Friday, March 9, 2012

It's Mass Effect 3, People!

You want to talk about Mass Effect 3.  I want to talk about Mass Effect 3.  We all want to talk about Mass Effect 3.

Romances!  Characters!  Dramatic moments!  Sad things!  Funny things!  Happy things!  Decisions!  Locations!  It's all in our heads a-buzzing.

So  here is a place where we can all talk in more than 140 characters.  THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS.  However, you can collapse comment threads on Disqus.  So I ask that if you are writing about the very, very final act of the game, you say so in a comment and then reply to yourself with your spoilers, so that folks who want to talk mid-game but not blow the ending can still scroll on by.

Have at it!

50 comments:

  1. I'm only 5 hours into the game but OMG.

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  2. I adore ALL the parts of this game--the art, the banter, the missions, it's SO WONDERFUL...

    Until that goddamned ending.  The ending (yes, no matter which one I pick--they're all the same to me) infuriated me and disappointed me.  And before anyone accuses me of wanting the ending to be rainbows and unicorns, remember that I just said I loved the rest of the game, which was pretty damn grim.

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  3. Gun drawn all the time on away missions is really fscking annoying. Trying to find collectible stuff in the environment is a serious pain like this.

    No screenshots allowed for the PC version is insane, though you might want to try Fraps, it might get around that. There are gameplay videos, so there's got to be some way to record it.

    Being able to buy the special armors from ME2 in the stores is a nice touch.

    Trying to figure out where some sidequests are is annoying. Got one in the very, very beginning that I couldn't find because it was impossible for me to actually get there yet.

    Very happy to see that you can get nearly every "multi-player" achievement on 360 through doing sidequests in single player. Paying for Gold is just not something I'm interested in.

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  4. I AM WRITING A LOT ABOUT THE ENDING HERE. SCROLL ON BY OR COLLAPSE IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED.

    I had a true fridge horror moment with the ending, the first time.

    I didn't expect Shepard to survive, to be honest. I wish she could have.  But the best I hope for from my second playthrough is to save others.  Because the first time, I didn't.  I was rushing for review, and I ran in with very few assets, and almost everyone had died before I even got to the transport beam.

    And then I was only kind of sort of paying attention during the Catalyst talk and missed which option was which.  So I went for the blue one.

    That's the one that breaks the cycle forever, destroying all the mass relays.

    Which means, I realized as the credits rolled, that I -- Shepard alone, under my command -- had done what the reapers could not and literally destroyed almost every planet in the galaxy.  Because thanks to "The Arrival," we've seen what happens to a star system when a Mass Relay goes down.

    I.  Killed.  Everyone.

    I don't care if Shepard survives.  (We've got this -thing- about making messianic stories end happily for the saviors, in gaming, and that just doesn't fly.)  And I don't care about breaking the cycle.  I want to be selfish.  I need to be selfish.  In *my* Shepard's game, I need to make sure that other people live.

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  5.  Right?  RIGHT??

    I'm not a huge fan of the Mars mission but as soon as you get to wander around the Normandy and the Citadel, I was just... oh, my heart.

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  6. My Shepard romanced Liara in the first game and Garrus in the second.  I felt really, really badly about having to let down Liara so early in ME3 but OMG did that Garrus reunion make up for it.  Best.

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  7.  See, I want the *option* to be there for some bit of happiness, even though I won't take it all the time.  I don't want to be told that, no matter what I do, the Normandy crash lands on some unknown planet where some of my squadmates starve to death (depends whether the planet is levo or dextro life based) or worse.  I want this for the very reason that this is, yes, a video game, and we don't have to make things "realistic" (read: sometimes realistic, sometimes angst for the sake of angst) all of the time just to gain street cred. 

    In ME1 and ME2, BioWare made this sort of option available if you wanted it.  To take that away in ME3 doesn't make sense--if you look at the feedback BioWare is getting right now about the endings, you can see that a lot of people played this game because they enjoyed working toward the bittersweet endings, not just the bitter endings.

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  8. I didn't have a problem with Shepard's death. I did feel annoyed that all my choices meant was...nothing. 

    The characters I took along on the suicide run at the end somehow show up on the Normandy and most everyone is dead, all because at the end, my Shepard lacks the option to tell the Catalyst: Bullshit! You say that synthetics will destroy organics? I'm here, fighting just that with the Geth and the Quarians at my back. I only got this far because an AI built off your abominations helped me, saved my life. You control the Reapers, the choices here are limited only because you are limiting them.

    Hell, I can talk Saren into blowing his indoctrinated brains out, I should at least be able to say it, even if the Catalyst just shrugs its (childlike?) shoulders and says, 'Yes, I am. What's your call?'

    This also ignores the question of why, in the middle of THE major battle of the era, Joker and the Normandy...run away and hide, leaving their commander, their captain, their friend, maybe even their LI (though not in my playthrough) behind.

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  9. Fraps will work. I am also told that running *Origin* through Steam (rather than running the ME3 exe through Steam) will enable the Steam screenshot overlay.  So I'll try that first chance I get this evening.

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  10. I'm about 15 hours in. More once I finish. But first, some thoughts.

    --The returning characters have been, IMO, almost universally well-handled, particularly Liara, Garrus, and everyone involved in the Krogan drama. I'll always remember you, Mordin. :(
    --I had a big "NO YOU DIDN'T" moment the first time they introduced the little kid dream sequence. Apart from that, I think they've thus far done very well with incorporating sad elements without being mawkish.
    --I think the tone and atmosphere are much, much better than earlier games. The massive war really gives focus to a lot of the background scenes and chatter, which is an improvement over the random bachelor party type stuff. The areas also seem busier, which is mostly nice (speech interference aside). They also did a much better job of putting you in situations where you're a part of the action rather than all of it, so you're not just doing the "3 people against the world" deal all the time. I thought one of the great things about the suicide mission in ME2 is that it involved command decisions and used your full squad.
    --I'm mostly impressed with the new characters. Vega is ok, Cortez is good, Traynor >>> Chambers. Kelly's pop-psychoanalysis schtick was silly; Traynor is more obviously competent. Also, I love British accents, particularly on non-white people. I don't really like the deuterocanonical characters much, and I'm happy that they haven't thus far completely taken over the story. Seriously, though, I do not care one whit about Kai Leng. Enough about that dude.
    --To add a very brief gameplay note, I think combat works pretty well, but the quest interface is unbelievably bad. Descriptions are hopelessly vague and don't update as you progress, so it's not always obvious whether you've fetched the ancient asari football tactics manual or whatever, and even if you know that you have there's no hint as to where the person who wanted it was. Really pathetic.
    --Also, multiplayer is pretty fun.

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  11. Thank you for reminding me of the quest interface. Why do only some of the quests tell you where exactly you're supposed to go? And that's putting aside the lack of updates on the galaxy map.

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  12. I can't believe I forgot to mention this in the returning characters section, but I think they hit it out of the park with Jack. Her evolution was both plausible and satisfying, and the end of her mission provided one of the game's best laughs.

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  13. Especially if she was your LI.

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  14.  I loved seeing Jack again and seeing the kind of person she'd become.  One of my favorite things in the game.

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  15. I just had to say that "Well I'm not human, am I? Anthropocentric bag of dicks..." is one of the 10 greatest lines ever spoken in a video game.

    That is all.

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  16. Just finished.

    My god. It's not possible that a developer could really think that's a satisfying ending, could they? I mean, they build up all this emphasis on creating a galaxy worth saving--forging a quarian-geth peace, curing the genophage, trying to save as much of Earth as possible--and at the end it's all boned anyway?

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  17. I think that I put my considered response best here:

    http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/9759585/1#9760391 

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  18. For what it's worth, the relays are destroyed in every ending. I don't think we're supposed to interpret it as a system-destroying explosion, though, for whatever reason.

    Ultimately I think they thought they were making a grand philosophical statement with the ending. What they missed, however, was that Mass Effect is about people, not ideas. It's true that there are important ideas discussed--consciousness, genocide, relationships--but those ideas are always grounded in the characters and peoples who make up the universe. So the question of how synthetic life might fit into the world is not just some abstract phil 101 prompt but is more about Tali, and Legion, and Edi, and the geth and quarians. Unfortunately, the ending completely ignored those people. For all we know, we went to all that effort to get Rannoch back for the quarians, and now they're all stuck in Sol for eternity!

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  19. That's a good point, but I can't help also feeling that the philosophical point that we're clearly supposed to get (seeing as how Shepard has no option to argue with anything space god--sorry, the Catalyst says) manages to be illogical, unclear and actively offensive.

    That's an impressive trifecta. I can't think of another time something so muddled made me go 'No!' Not 'What?'

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  20.  Posting about the ending, fair warning, collapse if you don't want to see.

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  21. Or, to clarify my position:
    TLDR: I don't want my money back, Mass Effect 3 is worth the 80 bucks I paid. It is not, however worth how it made this long time Mass Effect/Bioware fan feel at the ending.

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  22. I'm glad you liked it and I agree that the developers clearly seem to believe that destroying the relays won't destroy the systems they're in (though Shepard never bothers to ask, despite being the only person in history to actually destroy one, killing 300,000 people, because?) and I agree, they've certainly settled on a philosophical point, even if its one I disagree with.

    However, if I wanted a Deus Ex ending (and I did when I played Deus Ex) then I'd be playing Deus Ex. This gave me a Deus Ex ending (without even the fourth option of telling everyone to take a hike) in the Mass Effect universe.

    Analogy: Pooh and his little friends are killed by serial killers, but it's okay, because the team from Criminal Minds will track down that nasty murderer (Spoiler Alert: It's Piglet. Why? Because the writers say so damnit!)

    And, if you'll pardon a wall of text I've posted elsewhere:

    Okay, so the holographic kid says, essentially, the Crucible proves that the cycle is broken (Why? He could just wait for the Reapers to destroy your fleets, then blow it up) and that therefore, he's giving you three choices.Putting aside the stupidity of the choices, why would Shepard believe that? The kid admitted to controlling the Reapers, does he really think it's going to say: 'You win, just push that button and we're all toast'?For that matter, why would Shepard believe that bull**** about the inevitability of Synthetics destroying organics? Besides the Reapers, the only other model we have are the Geth, who, until the Reapers started messing around with them, at Space God's commmand, were just staying home and building themselves a ship that could house all of them.In all the choices you make, you essentially do the Reaper's work for them, destroying galactic civilization (via the Mass Relay explosions that, as we saw in Arrival, destroy the system they're in). This makes sense as the choices are offered to you by a being that ADMITS BEING IN CHARGE OF THE REAPERS.WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT'S GOOD AND RIGHT IN THE GALAXY WOULD SHEPARD TRUST ANYTHING THAT CAME OUT OF THAT GENOCIDAL LITTLE RUNT'S MOUTH?PS: Even if, magically (and seeing as how space god can rewrite everyone's DNA, bull****, I can, Bull****, believe that, BULL****) the relays don't explode as we saw in Arrival, the Citidel does, while in low Earth orbit. The damn thing weighs 7.11 billion metric tons. What do you think that does to the fleet fighting around it? What does it do to Earth? Take back Earth? Nothing left to rescue, Bioware. 

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  23. I'm skimming past all the ending spoiler stuff, but have a romance question. Is ME3's reputed gay romance option solely for new NPC(s), or does it apply to previously romancible NPCs like Garrus and Kaiden? Liara was always willing to go either way, so the "lesbian" option always existed with her, but I would appreciate knowing if they went with the Dragon Age "all NPCs are now bisexual" angle or if they went with specific orientations for everyone.

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  24.  Not like DA2. NPCs are specific.  And certain carried-over ME2 romances can only be started in ME2.

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  25. ***Spoilers about the end of the game***

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  26. So, I apparently got the best ending (despite the guides saying you need 5000+ rating for it, I only had 4300ish).  I have to admit, my first reaction when presented with the choice was one of guilt.  Liara talked about having a story to tell all those little blue children later down the line, and I felt *guilty* that Shephard might not make it through due to my choices.


    SO I thought, "Okay, I might survive destroying them.  He didn't say I'd die."

    Then I immediately felt guilty for betraying Legion's spirit, who in my game had sacrificed himself to give the geth sentience.  

    Despite the looming genocide, I carried on with my grim decision.  My Shep was going to live!  Boom, boom, BOOM!  *cutscene*

    *gets to Normandy trying to outrun the blast*  "Oh no!  EDI!!!"

    I've never had a game made me feel so awful about the endings.  I think we needed some more character centric epilogue, particularly if this is the end of the line for this game universe, we should find out how things turned out for our squad.  This was a game about relationships, and the finale fell flat in that regard.

    Other than the ending, this was a masterly crafted game.  The character moments were plentiful, the relationships were awesome, and the combat system was fun.

    (Tip:  If you take Liara & Garrus to Sur'kesh for the Krogan female mission, you get a scene where Garrus & Shephard are teasing Liara about the Yahg Shadow Broker.)

    I am disappointed that after having an awesome boss fight at the end of Mass Effect 1, we got zip for ME3.  No Harbinger love?

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  27. So, I apparently got the best ending (despite the guides saying you need 5000+ rating for it, I only had 4300ish).  I have to admit, my first reaction when presented with the choice was one of guilt.  Liara talked about having a story to tell all those little blue children later down the line, and I felt *guilty* that Shephard might not make it through due to my choices.


    SO I thought, "Okay, I might survive destroying them.  He didn't say I'd die."

    Then I immediately felt guilty for betraying Legion's spirit, who in my game had sacrificed himself to give the geth sentience.  

    Despite the looming genocide, I carried on with my grim decision.  My Shep was going to live!  Boom, boom, BOOM!  *cutscene*

    *gets to Normandy trying to outrun the blast*  "Oh no!  EDI!!!"

    I've never had a game made me feel so awful about the endings.  I think we needed some more character centric epilogue, particularly if this is the end of the line for this game universe, we should find out how things turned out for our squad.  This was a game about relationships, and the finale fell flat in that regard.

    Other than the ending, this was a masterly crafted game.  The character moments were plentiful, the relationships were awesome, and the combat system was fun.

    (Tip:  If you take Liara & Garrus to Sur'kesh for the Krogan female mission, you get a scene where Garrus & Shephard are teasing Liara about the Yahg Shadow Broker.)

    I am disappointed that after having an awesome boss fight at the end of Mass Effect 1, we got zip for ME3.  No Harbinger love?

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  28. Thanks for this.

    Mapping out my four playthroughs to import, my female paragon Adept stayed loyal to Liara as Shadow Broker, and my female renegade Soldier and male paragon Engineer are pretty stable in their ME2 romances, I think ... but my male renegade Vanguard Shock Trooper has been a real wolf on the romance front. Definitely up close and physical and aggressive both in combat and in dialogue choices. If there's anyone who'd try to gay romance Garrus and James and Blasto, along with any new characters, it would be him. Knowing I don't need to fret the polite/paragon dialogue choices trying doomed romance efforts with him when I get around to ME3 is a relief.

    Thanks again.

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  29. House-sitting for an old friend this long weekend. He's a fellow long-term BioWare goob from back in Ye Olde Days of Baldur's Gate, and will graciously let me play his copy. As he's happy to let me import a game or two of ME2, I'm looking forward to quickly burning through my heartless renegade soldier, Ms. Morrigan Shepard. She's probably in for a bad ending, since she has reflexively burned many bridges in harsh loyalty judgments (rachni queen dead, romanced Kaiden but let him die before consummation since Ashley was a better paired combat asset, Ashley shot Wrex and Morrigan is fine with that, et cetera). Though she certainly was as much of a mining completionist and DLC queen as any of the other savefiles, so maybe not too bad.

    Since I'm hearing more and more leakage about the endings being unsatisfying, quickly playing through a character who doesn't deserve a super-happy ending will hopefully mitigate things somewhat.

    Updates as I proceed.

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  30. Taking a pause to think and break fast at sunset before pushing on to Earth and finishing my first playthrough. Very spoilery thoughts follow, but not to the ending yet.

    The game has simply nailed all the characters thus far. Really enjoying the moral knife-twisting on Renegade choices.

    - Javik is a great subversion of the All-Wise, Benevolent Precursors stereotype that the Protheans slotted into. Having the focus character for them be a bitter and unforgiving supremacist stormtrooper thug from a fascist slave empire is pure genius. Playwise, he is biotically delicious, and I am really looking forward to my eventual Vanguard-save playthrough using him and Liara, for it will be non-stop biotic annihilation.

    - Shooting Mordin was brutal. Dude coughed up about a gallon of blood before dying, oh so tantalizingly close to the dispersal controls. Got me a Salarian fleet, but great job on making clear how morally bankrupt the decision is.

    - Ashely makes a fun drunk, but Tali takes the cake. Emergency. Induction. Port.

    - Speaking of Tali, her response to Legion while destroying the Geth was heartbreaking. (Legion repeated the original Geth-to-Quarian question to her about "do I have a soul?" while layed out to be deactivated, and before pulling the plug Tali replies "yes, you do" ... devastatingly well done).

    - Garrus remains cool and super smooth, and his budding romance with Tali was funny to walk in on.

    - Liara has been pretty quiet, but her interactions with Javik have been gold. She is so much kinder and wiser and more enlightened than he is, but every time she talks proudly about some Asari culture he just dumps all over it with 50,000 years of historical condescension.

    - Blasto 6 is the movie of the millennium. Badassedly, indeed.

    - The ME2 peeps have been backgrounded more, but good to see. Good to see Grunt while wiping out the Rachni yet again, Miranda's arc was poignant, and Thane's was heartbreaking. Nice to see Jacob moving on, and Jack absolutely took the cake with her biotic blast corps cadets.

    - Enjoyed the banter of Cortez and Vega in the shuttlebay. Cortez is pretty clearly flirting with Vega at a couple of points, though Vega seems oblivious.

    - Traynor has been fun to romance. Very flirty innuendo, starting with sweaty Chess and escalating from there.

    - Joker and EDI have a complex thing going on, which is interesting to see. Talk about loving your ship. EDI's background as the rogue AI from ME1 was a neat twist.

    - Killing Kai Leng was just so satisfying, especially after his behavior on Thessia. Best renegade interrupt in the game, I think.

    Combat has been challenging, but fun enough so far. The constant crouch and snipe is somewhat tiresome, but I am looking forward to a Vanguard playthrough. I absolutely adore all the Reaper-in-the-background shots. From Earth to Palaven to Tuchanka and onward, just seeing them on the horizon and hearing their vibrating Brown Note drone is compelling.

    Really enjoying the heck out of the game.

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  31. HOLY JESUS WHAT DID I JUST PLAY?

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  32. bioware hit it out of the park with the gay crew member, starting with your conversation when you first meet him ("any family?" you ask, and his response eventually gets to "and... i lost my husband on [planet i can't remember]"). the fact that it is so plain, matter-of-fact, without any fanfare, is a really classy (and political) move by bioware.

    similarly, the lesbian crew member comes out to (male shepard) you only when you try to hit on her, a ways into the game. she seems slightly amused at you, too, in a "you mean you really didn't notice that i was into women, not into you?" sort of way. it dishes a little dose of humility to shepard, and i think subtly but effectively criticizes the straight male gaze.

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  33. Just finished my first play through. Sounds like you just did as well.

    ENDING SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

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  34. Think I somehow managed the "best" ending with my fem renegade, despite dead rachni and Geth and pissed-off still-genophaged Krogan. Doing all the ME2 DLC and mining the galaxy dry apparently helped a lot, (and the friend I'm housesitting for did a lot of multiplayer this past week), so my bitter colonial renegade gets to live while the galaxy burns.

    Which is nice and all for Ms. Unrelenting Goddess of Retribution, but that is seriously not going to fly with either of my Paragons. They are not going to let the Geth be wiped out, they are not going to countenance a Geth genocide as a side effect, and they are not going to be cool with annihilating every single system with a Mass Relay. Efforts at "Controlling" the Reapers are universally bullpuckey Indoctrination according to the Prothean VI, and "Synthesis" sounds ridiculously invasive and violating.

    That is super-disheartening, and none of it sounds like what either of my Paragons would do. My Paragons talked down Wrex and made Saren commit suicide, for crying out loud, so I cannot see them accepting Reaper Overlord Boy's word without an argument. But if wiping out the Reapers really requires genociding EDI and the Geth and murdering a few trillion people who just happen to live near Mass Relays, I am not going to be able to accept that choice either.

    The more I think about it, the more it pisses me off.

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  35.  i have a lot to say about the ending, because every choice felt like a wrong one. i picked synthesis because i didn't want to exterminate the geth, who i loved dearly, but in retrospect i want to let the reapers burn because synthesis is just as bad if not worse.

    my biggest frustration is that mass effect was never really about shepard him/herself, but rather about the people and things that shepard represented. at least, that's what my uber-paragon shepard story was about. so when the climactic scene decides to negate all of the (game) years of work i had put into standing up for themselves, into cooperating, into making the right decisions; and instead puts me as the sole arbiter of the entire galaxy's fate--i really, really didn't like that. my first thought as the credits began to roll was basically, "wait, so what happened to all the fleets of the entire galaxy that are now orbiting earth? what about the entire rest of the galaxy who is waiting for this war to end? what about the millions of families who will never see their loved ones again, not because they died in the war but because they can never go back to their homes? what happened to anyone, at all, other than shepard (and joker and edi, in my ending, who apparently crash land on some jungle world with liara to go off and make a bunch of synthetic babies i guess i don't know)?"

    what kills me is that, for three straight games, i have a shepard who pleads and demands and coaxes the galaxy around him into believing in freedom, autonomy, peace for all people--and then in a single moment, i wipe out all of it because i'm told i have to.

    and, i think the thing that offends me the most in all of these endings is the bizarre anthrocentrism of it all. i spend so much time uniting the entire galaxy against the reapers, and in the end the only thing i really get to see is that earth is... sort of saved. what about palaven? tuchanka? are the asari going to be okay on thessia? will the elcor get to stage hamlet again?

    it's not just that there are holes; it's that the stuff that's actually there, too, flies directly in the face of everything that came before. it bothers me.

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  36. Agreed.

    I had heard there were "ending issues" ... so I played my most scattershot renegade, figuring she could deserve reaping what she'd sowed.

    Instead, she gets Total Vindication, from her perspective! Shooting Mordin in the back? Doesn't matter. Geth eliminated? Zero consequence (other than a really heartrending scene as Tali deactivated Legion). Be a callous jerk, blow up the galaxy, wipe the bastiches out, crawl out of the rubble, it is just win-win-win-win for her. Now she'll probably unite the remaining militaries into a rapacious resource-sequestration Horde and establish the Glorious Star Empire of Shepard. Maddening for me, because I like to think Actions have Consequences.

    I just went through the other two choices, and they really aren't any better, so far as my Paragons are concerned. The whole galaxy explodes, every time, because of an arbitrary decision I can't see my Paragons accepting.

    I'll solo play my renegade Vanguard dudeshep through, because whatever (and Biotic Death Assault is just Fun), but I don't think I want my Paragon saves getting anywhere near this. And since I've been doing all this on a friend's system, it just kills any desire to buy this.

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  37. Also, my ParagonShep never wanted to be a messiah.  She really was just a soldier, when it came down to it.  I actually would have liked it better ending with her and Anderson next to each other, bleeding out, if only the darn crucible had just worked.  Then, I really could extrapolate out good endings for all the other characters.  Making it get all metaphysical felt really out of place.  

    I also just felt like there wasn't enough info on what those choices meant in order to make an informed decision.  How exactly does Shep control the reapers after vaporizing?  Can she make the Reapers rebuild everything?  And I fundamentally don't get the Synthesis option, which is what my Shep took--EDI doesn't have DNA to rewrite.  What does it mean that trees would be synthetic?  What about plankton?  It's dumb to let my suspension of disbelief falter there, considering it's sci-fi and therefore not meant to make perfect sense, but I couldn't envision a universe where everything was the same like that and then extrapolate out how that would be beneficial, let alone the ultimate good.  I almost feel like the synthesis ending sanitizes life in a way that's sort of a betrayal to that world, wherein peaces are hard-won and precariously maintained.  Is it lovely in kind of a grand way?  Yes.  But the enjoyment I got out of the games up until then was not about grandness, it was about the moments with individual lives, and that is left behind at the end.  I almost feel bad complaining because, you know, I really loved the game.  I respect the desire to go big.  I'm even sympathetic to the idea that the whole game should count as denouement, and do feel that my choices had an impact.  But, yeah, I'm ultimately pretty disappointed.

    Also, I want to add, that the heroic sacrifice ending is JUST AS CLICHE as the happy ending.  It really is.  

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  38.  Also, my ParagonShep never wanted to be a messiah.  She really was just a
    soldier, when it came down to it.  I actually would have liked it
    better ending with her and Anderson next to each other, bleeding out, if
    only the darn crucible had just worked.  Then, I really could
    extrapolate out good endings for all the other characters.  Making it
    get all metaphysical felt really out of place.


    that would have been an ending i could get behind. would have fit the paragon path perfectly.

    and i wouldn't have even minded a happy ending, or a real heroic sacrifice ending (like the one you mentioned), or even a dark and twisted ending. the real thing is that i wish there was an ending that was true to the tone of the series, which all of the options you are given aren't.

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  39. The whole galaxy explodes, every time, because of an arbitrary decision I can't see my Paragons accepting.

    yep. it's so frustrating.

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  40.  okay, some other spoilers will follow this comment, so i will place a separate warning here, too.

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  41.  five things i loved, and five things i hated, about mass effect 3.

    loved: the ambient/non-cutscene conversations, both with your crewmates and with random denizens of the galaxy. and while i loved the hanar/elcor buddy cop drama, i thought the beleaguered embassy worker talking to the older woman was a brilliant little touch. given the way these things usually work, i expected it to be a joke--oh look, here's an elderly woman who can't remember anything--but the sincerity and compassion in the worker's voice, and the moment of hurt when she sees that the woman has forgotten her, brought it to a very different place. bravo, bioware.

    hated: kaidan alenko. seriously, i don't care what ashley's character is like, it has to be better than listening to this whining motherfucker. it's like, "oh, i have doubts if i can trust you. i have doubts if i can trust me. i have doubts if i can trust anyone. i have doubts about my sexuality." not that any of those doubts are trivial, but that by the end of the game i was starting to consider spacebarring my way through every conversation of his, it got to be so tedious and grating.

    loved: the combat/combat skill mechanics. they clearly put a lot of thought into making this ready for multiplayer, because this is the best of the trilogy by a long shot. i finally got to be the shepard i wanted to be, popping in and out of cloak every few seconds to blast someone's head off with my sniper rifle. i rarely even carried a second weapon, so my recharge time could be that fast.

    hated: the edi gets a body story. though it certainly does open things up for some neat battlestar galactica crossover fanfiction.

    loved: jack's side mission. she got, by far, the best treatment of all the minor characters. i literally laughed out loud when her students yelled out "I WILL DESTROY YOU!" as a battle cry. and her character arc was eminently believable, and really sweet.

    hated: the romance. mine was with liara, who has been with me since the first game. and while there is one really nice scene with her (she makes time capsules about the reapers, in case everything goes wrong, and saves the entry on you for last), the rest of it is really bland and shallow. i did some youtubing, and it seems like just about all the romances are as bland as that one, too. i dunno--i know it's hard to write characters well when you have so many different choices and options, but i guess i was hoping for a bit more depth.

    loved: mark meer. he's no jennifer hale, and i am deeply looking forward to finishing my female shepard's story someday, but through a combination of a better script and a comfortability with his role, i thought his performance (as paragon shepard) was genuinely excellent. part of this i think is also due to the game's tone, which is utterly epic, and therefore suitable for meer's epic paragon voice.

    hated: all of the people fawning over how wonderful and awesome i am. i mean, shepard is. it's one thing to have someone like the admiral tell me that the galaxy is counting on me; it's another entirely to have like every damn person ever keep saying "no one but you could have done this". it kind of undercuts the more intimate side of the character that the game was trying to show, when it constantly reminds you that you are superhuman.

    loved: the action set pieces. this is one of the most visually stunning games i have ever seen, and the design for the levels made you feel intimately a part of it. the only other game i've played that had even one or two sequences as harrowing and tense was uncharted 2 (i still have yet to finish that trilogy).

    hated: that i recognized vega's voice as freddie prinze jr. character ruined for me.

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  42. I think Ashley and Kaidan had a lot of the same dialogue w/r/t not trusting Shepard, based on my youtubing.  My Shep was faithful to Kaidan, so I found it particularly annoying (aren't a lot of human options for the ladies; in retrospect should've romanced Garrus, but blah blah blah the paragoniest).  It was one thing on Mars--ok, fine, A/K need to reacquaint themselves or whatever.  But then assuming that Shepard was trying to assassinate the council?  Really?  

    Though I loved how FemShep just hoisted that fella over her shoulder after he went down.  Work it.  

    (Also, still better than the deal with Jacob.  If he'd been my Shep's LI I'd have been PISSED.)

    Loved: 1) the npcs in general, even Prinze Jr. 2) basically all the priority missions were very well done, though Earth was kind of eh 3) Jack's story arc was a real highlight 4) the combat was much smoother all around 5) I thought in general there were more references to Shepard being a real human--more references to the background, people actually asking how Shep was holding up, Joker snapping at Shep after Thessia, etc.

    Hated, ending aside:  1) FemShep seriously had a boob job somewhere in there.  Is that part of how she's synthetic?  Also, the casual dress option was hideous. 2) Chobot!  3) Having whoever sniping about how you were with Cerberus 4) EDI getting anthropomorphized 5) The whole dying between 1 and 2 thing started to irritate me retroactively.  EDI comments at one point that she's surprised by Shep's continued existence, as the likelihood of Shep surviving everything is slim.  Well, she didn't survive everything.  She died!  I almost feel like it complicates the concept of the heroic sacrifice, which is basically what the endings amount to as it is--she already died once!  Now she has to go do it again?  She's totally willing, don't get me wrong, but geez, universe, she really got a raw deal there.  Should there have maybe been more psychological repercussions from all that?

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  43. The idea that that is the "best" ending really bothers me.  Especially as I don't cotton to indoctrination theories.  

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  44. The implications really are mind-boggling, and not in a good way.  I mean, let's face it, organics are doomed to a repeating cycles of war and destruction IN GENERAL, not just in regards to synthetic life.  When it comes down to it, why does the eventual war with synthetic life have any bearing?  We can kill ourselves and the galaxy no problem without synthetics aver getting involved.  If the real problems occurs when synthetics get involved, why not wipe out synthetic life and leave the organics alone? 

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  45.  oh chobot. i forgot to mention how much i hated chobot. she will be hate #6, then, and to balance it out, i will make love #6 drunk tali and her "emergency induction port".

    it's funny you mention how much more of the human side we get to see of shepard, because i actually totally agree. it's one of the reasons why the moments where people talk about him as superhuman grate on me so much. a good example of this is in the scene with garrus on the citadel where they go shooting on top of the presidium: i would have loved for there not to be a choice of whether to hit the bottle, or miss the bottle, and just have you miss it as part of the sequence instead. there is a moment of real friendship and depth if you choose "miss", but for some reason the "miss on purpose" part of it bothers me. it feels like it cheapens the friendship.

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  46. I agree. I really liked that sequence, but felt that it would have been much more immersive if either you were required to do the shooting yourself, or it was based on your accuracy percent (or even class, soldier and infiltrator bullseye it, all other classes miss).

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  47.  Yeah, I was romancing Garrus during my first playthrough, and missing on purpose just seemed like a woman hiding her talents to make her boyfriend feel better about himself. Shepard wouldn't have done it, and I don't think Garrus would have wanted her to.

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  48.  I may or may not have more thoughts about this when I calm down.  I just now finished the game, after a) staying unspoiled, but hearing rumors of a really shitty ending and therefore, b) stalling.  I had a brief hope that the complaints were just fan entitlement, but no.

    I FUCKING HATE that fucking ending.  HATE.  Among other things, it completely spits on the idea of that you can save civilization.  No matter what you do, that multi-ethnic, multi racial civilization you were fighting to save?  Gone.  No more Asari raising families with human women.  No more Turians making out with Quarians, no more spaceships, no more high technology.  And I hate that.  I don't mind Shep dying.  I wish there was an option where it doesn't happen, but it makes story and thematic sense; I can live with it.  But breaking the entire game universe?  No, I think that truly sucks.  Putting an ending on it that says "no future mass effect games can be coherent with this"; you can't have a game set 200 years hence, when the results of the war and the alliance are still shaking out. 

    FUCK it makes me mad.  Sci writers!  Do not break your universes as part of your story endings!  It was stupid when Dan Simmons did it, it was stupid when Ronald D. Moore did it.  It is ALWAYS stupid!  Always!  Its never, ever clever.  Also, stop being "shocking".  Being shocking is just a way that slow witted people cover for their lack of ideas.

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  49.  Yeah.  I'm a little incoherent with disgust at this ending.  Its just so fucking inane, and it forces the player down a set of paths all stupid, and all of which boil down to "the only way to prevent the reapers from killing everybody is to do it yourself"

    Because that's what happens in all of the endings.  Even if the relays don't destroy all those systems there in, the total collapse of civilization GALAXY WIDE is going to lead to the vast majority of people starving to death, and the rest wearing loin cloths and wielding pointed sticks.  And 50,000 years hence, when they get back together, then it really might be the same stupid cycle.

    And its not like you need to do any of that for a bleak ending.  Having almost every planet in the galaxy look like Europe and Japan at the end of the second world war is pretty damn bleak.

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