There be spoilers ahead.
I was pretty excited about the third (and supposedly final) entry in the Mass Effect franchise. I ordered the N7 Collector’s Edition, not something someone cheap like me usually does, but I had enjoyed the previous games enough to justify it in my mind. I tried to draw out the game as long as possible, and once I figured out a workaround for the face import bug, enjoyed it immensely.
Of course, by the time I received the game others had all ready finished and the rumblings had started. It was becoming increasingly difficult to avoid spoilers as more and more disgruntled players began voicing their complaints everywhere they could. I became a mite concerned but began to convince myself that it couldn’t be that bad.
I was wrong.
Describing how disappointing the conclusion is to non-players is a bit difficult. However, considering how short it was, going over it in detail is an easy task. Well, in theory; having to relive it isn’t very fun.
(As an aside, I do not think Bioware should go back and change the ending, although if they did, I wouldn’t see anything wrong with that either: such is their right. But I still think it was bad.)
First, the Starchild’s circular logic. I remember feeling my sleep deprived brain fluster at trying to grasp and comprehend what I had heard.
An AI and/or “god” thing (a.k.a Starchild) we had never encountered before is revealed to be the creator of the Reapers. The Reapers are synthetics made to kill/harvest organic life every 50,000 years. The reason? To prevent organics from inventing synthetics that will kill them. That makes perfect sense! How Shepard manages to not question this is odd, but then she’s bleeding from practically every orifice so perhaps she can be excused.
So now we get our choice of an ending. Sure we were promised variety:
There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets? –Mike Gamble
But promises were made to be broken!
Shepard can choose to control the Reapers, which is what the Illusive Man wanted and Shepard rallied against, not to mention it will kill her. She could destroy them, but in so doing kill all synthetics including the Geth who she (in my game) fought for and EDI, and maybe even herself. Or she can merge with the Reapers which will somehow cause every organic life (including leaves) and synthetic to become more like each other in synthesis. And is also what Saren from ME1 wanted and we fought against but never-you-mind. It will also get Shepard killed.
All these options suck. I picked destroy because that seemed to be the only logical choice. But it doesn’t really matter! No matter what you pick, you get the same light show just different colors.
The thing that gets me though is how did my squad, who were running alongside me toward the death beams, manage to get on the Normandy, and do a costume change, even?
What really gnaws is that all those choices in the series you made are worth diddly squat. The only time war assets/galactic readiness come into play is in allowing you to choose the synthesis option or Shepard surviving the destroy option if high, or if low seeing Earth get vaporized. But all else stays the same. Doesn’t matter if you killed or saved the Rachni
Queen, if you built an alliance between the Geth and Quarians, saved the Krogan, etc. If you play enough multiplayer you can avoid side mission grinding and get the same results. Either way the mass relays blow up (killing billions and stranding millions) and the Normandy crashes (why wasn’t it with the other ships?), and Shepard usually dies.
I did not necessarily want an ending with rainbows, unicorns, and flying puppies (I prefer cats), but something that makes sense and varies depending on the actions you took throughout the game and series. I was more than willing to sacrifice all the Geth if it meant my Shepard could finally have her blue babies with Liara. After everything she’s been through why not give her a little reward?
“There is a huge set of consequences that start stacking up as you approach the end-game. And
even in terms of the ending itself, it continues to break down to
some very large decisions. So it’s not like a classic game ending
where everything is linear and you make a choice between a few things
– it really does layer in many, many different choices, up to the
final moments, where it’s going to be different for everyone who
plays it.” –Casey Hudson
So now Bioware says they plan to release additional content to clarify the ending and provide further closure. Some critics have wrongly interpreted that as Bioware actually changing that horrid ending whole scale, and how “wrong” that is to them.
Look, I graduated college with a degree in liberal arts: I know pretentious BS when I see it, and that’s what a number of the “pro-ending” crowd are guilty of sprouting. Mass Effect has always offered a bit of variety of results based on your game play, so the idea that there is something unholy of players to ask for more than just those three endings (if you even want to think of them as being separate endings in the first place) is ridiculous. An optional, more than likely paid for, DLC is not akin to demanding Tolstoy come back to life and rewrite War and Peace. But mostly I hate how they always sprout off how they “got” the ending…and never actually explain what they “got”.
All I want is Liara back on Earth so she can birth same damn blue babies.