Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction

  By Shamus   Mar 21, 2012   817 comments

splash_me3.jpg

It should be obvious, but this post is going to be complete and total spoilers for Mass Effect 3. Also, most of what I say here is just a re-hash of points that have been made elsewhere. The problems with the ending are very obvious, and I don’t think it takes a keen analysis or a deep understanding of the Mass Effect lore to uncover these issues.

The truth is, my nitpicking skills are wasted on this, and I don’t have a lot to add to the conversation. I’m writing this mostly to get it off my chest.

And to deflect the likely objections: Yes, the rest of the game is often quite good, and there were many “fanservice” moments where players got things they had been hoping / waiting for since the original game. But right now we’re talking about the ending to Mass Effect 3, which I rank as the worst ending I’ve ever personally played. Worse than KOTOR 2. Worse than Neverwinter Nights 2. It fails thematically, it fails logically, it fails at basic coherence, and it fails to be consistent with what has come before.

I know it’s childish and melodramatic when fans say, “This new thing has RUINED this series FOREVER!” I don’t want to go that far, but I will say it’s done a lot of damage. I just finished a re-play of Mass Effect 1, and it’s shocking just how many things seem stupid, contrived, inconsistent, or pointless now that I know how they turn out.

And no, I’m not a believer in the “indoctrination theory“. I think that would be better than the ending we got, but I don’t think it it was ever intended by the writers. This theory involves an incredible level of subtle symbolism, which goes against just how ham-fisted the rest of the story is. To wit: If these writers thought Shepard was indoctrinated in the last stage of the game, we would know it.

Cerberus

me3_leng.jpg

In the first game, Cerberus was a bunch of idiot mooks that you mowed down for XP. In the second game they were expanded to be this vast organization with research stations, ships, advanced technology, and the ability to build a ship more advanced than the ship that the Humans and Turians could build together. Despite this, they are still amazingly incompetent, with 99% of their victims being human and 100% of their experiments turning on them and destroying their stuff.

In the third game, Cerberus is even more ludicrously powerful. They now have an army, fleets, and military bases that dwarf the size of the human colonies we’ve seen. They’re everywhere, they know everyone’s plans, and have all the best technology.

The Reapers are attacking. Supply lines are cut. The dead and wounded are piling up. Populations are dwindling. And yet Cerberus can conscript, arm, feed, train, equip, and field this endless army, which is powerful enough to fight a war on multiple fronts and even mount an open invasion of the Citadel itself. You spend more time fighting them than you spend fighting the supposed enemy of the series.

This is to say nothing of Leng, the absurd plot-armored emo supervillain, who seems to be made of contrivances and looks like he just escaped from a school for Final Fantasy villains. (When his shields get low, he crouches in the open to become invulnerable to all damage while mooks spawn and his shields recharge. He has no business being in in a cover-based shooter that’s trying this hard to be taken seriously.)

All of this is a drawn-out way of saying that by the end of the game I was just sick to death of Cerberus, and so it was agonizing to have yet another nonsense conversation with the Illusive man right on the threshold of the final encounter. I was so uninterested in him and his goals, and the guy seems to be a sort of plot-hole singularity where the gameworld bends around him until it stops making sense. I was hoping he wouldn’t show up in this game. Instead he was a major focus of it. Not since Fable 2 has there been an annoying second-fiddle antagonist that so gleefully overshadowed the main villain.

The Reapers

me3_reapers.jpg

The explanation for the Reapers is that they destroy all life, every 50,000 years, in order to fix the problem of synthetics rising up and killing their organic masters. This is akin to, “You burned dinner, so I have incinerated the city to save you from the dangers of a kitchen fire.” It’s ludicrous nonsense. It’s not even a solution to the stated problem. It’s just a bigger and grander version of the original problem, running in parallel.

I know we were all worried that the Reapers were going to be some horrible cliche. “Two million years ago, our creators gave us a simple order about being the ‘most powerful’, and our robotic monomania has driven us to this cyclical killing spree to fulfill it.” Yes, that’s a little tired. I admit that wouldn’t have been terribly stimulating. But I’ll take “tired cliche” over “comical blatherskite” any day.

The most offensive thing about this is that you’ve likely got Geth fighting at your side, along with EDI. You have two different synthetics as allies. It’s a major theme of the Quarian storyline that the Geth repeatedly spared their creators, despite having both the means and the justification for eliminating them. The central motivation of the villain is directly undercut by the story itself, and Shepard can’t even bring this up in conversation. The writers couldn’t even be arsed to hand-wave it.

Mass Relays

me3_relay_network.jpg

No matter what choice you make using the Ending-o-tron 3000tm, it shows the mass relays exploding. In Mass Effect 2 (in the DLC) it was a major plot point that an exploding relay would destroy the entire system. The game gives us no indication that this case is any different. So what happened? Did Shepard just wipe out every single inhabited star system? Did Shepard end up killing more people than the Reapers? We can’t know for sure, but that’s only because the game can’t be bothered to answer trivial questions like, “Did I just blow up the galaxy?”

The Galaxy

me3_starchild.jpg

Here is what Casey Hudson had to say about the ending to the Mass Effect series:

For us and for you, Mass Effect 3 had to live up to a lot of expectations, not only for a great gaming experience, but for a resolution to the countless storylines and decisions you’ve made as a player since the journey began in 2007. So we designed Mass Effect 3 to be a series of endings to key plots and storylines, each culminating in scenes that show you the consequences of your actions. You then carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey.

…and then all decisions are instantly negated or rendered moot. Did you enjoy working hard to bring peace between the Salarians and the Krogan? Nice going. Too bad they’ll never see each other again now that the relay network is destroyed. Did you side with the Geth or the Quarians? Doesn’t matter, because the migrant fleet is never moving again. Those colonies you fought to save in Mass Effect 2? Those idiots are probably going to starve.

He continues:

We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending—to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way.

(Emphasis mine.)

I don’t know that bittersweet is the only way to go, but I’ll admit it’s what I was hoping for. But what we have here is not a “bittersweet” ending. This is a nihilistic tragedy where everyone dies for no reason.

For something to be “bitterweet”, it must have some sweetness in it. There is nothing sweet here. Nobody hugs. There is no hope, no future, no joy, no understanding. The isolated people of the galaxy starve or explode. Whatever happens to them, they don’t even get to find out what it was all for or how it turned out. Shepard takes all the secrets to the grave, and the galaxy would have been better off if Shepard had just jumped off that cliff the moment they touched down on Eden Prime in Mass Effect 1.

The Crucible

me3_crucible.jpg

The star child tells us that the Crucible has been in development for many cycles. Each race adds pieces onto it, finally perfecting the design this time around.

How? How are the races collaborating? The whole point of the series is that the Reapers surprise attack, kill everyone, and then leave no traces of their work. Does every single race just happen to never find any hint of the Reapers until after the Reapers attack? And then once the attack is begun they find ruins, or old computers, or whatever, and try to build their own crucible, even though nobody knows how to use it or what it’s for? And then they bury their modified plans in such a way that the next cycle will only find them once it’s too late?

Imagine that the first race, facing the Reaper threat and having no idea how to defeat them, sit down and design a trigger guard. And that’s it. Then they bury the plans for the trigger guard and they die. 50,000 years later, the next race is getting pulverized. Before they die, they find the plans for the trigger guard. They have no idea what it’s for or what it does, but they design a handle to go with it, add it to the plans, and re-bury them.

And so it goes. 50,000 years. A safety mechanism. A rifled barrel. A magazine. A rear sight. The trigger. A front sight. A muzzle. An ejection port. Nobody knows what any of this does.

Then Shepard & Co comes along. They follow the plans, which builds a Glock 17 pistol. Admiral Hacket points to the chamber. Something goes in there, but we don’t know what it is or what it does.

Then you meet the Star Child, who just happens to be a 9mm bullet, which miraculously is a perfect fit for this pistol, even though the people who built it have no idea what a bullet is or what it does.

Then the Star Child explains that the next step is to put the bullet in the chamber, aim the weapon at your foot, and pull the trigger. That’s how you “win”.

Actually, I think my explanation makes the setup sound cooler than it really is. A situation where you’re tricked into building the weapon of your own downfall would have been a great twist. This isn’t that. This is just writers who didn’t remember what they wrote yesterday and can’t plan for tomorrow.

Case in point: The crucible is the ultimate weapon, derived from Prothean ruins, yet it was never mentioned or hinted at in any of the previous games. None of the beacons talked about it. Vigil didn’t bring it up, and I’m willing to bet the Prothean squadmate (a DLC character) doesn’t mention it either. This is because it wasn’t planned at the outset. It’s a late-story asspull done by writers who never had a plan.

Did the Protheans build a crucible of their own? Did they try to use it? If so, what happened? I suspect I have just given this more thought than the writers did.

The Normandy

me3_normandy.jpg

Shepard has just used the Ending-o-tron 3000tm, and now suddenly Joker is flying somewhere? Where is he going? The Normandy was a key part of the fleet to take back Earth, and suddenly he’s flying away. I suppose he’s running away from the exploding mass relays, but the game makes it look like he’s traveling to some other system, which would indicate he flew towards the mass relay.

We don’t know where he’s going, or why, or who is with him. He’s just inexplicably flying somewhere. Then the explosion catches him, and he crashes on a planet someplace. Where? We’re led to believe it’s uninhabited. The ship is smashed. The relays are gone.

So crew of the Normandy abandon the fight, flee like cowards, then crash for unexplained reasons and starve to death? Is that the end here? Because that’s the only conclusion we can draw based on what we’re shown, and anything beyond that is fanfiction.

Earth

me3_earth.jpg

Did you like the “Take Back Earth” marketing campaign? You want to get in there and reclaim your homeworld from the Reapers? Ha ha! You don’t take back anything, Commander Jerkface. Earth is wasted, and possibly incinerated by the exploding mass relay. Which is your fault!

You spent the entire game building a massive fleet, and now that fleet is stuck in orbit around Earth. So even if there are survivors on Earth, they’re probably going to die soon. All of those Turians, Quarians, Asari, and Krogan are going to get hungry, and then your hard-fought alliance will dissolve as the starving armada invades the remnants of Earth civilization and kill each other for the last few scraps of food.

How bittersweet!

Your Squadmates

me3_garrus.jpg

Want to know how things turned out for them after the war? Dead or alive, they’re stuck on some random jungle world with Joker and nothing you did for them matters.

Wrex isn’t going to lead his people, Tali isn’t going to build a home on Rannoch, Ashley isn’t going to hook up with her family, Miranda isn’t going to see her sister again, and Garrus is done being Space Batman. If EDI managed to hook up with Joker, she can look forward to watching him slowly die of fever, malnutrition, and broken bones. This is assuming you didn’t kill her with the Ending-o-tron 3000tm.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who think of malaria and parasites as “bittersweet”.

In Conclusion

The ending has RUINED this series FOREVER!


FIVE HUNDRED!A Hundred!A Hundred!A Hundred!17817. There are now n+1 comments, where n is a ridiculous number.


1 2 3

    • Chauzuvoy says:

      http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=877

      Not quite, but very nearly.

      Ironically, I like the NWN2 ending better, because despite being terribly written as far as an actual thing to happen, it actually (even though it’s just a voiceover of some concept art) tells you what happened to the people and places you visited after you’re gone.

    • Ian White says:

      So I just finished ME3 and I can’t understand why people are so upset! I have read every book on anyone’s top 50 sci-fi list and I have a masters in literature and I think the ME story is the best sci fi I have ever seen. I’m not saying it had the most original or expansive ideas, but I think the characters are fantastic and the overall story plot is amazing. I have become so emotionally invested in my crew and my own story its insane.

      I really wanted to know what happened to my companions though. It definitely left something to be desired not really seeing what happens with them. This blog brought up some good points; a starving fleet left in our solar system, the randomness of joker travelling in a mass relay. but those arent enough to ruin this game for me. I loved every second of it, and maybe I am missing something but I am going to suggest this to everyone

      • me says:

        let me guess, you’re an EA PR person? Another EA PR person who was recently fired has already admitted that he/she gets paid to go to forums etc to downplay the crappiness of TOR by attacking other games. It makes sense from a business perspective, but it’s still an unethical thing to do.

        • Shadowwot says:

          I agree with Ian – sure this article does bring up some valid points but the ending hardly ‘destroys’ the franchise. The game was a ton of fun to play and the ending wasn’t really any worse than what 99% of sci-fi series get.

      • Loonyyy says:

        “I am an authority. I am more educated than you. My opinion is therefore more relevant to your enjoyment of a product than yours is.”

        Yeah, that’s a hole in your logic big enough to fly a Reaper through. I don’t have a top 50’s sci fi list because I’m not a book store. I don’t have a Masters in Literature, because I’d rather be employable. And I personally like the idea of a crushing and harsh ending to Mass Effect. That doesn’t mean I simply get confused when people point out plot holes, inconsistencies, and note that the ending as it stands, doesn’t work.

        People aren’t annoyed at the story-they love the series for it’s story, it’s why they bought the game. People aren’t annoyed at the game. The game is meant to be a pretty good one, and a fitting conclusion. They’re annoyed that, for all the expertise shown in the smaller conclusions throughout the game, the conclusion to the entire thing is ham fisted and shoddy. That’s not hating the story, that’s hating a specific and small part of the story. And the reason they hate it, is because they loved the game. No-one cares if you make a terrible ending if that’s the standard. We don’t get annoyed at the colour choices in a fingerpainting. We get annoyed if someone puts a Van Gogh in a frame made out of ice lolly sticks. These people want to see the story they love end, since as it stands, it doesn’t have a real ending. Heck, the problem with their Mass Relays in and of itself invalidates the entire game.

        Can I have your degree in Literature for having the basic reading and comprehension skills to understand the article I just read?

  1. Lord of Rapture says:

    “This ending has RUINED this series FOREVER!”

    That implies there was anything of worth to ruin in the first place.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Surprisingly,there was.I never liked what me2 did with the story,in fact I thought it was so bad that I couldnt be disappointed by anything 3 does.And yet,bioware has proved me wrong.Twice.By just watching someone else play the game,I got angry at the stupidity of the writing in the beginning,and in the end.

      • GTB says:

        This is why i’m skipping 3. 2 was such an awful game that 3 could only make me even more depressed after how awesome 1 was. So fuck it. There’s other things to play on the horizon.

        • Deadyawn says:

          Basically this. I’ll probably pick it up in a few years when its cheaper.

          Besides, I can just watch the spoiler warning of it. THAT should be interesting.

        • Chargone says:

          i had reached a similar conclusion, only having played 2, the Controls for the fighting part of 1 (aka, most of the gameplay) now felt horribly awkward.

          yeeeah… sold both games, sold my 360 (i’d reached the point where i only had one game that i had not either completed or decided i wanted nothing more to do with anyway, and That was available on the ps3 as well… i already had a PS3, so that was no big deal) was glad i didn’t (that i Remember) pay for any downloadable content.

          i wonder how much of this can be blamed on bad planning on the part of bioware and how much can be blamed on EA’s ‘we only make sequels, we only make games that the lowest common denominator type customer will buy because that’s where the best money is, we hate letting good games keep being good’ policy

          i have a sneaking suspicion that 2 was mostly a result of the latter and 3 is a result of trying to compensate for it while still stuck with it and suffering from the former.

        • DakDak says:

          “There’s other things to play on the horizon.”

          Like Witcher 2 if you didnt played it yet on pc

      • Eric says:

        The Mass Effect universe isn’t really anything special. It’s a gigantic walking trope and more or less plays the most ridiculous sci-fi cliches with a completely straight face. I’ll take any mid-90s sci-fi show any day of the week over Mass Effect – not only does, say, Farscape have a far more original world and does interesting things with the usual sci-fi cliches, it was also written by people who actually had a clue.

        Yes, everyone likes Garrus and Tali. That does not make Mass Effect worth saving. I mean, geez, it’s like saying Baldur’s Gate was fantastic and memorable because it had Minsc. BioWare have always either had cookie-cutter games (the sole exception being Jade Empire) and the only flashes of originality came from external properties like Star Wars and D&D. After the first Mass Effect game it was clear BioWare didn’t care about any sort of overarching plot or consistency, and all that’s left are… what, cute fanservice nerd bait characters, a generic “the dragons are coming!” quote-unquote plot, and good music?

        • Simon Buchan says:

          Ironically, the Codex is packed to the gills with some incredibly good hard SciFi world-building… that is summarily ignored to the point of contradiction with much more boring things in the actual game. Read up on the free-mercury military heat-sink system and tell me you don’t think they should have shown that!

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Hordes of the underdark was pretty solid as well.Dont know about nwn2 expansions though,but others praise them too.

          Mass effect 1 did do some interesting things with it.Saren was interesting once you think about him,and so were wrex,garrus and tali.The geth were also an interesting setup,and probably one of the few things that they went on to develop well in the sequels.And,like Simon Buchan said,it was good world building.Its a shame that they didnt expand on it as well as they could.

          • malrabidus says:

            I’m a little late to the dance, however, I just wanted to say that NWN was pretty pedestrian RPG. However, it led to some fan mods that were actually better than the original game as well as things like Hordes which was actually pretty good, a little hack and slash but hey….

        • Matt Downie says:

          Baldur’s Gate WAS fantastic and memorable because it had Minsc!

          • krellen says:

            Swords! Swords for everybody!

          • Corsair says:

            This sentiment kind of bothers me, really. Not that Minsc isn’t an awesome character, but Baldur’s Gate 2 was an excellent game for so many more reasons than just the hilarity of Minsc. It wouldn’t be half as memorable without other party members like Jan Jansen, Keldorn, even Anomen, and it wouldn’t be a tenth as memorable without Irenicus.

            • Mantergeistmann says:

              Agreed to that. Minsc was one of the characters I considered a “core” party member (which is to say, I never ever ever had a party without him; nearly every other character I considered optional even if it was a hard choice to go without them), but Irenicus is what made the game. He’s still my favorite villain in anything ever (and even Sarevok was no slouch as a villain). It’s much more “Baldur’s Gate was fantastic and memorable, and Minsc made it EVEN BETTER.” Without him, it would still be a great game, one of the best of all time. With him, it’s even better. He doesn’t make the game (he wouldn’t be able to save it if it was horrible), but he enhances it instead.

              Icing on the cake, as it were. It’s still a delicious, delicious cake without icing, and icing on a horrendous cake wouldn’t make it edible (even if you’re the type of person who just eats icing on its own), but a delicious delicious cake with delicious delicious icing? SO DELICIOUS.

        • CuseGirl says:

          In your opinion, the ME universe isn’t special. And no, not everyone loves Garrus and Tali. I’m a huge Miranda fan and I was very upset at how little she was featured in the game. I also don’t like the ending at all. I never played this game with the intention to kill the Reapers while destroying the Mass Relays. That’s not bittersweet, that’s stupid.

          • Aldowyn says:

            I’ve been assuming the relays would have to be destroyed since ME2. It was kind of obvious. Relays force us to evolve one way? Well, destroy them then!

  2. Frozen Bucket says:

    Interesting and well written deconstruction Shamus!

    Even though most of it had already been said, its nice to hear your opinion on this mess of an ending.

    Personally, I believe that while the ending certainly did make me shake my head, I truly enjoyed the ride.

    Uniting the Krogan and Turians, ending the war between the Geth and Quarians and seeing the effects of the reapers attacks in the refugee docks on the citadel were all great things that added to the experience of a desperate time of war. Sadly the ending choice kinda ruined the whole effort of gathering all those assets…

    • Chauzuvoy says:

      The biggest complaint I had with the game was that all the choices you made were reduced to filling a progress bar. Whatever it’s flaws, at least the choices in ME2 (Well, the get loyalty/don’t choices) affected things in the final mission.

      When I cured the genophage, I wanted to fight alongside krogan warriors, not get +15 “galactic readiness.” As it was, the decisions I was making didn’t have an impact. The fact that a decision was made had impact. That was where I first realized it was going downhill.

    • FuturisticNarly says:

      This was a great breakdown and I was equally if not more disappointed. To realize that none of my decisions actually affected anything, and if they did, I didn’t get to see any kind of confirmation. The worst part of the entire ending FAIL was that they gave no kind of closure at all. Just a simple “what just happened???” would have satisfied many gamers, but they just blandly ended a great trilogy. And the fact that they are addressing the issues and the Bioware CEO is saying that the Mass Effect series will continue is the company trying to fix the fact that they messed up. The thing about being an artist is making your art appeal to others, while at the same making it what you want. I was sad that my Shepard died, but I was ok with it and that was Bioware’s direction the entire time. I just hated that even if I didn’t put all the hours and work into the game as I did, I would’ve gotten the same bland ending. And I never get any kind of idea as to what happens to the rest of the galaxy. Just the fact that there was no closure whatsoever is what ruined it…

      • To be fair, if decisions had consequences, then some people might think that their choice was being unfairly gimped even though it was clearly the right one. I think they had to make an ending where all your choices MATTERED, but which was all roughly as good, so to speak.

  3. General Karthos says:

    True enough. :(

  4. I wrote something similar (but not as eloquently put as you wrote Shamus)
    Mass Effect 3 Ending Review

    I have no issue with the “canon” ending.
    What I have an issue with is many of the loose ends you pointed out,
    and more importantly the lack of alternate endings.

    I know that ME4 will start based on a/the canon ME3 ending.
    But I’d really like a alt ending for ME3.

    KoTOR had an alternate ending for example.
    Dragon Age Origins, had an alternate ending that was self-sacrificing and bittersweet. (and the loose threads of the companions was resolved in end game text cards).

    Why BioWare did not do something similar for ME3 I have no clue.
    It almost feels like a huge chunk(s) of the ending is missing somehow.

    • FuturisticNarly says:

      It technically shouldn’t even be a ME4 because Bioware had stated many times that the series was a trilogy. Any other ME games will just be the company trying to patch this horrible ending up. The fight was always about the Reapers, so what will even be the concept of the next game??? Trying to find a way to fix what they messed up is the only reason Bioware has said that the series won’t end…

      • Aldowyn says:

        What’s the concept of Halo 4? Pretty much exactly the same situation. (Halo 4 actually looks kind of cool in some ways. And sacrilegious in others.)

  5. BeamSplashX says:

    It’s not like I ignore the existence of the second and third Matrix movies, I just don’t watch them as much as the first one. I don’t think doing the same for Mass Effect should be too difficult.

    Then again, it’s a bigger shame that this one turned out the way it did. I do hope its financial success will encourage other companies to try this kind of thing.

    • Adam P says:

      Lol, I’m glad they never made a sequel to Matrix. It would have been terrible!

    • Sagretti says:

      The weird thing is that the more I read about ME3’s ending, the more it reminded me of the second and third Matrix movie’s plots. Machines rising against creators, giving the protagonist a choice of giving in to the plan or trying to wipe everything out, etc.

      However, this ending make’s the Matrix series ending look almost decent. At least that series ended with some hope amid all the general stupidity, while Mass Effect 3 just seems generally miserable among all the plot holes, and has even less resolution.

      • Jamfalcon says:

        It also has a lot of similarities to Battlestar Galactica’s ending (the new one that is). The machines will always kill all of their creators, life new life will advance, and they’ll make more machines that will kill them. It even had the ending where they destroyed all of their technology in hopes that it didn’t happen again, much like ME3’s “Red” ending.

      • Mechakisc says:

        Wow.

        Suggestion for the Drs’ tombstones (may they not get there early):

        “They Made the Matrix Sequels Look Less Awful.”

  6. SlowShootinPete says:

    … Welp.

    I guess I guess I’m done being a Bioware fan for a while.

  7. Wintermood says:

    I just finished the game yesterday and I did not hate the ending. But it seems I must be one of very few who liked the ending of KOTOR 2 too. :)

    To me the ending was in line with the previous game and I could see where they were going with it. It does not hurt that I almost automatically filled many blanks in my brain for myself. I like this kind of stuff, be it in endings or anywhere.

    Even before the final moments in the game I had expected that finally Shepard was the catalysator in a sense that he/she ended the cycle. I was not disappointed (yes, the boy says he is the catalysator, but it is Shepard who sets the things in motion and it hinges on his/her actions).

    I particularly liked the short ending sequence for the “Synthese Ending” the tone was really good in my opinion. It gave me a sense, that my character really accomplished a goal – to reunite and bring peace.

    Well it is just my opinion, I can understand that this ending may have not fulfilled some people. There were some things I just skipped in my brain and not really thought too hard about in favour of enjoing the game and its ending.

    TlDr: I liked the ending but I understand the arguments of the people who did not. :)

    Edit: To the people who want to abandon Bioware because of this: you will miss out. Just saying. :)

    • krellen says:

      ME2, DA2, ME3 … what am I missing?

    • ehlijen says:

      But even the synthesis ending ends up blowing up the mass relays, which we are told will destroy the homeworlds of all major races and many, though not all, colonies. It’s also going to prevent major space travel.

      There is no peace and unity, just isolation.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “I particularly liked the short ending sequence for the “Synthese Ending” the tone was really good in my opinion. It gave me a sense, that my character really accomplished a goal – to reunite and bring peace.”

      Well then,you particularly like all the endings,because they are exactly the same.Unless you have a certain dislike for the colours red and blue,that is.

      • IFS says:

        The synthesis ending made the least sense to me out of all of them. How exactly does fusing a machine with DNA work? Does the light sweep over the geth and then they look down to see they have spontaneously gained a liver? Does it magically give all the organics cybernetic implants? How does this affect the reapers, they already had organic components, did the energy teach them the meaning of love and friendship?

        • James says:

          For synthesis ending I think they wanted a contrived Adam and Eve comparison between joker and Edi. one problem though, unless the magic green space light gave Edi Ovaries and a robo Vagina I don’t see her making little terminators anytime soon. That assumes of course that joker can even eat the food on the planet.

          On another note in my ending I saw Garrus and Tali come out of the ship. meaning even if joker could eat the food, Garrus and Tali will starve cause they cannot eat the same food as humans and cannot be rescued.

          I’m going to stop here I could wright as much as Shamus Here on why that one scene of the Normandy crash land doesn’t make sense.

        • Sumanai says:

          One of the ways I see it, is that you did exactly what the Reapers were planning on doing, it just takes a moment for them to fetch Joker and buddies before traveling back to where they came from.

          Another way I see it:
          Everyone is basically the same. As in: everyone has the same ideas, everyone agrees about everything, everyone has the same DNA. Individuality is gone, welcome to the peace and unity. I know you’re happy, since I am happy.

      • Jordan says:

        This confused me immensely about ME2’s human shaped spaceship somehow made out of ground up people juice.

      • How much must it suck to play through the ending and be red-green colourblind?

      • Wintermood says:

        As it happens, I really like the colour “green”. :)

        I did not see the other endings, if they are just variations of the colour that would be a tad disappointing. Ah well, in my opinion, the weight (enjoyment, etc.) of the three games balance it out.

        Edit: I just watch your link: I talked about the sequence with the crashed Normandy, not the beam, etc. I can understand how just the colour of the beam changes with your decision.

        In other news, I just read about the “indoctrination theorie”. Interesting read.

    • PhoenixUltima says:

      KotOR2’s ending wasn’t explicitly bad, just incomplete and rushed. Which makes sense because the last part was itself incomplete and rushed. But at least we did get to hear what happened to our companions and the places we’d been to (even if Kreia suddenly being able to see the future is ridiculous and contrived). I think when most people say they hate KotOR2’s ending they really mean they hated Malachor V and Trayus Academy. Which I can’t defend because, yeah, that was awful.

    • Eric says:

      KotOR 2 had a decent ending. Yes, it was clearly rushed and had a lot of leftover holes that probably should have just been cut, but at least it made a decent amount of sense, had a great villain and a couple of good final encounters and conversations. Mass Effect 3 has a generic Call of Duty slog through a ruined city, five minutes of slow-mo walking, and then ten minutes of sheer agony. I think the winner is obvious.

      • krellen says:

        KotOR 2 even had closure, as Kreia would predict the future of all your companions and the galaxy at large at the end.

        Oh wait, the guy right above you already said all that.

  8. General Karthos says:

    Oh, I think Dragon Age 2 had a worse, more nonsensical ending than ME3. And the game itself was also significantly less enjoyable. I’d be willing to play through Mass Effect 3 again (not for a while yet) but trying to play through DA2 a second time is like having your teeth pulled, then going back to your dentist only to find out he pulled the WRONG teeth.

    • Johan says:

      I agree, sort of.

      The ending for DA2 basically put me off the series. If they ever come out with a DA3, I won’t jump at it like I jumped at DAO. But I truly enjoyed the first two acts (well not the end of act 2), and I played through those several time

      • IFS says:

        The second act was the best part of DA2, the ending was a massive cliffhanger that really didn’t resolve very much but it was way better than the contrived stupidity that is ME3’s ending.

      • Eric says:

        I find it hard to believe that you enjoyed Dragon Age 2. Aside from one or two good plot threads and the Arishok, it was a bloated, meandering mess. Stories need clear goals to work toward and a sense of forward movement to them, and Dragon Age 2 did not have any of that.

        • IFS says:

          I enjoyed DA2, the story had problems, especially in the third act which feels rushed, but overall I liked that they were trying something new and I liked the characters.

          • Eric says:

            People point to the characters as the saving grace of the game, but… what? Really?

            Aveline is okay but ultimately kind of just boring, and puts you on a bunch of stupid quests over and over until she can ask some boy out. Urgh.

            Fenris is an emohead who learns to be slightly less emo.

            Varrick is “cool” as interpreted by people in a corporate boardroom who had only heard of the word “cool” from focus groups. He doesn’t really have an arc either, strikes me as author insertion “hey aren’t I awesome? I should be the main character!”

            Isabella is “sexy” as envisioned by a lonely fan fiction author. Her character is not interesting and her stupidity results in the deaths of hundreds.

            Merrill is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl whose stupidity causes her banishment and the potential deaths of her clan.

            Anders is a terrorist, whiny, and eventually goes crazy. I refused to have gay sex with him and I was hit with like +20 rivalry.

            I guess my point is that these characters are decent, but aside from appearance and voice acting there isn’t too much distinctive about them. They have almost nothing to do with the main plot (largely because there isn’t one), and they’re all either cookie-cutter stereotypes or cheap pandering to lonely gamers. Many of them do completely stupid things against all good judgement and we are expected to take pity on them because they’re oh-so-cute.

            Really, strip away the romance stuff and there is nothing there. No hidden secrets that aren’t extremely obvious within the first 30 seconds of meeting them, no integration with the main plot, in many cases no real arcs, etc. Maybe I’m just jaded, but they were just too one-note for my liking. I don’t mind simple characters at all, but in BioWare’s case they always build half the game around companions and romance and crap even though those characters are nowhere near interesting enough to prop things up. To be frank, it comes across as masturbatory.

            • IFS says:

              To me what really sold the characters of DA2 was the banter they all had with each other. I even ended up switching up my party fairly often just to see what they had to say, even putting together parties I would never take into combat (such as a party of all rogues) when I went shopping just to hear banter I would otherwise miss.

        • Johan says:

          I… hated the Arishok, he was the worst part of the game for me

          I liked especially the first act sidequests, which did their best to actually try to give you choices with meaning outside “kill the kitten, save the kitten”

    • GiantRaven says:

      Correct my if I’m wrong but isn’t Dragon Age 2 the middle part of a planned trilogy? I think a shoddy ending can be somewhat excused there (not entirly, mind you). Cocking up the end to a huge epic trilogy by disregarding the core game mechanics that made it so popular on the other hand? Utter madness.

      • Johan says:

        I don’t really understand how DA is supposed to be a “trilogy” in any real sense of the world, more like a series set in the same continuity. The “sequel” just used one of DAO’s plot points as a set-up and then took another for it’s main thread.

        Logically following from this, DA3 will have refugees fleeing the Circle/Templars war, and the main plot will involve the Qunari. Then DA4 will have a refugee fleeing THAT war and its main plot will be about Basket Weaving or something

        So what I’m trying to say is that DAO and DA2 are connected, but they don’t really feel like 2 parts to a trilogy

        • General Karthos says:

          ^ This

          And DA was never planned to be a trilogy the way Mass Effect was planned to be a trilogy. Of course… you can’t really tell they actually officially planned it as a trilogy, but they did state before ME1 came out that it was planned to be a trilogy.

          Does anyone (else) wonder how much of this has to do with EA having purchased BioWare?

          • Irridium says:

            Well, their development cycles seem to have been changed from 4-5 years to 2-3 years. Whether or not that has something to do with EA… I don’t know. But crap like how they rushed Dragon Age 2 to capitalize on the success of DA:O suggests EA may have something to do with it.

            • Adam says:

              THIS. Their dev cycles are about half as long as they used to be, they’re working for a publisher with a proven track record of grinding the talent and originality out of their dev teams, and they ended up sticking the vast majority of their old writing staff on TOR for several years. It’s likely that literally everything people find wrong with the games they made since EA bought them up is in some way connected to that purchase. Think about it: the stories of ME2 and 3, and DA2 are radically shifted in focus from the respective first games in their series, and generally held to be of lower quality. Both ME1 and DAO were in development long before EA bought them up and their stories were most likely done. Suddenly EA buys them, their core writing team gets repurposed to the MMO they have no real business making, and now all of those great stories that could have sprung from their IPs end up in the crapper because the new guys they put on the task of writing this epic space opera and dark, gritty fantasy war story have no idea what they’re doing.

      • Keeshhound says:

        When did That become acceptable at all? Being the middle game is not an excuse to be worse than the predecessor. If anything, a sequel should always work to build on what made it’s predecessor good in the first place. Even if there is a stigma that the middle of a trilogy will always be the worst part, (and as a counter to that insipid notion, I present The Empire Strikes Back) that doesn’t excuse a lazy sequel, and it should be made clear to ANY company that tries to push out a low quality sequel that such behavior is not acceptable, and will not be profitable in the long term.

    • ravenshrike says:

      Originally DA2 was supposed to be an expansion to set up for the actual DA2. It was supposed to introduce the character of Hawke, as well as explain the shattering of the Templar/Mage system. But then EA happened and all those plans went out the fucking window.

  9. krellen says:

    “Ending-o-tron 3000tm” makes me smile every time.

    • BeamSplashX says:

      It’s interesting that the original Deus Ex actually had a similar set-up for its endings, but it didn’t feel as poorly done. Perhaps that’s down to the set-ups for each one in the final area, and the fact that the endings themselves were markedly different.

      • Matt K says:

        I’m not sure what yuo mean by this as Deus Ex 1 actually required you to complete different objective to get each ending (same with DX 2 to a lesser extent). Besides, even DX 2’s ending were better than this.

        Also while I completely hated DX3’s ending I could honestly say that that for that game the endings in general were superflous as beforehand we had already accomplished our goals and based on DX1 we know what’s going to happen. Here, as an ending to a series that’s just terrible.

        • Lalaland says:

          Perhaps it’s my memory but I believe DX1 ended with a “3 buttons” setup too. I remember because I was particularly disappointed as I had believed I’d be forced into one of the endings and would have to replay to get another. Instead my save scumming ways let me see all three endings in about 15 minutes.

          • ehlijen says:

            Weren’t there 4 endings in DX1?

            • Raygereio says:

              There were 3
              -Destroy the internet (Tong)
              -Take control of the internet (Illuminati)
              -Become an internet god (Helios)

              Deus Ex 1 indeed worked with a three button setup, but it was arguably handled better in that the different “buttons” consisted in JC finishing different objectives in the room-of-super-importance.

              • krellen says:

                So literally the same choices ME3 gave?

                Holy. Fuck.

                This isn’t just a failing of writing. The literally just took another game’s ending and pasted it on theirs.

                • Lalaland says:

                  Yup it’s exactly that bad.

                  • Tom says:

                    I think the key difference, and what made Deus Ex 1 so AWESOME, was that your final choice addressed *EVERYTHING* you’d seen and done in the game up to that point. The *ENTIRE GAME* presents you with glimpses of the different futures you could choose for the world. During your travels, for example, you get to *SEE* the shadowy opulence the Illuminati live in, and the naked destitution only a wall’s thickness away from some of them, as well as the progress, order and industry they have nurtured, before you get to consider the option to put them back in power. You see what happens when power is concentrated in both good and bad hands. You get to feel what it’s like to fight on both the side of the authorities, and on the side of the dissidents. You get to feel what it’s like to be endlessly under surveillance and suspicion, and what it’s like to spy on and suspect everyone else. You see technology and AI save your ass, and you also see it turn on you.

                    In short, the endings of Deus Ex are awesome because they are the culmination of everything you’ve seen and done up to that point (or not, if you suddenly realise you’ve been wrong all along and do a U-turn); you can pick the one that is the ultimate expression (or redemption, or even betrayal) of the character you’ve been building all this time. It doesn’t matter that the ending cut-scenes last a matter of seconds and show you nothing of the outcome because, unless you’ve been playing with the express intention of not noticing anything at all, you should damn well *KNOW*, based on your entire preceding experience, right down to those little incidental contemporary book excerpts you read on somebody’s coffee table in some earlier level, what the outcome you choose for the world would look like (which is just as well because, unlike ME3, they could never have done it justice in a cut-scene back then, and not everyone would have agreed with it – some are horrified by any given DE ending, others can’t see how you could choose anything else)

                    The apparently identical Mass Effect 3 endings suck because it seems they have nothing to do with anything you’ve done and are not really informed by any particular game experience, so you can’t begin to guess what the outcomes and implications might be (worse, they’re seemingly *contradicted* by some of the things you can see and do!). Whole new, never-before-alluded-to concepts are introduced at the last moment. The state of your own character apparently has no bearing on final events either – this is the worst, in my opinion, because the greatest appeal of Mass Effect has always been characterization and character development (PC and NPC alike) for me, gameplay be damned.

                    Speaking of games with awesome endings, it’s particularly galling that Bioware should suck so badly at an ending where you’re basically doomed, when you consider that they were once strongly involved with Black Isle, the guys who made freaking Planescape Torment – if you ever want to see how to do this kind of ending properly, there it is! Heck, Mass Effect 2 practically felt like Planescape Torment In Space in some ways* (you even rise from the dead at the beginning, for crying out loud), most especially with the companions – they’ve all got deep personal or psychological issues, one of them’s a robot who’s become somewhat detached from his hive mind, one of them’s a homicidally insane criminal with superpowers, one of them’s an awesome and honourable warrior who had a crisis of confidence, one of them’s a fanatical lawbringer…

                    *And hey, Jennifer Hale, the voice of Femshep, is also the voice of Deionarra & Fall From Grace in PST! Who knew?

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Of course not.They took another games ending,SIMPLIFIED it,and then pasted it as their own.See,they put effort into it.

                • Pete says:

                  At least the ending videos in DX had more diffences than just the color filter used.

            • Michael says:

              I vaguely remember a fourth Easter egg ending involving a dance club or something, but I have no recollection of how to trigger it. Or, that may have been IW.

              But, yeah, Deus Ex had 3 real endings, anyway.

          • Eric says:

            The buttons were at least split up into different rooms and goals, and importantly, it actually made some sense as to why you were activating X or Y device. A bit forced, maybe, but they worked it into the level design, and that’s more that can be said for Mass Effect 3.

            A much better parallel would be Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which had three literal buttons. Even Invisible War wasn’t that bad.

      • Dude says:

        Also: nostalgia goggles for Deus Ex. Give it ten years. People will come up with excuses for ME3’s ending too.

  10. Rayen says:

    To quote;
    “They drew close and halted, at the corpse beside the gate. In death, [Mass Effect] seemed a pathetic and insignificant thing, not at all the sort of being that required [years] of devotion, sacrifice, and effort to bring down.
    ‘I told you Closure was overrated.'”
    -Ravenor Rogue, Dan Abnett

    “[]” indicate things i changed to match the subject.

  11. Johan says:

    I never managed to get into this series. I avoided ME1 because of the DRM, I got ME2 for free with a purchase of DA2, and thought it was fine. Good points and bad points, but overall I’d call it a “good” (not necessarily great) game.

    I was sort of thinking of going back and getting ME1 and then ME3, or perhaps a full set if/when/they probably already have come out with that. But a lot of what I’m reading is putting me off of that.

    • GiantRaven says:

      I wouldn’t make too much of how inflamed the reception to the ending is. In fact, people are getting so enraged about it because the rest of the series is so damn good. The rest of the three games are definitely worth playing but just bear in mind that the ending is just…well…you know.

      • Chargone says:

        … that is highly debateable.

        the FIRST game was good.

        the second one was ‘good’ in that if you take an Entirely Different target audience who is used to a Much lower standard of ‘acceptable’ it actually has character development. (also, if you’re Not a complete newbie to shooters, it’s combat controls are better. if you are, not so much. this also makes going back to 1 difficult) and (the illusion of) choices affecting the plot. gasp! that said: human reaper. (which, from what i’m seeing here, was promptly IGNORED for the third game. i mean, sure, the actual thing blew up, but you’d think how they were making it would be significant)

        and 3 (which i am skipping after being highly disappointed in 2) … well, read the article here…

        • CB says:

          There’s an explanation for the human reaper. It’s silly and contrived and ties into the “synthetics killing organics to save organics from building synthetics that might kill them” logic-hole.

          Said human reaper also makes a guest appearance, whether you blew up the collector ship or not.

  12. GiantRaven says:

    I don’t know why the writers felt they needed a ridiculous ass-pull device to beat the Reapers. On Rannoch we find that the Reapers have a pretty clear, cliche though it may be, weak spot. That’s a method of destruction right there. The ending should have been (in my eyes anyhow) deterimined by the amount of allies you amass, and whether or not you have enough brute force to overwhelm the enemy. That even provides a better, more sensible, use for the EMS than we were provided in-game (having a huge army = Shepard survives and is teleported to Earth).

    Making a suitable ending to Mass Effect 3 is so simple it can practically write itself. I’m completely flabbergastered that BioWare managed to cock this up so badly.

    • Xakura says:

      He’s not teleported to earth. He never left.

    • WysiWyg says:

      And if you don’t have a fleet/army great enough, in the end you have to sacrifice earth to end the Reapers!

      • GiantRaven says:

        I always felt that the ending should’ve had the choice ‘Citadel or Earth’, referencing Paragon/Renegade Shepard’s Pro/Anti-Alien stance.

        • Uli says:

          Paragon/Renegade pretty much stopped being about pro/anti alien in the second game. Played a racist anti-turian Shep who refused to recruit Garrus in ME1? Can’t do it anymore. Shepard simply doesn’t have a problem with aliens, even if he might be insensitive from time to time.

          Kind of an odd choice considering it’s the second game you start working for human supremacists.

          Though yeah, I was expecting a choice between the Citadel and the Earth to crop up. Disappointed it didn’t.

    • Lalaland says:

      This is why the Suicide Mission in ME2 trumps this ending even in all it’s ‘Baby Reaper’ glory. In that game all the widgets you stuck on the Normandy had a spot in the final mission where they helped, or their lack hurt, your ship on the way to the final showdown (eg if you hadn’t the Asari shields you took damage and lost crew). In ME3 I collect the galaxies largest fleet to unlock 3 colours in the ending movie :( At no point are the size and composition of your forces referenced or change anything (I’d love to be contradicted) until that final movie.

      • Michael says:

        As much as I hate to admit it, because of my irrational hatred of the giant space terminator baby, you’re absolutely right. :\

      • Ringwraith says:

        Only the geth are actually explicitly mentioned, and only in passing and the fact they’re mentioned often only makes the ending more nonsensical.

      • Eric says:

        The suicide mission sucked. It was no different from the readiness bar in Mass Effect 3 – basically, get 100% completion and aren’t a moron, everyone lives, don’t, people die. The only time people can actually die when you do have 100% completion is either in making extremely stupid decisions on how to allocate them, or in a few cases where the game has completely idiotic logic about who is suitable for what.

        Basically it’s a matter of presentation. Yes, the suicide mission did have a few specific scenes related to your specific preparations, but if there is no real consequence as a result of your actions (only inaction), what’s the point? It’s all undermined by how colossally stupid and full of plot holes the entire sequence is anyway. Send a probe into the relay? Nah, it’s a SUICIDE MISSION! Not loyal = rocket to the face? Makes sense!

        • Lalaland says:

          It’s not Shakespeare no doubt but it did provide far more direct feedback for your hours of slaving over the scanning screen. By contrast ME3 basically ignores that effort and provides no acknowledgement of it at all.

        • Ringwraith says:

          The term ‘loyalty’ is a bit misleading, as it’s more like ‘focus’, which Jacob refers to it as. So basically they’re not got any distractions and are performing to the best of their ability. Therefore bad things don’t happen.
          If you look at the maths involved with holding the line it makes a bit more sense there.

        • Tom says:

          The ME2 suicide mission decisions were far too simple and obvious, agreed, but at least they were the right gameplay mechanism to use. That’s just a question of degree, whereas the issue with ME3 is of the fundamental approach they took.

    • Also wasn’t this going to have something to do with dark energy? that kept popping up in ME2 but it’s nowhere to be found here.

      • Michael says:

        I got into a slap fight with an idiot in the Escapist about this… and ironically learned something.

        The flavor of energy the relays dump IS dark energy, according to the Starchild, anyway, and the reason the relays detonate with such force was because they tap into dark energy reserves or some such.

        Hilariously, the devs claim the relay in Arrival blows up with more force than any other relay because it’s special, but there’s no indication of that in Arrival, so it got grafted on at some later date, probably after ME3 shipped.

        Dark Energy is also the medium that Biotics actually use and manipulate as well as something to do with mass effect field technology. That is to say, Eezo actually allows the direct manipulation of dark energy. And that’s when blood started spurting from my ears, sorry.

      • Eärlindor says:

        According to a guy on the SA forums who played the game prior to release (and this is a direct quote): the Reapers’ [original] goal was to find a way to stop the spread of Dark Energy which would eventually consume everything. That’s why there was so much foreshadowing about Dark Energy on Haestom in ME2.

        The Reapers as a whole were ‘nations’ of people who had fused together in the most horrific way possible to help find a way to stop the spread of the Dark Energy. The real reason for the Human Reaper was supposed to be the Reapers saving throw because they had run out of time. Humanity in Mass Effect is supposedly unique because of it’s genetic diversity (I know, I know) and represented the universe’s best chance at stopping Dark Energy’s spread.

        The original final choice was going to be “Kill the Reapers and put your faith in the races of the galaxy in finding another way to stop the spread with what little time is left” or “Sacrifice humanity, allowing them to be horrifically processed in hopes that the end result will justify the means.”

        Then they changed it to what it is now and dropped Dark Energy almost entirely.

      • IcepickEvans says:

        Drew Karpyshyn, the original Mass Effect writer, did have a plan for the Dark Energy foreshadowing in the 2nd game…

        http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/17086/mass-effect-writer-drew-karpyshyn-reveals-original-mass-effect-3-endings

  13. jdaubenb says:

    “I’m willing to bet the Prothean squadmate (a DLC character) doesn’t mention it either. […] Did the Protheans build a crucible of their own? Did they try to use it? If so, what happened?”

    It is possible to ask the DLC-Squadmate about the Crucible. He doesn’t know anything about it, beyond it being a secret project some scientists worked on, once everything already went down the drain.

  14. Rick says:

    I got the game two weeks ago. I still haven’t finished it. Compare Mass Effect 2, which after I’d had it this long I was well into my Renegade playthrough by this point. And yes, I’m spoiled for the endings and that’s what’s killing my enthusiasm for playing the game.

    And it’s a shame, because when I do overcome the crippling apathy and play the game, I love it. Curing the genophage is probably going to go down as my favorite mission in the trilogy. I don’t want this to be another Dragon Age II or Neverwinter Nights 2 where I never finish the game (DA2 I still have every intention of going back and finishing, but I don’t know), but given the ending, I don’t know.

    All the ME2 DLC was a day-one instant purchase for me. I don’t think I’ll do the same for ME3, even if said DLC purports to fix the ending. And I’m pretty sure I’m not going to preorder whatever BioWare’s next game is, unless it’s Jade Empire 2. (Not that I’d have any more faith in JE2 than DA3 or ME4 or some new franchise, but Jade Empire is my favorite BioWare game and I couldn’t pass up a sequel.)

    • Kdansky says:

      Dragon Age 2 isn’t actually all that bad. Hawke is neither the hero, nor the main character of that story. Anders is, and you are only a by-stander who cannot prevent the inevitable, because you didn’t see it coming. Seen like that, it’s mostly fine. Yes, there are really stupid boss fights, but then again, most fights in DA2 didn’t make a lick of sense to begin with.

      Or do I remember this completely wrong? If so, someone tell me why the ending was so bad.

      • I really enjoyed Dragon Age 2. I think most of the ire directed at that game comes from people who, for some reason unknown to me, thought Origins was the Second Coming of Christ. Origins was enjoyable. DA2 was enjoyable (in different ways). I’m expecting DA3 to also be both a.) slightly different and b.) enjoyable.

        Yeah, I thought some of the options they gave you in DA2 were dumb–but I’ve thought that about every RPG I’ve ever played, EVER. I’d like to see them improved. I’m hoping they don’t jump the shark too badly, or, worse, just keep presenting the same conflicts in the same terms: free mages are bad! slave mages are bad! RWAAARRR lots of fighting! Yeah, we get that. Say something NEW about it or go away.

        • Raygereio says:

          I think most of the ire directed at that game comes from people who, for some reason unknown to me, thought Origins was the Second Coming of Christ.

          It’s also possible that people weren’t disapointed that their expectations weren’t met, they were disapointed that they got a really shitty game.
          Just saying, because that’s the reason why most people i know disliked DA2.

          For reference:
          I have no huge love for Origins. Didn’t hate it either; thought it was an average game with a rather uninspired plot.
          And I actually though the basic premise of DA2’s plot was neat. It was something new for BioWare and had the potential to be interesting.
          That is, if wasn’t in the hands of the likes of David – Twilight is the epitome of romance in fiction – Gaider and that abomination’s posse of sad, talentless souls.

        • Eruanno says:

          What irritated me with Dragon Age 2 was that it felt like a really, REALLY long act 1 of a game. Okay, we’ve established this stuff and oh dear, Anders blew up the thing! OKAY! Adventure time!… Wait, game over? But… this is where it gets interesting! How… what… but… goddamn it…

        • Rosseloh says:

          My ire for DA2 is rooted in the recycled cave that you see everywhere, and the beaming-down enemy spawns. I never actually finished it so I can’t comment much on the story. But those recycled areas ground on my nerves so much I just quit playing.

        • Rick says:

          That wasn’t meant as a reply here, and has nothing to do with DA2, which as I said I never finished, and in fact lost interest in halfway through Act 2. Maybe someday I’ll go back and finish it, but I know how likely that is.

      • Johan says:

        For me the ending was bad because
        A. it resolved nothing
        B. it was pointless.

        So at the very end the Templars and Mages are at war, right? And we get a voiceover from that dwarven crossbowman about how the war is spreading throughout the world, right?
        OOPS! The end! Can’t have you taking part in the huge epic conflict that we’ve spent the last act and the better part of the game setting up, now can we. See the only really connecting thread of the 3 acts is the mages/templars thing. Several of the first act quests will revolve around this. Your own family dilemmas do, but the plot ends just as its getting started.

        And as for pointless, it just seems nonsensical. So you’ve become this Big Name in the city, and you’ve probably got a stake in everything that’s happening, but no all you get is a voiceover telling you that you leave the city, as well as any money, friends, and common sense you may have accumulated during your journey.

        See, who is this game about? If it’s about the Mages and the Templars, it’s a bad ending because nothing is resolved, we have the setup, the first conflict, but no climax and no conclusion.

        If it’s about Hawke, it’s pointless. You start with as a penniless refugee fleeing conflict, you end as a penniless refugee fleeing conflict. And while that may appeal to a sense of symmetry, there’s no good reason for it. As I’ve said you’re already a Big Name in the city, you have connections on one or both sides of the conflict, you have a reason to have a stake in it, but for no reason at all you leave everything just as it’s about to get started. It would be one thing if it pulled the Mass Effect 1 ending of “too be continued,” where you know you’ve ended this stage but the next is coming next game. But this isn’t ever that, this would be like if at the end of ME1 Shepherd decides to become a farmer out in the colonies.

        And I’ve heard arguments that the real center of the narrative is the city itself, but even here it fails for me. Once again the big conflicts aren’t resolved, not only the Mages/Templars but also, who’s running this place? If the city is the center of the story, then this is some time in the second act where our protagonist is bruised and beaten, running from the bad guys and wondering whether he’ll survive. Then cut to a narration, end movie roll credits.

        No matter who the story is about, it just felt… unfinished.

        • krellen says:

          It was so obviously a set up for a sequel. Which is horrible in itself.

        • Kdansky says:

          You completely missed what the story is actually about, as does everyone else when they rile upon DA2. It’s not a Hero’s Journey. But apparently, that’s the only story everyone expects.

          It’s a story about the beginning of the great war between the Mages and the Templar. It tells us how the bloody thing started. It’s the story of the rise and fall of Hawke, and that is absolutely fine. In fact, it’s far better to have the fall happen off-screen, and not play it out, and end on a low-point. Hawke is supposed to be a tragic character, and that’s absolutely fine.

          It’s like writing a story about how the One Ring was forged, or about Hitler’s rise to power, or about Arthas becoming the Lich King. All these stories are not finished, but that’s okay, because only the simplest of stories are completely finished at a single point in time, and many people asking for that only tells me how little people know about story-telling.

          But what really went wrong is execution.

          The rising tension of the two factions should have been made clearer, but Hawke spends most of his time chasing after the Aristok. Though on the other hand, this makes sense: Because he was busy with crappy politics, the bigger issue got ignored, until we ended up with a war, and Hawke failed to prevent it. Hawke as a tragic character felt really wrong with all the awesomeness that’s going on. Varrik as narrator wasn’t used properly either, except for that one plot with his brother.

          To sum up: DA2 is a set-piece of a bigger universe. It just seems rushed, and partially badly executed, but the plot itself works very well. It’s actually the high-point of an otherwise mediocrily executed game: It’s unusual in that it does something completely unexpected of the genre.

          • Johan says:

            “It’s a story about the beginning of the great war between the Mages and the Templar.”
            And that’s exactly the problem with the story. This, in and of itself, is what breaks the story for me. Because you don’t build an entire game out of an introduction. It would be like if LotR stopped after the Council of Elrond.

            • Kdansky says:

              So you just hate open endings. That’s not DA2’s fault, and that doesn’t make it a bad story, or even a broken story.

              Just because Hollywood is unable to write anything other than Happy Closure doesn’t mean there are not other forms of narrative. I recommend reading more books. You’ll be surprised when you see that perfect closure isn’t actually the only thing that exists.

              • acronix says:

                Strawman alert! I understand why you would mention Hollywood, but I don´t think he did. You are just assuming he is expecting everything to be hollywood-esque and that he doesn´t read enough books, based only that he doesn´t like non-happy endings.

                Anyway. I´d say that the story in itself is interesting enough, but as you said, the execution failed miserably. Specially the ending section when everyone acts like a bunch of idiots (including Hawke), the enemies out of the blue and the recycled scenarios. Though the bigger problem is, probably, that Hawke is just a witness of events: you witness how the arishok screws the city over (and then proceed to kill him) and how the mage-templar problem scalates. But you just do that. Sure, you *can* pick sides, but the ending is the same regardless: you still kill the archmage, you still kill the templar commande and you still dissapear because Bioware needed a triquel hook.

        • Milos says:

          Well the original DA was pretty much self-contained because they didn’t know just how big the franchise would get. Then, when they saw they could make a ton of money, they used the second game pretty much only to set up the third.

          Pretty much the same stuff that happened with Mass Effect 2 and The Witcher 2.

      • Vegedus says:

        I always thought it was kinda cool that Dragon Age II tried something different with it’s story structure (centered around a city, and the protagonists rise to heroism and influence rather than saving the world), but that they ultimately failed, which is too bad. “Too bad” not “I’m never going to buy a Bioware game again”. I can’t fault them too much from experimenting and it failing. I guess some people could.

        • ehlijen says:

          Agreed. The execution was badly flawed, but I do approve of what they were trying to do and how it would have been delighfully different from all their previous games.

          As for the question of what was so bad about the ending?
          They tried to set up a moral dilemma about the mages: Are they all potential demons? If so, how much oppression is justified to protect the rest of the world?

          But by forcing the player to fight the leaders of both sides for contrived reasons they turned a moral dilemma into a farce.

          • IFS says:

            I have heard that the writers did not want to have the players fight both bosses regardless of their choice but other people wanted to shoehorn in another boss fight.

            • ehlijen says:

              Doesn’t make the game any better, sadly, nor does it unjustify a loss of trust to bring quality in their writing team. If they let it happen to their story once, we have to assume they’ll let it happen again.

              • Jarenth says:

                Doesn’t make the game any better” does not do it justice. Having to fight the leader of the mages, as a mage, who supported the mages, was enough concentrated idiocy to make me yell at the screen.

          • Nick says:

            It’s not just that – pretty much every mage you fight or come across is a blood mage in the last half of the game. Every one. So, there is no debate – canonically, you can’t trust them and the Templars are kinda right.

            Which as a moral Mage character was the most frustrating thing to play ever

          • Khizan says:

            I didn’t mind it, really.

            I have only two problems with the ending. The idol driving Meredith mad, and Orsino working with Quentin.

            I sided with the Mages first and never caught on to the Quentin thing, so I didn’t think it was that bad, fighting Orsino. A mage, pushed to the limits of his endurance, did exactly what the Templars say all mages can do, underscoring the validity of their arguments and making you say “What have I sided with, when even the best of them can so easily end up this way?”

            When you learn he knew about Quentin all along, it gets harder to read it that way and it becomes “Goddamnit, Meredith was right.”

            And, without the Meredith/idol and Orsino/Quentin things, when you sided with the Templars you would find that Meredith really WAS paranoid and crazy, that Orsino was right about that, and what else might they be right about? Was the rebellion you just finished putting down justifiable after all?

            It was, imo, a superior game right up till it went screwy in the last few minutes.

  15. Kdansky says:

    After getting all cynical about ME2, I can now find some sadistic pleasure in the fact that everyone else will stop telling me how great the Mass Effect games are, and if they don’t, I can shut them up and make them cry salty tears by saying something like “Yep, great game. I liked the ending.”

    Schadenfreude at its finest, but I have suffered through all those unbearably high praises of what I always thought was a decent but bland (ME1) and a totally shitty (ME2) game.

  16. It feels a lot like what Bioware’s been doing lately. They think of something cool they want to have happen: “Wouldn’t it be ossum if the Mass Relays get blown up?!” and THEN try to come up with a justification for it.

    You CAN write this way, but only if you are good at a.) spotting logical inconsistencies and tidying them up, and b.) you’re prepared to throw out your idea, no matter how ossum it was, if you just can’t make it work.

    Way back when ME first came out, I posited an ending to the story that had the Reapers being the result of what you might call an ecoterrorist group. See, the organics, once they reach a certain level of civilization, become ravenous consumers of resources as well as becoming somewhat static. So this splinter group of some ancient civilization created the Reapers in order to go in and wipe out civilizations in the name of “sustainability” and “diversity”. They didn’t take into account how incredibly powerful and destructive the Reapers would eventually become by absorbing the remnants of all those destroyed civilizations.

    Not the best story by far, but better than what this turned out to be.

    In any case, I’m glad I didn’t play ME2. I found the whole business with TIM to be so escalatingly goofy that I just couldn’t be bothered. ME wasn’t my favorite game by far, so I wasn’t that interested in ME2 from the get-go.

    • Mephane says:

      It feels a lot like what Bioware’s been doing lately. They think of something cool they want to have happen: “Wouldn’t it be ossum if the Mass Relays get blown up?!” and THEN try to come up with a justification for it.

      That makes sense. It also explains why in SWTOR the current endgame armor sets look so hideous (and the sets coming with 1.2 look preposterously awful, but at least then you can take all the parts from them into customizable gear at least…).

      Which is funny because in some areas Bioware *nailed* the Star Wars style and feeling, while in others they failed so badly that it’s almost comical.

      • krellen says:

        Having equipment in SWTOR be anything {i]but[/i] customisable was a colossal mistake. Rewards should have been complete new sets of modable gear – an ascetic thing (and I mean a complete set all at once, not a piece at a time) – or a new mod to put in existing gear. I really cannot fathom why they have anything else.

        • Irridium says:

          At the very least they should have let us equip two sets of clothes. One set for all the stats, another set for pure aesthetics so that we don’t look like clowns.

          • Ringwraith says:

            LotRO had this, and I don’t know why no-one else has picked up on it.
            Such a good idea.

            • Mephane says:

              Well a lot of MMOs actually did, I know Warhammer Online eventually adopted the system, Rift did it a few months after release, and afaik even WoW now has something along these lines.

              • Chargone says:

                CoH, of course, solved the problem in an even neater way a LONG time earlier:

                your stats are completely unrelated to your outfit.

                of course, for some characters this is a bit baffling (iron man would still have all his super-type-abilities even if he took his armour off, for example. ) and it wouldn’t work in a game where armour was a meaningful thing (aka, Anything set in a medieval environment, so most fantasy) but still, it was a good choice.

              • Ringwraith says:

                I admit, I don’t pay much attention to MMOs to notice where’s it’s been taken in, although you’d still think more games would do this, especially one where it would make sense like say, Star Wars.

    • I’d have to agree with that assessment of their writing style – I’ve been watching the Let’s Play of Metroid: Other M and they posit a similar theory (dubbed “The Stonewater Fallacy” after the orc from Dominic Deegan) to a lot of the game’s worst parts.

      In Other M for example, they wanted a scene where Adam makes a heroic sacrifice so his death will be memorable. In order to do this Samus has to be disabled, so they have Adam shoot her in the back with a freeze pistol, and then in order to make it “heroic” she thanks him for it.

      A simple concept of a scene goes downright terrible because that was the only way they could fit it in.

      • Sumanai says:

        I am both afraid and intrigued by this Lets Play. I want to watch it, and I definitely, positively don’t want to watch it. I don’t want to crush my illusion that those who defend Other M aren’t being complete idiots, but on the other hand I want to see if my refusal to purchase it is justified.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Now, see, even that scene in its current state could’ve been made interesting, by simply making it so Samus doesn’t thank him for it, and have appropriate responses for that.
        It sounds better at least, but I haven’t the scene in question so I have no idea if that would help fix it.

  17. NihilCredo says:

    This put things in perspective for me:

    It’s an ending so bad, people are literally complaining that Yahtzee didn’t complain enough about it.

  18. Heron says:

    Did the Protheans build a crucible of their own? Did they try to use it? If so, what happened? I suspect I have just given this more thought than the writers did.

    The Prothean companion explains it thusly (of course I’m paraphrasing):

    “I guess they were working on that. Obviously they didn’t get it work.”

    And that’s all he has to say on the matter.

    • Yeah, he’s kind of useless as a lore character. Liara even laments as much.

      • GiantRaven says:

        Which is incredibly hilarious considering the backlash going on before the game came out.

        From what I’ve read, The Prothean seems like a pretty cool character. I might have to pick up the DLC for when I next play through the game.

        • Khizan says:

          I got it, I think it was worth it. He’s got a lot of absolutely hilarious moments.

          Of course he’s kind of useless as a Crucible resource, and as a subject for Liara, though. He was born at the end of a century and more of constant war and he was a soldier, not a scientist. When he was born, his society was already in ruins.

          As a lore character, I think he’s rather interesting, though. Learning how Protheans actually thought is interesting.

  19. Packie says:

    Ugh. I hate, hate how Cerberus went from the moronic Jackasses who caused more harm than good even to themselves to an organization whose powerful enough to take on the combined allied forces of the galaxy. Ever since ME2, it bothered me how much focus and development went to these morons. All that time they had the opportunity to flesh out the universe more and have enough time to deliver a satisfying ending instead of focusing in these completely uninteresting morons. But no, Cerberus is teh awesome!!1!.

    • wyatt1048 says:

      In my head, Cerberus suddenly started being competent at about the same time the Illusive Man got indoctrinated. Once he stops making decisions, everything goes well for them.

      • Look it’s simple – the incompetent parts of Cerberus were rogue cells. The REAL Cerberus was super powerful all along.

      • Maldeus says:

        That actually makes a lot of sense. The Illusive Man was fairly incompetent, but once Cerberus became puppets of the Reapers, they naturally turned into a frighteningly hyper-efficient, hyper-effective super army, capable of building incredibly advanced technology and the extremely rapid construction of infrastructure and fleets. How long does ME3 take place across? All those troops they’re recruiting might be the result of rapid indoctrination on a mass scale if they’re only around for a few weeks.

    • James says:

      I can live with how they got the unlimited people. they actually do explain it in game, Sanctuary took in people who were than experimented with indoctrination. In essence Tim could take “Volunteers” from people he could have conceivably indoctrinated himself. Of course the Reapers already indoctrinated him a while ago and that is why his actions do more harm than good and he just doesn’t see it that way.

      Or I’m grasping at any hope that he just wasn’t a poorly explained badly written character. Ether way still hated Cerberus, Hated Tim and his somehow unlimited resources. (seriously who is funding this asshole?)

      • Sumanai says:

        Unlimited, yet not enough to resurrect Shepard a second time in ME2.

        Yeah, I’m feeling a bit vindictive about getting sass for complaining about the Raise Dead spell at the beginning of ME2.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Remember it took two years to bring Shepard back, although some of that was simply getting the body back, it’s basically not within the timeframe to allow a second rebuilding.
          Not to mention the fact that they’d probably run out of parts to replace, seeing as they stuffed a lot of metal into Shepard already.

          • krellen says:

            The Lazarus Project was a completely unnecessary ass-pull to make up for their completely unnecessary opening. If that hadn’t randomly killed Shepard for no goddamn reason, they wouldn’t have had to randomly resurrect Shepard for no goddamn reason.

            Except to make a Jesus allegory, of course.

            • Sumanai says:

              That is exactly my main gripe with it. I remember mentioning the others before, so I won’t preach about it this time.

              • Uli says:

                It’s even worse when they bring up the Lazarus project *again* in ME3 and you think “Oh, thank god, maybe we’ll finally learn why it was important to the overarching narrati- oh, no, nevermind.”

                • Sumanai says:

                  Ugh. That’s basically Bioware intentionally shooting themselves on the foot, and then running around mentioning the fact that they intentionally shot themselves on the foot. And people keep insisting they’re smart.

            • Simon Buchan says:

              Unless you believe Bioware was always going for a story (or B-plot at least) about organics vs. synthetics, and were looking for a way to make Shepard a mediator. In which case they didn’t do anywhere near enough with that.

            • Maldeus says:

              Shepard’s being partly synthetic actually did end up being key to the ending of ME3. The Starchild comes right out and says that Shepard is partly synthetic, heavily implying that the “kill the internet synthetics” option will take Shepard with it.

              • krellen says:

                You can make someone partially synthetic without killing them.

                • Ringwraith says:

                  You can even have a conversation with EDI about it, who mentions that Shepard’s brain is still completely organic, and it’s just some physical things which were supplemented/replaced, meaning Shepard’s still human.

                • Maldeus says:

                  Yeah, but the Starchild mentions Shepard is partly synthetic immediately after saying Shepard can choose to kill all synthetics. It’s practically impossible to imply any more heavily that Shepard will also die if he takes that option.

                  • krellen says:

                    … I was talking about Shepard’s death at the beginning of ME2.

                    • Maldeus says:

                      Shepard’s death at the beginning of ME2 is what makes him partly synthetic, which comes back to be important when the option to kill all synthetics is presented, in that this will also result in the death of Shepard. Granted, the “Shepard died between games and we gave him a space rez” was a really contrived way of establishing this.

                    • Sumanai says:

                      @Maldeus – Do you suffer from problems regarding memory? Krellen said, right there, that you can make someone a cyborg without killing them. So killing Shepard at the beginning of Mass Effect 2 was pointless, even if it would be important for the ending that s/he is a cyborg and therefore will die.

                    • Sumanai says:

                      How about this: if you choose the Destroy option, the Crucible will blow up. There. No need for a cyborg Shepard.

                    • Sumanai says:

                      In fact, just have the crucible blow up due to the release of energy. There, Shepard dies in every case and the reason is pretty hard to argue against since a lot of precursor technology tends to blow up when used in sci-fi.

              • taellosse says:

                This was an element that bothered me in and of itself. Why the hell would the “red” path kill ALL synthetics? I can buy it wiping out the Reapers (and, thus, all remnant of every previous cycle’s life forms and civilizations) because the Crucible/Catalyst is, essentially, the same technology as the Reapers themselves and the mass relays, so maybe there’s some sort of self-destruct protocol built into all of it together.

                But the Geth and EDI–and Shepard–are something else altogether. They’re completely new technology, with no connection to the Reapers or any of their related technology. How can some sort of random signal from overloading mass relays have any effect on them? Other than being within the literal blast radius, of course, which puts them in no different position than all the rest of the matter in the galaxy.

                • Arex says:

                  I’m not a fan of the ending at all. But EDI is basically a mashup of the AI Shepard fought on Luna in the first game and Sovereign’s random spare parts, and the geth are running the Reaper improvements that let Legion go from “we” to “I” and “it” to “he”. So that part is sort of defensible. (And if the game really wanted to kill Shepard based on his or her synthetic components, who would be surprised if the Illusive Man grabbed whatever didn’t fit into EDI and put it in Shepard for a minor clock speed upgrade?)

                  (I actually found it odd: using Reaper tech was basically the equivalent of trying to wield the One Ring where organics were concerned– it inevitably led to corruption, indoctrination, and blowback. But a Paragon Shepard will choose to trust both EDI and the geth in full knowledge of their Reaper components– in the case of the geth, will forego any attempt to interfere with their reclaiming the upgrades– and this is the right decision, with no implied bad consequences.)

                  But even if that had been intended and made explicit (which it pretty clearly wasn’t), not every AI is Reaper-based. The Hannibal AI on Luna and the unnamed AI on the Citadel were pretty clearly in keeping with the Catalyst’s predictions: murderous and impossible to negotiate with. But the geth history you’re shown makes it pretty clear that they would have preferred to coexist with the quarians all along. (And they certainly had the opportunity to betray them once Shepard had brokered peace, if the fleet was in Rannoch’s system, stood down, and was even letting geth processes into some of their suits, so there’s no reason to doubt their sincerity.)

                  That signals from the mass relays can affect any synthetic, and the claim that conflict is otherwise inevitable, seems like a stretch.

                  Though less of one than the “remake every living being in the galaxy” ending. If you can do that, why do you need the giant spaceship monsters? Set the remake beam to just destroy all the DNA and equivalent on the planets you don’t like, which has got to be easier. (I guess the fact that it blows up the mass relays means you can only do it once.)

    • MatthewH says:

      Cerberus didn’t bother me as much. They seem mostly to be opportunistic. Shepard has to run around putting out brush fires. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Alliance really did need all hands on deck to fight the Reapers, Cerberus wouldn’t have been that much of a problem.

      I wonder -ever so slightly -if Cerberus is a solution to the “two steves” rule from TvTropes. If someone in the Alliance or Citadel is indoctrinated, we’re going to forever have problems keeping straight who is and is not indoctrinated. By breaking Cerberus off from the Alliance in game 1, we confine the indoctrinated human enemies to a separate named entity.

      • Sumanai says:

        Which also makes the Reapers appear less dangerous. After all, if they for some unknown reason can’t indoctrinate anyone from the Alliance, or they can only brainwash xenophobic idiots, why should we be worried about it?

      • Arex says:

        “If someone in the Alliance or Citadel is indoctrinated, we’re going to forever have problems keeping straight who is and is not indoctrinated.”

        Though that’s supposed to be one of the Reapers’ primary tactics, explained by Vigil in the first game, and reemphasized by Javik here. (So it’s not an idea they dropped.)

        Javik’s story about having a team like Shepard’s which wound up all indoctrinated, requiring him to personally kill them all, is a more horrific idea that I’d have ever wanted to see implemented for Shepard in-game. (Maybe as a Very Bad ending, if you completely neglected a bunch of objectives and warning signs.) But it would actually make sense for someone other than the usual suspects to wind up indoctrinated and have to be restrained or put down.

        (There was a nod to this sort of thing with the three? members of your previous squad who you can wind up fighting. But they show up as enemies, not as allies who then betray from within.)

  20. Zukhramm says:

    I have two big questions.

    Why does Shepard trust the thing that admits to having created the Reapers?! Also, the kid says synthetic life will always destroy their creators. Always?! I don’t know. What does that even means? Is that a law of physics Reaper scientists discovered or what?

    Also, how does the energy beam thing even work? It travels through the relays, then outwards from them to nearby systems transforming life and technology into some kind of hybrid/destroy all technology/control the Reapers?

    How does the control thing even work? Is Shepard conscious, inside all the Reapers now? Didn’t the Reapers make the mass relays? If so, couldn’t Shepard just rebuild them now?

  21. Grescheks says:

    It feels odd to say this, but after reading through some of the ending deconstructions of Mass Effect 3 available online, I still feel that the ending made sense to me (without having to resort to the “Indoctrination Theory”). So, using only what I had figured out from in-game things on my playthrough of the Mass Effect series, here’s how I interpreted the above points (as an aside, I had the Prothean squadmate in this playthrough, and had a chance to talk to him, so maybe that helped with some of it?).

    But first…

    Cerberus: This is actually the one point I agree with somewhat. In the game, they do explain that, through the experiments with Reaper indoctrination Cerberus was able to recruit people unwillingly from Sanctuary, but it still doesn’t explain where they got the fleet to move this army around, or the resources to arm and train them. Also, in the final cutscene, TIM says he “spent his whole life trying to understand” the Reapers so he could control them. Unless he’s only 3 years old (the timeline in which the games take place) or he knew about the Reapers way before anyone else did, that seems like complete BS to me. And Leng was just stupid and he totally should have died the first time he sat in the open to recharge his shields.

    Now on to the rest of it.

    The Reapers: It’s explained that the Reapers don’t “destroy all life”, they destroy all life that is technologically capable of creating sentient synthetics, which according to the Star Child AI have historically always turned on their creators. They aren’t destroying all life, they are allowing life to continue for lesser species by culling the species that would bring about their downfall. If the Geth and EDI are different this time around, it seems more likely that this result is an outlier when compared to the data that the SC had gathered over countless cycles.

    The Mass Relays: Now, this might just be a different interpretation of the ending cinematic, but I didn’t see the Mass Relays as exploding violently (as they are supposed to do). The SC again explains that using the Crucible would consume all the energy that the Mass Relays use to create the Mass Effect in order to propagate the Coloured Wave of Plot Completion across the universe. If you watch the ending when it shows the wave hitting Earth, it doesn’t destroy the people and buildings, so it’s not a destructive wave. I took the Mass Relays being destroyed to mean that they used all their energy, then exploded conventionally, which would cause no more damage than if a large spaceship had blown up at that orbit.

    The Crucible: Again, my interpretation of the events of the game, but I never saw it as building parts of a gun, but more like: Civ A sees Reapers are coming, and want to fight back, and so builds a handgun, which doesn’t work and they all die. Civ B sees Reapers are coming/finds plans for handgun, improve the design to fire bigger bullets more accurately, which doesn’t work and they all die. Repeat until this cycle, when the Reapers are here and they find the plans for the Crucible, which would have worked if the Protheans could have gotten everything connected properly, but by the time the Crucible was ready, the Citadel had already been taken, and there was no way to make it all work in time. The Protheans were able to make the Crucible work with the Citadel because they understood the workings of the Citadel enough to understand it was Reaper tech and that they could use it against them.

    The Galaxy, the Earth, and Squadmates: While, yes, the Mass Relay system is now gone, there is still conventional Faster Than Light travel, so all these planets are still theoretically reachable, though it would take a while. On top of that, the ending of Mass Effect 1 showed quite clearly that the Protheans managed to create their own Mass Relays (the Conduit on Ilos and it’s receiver on the Citadel), and since all the races involved in the final fight are in the Sol System, they have access to the Prothean Archives on Mars, which, for all I know, has the plans for the Prothean Mass Relays in it somewhere (since apparantly a lot of it is untranslated). It is therefore not inconceivable that the Mass Relay system could be rebuilt, thus not dooming the galaxy (and could also conceivably be the plot of further games in the Mass Effect series). This also means the Normandy crew isn’t necessarily stranded forever, and could still go on to whatever they want to do after all this is over.

    The Normandy: I saw this scene and figured that Joker saw the Ending-o-tron 3000tm wave and decided to try to outrun what he saw as a massive explosion instead of just standing there staring at the pretty lights until he died. I also figured that he was using the Normandy’s conventional FTL drive, not the exploding Mass Relays. Not sure where the planet he crashed on is supposed to be, though, or how the crew members managed to make it onto the Normandy before it took off (in my playthrough, I had Garrus and Liara in my final squad, and the ending cinematic clearly showed Garrus on the Jungle Planet with no indication how he avoided being blown up at the end of the game), but by this point I figured they were going for some symbolic ending of New Beginnings or somesuch, so I let that slide.

    Anyway, that’s how I saw the ending (as coloured by my playthrough of ME). Maybe I missed something that completely undermines my understanding of what happened. Who knows?

    (I’m sure someone will inform me if I missed something crucial, so presumably they know)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      *nitpcik*Sapient synthetics.*/nitpick*

    • ehlijen says:

      What about the Normandy being wrecked/mangled at lightspeed but still somehow crashlanding in mostly one piece anywhere?

      Is it made of the same metal that let shepards helmet protect his skull from uncontrolled atmospheric reentry followed by a ballistic crash at the start of ME2?

      I could buy the mass relay destruction not blowing up solar systems if they hadn’t gone out of their way to make that point in Arrival. That was dumb enough DLC and they seemed to treat everything else about it as canonical, so I don’t see why, without even handwaving explanation to the contrary, we’re supposed to think that exploding mass relays don’t equal earth being blown up.

      • Sumanai says:

        Also if they hadn’t made a point about the explosion damaging Normandy right there in the ME3 ending, it could be argued that in this particular case they’re not blowing up with a destructive force, but a magical happy land explosion that either doesn’t hurt anyone, only reaper tech and Geth, or turns everyone into cyborgs.

    • IFS says:

      I like to joke that joker was trying to outrun the plotholes created by the ending but they caught up to him.

    • Corsair says:

      Conventional FTL won’t work. I mean, it will work, but the species are still permanently cut off from each other due to the distance between star clusters being impossible to cross with Mass Effect FTL drive, due to the buildup of static charge.

    • Sean Hagen says:

      Re: the Mass Effect Relays

      That’s pretty much what I figured. I didn’t really understand all the angry ranting about “we just destroyed the galaxy!”. Maybe it’s a perk of the sci-fi I’ve been brought up on or something, but just because one relay ( the ME2 Arrival DLC Relay ) exploded and took out a star system doesn’t mean that all Relays will do so.

      I guess it probably comes from reading The Commonwealth Saga ( by Peter F Hamilton — highly recommend it ), which have incredibly powerful bombs with “diverted energy functions”. Basically, the explosions are ‘tuned’ so that instead of an explosion you get, say, a blast of powerful x-rays.

      What happened at the end with the Relays seemed fairly similar. Instead of just getting destroyed and letting out all the energy uncontrolled, the Relays use up all of their energy performing a diverted energy function — which destroys the Relay in the process.

      • Sumanai says:

        The explosions clearly damage the Normandy. Why would they not damage anything else? The Big Ben magically surviving doesn’t count, since it’s a stupid way of conveying “thank you for grinding”.

  22. guy says:

    Man, I knew it was bad from what I read on the internet already, but this is even dumber than I had imagined.

    The mass relays literally explode? Despite this very team having established that exploding a mass relay will take out the star system? They don’t just shut down?

    I guess the explaination for the Reapers kind of makes sense when you consider that they turn some new organics into more Reapers instead of just killing all of them. But why didn’t Sovergien just tell Shepard and Saren? And why was he so incredibly smugly superior to people his entire purpose in existance was to make more like him?

    • Raygereio says:

      Despite this very team having established that exploding a mass relay will take out the star system?
      The team that worked on the Arrival DLC was different that the team that worked on ME3.
      No excuse, but then we’re talking about a series writen by people who use the fan-made wiki as a resources for facts.

      • Zukhramm says:

        What was even the point or Arrival? It wasn’t to buy time, since no one except Liara actually did anything with the time. Seems like the only point was to make Shepard give away the Normandy 2 to the Alliance, and conveniently place him on earth.

        • Lalaland says:

          There was precisely zero point to Arrival. I bought it prior to playing ME3 in the naive belief it would setup what’s happening with Shepard. When I played ME3 there are about 3 points in the game where knowing what happened matter but you don’t lose any context by not knowing either. It was a boring one person team shooter where the ‘choice’ was basically irrelevant to what was going to happen anyway and it makes ME2’s council seem even more stupid as now you’ve actively fought reapers in that game’s timeline rather than just Collectors.

  23. Bodyless says:

    Your ability to analysis games is great, but you your ability to listen and remember certain facts is abysmal:

    1. Remember when you found the cerberus husk like soldier? and the mission on eden prime? well turns out they were turning refugees into and endless stream of mooks. It totally makes sense that they got a huge army.

    2. As it turns out, TIM was indoctrinated, at least sort of, so his own goals were subverted by the reapers. Who, as the protean VI tells you, are using groups like cerberus to sabotage any attemp at beating the reapers. His fanatism made him vulnorable and so he fell for the trap and never managed to actually succeed in anything. His incompetence is justified.

    3. At least in my game, the star child did acknowledge that i made peace between quarians and geth. And the reapers dont just kill organic life, they preserve in the form of reapers. They cut a lot of dialoge at this point, like they said in the iphone app i think, mentioned on the escpaist. I got no justification for this.

    4. The prothean VI tells us everything about the crucible, not the star child!!!!!!! sorry about the excalmation marks, but either that or a picture of picard facepalming. sorry
    EDIT: actually, it was a combination of the VI, admiral Hackett and maybe some other npcs.
    the rest of this chapter has a severe lack of imagination. maybe it was slingshot>crossbow>gun? with the catalyst being the gunpowder.

    Same problem with the galaxy chapter, i didnt play arrival so this wasnt a problem for me. But maybe that super advanced tech noone understands combined with the reaper hivemind actually does something everyone thought was impossible?

    The Normandy: And you forgot the real plot black hole:
    WHY THE HECK IS EDIS BODY ON THAT SHIP? she was just on earth with me a few minutes ago! With almost no intact shuttles!
    Really, the epilogue looks like they produced it early and then totally forgot about it when they made/changed the ending.

    • Shamus says:

      1. Armies are more than people who hold guns. Husks are mindless. Who runs these bases, where do they get supplies, etc etc etc?

      2. His incompetence is justified? In your last point you were justifying his extreme competence. This is the big problem with Cerberus. They can’t make pop-tarts without blowing up a base and turning their own people into husks, yet they can defeat the allied races of the galaxy again and again. In any case, my main complaint goes along with what you said: He’s obviously indoctrinated. He’s human. He’s silly. Which makes him boring and not someone I want lingering to the last moments of the game. Like Saruman, he would have been a good mid-story antagonist on the way to the big bad.

      • LurkerAbove says:

        Okay, so the Reapers preserve their victims in Reaper form, fine. The human Reaper in ME2 had already hinted at it…

        But if that is the case, why does every other Reaper look like a squid? Am I to assume every cycle before the last two only squid things developed space travel?

      • Jace911 says:

        I think the whole “TIM is indoctrinated and has mind-control powers” bit would have been better if they’d actually done it at the end of the Cerberus base, rather than on Earth. We would have dealt with Cerberus and their plot line, allowing the ending to focus ENTIRELY on the Reapers.

      • Naota says:

        It’s not even just a matter of logistics that makes Cerberus completely ridiculous. Even if we assume that in a mere few months they brought to bear thousands of transport vessels, weapons, suits of armour, supply lines, outposts, and everything else which they would need to give them anything resembling a fighting chance against the Reapers… how is it that nobody has tracked them down and cut off their resources?

        The Cerberus of ME2 was a shadow organization which relied on autonomous cells and backroom deals to stay off the radar while funding elaborate projects for a limited group of elite operatives. Nobody knew where its power came from or what it was up to because it left such a small footprint. All of its strength rested in the very fact that it was so nimble and hard to pin down. In many ways it was the failed Majestic 12 of the Mass Effect universe.

        Then Mass Effect 3 happened, and Cerberus became the Empire from Star Wars – storm troopers and all.

        You can’t hide an army big enough to threaten the combined military forces of an entire race, let alone the inter-species collective that Shepard is forming. To wage that kind of war you need big obvious permanent facilities: training grounds, spaceports, workshops, garrisons, armories, ships, then builders and suppliers and funding for all of these things. You need hundreds of each and the time to build them.

        An army is not something you can create on the down-low – it’s one of the biggest, loudest, and most obvious entities known to history. You can be a secret shadow organization or you can be a military superpower, but you cannot be a giant secret shadow army.

        • Lalaland says:

          This.

          Also how did he afford all this? Who built it? Does anyone think that US shipyards would build me a Guided Missile Destroyer if I showed up with a few hundred million dollars?

          It all stinks of a new lead writer wanting his pet bad guys to be the most important and of wanting to get bang for that Martin Sheen buck.

          • Jace911 says:

            Playing the devil’s advocate here, but apparently corporations can build dreadnoughts and the Council is totally fine with it. Elkoss Combine builds an entire dreadnought based off turian designs with cutting-edge tech, then turns around and gives it to the Volus. With that in mind it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that Cerberus can have some of their front companies build a handful of cruisers (We never see more than a few, right?) and “lose” them.

            • Lalaland says:

              Maybe but I’d view that like any modern nation ‘gifting’ weapons to another (like the UH60s in Plan Colombia). The only private organisations to ever develop nation level militaries were all trading companies such as the Dutch East Indies Company or the British East India Company. They were only allowed to develop this level of capability as they were acting in place of the state because states at that time didn’t have the same level of income from taxes to fully exploit their new colonies. As soon as they did or the profits from said colonies started to roll in (and as the corruption and incompetence of both became too hard to ignore) did they revert to being state entities again.

              Cerberus just stink of Bioware not having confidence in their actual big bad and wanted a more straight forward ‘evil’ villain to centre their story around. TIM is a straight drop in for Harbinger in this game as they seem to think that hiring Martin Sheen to read his lined makes the crappy quality of those lines all better.

        • Astor says:

          So, after retconning Cerberus in ME2… they re-retconned them in ME3?? Unbelievable!

        • theDestroyer says:

          All of those assumptions are great – on Earth. On Earth you can’t assemble a giant army in secret – people are watching from space, supplies have to come from known arms dealers, the government that controls the territory has to let you build and train an army there, you have to recruit the army either from the locals or from elsewhere and transport them, etc.

          None of those reasons apply to the Mass Effect universe. There are loads of unmapped relays. Systems that are nearish to relays but don’t have a relay are largely unmapped. The galactic economy is huge and from what we can tell, pretty secretive (meaning it would be difficult to track arms going to Cerberus). Humans are spread out everywhere and they’ve got a supply of people from the reapers.

          There’s even precedent for a giant secret army in the Mass Effect universe: the rachni. No one had any idea there was an army large enough to overwhelm all the council races just waiting on the other side of an unmapped relay.

          • acronix says:

            Rachni weren´t a secret army. For them to be they should have been under the galactic community’s noses during some stretch of time. Instead, they were in an undiscovered section of the galaxy. It would be akin to a culture arriving at some new continent for the first time and getting mauled and later invaded by the inhabitants. The locals weren´t really hiding, they were there and both parties were ignorant of each other existance. This is not the case with Cerberus and the Council species.

            I must admit the “they get people from the Reapers” would explain why they have so many manpower, though.

          • Naota says:

            The Rachni weren’t at all the sort of “secret army” I was describing, as Acronix pointed out. They weren’t an omnipresent enigmatic force based out of nobody-knows-where that manipulated things from the shadows and could not be tracked down… they were just a regular old army walled off from the other species until the relay was activated.

            Cerberus on the other hand must get its resources from the established galactic community, and at the size it’s portrayed there is simply no way it could stay hidden from anyone. It’s not even a matter of finding a place to hide the facilities; the massive outpouring of resources would be an easy trail to follow. Hell, the mere absence of these things could not possibly go unnoticed. When the galaxy is in a terrible state and everything is scarce, somebody is going to realize that millions of pounds of weapons, food, spacecraft, armour, etc are being created and then going unaccounted for. All it takes is one single supplier catching on and the game is up.

            In other words, aside from the scale I don’t see any critical difference between managing an army on Earth and managing one in space. There are physically more places to hide in space, but the raw logistics of fielding a giant army remain unchanged, and at the size Cerberus is those will rat you out every time. All of that stuff has to come from somewhere before it gets strapped onto a husk-trooper (who is always a trained soldier why?)

          • Dreadjaws says:

            In the Mass Effect universe, The Shadow Broker was just one man. Much easier to hide and way less harmless than a gigantic terrorist organization who only provides help to select members of the human race and attacks absolutely everone else.

            Yet the Shadow Broker (whose entire shtick was that he dealt on information, so he should be more prepared) was found and taken out by a lone asari. How is it possible then than no one could find Cerberus? Furthermore, since what EDI did to find them was just put a tracer in one of their members, why is that no one thought of that before?

            Another thing: humans are the youngest intelligent race and the newest to discover the mass relays and to be invited to the Citadel and such, how the heck could Cerberus grow so fast, considering they’re formed exclusively of humans?

      • Bodyless says:

        Now, the problems with every fiction is, that no matter how much you write, there will always be some holes.
        Since you talk with some cerberus soldiers in the mars mission, i guess there are actually some regular people working for cerberus or their husks arent quite as mindless?

        Also, what i meant was TIM being incompentent at achieving his final goals. Of course he is not helping anyone by trying to control the reapers. Its just the reapers manipluating him to do so anyway.
        He is still kinda succesful at running cerberus at a basic level(getting funding, building an army ect…), but doomed to fail any higher goal.
        The reapers want him to be succesful at causing destruction, while it looks like he works on his own.

      • Arex says:

        The logistics are still a problem. But my impression from Horizon was that they were basically sorting people into the ones they turned into full husks (and reverse-engineered the Reaper control signals from) and the ones they used what they’d learned from indoctrination to turn into mind-controlled but still mostly-human troops. (The reason that all those troopers, engineers, etc. had a husk-like look to them, mentioned by the characters on Mars, but were still able to operate complex machinery rather than being zombies dependent on built-in weaponry.)

        Again, that explains the manpower, not the materiel. To some extent, Horizon may explain that, too, in part: they pretty much get the entire life savings of an endless stream of panicked refugees. (They can charge through the nose on the front end, then have the indoctrinated “voluntarily” turn over anything left.) And prior to the Reaper invasion they were able to put together the money and industrial capacity (somehow) to outdo the Alliance’s experimental stealth ship.

        (Conceivable? Current warships run around $10 billion each, if the casual google I did is at least ballpark accurate. There are a fair number of people on the Forbes 500 list who could afford one, if they could get around the legal obstacles, and Citadel space is clearly full of military contractors who’ll supply all the merc armies Shepard is contantly running into. And if it takes special knowledge from people with security clearance, they can be kidnapped and indoctrinated.)

        I agree it’s a stretch– especially the attempted takeover of the galactic hub of government. (Which has always felt sort of small for what it is, but that could generally be passed off as game engine limitations and the bulk of the population being in unvisited wards.) But presumably Udina was supposed to be able to do the heavy lifting and get the Alliance to back him once it was a fait accompli.

        It is arguably enough to hit thinly defended colonies whose main military force has either been destroyed by the Reapers, is occupied resisting them, or is protecting the Crucible.

        (And which have never really been shown successfully defending themselves against anything: they’re pretty much there to be victims of batarians, geth, Collectors, the Thorian… I have to wonder what the sales brochures for those places look like.)

    • Xanyr says:

      Your points would probably be more intelligent if you spelled them correctly. Also if you understood how punctuation works.

      • Dasick says:

        Any form of meaningful discussion is impossible without giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. No offence, but dismissing someone’s argument just like that, without even trying to understand what is being said is the most destructive thing to happen to a discussion thread.

        Yeah, poor grammar sucks, but don’t be a Nazi about it.

    • Cineris says:

      So… Pawns of ancient, hyperadvanced aliens are justified in being incompetent?

      • Dasick says:

        So long as that incompetence pushes forward the ancient hyper advanced aliens’ agenda.

        I mean, how else do you explain EA’s business strategy? Obviously the Atlantians are trying to prevent an entertainment singularity…

        • Dreadjaws says:

          I always thought the Reapers were an analogy of EA and how they extend their tentacles over everything, destroying everything in their path. Then EA buys out Bioware and suddenly the Reapers are trying to save the world from people who is too stupid to realize their mistakes. Yeah.

    • Sumanai says:

      Every time someone criticises ME3’s ending and mentions what the Reapers are doing and why, they forget that they “don’t kill” but “preserve”.

      Then someone corrects, as if it actually makes a difference.

      They can but people’s brains in jars all they want, they’re just hard drives now, so they’re functionally dead. So they’re effectively killing every sapient being.

      • krellen says:

        Plus I’ve never met anyone made into a grey pasty purée that lived to tell the tale.

        • Sumanai says:

          I have, but they were talking about their DnD character.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          That is also another stupid thing about the idiocy of the ending.I was willing to accept that somehow liquefying people and pumping them into a reaper can make a cyborg that would get the traits of the race,maybe even intelligence,but that was a stretch already.And now,they are saying that it also preserves the individuals as well?No,no,no,no,nope,no way,nah,not gonna happen,no!

    • Dreadjaws says:

      I belive Shamus’ gun analogy is pitch perfect. Your analogy implies that it was an object whose purpose was known but it was being reconstructed while advancing in technology every cycle, but that’s quite the opposite of what the Crucible was. It was an object that no one knew what it did yet they kept adding pieces to it.

  24. Raygereio says:

    It is going to interesting to see how the EA/BioWare PR machine is going to handle this. After the DA2 fiasco their response was to look smug and shout “innovation!” and call anyone who didn’t like DA2 an idiot who didn’t understand their greatness. Since now the negative response is far, far larger then anything DA2 managed to generate, I honestly wonder if BioWare is able to pull their heads of their own asses and be able to admit they screwed up.

    Probably not.

    About the reaper motivation: in the leaked script the motivation was something along the lines of dark energy doing somthing funky with FTL travel with resulted in the acceleration of the end of the galaxy. So the reapers exist to ensure that huge galactic civilisations don’t destroy everything and give future species a chance to exist while preserving the civilisation they destroyed in a reaper.
    There’s bits of this in ME2 with Haestrom’s sun dying sooner then it should and the various references to dark matter. This could actually provide a big choice: Do you want to preserve the galaxy and let the reapers win? Do you want to galactic civilisation by destroying FTL. Or do you want to say “screw this” and go down with the galaxy in flames?
    It’s still a mystery to why BioWare went with the reaper-motivation that we got here. I mean it’s just so loving stupid and nonsensical. Hey, here’s an idea: if you don’t want to get wiped out by your own AI creation, don’t give it legs.

    Then again, most of the plot of the ME series has been build on people being stupid. So this par for the course really.

    • IFS says:

      I think it would have worked better had a) the citadel not been the catalyst and b) the crucible just worked as intended and destroyed the reapers (and nothing else).

      The citadel as the catalyst never made sense to me because it felt like they were trying to copy ME1’s twist of “the citadel is what you needed all along” and because the reapers would have had a much easier time of defending it if they hadn’t moved it, or if they hadn’t set up the magic teleport beam, or if harbinger had shot the magic teleport beam instead of shooting at the people charging at it.
      I would have made the catalyst be a source of dark energy, which haestrom convieniently has plenty of (this could be explained as the protheans messing with the star to provide the next cycle with a catalyst). Then the fleet would either have to defend the crucible or maybe launch an attack on Earth to distract the reapers while it charges.
      If there really needs to be an ending choice of destroy or control thenmaybe have the illusive man give you something to add to the crucible if you want to.
      The ending will always be bittersweet just by virtue of how many people died to defeat the reapers.

      • ehlijen says:

        Or the reapers could have just hit the off switch on their magic teleporting beam.

        Also, why is there suddenly teleportation in the mass effect universe? It had been deliberately excluded up till that point, I assumed.

        • IFS says:

          Between the mass relays and the vanguard charge there was always some sort of teleporting in the mass effect universe, although charge is very short range and not instantaneous and mass relays are huge and you need an eezo drive core for them to work on whatever you’re sending through. The problem with the magic teleport beam is less that it is unprecedented technology and more that it makes no sense how the story uses it. Really the teleport beam feels like they were trying to recreate the race to the conduit from ME1, only stupid.

          • ehlijen says:

            The mass effect relays didn’t teleport though, I thought, they just accelerated things really really fast (hence the being flung animation every time the Normandy uses one and the sudden stop flicker everytime something arrives at one).

            Another fun fact: The first game starts with Joker proclaiming that 1500km drift off the target coordinates is good for ME relay travel. The third game has massive fleets arriving in superight formation out of one…

            • IFS says:

              functionally they work the same as a teleporter given that they move an object from one spot to another almost instantaneously and ignore any matter in the way.

            • guy says:

              Well, that’s SORT OF explained by the codex and ME2, IIRC

              See, when a fleet goes into a mass relay in formation it arrives in formation but way off course by an order of light-minutes and potentially inside a sun.

              However, it turns out that’s not actually an engineering limitation but one that was programmed in and can be deactivated by the Reaper IFF.

            • Mako says:

              Allow me to point out Joker is proud of getting within 1500K km from the intended point. That is 1.500.000 km, not 1.500 km – which makes the matter of sudden precise formation jumps even bigger. Did everyone suddenly got the Reaper IFF that supposedly increases precision of the jump?

    • MalthusX says:

      Because that would have been even more of a ‘tribute’ to Alistair Reynold’s Revelation Space than the game already is.

    • Khizan says:

      To be fair, I think they have a point about a lot of the innovation things they say. Not all of them, but some.

      Before I get into it, some things in DA2 are unforgivable. Specifically, the environment reuse. Yes. Terrible. No disagreement from me here on that.

      A ton of the complaints I’ve read about DA2, though, sound something like “There was no Big Bad Evil Guy! There was no big overarching evil! I want my big overarching evil! The game sucks without it! That’s what made DAO so great!”

      No. No it’s not. That’s what made DAO into a standard issue “save the world from orcs” game that was set in an extremely interesting world. What made DAO great were the characters and the world itself, not the rather formulaic plot.

      They tried to tell the first part of a more ambitious story, and the public reacted with “Where’s my big bad villain!?” and “Hey, this is just the first part of a story!”

      I look at it like a book. The first book of a series usually resolves things in a way that can be construed as final. The Eye of the World. Mistborn. The first book of the terrible Sword of Truth series. This way, if it doesn’t take off, it can stay reasonably self-contained. Once the first book does well, following books often have some resolution to their internal crisis, but leave the overarching plot unconcluded, because, hey, the series isn’t over. This is basically what DA2 did, and I don’t have a real problem with that, myself.

      • Raygereio says:

        I think they have a point about a lot of the innovation things they say</i>.
        Nothing DA2 did was innovative. Everything it did was done before (better) by other games.

        • Kdansky says:

          The innovation being: “You are actually playing a tragic figure who will be made responsible for starting a war, but he hasn’t actually done that.” instead of “you are playing SUPERMACHOMAN LIKE ALWAYS”.

          As for the environment re-use: Why does everyone hate so much on that? Sure, it was bad, but I prefer if they cut environment assets to make a deadline than if they cut characters or writers. Diablo 2 was full of repetitive environment, and nobody cares.

          • acronix says:

            Baldur´s Gate II also has some re-used scenario assets. Not as many as any of these two games, but it still was obvious when that one tavern in Atkhatla looked exactly the same as that merchant´s house basement…

            The difference between Diablo II and DA2 is that the first was just a combat and loot, while the second tried to have a significant story and combat. Repetitive enviorements fail on the story department because the player will notice that the cave full of renegade mages important for the plot is a rotated version of the cave full of spiders they visited three minutes ago for a side quest; the player feels the places have the same importance.
            Contrast with Baldur´s Gate, in which plot-important locations had their unique scenario. They only reused them for out-of the way places or houses, which can be handwaved more easily.

            • Mantergeistmann says:

              Reusing some interiors actually kind of makes sense. I mean, why bother with multiple different blueprints when you’re building houses/taverns/whatnot, instead of just using one and reusing it?

          • Trevel says:

            To my mind, the main problem with DA2’s environment reuse is that they didn’t do anything to hide it.

            I.e., they made reusable maps, and then cut off portions of it as necessary to make individual maps … and then left the whole uncut thing on the minimap.

            As a result, not only are you reusing a map, but it’s in your face that you’re reusing a map.

            … I really liked reusing the maps by having you revisit the location again later, but it didn’t make any sense when you were visiting the same location twice at two different places. In a row. DA:O had that, too, though — but mostly for random encounters and never with whole dungeons.

        • IFS says:

          I did feel like DA2 did the dialogue wheel better than mass effect, just by virtue of having those icons to indicate how you would say the line, I never found myself saying something completely different from what I had intended hawke to say. Also the friendship rivalry meter worked better for me than the approval meter in Origins.

      • krellen says:

        My complaint is actually “Why the fuck do I have to keep fighting enemies that magically appear from the sky?”

        Also, they completely failed to make me give a damn about the characters or the world.

  25. Vegedus says:

    I don’t get why the Relays is such a big problem for so many people. I always thought it was fairly obvious the relays didn’t so much explode as they were destroyed while giving some cosmic, mystical energy payload, what kind depending on the ending you choose. It should also be fairly obvious from BOTH epilogues (Joker and EDi, the little boy being told a story) that all life wasn’t wiped out. Also, why should building new relays be impossible? In the Control ending, Shepard now controls the reapers, who were the ones who built the damn things. Isn’t it likely he can use their tech to make new relays, or at least use them to ferry people around the galaxy. They did travel in from dark space after all. In the synthesis ending, it doesn’t seem unlikely that the merging represent a big enough technological advancement to enable them to come up with a new, relay like solution. I don’t think this is wild speculation, given that the positive feel of the ending seem to imply pretty hard that “it’s gonna be alright”.

    Further, even if they WERE stuck, I don’t buy that they would starve even so. The quarians are pretty much self-sufficient with their live-ships. Who says the other ships couldn’t also be rigged to be. And while every race had an army represented, how many people could this be? Unless any of the races have more than 10 % of their people in the army, and most survived the battle, we’re talking a couple of billions at most. And given Earth has recently been severely depopulated, freeing up some space. And even then, it doesn’t seem unlikely that they’ll have enough fuel to travel with conventional FTL drives to nearby colonies, given how many are usually within range of your average Mass Relay.

    Again, I don’t think I’m making more assumptions than you would have to to assume they starve. It’s just a matter of whether you take a pessimistic or optimistic perspective to the ending.

    • IFS says:

      I doubt the quarians brought their agricultural and civilian ships to fight the reapers and besides that quarians and turians have different amino acids than humans and therefore can’t eat our food.

      • Vegedus says:

        They did bring them to the fight against the Geth, as they were desperate enough to just strap on a couple of guns and call them fighters. It’s a good point about the amino acids thing. The dextro/levo protean thing, as far as recall.

        I can’t remember the games talking about how food is produced, but I don’t find it entirely unfeasible that those kinds of food could be synthesized. Hell, would it be surprising if the omni-tool could make you a Mars bar? We don’t really know how big an issue food production really with the technology of the Mass Effect universe. I’d assume places like the Citadel could grow it’s own food and be self-sufficient in that regard. It’s rather speculative, but I don’t remember the series making food a big issue before.

        • nambulous says:

          If that was true, then why are they sitting on a planet without any space travel? They are both human, I presume, and are confined to the planet they are currently on. If the fleets had survived, they still would have those ships, at least.

        • Dreadjaws says:

          The problem is that making all those things (food, ships, colonies, etc.) would take resources they don’t really have. After the battle with the Reapers, the Earth was pretty much decimated, even in the “happiest” ending. I presume the attack didn’t help much the ecosystem.

          Besides, you know that just bringing one new species to a part of the planet can make terrible things to the ecosystem. Imagine now dozens of new species, all of them with very different organisms (including the aforementioned Quarians and Turians, who can’t eat our food and the Krogans, with very little patience), stranded on the planet, having to coexist in the same planet. Just trying to figure out what to do would take decades.

          Also, most of the people attacking the reapers were soldiers, not scientists or workers (though some of those soldiers were actually civilians), which would make the work even harder. Not to mention the fact that they’d have to attend all the wounded. Medi-Gel makes this easy, since it works on every species, but their reserves would most likely vanish, and making more might not be an easy task, which means mortality rate could be high, specially for Quarians.

    • LurkerAbove says:

      I tend to think along those lines, but there are a few exceptions. Primach Victus being stranded on Earth certainly won’t help the Turians. The big one is if Wrex, or even Wreav, are stranded. It’s hard to exaggerate how big a deal that would be for the Krogan.

      • Vegedus says:

        Ye, have to agree with that. I found curing the genophage to be one of the hardest decisions in all of the games, and I only did it because Wrex were supposedly able to stabilize the Krogan. Though, without the Mass Relays, the krogan’s ability to expand is hamstrung, so they won’t be wiping anyone else out besides themselves.

    • Lalaland says:

      The main problem is that the game has always stated that the Relays were built by another much, much earlier race (Jarvik mentions the cunning of the Reapers in convincing the galaxy his people had built them) and no-one has any idea how they work or how they are powered. The Arrival DLC sets up that these things destroy solar systems when they are destroyed and that it takes the force of a collision with a really big asteroid to damage them. For them to explode like that implies destruction, the mystical payload only works with the Green ending as Blue and Red don’t change anything in the way Green does.

      Beyond that ME prior to this point has shied away from fantasy and tried to ground their imaginary science. To have magic suddenly show up in such an overt way the last 5 minutes is jarring to say the least. Also the Green ending robs everyone in the galaxy of choice in whether to integrate with machines in much the same way the Reapers do but this time it’s totally OK?!?

      The fleets stuck in orbit is only an issue because the game itself has made so much of how badly destroyed Earth is with even Wrex joking that humans will need another planet just like the Krogan. I think it’s a bit overblown but it’s also clear that fleet is pretty much doomed. Again it comes back to not closing things even a bit of a video showing the fleet forming Earth colonies or something would have given closure but no. All we’re left with is the game saying “Earth is screwed”, then “the fleet is stuck on Earth” and nothing else.

      • Vegedus says:

        I can understand the need for closure. I just personally didn’t had any problem “filling out the blanks”, generally assuming that it’s eventually going to be all right for all parties involved, except Shepard himself. Given the positive wibe I got from the epilogues, that’s what I assume Bioware’s intention was.

        Whatever the Crucible did in any of the ending’s to the Mass Relays, I really doubt that it wiped out all life out in the Galaxy. Both epilogues are in contrast with that: Joker survived, humanity survived. I really think it is “mystical space energy” in all the three endings, in the two others, it’s supposed to deal with the reapers. For instance, in the destroy ending, the Mass Relays don’t so much explode as send out the same kind of energy that the crucible uses to deactivate the reapers. Which we see doesn’t harm humans. Basically an universe wide EMP-bomb. When I watched it, this seemed fairly self-evident.

        The thing about “mystical” energy being uncharacteristic of Mass Effect I agree with. That’s the thing I disliked about the endings the most, and was jarred by it too. Really, any technology that can’t be explained with mass effect is pretty WTF in the aptly-named franchise. I guess for me the blow was softened by all the soft-sci-fi anime I watch, which have numerous endings like it. It’s all cyborgs and mechas and spaceships, and then in the finale the protagonist confronts some magic god entity and makes a choice to prove a philosophical point. But yeah, jarring.

    • ehlijen says:

      The main problem is that the game simply doesn’t tell us otherwise.

      The only time we see a relay get destroyed before it’s bye bye solar system. We are not told to expect anything different here (and to me the relay destruction looks pretty violent here too).

      If they’d wanted us to not think that, they should have mentioned that this type of relay exploding is different to the previous type in that way. They didn’t; they left us with no evidence either way. So basing our expectations on the only similar event in the story so far is not unjustified.

      • guy says:

        Also, it should be noted that the previous exploding mass relay occurred in special bridging DLC. Given that it was added on to ME2 after-the-fact, the only real reason to end it that way was to set up for exploding mass relays in ME3.

        • Sumanai says:

          And, as I’ve mentioned above, the Normandy seems to be getting hit pretty hard by that explosion in ME3 ending.

          • paercebal says:

            Not as hard as the wiped out Batarian colony from the Arrival DLC, which is what annoys people complaining about how supple “(meta-?)physics” are when trying to justify some plot hole.

    • nambulous says:

      “I always thought it was fairly obvious the relays didn’t so much explode as they were destroyed while giving some cosmic, mystical energy payload”

      It’s a problem because the ME2 DLC Arrival was specifically designed as a piece of information players were supposed to take from ME2 into ME3. That’s all it was about. It was supposed to bridge the gap between those two games. An exploding mass relay wipes most of the system out. Why would you shove that into people’s faces, if you didn’t want them to think that?
      That Joker is still alive doesn’t have to be a contradiction to this, because it’s possible that he escaped to a system without a mass relay in it and that’s the reason he’s still alive.

      “I don’t think this is wild speculation”

      In the stargazer ending we learn that it’s a long looong time after the events of ME3 (so much time has passed that they don’t even remember certain specifics anymore) and they still don’t have _any_ space travel. Therefore, right away, the game tells that no one did, or was able to rebuild the mass relays.

  26. Tim Van den Langenbergh says:

    Am I ever so happy I don’t play modern games… Okay that’s a lie, but ME2 ruined the franchise for me long before ME3 was announced, so I balanced playing ME3 with playing oldies.

    *Conglaturations, you are win! Thank you for play this game!* Is… Kind of a good ending compared to some of the others I’ve seen in recent years (though seeing Miranda’s corpse after taking out the Human Reaper did fill me with a warm and fuzzy feeling).

  27. RTBones says:

    Random things I think I think –

    – Origin: What was/is wrong with Steam? Am I missing something? Yes, we as consumers hate DRM, but why a new system?

    – Day One DLC: Just incredibly wrong on so many levels. You pay $60, install the game, and are expected to fork out $10 more for the ‘whole story’? I don’t care if the content is ‘optional’ – being the last game in the trilogy, your players are going to want to hear/see/play as much of the story as they can. Are you kidding me?

    – Endings that just don’t make sense: Whether or not a DLC is added to the game to ‘patch’ the ending, when your endings 1)generally are all the same and 2)cause an entire community to nearly riot to tell you what they think of the endings, you think maybe you should revisit them?

    – Money grab: Regardless of whether anyone buys into the ‘indoctrination’, the game is clearly set up for DLC of SOME type. Thats fair enough – but if the last 20 minutes of the game turn out to be one big giant troll by Bioware/EA, and they then come with their hands out for cash to get the ‘real’ ending – yeah, likely the last Bioware product I consider without extensive research, and probably the last product from them for a while.

    – Lack of choice: this is the one that bothers me the most, I think. This is a franchise built on choices that matter. Why, after such a great game and a great series, do you spoon everyone’s heart out by taking away the very thing the franchise is built on? Your choices just didn’t matter.

    • Vegedus says:

      EA owns Bioware. EA runs Origin. EA wants to get take a slice of the digital delivery market away from Steam. Thus they force us to use Origin.

      • Lalaland says:

        True but it’s just a replay of the “Valve owns Steam, Valve makes Half-Life, thus Valve forces Steam on Half-Life 2 players”. I didn’t like it then but I put up with it and Steam is pretty good now, Origin will get there eventually too.

        • ehlijen says:

          Or it will die before then because EA fails to learn why Valve is liked where they are not.

          Both possible outcomes.

        • Vegedus says:

          Ye, I have trouble staying infuriated about Origin without being a hypocrite :/

          People were pretty damn hateful of Steam back in the day too. And there’s still stuff like Steamworks, bundled with Civ5 and others, which force you to get steam even if you buy it at retail. It’s just so damn hard to stay mad at Valve and their delicious convenience and prices.

          • Raygereio says:

            Ye, I have trouble staying infuriated about Origin without being a hypocrite :/
            There’s the spyware debacle for one. Last time I checked Valve didn’t peak around on your hard drive. I don’t know the exact details about that though, so no clue if it’s really true.

            Oh and disregarding that, I honestly would have welcomed Origin. I’m a firm believer in competition and Valve has had a near monopoly a long while.
            It’s that EA is being so damned half-assed about this that gets to me. When I checked it out, I saw a reskin of the craptastic EA download manager that crashed often, was a huge resource hog, was buggy as hell (it refused to believe I didn’t live in Rusia and didn’t want to pay in anything other then rubles – I’m Dutch) and the support was just abysmal.

            Maybe they have improved things since I last tried the platform, but say what you will about Valve; they made a decent enough first impression with Steam as by and large it simply worked.

            • Scow2 says:

              “Last time I checked, Valve doesn’t peak around on your hard drive”

              I’m pretty sure it does. As well as look up every other detail on your system.

            • Dreadjaws says:

              Yeah, Origin wants to charge me in Euros while I live in South America. It’s not the same continent, not even the same piece of landmass. There’s freaking ocean separating us from Europe, why the heck am I being charged in Euros?

              Also, my first experience with the thing was awful. I tried to install ME2, but after downloading, the game wouldn’t install because it got an error in the middle of the installation.

              I tried to right-click to see if there was an option to check the files like on Steam but nothing happened. Checking out the forums, I found out there was an option to “Repair Install” found at right-clicking, I don’t know why it didn’t work for me the first time (buggy software, I guess), but when I tried it later after a restart it worked, only what they call “Repair Install” actually means “Download the entire thing again”.

              So yeah, the software is unintuitive, buggy, resource-consuming, PC-spying and the few things that sometimes work don’t even do what they’re supposed to. EA should have learned from Steam long ago, there’s no excuse for Origin being so bad.

        • guy says:

          The thing is, Origin was created after Steam reached its present form. When Steam came out it had never been done before, so no one was really familiar with the pitfalls. Origin is not the first program of its type to reach mass-market success, so it has no such excuse.

        • Irridium says:

          Here’s the thing though, that was Valve, this is EA. The company who has shown many, many times that they just do not give much of a damn about you and view you with contempt, at best.

          That might be why people aren’t as anxious to jump on Origin.

          For me, there’s that, and the fact that EA charged $3 from my credit card after they fucking said they couldn’t charge my card after three failed attempts. And I was trying to buy DLC using EA’s stupidly obtuse system. Grr….

          Right now, to buy DLC for, say, Mass Effect 2, you have to go to the Bioware social site, click on what DLC you want, get linked to the ME2 site to buy “Bioware points”, then get directed to another place in the ME2 site to buy the DLC.

          Origin has not fixed this problem. You still have to do all this crap even if you have the game on Origin. I assume it’s the same with the Dragon Age games.

          Though I’m curious, is it the same with ME3? Do you need to jump through a bunch of sites to buy points to buy ME3 DLC?

          • Shamus says:

            Yes. I Wanted to buy the prothean squadmate. $5 seemed reasonable for one mission and a squad member. Instead I found out I had to buy points. $10 worth of points.

            I ended up watching the stuff on YouTube.

            If they were trying to compete with Steam, they would have my five bucks. But they’re clueless and don’t even understand just how far behind they are. This is like any other platform war: market share is EVERYTHING. They have a tiny slice of the market, and they have nothing to entice new customers besides “exclusives”. This is basically a roadmap to the same graveyard where betamax, HD-DVD, BeOS, and Netscape Navigator are buried.

            • Simon Buchan says:

              I got the offer to buy “800 Bioware points” which is what it was asking me for, so either I’m charged twice as much or Origin is even more bizzare.

              I’m not sure what you watched, but the important part of the DLC is the character interactions through the story, less than the mission. I’m not sure it’s worth $10 if you’re on a budget, but it seems like a decent product.

            • RTBones says:

              In the middle of everything else – the hideousness of Day 1 DLC, the potential spyware gate (I say potential – there are rumors, but I have seen nothing specific other than some claims from Germany)that is Origin, the endings, all of it – EA actually MAKES IT HARD to give them money! There is absolutely NO reason you should have to jump through soooooo many hoops to buy DLC.

              Gah! Thankfully, there is You Tube.

    • Piflik says:

      Correct me if I am wrong, but if you paid 60$ for the game, you don’t have to pay 10$ for the DLC…if you bought the game used for 55$, then you’d have to, but then you are also stupid.

  28. KremlinLaptop says:

    Mass Effect — the trilogy — is a bit like the first wearing-my-adult-pants sort of campaign/story I ever ran for a tabletop (wherein the pants were still a bit too big for my slight frame).

    It started off fantastic! We were getting interesting characters and fleshing out the setting with each session. It was brilliant stuff. The world was vibrant and the back-story flowed naturally while still keeping the BIG villain and all these things that were happening around him mysterious. Mid-way it got a bit tired, repeating the same things, but we were still trudging on because there’d be big revelations in the last chapter.

    The problem was that I hadn’t planned it out, I didn’t know MYSELF what those big revelations would be. I was scratching out notes the night before and trying to come up with something — absolutely anything — that would connect and resonate. It fell flat. It fell badly flat. It was the Final Fantasy sort of end-boss wants-to-destroy-the-world-to-save-it sort of villain.

    The problem was I kept layering on stuff at the start — cool stuff — but I had no solid plans for any of it. It was just cool stuff. Reapers are 50,000 year old alien machine thingamabobs? Cool stuff, Steve, put it in the game! Update the codex! There y’go.

    I think that’s what happened here. Bioware never had a plan to make a trilogy and they panicked. The first game fleshed everything out so well that they were somewhat locked on this path and they just couldn’t meet the expectations.

    And so we got this…

    (Disclosure: Right here on this blog I think I argued with Krellen about the finer points of ME2 and defended bits of the storytelling in the game. So I was a pretty ardent fanboy of the series even during the sloggin’ on through to get to the end phase.)

    • krellen says:

      Is this the part where I get to go “ha ha, told you so”?

    • Kdansky says:

      ME2: A second Reaper appears, and the citadel and Shepard go take it down. It flees, and crashes into the moon, and sure enough, there’s a base nearby. Turns out, some Cerberus guys (TIM) has made a deal with the devil, and instead of trying to get everyone to “survive” (as a cyborg) like Saren, he’s just in it for the power, and thinks he can get away with it.

      Sure enough, the only way to get close to him is to infiltrate his organisation. Shepard gets officially denounced and declared traitor, so he can do that. He joins Cerberus, does a few oddjobs and terror missions for TIM (great opportunity for renegade/paragon decisions), and even has to visit with another Reaper ship to try to get some secret tech out, shooting happens.

      That took me all of five minutes to come up with, and it fixes most of ME2’s plot.

      ME3: After getting beaten back twice, the Reapers come in full force. The good guys destroy one Mass Effect gate (dooming a system) to slow them down, and you have to collect as many allies as you can in as short a time as possible. Where do the Reapers come from? Well, an ancient race called the Xel’Naga (haha) made all of it, including humans, salarians and Reapers. They live far away, and it’s some kind of poker game for them, seeing if the biological things they created are able to survive the reapers. Up to now, the biology things always lost. Essentially, they are “playing Evolution”, because they are trying to create super-soldiers. Well, tough luck, the united Galaxy beast the Reapers at huge cost, including irreversible damage to most Mass Gates, resulting in a cut-off, but nevertheless alive Galaxy.

      There, this is better.

    • Auel says:

      Doesn’t it remind you of X-Files? I have never seen any of it, but to my understanding, it has many similarities to both ME and your campaign. Something TVTropes calls the “Kudzu Plot” I believe – you just keep making stuff up, reference conspiracies, lead your audience to scrutinize every detail – only to reveal that no, there was no conspiracy, you were flying by the edge of your pants the entire time. One can easily see how that may be extremely upsetting.

      It leads indirectly to one of my personal pet peeves, which is that it is extraordinarily hard to produce a satisfying ending to any work of fiction. The unknown is always more enticing than the explicit. That which you don’t know is a million things at once – and you can imagine how things may turn out. But every step towards the end, a portion of this fantasying is denied to you – the more the author reveals of the true plot, the fewer possibilities there are. Once you reach the ending, only a single thread remains. To make sure this one reality is more enticing than all the others you discarded is a daunting, likely impossible task. For someone from the audience, to learn that what is left is just a series of haphazardly connected pieces of strand can be truly devastating. This is what people mean when they say parts of their soul died. When they realize they sacrificed their ability to imagine the endless outcomes for this.

      • guy says:

        Eh, I don’t know about it being all that hard. The trick is to make sure it at least collapses into something stable-seeming, where it actually feels like the story is over.

        For instance, if the conflict of the story was all about a bunch of diverse races having trouble working together in the face of a common threat, one could end with the common threat being driven back for n centuries and people from different races standing in front of a cheering crowd of members of all the races. Say, ME3 ending with Anderson and Wrex at the dedication ceremony of the first Mass Relay built by the present races. There, happy ending and I’d be perfectly content with it if there were never any additional Mass Effect stories.

      • Dreadjaws says:

        I don’t know. I think the endings to, for instance, Star Wars, Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings are very well done. Sure, you can complain about a thing or two, but it would be nitpicking. The thing is, you have closure. The universe goes on, the protagonists might go on further adventures or retire, but it doesn’t matter if what you got was substantial, because it was satisfying.

        What we got in ME was nothing. That’s like if I invited you for dinner for a week, giving you turkey each time, then in the weekend you didn’t eat for the entire day waiting for dinner and when you came home I gave you a bread toast. A burnt one.

  29. The Hokey Pokey says:

    I chose the fourth ending. At one point, the catalyst tells Shepard that it controls the reapers. The catalyst also defers to Shepard’s judgement, so Shepard takes the obvious path: he tells the catalyst to make the reapers leave. There is no reason that couldn’t work, so I have decided that is what happens.

  30. Mark says:

    The Mass Effect series had storytelling problems but they were nothing bigger than what I was willing to tolerate. The third one was going so well.

    The ending… it’s bad in nearly every way it’s possible to be bad. The best I can say about it is that at least it doesn’t recontextualize anything that happened before it that I actually cared about. The plot holes are the kind that get bigger the more you think about them, until you’re left with one of two conclusions: either it was all a dream, or they put a wizard into their relatively hard space opera in the eleventh hour.

    I’d like to see them try to make things right. I enjoyed the journey so much that I must admit I’d be willing to pay for a different destination. The hours leading up to the ending earned them that much goodwill from me. But it doesn’t look like they’re going to go for it.

  31. wyatt1048 says:

    I really didn’t like the ‘Stop synthetic life from forming’ motivation of the Reapers, either. I would have preferred if they were, say, clearing the galaxy of space faring civilisations in order to let new societies that would otherwise be repressed spring up – allowing them to store multiple civilisations with different viewpoints. You could have that either as robots following commands to preserve civilisations taking their order too literally, or that they’re going to use those different technologies and philosophical theories at some point – which is where I’d write in the Crucible.

    Whoever created the Reapers, Citadel, and Relays also put the partially finished plans to the Crucible on some rock. Each cycle finds the plans and adds a little more, until eventually it’s complete and the final civilisation uses it to end the cycle. Why do this? They’re trying to create a civilisation that is not only incredibly technically advanced (as proved by being able to build the Crucible), but is united enough to get the resources to build it under serious pressure, and determined enough not to give up in the face of an overwhelming, eternal enemy. They then have to do something that this original civilisation couldn’t. Face down the heat death of the universe, or something. But you could leave that dangling, if you wanted to make another game in the same universe.

    Of course, even if the resolution itself had just been, ‘..and then the Reapers all blew up’, I’d be happy if I just knew what happened to my crew. Did the Krogan breed sensibly? Does the Geth-Quarian peace hold? Do Tali and Garrus get together for good? Instead what we got wasn’t and end, it was a visible lack of one.

    (As it’s a slow news day, it’s made the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17444719 )

    And as I was looking for that, I found this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17458208

    “Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility,” said Ray Muzyka.

    So… Not just day 1 DLC, but we’re going to have to buy an ending?

    • Hitch says:

      If Bioware does say, “Well, I guess we screwed up a bit and didn’t make our ending clear enough. Here’s DLC to expand on it so maybe people won’t hate it so bad.” They would be seriously deranged to charge for that.

      That is, if they, or EA, ever want to sell another game.

      • 13 CBS says:

        As outrageous as such a move would be, the cynic/pessimist inside me still says that EA could still do that and have plenty of people buy their games.

    • lasslisa says:

      I don’t expect an answer to the krogan question, or the geth/quarians question – I think it would be out of tone for the series to give us one. The tone has been that you make your choices, and the game won’t tell you which one is ‘right’ – just like reality in that way, either choice might be the better one and Shepard has to rely on his or her own judgment. It takes away the impact of having faith in the krogan or of wanting to give them a chance if you know for sure that it’ll all be OK. (You here being the player).

      Edit to add: and it takes away the legitimacy of the Renegade options. If I sabotage the genophage cure because I’m afraid the Krogan will destroy everything if they expand again, then I see that the Paragon ending says they won’t, well, obviously I made the wrong choice (not just ‘a different one’ but ‘the wrong one’).

      • Dude says:

        Are you kidding? The blue Paragon choices, or the upper right corner choices are always the “right” ones. The Brick Shepard ones. The “canon”.

        All the other choices are the interesting ones.

        • Miral says:

          Presumably the “canon” Shepard is the one that you get when you start a new game without importing a save. That has some pretty non-Paragon choices…

        • Otters34 says:

          The way it works is like this: whatever you choose is right in the game. You killed the Rachni Queen because you expected them to rise up and start savaging everyone? Well that’s likely what would have happened. You let them live, believing the Queen’s story and granting them a chance at working with the rest of the galaxy? That’s what they do. Notice how no matter what you choose, you’re never ‘wrong’, just not to the preferences of the Council(which is to my mind very illuminating and important) or certain squadmates.

          Calling the upper-right and Paragon options ‘Bick Shepard’ is kind of oversimplifying it. Of course Meer/Hale sounds more emphatic when choosing the Renegade options, but notice how they always sound just a little subdued? That’s because they have to take into account what emotional state the player wants the option to convey. If you choose to say “TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU KNOW, #%{*FACE!, there’s a lot more room for error than “What do you know?”, which can be said any number of ways and convey any number of emotions. That and ‘kindly’ is narder to sound awesome as than “smouldering fury”

      • wyatt1048 says:

        You’re perfectly right, of course. How about different victory conditions for different methods of play? So you have to be constantly renegade in order for a renegade option to work: if the Krogan see you be lenient towards the Geth but destroyed the genophage cure, they go on a rampage, etc. But that would lead to having to play all paragon or all renegade.

        Maybe have an impossible to win situation. Sorting out one war to your satisfaction leads to the other situation falling apart, so you have to choose where you want to win.

        That would be how to do a bittersweet ending, not just refuse to tell.

    • MatthewH says:

      This has given me an idea for a better ending:

      “Well, see, back in the day we created the Mass Relays -we thought we were gonna be like your Rome, laying out roads for the benefit of everyone. Instead, we inadvertently forced all of you to develop exactly the same way -well, just like your Rome. Your rockets have engine nozzles exactly the same distance as two horse’s rear ends because the Romans made their roads that wide. Same story for us.

      “And it gets worse, you see. Once you reached a certain point in your civilization, you started forcing yourselves on other races -well, like the Protheans did on the Asari, at which point no evolutionary development is possible. Things really do become 100% determined.

      “So… we have to show up every 50,000 years to clean up our mess. At least we preserve you in the form of a reaper. That’s something, right?”

  32. adam says:

    Here’s a pretty easy fix for the ending:

    The Reapers clear out intelligent life to make room for new intelligent life which is inevitably smothered/wiped out by rapidly advancing civilizations that cannot be trusted to observe any kind of Star Trek-y “prime directive.”

    Shepard has to choose: his galactic civilization at the expense of the chance other civilizations have of arising (with the knowledge that his own civilization which will eventually overrun his galaxy with cities, wars and technology–perhaps to its eventual total destruction), or other civilizations arising in its place.

    • Cineris says:

      So, clear out intelligent life so that … Other races can spend millenia retreading the same technological ground, only to be wiped out by the Reapers.

      This essentially makes a moral argument that the potential development of younger races is more morally important than the continued development and expansion of older races. But… Why?

      It’s better than a totally nonsensical ending, but still leaves big questions.

      • adam says:

        But it’s not about one civilization being morally more “important.” It’s not about the end goal (“we survived!”). It’s about the journey, the chance at life. Shepard, as a sort of God-figure, gets to decide between allowing his civilization to continue, or to end it and give another the chance to arise in its place. Either way, he is essentially condemning trillions of “potential” lives to extinction, but it forces you to ask the question of whether or not your civilization has any more right to exist than another, given that their existences are mutually exclusive. Obviously, the answer is no. And the decision is, at its core, arbitrary. This gives a very bittersweet quality to the choice.

        As for taking the “easy” choice of just not killing currently-living people and thus allowing your civilization to continue, you would be doing so while knowing that the reason the “cycle” system was put in place in the first place was because of the experiences gained from life prior to the cycle system (in other galaxies or whatever) in which in addition to new civilizations being squeezed out, any civilization allowed to continue indefinitely eventually destroys/renders uninhabitable every habitable planet in the galaxy. Or whatever reasonable conceit you need to make the decision give you pause.

        edit: I didn’t directly address your point. It’s implicit in what I said above, but the reason the Reapers wipe out intelligent life is not because one civilization is more important than another. It’s to give them all an equal shot at life and building their civilizations. You get 50,000 years. That’s your time. I’d call that pretty fair, in its own context, and in a way far more fair than letting civilizations that arose first to dictate the fates of all those that come after.

        • some random dood says:

          “Congratulations on reaching your 15th birthday. Now you can make way for the new-born.” BANG!
          Pity that in ME1 it made clear that the Citadel races were protecting planets that look as if they were capable of independantly “birthing” new species from being colonised, and in ME2 the Hanar saved another species from extinction, so that reasoning (clearing out one civilisation for a new one) has as many plot-holes as a BioWare story.
          Semi-related: if the Reapers were saving other species and preserving the culture by turning them into other Reapers (after being turned into slurpies), there does not seem to be any civilisation, culture or any independant thought from any of the Reapers. Can you imagine the first conversation a new Reaper would have?
          Harbinger: “Welcome, Fred, into our Reaper community.”
          Fred (the new Reaper): “WTF? You a!hole – you just turned me/us into a slurpie!”
          Harbinger: “Yes, but it was for your own good. Now let’s jump into the dark space between galaxies and shut down for 50k years until it’s time to slurpify a new race.”
          Fred (tnR): “Screw you!”
          Harbinger: “…. There will be cake.” (Yeah, so I’m years behind the times.)

          Gah! I keep trying to wean myself from commenting on Mass Effect, but that first game just tickled the right places for me, so that I cannot ignore the train wreck that the series has ended up as.

          • adam says:

            You make a valid point but I appeal to Bioware’s other assertions that the Reapers themselves make–that humanity was spared during the last cycle since they were “premature” and not part of galactic civilization yet.

            The Council may have been attempting to protect “promising” races, but that’s part of the point. You make it clear that they will (probably) fail at this task. It wouldn’t be that hard. And part of the underlying idea here is that the cycle system and the Reapers don’t give existing civilizations the chance to prove themselves. They’re playing God under the pretense that “millenia of past experience” and “vast intelligence and simulation” has shown them that existing civilizations will squelch nascent ones. That’s part of the information you have when you make your choice, and you can decide if you think your civilization will buck the trend that led to the cycles in the first place.

            So if you choose to end the cycles:

            If you’re right about your civilization bucking the trend of destruction, hooray. Everybody wins.

            If you’re wrong, your civilization destroys countless others and eventually renders the galaxy uninhabitable (“nuclear winter” scenario).

            And if you choose to continue the cycle system, your civilization ends and provides the seeds for the next galactic civilization to be given its chance.

            You could add in interesting details. Like the fact that all previous Shepards of their respective civilizations in past cycles have seen how destructive their societies are and all of them ended up choosing to give other, new civilizations the chance to do better than theirs did. So it’s up to you to decide if you are that civilization that will “get it right.” And so on.

            Any way you slice it, there will be holes in the ending just by virtue of the fact that it’s 3 games of “choose your own adventure” type choices. I think my ending makes plenty of sense.

            • some random dood says:

              “Any way you slice it, there will be holes in the ending just by …” the options being completely bogus, with no continuity within the universe as presented. Sorry for riffing on your comment, but the people who wrote this stuff are (theoretically) very well paid professional writers, so to allow this level of rubbish to be swallowed just ticks me off. (Whoops – just re-read your post, and this was something you used to try to paper over the plot-chasms left by Bioware writers. However, the point I’m ranting about is of “professional writers” and the ending provided making people dream up all sorts of reasons just try and make sense of the non-sense still stands.)

              Choice A) “If you’re right about your civilization bucking the trend of destruction, hooray. Everybody wins.” Yep, seems like that knocks the ball out of the park. The whole paragon playthrough is about this.

              Choice B) “If you’re wrong, your civilization destroys countless others and eventually renders the galaxy uninhabitable (‘nuclear winter’ scenario).” Nope – fallacious logic. Maybe the present races expand out to fill out the universe and prevent other races from rising. Destruction of all planets is a possible scenario, but also galactic harmony for the races presently extant. Paragon playthrough would suggest the former (although would also suggest “Prime Directive” so back to choice A). Renegade could lean towards galactic war, with only one race coming out on top – but then it would be a mono-specied galaxy. Yes – all out destruction may be a possibility too, but far from “either/or”.

              Choice C) “And if you choose to continue the cycle system, your civilization ends and provides the seeds for the next galactic civilization to be given its chance.” Um, humankind has only just achieved star travel, the other races of the universe only a few centuries (millenia?) sooner – and you get to choose for how many races and trillions of people that their time is over? After managing (in many of the game scenarios) to overcome racial hatred and promote cooperation, how on could you possibly accept that as a valid choice? Paragon proves it wrong. Renegade would just shoot the fool presenting this option. (“Han shot first!”)

              Most people are willing to use their imagination to paper over the cracks in a plot. Good writers encourage this by not making the cracks large enough to make a speed bump. Bad writers make the cracks a bit too large, and jars the reader/player into noticing the problem(s). Atrocious writers just dig a huge trench and let you sail straight into it with absolutely no sign post warning about it.
              Some people are more forgiving than others – sounds like you are one of those people, and I take my hat off to you. Unfortunately for me, I’m an old grump who *really* doesn’t like being dropped into a hundred-foot wide, 200 foot deep pit filled with ass-pull plot devices.

              • adam says:

                Nope – fallacious logic. Maybe the present races expand out to fill out the universe and prevent other races from rising. Destruction of all planets is a possible scenario, but also galactic harmony for the races presently extant. Paragon playthrough would suggest the former (although would also suggest “Prime Directive” so back to choice A). Renegade could lean towards galactic war, with only one race coming out on top – but then it would be a mono-specied galaxy. Yes – all out destruction may be a possibility too, but far from “either/or”.

                I’m okay with that. I’m not saying I’ve covered every viable scenario, especially with regard to specific player/Shepard choices. I’m just presenting an alternate path. You would start with the general idea of “making room for the future” as I’ve suggested and fill in gaps and holes as necessary.

                Um, humankind has only just achieved star travel, the other races of the universe only a few centuries (millenia?) sooner – and you get to choose for how many races and trillions of people that their time is over? After managing (in many of the game scenarios) to overcome racial hatred and promote cooperation, how on could you possibly accept that as a valid choice? Paragon proves it wrong. Renegade would just shoot the fool presenting this option. (“Han shot first!”)

                But it IS a valid choice. You’re deciding if your civilization (not just race) is worthy of continued existence given the past experiences of hundreds if not thousands of previous civilizations having failed this test. It’s a neat way of projecting your own psychology onto the future of the galaxy. Do you have faith that you can maintain peace? That galactic civilization can maintain peace? Or do you realize that you’re not quite ready and you can’t justify the pre-emptive destruction of new civilizations in favor of your own probably-doomed one? The amount of time humanity has been traveling the stars is irrelevant. It’s 50,000 years and that’s it.

                (The point I’m getting at is that the cycle system is a sort of directed evolution, and it was put in place because other civilizations weren’t getting the chance to see the light of day and evolve into something greater, something that COULD potentially end the cycles. It’s not supposed to be perfect–that’s why the choice.)

                You can be a paragon and have faith in your civilization, or you can be a paragon and not have faith. Just because YOU are a good person doesn’t force you to believe that society at large is.

                Yes, Bioware dropped the ball. My solution is one of, I’m sure, many that could make the ending better stand up to scrutiny. It’s a tall order to ask Bioware to reconcile every choice a player could make into its endings. That’s why I’m forgiving. I’d be happy with an ending similar to the one I’ve suggested, and not because it’s mine as I’m hardly the first to dream up such a scenario, but because it gives weight to your present choice without obliterating the ones that came before it–that is, even if you allow the destruction of your civilization, you did it for what you thought was a good reason despite everything you know passing away and all your choices coming to naught. And as for the other choices, well, you’re free to make those and observe the consequences.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        One option: The Reapers harvest the civs to store them in their data networks, creating a meta galaxy of sorts in cyberspace. That allows new species to advance and be added at a later date and then harvested and added to the party. That way one could argue that the Reapers try to make sentient life as numerous as possible.

        Still, it’s silly.

  33. LurkerAbove says:

    Cross posted from spoiler warning because it annoyed me that much.

    If your Effective Military Strength (war assets*galactic readiness) reaches a certain level the war map will say,“Allied forces are holding steady and winning battles in key locations.”

    I know it is in an obscure place that many will not check, and many more will never meet the requirements, but how on Earth does that line get included.

    I’m serious. How could anyone work on ME3 and think writing that the Allies were winning all over the place would be a good idea?

    Kai Leng completely laps the field as my most hated character in a video game. He isn’t even visually interesting; he resembles Nightwing way too much.

    • Raygereio says:

      Nightwing? I pegged him BioWare’s attempt to draw in the Metal Gear Solid crowd with their own version of Cyborg Ninja Raiden.

    • IFS says:

      I termed Kai Leng “Cutscene-Boy” after my first encounter with him, on account of how he is only effective during cutscenes. It was incredibly frustrating to see this happen in a Mass Effect game, this series invented the interrupt system and they completely neglected to give us one against this guy. It should have let me a) shoot at him while he is fistfighting Thane, b) drive my shuttle up into one of those support beams to scrape him off. I wouldn’t have cared if the interrupts failed as long as it felt like I was able to try to do something.
      The fact that you do get an interrupt on him the last time doesn’t help much because of how stupid your whole party acts in that scene. Compare that to ME1 with Saren where the first thing you do is order your party to “make sure he’s dead.”

      • Jace911 says:

        The second Leng landed on my car, I started shouting “Do a barrel roll!” at Shepard while furiously mashing the Renegade interrupt trigger.

      • Bex says:

        The part with Thane really ticked me off too. Especially since Thane was my Shepard’s LI. The whole time my squad was just standing there watching them fight I was like “Uh, shoot him? Shepard? Don’t you want to save your boyfriend oh never mind he’s dead.”

        If there’s one thing I really hate in a game, it’s cutscene-induced stupid.

        • Dreadjaws says:

          Oh, my God, that drives me insane! And it’s something that has only happened in the third game. I liked the other ones because they didn’t allow that kind of BS, but ME3 is filled to the brim with moments like that, specially those involving Mei Ling or however he’s called.

          So many times in this game, including the damn ending, all I was thinking during cutscenes was “Let me do something!” or “My Shepard would have never done something like that!”. It was infuriating.

    • Sumanai says:

      Google searched Kai Leng, Mass Effect wiki page, first reaction:

      Fuck no. Just. No.

      As long I remember that picture, and all the stuff I’ve lately read about ME3, there’s no way I’m playing it. I don’t care how good the shooty fun is, I don’t care how many high points it has in story or conversations, these low points are too god damn painful.

      I don’t remember being a huge fan of ME1 and I still felt disappointed by ME2. Yet ME3 manages to rile me up. Bioware really can rise a step above.

      If anyone is wondering: there is/was a background of anger left over from Bioware fans defending everything they do, the stupid stuff Bioware has done and the way they handle PR. Which I should note was all on its own enough to discourage me from buying ME3 at all. Belittling fans is not something you do when they’re angry about something. It doesn’t matter if it’s unjustified or overblown, you just don’t do that.

      • Sumanai says:

        Apparently Shamus added pictures, so my reaction doesn’t make sense. Anyway, I didn’t know what he looked like before googling and the picture on Mass Effect wiki makes him look like a desperate Nightwing wannabe that is trying to be much cooler than he actually is.

    • GiantRaven says:

      His mask and hair do definitely have a ‘Dick Grayson’ vibe. Unfortunately, they didn’t come with Dick Grayson’s humourous personality.

  34. Matt says:

    So Shamus, what do you think will happen going forward? Do you think they’ll release pay DLC with “endings” for each squad member? Do you think they’ll scrap the ending entirely and patch it? Are people justified in asking BioWare for a new ending? As an author yourself, do you see the final product here as an inviolable artistic statement, a work in progress, or something in between?

    • Hitch says:

      Offering free “ending expanding” DLC will be too little too late. Admitting that they screwed the ending then trying to charge people to fix it takes shooting oneself in the foot to unprecedented levels.

    • Maldeus says:

      I don’t think BioWare actually planned something like the Indoctrination Theory, but if I were them, I’d take it and run with it.

      • Sumanai says:

        I’d own up to the screw-up and make the indoctrination theory canon.

        • Sumanai says:

          Note: Unless I had a different idea for the ending, and now was my chance to do it properly.

          If the idea was the Indoctrination Theory, I’d find a way of apologising for the ending in such a way that I wasn’t actually lying, but also not implying that it was the plan all along.
          For instance “I’m sorry I screwed up the ending, here’s a corrected one”. No implication that the fans were wrong, stupid etc. And no ego boosting for myself.

  35. Adeptus says:

    While I generally agree with your conclusions here, I spotted a few (possible) errors, and I have one or two theories that might explain some of your criticisms. Maybe. Note that I agree with pretty much anything that I don’t mention in this comment, if I seem overly defensive of the game – I was disappointed with the ending too.

    I don’t know how to do the spoiler tags, and there’ll be a lot here, so skip over this one if you’ve somehow come to this point whilst still being worried about spoilers.

    Cerberus have been collecting Reaper technology for the last couple of games, here and there, and the mission on Sanctuary explicitely states that most of their soldiers are kidnapped civilians who have been Husk-ified using their fancy tech. The Illusive Man is also apparently absurdly rich, which might explain how they arm these soldiers too, though who knows how he managed to make so much money considering Cerberus’ general incompetence.

    I didn’t even think of the Mass Relays exploding killing everyone, but it’s a good point. Massive slip on the writer’s part, as I assume that wasn’t the intention (especially since people are shown alive after the relays went up). It should be noted that even without the relays, they still have FTL-capable ships and could settle nearby systems, so the risk of starvation is reduced somewhat. The relay’s explosion in ME2 only destroyed the local system, anyway, so a lot of people in systems without mass relays would be fine. If they ever release DLC that changes the ending, I expect to see some sort of “but this destruction of the mass relays was different! It wouldn’t have caused any destruction!” comment, or similar (dumb) ret-con.

    The impression that I got about the Reaper solution was that the choice was either a 50,000 year cycle of almost-total destruction, or actual total destruction. That’s not explained at all in the game, just me desperately trying to make sense of the stupidity of the whole thing – it kinda works if you squint in the right way, and it might be what the writers intended, but who knows. This was probably my biggest problem with the ending, it’s nonsensical and disappointing.

    Also, why did the Catalyst just abandon this scheme and let Shepard do what she like once the Crucible was complete? It hinted at a reason, but it seemed like a counter-intuitive decision based on the evidence of the rest of the Reaper’s behaviour. I’d guess it’s just because the writers felt like it.

    The Crucible seems to be a project that gets attempted in a cycle, then maybe some race in a later cycle finds some remaining plans (like a Prothean beacon/VI, or Liara’s message that she plans to seed the galaxy with) and makes a tiny bit more progress, which is repeated. Our galaxy is about 13.2 billion years old – say 10 billion to give time for life to show up. That’s up to 200,000 cycles for them to make a bit of progress on the thing each time. Seems plausible to me, if a little far-fetched.

    Also, the Reaper’s really aren’t that thorough at destroying the evidence of themselves, as there’s all sorts of evidence of them cropping up in the games (Reaper corpses, collecter bases, Prothean beacons, active Prothean VI’s, some damaged bits of technology here and there, etc.). The real issue seems to be why they aren’t discovered earlier in each cycle, though time seems to be the Reaper’s ally there – most races just forget that it happened. Another stretch on the writer’s part here, but I just about buy it.

    As mentioned by others above, the Crucible was attempted by the Protheans, but work began far too late to complete it. I’d imagine the Reapers destroyed this version of it. It seems like Shepard’s early warnings in this cycle (well, some people believed her…) might have given them more time to work on it than previous cycles, as well as Shepard’s delaying tactics in ME3, so this is the first cycle it was finished.

    I think the Normandy is flying in faster-than-light mode, rather than Mass-Relay mode in the ending cutscene – everything is red-shifted (or is that blue-shifted? I forget which), which is consistent with FTL travel in the ME universe. So, where-ever they’ve landed won’t be that far from Earth, they can probably use their fancy quantum entanglement communications to get a pickup. Assuming the mass relays didn’t annihiliate all those ships in the Sol system.

    I have no good explanation for the Normandy fleeing the fight – it’s stupid as heck – but I’d also like to point out that some of the endings have your whichever squadmates you had with you on your final mission leaving the ship, which makes even less sense – we last saw them suicide charging a Reaper, and they definitely didn’t make it onto the Citadel, so I’d assumed they’d died. How did they get onto the Normandy? Teleport? Wishing really hard? Did they run away? Seems out of character for any of them.

    It’s totally possible to save Earth in some endings, in others it’s pretty much completely razed, and that mostly depends on how much tedious fetch-questing (or multiplayer, if you prefer) you’re prepared to do to raise your readiness rating thingy.

    The Synthesis ending choice also suggests that issues like disease and (maybe) malnutrition might be much less of a risk for the survivors, assuming you made that choice. Pretty much just speculation on my part, though.

    Phew, that’s a lot of words to say ‘I agree!’ Sorry!

    Edit: And it took me so long to write that a lot of these points have been brought up already. Oh well.

    • Hitch says:

      Also, why did the Catalyst just abandon this scheme and let Shepard do what she like once the Crucible was complete?

      Because Shepard got so close, and there’s been a trend of getting closer and closer for many cycles, that the Reaper gambit will never work the next time. So he has Shepard flip the table for him.

      • Uli says:

        Well, I don’t know about that. This is the first cycle we know of that the Reapers didn’t instantly take the Citadel, shut down the relay network, and then **** over the isolated pockets of advanced civilisation at their leisure.

  36. acronix says:

    I think the problem with the ending is that, suddenly, the players aren´t the ones creating the story of Shepard. Instead, whatever tale they were making up to that point is replaced by Bioware’s interpretation of what Shepard is: a hero (and an idiot incapable of questioning the child-projection and taking everything the enemy says about itself as absolute truth, but I bet that wasn´t the intention).

    The forced authorial-interpretation can be clearly seen on the epilogue, when the child asks for “another tale about The Sheperd”. That bit doesn´t make sense if you have taken some of the non-hero options. I bet any grandfather would be very happy to tell their grandchildren how “The Shepard” helped destroy the whole quarian species, for instance.

    Actually, it doesn’t make sense anyway because the galaxy exploded, but who pays attention to that? Certainly not the writers!

    Said on a simpler form: the writers decided they were novelists and wrote the ending to their novel, not to an interactive story with big enfasis on player decitions.

    • IFS says:

      If they do make ending-changing dlc then I hope they introduce it by having the player go through the current ending, get to the scene where the kid is listening to the story and then have the kid say “Grandpa that’s BS, take your meds and tell me how the story really ends” cut to the new ending.

      • Sumanai says:

        If the DLC is free, then I’d be willing to forgive* Bioware for the ending. Not for the other BS they’ve been pulling, but the ending itself.

        * Well, it’s not really forgiveness, since they haven’t wounded me with it, but I don’t know what else to say instead. I’m certain you get what I’m getting at.

  37. Deoxy says:

    You realize that providing a rotten product is the only way to end a franchise, right?

    I mean, stuff like this is what happens when someone is pushed to continue producing sequels – the push ends when one of the sequels is finally bad enough.

    The second Dune trilogy comes to mind (never read it, just been given that example a few times for this).

    • Chiller says:

      I think that’s exactly the reason they decided to nuke the mass effect relays, which to me appeared to be the one part of the plot which was written in from the start: “We HAVE to mess up the current universe so we won’t have to do any more sequels, so the mass effect relays will HAVE to go no matter what… now let’s see how we can structure the ending around it” (not very well, apparently).

      To that end, I think it was actually a very effective way to end the trilogy.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Actually, I liked the second Dune trilogy

      It kind of followed the first one in that I never actually understood what all this was good for until I read the next book, and then in retrospect it made a scary amount of sense. Except for the very last book which was understandable after having read it just once :)
      The only book that stands out to me is the first one, but that may well be because of the movie.

      My only criticism is that the Duncan Idaho stuff does wear out. Someone liked this character more than was good for the story.

      • Bubble181 says:

        Absolutely.

        Now, the *new* two books added by his nephew, those do genuinely suck. Massively. Honest, I pretend they don’t exist and I don’t mind ME3, in comparison.

  38. NonEuclideanCat says:

    Welp, glad I was never at all interested in this series beyond the LPs you and the Freelance Astronauts did.

  39. Chiller says:

    Thanks Shamus. I agree with everything (er, except the CAPITALIZED OVER-DRAMATIZATION of the last sentence — edit: gah, that was a joke, went right over my head when I first read it), and now I can just point people to this instead of writing things out myself :D

    Really, Mass Effect has always been a plot-hole mess. It got lucky by starting off with a game where its story-telling problems were not readily apparent because the focus was more on the exposition on the overall really well-written background lore. Story-wise everything started to fall apart very fast from ME2 onwards although the mission structure in ME2 is probably one of the best pieces of game design I can think of.

  40. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think the ending was made so bad on purpose,so that no one would complain about the stupidity of quarians unmasked.

    • Raygereio says:

      Dear Ao.
      On this subject, what is it with BioWare and ruining perfectly good running jokes?
      Just like the player didn’t need to know what’s up with Sandal’s Enchantment, the player didn’t need to see Tali’s face.

      Dammit, BioWare. Is there anything you can’t screw up?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Showing her face wouldnt have been bad if it at least was an alien face.Even just painted an odd colour.

      • IFS says:

        They haven’t revealed sandal’s enchantment thing yet

        • Raygereio says:

          I see you haven’t played DA2.

          • acronix says:

            I have played it, and don´t remember. Guess it must have been something very dull and uninteresting. Or both. Or maybe it was so awesome it openned a hole in space-time and erased itself from my time-line.

          • IFS says:

            I have played DA2, I remember they added Not-Enchantment to his skills, had him spout something prophetic sounding at some point, and called him a savant as well as had hawke theorize that he might be a dwarven mage, but they never outright explained how he kills darkspawn with “Enchantment”

            • Raygereio says:

              Hrm, I honestly have a scene in my head where Bodahn explaines it. Something along the lines of Sandal being able to release the energy in a rune, or something. Think it was after you find Sandal in the deeproads.

              Whelp, I’m not going to replay DA2 to be verify this.

      • Hitch says:

        Strangely, Bioware listens to their fans too much. One of their publicity stunts was a “Do you want to see Tali’s face?” poll. Which, I’m sure, they assumed people would sensibly answer, “No. That would spoil it.”

        Quelle surprise, people act stupid on the internet, and voted yes. So they rushed out a Tali picture as a throwaway item figuring it would never be a big deal. After all, it’s too trivial to get all worked up over. Right?

        • Chiller says:

          I wanted to see Tali’s face. Actually, I didn’t really need to see Tali’s face per se, just any Quarian’s face in order to put a stop to all the extremely stupid discussions about whether they were blue or had tentacles or whatever. It’s not like people wouldn’t know it in the universe, Quarians are reasonably common and I’m sure SOMEONE got curious at some point.

          Making her cute and vaguely Persian-looking was fine I guess and well in line with her also vaguely Middle-Eastern accent, which is about as much as we can expect from Bioware creativity at this point.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            My problem isnt that she is cute,my problem is that she is human.After all that talk how quarians are so different,and how they are much closer to turians,and quarians end up looking closer to humans than asari?Thats weak.Was it so hard to at least do what star trek does and have her have a funny nose?

          • Raygereio says:

            It’s not like people wouldn’t know it in the universe, Quarians are reasonably common and I’m sure SOMEONE got curious at some point.
            It was never really a question if someone in universe knew how the Quarians looked like. Hell, there’s always Fornax. It would take one Quarian on her pilgremage being down on her luck for the entire universe to know how they look like.

            The player didn’t know and sometimes it’s good to keep things a mystery to the player. Both as an in joke and to keep the player’s imagination working. You don’t have to spoonfeed them everything.

            • Destrustor says:

              Yeah it was always cool and funny how we never get to see the face of halo’s master chief.
              “oh he’s taking off his helmet, maybe we’ll see what he NOPE” And then we laugh and move on. It’s an in-joke, a running gag between the devs and the players, and it’s just fine that way.
              Because if they had shown it, he probably would’ve been a 30-something white male. :]

            • Zukhramm says:

              It might be a fun little mystery, for a while, but eventually, after multiple games it just become increasingly silly that the camera always happens to face their backs every single time a Quarian removes the mask.

  41. James Schend says:

    It would not surprise me to learn the writers of ME3’s ending were huge fans of Verner Vinge, specifically “A Fire Upon the Deep”. Which has a very similar ending both in content and tone.

  42. Ron says:

    I can’t help but feel betrayed by Bioware. I realized that it wasn’t going to get much better after the mess that is 2, but the universe was the reason I kept playing. The ending essentially asked me what color I wanted to see as I destroyed everything that compelled me to play it in the first place.

  43. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think the problems with 3 are the same ones from 2:It wasnt planned well.They were telling a story in 1,but didnt think of how to continue and conclude it.Yes,they left a few loose ends in 1,but didnt think how to tie them,until they started the third game.

    Also,compared to this motivation behind the reapers,my theory of them harvesting organics in order to evolve seems like a nobel prize plot.

    By the way,did kaidan ever address his outburst from 2,or was it just forgotten like plenty of stuff from 2?

    • Shamus says:

      Arg!

      I played with Ash, and she spent the first two missions of the game giving me MORE crap about working for Cerberus, doubting my motivations, asking me if I was sure I wasn’t indoctrinated or whatever. It didn’t last the whole game, but they managed to open that old wound for another salting.

      • ehlijen says:

        Kaiden does the exact same thing.

        • Irridium says:

          Did they just copy/paste the dialog for both of them like they did for ME2?

          • Michael says:

            Nah, there’s some variance. Kaiden spends half the game whining about the biotic squads he was training before the game started, while Ashely spends half the game going on about her brother in law that bought it defending earth, and getting really hungover, once…

            In all fairness, Ashley seems to actually get more dialog, but some of it’s cut and paste duplications, and some of it’s distinct. Basically, if it’s in a main story mission it’s duplicated for both, if it’s ship board or in other non-combat zones it’s distinct.

      • Hitch says:

        At least Dr. Chakwas offers a decent justification for the stupidity of Mass Effect 2 and working with Cerberus. But she’s the only one.

        • ehlijen says:

          Not sure I’d call it decent. It’s pretty much a restatement of the ‘Yes, but only once.’ answer you get to give in ME2 to TIM when he asks if he can kick you in the balls.

          But yes, it is more than anyone else gives you.

          • Hitch says:

            Maybe you didn’t get the same conversation I did.

            In one of my medical bay conversations with her I chose the stupid sounding, “Does it ever bother you that we worked for Cerberus?” To which she replied, “We didn’t work with Cerberus. We used them. They had the ships, materiel, and manpower we needed to defeat the Collectors. As soon as we did that, we told TIM to get stuffed.”*

            I just had to stare at my screen for a minute and said, “Thank you. Now why can’t Shepard ever say that?”

            * Paraphrased from memory.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Indeed.Thats basically how I was playing 2,and got so angry that I couldnt say that to anyone.

            • ehlijen says:

              What I wanted to say to TIM was:

              Thanks for the ship, dude. See you back in the Alliance, now that I have footage of the collecters in action and a council that still likes me enough to remake me a spectre.

              Compared to that, “I mooch of Cerberus while jumping through TIM’s hoops” is still not very satisfying (because you do Jump through his infuriating hoops without choice).

      • burningdragoon says:

        Heh, despite playing a mostly paragon, I took mostly renegade options when talking to her because of not wanting to put up with her shit and purposely didn’t convince her to come join me.

      • LurkerAbove says:

        I actually didn’t ask Ashley to return to the ship after Uldina dies because she was still on about that Cerebus thing at the start of the game.

        If she’s still worrying about that right now, how can I trust her? Is she going to second guess everything I say? At this point, I have more confidence in Miranda‘s loyalty than Ashley’s.

        Ashley is probably just above Zaheed, way at the bottom.

        • Michael says:

          Yeah, but with Zaeed and Miranda you actually did their loyalty missions. Ashley isn’t loyal to you at all. :p

          • krellen says:

            After saving her ass on Virmire, she should be.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              What are you talking about?The bitch died there,and was never mentioned again.Ever.

              • anaphysik says:

                Me carefully engineering Miranda’s death (and only Miranda’s death) at the end of ME2 also didn’t cause her gorram name to show up on the Normandy Memorial list.

                • taellosse says:

                  Is that even possible? I thought Miranda couldn’t die unless you’d screwed up a whole bunch of other stuff first, including getting several other squadmates killed. Because the writers luuurrved Miranda so much.

                  • anaphysik says:

                    It is most definitely possible, but it is hard.
                    The primary trick is to have Miranda (and her alone) unloyal. So after her and Jack’s Loyalty missions are finished, simply side with Jack (even if Charm/Intimidate options are available, as they were for me). (This actually makes plenty of in-story sense as well, since Jack has a reasonable point and Miranda is being a petty bitch.)
                    (This way you also get XP/upgrades from her quest and still get to save her sister, who had not actively made me hate her.)

                    There are two ways to kill Miranda during the suicide mission: 1) during the final boss fight (simply have her unloyal, but you’d also have to have her in your party and listen to her prattle on, which I find unacceptable) and 2) whilst holding the line (she must be unloyal and everyone more likely to die than her (Mordin, Tali, Kasumi, and Jack apparently) must be loyal – though in my case I had everyone loyal but Miranda – and your “Hold the Line average” must be greater than 1.5 and less than 2)

                    Since 3 teammates don’t hold the line (2 in squad + 1 sent back with crew (necessary for the crew to survive, which all of mine did)), the critical scores are as follows:

                    have Zaeed and Kasumi: 18
                    have one: 16
                    have neither: 14
                    (remembering that your setup must be *less* than the critical score)

                    My setup:
                    ->everyone loyal except Miranda
                    ->had both Zaeed and Kasumi
                    ->no one dead before Holding the Line (in my case: loyal Legion on vents, loyal Jack for the long walk, and loyal Garrus as 2nd fireteam leader both times; however, the actual people chosen here have no effect)
                    ->sent loyal Grunt back with the rescued crew (loyal Grunt would have been worth 4 points during the Hold the Line section)
                    ->brought loyal Mordin (would have been worth 1 point) and loyal Garrus (would have been worth 4 points) with me to fight the Baby Space Terminator and flip off TIM

                    That left the following loyal teammates holding the line, with their point values in parens: Zaeed (4), Legion (2), Samara (2), Thane (2), Jacob (2), Tali (1), Jack (1), Kasumi (1); and an unloyal Miranda worth 1 point.
                    That’s 9 line-holders with a total of 16 points – less than the critical ‘all survive’ 18 (but more than 13.5), meaning that one nonloyal dies, which causes Miranda to die! Yay!

                    (You can actually bring as few as 8 points between your squad and the crew’s escort (you can see I brought 9) and still have that unloyal Miranda die. E.g.: Garrus, Legion, Thane.)

                    If you don’t have Zaeed or Kasumi, you need 7 points between squad and escort (e.g. Garrus, Legion, Mordin).

                    If you have Zaeed but not Kasumi, 9 points (e.g. Zaeed, Garrus, Mordin).

                    If you have Kasumi. but not Zaeed, 6 points (e.g. Legion, Thane, Samara; or e.g. Garrus, Mordin, Kasumi).

                    (So it ought be possible to kill only Miranda regardless of which DLC you did or did not get.)

        • Kian says:

          Gods, I was so mad at Kaidan/Ashley. I’ve been replaying the series (I lost my save, played ME3 with a downloadedd save but wanted to have my own) and just reached Horizon in ME2. Ashley gives me crap about disappearing for two years. I mention how “I was in a COMA for two years while Cerberus rebuilt me” and her immediate answer is “Oh, so you’re with Cerberus now?” Didn’t you just hear me say I was in a coma? The coma was the important bit! The coma is why you’re mad at me! It’s not my fault I died, be mad at Joker!

          Not to mention that I went to Anderson directly after I got some freedom to move, and asked about them and was told they were in a secret mission. Then I meet them and they tell me Anderson sent them here because they were suspicious.

          But that’s not even the worst part. Already in ME2, even while flying in a Cerberus ship, the Council trusted me enough to reinstate me. Yeah, in a sense it was a placating measure, but it still shows they fundamentally trusted Shepard. They could have sent another Spectre after me, or grounded the Normandy (which I parked on their front door in the middle of their fleet) but they trusted me enough to give me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted and once I was done playing with the terrorists and getting over this Reaper phase of mine I could come back. That’s a lot of trust, even if they don’t believe my fears are real.

          Admiral Hacket trusts you all throughout the three games. He knows you’re awesome and send some sensitive missions your way, trusting you to solve the problems the Alliance can’t handle. Admiral Anderson trusts you. Almost every authority figure has faith in you, despite whatever misgivings they might have.

          Joker, Chakwas, Tali and Garrus all trust you implicitly. Even the people you kidnap (James Vega, Specialist Traynor) trust you.

          The only person to ever mistrust you is Kaidan/Ashley. Despite how many times you save them or the evidence they witnessed themselves that the Reapers are coming and no one wants to face this truth.

          Why exactly is this person a romantic interest in three again?

          • LurkerAbove says:

            Liara’s mother and SAREN trusted you more than Ashley does. Saren shoots himself for you, and she won’t even handcuff Uldina for you.

          • Conrad Gray says:

            Not to mention that Kaidan/Ashley is your subordinate, so romancing them constitutes fraternization and is highly unprofessional. That alone caused me to never romance either.

  44. Zak McKracken says:

    Re “writers who have no plan”:
    I think they have a lot of writers who do have a plan. And that is the root of the problem, because not everyone has the same plan. I would bet that there was no singe person properly coordinating the story and establishing the main arc _before_ all the other details and sidequests were made. But if you try to have people working in parallel on the same story, there’ll be a few seams. And those are going to be worse if each of the writers had a different idea of what the rest of the story was going to be.

    • lasslisa says:

      Had some moments noticing this w/r/t the Krogan. “Krogan have babies in clutches of a thousand” and “this planet was colonized by the Krogan, each family raising hundreds of babies” vs. the female Krogan’s saying “I was so devastated when my first child was born stillborn” – Wait, what? Where’d the whole ‘clutch’ idea go?

    • Sumanai says:

      Someone from Bioware, damned if I care for the name, said they hadn’t finished the ending by last December.

      I’m willing to bet they make few notes and come up with stuff on the fly. Which is kind of sad, since certain programming project software would work perfectly for updating, sharing, collaborating and storing story stuff.

  45. Eruanno says:

    On Cerberus: Didn’t they explain that somewhat? They turned refugees into kind-of-but-not-really-husks and that’s where Cerberus got their army from? I just kind of assumed they didn’t need to get fed, trained, but the Illusive Man just kind of pushed the remote control for the little radio recievers in their heads. Or something.

    On the Crucible: You know what, I never thought about it until you mentioned it. Didn’t every other race pretty much go “Oh balls, Reapers!” as they warped into the Citadel from dark space, and the Protheans were pretty much the only ones who had a clue about this beforehand. Or maybe they got clues from those who came before, who got clues from those who… ARGH!

    Actually, how did the Reapers move the Citadel? Did they just swoop in, torch the place from living things and then drive away, towing it behind them? Guh?

    Also, I have the From Ashes DLC (got the Collector’s Edition). Javik pretty much takes a look at the plans, goes “Wtf is this? I’ve never heard of this. I’m a soldier, not a scientist!” and everyone kind of grumbles as they realize he’s of no help to anyone. Sigh.

    EDIT: Oh damn it, I thought of another thing. Who here didn’t raise their gun and try to shoot the ugly little star child-brat? My actions after regaining control in the last sequence was:
    1. Check to see if there was a way to double back. Clearly all my choices were awful. Maybe I can just… go back and ignore the… no? Damn it.
    2. Shoot the damn kid. DIE. DIE. Fuck, he’s immortal.
    3. Stare at the battle raging above me.
    4. Stare at the beams, trying to decide which one is the least awful.
    5. Keep staring. They are all awful choices.
    6. Grumble and pick one, just to see if it gets any better. NOPE.

    • guy says:

      Other question about the Crucible: So, apparently it is designed to be hooked up to the Citadel. Why?

      Bear in mind, we know with absolute certainty that the Protheans lost control of the Citadel prior to having the slightest clue the Reapers existed. So why did they put so much effort into designing a weapon they couldn’t possibly use? Also, since Vigil was apparently unaware of it, the guys who were making it couldn’t have expected that future races would be able to reach the Citadel either because disabling the Keepers wasn’t even a plan when they built it.

      • tremor3258 says:

        What’s the timing on the Reapers with the Citadel versus the fleet warping in? Wasn’t it in ME1 “If the Reapers get the Citadel, they shut down the relay network, shatter command and control, and use our own tax databases to wipe us out and set up the next cycle’s bait?”

    • Cody211282 says:

      That’s basically what I did, the moment the kid came out and started spewing his “Yo Dawg” type logic was about the same time I started list off the plot holes in the game(me and my roommate spent 5 hours in denny that night talking about how bad just the last part of the game is)

      In the end I went “fuck it the writers don’t care so why should I” picked the synthesis ending(because it made the least amount of sense) then went to youtube to see if I had done something wrong, and raged even more when I learned that I got the only ending there was.

    • Sumanai says:

      Hasn’t anyone tried just standing around there, for like an hour? I mean, that’s the only sensible thing I have come up. Except maybe “blow everything up, because none of it matters anymore”.

      • anaphysik says:

        Apparently the game just critical failure ends with ‘Crucible destroyed, Reapers won’ message if you stand around long enough.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV1QyNumjZU
        See! Choice!

        There’s also the ‘fall through the floor’ “ending.”
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYlwix8njc0
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82SvEbJnbJQ
        The view is actually kind of interesting in that one.

        Oh, and on the related topic of rebuttals to the ‘no A, B, C ending’ quotes, I propose that we simply accept what Casey said as true, and I’ve whipped up proof: http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/187/me3noabcendinganaphysik.png

        See, they didn’t lie!

        EDIT: Shamus, a tags don’t seem to work for some reason, just producing text that looks like a hyperlink but goes nowhere. Upon editing, the href value has disappeared.

        EDIT 2: and now it’s trying to be smart and change my “” into an actual tag, and add the corresponding close tag to the end. Stupid computers, trying to be “smart” rather than doing what we say….

        EDIT 3: and now it’s even ripped out my mangled-purely-as-an-example tag, leaving those quotes with nothing between them! crazy!

        • Sumanai says:

          I’m disappointed, but not surprised.

          I usually just copy-paste the address, the site code turns it into a link automatically.

          • anaphysik says:

            Which is what I ended up doing. What I was trying to do was create text that had a hyperlink embedded in it, rather than simply the hyperlink as the text.

            • Sumanai says:

              I don’t do the proper hyperlink, unless I feel the post is too long already, because I tend to screw them up somehow. I don’t know if it’s the websites code mangling it, or if I’ve done something wrong, but it’s pretty discouraging.

    • Dude says:

      What I did is Alt-Tab out to My Docs, make a copy of the autosave that happens at that point, and then use that save to view all three endings in one go; just so that, for all my other playthroughs I can consider Shepard’s beam-me-up as the official end point. Kinda like how Stephen King’s Dark Tower ends before it ends.

      Then I shot the kid.

  46. Stellar Duck says:

    I wish I had pressed Alt+F4 when Shep and Anderson were sitting down and chatting on the Citadel. It was quite poignant. That would have worked for me.

    • Indy says:

      Stopping when getting shot by the Reaper laser would have been good. Stopping when the Hackett tells you it’s failed and it’s up to the fleet to determine if they win would have been good.

      But, most importantly of all, stopping when the Collectors blew up the Normandy would have been the best.

      • Sumanai says:

        I actually made up a theory: Everything after Shepard gets spaced in Mass Effect 2 is a death dream. Bam. All inconsistencies regarding Cerberus and so on dealt with.

  47. ehlijen says:

    Was I the only one annoyed by the fact that the game forces you to walk down long corridors in slow motion in the end? Including to the endotron3000 buttons?

    Given that the game wouldn’t let me save before the choice (had to manually copy the autosave file before it was overwritten after the end cutscene to avoid the third bs-ing with TIM) it was quite a chore to see all the endings (and for what…different colours..)

  48. Anorak says:

    Disclaimer: I’ve not played the games.

    They’re on my Big List of Games to Play, but it’s a big list. I do in fact own the first one, and tried to play it but had difficulty getting into it.
    I’ve spoiled myself to hell, too, because I was curious about what had set the internet on fire THIS time.

    In this case I’m glad I’m behind the curve – when I eventually play the games, I won’t suffer the same amount of outrage as nearly everyone else did. I’ll have inoculated myself with spoilers, and armed myself with the knowledge that this shit made the internet REALLY ANGRY.

    Anyway. My point.
    Disclaimer: Spoilers for Revelation Space!

    The reapers appear to be a much, much more pointless version of the Inhibitors, from Alasdair Reynold’s books.

    Those guys were a “race” of machines that sat around dormant, until they detected space-faring civilisations intelligent enough to pass a test, a sort of Sword-in-the-stone trial. If a civilisastion managed to find and open a certain artifact, they’d come crashing down on them and prune the entire race.

    The justification for this behaviour is much better than the reaper’s.

    The race that created these had predicted, accurately, that our galaxy would eventually collide with another galaxy.

    The inhibitors are in the process of slowly remodeling the galaxy to allow the maximum number of solar systems capable of supporting life to pass through the collision unharmed, but they can’t do this if they have all these upstart civilisations getting in the way of their project.

    Solution – kill all space-faring species.

    There was a lot more to it that I can’t remember, and there are problems with this idea to, but to me it give a much better justification for wiping out civilizations.

    It’s almost as if one of the ME writers had ripped this idea of wholesale, and very nearly got away with it, until someone else who’d read the books pointed it out, causing a last minute scramble to make it just_different_enough.

    Anyway, I will eventually reinstall Mass Effect, and pump hours into it until satisfaction comes out. In the meantime, this is where I get off.

    Actually it’s just that I’m still playing New Vegas. Mass Effect is next.

    • Piflik says:

      I really love the Revelation Space Universe, but the conclusion to the inhibitor situation was the biggest asspull I ever encountered in literature…still buying anything from Reynolds on day one XD

    • wickedartist says:

      This concept of a “Cosmic Destroyer” in its various forms appears in many science fiction stories from my experience and interpretation. You can call them Reapers, Inhibitors, Shadows, Shivans, Zerg, or anything else.

      The idea isn’t new and it doesn’t have to be. My problem with the Mass Effect story isn’t with the lack of fresh ideas, but with the flaws in execution. I argue that a good storyteller could turn anything (or almost anything) into a good and even a great story.

      I also argue that BioWare are not good storytellers.

      • Anorak says:

        You make a good point – the concept was not new in Revelation Space. My point was that it was much, much better explained, executed and justified (than the reapers. And again – this is all based off spoilers and internet rage. Take my entire musings with a pinch of salt the size of the UK’s winter grit salt supply).

        And Bioware are awful storytellers. They have an amazing story (well, until now, apparently), but utterly fail in it’s execution.

        This was the main reason why ME1 failed for me, and why I put it down – I found the storytelling to be almost non-existent. I was instead just given the Codex to read, or had characters tell me everything up front.

        Compare this to (wait for it….) Half-Life. The story itself is arguably simplistic, but the execution and storytelling is so much better.

        *edited for some clarity*

      • Dreadjaws says:

        Or Galactus.

    • Anorak says:

      Errr, what the balls happened to my spoiler tags? It looks like the CSS for spoilers only partially applies across paragraphs. Maybe? Could be browser specific, but I can’t be arsed to check. I’m using Chrome, for reference.

    • s997863 says:

      The eapers are a poor rip-off of the shivans from freespace

      ==================
      The Shivans are attracted to subspace disturbances and eliminate races that get advanced enough to use subspace, thus keeping lesser planet-bound races safe from the invasions of advancing races expanding their empire.
      ==================

      ME3 ending was obviously incomplete development for whatever reason. They just made a rushed, bad rip-off of the already bad DeusEx-HR endings (cutscene with or without monologue, no dialogue, no epilogue, no interactivity throughout)

      http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=15395

  49. Phoenix says:

    I’m afraid that, with all this chit-chat about the indoctrinated theory, bioware will make a DLC that confirms it without being their’s original intention.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I actually hope for that,because that would be awesome.

      But then again,seeing what they did with other awesome stuff,who knows how they would screw that one up.

    • Sumanai says:

      There’s a chance for that, yes. I won’t believe them because there’s not enough existing clues for it (pretty much anything could be marked down as a “they rushed out the door, fell, rolled and accidentally ended up standing” event). My only fear about it is that fans who support the theory will declare “See! They’re not awful, they are awesome!” and suddenly no-one is allowed to criticise them.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Urgh, you’d think after the trainwreck they turned 2’s main storyline into, spiced with the dumbness of Arrival and then after messing up 3 AND then going all “our ending is da best and if you don’t like it than you don’t deserve the game anyway” on top of that they’d loose the credibility in this department. But no, I’m sure people are going to cheer and claim that the DLC ending (whatever it’ll be, if it will be) was always meant to be the original ending. And not only is a rewritten ending basically a publicity stunt (there are a few things I hate more than rewritings and retcons, if you messed up telling a story than suck it up, live with it, do better next time) will have the added insult of costing extra money on top of the actual game. And people will buy it, because you know, there is enough good in the series that people want to like it. Between FO3 and now words of ME3 I wonder when will having a “poor man’s ending” and “paid extra ending” become an official business decision.

        • Sumanai says:

          If they pull it off, and knowing how desperate fans are right now it’s likely, I’m guessing one game without repeat, then every single one.

        • Sol says:

          I hope not though, there is enough on the bioware forums and Retake ME3 page on facebook that they could pull ideas from, hell, even Deviantart has a few good things.

          Personally i thought Mass Effect 2 was good, the story was different, sure but mostly fit with the universe, like the council being jerks, again.

          If they charge for it, many will buy it yes, but many (like myself) will just watch it on youtube, so essentially we get what we want and also screw bioware, so for me, total win. If it is free, and they do a good job(ie it is coherent and as good as the rest of the game) then i will get it, sure. If its extremely cheap say 100ms points, then i will probably get it too.

          Some evidence is there to suggest that most of the writers were not in on the ending, which would explain why it’s such crap. Right or wrong, the writer(s) have to know now that they stuffed up.
          And Casey Hudson totally lied. Our decisions matter…where?

  50. zob says:

    Shamus, I wholeheartedly apologize for any excuse/rationalization I made to explain ME2 during that season of Spoiler Warning.

    Also kudos to Bioware. Most companies would have been content with ruining one game with that game’s ending. Retroactively destroying any replay value for a trilogy must be some kind of success.

    I’m half inclined to create a meme series
    “Kaidan died for blue explosion”
    “Wrex died at Virmire for red explosion”
    etc.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its not just the ending.The whole story had plenty of problems.And same goes for 3,but the ending itself has so much bad that everything else gets overlooked.For example,near the beginning,joker speaks with you about the council,and says “I thought they were doing something,but werent telling you,because,you know,cerberus.”,which means they knew of a way to do something smart to get out of stupidity me2 presented,but still decided not to do it,and even worse,to show that they could,but simply didnt bother to.

    • Gamer says:

      I must see this. This meme needs to happen.

      I want people to know I earned my Blueberry/Cherry/Lime-flavored explosions.

      • zob says:

        Feel free to steal meme idea. I for one just can’t bring myself to anything related to the game anymore. I just remember the ending and start swearing :)

      • acronix says:

        They should make an advertisement: “Enjoy Mass Effect as never before! With our new brand of Fruity Endings popcicles, in three DELICIOUS flavours! Now with day one DLC!”.

  51. burningdragoon says:

    Well on the plus side, I learned a new word from all of this: blatherskite.

    It’d be nice for BioWare to instead of saying “We’re super proud of our game, so suck it” (bad paraphrase on my part :P) to come out and say something like “Throughout all 3 games many things have changed, some changes were better and some were worse but necessary. This may not have the game we originally envisioned, but we are still proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

    • Sumanai says:

      They haven’t come out and said that? It sounds exactly the sort of wishy washy “addressing of complaints” that they would do. Maybe it’s not condescending enough?

      • burningdragoon says:

        I’ve only read a couple of the BioWare recent posts, both acknowledge that not everyone is satisfied, but both also are filled with standard PR head up there own asses type of stuff. I guess that is the point of PR, but I’d like to think most people would much rather hear/read something a little more genuine.

        • Sumanai says:

          That’s not actually the point of PR. Well, not PR directed at clients anyway. When addressing people publicly in these sort of situation you need to appear humble and apologetic, but ultimately non-committal nor admit any wrongdoing that could result in lawsuits or enraging even more people. Also you need to acknowledge most, if not all, of the causes for the outrage.

          Bioware’s PR has been dismissive and fake-apologetic with a hint of “it’s not our fault you’re an uncouth barbarian with no taste”.

          Also there’s the “not acknowledging more than the two least important aspects of the complaints” flavour. I actually saw the poll they had on the forums, and the same option that said “hated it” contained the reason “because it was a downer”. The rest were neutral or positive. Which makes the Penny-Arcade strip about this feel pretty shitty.

          I mean, first there is the poll intentionally muddling the problems, then there’s every damn defense of the ending starting with the same bloody explanation for one of the least important complaints and then there’s Jerry and Mike making a cheap joke that further misleads those who don’t know about this.

          • anaphysik says:

            In all fairness, krogan cake does sound pretty tasty. If meaty.
            And now I’ve got a bizarre image of Wrex as a domestic cake-baker.

          • Dreadjaws says:

            Indeed, I read Penny Arcade’s comic on ME3 ending before playing the game and I thought it was pretty funny, and assumed the reason people didn’t like the ending was because it wasn’t happy. I’ve seen people outrage for stupid reasons before, so I assumed this was the case.

            Then I played the game and thought “What the freaking hell?” All that time I had assumed once I played through the game and saw the ending I would understand something most people didn’t and actually like it. That’s right, I left my ego get the better of me. I should have known that so many of my fellow gamers couldn’t have been wrong. I apologize to those people, even though I never said anything against them, because I definitely thought it.

            In hindsight, the Penny Arcade joke is an undeserved mockery. It might or might not have been caused by Bioware’s dodging poll, but that’s beside the point, because it was a terrible thing to do anyway. It was poor taste, considering people weren’t clamoring for a happy ending. They just wanted an ending. A resolution to a story they had invested so many time in, to a universe they had welcomed and wandered in with so much depth, to the stories of characters they have grown to care so much about.

            Bad call, Penny Arcade, very bad call.

  52. Otters34 says:

    This is especially horrible because this was written by two people, which ideally would curb each other’s worst writing habits and ideas. Editorial and production pressures were doubtless on them, but broadly speaking the series was written by just these two guys, and the horrific mess STILL happened. If Karpyshyn had been the sole writer throughout he whole series, and this was the result of mounting pressures, constant changes, and being tired of the franchise I could understand it, but it’s not. It’s just a crazy welding of different things together, some of which sounds like it doesn’t even belong in the same universe like that Leng guy.

    Normally I’d put something like this to a lack of money, but that clearly wasn’t an issue if they were STILL getting celebrity VAs, so I can only assume they seriously couldn’t think of anything better, or just ran out of time and said “”Hey! We can just change it around later”.

  53. Integer Man says:

    The ending made it clear that the Catalyst’s plan was idiotic for the problem it was trying to solve via the reapers. If you want to prevent artificial life from destroying life, build the reapers and leave them in the galaxy (maybe with a cloaking device, maybe not). Have them do nothing except annihalate any form of artificial life it finds threatening or anything that makes an aggressive move against it. The reapers are supposedly there to counterbalance and correct the seemingly natural urge to create artificial life. Why not just have them sitting around as playground monitors that destroy anything threatening but don’t otherwise get in the way.

    Also, if the citadel was left behind to guide the galaxy down a certain developmental path, why not use it to guide life away from the possibility of creating artificial life? This isn’t as hard as it sounds given the reaper’s proficiency in indoctrination – just have the citadel or the mass relays indoctrinate people subtly so that they believe artificial life is bad and should be avoided.

    I picture Shepherd making these adjustments to the reapers strategy in the blue ending.

    • Cody211282 says:

      Honestly the entire logic behind the star child is just horrible.

      Apply what he is saying to anything, lets say to the cops.

      “All people will commit a crime at some point in their life, so it’s the law that on your 21st birthday you have to get shot in the face so you don’t commit any crimes.”

      I just don’t know how anyone didn’t take the lead writer out back and beat him with a hose after he submitted that ending.

      • Destrustor says:

        “Any person will, at some point, trip and fall. To prevent this, we’ll just cut everyone’s legs and hurl you at the ground so you don’t even get the chance to fall”

      • LurkerAbove says:

        And then, after 1 person out of the nigh infinite gunshot victims dodges the bullet, you decide you need an entirely new plan.

        “You missed”

        “Damn!”

        “Well, I guess this plan is ruined”

        “What now?”

        “Lets completely abandon the concepts of law, or morality”

        “Sounds good”

        • Cody211282 says:

          After dodging the bullet the guy would be given 3 choices:

          1- Control all the guns in the work, this would also kill you as you become one with the guns and destroy all modes of transportation besides walking.

          2- Merge all people everywhere with guns without asking and forcing it on them, this will eradicate crime because now everyone is the same, this would also kill you and destroy all modes of transportation besides walking.

          3- Destroy all guns everywhere and kill everyone who has ever had something replaced in their body(hip/knee/pacemaker/surgical pin), this would also kill you and destroy all modes of transportation besides walking.

          But if you pick option 3 and dodge the bullet insanely well then you wake up before the gun ever was put in your face.

    • LurkerAbove says:

      Yes, many of the choices did have “consequences.” The problem is those consequences are too vague or ephemeral.

      1. If Wrex/Wreav is alive and able to return to Tchunka, that is completely different than if they are stuck on Earth (dead or alive).

      2. Emancipating the Geth + red ending is…troublesome.

      3. Most, if not all, my team members were on Earth’s surface. A few of them magically teleported to the Normandy, but the rest are MIA. (and how the hell did BOTH of my companions on the last offensive manage to survive Harbinger’s laser.) What was Joker doing? The Reaper’s shut down/explode and he sees some flashing lights and he figures it is too dangerous to hang around? Why would Joker abandon Shepard?

      4. War assets barely affect anything, and in many cases are nigh interchangable (human reaper heart/brain, Wrex/Wreav, citadel defense force stuff, Specters/Hanar etc.)

      5. All the other minor things. Is what’s her name, the reporter that has shown up in the entire game, is she alive or dead. Was the only consequence of that adifference of 5 war asset points?

      6. They couldn’t make up their minds if Shepard was supposed to be falling apart under the strain and visibly showing it, or if he was the same )on the surface) as always. Along those lines, why is that stupid kid so important?

      I completely disagree about the ending. It was out of the blue. If the Harry Potter saga ending had everything hinge on a Quidditch match between the two sides, that would be out of the blue too.

      It can be done. The ending to Watchmen is out of the blue, but the key difference is we were always pretty much in the dark about the ending. All we got were mysterious hints. Or the solution to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd The narrator was the killer all along could pull something like that off, because it was a deconstruction of the entire genre.

      Bioware does not do a good job of making the player feel like the fight against the Reapers is truly hopeless for the combined might of the galaxy. The Protheans held out for hundreds of years and they were not as equipped as the galaxy is now.

      Shepard takes the Catalyst’s word as law, and the player is taken along for the ride. Shepard, who has stood up to everyone from the Alliance Military, the Council, Saren, Sovereign, Harbinger, the Collectors, giant robots, groups of angry Krogan, the Quarian Admerality, the Geth collective, TIM, Victus, Uldina all the way to the Reapers on Tchunka and Rannoch.

      This is a woman to whom “plan B” was lure, on foot, a nigh mythical sand worm to her position.

      This woman is going to trust the Catalyst, and submit?

      The Cycle has worked for eons, but one abberation in Shepard and the entire thing needs to be scrapped? Why would you build a multiple choice failsafe? Why would you build a failsafe you couldn’t construct?

      • acronix says:

        Joker escapes all terrible fates because he is an Author Darling. As such, he is given the innate ability of seeing the future to avoid getting killed.

    • ehlijen says:

      That article just ignores the ending and insists on calling that action liking it.

      Sure, all the decisions shepard made still happnened. But no matter what those decisions were, starchild pops out of nowhere, points at the endotron3000 and let’s shepard pick the colour of the explosion that will end all civilisation as he knows through relay destruction.

      The problem is not that the end was badly written (ME2 seemed to have gotten away with that one, so why can’t ME3). The problem is that the end of ME3 is lazy and badly laid out. Changing ‘this will destroy the relays’ to ‘this will permanently deactivate the relays’ would have made it worlds better, because then we could imagine what all those worlds we saved would get up to next. But as it is, we have every reason to believe that major world we visited in the last few games has just been blown to pieces. Instead they call on some scifi tropes, hope that the reader will figure a valid ending out for himself and let him blow up stuff by slowly stumbling at buttons.

      It was just no fun to play! ME2 at least had a boss fight where the player got to have some more game play. Bad endings can be excused, if they’re at least fun(ny). This is just…nothing.

      No, it does not invalidate the game, just like recieving cardboard icecream after a 5 star gourmet meal does not invalidate the meal. But neither does the meal excuse that ridiculous lazyness. It deserves to be pointed out.

    • Sumanai says:

      I tried reading that before. At, I think, the third paragraph where he is still talking about how the rest of the game is great, I quit. The feeling of denial was hanging so strong even now that I think of it I have difficulty breathing.

      I should probably either try again, or skim it, just in case he has anything sensible to say.

    • Dreadjaws says:

      I read that article and it completely failed to convince me. This person is completely ignoring all of the points made here by Shamus, so I don’t think it can even be considered a counter-argument.

      The problem is that the ending completely invalidated all those choices we made because the entire damn galaxy is either destroyed or left in a convalescent state. So, to put it bluntly, our choices didn’t matter. At all.

      Besides, the guy clearly says that he liked something that happened in the game and didn’t know nor care if it was scripted or not. If you don’t know/care if something is scripted, how can you possibly praise the game for making your choices matter? You don’t know if they didn’t, you just said it!

      All in all, a pretty bad article, which completely fails to take into account all the things the game did wrong. It’s like trying to introduce a girl to your friend and praise her dress, makeup and jewelry but completely forgetting to tell him she’s actually a male zombie gorilla.

  54. Attercap says:

    This kind of bugged me with Arrival, but really hit home in ME3… I’m still trying to figure out why the Citadel was so crucial for Sovereign in ME1 if it only took the Reapers 3 years to get out of dark space and hit every system, anyway. I could have sworn that the big problem was that without the Citadel, the cuttlefish of doom didn’t have a good way in or a decent map of where everyone lived. Saving the Citadel in ME1 didn’t really have much of an impact.

    I guess it took the nasty nautiluses only 2 years to get back into the solar system and, without the Alpha Relay, another year to hit the rest of the galaxy? Is 3 years really that big a deal to quibble with when one is talking about a 50k year “plan?”

    I read (but now can’t find the source, of course) that Drew Karpyshyn’s plan was that overuse of the Mass Relays caused and increase in dark energy, which destabilized stars and that’s why the Reapers would swoop in and destroy the civilizations, giving the galaxy a chance to re-stabilize. I suppose it gave them a chance to reproduce as well. The Reapers probably didn’t just destroy the mass relays because they (in their egotistical ways) figured that at least their relays were the best that could be built and every other cycle would just eff it up even worse. I think I’d have been OK with that reason for reaping.

    • Michael says:

      That still does get into the same problem, but a little bit more slowly. If they’re combating dark energy, then all of the technology they seed actually leads towards the same problem, because all element zero, including them, manipulates physics via dark energy. I’ll grant you, it’s better, but it still has the cyclical problem of the starchild.

      • Attercap says:

        I think, no matter what the reason, the events that lead up to reaping Reapers has to be cyclical–just to fit in with the lore presented in even ME1. The word “cycle” is peppered throughout the first game in conjunction with the Reapers. I guess that’s one part of the lore the writers decided to stay consistent with. It’s a shame what made it into the game was a very flawed reason for the Cycle.

  55. topazwolf says:

    Wow, the reapers are synthetic creatures burning the galaxy to keep synthetic creatures from taking over? This saddens me. I always figured that the original reaper was a hyper intelligent species that found some way to upload their minds into a digital format. Due to some form of cataclysm they then uploaded their collective minds into a super-massive mobile space station. They then slowly transformed the rest of the galaxy into collectives like themselves since they think it is the highest form of sentience. The cycle is just them sharing their gift to all worthy races.

    But no. All logic, reason, foreshadowing got forgotten evidently.

  56. James says:

    Cerberus is a very odd beast.

    In the first game their pretty much all side quest stuff, nothing they do affects the main plot. The only notable things they did was killing your buddy (Can’t recall his name) and that whole retarded thresher maw thing (Lets throw people at it, because science!). The only feeling they cause in a player is a deep desire to kill them all in their stupid faces.

    But honestly that would be fine, incompetent crime syndicates are a good staple of videogames (Did Cerberus buy umbrella stocks? They seem like the guys who’d think that was a good investment). But then the second game comes along and now they move the entire plot, and you just say “Haha, what? This is a joke right?… Right?”

    It almost seems like the writers looked at the stuff in ME1 and for some bizarre reason thought Cerberus was the greatest concept out of that. Like they only saw this powerful and sinister organisation of space racists and thought that would make a compelling story- if not for the fact they were all retarded.

    Now I didn’t get ME3, I was done after that stupid boss fight in ME2, but seeing there even more ‘important’ with a mook with plot armour is just…. Egh. Even the Illusive man seems more like a Self-Insert of the writer, because he’s just so smart and handsome. They were also linked to the other issue I had with the ME2, where suddenly humans were so important. That is the weakest way to give a player motivation.

    • krellen says:

      Apparently the novels also have a huge writing boner for Cerberus, so I think that’s exactly what happened.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      The line that literally made me facepalm?

      So there is this one Cerberus sidequests where their guys are attacking a colony, basically you have to get in, kill some dudes and escort a couple of civvies to the landing pad. The fun part comes with debriefing.

      So Hackett is debriefing you, he says that Cerberus “denies all involvement claiming that it’s a rogue faction.” For a sharp second there I was ready to laugh thinking that writers are finally calling this BS and it’s going to follow up with something like “how is it they seem to consist entirely of rogue factions” or something to that effect…

      …but no, the line that immediately follows is “And I am inclined to believe them. A lot can be said about Cerberus but they never kill civilians.” This is after all the “rogue cells” in ME1, after the facility where they “upgraded” Jack, project overlord and all the other stuff in ME2 and if you have the DLC it is likely to happen after the Eden Prime mission where desperate civvies try to let each other know that Cerberus guys are killing and kidnapping people all over the place.

      I’m actually sort of curious if you can postpone this mission until after the attack on the Citadel, or better yet discoveries on Sanctuary, and if that line is changed in any way after that.

      • anaphysik says:

        Incidentally, Project Overlord was the one singular time that I’ve ever thought that Cerberus was doing something *even moderately competently* (still evil, yes, but competent evil rather than their usual insane troll evil). They still lucked into their solution, and they still botched it, but their actual evil plan made some sort of sense, and you could see a clear benefit to what they were developing.

        Of course, I think Overlord was a really well-done DLC, so I guess I’m a bit biased by the augmented reality sections and neat dialogue. (Oh, and David’s appearance in ME3 is quite touching. He even apologizes to EDI, which was really beautiful.)

  57. Cody211282 says:

    What up set me(other then just about everything you pointed out) was the lack of harbinger in the game at all. Hell he is only there for a half a moment as a set piece that shoots you. I had been waiting since the 2nd game to take that annoying guy down and he is in the game for maybe 30 seconds.

    It would be like if the Emperor wasn’t in Return of the Jedi.

    • ehlijen says:

      I never got how harbinger was supposed to look different anyway. Given that the reapers were pretty much as big as the plot demanded any given shot, and never shown with a frame of reference (not even other reapers, as the distance in space is always pretty wishy washy), so the line of ‘I’ve seen bigger reapers on earth’ that James spouts on the Turian mission just struck me as pretty random.

      • Attercap says:

        They cover that a bit in the ME3 codex with an introduction of multiple Reaper “types,” which make them really seem more like vehicles than anything previously established in the lore. You’ve got your big Reapers for taking down ships and your collection Reapers which are smaller for scooping up aliens, etc. I’m not saying that the updates exactly gel with what we’ve seen before, but since Sovereign itself apparently had ship-like qualities, it’s possible that the Reapers are entities which are also vehicles for other Reaper types and their husks.

        • ehlijen says:

          Oh yes, they had the big ships, the small ships, the flying zombie horses (sent by Luna lovegood?) and all the various footroops with different shapes. But apparently there are meant to be different sizeclasses between the identically shaped big cephalopod things that I just couldn’t spot.

          • anaphysik says:

            One mention of size: EDI says the Reaper on Tuchanka was something like 160 meters long, whereas Sovereign was supposed to be ~2km long. So you only sic’d Kalros on a ‘small one.’

            Tangent:
            Which, frankly, was a bullshit moment when that dialogue came up.
            1) the Reaper is about the size of the Shroud, which seemed like a skyscraper (the tallest current one being ~800m). With future salarian tech, it seems like it could go even higher, especially for something designed for large-scale atmospheric dispersal.
            2) Kalros looked frakkin’ big itself, and we have some clear pics depicting her engaging the Reaper

            but those are both unimportant technical details when compared to the more important point:
            3) why make it a small one? really? so the Reapers would be “scarier?” Bleh. You had to summon a one-of-a-kind Godzilla-style near-primordial-force monster to defeat it. The Reaper being small just makes any point of getting krogan/turian troops and all that completely silly. Summoning the Mother of All Threshers was a once-in-an-asari-lifetime type event, and should have done something really major in and of itself. Destroying a real-size Reaper would have formed a great mid-game hope sequence (cure genophage, unite krogan/turian troops, actually kill a Reaper for real) which would make the invasion of the Citadel more meaningful (particularly as a demoralizing event).

            Plus, y’know, push two awesome hammer buttons, something awesome happens.

  58. James says:

    For those disappointed by the lack of an epilogue as I was these guys have filled the gap. Animal house style.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vG4EyfXOTJ4#!

    • Sumanai says:

      So cruel. And so funny.

      If Bioware actually puts that into the game, for free, I’ll actually have to back off from my previous stance and consider buying ME3.

      But only if the bit about Vega stays as-is, or is even worse/better.

      I still won’t play it, but it’s not like Bioware cares.

  59. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I have a question that I havent seen mentioned yet:Why did the catalyst take the form of that idiot kid?Why was that kid there in the first place?Wouldnt it be better if it was someone shepard has already established a connection with?For example,anderson.Did he do something so important during the story that he had to physically be alive,and it had to be him and no one else in that role?If not,then why wasnt anderson killed in the very beginning,to later haunt shepards dreams and in the end be the form catalyst takes?

    • Cody211282 says:

      Speculation of everyone!

      No honestly this is what the team was going for, in their little app they just released they said they wanted the ending to be like the matrix, and have speculation for everyone.

      • LurkerAbove says:

        Because everyone loved the Matrix finale??? They went past speculation all the way to “there is a needle on this planet. Find it”

        • Cody211282 says:

          I can sorta see them in the room now hard at work over what to do with the endings.

          “What are some well loved works of Sci-Fi we can borrow inspiration from?”

          “The Matrix was well liked, Battlestar Galactica was amazing, and everyone loves Dues Ex.”

          “Ok then how about we take the ending of all those things and cram it into one, it’s bound to be amazing! Just look at how everyone loves them!”

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            And a sprinkle of lost,with the normandy crashing on a mysterious island planet.

            • lurkey says:

              Being jaded by aforesaid Lost (and Dark Tower too) and let down by ME2, I went through the ending with smug “Oh look, Clicheware attempts at ~*art*~. How cute”. I also love random humorous taradiddles born from Bio’s fall from grace. Like Marauder Shields or yesterday’s tweet from one of Lost’s creators – “No, I was NOT asked to consult on ME3 endings!”

    • Hitch says:

      My own belief is that the Catalyst did not take the form of the kid Shepard saw die. The “kid” was the Catalyst from the first moment he appeared. The catalyst was messing with Shepard’s head from the start of the game.

      I honestly thought there must be something off about that kid from the first time I played the demo. I played the whole game waiting for the reveal of what he really was. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t a disappointed in the ending as most. The kid as Catalyst didn’t feel like the total ass-pull to me that it did to most people.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        So it appeared to shepard before she even knew about the crucible?Yet not before the reapers attacked the earth?Thats one messed up catalyst.

  60. RTBones says:

    This is also a pretty good summation from AngryJoe. 20min watch time.

    Fair warning: the video contains massive spoilers.

    Top Ten Reasons We Hate The Endings in Mass Effect 3

  61. MichaelG says:

    Huh! “Blatherskite” is a word. Who knew?

  62. Destrustor says:

    So the crucible (or its plans) is hidden in such a way that:
    1: when the reapers come knocking, they don’t find it.
    2: when space-faring civilizations emerge and start exploring the crap out of the galaxy, they don’t find it either.
    3: when the whole galaxy is panicking, trying to fight the reapers AND each other, and every available ship is being used to kill or save people and everybody has better things to do than “explore random planets”, NOW the people find it with enough time to build/perfect it, and hide it again when they see it doesn’t/won’t work.
    4: the reapers, with their near-infinite resources and ability to pop out anywhere at any time, still don’t find it while wiping the entire galaxy of intelligent life (along with most of everything they ever built) all at once.
    That’s a very specific kind of hidden. :)
    The reapers are either really blind, or really dumb to not destroy any and all traces of that thing.

    On another note, I’m kind of glad I didn’t get into this trilogy any more than I did. Watched my brother play 1, played a bit of 2 but didn’t finish it, and failed to get even interested in 3. So reading about this makes me go “meh”, in the best way possible. Not like my rabid-fan friend, who was deeply disappointed by the simple fact that Shepard dies. Meh…

1 2 3

10 Trackbacks

  1. By Nothing to See Here « Lee Collins Fiction on March 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    […] a substitute for any content of my own, I will direct you to this fantastic deconstruction of Mass Effect 3‘s ending by one of my blogging role models, Shamus Young. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the […]

  2. By Mass Effect 3 « adrift on March 24, 2012 at 11:07 am

    […] Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction […]

  3. […] otherwise I'd be pretty choked too this guy nails it pretty damn good in one simple paragraph, Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction – Twenty Sided "If you are crazy enough to make a three-game series that ends on a black note with no […]

  4. By Mass Effect 3 « Thoughts from Mirality on March 29, 2012 at 9:32 am

    […] Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction (from the same person as the previous link) […]

  5. […] than go over them myself, read this by a favourite author of mine, who sums them up quite […]

  6. […] Young provides a wide-ranging deconstruction of the three endings. I disagree on some of his points, but his feedback regarding the Reapers and […]

  7. By Mass Effect 3: Ending | Terminally Incoherent on April 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

    […] really don’t think I could do a better job at this than Shamus Young did on his blog and in his Escapist column. I don’t think I can count the plot holes better than Angry Joe […]

  8. […] known to man, and perhaps a few more undiscovered levels, if there are any to be had.  It fails at simple logic; it fails thematically; it fails coherently.  It is obvious the writers had no plan, paid no […]

  9. […] even the Thanix Cannon on the Normandy.  We are forced to rely on the Crucible, what Shamus Young perfectly labeled as the “Ending-o-Tron 3000™.”  That massive “gun” that no one, from its […]

  10. […] 15-20 hours).  A comprehensive list of Mass Effect 3′s ending failures has already been done elsewhere and, in addition to being redundant, my take would require a seperate post in and of itself.  For […]

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!