Best response/explanation to 'hold the line' insulters (ME3/Spoilers)

A user named Unigolyn has written a brilliant response to those who dismiss fan grievances with the ending, in its entirety below. Please read, no matter what your opinion, if you care about the Mass Effect series.


You're getting your literary devices mixed up. The Crucible is not deus
ex machina, it is a MacGuffin. It's largely irrelevant except as a plot
device. It is the exhaust port on the Death Star.

The narrative of ME3 is not about finding the Crucible, it is about
building the greatest alliance ever seen in the galaxy (which the
Crucible, as a plot device, allows to happen).

Why the Catalyst AI and his Monty Hall spiel of the Adjust
Hue/Saturation is a deus ex machina is that it is the resolution to the
narrative. The fact that he is also literally a "god from the machine"
is irrelevant, albeit ironic. He is a deus ex machina in the literary
sense, i.e. a handwaved contrivance that shows up out of the blue to
quickly whisk away all the dangling story threads, and to abruptly end
the story.

This is abysmal writing. This is abysmal game design; a Pick Your Own
Adventure book where all choices take you to the same final chapter. It
is counter to everything this game is. And what is this game?

In a recent Extra Credits, Portnow discussed core elements of a game.
The Mass Effect series is really not a third person shooter. It is also
really not a roll-the-dice-and-level-up CRPG. Mass Effect is, at its
core, interactive fiction. All the memorable moments in these games take
place in cutscenes that play out in myriad ways based on prior choices.
You are role-playing in the most literal sense of crafting a
character's personality based on your choices. The climax of Mass Effect
2 was not shooting the Human Reaper in the eye, the climax of Mass
Effect 2 were the cutscenes that played and showed the results of your
actions. Did you defy TIM? Did your crewmates survive? If your choices
were poor enough, you could defeat the final boss, only to make a
desperate leap towards the Normandy with no one to catch you.

The desperate leap in Mass Effect 3 is your dash towards the Beam. The
only input that matters at all past this point is the encounter with
TIM. That encounter is true to Mass Effect, and honors your previous
choices, and provides closure for the secondary antagonist.

But for the main antagonist (Reapers), nothing you did matters. You are
given three arbitrary choices to solve a problem that, depending on your
actions, may be proven to be a false dilemma in the first place. If you
saved both the Quarians and the Geth, witnessed Legion's messianic
sacrifice, and humanized EDI - the Catalyst's claim of organic/synthetic
conflict being unavoidable is patently false.

The Catalyst AI is completely incongruous with the narrative and the
themes of the game. It shows up, provides a complete strawman of a
conflict, and then offers three vapid, plot-hole ridden resolutions to
this conflict, which abruptly end the narrative in a blinding flash of
Space Magic (pick your color!).


Again, you're missing the point. No one is complaining about the
preceding 30 hours of gameplay. Choices did seem to matter. Your
treatment of the Rachni queen from two games ago ended up gaining you a
seemingly valuable ally. Saving Wrex can gain a hopeful future for the
Krogan. Your choices regarding Legion and the Migrant Fleet in ME2 have
incredibly strong consequences in the seeming conclusion of the
Geth/Quarian storyline. This is why we loved the game up to the ending.

And the ending completely demolished all of it, and made it completely
illusory. Who gives a **** if you saved the Rachni? They just end up
giving you Space Points and don't affect your ending at all. Who gives a
**** if the Quarians or Geth or both survived? They're all dead anyway.
Who cares if you cured the genophage and saved the one leader who could
lead the Krogan into a less brutish, more hopeful future? He's either
trapped on earth or dead, and the radioactive husk that is Tuchanka
cannot sustain their race without supplies anyway.

And even more egregiously, the choices you made in the development of
YOUR Shepard don't matter. She acts EXACTLY the same when facing the
ultimate antagonist regardless of whether she's a Space Racist Renegade
or Never Surrender Paragon or whatever your Shepard actually is, and
what (insert pronoun) stands for.

You accept Space Hitler's premise without argument, and dejectedly pick
one of the three Slightly Less Turning Everyone Into Paste final
solutions he has to offer.

How does it matter in the slightest that I've done the frickin'
impossible and united the Geth and the Quarians into a hopeful future,
shown that we need not fear synthetic life, seen a nascent artificial
sentience freely decide to set "Love and compassion" as their main
motivation, and fought for the reactionary, bleak idea of "AI will
always rebel" to be proven wrong? Space Hitler shows up, says "AI will
always rebel, here are drastic fixes to this undeniable problem". And I
go "yessuh"?


It's not sad. You are being incredibly myopic and dismissive of our
experiences by reducing it to "y every1 has 2 diezorz?". The ending of
the story is not actually sad, it's just anticlimactic, contrived,
incongruous, and ridden with plot holes.

The part that's sad and what's tearing me apart is that this is not a
case of people writing themselves into a corner. This is not a case of
glorified hacks like Ronald D. Moore or Cuse/Lindelof making **** up as
they go along, to find themselves at the end with no way to tie all the
crap together in a cathartic way.

This is a beautifully written game, for the majority of the experience.
Bioware has bona fide talent within their ranks. And the story, up to
the very end, is redeemable in dozens of ways. Even the contrived,
out-of-the-blue Star Child could be made into an interesting character
by presenting it as a shackled AI who was given a specific, limited goal
born of fear (stop AI from wiping out organic life forever), and it
arrived at the grotesque solution of Reapers not because AI is evil, but
the constraints never allow it to look past the false dilemma it's
attempting to solve.

Most importantly, this is not a TV show or a movie. This narrative is,
by design, told in a unique medium which is NOT doomed to give us a
singular ending. Our Shepards can be varied, yes, but there is a finite
amount of paradigms that lead you to the end, and they could all have a
cathartic, poignant, and persistent ending. Let the Renegades ascend to
rule the galaxy. Let the Paragons defeat primitive fear and xenophobia.

I do not care if the Relays have to go down, but don't do it in such a
thoughtless way as to destroy everything meaningful I accomplished. I do
not care if my Shepard dies. In fact, I expected her to go down in a
blaze of glory, in the greatest battle that shall ever be fought, for
the most meaningful (to her) victory a soldier could ever earn. She did
not get this. I did not get this.

TENS OF THOUSANDS of people didn't get this. We are not asking for a
Disney ending. We are not asking for a dance party with Ewoks. We are
just asking for our Big Damn Heroes to go out on their own terms, win or

TL;DR = The ending is bad whether you think it is or not. :p

It's a third-person telling of the exact same things everybody has already said about the ending.

Oh, and then he invokes Godwin's Law about halfway through, and that's when people stop caring.

No, the best response is....


(And no I didn't buy the game. Not for the above reasons although they did help, my main reason was Origin.)

SOLVEmedia: nose bleed (What the... at least it's better than a ad I guess.)

Most importantly, this is not a TV show or a movie. [Insertion: Or a book] This narrative is,
by design, told in a unique medium which is NOT doomed to give us a
singular ending.

I don't agree with everything in there, but I think most of it is accurate. The part I quoted, though, is what I think the real problem is. The guys behind Mass Effect tried to end with a spectacular scene of self-sacrifice (in two endings) or heartless but no less spectacular sef-preservation (in the third). They tried to write a book.
You see, heros in book have strengths and flaws, successes and failures, they have to for the story to be interesting (and don't just take my word on that, if you havn't already then go read up on creating a good character in books or films; it's interesting) but our Shepards have the oppertunity to be perfect.
Now, while I'm not saying there's no study in the field of good videogame characters, there certainly isn't as much as there is for books (due to books being several hundred years old and games being... well, several), but what is certain is that videogame heroes don't have to have bad days or failures (with one VERY notable - and very scripted- exception towards the end of Mass Effect 3, I don't think my Shepard ever failed a mission), they don't have to be faced with situations where they have to choose one side or another, if you play smartly enough you can always come up with an ideal solution. Then the writers dropped out of this mindset to provide a spectacular ending and I honestly believe that every other problem stemmed from that decision.

It's a third-person telling of the exact same things everybody has already said about the ending.

Oh, and then he invokes Godwin's Law about halfway through, and that's when people stop caring.

Just because he compares the uber reaper or whatever it was to Hitler doesn't make it a godwin. It is an accurate description of the character and its motivation.

You know, I really don't mind that all endings are nearly the same.. the problem is that all of our choices go unanswered/resolved. Its one thing to make a dick move and force everybody down the same path as long as everybody gets their end of the stick of "this is why you are getting the rail road". But when you have 20 in story threads and they are all ignored -- thats where the problem lies.

Thank you. But yeah, in my eyes, all of the endings are synonymous with a DM saying 'Rocks Fall, Everyone dies.' and then ending the game.

Also the amount of plot holes and the little space timmy piss me off to no end, but you've essentially summed up my feelings precisely OP.


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