Re: Mass Effect 3
Some thoughts of mine about Mass Effect 3 (including ending) I will put a spoiler warning and try to keep it clean until then
First I should state my view on ME1 and ME2, so that it's clear where I'm coming from. I really liked the first Mass Effect, but.
- but ME had a lot of classic RPG tropes which were in my view not necessary - why can't my squaddies not dress themselves and why do I have to deal with credits as "Spectre" superhero with quasi-unlimited authority?
- but the GUI was horrible, seriously: who designed this?
- but some of the systems felt a bit out of place in science fiction
- but only 2 more people in the squad was a bit strange considering you're hiring a sizable space crew
- but the Mako sections were boring
However, the ending was one of the strongest in any game I played to date and made up for most of the but's. Mass Effect 2 I thoroughly enjoyed. I liked the bold take on space RPG by blurring genre lines until they became useless to describe ME2. Is ME2 a shooter or an rpg? Does it matter? If nothing else ME2 again showed that the genre descriptions we use are in dire need of a serious review. My only complaint is that the end was a bit unsatisfactory. The reapers are coming but I haven't actually done anything during the game to stop them. And now we're at ME3.
The first game was a wondrous journey through space with blue skinned lesbian aliens and a sense of discovery. The second revisited the already know universe and told a series of personal stories, but suffered by being a clear 'middle part' of a proposed trilogy. It was a game about collecting resources. Resources in form of funky sounding elements as well as people that would help in the upcoming fight.
Mass Effect 3 has a very different tone. We are at war and it shows on the Normandy, which feels more like a submarine than anything else thanks to the dim red lighting. People die. It's less about personal stories, it's about fleets and war assets. It's about scientists and soldiers. I met old friends and enemies. But they would not sit and wait forever until I arrive. People would move on and Shepard isn't the only person to start a romance anymore. Old comrades get different offers, the Normandy isn't the sole center of the universe.
I like and dislike the ending at the same time. At first I was confused, then I started to think about it, connected the dots and came to a very different conclusion. Bioware obviously hasn't replied to it yet, they claim they will do so after more people have a chance to see the ending. If the ending is what I think it is, it's actually quite clever. What I miss from the ending is only one thing: closure.
you enter spoiler territory - please turn around now if you didn't finish Mass Effect 3
Ok, then let's talk about the end. The game ends on earth (not surprising, given the premise) where Shepard lands with all the fleets she could muster. It is rather bleak and the final push towards a magic elevator to the citadel is interrupted by nothing less than the biggest reaper out there. Shepard awakes, presumbably, and jumps into the citadel where he encounters Anderson and the illusive Man (TIM). This is where I started to wonder what's going on and the whole setup boils down to destroying the reapers or controlling the reapers. In my case Anderson and TIM died and I went up the citadel, talking to a ghost kid that presented the choices I have. At this point I was sure this is a dream sequence. The spooky ghost kid tried to talk me into controlling the reapers (yeah, because that surely works...), giving myself up to combine synthetics and organic people or the evil renegade option of killing all synthetic life in the galaxy. Whatever I choose, the mass relays will be destroyed. I will cite admiral Ackbar: it's a trap! I went for the presumably renegade option of destroying the reapers. Now the weirdness doesn't stop, by showing a scene where Joker flies away from an exploding mass relay, crashlanding on some far away planet. Then Garrus jumps out of the crash-landed Normandy as well. This is obviously wrong, since he was just in London with me, getting hit by a reaper. Poor Garrus is probably toast. Then the game ended with a scene of rubble and Shepard breathing in. Now: the rubble didn't look like the citadel, but London just when the reaper hit. Thus I conclude Shepard is still in London and the reaper invasion is not over yet, but nice try. This ending made me think quite a bit and this makes sense, considering Shepards nightmares, him seeing a boy no one else could see (which looks very similar to the ghost boy he meets on the citadel), suddenly not being able to use any powers for the whole citadel part (why did I forget how to use disruptor ammo?) and the information we have about reaper indoctrination. What I still miss is closure, since I concluded it's not over. I assume some dlc will come with the actual "end". Hopefully this will also explain what happened to the universe and to all the friends and enemies I made along the trip. As it is, the Mass Effect saga doesn't feel like it's 'over'. The final hint: once I was done watching the credits, a window popped up telling me I can play some dlc soon. Yeah, EA is not done milking this franchise.
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