One Last look at Mass Effect 3.

Casual Shinji

Should've gone before we left.
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Jul 18, 2009
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After finishing Mass Effect 3 and letting the dust settle somewhat I was reminded of how Mass Effect 2 played a big part in the final game collapsing the way that it did. ME2 added nothing to the overarching plot of the series, leaving ME3 holding the ball and fumbling it with this Crucible nonsense.

I was already aware of ME2 not adding anything before the third game even came out, but at that point I still had the hope the series would at least get capped off properly - A great ending can salvage a lot.
 

Rawne1980

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I really didn't like ME3 and it had nothing to do with the ending.

I had my character in a relationship with Jack who, for me, was one of the more interesting characters. I liked having Miranda around and I liked Samara.

So, could I have my love interest on missions with me....

Fuck no. But you can see her for a grand total of 5 minutes.

Where are the other 2 characters I liked? Doing their own thing but you can see them for a few minutes as well.

But what they did give us was one of the more famous characters from the other 2 games ... James Vega.

Hold on here, who the fuck is James Vega? Why did I lose 3 characters I liked and get this muppet instead?

They also gave EDI a body. Throughout the entirety of ME2 I was thinking to myself "if only this AI would get a cybernetic body, i'd so love to take it out on missions with me". Oh, wait .. I didn't. I didn't think that at all. Not fucking once.

So what brought about these bright ideas?

Who fucking knows.

 

Eclectic Dreck

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BloatedGuppy said:
I disagree. My major issue with the pre-extended cut endings was that they WERE "objectively bad", at least in part because of both narrative and thematic inconsistencies and most particularly because of bizarre behavior on the part of prominent NPCs.
Which NPC acted in an inconsisent way - that is, a way that was not justified by the fiction in those closing moments? TiM? He was indoctrinated. Anderson? Acted consistently with his displayed character. Hackett? Dude did what he said he was going to do. Who precisely is left to act weird in that?

BloatedGuppy said:
And I find this to be a problematic rewriting of history as well. I don't even like 99.9% of my favorite game of all time, and I most certainly do not find 99.9% of Mass Effect to be above complaint. Most certainly I do not find 99.9% of the third game to be flawless, which is an absurd statement...much has been written here and elsewhere about myriad flaws that had nothing to do with the ending. It was a workmanlike but somewhat troubled effort that can most charitably be described as "uneven", marrying moments of near-brilliance with occasional rubbish. Even the well loved first and second chapters are not without issues.

But this isn't a question of determining whether or not ME was 75% or 99% strong before it fell at the finish line and died. There is no more essential element to a story than an ending. End it badly, and you HAVE compromised the work as an entire. If at the end of LOTR Frodo woke up in the Shire and it had all been a dream, you'd not be hearing much about those books as classics. Probably the most common charge leveled against the ending presented to us in ME3 is that it turned the entire saga into a shaggy dog story. I don't know if that's entirely true or fair...if you reach, you can find traces of some of the themes they turned to in the 11th hour in some of the DLC and some of the happenings in ME3...but it certainly wasn't narratively or thematically consistent. If it was "functional", it was functional only insomuch as something ended. With a great, wet splutter and a puff of fumes.
You're constructing a straw man here and I'll have no part of it. My claim was that people loved the franchise until the closing moments. I didn't claim that the thing they loved was good.

My argument is simply that it is rather hyperbolic to claim that some insignificant fraction is so very bad that it retroactively undermines your enjoyment of something you previously liked. You see the same argument with Star Wars.

BloatedGuppy said:
Rather than a natural conclusion,
The "natural" conclusion is that this cycle, like thousands of others would end in Reapers killing everyone. If you want something less grim, you have to introduce some extraordinary outside influence. A deus ex machina which in this case is quite literal.


BloatedGuppy said:
All themes of galactic unity in the face of overwhelming odds,
Present both by having various species present along with what was necessary to get them there as well as the requirement to build a reasonable coalition to even have the hope of suceeding.

BloatedGuppy said:
tossed aside while you chat with a glowing kid (who is also the primary antagonist) about which bizarro ending you want. At least one of which involves the exact horrifying bio-mechanical fusion you've spent the better part of 3 games trying to avert. It is a misread of colossal proportions when it comes to audience expectations.
The synthesis ending is not the same as the usual reaperification. For starters everyone doesn't die. Beyond that, you can simply split hairs about what constitutes organic and non-organic life.

That said, I do agree that certain themes are discarded in the end. That doesn't mean the end is devoid of tone or theme or that the tone or theme clash with those already present.
 

putowtin

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As people around here know I'm a massive Mass Effect fan (Got the tee-shirt, books, action figures, tattoo) so the ending to Shepard's story (the original and extended cut) broke my heart.

There are many reasons, I have discussed them at length with many of you before, but here they are in a nut shell.

1: The Ending
2: The way the game seems rushed (Even though it was pushed back twice)
3: All those choices, that in the end didn't mean a damn thing

The filp side to the whole debate was the journalists, the ones who moaned that we were whining for no reason and called us (among other things) "self involved jackasses"

To them I give the same answer I gave at the time. We, gamers, are consumers, we purchase games just as we purchase food, drink and utilities. We are entitled to complain, and as thousands of us complained it was clearly an issue, not just one sad geek crying cause they didn't get to retire and lie on a beach with Garrus! (But I did that as well!)

I will continue to play the three games and enjoy them, however Marauder Shield's is the boss fight I can never win!
 

BloatedGuppy

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Eclectic Dreck said:
Which NPC acted in an inconsisent way - that is, a way that was not justified by the fiction in those closing moments? TiM? He was indoctrinated. Anderson? Acted consistently with his displayed character. Hackett? Dude did what he said he was going to do. Who precisely is left to act weird in that?
This was well discussed at the time of the endings. Joker fleeing the system made no sense. The fact your crew apparently was all with him made even less sense. The fact some of those crew members may have been seen dead on Earth before later fleeing the system with Joker made the least sense of all. All of this was remedied to some extent with the extended cut, again at the cost of destroying the pacing during the beam charge. Which was unfortunate, because that was one of the game's moments of brilliance.

In all honesty, even the extended cut is a little hard to swallow, because I don't see anyone bailing at that point, injured or not, but whatever. At that point even I have to admit it's slightly churlish to complain, but it's not what I would have imagined those characters doing in those circumstances.

Eclectic Dreck said:
You're constructing a straw man here and I'll have no part of it. My claim was that people loved the franchise until the closing moments. I didn't claim that the thing they loved was good.
I'm not sure how I'm constructing a straw man. I know "straw man" is a knee jerk accusation around here every time someone doesn't like the way a counterpoint is shaping up, but the choice to use "99.9%" was yours, not mine. To wit...

It is my opinion that most don't end up with such a hyperbolic notion that the last .1% of a thing they loved was so bad that it retroactively ruined their enjoyment of the previous 99.9% without a lot of external influence.
Eclectic Dreck said:
My argument is simply that it is rather hyperbolic to claim that some insignificant fraction is so very bad that it retroactively undermines your enjoyment of something you previously liked. You see the same argument with Star Wars.
Your argument also appears to include assigning percentages. Apparently I liked 99.9% of ME, so I have to like the last 0.1%, or whatever weighting you've decided to give the ending in this hypothetical mathematical formula, or I run the risk of "hyperbole". I state again, loving a franchise and finding that franchise to be "99.9%" perfect are two very different things. And if we could even begin to assign a % of importance to the elements of a narrative, I think the ending of that narrative would likely account for more than .1%. Endings are generally considered to be fairly important, in the grand scheme of things. Your mileage may vary.

My suggestion would be not to bandy about percentages like this or accuse people en masse of "hyperbole" for reaching subjective assessments of how much they enjoy or do not enjoy pieces of entertainment media. It's hardly unheard of for a bad ending to undermine the enjoyment of a piece of fiction. I'm not sure why people expressing that sentiment here constitutes "hyperbole", except that some people get very cross when folks hold opinions that differ strongly from theirs.

Eclectic Dreck said:
The "natural" conclusion is that this cycle, like thousands of others would end in Reapers killing everyone. If you want something less grim, you have to introduce some extraordinary outside influence. A deus ex machina which in this case is quite literal.
That's not a natural conclusion at all. This is a story, not a historical footnote. Stories get told for a reason. The story you're describing is "The Reapers came and killed everyone, just as they had every time before, and nothing of any real significance happened".

I imagine you're familiar with this debate by now, so you're probably also familiar with the irritated response to the presumption I want something "less grim". Anyone remotely familiar with my taste in literature or film or even games would find the prospect that I wanted a super happy funshine ending ludicrous in the extreme, but I appreciate you are not that person, so I won't make a big stink out of it. Needless to say, I do not want or require something "less grim".

Eclectic Dreck said:
Present both by having various species present along with what was necessary to get them there as well as the requirement to build a reasonable coalition to even have the hope of suceeding.
In an utterly meaningless show of conventional force that accomplishes nothing, except to get you a tete a tete with an AI that is quite clearly insane, whose lunatic conclusions you must accept as sooth if you don't want to get the special Fuck You Whiners ending included in the extended cut.

Eclectic Dreck said:
The synthesis ending is not the same as the usual reaperification. For starters everyone doesn't die. Beyond that, you can simply split hairs about what constitutes organic and non-organic life.
Husks aren't dead, they're just a new form of life. Shepard making a decision like that for every species in the entire galaxy seems a tad heavy handed to me, and quite a split from the "our strength is our diversity" theme they were exploring with Javik. But we're splitting hairs now.

Eclectic Dreck said:
That said, I do agree that certain themes are discarded in the end. That doesn't mean the end is devoid of tone or theme or that the tone or theme clash with those already present.
Of course it's not devoid of tone or theme. The question is whether or not the tone/theme was appropriate, or supported by what came before it. Perhaps your argument is "yes". Mine is clearly "no". It would be nice, for a change of pace, if I could hold that position without having people accusing me of hyperbole, or sour grapes, or wanting a happy ending, as if this was the first time in the history of creation a work of fiction was ever criticized.
 

Comocat

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BloatedGuppy said:
And I find this to be a problematic rewriting of history as well. I don't even like 99.9% of my favorite game of all time, and I most certainly do not find 99.9% of Mass Effect to be above complaint. Most certainly I do not find 99.9% of the third game to be flawless, which is an absurd statement...much has been written here and elsewhere about myriad flaws that had nothing to do with the ending. It was a workmanlike but somewhat troubled effort that can most charitably be described as "uneven", marrying moments of near-brilliance with occasional rubbish. Even the well loved first and second chapters are not without issues.

But this isn't a question of determining whether or not ME was 75% or 99% strong before it fell at the finish line and died. There is no more essential element to a story than an ending. End it badly, and you HAVE compromised the work as an entire. If at the end of LOTR Frodo woke up in the Shire and it had all been a dream, you'd not be hearing much about those books as classics. Probably the most common charge leveled against the ending presented to us in ME3 is that it turned the entire saga into a shaggy dog story. I don't know if that's entirely true or fair...if you reach, you can find traces of some of the themes they turned to in the 11th hour in some of the DLC and some of the happenings in ME3...but it certainly wasn't narratively or thematically consistent. If it was "functional", it was functional only insomuch as something ended. With a great, wet splutter and a puff of fumes.

I think it's fairly evident that someone...whose name may or may not rhyme with Macy Pudson...had been watching a lot of Moon and Solaris, and decided he didn't really WANT to finish making Star Wars for a new generation, he wanted to Arthur C Clarke that ***** up with some technological singularity and transhumanism. Make him some art! But it's rather like shoehorning the end of the Decalogue onto Die Hard. Rather than a natural conclusion, we're left with a strange atonal lurch. All themes of galactic unity in the face of overwhelming odds, writing the wrongs/healing the wounds of the past, mending fences between disparate people, etc are tossed aside while you chat with a glowing kid (who is also the primary antagonist) about which bizarro ending you want. At least one of which involves the exact horrifying bio-mechanical fusion you've spent the better part of 3 games trying to avert. It is a misread of colossal proportions when it comes to audience expectations.
I think you nailed why I dislike the ending.

Personally, I think BioWare wrote themselves into a corner and simply could not end it with a reasonable victory. Lord of the Rings did a good job setting the stage for why the ring was invincible except for this very small volcano in the heart of Mordor. The quest was challenging, but doable. BioWare never did that with the reapers. At no point in the series did I ever think, wow I really have a shot at beating these guys. 1 reaper pretty much destroyed the entire galactic fleet in ME1, how could we ever possible win against hundreds or thousands of them? Other than assuming they were killbots with a kill count limit, BioWare never created conditions for victory.

I also think this is why the ending resonates so poorly with me. I have played 3 games with a nearly invincible foe, only to find that they are controlled by a glowing child and exist for some escoteric reason. The Blair Witch Project was an incredibly popular movie- and yet you never see the villain- and that's what makes it scary. Instead imagine that rather than having the fear of the unknown, the directors had shown the Witch. There is nothing they could have down to match the expectations of the audience. BioWare "showed the witch" with the ending of ME, that is, they tried to unmask the reapers, and by doing so stripped them of their horror. The ending then became about some stupid robots and bizarre robot logic, rather than an unfeeling foe that allow us to exist.
 

Bertylicious

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Do you know, I quite enjoyed the shitstorm. I've watched a lot of MovieBob's Big Picture series where he talked about big controversies in the comic community that resulted in all sorts of weird shit like people taking out ads to campaign against a story decision, often on understandable grounds.

This has always been something inaccessable to me directly; something I might approach as an archaeologist approaches a dinosaur with a small brush and a trowel. Now though I have been able to be a part of it, if only as an interested (and emotionally distraught) observer. I may even get a tattoo that reads; "I survived ME3's ending".
 

Rastrelly

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I've never got to it. Ending I mean. I saw it on youtube.

ME3 was crap. Simply so. Idiotic first hour completely ruined the game for me, so actually didn't THAT care of dumb endings. Lame multiplayer did not help either. It was boring and I had Exterminatus mode in Space Marine.

As for single, characters were swapped again and last possibility to choose anything was taken away from me. And the worst is that ME3 ruined all my impression on the series, the setting and BioWare themselves.
 

BleedingPride

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Personally I thought it was the best in the trilogy. All the plot lines and choices and people in the universe i shaped gathered all together in one massive epic last stand, and I loved every moment of it. I'm happy with Ext. Cut endings.
 

dyre

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I just played Mass Effect 3 few weeks ago for the first time (I postponed my purchase when I heard about the ending), so I never experienced the original endings, just the extended ones. And I've got to say, I really liked the game. That said, the extended endings still suck (I can't even imagine experiencing the original ones...), and the indoctrination theory - now that I've read up on it after playing the game - still makes more sense, but fuck that.

I'll fill in the plot holes with my own imagination, thanks much. The indoctrination theory just pisses me off because even if it's right, I still get no closure. And I honestly don't think it's right, even though it makes sense. I mean, these are the writers who didn't realize that destroying the mass relays would cause galactic isolation, so they retconned it, and didn't realize being stranded on some lush island doesn't really help when different alien races have different needs. Whoever wrote the ending wasn't thinking about some grand conspiracy....he just didn't think things through.

So anyway, ME3's extended ending, mixed with some imagination and assumption, leaves me with a, well, satisfactory ending. The rest of the game had some really great moments though. I mean, with Mordin and the genophage, and to a somewhat lesser extent, the Quarians and Geth. Fantastic storytelling, and I really love how that game gave us closure and made our choices matter for those huge issues that have been part of the story for the entire series. I don't know how the ending to the genophage mission and the ending to the game could have been written by the same person (or was it?). There are some little things that annoy me, like the Rachni Queen, and a few characters who I liked getting shafted, and that stupid kid that Shepherd cares so much about, but they're not deal breakers for the game. Hell, Mass Effect 2 had plenty of imperfections.

As for EDI, I dunno why they chose to give her a body, but I thought she was alright. Doesn't matter what her physical form is; she's still a likable character.

Overall, I had a great time with the game; the extended endings weren't good, but they weren't bad enough to ruin my otherwise really great experience. I can totally imagine the original endings doing it though. It just ends with the Normandy crew crash landed on that planet, right?
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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Mass Effect 3 is such a flawed game. But the fact that the ending is so fuckin' atrocious made it seem like that's the only wrong thing in the entire game. It isn't. It's inferior to it's predecessors in pretty much every way.

As for the Indoctrination Theory and people who say that it can easily be dismissed. No. I mean, of course there is no indoctrination, but the theory isn't born out of denial. Bioware said that they planned to have Shepard indoctrinated by the end of the game, they just didn't know how to pull it off. So all the evidence that people have collected on the theory are there as remnants of Bioware's failed plan. I'm talking about actual evidence, not idiotic things that are put there for gameplay purposes like infinite ammo, or reused resources like Citadel textures etc. Those things have nothing to do with anything.
 

Kopikatsu

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Akratus said:
Kopikatsu said:
I'm extremely disappointed that the Indoctrination theory wasn't what they went with. I mean...Bioware actually went and set everything up so perfectly...

The indoctrination theory is born of denial. It just leaves us with a non-ending.

If you want to wrap around the incomprehensible minds of the bioware writers I would suggest this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiN8gL40d84
It really is the best 'last look' at mass effect. And he's done ME2 and DA2 as well.
Not really. The ending in the case of the indoctrination theory is that Shepard, deluded and controlled by the Reapers, bled out and died in front of the pillar leading to the Citadel. I'm completely fine with that outcome. They spent three games building up the Reapers as a threat that absolutely could not be fought conventionally and any attempt to do so would fail spectacularly. It also leaves the Reaper's goal shrouded in secrecy, befitting their role.

Basically, the Reapers winning was a foregone conclusion from the beginning of the series. They had wiped out countless inhabited galaxies previously, why should this one be any different? I mean, Sovereign would have destroyed the CDF and recaptured the Citadel had Shepard not dealt with Soren. It took the entire Geth/Quarian fleet (One of the strongest in the galaxy on both counts) multiple salvos to take down a single low class Reaper ship, hitting it's weak point with every salvo. Every soldier that fell in the defense against the Reapers merely increased the size of their army. Chance of victory was 0%.
 

V1rax

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I didn't hate the ending but as someone mentioned before Bioware kind of threw themselves in a corner creating an enemy that could not be defeated through normal battle. I had a weird feeling that they would need to take a weird more philosophical approach to get victory before Mass Effect 2 was even released. Mass Effect series will ALWAYS be my favourite series to date because of the characters, the universe, and Garrus (fuck I love that blue alien).

I understand everyones anger and "lack of faith" towards Bioware and EA though and I think Dragon Age 3 will be the deciding factor on the future of the company. If everyone who likes Bioware plays DA 3 and it lets us down than it'll be a very dark age for gaming.
 

Basiritz

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Everybody else has already pointed out everything I hate about the endings. But for me, I didn't completely lose faith in Bioware and Mass Effect until the Ad for DLC after the credits. It was like " Fuck you, and the game you love, give us more money." It was that moment I knew the Bioware I loved, whose games I was always supremely excited for, was dead.
 

sanquin

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I liked ME3 as a whole. The ending left me disappointed, empty and angry but still the rest of the game was awesome. Yes there were some pretty damn poor side-missions. But the missions that dealt with the main plot, and most of the ME2 character missions were fantastic in my opinion.

What truly got me angry and heavily on the side of the retake mass effect movement was how EA/Bioware and gaming reviewers and such responded to the outrage.

-Artistic integrity? Artistic Integrity also involves giving people what they want. It's not 'I do things my way and my way alone because I'm a special little snowflake'.
-A detriment to the industry as a whole? If anything, the response of everyone against the ending showed how much of an impact games can have on people of all ages these days. How much more mature it has become and how it isn't just a kids game or geek hobby any more.
-Entitled and whiny? Expecting the same quality we saw in the first game, and for a large part in the second, to also be in the third? Apparently integrity only counts when it's artistic, not when it's a company's integrity. Also, how is it entitled to want a company to actually deliver on it's promises? (As they very clearly made promises in press releases, the trailers and interviews that they didn't keep.)

Yea, I would not be surprised if years from now ME3's debacle indeed will be used as an example for PR/marketing classes. As I have yet to see a better example of how NOT to do it.
 

spartandude

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Basiritz said:
Everybody else has already pointed out everything I hate about the endings. But for me, I didn't completely lose faith in Bioware and Mass Effect until the Ad for DLC after the credits. It was like " Fuck you, and the game you love, give us more money." It was that moment I knew the Bioware I loved, whose games I was always supremely excited for, was dead.
/thread

THERE IS NO MIDDLE FINGER BIG ENOUGH
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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sanquin said:
Also, how is it entitled to want a company to actually deliver on it's promises? (As they very clearly made promises in press releases, the trailers and interviews that they didn't keep.)
They flat-out lied about the ending. For example, they said that the rachni will have a huge impact on the final battle, our decisions will matter and it won't be an A, B, C ending. It was the exact opposite. There were no rachni in the ending, our decisions didn't matter and the ending was A, B, C.

captcha: geez louise

Indeed.
 

Souplex

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In spite of the lack of 1's Mako and Weapon Heat System, and 2's Hack/Bypass minigames, the gameplay of Space Wizards 3 was the best in the series.
It cranked up the RPG systems, made Shepard durable enough to not spontaneously combust the second he left cover, it made Shepard mobile, so you didn't sit behind a single piece of cover for every fight, making other strategies valid, and the weight system made power based classes better all around.
I'm still playing the multiplayer.