Escapist Podcast: Bonus: Mass Effect 3 With Spoilers Part 2

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On a separate note; I chose control the Reapers

TIM only wanted the Reaper tech for humanity ONLY, Shepard mostly has been about "everybody". Hopefully we can trust Shepard does fall to "Absolute Power Absolutely Corrupts".

I thought that would have been best for the following reasons.

1) With the "war" over, and the mass relays gone, I'm going to need a fuck ton and highly technological ships that can help get people around. Hell, in the short term, there is hopefully enough resources in those things to help get Earth/Mars going again as so not every body starves to death. And if the Reaper ships can travel from system to system at FTL speeds and not need to discharge (or perhaps can travel much longer distances at a quicker pace), then I'll need those ships to get everybody back to their home planets and a very basic network/trade system going again.

2) Also, with the reapers, and the found knowledge on Ilos with the Mass Relay that the Proteans build, perhaps we can even start to remake a few of them. Its not going to be fixed overnight, but if we can build The Crucible in a matter of "weeks", then we can perhaps build a few over the years to link the major star systems again.

Agayek:

That's just it though, their solution to the problem is to cause the problem. It's flawed logic from the getgo. First off, the fact that the Catalyst is (supposedly) actively trying to help organic life directly contradicts its statement that all synthetic life will ultimately attack and kill organic life. It claims to be attempting to save organics, but its own logic says that it must try to kill them.

Beyond that, depending on how the game plays out, you directly contradict this by brokering a peace between Geth and Quarian. Even past that, EDI actively aids organics of her own free will, even going so far as entering a relationship with one. This is not the behavior of someone "fated" to kill all organics, and that's the logical conclusion if we accept the Catalyst's words as fact.

Furthermore, the logic of "I will save you from X by subjecting you to X" simply does not work. Especially when it comes from a computer, a being driven solely by logic. It's completely self-defeating to solve a problem by introducing the problem, and the motivation behind it is contradicted multiple times throughout the game.

But again, its not about what you JUST did with the Geth/Quarians or EDI, which yes, does show that in some cases, organics/synthetics can live in peace, but that there may be a future, a time, that there will be a synthetic that will wage all out war again all living life., from single cell organisms and up.

He is saving organics, FUTURE organics. He views advanced organics as a threat to lower level organics (as being able to create synthetics) so the advanced organics must be removed.

Murmillos:
But again, its not about what you JUST did with the Geth/Quarians or EDI, which yes, does show that in some cases, organics/synthetics can live in peace, but that there may be a future, a time, that there will be a synthetic that will wage all out war again all living life., from single cell organisms and up.

He is saving organics, FUTURE organics. He views advanced organics as a threat to lower level organics (as being able to create synthetics) so the advanced organics must be removed.

I get that, really I do. What you appear to not understand is that its whole supposition that advanced organics are a threat is predicated on the assumption that it is 100% inevitable and unavoidable for synthetics to rise against their creators. The Catalyst outright states that synthetics always rebel against their creators, and so to solve that problem it created the Cycle.

The problem is that the events of the game and the motivations/goals of the Catalyst itself prove that synthetic life will not inevitably wipe out organic life. The entire premise for the necessity of the Cycle is thus undermined, and the argument itself rings depressingly hollow. You can't make a rational argument out of an obviously flawed premise. The fact that they tried anyway is part of the reason the canon endings are so bad.

It's clear that Susan is a bully all the time (or whatever you want to call it) and she's not exactly helping brain storming by blocking anything/anyone who disagrees with her. I wonder how much % of whole audio is her talking if you counted it, I guess a lot above 25%. :P

But it isn't a heroic sacrifice for me, I did destruction shephard lived, there was no effing sacrifice.

Agayek:

The Catalyst outright states that synthetics always rebel against their creators, and so to solve that problem it created the Cycle.

Nor do I think the Catalyst is one to say, well, lets just wait and find out if these synthetics aren't going to become a total Galaxy organic wiping menace like the ~LAST~ cycle.

Since we are only looking at a very finite, limited history of time verses the Reapers millions of years of cycles: I'm sure their judgment on seeing some truly awful synthetics dictates that the Cycle must continue, regardless of current nature of the organic/synthetic playing field.

The risk waiting too long means they could no longer have the element of surprise/numbers on their side before its too late, with a galaxy wide organic hating synthetic is on the loose.

I find the flaw of just saying, ok, we "fixed" the Geth, the cycle is no longer needed and is flawed in itself too. The Geth are just ONE synthetic and as so, are not the basis of all future synthetics.

The Catalyst has one clear notation, at some point, in some future, an advanced organic life will create a synthetic that will wipe out ALL organic life. Regardless of the current cycle, they must be removed before they have a chance to prove the Catalyst right.
My notion is that the Catalyst would rather be infinity wrong, the proved right just once. Because being proved right once, means he didn't do his job he set out to prevent.

Its a Catch-22.

The problem is that the events of the game and the motivations/goals of the Catalyst itself prove that synthetic life will not inevitably wipe out organic life. The entire premise for the necessity of the Cycle is thus undermined, and the argument itself rings depressingly hollow. You can't make a rational argument out of an obviously flawed premise. The fact that they tried anyway is part of the reason the canon endings are so bad.

I get the problem with the ending is that NONE of your choices matter in making the decision or do we see any of the after effects of those choices. What happened between X and Y, A and B. Why should doing C over D matter when I don't know the difference of that choice and what later effects it had.

in susan's review the ending wasnt mentioned and i voiced a suspicion that she hadnt finished it. but after listeing to the podcast i would like to appologise for saying that, the points she makes are spot on about the ending

I was fine with it, I saved the Galaxy and died heroically destroying the Reapers because no man should control them. I didn't choose Synthesis because who am I to decide that EVERYONE becomes a robot, so killing them was my only option. My Military strength was 3300 ish, so I managed to "save" Anderson, save earth and the galaxy, but not survive. I'm gonna grind the multiplayer and try to survive the ending. Which apparently you can live if you have between 4000 and 5000 military strength.

Okay.

I decided to post this wall of text (not that I think it'll matter much in the end of all the opinions that will no doubt be presented in this form), because frankly I actually did want to find out some kind of cohesive summation of what people find dissapointing about the endings, that I could actually consider moreso reasonable than the usual forum game of 'selective logic argument' vs. 'selective logic counter-argument' that of course always devolves into an incomprehensible mess. In that regard the podcasts actually did a fine job.

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First up this segment deals with the validity of the endings.

As a quick aside - no I don't believe the indoctrination theory at all, because I know that it's just another form of rationalizing and trying to avoid these endings as being valid. Another form of wish-fulfillment on the part of those espousing it that tries to avoid any kind of meaning in the endings as they are now. (it's funny how people don't get that this kind of rationalizing is, ironically, the psychological bread and butter of indoctrination itself! It's elaborated very well in Mass Effect: Retribution. It doesn't matter how convoluted one's logic gets, you will justify and explain anything to yourself so long as your ego gets validated - that's the basis of it apart from the scientific level with the ultrasound and everything.

And I think the bottom line, that I do find valid for why the endings might not measure up to the rest of the game, is this:

The core issue, of why the endings are disliked, is because the most typical goal within an RPG, meaning the sense of closure and consequences of your actions being spelled out to you, is in this one case not given to you on a silver platter.

That is it I think. Sure, there's the much more ego-boosting "I want Shepard to be a badass to the end." argument, but given that ME3 as a whole is about Shepard actually no longer being presented as this invunerable legendary person, but rather as a human being (i.e. him/her failing right in the intro by not managing to save the kid, something that haunts him/her in their dreams throughout the entire game and beautifully gets this point across, or failing on Thessia - good point there), that argument for me falls flat on its face. Instead it is that lack of sense of closure that I find to be the most valid argument for why the endings did not feel good for most people.

Notice I said 'most'. Believe it or not, some people actually *did* feel something great from that lack of closure (including myself) PRECISELY because what this allowed us to do is to use our imaginations to form our opinions on what took place afterwards as a result of our choices and decisions. Whereas most players (quite unsurprisingly) want things to conclude neat and tidy - they want to be 'told' what happens...rather than using their imaginations to think on what could happen after this.

Still, I will admit that the number that were dissapointed was probably bigger than I had initially imagined. This, I think, ties into the fact that players of western civilization are such a goal-oriented society. Personally, I am incredibly interested in what Japanese players might think of ME3's endings, because that audience is not nearly as goal-oriented and I wouldn't be surprised if they actually find the endings *better* than the typical 'Okay, here's the text crawl on the consequences' approach that is standard fare for most RPGs.

Tying into this is the whole "How did Joker get to the Mass Relay in time" thing. I am almost 100% that was moreso intended metaphorically rather than literally. Some might say this betrays the rule of hardcoar sci-fi or such but...I managed to forgive it, though yeah I do agree that it'd be pretty damn hard for that to happen literally. As far as the other 'logic holes' though - isn't it possible Anderson got into the beam while Shepard had blacked out and the radio-comm team didn't see him enter, because of...you know...Harbinger obliterating and throwing up all that dust in the air? Just because the comm team didn't see Anderson enter, and thus automatically assumed that he died, doesn't mean he never did for pete's sake! Not everything that is said in a word of fiction by its characters is somehow automatically canon.

And wouldn't it be possible for the Catalyst to take the form of that kid, that represents Shepard's failures, through a technology not yet revealed to us? I definitely think it would be, but indeed if such a tech did exist it was not elaborated upon and we're pretty much forced to accept Arthur C. Clarke's axiom that "Any sufficiently advanced technology will seem magical." This, by the way, also goes for the synthesis choice at the end. But yes - the player is asked to accept a few things on faith here rather than logical justification...a big problem for western audiences as the rest of my post will elaborate on.

------------

And second this segment details what I did get out of the endings and why I like them just the way they are.

I didn't get the 'best' one, the one including the synthesis. I instead got the second best one I think...the one where you just have the blue control or red destroy option. I am amazed that no one caught the little line about how the control option actually *was* a good one - the one where Shepard says chuckling a bit to himself: "Huh...so the Illusive man was right." and the Catalyst saying: "Yes...but he could never control us, because we already controlled him."

It's a shame so many people missed out on this line and never thought about it heavily...because for me that was the moment that I just had my little moment of awesome in the ending. The same point that a dearly beloved and departed sci-fi author made in one of his last interviews at the start of this clip...

The point being: No! It will work out for the long run if Shepard DOES control the Reapers. Because power always attracts the corruptable (like the Illusive Man) as opposed to just automatically always corrupting absolutely. It also puts the Paragon/Renegade thing into a whole different perspective for me too! The Illusive Man is someone, whose goal actually IS a lot more that of a Paragon in the end, but in order to get there the means he uses are totally Renegade. Anderson on the other hand is someone, whose goal IS a lot more Renegade in the end (disagree with the Illusive Man as much as you like, I found his point very much correct: "Will you really just listen to a man who can only see life down a barrel of a gun?" which is ultimately what it boils down for a soldier), but who doesn't compromise his integrity to get there - he's always about being a soldier but for its noblest reasons: To save others if he possibly can.

And that's why that ending was so awesome for me, because your imagination can take you to two different outcomes if you pick that blue 'control' option. If you played your Shepard as mostly Renegade...then yeah, chances are that absolute power will indeed corrupt you. But if you played him/her as Paragon...then in my mind the Reapers (and all synthetics) leave organics alone and depart...possibly to another galaxy...possibly back to dark space...either way they try to find a way to coexist with organics, but seperate of them so that neither side endangers each other.

But an even moreso powerful reason for why the ending hit home for me. All those emotional moments the podcast listed (and many many more, I might add) make you incredibly attached to all life everyhwere. And throughout the game you see the Reapers inflict such devastation and horror on them. And now, here at the very end, I was being asked if I am truly willing to have my vengeance for all the lives lost, but potentially doom the galaxy for the cycle to repeat itself again...or am I willing to forgive the worst atrocities I've ever seen, because it might be the only way for both organics and synthetics to remain unique in their own ways...but to finally seperate them and stop the madness of the cycle?

It was a great question between vengeance and empathy for me. Would I be willing to kill every synthetic (even the Geth whom I adore to no end) if it meant that I would avenge all the loss of life in the galaxy and thus 'do them justice'...or would I be willing to empathize with both sides, forgive even these utterly horrid things if it meant that both organics and synthetics could continue to exist in their wonderful unique forms in seperate parts of the universe?

If you've payed attention enough to what I've written thus far...I guess you can guess which of the two options I chose in the end. And it taught me something very valuable too about what I believed in at my core - that quote attributed to Ghandi: "An eye for an eye only leaves the whole world blind." And even when dealing with galactic extinction...I still believed that. And all I had to do to get so much out of the endings was actually not rely on the developer to give me a 'pat on the back' or a sense of closure and use my own imagination to derive my own ending. And it was great.

I know this is not the way a vast majority of gamers percieve this game (or indeed most games), but for me at least - this open-ended ending was utter and complete proof that Mass Effect 3 was a work of art unlike any movie ever. It confronted me with what sort of person I was for making those choices, not because of the *results* of those choices...but because of the *context* within which I made those choices. Someone not choosing to control the Reapers does not matter as much necessarily, because it leads to some kind of 'best ending'. But it DOES matter, because they believe the adage that "Absolute power would corrupt absolutely." Just as me choosing it matters, because I believe that "Absolute power only attracts the corruptable." and that "An eye for an eye will only leave the galaxy blind to the cycle, which will inevitably repeat itself with future civilizations of this galaxy." and that I believed my Shepard (paragon) had proven himself to be incorruptible enough up to bear that burden till that point.

Bottom line? The endings are great because they shift the focus away from the goal and towards the journey. Because, for me at least, they shifted the question from "Which ending is the best." to "Why did you choose this?" It enriched my life moreso than any text-crawl or conclusion ever could, because my own imagination was given permission to explore these conclusions for myself based on what I believed in.

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And I guess that's about it. Don't bother to try and 'destroy' my arguments or such please...I doubt I'll respond in this thread again. So if you are trying to 'destroy my logic' or other such thing, know you're doing it primarily to validate your own egoes. It won't change the fact that I loved my Mass Effect 3 ending to the death. Even though I certainly see how people might want a DLC for 'amended endings' that give more closure and that's fine if people would like that.

But at this point I would say - if such a DLC does come out, let it *add* to the already existing endings, but please do not retcon anything. It is fine the way it is. Just add those closure endings if you must, or explain that final scene a bit better...but don't retcon it. Bioware did something here, for better or for worse, and what would be great is that they do stick to their guns about it. Having said that, I see no problem with them adding something more to make the ending moreso 'complete' for those who desire such endings.

I, for one, don't desire it. I won't say the ending was perfect (as I said, Joker escaping ala metaphor was really pushing it), but I will say - it was the most satisfying RPG ending I've ever had, precisely because it didn't end with the standard text crawl or voice over. And if you think that means I'm 'drinking the kool-aid', as is so popular with every single moronic counter-argument made on the internet these days about Bioware fans, then I'm fine with you thinking that. Because it shows to me that you don't have the imagination needed to insert your own ending based on the choices you made, rather than rely on some authority figure to spell it out to you.

Otherwise...please resume everything, especially the rage. Financially I suppose this incomplete ending thing is probably one of the best things they could've done, because I can only imagine how many people will fork over the cash for the DLC that 'completes' their ending. But I won't be one of them. Because I love the ending I got just fine. :) But by all means, if Bioware make a DLC that 'completes' the ending and doesn't retcon anything that's already in ME3 right now...I am totally okay with that. But it won't be my ME3 - in my ME3 I don't need that DLC and I don't need Bioware giving me my closure. My own imagination can come up with that just fine on its own.

Just want to point out that ME3 has different lead writer then ME1 and 2. So this guy could just disrespect the series.

Lord_Gremlin:
Just want to point out that ME3 has different lead writer then ME1 and 2. So this guy could just disrespect the series.

Have to reply to this, because I think it's worth pointing out - it is not this simple, it never is when writing for videogames at the high-production level like Bioware is at right now. There's never a single authority figure as Drew Karpyshyn himself describes in his latest blog post:

http://drewkarpyshyn.com/c/?p=381

So hold what opinion you will about the ending. But don't try to say it's all Mac Walters' fault, because that'd mean it's also his fault for bringing those gut-wrenching moments of awesome during the rest of the game. Heck, Drew himself even said many times that he felt as if he got too much of the credit for the writing, because there's always a team doing that.

And frankly, the explanation of 'one writer does it all with superhuman strength' is so overtly-simplistic that I really think this game deserves better than that. Even though I know that on the internet especially, Jack's saying on the Collector Ship holds twice as true: "You get what you get. Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

Leximodicon:
Which apparently you can live if you have between 4000 and 5000 military strength.

You can live with the red anding if you have 5k Effective military strength,which is unachievable without multiplayer,I used file editing to go beyond that,took me 20 minutes :P

T3hSource:

Leximodicon:
Which apparently you can live if you have between 4000 and 5000 military strength.

You can live with the red anding if you have 5k Effective military strength,which is unachievable without multiplayer,I used file editing to go beyond that,took me 20 minutes :P

Ok, so Susan said I can get the best ending without multiplayer, is this true?

Because I did all I could do, and I hit 3500, a far cry from 5000.

I just want someone to finally set this in stone, because I am tempted to replay just to get the 5000 ending.

You didnt have multiplayer Susan, what score did you get?

Ramith:
Ok, so Susan said I can get the best ending without multiplayer, is this true?

Because I did all I could do, and I hit 3500, a far cry from 5000.

I just want someone to finally set this in stone, because I am tempted to replay just to get the 5000 ending.

You didnt have multiplayer Susan, what score did you get?

Go on YouTube search for mass effect 3 perfect ending,it's the red one BTW and it's the same one that Justin got.
I got the same one because I wanted Shephard to retire with Tali on Rannoch(selfish,I know but I wanted that for my char).

Here's my logic on the ending: F you cycle,F yo Reapers,they're nothing like Sovereign and you just gave Harbinger a single cameo of him failing to do his job.I'm going to destroy all synthetics and pressure Admiral Xen to recreate the geth.
I'm sure she somehow got their basic AI code including the Reaper upgrades,hopefully and even if not she can manage it.Why would the bitch do that: Because Shepard,backed up by Tali and the entire quarian race would like the geth back to help rebuild Rannoch in WEEKS.Afterwards they are going to help the geth create the ultimate consensus so that they have their place in the galaxy as sentient digital libraries.Now with the geth back,acceptance will come with time and they will integrate into society,while constantly trying to understand organics,they can help science immensely with their factuality and also philosophy.

Yes that's my story of how weak willed my Shepard becomes and chooses the easy ways.And this is what BioWare meant by "polarizing" the community with the ending.By now I thought it was rushed,but they also had the incentive with that: "Let's get the internet talking,let's see what the people can come up with in this universe.Who's up for it?"
Ah,social engineering,the best kind of hacking on the internet,so much that the internet itself can't deal with it.

PS: Yes,I'm talking only about the quarian/geth factions because that's the pinnalce of ME3 for me,after I got past that sub plot,my excitement to play the game somehow vanished...
That's also something BioWare is looking at right now,who comes up with what and what they choose to make up after the ending.

Oh Ive seen the ending... I just have OCD about these things,I want to get the ending.

krellen:

Susan Arendt:
I meant in the way a gameplay mechanic can be broken. You can argue things like tone, you can get different interpretations...there aren't different interpretations to "this skill one hit kills." That was the point I was making.

I can argue, however, that "this skill one hit kills" might not, after all, be broken. It may be a good mechanic. One-hit-kill-skill is not an automatically broken concept.

Now you're just being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

Ramith:

T3hSource:

Leximodicon:
Which apparently you can live if you have between 4000 and 5000 military strength.

You can live with the red anding if you have 5k Effective military strength,which is unachievable without multiplayer,I used file editing to go beyond that,took me 20 minutes :P

Ok, so Susan said I can get the best ending without multiplayer, is this true?

Because I did all I could do, and I hit 3500, a far cry from 5000.

I just want someone to finally set this in stone, because I am tempted to replay just to get the 5000 ending.

You didnt have multiplayer Susan, what score did you get?

Let's see....I had just under 7000 war assets at 50%, so 3500ish. Multiplayer lets you fill the bar faster - you won't have to do as much planet scanning if you play multiplayer.

Supposedly the "best" ending is the one where you blow up the Reapers and you see Shepard live. I'm not entirely sure I understand why that's meant to be best, but that's my current understanding.

mootant:
It's clear that Susan is a bully all the time (or whatever you want to call it) and she's not exactly helping brain storming by blocking anything/anyone who disagrees with her. I wonder how much % of whole audio is her talking if you counted it, I guess a lot above 25%. :P

Yeah, it's odd for the host of of podcast to talk a lot, isn't it? And having an opinion isn't "bullying", neither is specifically asking people what they thought to make sure they get a chance to voice their opinions. Justin, Paul, and Jodi all got ample opportunity to express their thoughts.

If you want to live in the Destroy ending, you only need 4000 if you "Save" Anderson too (as in, don't let the Illusive Man execute him). I think it might be achievable without the multiplayer, if you get EVERY asset.

If you don't do that, you'll need the 5k.

Susan Arendt:

krellen:

Susan Arendt:
I meant in the way a gameplay mechanic can be broken. You can argue things like tone, you can get different interpretations...there aren't different interpretations to "this skill one hit kills." That was the point I was making.

I can argue, however, that "this skill one hit kills" might not, after all, be broken. It may be a good mechanic. One-hit-kill-skill is not an automatically broken concept.

Now you're just being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

Actually, I'm a fan of one-hit-kill skills, though I should note that I don't play competitive multiplayer. Ever.

I don't know if anyone will see this post, I feel like I've been posting non stop about this game for a week now, but there is a wonderfully eloquent article up at pixelatedgeek.com.

My favorite bit,

"The crux of complaints is that the ending is nonsensical and rigged; a betrayal not only of the narrative themes but of player expectations and agency. The villain doesn't just win - they hold court with views the narrative has proven are objectively wrong, and dictate the terms of that victory to a captive and outraged player whose reaction is precisely the same while Shepard meekly succumbs to unconvincing rhetoric and the power of authorial fiat."

Here's a link to the full article, well worth a read if the subject interests you.

http://pixelatedgeek.com/2012/03/mass-effect-iii-snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory/

Not sure it's saying anything that hasn't been said already, but it says it so very well.

image

This might be my new favourite meme related to the ending.

This one is still a classic though.

image

I just think everyone would rather believe anything other than those endings being real.

I think the Mass effect 3 endings are broken on a narrative level. In the same way that a comedy that isn't funny or a horror movie that isn't scary is broken. Also, how you'd tell a writer this is by saying, this sequence doesn't work and here are the reasons why.

Like some of you suggested, I think it would have helped a lot to see what happened to your friends. Like a short scene with Garris at a bar having a drink with Ash and other small scenes depending on your choices and what happens. Also, it would be nice to have a "Hu-Ra" ending as an option. I mean you'd probably have to work really hard to get it but I'd still like the option.

The Escapist Staff:
Bonus: Mass Effect 3 With Spoilers Part 2

We continue our discussion of Mass Effect 3. What were our favorite and most memorable moments, what ending did we choose, what did we think of the endings and what do we think about the indoctrination theory? Obviously spoilers for Mass Effect 3, but we also briefly mention and spoil Fallout 3 and Jade Empire.

Watch Video

If a person's problem with the ending is simply, "I wish it hadn't gone that way," I'd say the trouble is on their end. However, much of the outcry doesn't have that particular flavor of butthurt to it.

Internal inconsistency is the problem. The ending simply doesn't line up with itself, and doesn't follow from the information we're given all along. A lot of folks are wrongly assigning the "deus ex machina" label, but it does have a similar feel: "WTF?"

A good shock or twist ending, or a good gut-wrencher, makes you gasp for a moment... but then, when you look back over the chain of causality that led you there, you can see how it really was "right in front of you." This set of endings didn't do that.

My problems with the ending break down into two categories: mechanical problems, and narrative problems.

Narrative first:

- If this is meant to end up some kind of Lynchian or Brazil or Suckerpunch "fake out," it wasn't set up well first. I could buy that type of ending, for sure -- Shepard imagines/is implanted with this heroic sacrifice because it's the only ending s/he could subconsiously believe, but really s/he didn't make it (or somesuch) -- but a plane that heavy needs a lot more runway if it's gonna fly.

- The Illusive Man's "deathbed redemption" feels false. There are many reasons that, if I get into it, will make this post too long. Basically, it's just not a well-executed moment of redemption.

- Where are the Reapers? Where is any Reaper, in that big moment? We lose focus on the actual enemy, in favor of a quick-and-dirty morality exercise. What was ostensibly the "war to save Earth/the Galaxy" just became "how can man and machine coexist (or not)?"

- The ending tries too hard to be an ending (which sounds backwards, I know). The Crucible didn't have to be a "thing that ends the war instantly." It just needed to be shown to be an effective weapon to somehow defeat the Reapers and win back Earth. Then, as epilogue, you could show the weapon being used to win on the other fronts (maybe while Shepard's voice narrates from 'above'). The ending tries to tie things up too quickly, and it forgets too many loose ends on the way.

- My biggest? We lose all sense of peril. It's like watching the final act of X2: X-Men United: supposedly, every human on the planet is being brain-fried, sending planes into death spirals or killing infants and young children. Supposedly. We see none of it. The fight is about the fight, and that carries far less weight than the fight being about everybody. We needed peril, and we got none.

Now the mechanical problems:

- Firstly, I love the wasteland run, and I love the slow trudge to the beam. Most memorable moment in my gaming. I love that you can still die during that sequence, too, so the player still has to struggle right along with Shepard. It makes reaching the beam feel earned.

- And then, after that, player agency mostly vanishes. All of the choices you've made getting here can, if you like, be undone with a single choice. In some cases, it's actually better to present the player the ending they have, in a sense, already chosen. It seems off, but we always ask for games to make choices "matter." Here's the thing, though -- choices only matter when you can't take them back.

(About the above: It's also possible for a Paragon Shepard or a Renegade Shepard to choose any of the options given. It might have been nice if, while making the choice, Shepard had some dialogue outlining his/her reasons for making that choice -- which would differ based on his/her "alignment." Then the choice would feel less like a violation of the long-running contract between choice and consequence.)

Susan Arendt:

Let's see....I had just under 7000 war assets at 50%, so 3500ish. Multiplayer lets you fill the bar faster - you won't have to do as much planet scanning if you play multiplayer.

Supposedly the "best" ending is the one where you blow up the Reapers and you see Shepard live. I'm not entirely sure I understand why that's meant to be best, but that's my current understanding.

I believe it's generally referred to as the best ending simply because it's the only one where Shepard appears to survive. Not exactly cake ending material, but probably the closest to it that one can achieve.

You could also say that. under the Indoctrination theory and assuming that the choices the Godchild offers are real despite the attempts at control, the Destroy Reapers choice is the one that has Shepard breaking through the Indoctrination and destroying them anyway.

Murmillos:
I get the problem with the ending is that NONE of your choices matter in making the decision or do we see any of the after effects of those choices. What happened between X and Y, A and B. Why should doing C over D matter when I don't know the difference of that choice and what later effects it had.

That's actually not the major problem. Of the issues I listed, it's actually the lowest in terms of importance. If there weren't the gaping plot holes and logical inconsistencies, I could live without a proper epilogue. It'd be nice to have, certainly, but it's not a deal breaker in and of itself.

As for your bit on the Catalyst, my problem is not that it wants to continue with it. I'd have no problem if the Catalyst presented it's argument as you did here. It's still not logically sound, but I'd be able to suspend my disbelief if it was couched the way you put it. A "I'm not willing to take the risk", as opposed to "This will inevitably happen, regardless of your choices and actions, I'm taking the necessary steps to stop it".

My primary issue is that the Catalyst insists that all synthetic life ultimately kills organic life. Regardless of free will, this is inevitable. Thus, the only solution is the Cycle.

That logic is horrendously flawed, because of the aforementioned free will. It also goes directly against the major recurring themes of ME3, specifically the importance of free will and defiance of the inevitable. It's a stupid broken ending.

"25:10"

Hi, how you doing?

Edit:

"40:30ish" Commenting on science fiction.

The big divide between Star Wars and Star Trek is that while Star Trek is Sci fi, Star Wars is Science Fantasy. The things in Star Wars break the laws of physics, they simply can't be done. The things in Star Trek, while improbable where theoretically possible for it's time (Some of those theories are out of date now, but that's not the point.)

If Mass Effect is going to be Science Fiction, then it has to be more aware of the consequences of massive world ending explosions. Sci-fi can't simply "A Wizard did it" without reason. So I kind of disagree with Susan here.

Granted, this is clearly a preference thing, but if I'm going to read Sci-fi, I want it to make sense, even if they are using their own little technological devices to fill in the holes.

One thing many fans who are unhappy with the endings have stated that their biggest concern with it is the fact that there is no epilogue describing what happened to all the characters after the end. To me this is a moot point because as the endings stand there isn't really any good outcome for anyone. Here are some examples I think would illustrate my point.

-Watching Tali and Garrus slowly starve to death because there is no food for the Quarians and Turians to eat.

-Watching all colonies on distant planets die out from the inability to get supplies, not to mention anyone on Omega or any other space station slowly starving to death.

-Watching the Geth and EDI die if you picked the destroy ending.

-Watching Earth erupt in conflict between the now dozen or so species living here, assuming they weren't already destroyed by the blast from the Crucible.

-Not assuming the Mass Relays exploded and took out most of the Galaxy.

So that is why I believe we weren't given an epilogue because there would be no way to write it that wouldn't have only made us more depressed about the end of the game and made our sacrifice only feel more meaningless. So instead we are given the cheesy scene with the Stargazer which is supposed to make us feel better because one group of marooned crew members managed to survive on some unknown planet while the rest of the galaxy, including Earth, are utterly f***ed.

I sincerely hope that BioWare will take into account the outcry of their fans and give them an ending more fitting to such an otherwise epic saga.

Seatownstriker:
There is no way Shepard would survive a drop from space after destroying the Citadel.

Just thought I'd point this out: technically he has already survived a drop from space once.

I love her accent...

Susan Arendt:

Darkmantle:
what I learned from this podcast

The endings okay if you "magic wand" and "hand wave" every single problem with them and don;t care about deus ex machina.

great. couldn't that be said about anything?

EDIT: also, the ending being bad isn't based on it not have "kittens and rainbows", it's, like I said, because it's a plot hole filled deus ex machina that totally negates any choices you made. but hey, if you want to keep thinking everyone's issue is that it's not a super happy ending, then you can go right ahead. "fanboy" it up.

We raised plenty of issues that fans have with the endings. Details that don't make sense, lack of closure, lack of heroism, etc.at no point did we suggest the only reason people are upset is the lack of happy ending. Your hostility is out of place.

Frankly, I thought there were a lot more positive aspects of the ending you could have brought up. Like the charge to the beam was one of the most intense moments I've ever experienced in gaming. I remember asking myself where Garrus and Liara were, but deciding I just have to trust them because I don't dare turn around. I'm the kind of gamer who is always aware of the possibility of reloading. I save always and in both ME2 and 3, I would often intentionally not take an interrupt just to see what happens, and then reload to get it. Despite this (arguably bad) habit, I didn't stop running for the beam, I didn't stop to see who was with me, I just went for it. That was intense.

Also, every time you (Susan) brought up that her Shepard was a soldier, I expected you to bring up what I thought was the best and most powerful line in the whole game. Right after Anderson dies, and you're just lying there next to him, looking at the blood flowing down your arms and the hole in your gut, Hackett calls. And Shepard, who is obviously suffering from a lot of blood loss and its on the verge of passing out and dying, pulls it together and responds with "What do you need, sir?"

That was when I lost it. I can't think of a more perfect Shepard response. Frankly, I think those should have been her last words. That's my Shepard. She's not going to lie down while there's still stuff to do. And that's why I think there's more of an ending coming. Not because we, the gamers, deserve an epilogue, but because Shepard wouldn't die until she knew she succeeded. It's just not something she would do.

Honestly the DLC without some extra ending bit would have to be EXTREMELY compelling for me to purchase it. If the next DLC is just hey we made up a new character that you can play through the game again with I don't think I'll buy.

Also the Final Hours of Portal 2 iPad app has a full page of notes from one of the writers on the end so if you want to keep believing the indoctrination theory you probably shouldn't get that app.

The problem I keep running into with the press and podcasts is people keep throwing us all into one lump which means anytime you're saying the ending with the beach house and cake, you're basically saying that to everyone. And everyone never agrees with itself. I actually deleted my Twitter app because of some of the vile things press people were saying. I'm sure fans said some pretty messed up stuff to them but that's part of the press gig. Its not right to punish those of us who make it a point not to be insulting.

bojac6:

Susan Arendt:

Darkmantle:
what I learned from this podcast

The endings okay if you "magic wand" and "hand wave" every single problem with them and don;t care about deus ex machina.

great. couldn't that be said about anything?

EDIT: also, the ending being bad isn't based on it not have "kittens and rainbows", it's, like I said, because it's a plot hole filled deus ex machina that totally negates any choices you made. but hey, if you want to keep thinking everyone's issue is that it's not a super happy ending, then you can go right ahead. "fanboy" it up.

We raised plenty of issues that fans have with the endings. Details that don't make sense, lack of closure, lack of heroism, etc.at no point did we suggest the only reason people are upset is the lack of happy ending. Your hostility is out of place.

Frankly, I thought there were a lot more positive aspects of the ending you could have brought up. Like the charge to the beam was one of the most intense moments I've ever experienced in gaming. I remember asking myself where Garrus and Liara were, but deciding I just have to trust them because I don't dare turn around. I'm the kind of gamer who is always aware of the possibility of reloading. I save always and in both ME2 and 3, I would often intentionally not take an interrupt just to see what happens, and then reload to get it. Despite this (arguably bad) habit, I didn't stop running for the beam, I didn't stop to see who was with me, I just went for it. That was intense.

Also, every time you (Susan) brought up that her Shepard was a soldier, I expected you to bring up what I thought was the best and most powerful line in the whole game. Right after Anderson dies, and you're just lying there next to him, looking at the blood flowing down your arms and the hole in your gut, Hackett calls. And Shepard, who is obviously suffering from a lot of blood loss and its on the verge of passing out and dying, pulls it together and responds with "What do you need, sir?"

That was when I lost it. I can't think of a more perfect Shepard response. Frankly, I think those should have been her last words. That's my Shepard. She's not going to lie down while there's still stuff to do. And that's why I think there's more of an ending coming. Not because we, the gamers, deserve an epilogue, but because Shepard wouldn't die until she knew she succeeded. It's just not something she would do.

You're right, that was an iconic moment for the character. No whining, no hesitation - she'll keep doing her duty until the mission's complete or she drops...whichever comes first.

As an aside, have you noticed how many commenters here refer to Shepard as "she"? Think it's the "1 in 4" that supposedly is typical of the ME audience, or do we have a greater concentration of FemSheps in the Escapist audience?

hello again. This is in reply to susan's no cake no good" theory.

well the best way i can describe the ending to the series is with the movie "The Road"

If anyone has seen this they may agree, that its an amazing, emotional and shocking film. So dark and depressing, then they totally ruined it with its "cake ending". It would have been an amazing movie and in my shelf of "best movies of all time" if the kid died at the end, or something similarly sad. But no they ruined it, and for me that tainted the entire movie's value of being a great film.

The conclusions are one of the most important parts of a game, you can forgive a few bad setpieces in the middle but the end is the last impression (of a book/movie etc). ME3 was just not very good :(

I honestly loved mass effect 3 everything up unitl shepard being uncosciously lifted to speak with the catalyst at least. And terrible choices aside I will play it again and again and again. (especially since I did not have enough assests for all three final options in my first playthrough) But I can't in anyway say I liked the ending. I agree with (was it justin?) who said it didn't make me feel anything (Besides delayed rage). The whole bigger fish idea with the catalyst controlling the reapers really felt forced with little or no evidence leading up to it. I usually agonize over the littlest conversation options and final choices, this one took me no time to make and all the end Cinematics were confusing and contrary. I mean Garrus and James had my back when I was running towards the transport beam then the next thing I knew they were both exiting the Normandy.

But I'm pretty sure this was already covered so I'm going to throw my two cents in on how I think the game should have ended. I think Shepard should have survived (hold on its not all cake and sunshine) but the only way of stopping the Reapers should have involved the crucible basically blowing up earth. I could have seen this iliciting a much more emotional reaction, particulary when your favourite squadmates are down there. I see what bioware was doing with the no win situation but this to me feels like the ultimate bitter sweet moment. Either the (bulk of the) Reaper hordes are destroyed and earth goes bye bye, or conversly Earth isn't destroyed but you loose the combined fleets to the reapers and the war continues. It's not the perfect dichotomy but it feels a little more of a finale. You all your time fighting to take back earth but the only way to crush the reapers is to sacrifice it.

I don't say this is the best way for it to end but I honestly thought that was what Bioware was going to do. I would have rather they did. I can understand Shepard dying, or not dying but the method they chose felt very slapdash to me. Here's hoping for the indoctrination theory.

The one thing that really gets me is that I'll never get that experience again. I won't cry as much on my second playthrough, and eventually I'll stop tearing up for those really stressfull moments. The end left me apathetic and even if they do retcon, or pull one over on us and say HEY WE LIED! I won't have the same emotional commitment to the story.

I still love you Bioware but you could've done better.

ignoring any ongoing conversation and just dropping my 2 cents:

I romanced Liara, had nearly 5000 effective military readiness, basically did 100% paragon, and chose synthesis at the end... and i was disappointed to the point of actual anger if not full blown rage... at first. Now, i was fine with letting my Sheppard die, but the ending felt so damned cheep! Not because of the choices you were giving (although the fact that i got both the quarians and gueth to join me and they were ALREADY kinda doing synthesis with geth entering into quarrian bio-suits and enhancing their immune systems, made me REALLY pissed i couldn't get some kinda 'no fuck you i already fixed the thing you were trying to fix') or the fact that the reapers motivations basically went against their actions in ME1 (with using the geth despite being built to stop species like the geth) but because there was hardly any closer to it!

Hell, liara showed up on the normandy in the end for me and she was in my party when we charged at the beam! was she knocked up with my blue babies? did she and garrus just see shep charging to his doom and go 'oh, you go ahead, we left some shit with joker'? not only that but the reaper's motives were kinda suspect even if you were to assume their logic was broken. i mean if the race that made them had that kinda power at their disposal, why not stay in charge of the galaxy and stomp out any new synthetics in person with your amazing super tech?

...oh, yeah, and when i looked up the other endings and saw they were all basically pallet swapped versions of each other felt SOOOOOOOO damned lazy and cheep, so i do feel like i am owed a new ending, especially i paid 8an extra 20 bucks for an awesome N7 patch and a cheep art book

PS:

also, i HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE that stupid space ninja pile of festering krogan dung Kai Lang! Seriously! even down to the last fight with that cheep nimrod he wouldn't stop cheating! first he hides behind a cut scene, then a gun ship, and then he becomes invulnerable every time he summons a wave of henchmen! IM A VANGUARD! i should have been able to throw myself at him, headbut him in the gut, and spatter what was left of his carcass all over the nearest wall!... but yeah if bioware wanted us to hate that two bit punk who was jealous that the illusive man liked Sheppard better... well they did a great job

Susan Arendt:

bojac6:

Susan Arendt:

We raised plenty of issues that fans have with the endings. Details that don't make sense, lack of closure, lack of heroism, etc.at no point did we suggest the only reason people are upset is the lack of happy ending. Your hostility is out of place.

Frankly, I thought there were a lot more positive aspects of the ending you could have brought up. Like the charge to the beam was one of the most intense moments I've ever experienced in gaming. I remember asking myself where Garrus and Liara were, but deciding I just have to trust them because I don't dare turn around. I'm the kind of gamer who is always aware of the possibility of reloading. I save always and in both ME2 and 3, I would often intentionally not take an interrupt just to see what happens, and then reload to get it. Despite this (arguably bad) habit, I didn't stop running for the beam, I didn't stop to see who was with me, I just went for it. That was intense.

Also, every time you (Susan) brought up that her Shepard was a soldier, I expected you to bring up what I thought was the best and most powerful line in the whole game. Right after Anderson dies, and you're just lying there next to him, looking at the blood flowing down your arms and the hole in your gut, Hackett calls. And Shepard, who is obviously suffering from a lot of blood loss and its on the verge of passing out and dying, pulls it together and responds with "What do you need, sir?"

That was when I lost it. I can't think of a more perfect Shepard response. Frankly, I think those should have been her last words. That's my Shepard. She's not going to lie down while there's still stuff to do. And that's why I think there's more of an ending coming. Not because we, the gamers, deserve an epilogue, but because Shepard wouldn't die until she knew she succeeded. It's just not something she would do.

You're right, that was an iconic moment for the character. No whining, no hesitation - she'll keep doing her duty until the mission's complete or she drops...whichever comes first.

As an aside, have you noticed how many commenters here refer to Shepard as "she"? Think it's the "1 in 4" that supposedly is typical of the ME audience, or do we have a greater concentration of FemSheps in the Escapist audience?

I've always felt that "1 in 4" number was low. Most of the people I know played a female Shepard. The first Mass Effect was actually when I went through my gamer sex-change. Before I played that, I was always a guy and my first play through was a male Shepard. Then I played again to see how it was different with a female Shepard, and frankly, liked her a lot more. I can't put a finger on it, though I'm sure Jennifer Hale's performance was an important part of it. But I felt more entertained and enjoyed the experience a lot more. And when you could romance Garrus in ME2, there was no going back. Since then, most of the time when there is an option, I play as a woman.

As I think about it, I think it's actually the disconnect. When I play a male character, I try to project myself into that character and it gets hard for me to do things. I keep wondering "shouldn't somebody qualified be doing this?" But FemShep is her own character. I mean, she's my Shepard, but she's tough and capable and all kinds of badass. My reaction to the end of the Thessia mission would be to go hide in a corner, and it would feel artificial for me to force ManShep to do otherwise. But FemShep? Her response was telling the crew that the next time we see him, we're putting a bullet in the Illusive Man's head and if anybody thinks we should hear him out first, there's the airlock. Because she's my Shepard, but she's not me. I don't know, does any of that make sense?

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