Heads up: I’m gonna be discussing the ending of Mass Effect 3 as the title suggests. So, if you haven’t finished the game or are going to play the game in the future, don’t read this.
The Mass Effect series is my second-favourite RPG series, just behind The Knights of the Old Republic series and probably because Mass Effect reminds me so much of Star Wars. It’s Star Wars, except it’s not (get it?). So let me make a quick comparison – Mass Effect 2 is the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy. It bettered everything that its predecessor did, the inventory system was revamped (Thank God!) and even though some people say that it removed some of the RPG elements, I didn’t mind at all. Then came Mass Effect 3.
Let me just get this out there – Mass Effect 3 is by no means a “bad” game. In fact, It’s really good. Well, most of it anyway. The opening of the game was brilliant and that level of excellence was maintained throughout the game, right up to the (stupid) ending. Everything you do in previous games somehow affects the story (if you imported your character), just not the ending. I played as a goody-two-shoes “Paragon”. My Shephard was kind and humble, strong in character but not overpowering, sensitive and brave. You expect the man I just described to get an apt ending right? Wrong! It doesn’t matter whether you played as a “Paragon” or “Renegade”, you still get access to the same endings.
This series is all about the choices you make and how these resonate throughout your adventure in the galaxy. However, one place where I didn’t really like having a choice was at the end. Why the hell am I choosing the ending? The game should know that my Shephard is this kinda guy and thus, he’ll get this ending. It’s like asking Lionel Messi which sport he prefers – football (soccer, for you Americans), basketball or tennis. Does the answer seem obvious? That’s because it is. Then why is the game giving me the option to do something that my Shephard would never do in a thousand years.
Also, what exactly was the point of amassing an enormous fleet comprising every species (even the Leviathan, who I don’t even see at the end) if I was going to be given access to the same four endings? It would have been cool if the ending where Shephard refuses the three choices he’s given by that creepy little AI boy was variable giving you different results depending on the strength of the galactic fleet. But, you get massacred anyway. Whether you have a billion troops or a flying donkey, it doesn’t make any difference.
Bioware really let the ball drop here, but I admire the fact that they listened to the fans and released a DLC that well, alters the ending and gives us another one. They didn’t completely rework the ending but they introduced some changes that made the it seem a lot less bad. The choices did seem very limiting, but in their defence, I guess they were realistic. I was never expecting to see a “Happy ever after” ending to the series (I guessed that Shephard would die in the end while I was playing the first game of the series) but I certainly was hoping for it.
This game had so much to live up to and for the most part, it did. People love to hate on this game but let me tell you the truth – the entire game except the ending is spectacular. It was everything I wanted from the final game of the series… well almost everything. In the end though, the journey was one hell of a ride, the destination a little disappointing, but as the saying goes, it’s all about the journey. Commander Shephard and the crew of the Normandy, you will be missed dearly.