My thoughts on why the Mass Effect 3 ending was so bad
So this is a rant that I’m sure many of you saw coming. It took me some time to get to, but I have finally beat Mass Effect 3. Probably one of the few reasons I ended up beating the game when I did was because I heard so much about the ending and I wanted to see what all the hub-bub was about. I did originally plan to take much longer and experience more of the side quests, but there was just too much mounting pressure to get in on the discussion. Somehow I was able to remain isolated from spoilers and I didn’t find out why the ending was bad until I experienced it for myself
First of all, let’s get this out of the way on the abstract page:
SPOILER ALERT LEVEL 99
This is going to be a spoiler-ific discussion and so if you have not beat the game yet, don’t click into it. I don’t know a good way to talk about the subject without directly referencing some things, so just stay away if you haven’t had the chance to finish this game yet. With that out of the way, hit the jump for my breakdown on why I hate the Mass Effect 3 ending and why many others do as well.
I guess the real disappointing part is the assumptions that people are already making about this uproar: No, nobody is inherently mad that the game ends on a serious note, or that things aren’t super honky-dorey, or whatever. I personally think Bioware, in the span of about 10 minutes, put forward some interesting ideas and solutions to the problems and loose ends within the Mass Effect universe, so that really isn’t the problem. If some people out there still don’t understand what the real commotion is over the ending, this is your quick and dirty list, all of the points that, honestly, really need to addressed by Bioware ASAP, lest this game go down as another Matrix Trilogy:
- The 2 or 3 choices presented do not fit into the paradigm of the series (none seemed inherently Paragon or Renegade).
- All of the choices made during previous games basically amount to squat. Those who scrambled through the games without thinking twice about their decisions get the same ending as those who meticulously weighed every conversation.
- Bioware, up to this point, had painstakingly told us how previous games and decisions made in them, as well as the third game, would lead to a unique ending, but it did not. This feels like a huge broken promise.
- There is a genuine lack of what your final decisions actually amount to. Does the galaxy move on? What about all of those conflicts you ended just within this very game (Quarians and Geths, as well as the genophage)? Basically there is no true epilogue for a game that really needs one. You can’t just publish some books later on because everyone had a different experience.
- The ending is Deus Ex Machina to a large extent. Largely this is thought to be sort of a cop-out in writing, but what is weird is just that the rest of the game never feels this way. Tough decisions will come and go and rarely if ever does some guy come in to save you from a bad one. In this case, no matter how you got to the ending, some random diety A.I. thing appears and gives you 2 or 3 choices that all basically resolve everything in a neat little package.
- This one you will only know from multiple playthroughs or checking out youtube videos, but all of the endings are essentially the same. The main difference is the color of the explosion, which is just lame if you ask me.
After-thought: The one thing about the very end that does bother me is the extremely bizarre escape that Joker makes with the rest of the crew, crash-landing on some distant, lush planet, without much explaination as to why everyone was on the ship and not on Earth. I’m willing to let that one slide, but its still really bizarre.