Mass Effect 3

I find the whole idea of Sacrificing the galaxy in order to save the galaxy as stupid as trying to save organic from being wiped by synthetics by building synthetics that wipe organics.

“Nefelius”


Wordpress deleted over 65% of the original article (during writing it sometimes suddenly displays the login screen and after that everything written since the last “save draft” is gone), something I had written/added on and off over the duration of ~5 hours… I guess I’ll never learn my lesson of never writing something directly in the browser. Of course after something like this you’ll never get it in the state it was earlier (and the immense frustration was way too big to even try), but I just couldn’t delete all of it either, so (maybe the same thing happened to the ME3 writers :P)… :( There you go – yay!

“There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets?”

Mike Gamble, producer, weeks before release

If I’d known, I would have had that drink with Doctor Chakwas, instead of telling her we would open the bottle of Serrice Ice Brandy AFTER we’d won…

3 former squad mates had to die, because the finite slots of the Mass Effect dialog wheel wouldn’t have offered the space necessary to list all of them, when having the option to contact them during the endgame.

Mass Effect 3 was really a lot like Lost. Hell of a ride, but somewhat dragged down/tainted by a shitty ending. It’s all about the journey – or whatever dumb platitude people usually come up with to make such things easier to accept/forget. They completely dropped the ball on this. The catalyst (strongly reminds me of the radiant youth from Dungeon Siege 3)? This mythical hogwash was so unnecessary and felt mostly foreign to the rest of the series. There was nothing indicating they were going that direction. Sadly I was also reminded of the ending of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where the player stands in front of buttons to press, which would determine which ending movie would be played. The problem with that is, if it isn’t obvious, that this way none of the earlier “decisions” and occurrences do matter. An unsatisfying choice for a game, that officially had a strong emphasis on building everything up from the player’s choices and actions. It doesn’t matter if you save the rachni, it doesn’t matter if you save the council, it doesn’t matter of you save any colonies, it doesn’t matter if you destroy/hand over the collector base, it doesn’t matter which races you save/destroy/unite/gather to fight in the end… It doesn’t matter if in the very ending of ME3 control/merge/destroy is selected. Everything will always end in the Normandy crashing on some unidentified jungle planet, for whatever reason. That’s the issue, not that it isn’t a “happy end”. I disagree with people who say that the dissatisfaction with this ending is due to desperately wanting a happy ending and that fighting a force like the reapers would never allow one. I’d like to point out, that every ending has the reapers defeated. Yes. An enemy that will always be defeated, no matter what, isn’t that powerful, is he? No, for the reapers to be that actual all-powerful force, there would have to be an ending, that has the reapers win and complete this cycle their way. But that is impossible, even with the lowest number of war assets, the reapers are finished. By analogy: In Mass Effect 2 that would have meant, that no matter what you do, all 12 squad members would survive the assault on the collector base, but it still would have been called a suicide mission. It only became one, because it was at least possible, that major characters could die.
This ending however, appeared to be a desperate attempt to make an ending that was unanticipated and therefore memorable, at any cost.
There’s also this misinformation that was spread, that you could get “the best” ending without playing multiplayer (which seems to be an issue because many people play SP first and then MP or, in a game like Mass Effect, don’t like MP at all). That’s not true (like there’s no “drama” if you romanced someone else in ME2 upon the return of the original LI from ME1 [and no reward if you didn’t] – something that was often told like they were trying to promise this). Although Mass Effect 3 has only ONE ending (pretty much like Mass Effect 1 always ended with the battle at the citadel against Sovereign, although you could choose to save the council or not), there are still a couple of minor variations to it, which depend on “effective military strength”, that is determined by “total military strength” and the modifier “readiness rating” from MP. This value is default at 50% (and never changes, unless MP is played), which means 7000 “total military strength” give 3500 “effective military strength” for the endgame. Now, according to various sources, 5000 “effective military strength” is necessary for “the best” ending. Since only ~7000 TMS can be gathered if you do “everything” in SP, playing MP becomes non-optional – no matter what they post on their forums.
There’s also a certain “laziness” (that kills fun and/or immersion) about the ending, where some flashbacks (of 3 characters) are played and apparently one of them is supposed to be the “love interest” and they made only videos for Kaidan, Ashley and Liara. So players who romanced Miranda/Jack/Tali or Jacob/Thane/Garrus (or whoever else is possible in ME3) respectively, are in for a treat, because all of them are defaulted back to Liara as a substitute (I mean she’s really great, but still the wrong char in that situation). So they kinda upped the ante on all those cut scenes, in which the characters suddenly carry weapons the player hadn’t even equipped/bought/found (that feature is still very active in 3, made its entrance in 2, I think).
I’d also say it’s an exaggeration, that all questions were answered. Not that anyone ever seriously expected that (there simply was too much lore for that), but it’s still untrue. I’m only saying this because their choices were quite… interesting, concerning whom they brought back/mentioned again and who boldly went into oblivion. There’s this one turian general, who drank himself into a stupor in Mass Effect 1, that’s now sitting on a bench in 3 – he gets his quest while I would have banked my money on the asari consort, who was even somewhat teased in ME2 news announcements (and sent a message), but she is never heard or seen from again. I guess everyone has different “favorites”/memorable moments and thus priorities! btw: It was strongly hinted (some BioWare dude told that in an interview I read) that something with the keepers would happen/be explained, especially for people who scanned them all in ME1 – wrong!
What bugged me most with that finish, was that only the characters who died before it got any resolution. :( Normandy has this wall, with all the names of crew members who died. In my game, 4 former crew members died (before the end), but only 3 of them were added to that wall! What gives?!? Spoiler: Kelly Chambers apparently gets shot between the eyes by cerberus goons :(, but her name stays absent from this list, while complete, total nonames from Mass Effect 1, who didn’t even have any lines in any game, are on it… Does that seem right to you?
What I hated gameplay-wise, was the journal. I will absolutely never understand, how a game that has this huge Codex (that I like and read a lot from), has a static Journal that doesn’t reflect any changes! But first things first. The Journal never changes! Quests are added and a static text stays there until the quest is done and then it is greyed out. Not even that is really satisfactory, because failed quests will get the same treatment and therefore there will be no distinction between actually finished quests and those that somehow failed (side-quests can fail if the player waits to long to finish them – happened to me with “Benning: Evidence“). They should really release a patch to completely replace this mess. There are a lot of fetch-quests (get an item and deliver it to a character – nothing else to it) and since the journal doesn’t reflect if the player has already gathered the object, only running around on the citadel will help having certainty. That’s just horrible.
I read a lot about imported faces before ME3 was released. Faces that looked quite differently than in previous games. A dude from BW said, all faces would be subject to this, that weren’t altered during the import from ME1 into 2. That sounded a little bit out of touch, since it was impossible to alter such a face during the import procedure (unless creating a new face altogether, but this is no import then). But whatever…
Since this issue was featured quite prominently, I was really surprised to learn, that not only such imported faces looked quite differently in ME3, but also many familiar characters. Kelly Chambers, Doctor Chakwas, even Baley (short white hair in ME2, long brown hair in ME3)… Without their well-known voices I would have had trouble to recognize them right away.
Uh, what else? The quest Elcor Extraction is bugged, if the system was visited before getting that quest, it can no longer be properly completed. Going to the Elcor again ends the quest anyway…
One of the systems was always blinking (normally only systems that have unfinished quests blink), but nothing was going on there. Maybe it had something to do with that broken Elcor quest, but I can’t be sure.
Later the galaxy map had all kinds of reapers without a red ring around them (=they couldn’t be selected) on it, I thought that was weird, but it’s probably only meant to symbolize how many systems they have already conquered.
On Normandy, it’s possible to get stuck behind Joker’s chair. Shepard won’t move anymore, no matter what. Saving/Loading doesn’t solve the problem either. I got used to saving before going to the cockpit, just in case.
The mission “Tuchanka: Turian Platoon” doesn’t progress anymore, if the player kills both the first two harvesters… You have to let one go! If it’s already too late, only restarting the mission will help.
One of the missions had Miranda’s sister being mute all the time, although there was a scene where it would have made sense for her to speak – then I realized she was mute in ME2 too, so they hadn’t a voice actor to bring back for this role (although, as a twin sister, wouldn’t she sound almost exactly like Miranda?). :) [Update: That’s incorrect btw, she does speak, like 2 sentences and then just doesn’t answer when Miranda asks her something, which is what I remembered – because it’s WEIRD.]
Harbinger was the reaper who controlled the collector-general in ME2 and cut control shortly before his death – even in ME3 his name is dropped (him being the oldest/most powerful reaper) and I started to expect he even might be the final fight, but he doesn’t appear once (as a character) in the game, let alone has any text…
What I didn’t like and what seemed so inconsistent with the earlier games to me, that Cerberus now suddenly is this mega-organization that has as many soldiers and equipment as the official earth gov/alliance. With that many soldiers under his command, it doesn’t even make sense anymore, why he would bring back Shepard to fight the Collectors. He had more soldiers than there were Collectors on this base. He could have sent them. Would have been cheaper too…
Although the codex features texts on all the upgrades the player could install into Normandy in ME2 (like the Thannix cannon), none of that stuff is ever used again. I think Normandy doesn’t even fire its normal javelin whatever thingies. I remember only a scene where Joker bombs some enemies.
When I played the demo I noticed right away that the dialog wheel only had 2 choices now, the neutral response was suddenly missing. “Everyone” was quick to claim, that this was because of the demo and that it certainly would be back in the full game. That’s not the case, they completely removed this feature. Every answer is now always paragon or renegade. So the full “rpg-mode” is little different from playing “guided”, because as a paragon character there is always only 1 option to choose from anyway – the user still has to make the click, but otherwise it’s not different from having the game select it for you.
I’m well aware that I was the only person who liked them, but all hacking/bypass-minigames were removed. What’s dumb about that, except for the further simplified game mechanics, is that they left “bypass” in the game, but it happens automatically. Doesn’t make sense to call it differently, when the gameplay always is to just press a button. All doors are the same now, at least stop pretending.
Does anybody else think it’s weird, that now everyone seems to know, that Liara is the Shadow Broker? And what a downer, that the first thing that’s told, is that this kickass Broker-ship was already destroyed! Was looking forward to some action with that. :(
The Prothean Relic Trophy from Firewalker DLC is gone from the cabin (so is the N7 helmet from the Normandy Crash Site, btw) and never heard or seen from again, just like the M-44 Hammerhead (from the same DLC) is no longer… Its untold mysteries will stay… mysterious. :P
Sometimes there are little inconsistencies, it makes me think (or realize?) that the game was done by different people (:P) and the parts were then combined… The elevator on the citadel never displays the floor you are currently on, while the elevator on the Normandy always displays all decks. That confused me a bit in the beginning, I was expecting identical behavior.
One of the toilets aboard Normandy is now always closed to Shepard, reacting to the Commander’s gender. In Mass Effect 2 all toilets were accessible, but EDI told the Commander to visit the correct one. That was FUNNY. I would have built upon that and have EDI say this time “DUDE – I already told you ages ago – WRONG BATHROOM! Won’t you ever learn?!?”. SOMETHING like that. Alliance regulations made that ship boring, I’m telling you!
I can’t believe I’m actually wondering about this, but: What happened to Mess Sergeant Rupert Gardner? He’s just absent without any remark – as far as I can tell. His kitchen is still there and looks so empty without him.
In ME2 it was possible to slide into cover by running towards it. That was really cool! In ME3 it’s possible to slide OVER cover, but never into it… Why?

On the bright side, all trusty guns are available now, even the stuff that was DLC-only in ME2 (all armors like the Blood Dragon Armor are still in the game too). I enjoyed having this huge arsenal to choose from. If you have this game that’s focused on shooting things, that’s definitely the right route to go. The guns “feel” different too, so this is absolutely more than just a placebo. Fun! I generally liked how the arsenal changed from ME2 to 3. Allowing Shepard to carry all 5 types of weapons and balancing it out by adding weight was a good choice (I also welcomed that they kept squad mates distinct by keeping THEM restricted to only 2 types). Same goes for the former heavy weapons. There was no real need for (most of) them in ME2, so having them still appear as something you could only pick up during some missions was a very neat compromise (over having them vanish altogether).
But the biggest improvement must be that Mass Effect 3 now has mouse wheel support! Yes it’s true! Yeah!!! For reasons only the reapers could answer, ME2 offered texts in many menus, but they could only be browsed by pulling the sliders, horrible! And though it certainly would have required only a few lines of code (you could switch weapons ingame with the mouse wheel…), they never added it with a patch. :) They should have advertised this feature on the DVD case!
What was really totally awesome, was that characters would move on the ship and not always stand in the same spot. Sometimes they would visit the lounge and even engage in conversation with other squad mates. That’s something the other games lacked and 3 finally got. The crew even visits the Citadel (that Shepard now visits alone, probably for this reason) and can be found in different spots. Shepard can leave the citadel at any point by simply boarding the Normandy again, every time I thought it would have been funny if some of the crew would have been left behind, because he never told anyone and just flew off. :)
The issue with Tali’s face is something they did touch in fact, I was surprised and hadn’t expected that. I even liked their method a lot, how they introduced it, I went into the game unspoiled and the surprise worked for me.
Garrus is the coolest, btw. I never had him on the squad in ME1, but he really grew on me (beginning with ME2) and I ended up liking him a lot. ME does that to you. And while I’m at that: Jack is awesome! The mission with her is awesome and memorable because of her. Otherwise it would have been just another mission. Jack is awesome. Totally.
The banter was again one of the best elements of everything that was in there, I even liked the new guy (who, because of that, naturally had the least time to impress), James Vega. They had lots of background material to pull from by now, and that they did. I remembered it all (of course :P) and got most references, which thus never failed to push my fun level to 100% in those moments. Luckily they really put a lot of effort in this, for example all crew members had something to say after every mission. That was really special. Not talking to everyone after every quest always meant to miss something. There were no side-quests/N7 missions like in ME2, that no one ever talked about again.
What was also a welcome change, were these text messages that were spread in several missions, almost like in Dead Space. Although it’s silly that people would have such information just lying around, it adds a lot of depths to the situation.
Some missions begin with Shepard in the shuttle that’s already open before it has set down completely. That’s so cool! Directly seeing the scenery and all. It would be even cooler if you could actually jump out right in the action before it touched ground!
Another great idea that obviously made it into the mix, is that some planets offer landing on different locations (with every locale being another mission). Long overdue IMHO. It’s bad enough for poor Naboo!

I now totally get Liara’s shocked “This is it, isn’t it?!?”

Sometimes people say a bad ending ruined the whole series for them, I never really got that, because my approach is more or less, that it can’t even influence how I already enjoyed former episodes/installments anymore. With ME3, for the first time, I think I can understand how they must feel. This series (this could be said about most BioWare games) was mostly about the characters, they were the element with the good writing and detailed implementation. It’s certainly not the story that makes ME worth playing. The plot of monsters coming to kill everyone, is the oldest, most overdone/used cliché device that exists and that goes double for the realm of computer games. It’s not the gameplay either, because that part is just some Gears of War clone with different guns. No, it’s really “just” the effort put into the characters and the lore of the setting what makes this game. And what, of all things, didn’t receive any resolution? Exactly… Some people disliked the ending so much, that they already started fantasizing that it might only be a dream/hallucination. Although I would actually prefer this to the real ending (which says a lot, since the method of “t’was all a dream” stinks), I highly doubt there is anything to it. After the ending credits, Shep is thrown back to a point directly before the final mission/endgame. Which probably means that all DLC will play before this ending and this mess will stand. The only thing (I can see) that gives any credit to it being “fake”, is that the player’s love interest is suddenly on board Normandy, but the whole squad was on earth and Normandy was in Space, so it’s impossible for them to be there. But that could be just another flaw/mistake in the story, like it’s stupid that TIM (=the illusive man) wants to stop Shepard from building the crucible when his plan is to control the reapers and it is needed for that (Cerberus is never shown building its own and how could they, in comparison to the whole universe working together).
The argument, that this causes any problems for the inevitable “Mass Effect 4” (right now it’s most likely 18-24 months until release of this game), isn’t working for me either, since they can simply make the next installment a prequel – they are not bound by any rules after all. BW even has a history to go way back in time with their storytelling (Knights of the Old Republic).

I watched the 5 inch floppy episode about Mass Effect 3, I liked it and missed only their opinion on the ending, which they couldn’t give (in length) because they never spoil anything. That might have been interesting. :)

“I think we did a good job in ending things that reflects your choices as a player,” said the executive producer of Mass Effect 3 and the project director for the franchise. “It says something interesting about Commander Shepard’s experience, and I’m hoping that players enjoy it. I think they will.”

Casey Hudson

Final words (?)/Disclaimer: Despite its flaws I loved the game and thought it was brilliant at times, right up until the end. :P Despite thinking of several elements as “less than perfect”, the good parts were so good (before the end :P), that it kept the show on the road. I don’t know if this was their final word on all of this, because apparently “we” are supposed to think that (next to) everyone is dead, because why else would they have established in “Arrival” (the final ME2 DLC whose information was specifically supposed to be taken/leading into ME3), that an exploding mass effect relay destroys the solar system it’s in… In that Shepard could have killed more people than the reapers themselves ever would have (this time I’m stopping myself about going on what else stinks about the ending :P). Still unsure if I should look forward to patches (I expect 2 max :P) and DLC. Maybe time to move on?

//Update #1

This (fan-written) ending is quite nice:

Mass Effect 3 Alternate Endings. SPOILERS

Generally it appears to be a great idea to hang on reddit, if you are into communicating with people who share your pain. :P

//Update #2

This article is awesome and captures the issue better than most:

Mass Effect 3 Ending-Hatred: 5 Reasons The Fans Are Right

And if you are still capable of taking (more) pain, I dare you to click on this link concerning Tali’s face. :D It’s hard to take and might just destroy your sense of wonder, you’ve been warned. :P

//Update #3

color blind

//Update #4

Mass Effect3 how it should’ve ended :)

His name was Marauder Shields

//Update #5

Upset Mass Effect Fans: Entitled Gamers Or Responsible Consumers?

Ignoring the ending for a second, was anyone else let down by the Rachni in the story?

//Update #6

One thing BioWare did right is to shorten the final conversation with Anderson, because this would just be rubbing salt in the wound.

[…]

Don’t listen unless you have a box of kleenex nearby.

Female/Male Shepard

//Update #7

California Literary Review: “Mass Effect 3 commits story telling suicide”

A Logical Breakdown of Why the Mass Effect 3 Ending Makes No Sense

Mass Effect 3 Vanguards – a gentleman’s guide

Casey Hudson explains how your decisions can change the ending

Hold on. Why does the Mass Relay beam start in the Viper Nebula and not the Sol system?

If Bioware wrote The Lord of The Rings

Blasto – The First Hanar Spectre

//Update #8

The good thing about the third one will be that we no longer have that constraint and things can diverge as far as we can make them go.

That actually will be our goal with the whole trilogy. To take all of the things you’ve done in Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 and then just let it go. Let it diverge into wildly different conclusions. That’s the real fun of having played Mass Effect 1 and 2 and then going into the third one will be that you’ve set all of these things in motion and now we can let them diverge.

Casey Hudson

//Update #9

//Update #10

We were lied to — Quotes from Mac Walters, Mike Gamble and Casey Hudson on the ending to ME3

Someone had to do it

//Update #11

most useless unlock in mass effect 3 multiplayer

Mordin Solus

Mass Effect 3 Ending Chart

VG Cats #300

Tali’s take on the ending

Mass Effect 3 Fun Graph

Poor Souvereign

//Update #12

The Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

//Update #13

Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy with so much player control and ownership of the story that it was hard for us to predict the range of emotions players would feel when they finished playing through it. […] the passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us.

To Mass Effect 3 players, from Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare

I’m really surprised at what he’s saying there, if it’s more than just PR/face-saving stuff, because it sounds incredibly out of touch. Thousands of players could have told him what would happen after releasing this ending (they do have testing, right?). And yes, to be fair, at this point he could hardly react “better”.
Nonetheless, I’m really excited to learn what will happen next.

That suggests whatever BioWare is admitting publicly, the majority of the non-professional responses they’ve received have been negative

//Update #14

Zero Punctuation – Mass Effect 3

//Update #15

Constructive criticism, Bond argues, is a “mass hallucination.” It is “inimical to the purposes of criticism as art. I’ll say it again: the point of criticism is not to improve you, but to express me. And each time I digress to offer you helpful suggestions, encouraging remarks and other pep-talk, I am not truly expressing myself. I’m merely being polite, nice, even a bit condescending — in other words, I’m being aesthetically repulsive.”

Imagine, for a moment, if the only criticism BioWare had received was of the constructive variety. Imagine it was all polite platitudes, condescending clutter, and helpful suggestions about how to improve the game. Do you think for a moment that we’d be reading a blog post like the one Muzyka just penned?

BioWare Co-Founder Apologizes To Fans For The Mass Effect 3 Ending – Sort Of

How I think Mass Effect should have ended

The part that gets me the most

I struggle to see what’s invalid about a game developer hearing a complaint from its fans and reacting

//Update #16

Mass Effect 3 – The Animal House Ending Extended Cut

//Update #17

Another collection of misleading statements made by BioWare

Scumbag Shepard’s actions come back to haunt him

Sheridan demonstrates how to properly break a cycle (the shadows do sound a little like hanar, don’t they? :P)

Krogan Mona Lisa

Shoot him! What are you waiting for?!?

//Update #18

Is BioWare Setting A ‘Dangerous Precedent’ By Considering Alternative Endings?

There are consequences for endorsing every store on the Citadel

ME3 thing

//Update #19

Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction

Ending won’t be changed, new content & clarification only

//Update #20 (btw, it’s 2012/03/25 now)

All That Matters is the Ending

//Update #21 (2012/03/27)

Fans As Investors: ‘Mass Effect 3,’ Fan Service, and the Integrity of Art

This text is so wonderful, I love it: You are teleported to a new area that you don’t care at all about, to talk to something you didn’t even know existed, and told new consequences that have no relationship at all to every act you have ever taken

I am Geoff Keighley, author of The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3. AMA

This is what the end of Mass Effect felt like

“The Reapers’ 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 in ME,” Karpyshyn wrote

“World Without End”

munkeestuff

Fuck yeah, Mass Effect

//Update #22 (2012/03/31)

Mass Effect, Tolkien, and Your Bullshit Artistic Process

The Five Stages of Mass Effect 3 Grief

Mass Effect: The Story Is The Game

Mass Effect 3 And Corporate Influence Over Commercial Art

Six Reasons Why Changing The Mass Effect 3 Ending Won’t Threaten Its ‘Artistic Integrity’

//Update #23 (2012/04/04)

The more the player understands about the Mass Effect universe, the worse the ending seems

[…] the game legitimately opens itself up to the charge that the Reapers kill people to keep them from getting killed by Reapers […]

“Because Cranberries”

Well trolled, Bioware

Mass Effect 3: A Posthumous Analysis

Analyzing the plot of Mass Effect 3

//Update #24 (2012/04/05)

BioWare Announces Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut

Free* DLC Pack to Provide Additional Cinematic Scenes to the Ending of Mass Effect 3 this Summer

[…]

* OFFER EXPIRES APRIL 12, 2014. INTERNET CONNECTION AND ORIGIN (EA), XBOX LIVE, OR PLAYSTATION NETWORK ACCOUNT REQUIRED.

Link

//Update #25 (2012/04/10)

Mass Effect 3 Ending: Change Could Have Empowered Game Writing

Bioware Entering Damage Control Mode

To clear the crowded sky

Garrus the Cat

Sovereign’s and Harbinger’s Logic

//Update #26 (2012/04/10)

Ashley Williams: Deleted Scene

Tell me another story about the Shepard

//Update #27 (2012/04/12)

Angry Joe: 10 Reasons We Hate Mass Effect 3’s Ending

//Update #28

BioWare discusses Mass Effect 3 endings, DLC, and Tali’s face at PAX East 2012

Why BioWare should change the Mass Effect 3 ending

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