Escapist Podcast: Bonus: Mass Effect 3 With Spoilers Part 2

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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krellen said:
Susan Arendt said:
I meant in the way a gameplay mechanic can be broken. You can argue things like tone, you can get different interpretations...there aren't different interpretations to "this skill one hit kills." That was the point I was making.
I can argue, however, that "this skill one hit kills" might not, after all, be broken. It may be a good mechanic. One-hit-kill-skill is not an automatically broken concept.
Now you're just being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

Ramith said:
T3hSource said:
Leximodicon said:
Which apparently you can live if you have between 4000 and 5000 military strength.
You can live with the red anding if you have 5k Effective military strength,which is unachievable without multiplayer,I used file editing to go beyond that,took me 20 minutes :p
Ok, so Susan said I can get the best ending without multiplayer, is this true?

Because I did all I could do, and I hit 3500, a far cry from 5000.

I just want someone to finally set this in stone, because I am tempted to replay just to get the 5000 ending.

You didnt have multiplayer Susan, what score did you get?
Let's see....I had just under 7000 war assets at 50%, so 3500ish. Multiplayer lets you fill the bar faster - you won't have to do as much planet scanning if you play multiplayer.

Supposedly the "best" ending is the one where you blow up the Reapers and you see Shepard live. I'm not entirely sure I understand why that's meant to be best, but that's my current understanding.

mootant said:
It's clear that Susan is a bully all the time (or whatever you want to call it) and she's not exactly helping brain storming by blocking anything/anyone who disagrees with her. I wonder how much % of whole audio is her talking if you counted it, I guess a lot above 25%. :p
Yeah, it's odd for the host of of podcast to talk a lot, isn't it? And having an opinion isn't "bullying", neither is specifically asking people what they thought to make sure they get a chance to voice their opinions. Justin, Paul, and Jodi all got ample opportunity to express their thoughts.
 

Thraxen

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If you want to live in the Destroy ending, you only need 4000 if you "Save" Anderson too (as in, don't let the Illusive Man execute him). I think it might be achievable without the multiplayer, if you get EVERY asset.

If you don't do that, you'll need the 5k.
 

krellen

Unrepentant Obsidian Fanboy
Jan 23, 2009
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Susan Arendt said:
krellen said:
Susan Arendt said:
I meant in the way a gameplay mechanic can be broken. You can argue things like tone, you can get different interpretations...there aren't different interpretations to "this skill one hit kills." That was the point I was making.
I can argue, however, that "this skill one hit kills" might not, after all, be broken. It may be a good mechanic. One-hit-kill-skill is not an automatically broken concept.
Now you're just being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.
Actually, I'm a fan of one-hit-kill skills, though I should note that I don't play competitive multiplayer. Ever.
 

wicket42

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I don't know if anyone will see this post, I feel like I've been posting non stop about this game for a week now, but there is a wonderfully eloquent article up at pixelatedgeek.com.

My favorite bit,

"The crux of complaints is that the ending is nonsensical and rigged; a betrayal not only of the narrative themes but of player expectations and agency. The villain doesn?t just win ? they hold court with views the narrative has proven are objectively wrong, and dictate the terms of that victory to a captive and outraged player whose reaction is precisely the same while Shepard meekly succumbs to unconvincing rhetoric and the power of authorial fiat."

Here's a link to the full article, well worth a read if the subject interests you.

http://pixelatedgeek.com/2012/03/mass-effect-iii-snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory/

Not sure it's saying anything that hasn't been said already, but it says it so very well.
 
Dec 14, 2009
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This might be my new favourite meme related to the ending.

This one is still a classic though.



I just think everyone would rather believe anything other than those endings being real.
 

Disthron

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I think the Mass effect 3 endings are broken on a narrative level. In the same way that a comedy that isn't funny or a horror movie that isn't scary is broken. Also, how you'd tell a writer this is by saying, this sequence doesn't work and here are the reasons why.

Like some of you suggested, I think it would have helped a lot to see what happened to your friends. Like a short scene with Garris at a bar having a drink with Ash and other small scenes depending on your choices and what happens. Also, it would be nice to have a "Hu-Ra" ending as an option. I mean you'd probably have to work really hard to get it but I'd still like the option.
 

Dastardly

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Apr 19, 2010
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The Escapist Staff said:
Bonus: Mass Effect 3 With Spoilers Part 2

We continue our discussion of Mass Effect 3. What were our favorite and most memorable moments, what ending did we choose, what did we think of the endings and what do we think about the indoctrination theory? Obviously spoilers for Mass Effect 3, but we also briefly mention and spoil Fallout 3 and Jade Empire.

Watch Video
If a person's problem with the ending is simply, "I wish it hadn't gone that way," I'd say the trouble is on their end. However, much of the outcry doesn't have that particular flavor of butthurt to it.

Internal inconsistency is the problem. The ending simply doesn't line up with itself, and doesn't follow from the information we're given all along. A lot of folks are wrongly assigning the "deus ex machina" label, but it does have a similar feel: "WTF?"

A good shock or twist ending, or a good gut-wrencher, makes you gasp for a moment... but then, when you look back over the chain of causality that led you there, you can see how it really was "right in front of you." This set of endings didn't do that.

My problems with the ending break down into two categories: mechanical problems, and narrative problems.

Narrative first:

- If this is meant to end up some kind of Lynchian or Brazil or Suckerpunch "fake out," it wasn't set up well first. I could buy that type of ending, for sure -- Shepard imagines/is implanted with this heroic sacrifice because it's the only ending s/he could subconsiously believe, but really s/he didn't make it (or somesuch) -- but a plane that heavy needs a lot more runway if it's gonna fly.

- The Illusive Man's "deathbed redemption" feels false. There are many reasons that, if I get into it, will make this post too long. Basically, it's just not a well-executed moment of redemption.

- Where are the Reapers? Where is any Reaper, in that big moment? We lose focus on the actual enemy, in favor of a quick-and-dirty morality exercise. What was ostensibly the "war to save Earth/the Galaxy" just became "how can man and machine coexist (or not)?"

- The ending tries too hard to be an ending (which sounds backwards, I know). The Crucible didn't have to be a "thing that ends the war instantly." It just needed to be shown to be an effective weapon to somehow defeat the Reapers and win back Earth. Then, as epilogue, you could show the weapon being used to win on the other fronts (maybe while Shepard's voice narrates from 'above'). The ending tries to tie things up too quickly, and it forgets too many loose ends on the way.

- My biggest? We lose all sense of peril. It's like watching the final act of X2: X-Men United: supposedly, every human on the planet is being brain-fried, sending planes into death spirals or killing infants and young children. Supposedly. We see none of it. The fight is about the fight, and that carries far less weight than the fight being about everybody. We needed peril, and we got none.

Now the mechanical problems:

- Firstly, I love the wasteland run, and I love the slow trudge to the beam. Most memorable moment in my gaming. I love that you can still die during that sequence, too, so the player still has to struggle right along with Shepard. It makes reaching the beam feel earned.

- And then, after that, player agency mostly vanishes. All of the choices you've made getting here can, if you like, be undone with a single choice. In some cases, it's actually better to present the player the ending they have, in a sense, already chosen. It seems off, but we always ask for games to make choices "matter." Here's the thing, though -- choices only matter when you can't take them back.

(About the above: It's also possible for a Paragon Shepard or a Renegade Shepard to choose any of the options given. It might have been nice if, while making the choice, Shepard had some dialogue outlining his/her reasons for making that choice -- which would differ based on his/her "alignment." Then the choice would feel less like a violation of the long-running contract between choice and consequence.)
 

StriderShinryu

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Susan Arendt said:
Let's see....I had just under 7000 war assets at 50%, so 3500ish. Multiplayer lets you fill the bar faster - you won't have to do as much planet scanning if you play multiplayer.

Supposedly the "best" ending is the one where you blow up the Reapers and you see Shepard live. I'm not entirely sure I understand why that's meant to be best, but that's my current understanding.
I believe it's generally referred to as the best ending simply because it's the only one where Shepard appears to survive. Not exactly cake ending material, but probably the closest to it that one can achieve.

You could also say that. under the Indoctrination theory and assuming that the choices the Godchild offers are real despite the attempts at control, the Destroy Reapers choice is the one that has Shepard breaking through the Indoctrination and destroying them anyway.
 

Agayek

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Oct 23, 2008
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Murmillos said:
I get the problem with the ending is that NONE of your choices matter in making the decision or do we see any of the after effects of those choices. What happened between X and Y, A and B. Why should doing C over D matter when I don't know the difference of that choice and what later effects it had.
That's actually not the major problem. Of the issues I listed, it's actually the lowest in terms of importance. If there weren't the gaping plot holes and logical inconsistencies, I could live without a proper epilogue. It'd be nice to have, certainly, but it's not a deal breaker in and of itself.

As for your bit on the Catalyst, my problem is not that it wants to continue with it. I'd have no problem if the Catalyst presented it's argument as you did here. It's still not logically sound, but I'd be able to suspend my disbelief if it was couched the way you put it. A "I'm not willing to take the risk", as opposed to "This will inevitably happen, regardless of your choices and actions, I'm taking the necessary steps to stop it".

My primary issue is that the Catalyst insists that all synthetic life ultimately kills organic life. Regardless of free will, this is inevitable. Thus, the only solution is the Cycle.

That logic is horrendously flawed, because of the aforementioned free will. It also goes directly against the major recurring themes of ME3, specifically the importance of free will and defiance of the inevitable. It's a stupid broken ending.
 

Draconalis

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"25:10"

Hi, how you doing?

Edit:

"40:30ish" Commenting on science fiction.

The big divide between Star Wars and Star Trek is that while Star Trek is Sci fi, Star Wars is Science Fantasy. The things in Star Wars break the laws of physics, they simply can't be done. The things in Star Trek, while improbable where theoretically possible for it's time (Some of those theories are out of date now, but that's not the point.)

If Mass Effect is going to be Science Fiction, then it has to be more aware of the consequences of massive world ending explosions. Sci-fi can't simply "A Wizard did it" without reason. So I kind of disagree with Susan here.

Granted, this is clearly a preference thing, but if I'm going to read Sci-fi, I want it to make sense, even if they are using their own little technological devices to fill in the holes.
 

TaL0s

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One thing many fans who are unhappy with the endings have stated that their biggest concern with it is the fact that there is no epilogue describing what happened to all the characters after the end. To me this is a moot point because as the endings stand there isn't really any good outcome for anyone. Here are some examples I think would illustrate my point.

-Watching Tali and Garrus slowly starve to death because there is no food for the Quarians and Turians to eat.

-Watching all colonies on distant planets die out from the inability to get supplies, not to mention anyone on Omega or any other space station slowly starving to death.

-Watching the Geth and EDI die if you picked the destroy ending.

-Watching Earth erupt in conflict between the now dozen or so species living here, assuming they weren't already destroyed by the blast from the Crucible.

-Not assuming the Mass Relays exploded and took out most of the Galaxy.

So that is why I believe we weren't given an epilogue because there would be no way to write it that wouldn't have only made us more depressed about the end of the game and made our sacrifice only feel more meaningless. So instead we are given the cheesy scene with the Stargazer which is supposed to make us feel better because one group of marooned crew members managed to survive on some unknown planet while the rest of the galaxy, including Earth, are utterly f***ed.

I sincerely hope that BioWare will take into account the outcry of their fans and give them an ending more fitting to such an otherwise epic saga.
 

Mewick_Alex

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Seatownstriker said:
There is no way Shepard would survive a drop from space after destroying the Citadel.
Just thought I'd point this out: technically he has already survived a drop from space once.
 

bojac6

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Susan Arendt said:
Darkmantle said:
what I learned from this podcast

The endings okay if you "magic wand" and "hand wave" every single problem with them and don;t care about deus ex machina.

great. couldn't that be said about anything?

EDIT: also, the ending being bad isn't based on it not have "kittens and rainbows", it's, like I said, because it's a plot hole filled deus ex machina that totally negates any choices you made. but hey, if you want to keep thinking everyone's issue is that it's not a super happy ending, then you can go right ahead. "fanboy" it up.
We raised plenty of issues that fans have with the endings. Details that don't make sense, lack of closure, lack of heroism, etc.at no point did we suggest the only reason people are upset is the lack of happy ending. Your hostility is out of place.
Frankly, I thought there were a lot more positive aspects of the ending you could have brought up. Like the charge to the beam was one of the most intense moments I've ever experienced in gaming. I remember asking myself where Garrus and Liara were, but deciding I just have to trust them because I don't dare turn around. I'm the kind of gamer who is always aware of the possibility of reloading. I save always and in both ME2 and 3, I would often intentionally not take an interrupt just to see what happens, and then reload to get it. Despite this (arguably bad) habit, I didn't stop running for the beam, I didn't stop to see who was with me, I just went for it. That was intense.

Also, every time you (Susan) brought up that her Shepard was a soldier, I expected you to bring up what I thought was the best and most powerful line in the whole game. Right after Anderson dies, and you're just lying there next to him, looking at the blood flowing down your arms and the hole in your gut, Hackett calls. And Shepard, who is obviously suffering from a lot of blood loss and its on the verge of passing out and dying, pulls it together and responds with "What do you need, sir?"

That was when I lost it. I can't think of a more perfect Shepard response. Frankly, I think those should have been her last words. That's my Shepard. She's not going to lie down while there's still stuff to do. And that's why I think there's more of an ending coming. Not because we, the gamers, deserve an epilogue, but because Shepard wouldn't die until she knew she succeeded. It's just not something she would do.
 

musim

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Honestly the DLC without some extra ending bit would have to be EXTREMELY compelling for me to purchase it. If the next DLC is just hey we made up a new character that you can play through the game again with I don't think I'll buy.

Also the Final Hours of Portal 2 iPad app has a full page of notes from one of the writers on the end so if you want to keep believing the indoctrination theory you probably shouldn't get that app.

The problem I keep running into with the press and podcasts is people keep throwing us all into one lump which means anytime you're saying the ending with the beach house and cake, you're basically saying that to everyone. And everyone never agrees with itself. I actually deleted my Twitter app because of some of the vile things press people were saying. I'm sure fans said some pretty messed up stuff to them but that's part of the press gig. Its not right to punish those of us who make it a point not to be insulting.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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bojac6 said:
Susan Arendt said:
Darkmantle said:
what I learned from this podcast

The endings okay if you "magic wand" and "hand wave" every single problem with them and don;t care about deus ex machina.

great. couldn't that be said about anything?

EDIT: also, the ending being bad isn't based on it not have "kittens and rainbows", it's, like I said, because it's a plot hole filled deus ex machina that totally negates any choices you made. but hey, if you want to keep thinking everyone's issue is that it's not a super happy ending, then you can go right ahead. "fanboy" it up.
We raised plenty of issues that fans have with the endings. Details that don't make sense, lack of closure, lack of heroism, etc.at no point did we suggest the only reason people are upset is the lack of happy ending. Your hostility is out of place.
Frankly, I thought there were a lot more positive aspects of the ending you could have brought up. Like the charge to the beam was one of the most intense moments I've ever experienced in gaming. I remember asking myself where Garrus and Liara were, but deciding I just have to trust them because I don't dare turn around. I'm the kind of gamer who is always aware of the possibility of reloading. I save always and in both ME2 and 3, I would often intentionally not take an interrupt just to see what happens, and then reload to get it. Despite this (arguably bad) habit, I didn't stop running for the beam, I didn't stop to see who was with me, I just went for it. That was intense.

Also, every time you (Susan) brought up that her Shepard was a soldier, I expected you to bring up what I thought was the best and most powerful line in the whole game. Right after Anderson dies, and you're just lying there next to him, looking at the blood flowing down your arms and the hole in your gut, Hackett calls. And Shepard, who is obviously suffering from a lot of blood loss and its on the verge of passing out and dying, pulls it together and responds with "What do you need, sir?"

That was when I lost it. I can't think of a more perfect Shepard response. Frankly, I think those should have been her last words. That's my Shepard. She's not going to lie down while there's still stuff to do. And that's why I think there's more of an ending coming. Not because we, the gamers, deserve an epilogue, but because Shepard wouldn't die until she knew she succeeded. It's just not something she would do.
You're right, that was an iconic moment for the character. No whining, no hesitation - she'll keep doing her duty until the mission's complete or she drops...whichever comes first.

As an aside, have you noticed how many commenters here refer to Shepard as "she"? Think it's the "1 in 4" that supposedly is typical of the ME audience, or do we have a greater concentration of FemSheps in the Escapist audience?
 

gombie

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hello again. This is in reply to susan's no cake no good" theory.

well the best way i can describe the ending to the series is with the movie "The Road"

If anyone has seen this they may agree, that its an amazing, emotional and shocking film. So dark and depressing, then they totally ruined it with its "cake ending". It would have been an amazing movie and in my shelf of "best movies of all time" if the kid died at the end, or something similarly sad. But no they ruined it, and for me that tainted the entire movie's value of being a great film.

The conclusions are one of the most important parts of a game, you can forgive a few bad setpieces in the middle but the end is the last impression (of a book/movie etc). ME3 was just not very good :(
 

RandomSyhn

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Mar 27, 2011
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I honestly loved mass effect 3 everything up unitl shepard being uncosciously lifted to speak with the catalyst at least. And terrible choices aside I will play it again and again and again. (especially since I did not have enough assests for all three final options in my first playthrough) But I can't in anyway say I liked the ending. I agree with (was it justin?) who said it didn't make me feel anything (Besides delayed rage). The whole bigger fish idea with the catalyst controlling the reapers really felt forced with little or no evidence leading up to it. I usually agonize over the littlest conversation options and final choices, this one took me no time to make and all the end Cinematics were confusing and contrary. I mean Garrus and James had my back when I was running towards the transport beam then the next thing I knew they were both exiting the Normandy.

But I'm pretty sure this was already covered so I'm going to throw my two cents in on how I think the game should have ended. I think Shepard should have survived (hold on its not all cake and sunshine) but the only way of stopping the Reapers should have involved the crucible basically blowing up earth. I could have seen this iliciting a much more emotional reaction, particulary when your favourite squadmates are down there. I see what bioware was doing with the no win situation but this to me feels like the ultimate bitter sweet moment. Either the (bulk of the) Reaper hordes are destroyed and earth goes bye bye, or conversly Earth isn't destroyed but you loose the combined fleets to the reapers and the war continues. It's not the perfect dichotomy but it feels a little more of a finale. You all your time fighting to take back earth but the only way to crush the reapers is to sacrifice it.

I don't say this is the best way for it to end but I honestly thought that was what Bioware was going to do. I would have rather they did. I can understand Shepard dying, or not dying but the method they chose felt very slapdash to me. Here's hoping for the indoctrination theory.

The one thing that really gets me is that I'll never get that experience again. I won't cry as much on my second playthrough, and eventually I'll stop tearing up for those really stressfull moments. The end left me apathetic and even if they do retcon, or pull one over on us and say HEY WE LIED! I won't have the same emotional commitment to the story.

I still love you Bioware but you could've done better.
 

sordcooper

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ignoring any ongoing conversation and just dropping my 2 cents:

I romanced Liara, had nearly 5000 effective military readiness, basically did 100% paragon, and chose synthesis at the end... and i was disappointed to the point of actual anger if not full blown rage... at first. Now, i was fine with letting my Sheppard die, but the ending felt so damned cheep! Not because of the choices you were giving (although the fact that i got both the quarians and gueth to join me and they were ALREADY kinda doing synthesis with geth entering into quarrian bio-suits and enhancing their immune systems, made me REALLY pissed i couldn't get some kinda 'no fuck you i already fixed the thing you were trying to fix') or the fact that the reapers motivations basically went against their actions in ME1 (with using the geth despite being built to stop species like the geth) but because there was hardly any closer to it!

Hell, liara showed up on the normandy in the end for me and she was in my party when we charged at the beam! was she knocked up with my blue babies? did she and garrus just see shep charging to his doom and go 'oh, you go ahead, we left some shit with joker'? not only that but the reaper's motives were kinda suspect even if you were to assume their logic was broken. i mean if the race that made them had that kinda power at their disposal, why not stay in charge of the galaxy and stomp out any new synthetics in person with your amazing super tech?

...oh, yeah, and when i looked up the other endings and saw they were all basically pallet swapped versions of each other felt SOOOOOOOO damned lazy and cheep, so i do feel like i am owed a new ending, especially i paid 8an extra 20 bucks for an awesome N7 patch and a cheep art book

PS:

also, i HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE that stupid space ninja pile of festering krogan dung Kai Lang! Seriously! even down to the last fight with that cheep nimrod he wouldn't stop cheating! first he hides behind a cut scene, then a gun ship, and then he becomes invulnerable every time he summons a wave of henchmen! IM A VANGUARD! i should have been able to throw myself at him, headbut him in the gut, and spatter what was left of his carcass all over the nearest wall!... but yeah if bioware wanted us to hate that two bit punk who was jealous that the illusive man liked Sheppard better... well they did a great job
 

bojac6

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Susan Arendt said:
bojac6 said:
Susan Arendt said:
Darkmantle said:
what I learned from this podcast

The endings okay if you "magic wand" and "hand wave" every single problem with them and don;t care about deus ex machina.

great. couldn't that be said about anything?

EDIT: also, the ending being bad isn't based on it not have "kittens and rainbows", it's, like I said, because it's a plot hole filled deus ex machina that totally negates any choices you made. but hey, if you want to keep thinking everyone's issue is that it's not a super happy ending, then you can go right ahead. "fanboy" it up.
We raised plenty of issues that fans have with the endings. Details that don't make sense, lack of closure, lack of heroism, etc.at no point did we suggest the only reason people are upset is the lack of happy ending. Your hostility is out of place.
Frankly, I thought there were a lot more positive aspects of the ending you could have brought up. Like the charge to the beam was one of the most intense moments I've ever experienced in gaming. I remember asking myself where Garrus and Liara were, but deciding I just have to trust them because I don't dare turn around. I'm the kind of gamer who is always aware of the possibility of reloading. I save always and in both ME2 and 3, I would often intentionally not take an interrupt just to see what happens, and then reload to get it. Despite this (arguably bad) habit, I didn't stop running for the beam, I didn't stop to see who was with me, I just went for it. That was intense.

Also, every time you (Susan) brought up that her Shepard was a soldier, I expected you to bring up what I thought was the best and most powerful line in the whole game. Right after Anderson dies, and you're just lying there next to him, looking at the blood flowing down your arms and the hole in your gut, Hackett calls. And Shepard, who is obviously suffering from a lot of blood loss and its on the verge of passing out and dying, pulls it together and responds with "What do you need, sir?"

That was when I lost it. I can't think of a more perfect Shepard response. Frankly, I think those should have been her last words. That's my Shepard. She's not going to lie down while there's still stuff to do. And that's why I think there's more of an ending coming. Not because we, the gamers, deserve an epilogue, but because Shepard wouldn't die until she knew she succeeded. It's just not something she would do.
You're right, that was an iconic moment for the character. No whining, no hesitation - she'll keep doing her duty until the mission's complete or she drops...whichever comes first.

As an aside, have you noticed how many commenters here refer to Shepard as "she"? Think it's the "1 in 4" that supposedly is typical of the ME audience, or do we have a greater concentration of FemSheps in the Escapist audience?
I've always felt that "1 in 4" number was low. Most of the people I know played a female Shepard. The first Mass Effect was actually when I went through my gamer sex-change. Before I played that, I was always a guy and my first play through was a male Shepard. Then I played again to see how it was different with a female Shepard, and frankly, liked her a lot more. I can't put a finger on it, though I'm sure Jennifer Hale's performance was an important part of it. But I felt more entertained and enjoyed the experience a lot more. And when you could romance Garrus in ME2, there was no going back. Since then, most of the time when there is an option, I play as a woman.

As I think about it, I think it's actually the disconnect. When I play a male character, I try to project myself into that character and it gets hard for me to do things. I keep wondering "shouldn't somebody qualified be doing this?" But FemShep is her own character. I mean, she's my Shepard, but she's tough and capable and all kinds of badass. My reaction to the end of the Thessia mission would be to go hide in a corner, and it would feel artificial for me to force ManShep to do otherwise. But FemShep? Her response was telling the crew that the next time we see him, we're putting a bullet in the Illusive Man's head and if anybody thinks we should hear him out first, there's the airlock. Because she's my Shepard, but she's not me. I don't know, does any of that make sense?