Thoughts on: Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut.

So, yesterday we finally got our extended ending to one of the greatest video game trilogies of all time: Mass Effect. For those of you who don’t read the internet or don’t play games, Mass Effect 3 was released three months ago to a lot of critical acclaim, but with one very vocal complain: The ending.

First a little background. Mass Effect was always a series that focused on the choices you made, and how they affected the outcome of the story. The first game had very different endings, and the second game could have ended with the entire cast of characters dead! How’s that for deciding the outcome of a game? But with Mass Effect 3, the endings were all practically the same, just different colored explosions, but that’s not even the worst part about it.

The original endings to Mass Effect 3 offered no real closure to the characters that we grew to fall in love with over the course of three games. A lot of the ending had huge plot holes that made no sense in the cinematic, contradicted established canon, and just plain didn’t make sense. With The Extended Cut DLC, Bioware answered some of the complaints people had with the original ending, and for the most part, they succeeded.

Here are my thoughts on the new Endings:

Beware of Spoilers:

Pros:

  • It fixed Plot holes:

One of the main complaints with the original ending was the many plot holes that sprung up during the cinematic. For example, how did the Normandy get away from the battle with my squad members that where with me during the assault on the beam? How did Anderson get up to the Citadel? and so on. The new extended ending, fixes the whole Normandy situation by showing that Joker picked up your squad. Then, When the Crucible fires, Admiral Hackett is heard ordering the fleet to move to the rendezvous point, which explains why the Normandy was fleeing. It was a nice touch that they at least explained what was a pretty huge hole in the story. Still didn’t explain Anderson on the Citadel, though.

  • It offers closure to the characters and doesn’t leave things hanging:

Another complaint was that we didn’t get closure to any of the characters. It just left things pretty much open and unresolved. There is a difference between leaving things open and leaving things ambiguous. Leaving things open essentially hints at a continuation of the story, if done in a good way, and ambiguity presents different interpretations of a given message. Essentially, leaving things open makes us ask “What now?” while ambiguity makes us question “What does it mean?”

The original ending left things open without there being a hint that the story would continue in some way. It made us ask things like “how are the different races going to survive if the Mass Relays were destroyed?” “How are the Quarian going to go back to their homeworld, that we just gave them back, if they’re stuck on Earth?” All these were questions that we didn’t want to ask because it meant horrible things for the characters. The new revised endings now explains how it’s not all that bad.

It also got rid of the crew being stranded in that planet at the end. Instead, the just land on the planet and leave after getting things fixed up. Honestly, it felt like a bit of a cop out, but it was better than us thinking that the crew would have starved to death on a strange planet.

And speaking of ambiguity, the scene at the end of the Destroy ending, where your Love interest is about to put up the plaque with Commander Shepard’s name on the wall, but not showing whether or not it is put up (which they clearly hang up in the other two endings), makes us ask “Is Shepard really dead?” Instead of leaving things hanging, they make us think about the possibilities, which is better.

  • The New Ending:

Among the revisions to the previous original endings, there was a new, fourth ending added to the possibilities. It involved Shepard deciding not to use the Crucible and therefore, the Reapers win. It was a nice touch and it felt like it was added just to spite people who wanted a happier ending. I don’t mind downer or depressing endings, as long as there’s some sort of satisfaction from having seen it. This new ending, I felt, was very satisfying. Yeah, it kinda negated all the effort we put into the series, but what Shepard says made it feel like it wasn’t all for naught. If we’re gonna die, at least we know we tried. And the new Stargazer stinger at the end was cool.

  • Catalyst Child-god explained:

This is probably the most ridiculous aspect of the original ending. That kid that controlled the Reapers was really weird, and a lot of people felt it was too different to the rest of the tone of the series to include, especially at the end. In the revised ending, at least the kid is explained to be a sort of artificial intelligence instead of him being hinted to be some sort of mystical being. That always bugged me. And his justification for the Reapers, while still kind of ridiculous, at least now makes a bit more sense than before.

  • It was Free!

Like it says above.

Cons:

  • Non-cinematic cutscenes:

After making the choice of Control, Synthesis, Destruction or Rejection, you’re treated to a new cinematic that shows the outcome of your decision. What bugged me most was that most of the cutscene, showing what happens after the Crucible is fired, it’s just stills and not actual cinematic. If they could’ve added some actual in game footage instead of just pictures it would’ve been a lot better. I know they were rushed to do it, but I don’t think we would’ve minded waiting another month or so for that.

  • It didn’t include Indoctrination:

When the original ending made all that fuzz, there was a fan theory that said that all that stuff was in fact in Shepard’s head because he was being indoctrinated by the Reapers. The theory was awesome, and it made me not hate the ending as much since it made sense now. The revised ending essentially makes indoctrination unlikely, so it doesn’t make as fun anymore. It’s actually just a small complaint, but I liked the theory a lot.

  • Shooting the Catalyst made it choose Rejection:

Someone should’ve said something! I had to reload all the way back to the beam to see the endings because of that!

Conclusion:

Well, there are bound to be people still arguing over the ending, but I find that the positive outweighs the negative in this case. I think that the developers at Bioware have given us a satisfying conclusion to the best Sci-fi trilogy in gaming. A lot of feelings manifested themselves while I was playing the ending, but that just means that the game, and in turn the journey, were very, very good at telling an incredible story. It’s too bad that it had to end.

Unless you have enough EMS.

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~ by jimmyboots1 on June 27, 2012.

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