enough information to hold off on the game. Then the fan reaction was so much fun to read (Red! Blue! Green!) it let me really enjoy spending the money on anything that wasn't sold by EA or built by Bioware.
 

4173

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Therumancer said:
But also do not forget that Earth is a homeworld, and most of the other races would do the same for theirs. It's also the center of the Human alliance and where it's central command structure and government is located. If Earth falls, humanity is pretty much reduced to it's outlying colonies and becomes at most a fringe race, as Earth is still apparently the most heavily populated planet. It could be argued that the destruction of earth might also result in
the slow destruction of humanity.

The thing to understand is that at the time Shepard is recruiting, most of the other home worlds are not under attack, the other races are mostly holding back "just in case". Furthermore the Turians, Asari, and Salarians (the "elder races" in this universe who have been holding things together) are still involved in their continued circle jerk, and are supporting each other, and effectively taking a general "fuck everyone else" attitude.

Besides, let's not forget that due to the events of the previous games, Humans are the only reason these other races are still around. Like it or not, it's a valid plot point. One of the reasons why Humanity needs help to begin with is that Humans were the only ones to respond in force to Sovreign because The Council ignored the warnings like idiots, a good portion of it's fleet was lost in that battle, this was also why it had trouble with The Keepers in defending it's colonies where it lost even more because the Council pretty much says "deal with your own crap, we don't like you so we're not going to back you up" in very diplomatic terms of course, and dealing with that threat which they ignored even when there was evidence shown that this was a very big deal to everyone, saved the galaxy yet again.

Now granted, this is arguably high-adventure, humanist fantasy where humans are proving themselves the saviors of an ungrateful galaxy, but that's the tone of the series, these things happened.

Let me put it to you this way, you save the galaxy multiple times, put yourself in jeopardy by using your military to protect those who are paranoid about it, and then the species you saved go "well thank you, but we didn't like you being a major species anyway, so we're not going to defend your homeworld, the destruction of the center of your civilization means you'll no longer be a factor in galactic affairs, and maybe even die off entirely, which is kind of what we wanted anyway because your very existence has been shaking up our thousands-year long social order, and letting the Reapers do it helps absolve us of the moral dilemma of doing it ourselves". That's kind of what the council is saying.

It should be noted as well that when it comes to these races saying "we don't have the resources" they are kind of lying about it, which is why when Shepard shows up and helps out on some of the Turian colonies where battles are being fought to prevent them from getting to the homeworld and so on, all of a sudden the guys he's saved realize "oh yeah, I guess we can spare some forces after all". In some cases like with the minor species that have a military, the Hanar for example, all he has to do is save an Ambassador or whatever and then it's "Oh well, I guess we aren't under such pressure that we can't help your homeworld, we'll send what military we have".

To be honest I think some people missed the subtext in this game, and haven't realized that both "personalities" for Shep are alarmingly stupid. The Paragon version is Naïve, and the Renegade version takes paranoia to an extreme (but is actually somewhat justified, although he tends to be a jerk about it). Several NPCs are quite blunt in saying they can read the writing on the wall, and when you think about it, it's fairly obvious.

Now, if things were handled realistically, I do not think they would play out quite like this. Humanity probably wouldn't be so important right off the bat, and of course I don't think various enlightened species would be murderous xenophobic jerks (even if very diplomatic) after an accidental war which blew over. At the end of the day it might be high fantasy, but everyone is kind of a butt head.
That's a fascinating perspective. In two replies to me you've written a better outline for ME3 than Bioware managed.

That said, I'm not sure I agree some of your claims are supported by the story, but it has been too long since I've played the game for me to be sure I'm right, or even to argue either way. I can say that if your theory that the other races are lying about their resources is true, that makes the Crucible/Star-Child parts of the story even weaker links unless Shepard getting to choose the fate of the galaxy a giant revenge joke on the other races for not fighting the Reapers hard enough.

In a happy coincidence, this angle lets me preserve the Galactus + C'thulu vibe of the Reapers from ME1 (which Bioware more or less abandoned in ME2 and 3). Sovereign can be honest about the Reapers self-image and history, he (and the rest of the Reapers) just were not prepared for, and probably could not conceive of, the current military strength of the galaxy (this, of course, undermines a bunch of other stuff in ME3, but that's no big loss as far as I'm concerned).
 

Bruce

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The major problem with the ending is this:

The central idea directly contradicts the entire trilogy.

In the first Mass Effect you are introduced to a galaxy where there is always some degree of war going on. Sure, the council keeps a cap on it, but violent situations arise. That is why there are Spectres.

In that game you have the conflict between the synthetic and biological intelligences - but you still have hints that it is more or less the same as between two biological species.

In the second - it goes further. Suddenly the Geth are sympathetic, and you get the idea of peaceful coexistence being highly possible.

This is reinforced in III - when you actually get them and their creators willingly coexisting.

Then right at the end - nope, nerp biologicals and synthetics always have to fight always.

Not only that, lets say you played a less peacemaking run, lets say you sided with the Quarians and wiped out the Geth - well now you have just shown that biologicals can beat synthetics fine. Just like oh, I don't know, the Protheans did in the lore.

Still can't contradict the Starchild.

Sided with the Geth? Well now you have shown that the rest of the galaxy can get on with the Synthetics just fine.

There is no way to play through that particular storyline and have the ending fit - it just doesn't. If synthetics were consistently the enemy maybe - but as it stands? It doesn't make sense.

The extended cut is better - its stupid and crap but it least it isn't insulting the same way, but seriously it ruined the entire trilogy.
 

Soviet Heavy

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I'm glad to see someone else noticed the genre shift with the sequels from the original. It turned from a Space Opera celebration into Firefly, and then the game turned into fucking Cameo town. Hey look, we've got actors from Star Trek, the Matrix, Babylon 5, Firefly, Farscape, you name it, we got a voice actor!

I know that Marina Sirtis was in the first game, and she really wasn't as big a player as was first intended, but that's a minor quibble. It started getting really fucking annoying when the second game based its entire cast around well known Sci Fi celebrities. It didn't feel like its own universe anymore, just more like a social club where actors get to reference works they used to be in. Adam Baldwin is still a gun toting big guy, Michael Dorn is playing a Klingon dinosaur, Michael Hogan is a gruff officer.
 

spartandude

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Bruce said:
The major problem with the ending is this:

The central idea directly contradicts the entire trilogy.

In the first Mass Effect you are introduced to a galaxy where there is always some degree of war going on. Sure, the council keeps a cap on it, but violent situations arise. That is why there are Spectres.

In that game you have the conflict between the synthetic and biological intelligences - but you still have hints that it is more or less the same as between two biological species.

In the second - it goes further. Suddenly the Geth are sympathetic, and you get the idea of peaceful coexistence being highly possible.

This is reinforced in III - when you actually get them and their creators willingly coexisting.

Then right at the end - nope, nerp biologicals and synthetics always have to fight always.

Not only that, lets say you played a less peacemaking run, lets say you sided with the Quarians and wiped out the Geth - well now you have just shown that biologicals can beat synthetics fine. Just like oh, I don't know, the Protheans did in the lore.

Still can't contradict the Starchild.

Sided with the Geth? Well now you have shown that the rest of the galaxy can get on with the Synthetics just fine.

There is no way to play through that particular storyline and have the ending fit - it just doesn't. If synthetics were consistently the enemy maybe - but as it stands? It doesn't make sense.

The extended cut is better - its stupid and crap but it least it isn't insulting the same way, but seriously it ruined the entire trilogy.
You're forgetting another big thing. The only time the Geth ever became hostile was when they were either being killed off by the Quarians, or when Sovereign (a Reaper)directed them to leave the veil and attack organics.... Yh....
The thing they are supposedly trying to prevent they instigate.

Soviet Heavy said:
I know that Marina Sirtis was in the first game, and she really wasn't as big a player as was first intended, but that's a minor quibble. It started getting really fucking annoying when the second game based its entire cast around well known Sci Fi celebrities. It didn't feel like its own universe anymore, just more like a social club where actors get to reference works they used to be in. Adam Baldwin is still a gun toting big guy, Michael Dorn is playing a Klingon dinosaur, Michael Hogan is a gruff officer.
Tricia Helfer is an AI, Yvonne Strahovski is a super sexy super spy, Kaith David is awesome.
 

Shamus Young

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AnarchistFish said:
I seem to be the only person who totally loved all three games :(
I enjoyed all 3. 1 was a bit muddy and unrefined compared to the rest but it was a decent time.

OT: I'm pretty sure journalists shitting on people who had legit problems with the ending most assuredly wasn't helping, Shamus.
 

Ravinoff

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4173 said:
I agree with some of Shamus' points, but the thing that really bugs me is the game telling me that rather than fighting the Reapers because they are threatening the galaxy and everything living in it, what I should really care about is EARTH because I'm (the player) a HUMAN...
To take that a step further, it's even more annoying because of the absolutely awesome shit going on in the background. Eg. Turian resistance members going full Independence Day and blowing up Reapers from the inside, or wherever Wrex got off to after he started pummelling his way through about a dozen Ravagers on Tuchanka.

Now, that said, I did love ME3 right up until the last five minutes or so. Mordin curing the Genophage ("Had to be me. Someone else might've gotten it wrong." God damn that was a good line), the great total bromance between M!Shep and Garrus, and the scene just before the final assault, at the firebase in London. Or my personal favourite, the entire Rannoch mission series if you romanced Tali (and refrained from being a cheating dickbag). Especially the bit where Shep jumps out of the APC to solo a Reaper, and she confesses that she loves him.
 

Karadalis

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Jim_Callahan said:
What's the issue with Fallout 3
Because it was not necesary to sacrifice yourselfe... you had a companion that was IMMUNE to radiation... but instead he wanted to let you die... "for reasons"

Thats the problem right there... if you had that supermutant with you he would gladly let you die because it was "your destiny" or some such crap...

I mean can you believe the guy? It wouldnt hurt him one bit to go in there and hit a button and come out again but nooooo... he wants you dead.

What a douchebag.

Or send in a god damn robot to push the button so to speak.

The enclave was defeated... the brotherhood had won... there was no one left to take the damn thing away from you that would have kept you from getting a robot to do the trick.

Imn short the ending was a giant plothole, and i disagree... the game had little to no message about self sacrifice especialy since you could just go around and fuck around with the world instead of following the main plot line for weeks.

This story might have functioned in a stricter more linear setting but for a sanbox game? It was bad.
 

Atmos Duality

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Oh the reason for the shift in focus was rather obvious: Electronic Arts and their notorious meddling.

There is no coincidence between the radical shift in focus between ME1 and the other two games, as ME1 was the last thing Bioware did before the buyout.

EA thinks they can run every major production on an annual or two year schedule (tops), no matter what.

As for the ending and the subject...That horse has been flogged beyond comprehension.
 

Shamus Young

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Atmos Duality said:
EA thinks they can run every major production on an annual or two year schedule (tops), no matter what.
"I never release something without multiplayer."
 

Atmos Duality

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theluckyjosh said:
"I never release something without multiplayer."
EA has a habit of forcing rush jobs with or without multiplayer, for a long time now.
Just look at Ultima 8 and 9; they were absolutely horrid primarily due to the ridiculously short development schedule.
 

Therumancer

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4173 said:
[
That's a fascinating perspective. In two replies to me you've written a better outline for ME3 than Bioware managed.

That said, I'm not sure I agree some of your claims are supported by the story, but it has been too long since I've played the game for me to be sure I'm right, or even to argue either way. I can say that if your theory that the other races are lying about their resources is true, that makes the Crucible/Star-Child parts of the story even weaker links unless Shepard getting to choose the fate of the galaxy a giant revenge joke on the other races for not fighting the Reapers hard enough.

In a happy coincidence, this angle lets me preserve the Galactus + C'thulu vibe of the Reapers from ME1 (which Bioware more or less abandoned in ME2 and 3). Sovereign can be honest about the Reapers self-image and history, he (and the rest of the Reapers) just were not prepared for, and probably could not conceive of, the current military strength of the galaxy (this, of course, undermines a bunch of other stuff in ME3, but that's no big loss as far as I'm concerned).

Well Sovreign isn't lying. The whole Reaper "plan" is to seed the galaxy with artifacts close to the various worlds of primitives they didn't kill in their latest genocide, knowing that these artifacts would be discovered when these species first developed space travel, and would be exploited for technology which would in turn mean everyone would evolve along predictable lines, travelling through space the same way, using the same basic weapons, and they know after X number of thousand years pretty much what they will be facing. The whole basic idea is that a single, Reaper comes through, takes over The Citadel which was left behind intentionally for this purpose, figures out who is out there and then brings in the rest of the fleet to engage in systematic extermination. The whole plan relies on this being a surprise attack and knowing what they will be facing.

To some extent this worked, after all, despite some stylistic differences all the various species all use the same basic technologies. You don't see stuff like in other science fiction with say one race having warp drives, another race having space fold technology, and another using some kind of psionic rifting, and say radically different weapons that achieve similar results in different ways like say phasers (particles phased through different wavelengths and nearby dimensions) and disruptors (a brute force attack on molecular bonds, hence the name "disruptor" that separates what is holding physical objects or solidified energy constructs together). Meaning that the Reapers don't have to predict and be ready for 200 different ways of blowing holes in them all of which would require a separate countermeasure.

What went wrong this time was that in their previous cycle they happened to run into a rather tenacious species called The Protheans that just did not give up, and were smart enough to start adapting much faster than the Reapers expected. They were still doomed, but they did an unusual amount of damage, and what's more decided to play the Reapers' game right back with them and left behind their own artifacts to warn the species about what was coming so they would be less... predictable. As well as trying to leave some of their new tech that they knew was working to give an edge, as well as jumpstart the Reaper's own tech process so people would be a bit ahead of what was expected of them. Due to the artifacts they left behind The Protheans were viewed as being far more benevolent than they actually were (they were themselves a xenophobic, highly-aggressive species, that felt superior to everyone else... but they wanted revenge and were willing to strike back from beyond the grave.. as well as planning to try and hide some of their own people to survive which failed).

In the current timeline people got the message too late, in part because the Protheans were so different from other species that they couldn't get the full range of information. Hints in the game imply that the Protheans tampered with humanity (an artifact you can activate with the Consort's key in ME1 for example) which is why some humans can interface with Prothean technology to a limited degree, and also why the most important artifact was located in space Humans would predictably advance into. The point here being that the whole "humans as the central species" thing is not quite as luck dependent as some people think, it was part of the plan. I suppose there is some hubris in saying that the "chosen ones" would be humans given that humans are making and playing the game, but at the end of the day it has to be someone, and it's been done the other way as well with having to find special aliens as a Macguffin in other series (such as the Peacemakers.. the departed patron race of the Peacekeepers in the final sequence of Farscape, or Aeris in Final Fantasy VII).

In the end the trickle of Prothean information was almost too late, but allowed Sovreign to be headed off, preventing him from activating The Citadel and making the threat known, and giving all of the current species time to prepare.

The problem with ME3 is that while in ME2 there is a big show being made of ignoring the Reaper threat, you find out that different species are experimenting with the technology. The Turians for example adapting Sovreign's cannons, and Reaper tech being intergrated into various ship systems. How much they were actually ignoring what was going on, is a matter of opinion, because there is plenty of side evidence that says that they were just downplaying their view of the threat to avoid giving humanity credit. Even if they were dismissing it other than some research, by the end of ME2 the whole point is that the threat is clear, and you have foiled the whole Reaper backup plan, so bought yet more time, as well as seizing more of their tech and intelligence about them.

The biggest problem with Mass Effect was of course the big question of why The Reapers would do something like this. It's a clever plan, but really it's idiotic to assume they would go about this all for "the lulz", being machines someone had to have created them as well. The crap inherent in ME3 is that I think they just didn't have a good answer themselves so tried to fart something out and hope people would take it, spending more time worrying about the journey than how they are going to end this whole bloody thing. A problem compounded by them wanting to turn it into a franchise.

Now to make this a dual response (of others are reading like Trunkage) I'm going to answer the question of how I would answer this at the end of this long post:


The first thing a person has to understand is that the concepts of Mass Effect are sort of a rip off to begin with. A lot of vintage science fiction fans were comparing this to Fred Saberhagen's "Berserker" series (which is quite lengthy, including novels and short stories). Those stories being what also inspired the Star Trek "Doomsday Machine". The idea being pretty much that an ancient alien species goes to war, they create these giant genocide weapons, both sides wind up destroying each other, and the weapons they made go about their job except devoid of any other purposes except "kill everything" they do exactly that. The Berserkers can actually be pretty clever, they learn and evolve, and use things like infiltration tactics, I believe it's also mentioned that they actually fear success to an extent because once everything is dead except them, who do they continue to kill? As a result sometimes they like to prolong the inevitable. For those that have seen "Macross 7" this is a very similar concept to the Protodevlin that destroyed the previous precursor races the so called "Protoculture" that developed them and seeded the other species. The main difference is Macross 7 used life-sucking biological entities as opposed to planet-wrecking AI space ships.

In the "Berserker" stories they take place before, after, and during the battles against The Berserkers. There are also concepts involved like people merging themselves into Berserkers to take it over (I believe it was called "Berserker Man" creatively enough... lol) and certain battles like Stone Heath (I think it was called, it's been a very long time) where the Berserkers are finally defeated as a major force fit into the whole mythology. Of course there are a LOT of Berserkers and even after they are defeated the few survivors continue to be threats, ramping up the infiltration, and of course you have stories where say a space liner (which actually defends itself fairly well, showing the advancement of technology since previously a Berserker would have ripped apart a fleet like nothing) is taken out, and the badly damaged berserker downloads a database and flies off to demolish a planet before it expires, much to the lulz of the guy whose Database it downloaded since it was an Encyclopedia salesman, and the "prime target" it went after did not exist being an entry the company created just to pad out the Encyclopedia entities (a colony of so little note, nobody would ever want to visit it, or notice it didn't exist).

A few old fogeys and "vintage" sci-fi fans like me who somewhat remember "Berserker" of course made predictions about how this would end, because frankly things drawing on this inspiration tend to involve the same basic solutions, and ultimate answers. Reprogramming, unexpected suicide tactics, holding the line until new tech and tactics are developed, the deception of an AI that does not understand human thought or emotion, etc. There are a few different ways of doing it.

Given the desire to remove Shepard from the story (they mentioned he would end with the trilogy) I was predicting especially when we were told there would be multiple endings, that you might say see an ending where Shepard would merge with a Reaper and take over it's central intelligence and use it and it's technology to save everyone (and pump up the tech base). You might also see endings where Shepard say performs a suicide run and blows up some kind of flag ship, or whatever else. There are plenty of ways to address the threat. What's more given the desires for a franchise, even being defeated "The Reapers" could very well be kept around, as individual survivors would continue to try and do their thing, and people could spend centuries fighting the last stragglers, allowing them to remain a galactic threat always plotting to come back from the shadows, present, even while the universe moves on to other things.

To be honest I would probably change the ending this way, and it would become a lot more complicated as a result:

I'd have the end sequence begin with an attack on The Citadel, where your choices about security and such there would play a key role in how the battle plays out. Since The Reapers want it intact, it would turn into an internal battle, trying to beat the reapers and their minions to the central control mechanisms. The difficulty of this in terms of the amount of time you have and what allies you receive being dependent on defense choices made earler. Perhaps being an algorithim where the more "humane" you were the harder things are combat wise, but the longer you have to complete the mission.

At that point it determines whether The Citadel heads to earth or not. Either way Shepard escapes (having an exit plan even if his assault fails).

If The Citadel heads to earth your pretty much dealing with a sort of sucky ending for the planet whatever happens since a major ground-land battle on a planetary scale with tons of orbital bombardment is not going to be good for the people living there or the environment.

The ending would of course be similar without any Star Child, the amount of resources you've accumulated of course determines how well the good guys do. Similar to the whole "potential failure" in ME2, when you finally retake The Citadel and it's command center, you either get an ending where Shepard stays the day and pretty much retires a hero (going back to command in the military) or dies heroically in the process. A basic good/bad ending that go to the
same place.

If The Citadel is saved, the allied fleet of course arrives there and the battle happens out in space so we don't see Earth get decimated in the fighting, giving the potential of different endings. Shepard winds up fighting defensively against last ditch Reaper efforts to get control, in something similar to the end of "Halo Reach" but where if you last long enough The Reapers eventually lose enough outside to stop sending guys and the surviving ones retreat. Keeping in the spirit of the good/bad ending route your resources should matter and again the game ends similarly to the above where Shepard either retiring to command, or dying heroically in the final battle. The whole point here and above is Shepard is an epic hero, his amazing death compensating for the lack of resources.

A final "best" ending would exist for the people who beat all of the previous games. In this ending Shepard has learned enough about The Reapers, and has the support from both psionic species like the Rakni, technology experts, and the Geth shared consciousness to effectively attempt to invade the Reaper flagship mentally. This leads to a virtual space battle like in some previous games where memory constructs of Shepard's companions assist him at key moments. The enslaved minds absorbed into the Reapers rebel given their opportunity, and Shepard takes over the central link, and with their help forces the Reapers to suddenly malfunction. A few of the strongest ones warp away (to present threats in other games) other self destruct, or get spend back into subspace without a timing beacon home. Shepard, in command of the Flagship says his farewells and departs since "it's too powerful for anyone to have, but he'll be around if needed" and becomes one of the greatest legends of space... with spacers for millennium talking about how they might have seen him, or how in a desperate moment against space pirates or something a massive ship appeared, leveled the bad guys, and then left without a word.

Now on some levels this still sort of "sucks" but I'm going with the whole desire to end Shepard's story so he won't appear in ME4. He can either be off on earth leading (and simply mentioned as "Commander Shepard" in audio logs, you don't even need to show him/her), or dead/departed.

To be fair I suspect they didn't do something like this specifically because of the people making "Berserker" references and they didn't want to do it the same way as everyone else, so they decided to mess around with the whole idea of transhumanist machine-man philosophy while that wasn't a huge factor to begin with (and indeed what questions about it that existed could be resolved in ways where this didn't make sense). Given the lack of any better ideas they pretty much crapped out an ending that everyone hated at the last minute.

This ending has 5 endings, 4 of which are fairly similar, but the whole "branching path" with The Citadel makes it a little more involved than simply "choose A B or C", and to be fair there are limits to what could practically be done without re-doing the entire bloody game. To keep their promises they would need to re-write huge portions of it, including setting up a number of encounters that would act as exposition dumps.

Now, my idea would not make everyone happy, but I think it would make a lot more people happy than the current state of affairs, and even those who didn't like it could at least tolerate it, because at least it's a set of "high fantasy" endings that fit the narrative. Shepard isn't the kind of guy who should be going out having trippy space delusions and selecting one form of suck or another. What's more he should have a chance to save earth and prevent it's massive decimation, which this suggestion allows for (2 variants where Earth is badly leveled in a crossfire, 3 where it isn't), either way if the game doesn't end with a "Game Over" followed by a reload, Shepard saves the day one way or another which is pretty much the character in a nutshell.
 

Dr. Crawver

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Nov 20, 2009
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Joabbuac said:
wastaz said:

I know this is strange, but i actually really liked the Mako, with his bumpy random physics and suspension. When i got to the point of being able to control it well, i found all the mako sections a joy, my favorite is the one on noveria.
Oh god I loved that long road. Just constant hopping over rockets and returning fire. I may sound like I'm being sarcastic, but I really did enjoy the mako as well.
 

votemarvel

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Apr 11, 2020
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My big problem with the endings was with the execution. Sure I'm not fond of the star kid, I fully believe that the Reapers didn't need an explanation, but it wasn't a huge deal breaker.

The Star Kid offered me three choices with wildly different repercussions for the galaxy. Yet all Bioware chose to show was three near identical sets of ending cinematics. I never once got the feeling from them that I'd made any difference when making a different choice.

It's part of the failed execution that they forgot the most important thing about the Mass Effect Universe, the characters living in it. I wasn't trying to save the quarians and geth, I wanted to save Tali and Legion. I wasn't curing the genophage for the Krogan, I was doing it because I trusted Wrex. I didn't go out there to save the turians, I did it because Garrus is space-Batman.

You get the idea, the characters were the binding agent for the universe. They made people involved in it. So that they were near absent from the endings was a complete and utter shock to me. I think Bioware got so caught up in providing awesome pew-pew action that they forgot about the characters.

Speaking of the combat, I'm one of the few that preferred it in the first game. For a start each class was balanced, you could be equally effective with any of them, each able to become godly of you so wished.

Mass Effect 2 and 3 threw the balance firmly in the favour of the gun-based classes, both with making powers pretty much ineffective against shields and other protection, making specialised ammo a 'power', and the stupid weight limit in the 3rd making you choose between effective guns or quick cool-downs.

The first game also felt like something was always happening. The two follow ups had far too much hiding behind chest high walls.

Now I find that most people who hate the Mako tried to drive everywhere in a straight line. Worlds were easy to navigate if you took the time to make use of the map and plotted your route. Often going the long way around was quicker than trying to go in a straight line.

One last thing about the ending of the third game. I found is stunning that it took a financial magazine, in the form of Forbes, to actually take a look at what people were complaining about.
 

crackfool

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Mar 13, 2010
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You make some good points, Shamus. Far better than Jim Sterling ragging on straw men. But I think the main reason is that Mass Effect 3 simply was not a good game, whatsoever. Mass Effect 2 did streamline a lot of elements, but it still felt like it belonged in the same franchise as the first Mass Effect (and this is coming from a huge RPG fan), because it essentially became what Mass Effect 1 was trying to be all along. The writing still had a great sense of mystery to it, and the character building was absolutely phenomenal. Mass Effect 3 basically threw away all of the sharp writing and interesting characters to cater to the Uncharted crowd that just wanted explosions and rail shooting segments, hence why the story was suddenly all about saving Earth, "Be all you can be" space marines, while intricate characters were shoe-horned into mustache-twirling villain roles. Half the stories in the game feel like they were written by Hideo Kojima. It was also very broken on release, and never got patched. And it was rather homophobic, despite EA parading it around as LGBT progression (meanwhile, Bioware's vastly superior counterpart Obsidian has no problem writing LGBT characters that are actually characters instead of caricatures).
 
Mar 9, 2012
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Lots of people compared it to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I always hated when people used that line of defense, mostly because of the notion behind it; because it is, quite frankly, an implied insult against Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. Clarke and Kubrick were artists with a coherent vision who knew what they were doing, and hacks who literally writes important parts of the story as rough notes on napkins in the last five minutes of the eleventh hour, like Walters and Hudson, are not fit to lick the dirt from their spats.
 

Ghadente

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Mar 21, 2009
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Just finished playing ME3 through for the first time. I have to say, the ending was not as disappointing as expected (based on what I have heard/read). Overall i thought the game was enjoyable. I wasn't bored, both gameplay and story were decent enough to keep me interested.
Battles were not all that challenging, a few mistakes were made sure and i'd fail a mission here and there. Only two tough times really come to mind are the 1v1 reaper stand-off (that one hitting red beam beam of death was not easily avoided, until I took my time with it) and the ending battle defending the last 2 missiles on earth (for some reason I lacked medi-gels, had it rough finding good cover, and realized I didn't have to clear the map before firing those missiles). Oh and of course it became a little tedious trekking back and forth throughout the galaxy, citadel, and ship to complete all side missions (but that's quite standard, there are for sure other games more tedious than ME3). I am thankful for the probe when searching for items on other planets.
Story was fine. I always wanted to keep playing to find out what happens next and dying to destroy Cerberus and discover more about the Reapers. I had a feeling that the war was not going to go well, especially when you keep seeing more and more reapers on the galaxy map every time you complete a mission. I expected main characters to die. There could have been some more character development for many of the main and side characters.
I played through as a female shep, adept. decided to have a balance between renegade and paragon. Mainly because i wasn't trying to lean either way and just chose the option that I thought was right (for the most part, by the end I was trying to keep red/blue even). ended up with practically equal parts, half paragon half renegade. So naturally the 3rd option for the ending made most sense. Synthesis. Which seems to me like the most obvious solution for peace. The whole time the VI kid was yapping, I was yelling at him that his whole existence was an epic fail. created to stop conflict yet that all he actually is doing. If reapers are harvesting civilizations to save them, why don't they just ask us? talk to Liara, she figured out a way to preserve info on species without pressing the reset button on the galaxy. anyway, machines and organisms can live in peace now, yay synergy!
Now i am going to look at how many trophies i missed and decide whether to play through the game again, or just watch the other endings on youtube. Part of me wants to play through as full renegade and/or full blown paragon, but might not want to waste all that time... all depends on how accessible platinum is.
Oh i guess i should mention that I only played ME1 all the way through on PC, bought ME2 but skipped playing it due to time and other games. Got ME3 special edition real cheap for PS3 and just decided to finally play it a few weeks ago. So i kind of missed otu on the whole port your character over (which is awesome) and the whole Collectors thing. I still really loved ME1 and enjoyed ME3... not sure if I will have time to run through ME2 though.