4 Reasons Why The Mass Effect 3 Debate Refuses to Die

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TopazFusion:
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As it turns out, the 'explosions' aren't explosions at all. They're just 'energy waves' that spread the Synthesis DNA code / Reaper control code / Reaper kill signal, everywhere in the galaxy.
But in the original ending, we're not told this. In the original, pre- extended cut ending, it just looks like everything is blowing the fuck up.

Not to mention we see the Citadel actually blowing up.

Mass Effect's problem, as a series, was: I am a person on the ground with very little firepower. The Reapers are super intelligent, powerful god like creatures. And in no way was there an appropriate way to conflict with them. Soveriegn was destroyed with only a small little help from Shep. ME2 stopped agents of the Reapers but didn't help repel them. All the Reapers taken down by Shep before the ending of ME3 was not by Shep her(him)self. It required a worm and a fleet of ships, with marginal input from Shep.

It never dealt with Shep's inability to do anything when (from what I've read from the forums) most people wanted a fight to end it.

wastaz:
My main problem with ME1 was the atrocious Mako. I love that game, but every time it makes me go into the Mako I want to throw my controller out of the window and kill small furry woodland creatures (won't anyone think of the small woodland creatures?!)
KILL THE MAKO!

The mako was my only real qualm with the first mass effect, as well.

Not so much the exploration with it, mind. That was time needlessly time consuming, but not actively annoying. Any time you were forced to do combat with the mako, though? Yeah, to hell with the mako. >.< Forget hitting a target while in motion, and you'd best be sitting in juuuust the right distance if you want your chain gun to do anything. Couple the need to sit still and eat fire to hit your enemy with a shield that takes all of thirty seconds for the enemy to destroy, and around 5 minutes of inactivity to restore, and you have all the ingredients for a godawful experience.

Half an hour of my time on any mission that involved mako combat could be explained as follows:
-drive up to the sweetspot so that my gun can hit one of the missile turrets,
-knock down its shields with the machine gun, then finish it with the grenade launcher.
-By now my shield is gone and I'm taking damage! Retreat behind the nearest rock
-get up from console, make a sandwich, check on the weather, eat sandwich, return, shield is alllllmost done charging, let it finish
-get into the sweet spot of the next turret
-repeat all above steps until mako combat is done, ponder if the remainder of the game will be worth it, realize it totally is, and continue.

As to the genre shift... I'm a long time fan of RPGs and have never been much for action games, though the last console generation warmed me up to the latter considerably with gems like Uncharted or TLoU. Thus, ME2's change of pace didn't bug me too much. The narrative focus changed, but as a result of this change the characters felt more integral to the plot, and I found myself more attached to them and their struggles, so I felt it was a change I could get behind.

ME3 dialed up the "Humanity, fuck yeah!" themes a bit more than I would have cared for, and the ending was an anticlimax, but it had enough of the strengths from its predecessors to make it worth playing... though to date it's the only game in the series I haven't replayed.

I think people were just expecting completely different things for a lot of reasons. They were expecting a somewhat fixed cutscene where everything played out according to every choice they made. In stead, there was one final big choice that made a lot of difference. Also, I think in general people are not familiar with science fiction storytelling where open ended endings are very common.

I actually liked the ending and there's nothing wrong with it in thematic or story terms. Silly things like the relays can be explained easily, but that's also a problem. People channel their disappointment into endless quibbles over small details that either don't matter or are already explained in the actual story.

Notshauna:
I really wish people will stop saying some found the ending amazing, it's a cop out and is full of the usual mass media "fair and balanced" bullshit where they always find someone "on the otherside" no matter how wrong it is. The ending is terrible it's indisputable, it's not surprising that people like the ending, I like the Super Mario Bros. movie but it's still terrible. Mass Effects ending is still an illogical convoluted mess that tried to staple reasoning on to mad gods, offer a "big" decision when one wasn't needed and ended up with a hook to the next game that is more poorly written than some of the stuff I wrote in diapers.

It's plain and simple what it should of been, no fancy crucible rewriting the directive of reapers, it's a weapon plain and simple, you don't know what you do until the AI informs you. No more magical star child informing you of everything about the reapers and they're stupid directive, just a simple AI saying hey what you built will do this. And this weapon is a super nova bomb, there is a simple binary choice set it off at full power destroying all of the reapers and everyone in the Sol system as well, or set it off at lower power, potentially escaping, and causing the people in Sol to survive but failing destroy all of the reapers (but, they'd retreat to recuperate their numbers). And after that there'd be a Dragon Age Origins style reveal of the victory celebration revealing if Shepard survived (if you have to include galactic readiness make that be the factor that decides it).

Wait... so are you saying that you wish to impose your dislike of the ending on everyone else. I hate bands like Nickelback, that hasn't stopped them from earning a crust (and a golden crust at that.) My hatred of them doesn't make people like them less. You saying it was a terrible ending doesn't make 'them' think they same as you. They are allowed to think its awesome all they want. And people are allowed to report on that.

Personally I found it an average ending. One the same level as all Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Arkham Batman, Far Cry, Dragonage series. And no where near as stupid as GOW, especially number 2. I don't think we've actually ever had a really good ending to any game.

And, like you said, an end credits like Dragonage or New Vegas would have made all your decision worth a lot more

We should all consider ourselves lucky really.

It's not often you get to witness the precise moment a videogame company disappears up its collective arsehole.

But that's what happened ten minutes from the end of Mass Effect 3.

senordesol:
My problem with ME3's ending is rather simple.

We were teased throughout the series with a reckoning.

There was no reckoning.

That's it. That's the long and short of it. Kill the Rachni Queen? Doesn't matter. Rescue the Council? Doesn't matter. Failed to gain all of the war assets? Doesn't (really) matter.

You can go through the entire game, making decisions at complete random, and not have it make a damn bit of difference to the outcome. That's where people get are getting pissed.

No, it's not that simple. That's one of the points certainly but like the article said people wished for different things. I didn't like that part either but the main problem for me was the damn starchild, the three retarded choices, and all in all it just went totally against the built up themes of the series. Other people only wanted a happier ending. I wouldn't have minded Shepard and the whole of the Normandy and Earth dying if it were better storytelling wise.

Remember Marauder Shields! --- He tried to fix it but failed... he was a hero.

Shamus Young:
4 Reasons Why The Mass Effect 3 Debate Refuses to Die

More than two years later, people still argue over the ending of Mass Effect 3 and the series as a whole. Why are people so passionate about it?

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thank you for summing this up so articulately. I did always feel bad for saying I hate ME2 and ME3 because it sold out ME1.

Now I can say ME1 was niche and became something that is common place with ME2 and 3. which is still a douche move by BW, I got sold something in ME1 that they told me I could invest in for the trilogy, just for it to become a bait n switch.

Although another point would be series/plot inconsistencies, such as with the Arachni for example

senordesol:
My problem with ME3's ending is rather simple.

We were teased throughout the series with a reckoning.

There was no reckoning.

That's it. That's the long and short of it. Kill the Rachni Queen? Doesn't matter. Rescue the Council? Doesn't matter. Failed to gain all of the war assets? Doesn't (really) matter.

You can go through the entire game, making decisions at complete random, and not have it make a damn bit of difference to the outcome. That's where people get are getting pissed.

I'd go with that too.

When I completed ME1, I expected Shep to die in ME3. Although I thought all them decisions I made with Shep were gonna have repercussions on the galaxy I left behind, that everything I did would matter in the big picture. but it didnt. I fell in love with a Lovecraftian dream, and woke up with a generic hangover.

trunkage:
Mass Effect's problem, as a series, was: I am a person on the ground with very little firepower. The Reapers are super intelligent, powerful god like creatures. And in no way was there an appropriate way to conflict with them. Soveriegn was destroyed with only a small little help from Shep. ME2 stopped agents of the Reapers but didn't help repel them. All the Reapers taken down by Shep before the ending of ME3 was not by Shep her(him)self. It required a worm and a fleet of ships, with marginal input from Shep.

It never dealt with Shep's inability to do anything when (from what I've read from the forums) most people wanted a fight to end it.

You've touched on an important point there, which is that there are limits to what can be done in a series like this. I have seen so many fan-proposed alternatives to the ending, and they never seem to realise that their whoop-de-doo space battle or Indoctrination Theory-style 'journey to the centre of the mind and punch your way out' idea just doesn't work. While the actual ending was hardly a success, it's pretty clear that it was an attempt to give Shepard some agency in a situation where s/he should have forfeited it long ago.

Perhaps you could argue that the premise was flawed from the very beginning. A game where your enemies are giant indestructible starships would make more sense as a space-flight simulator to be honest. Instead of running around fighting proxy battles with corrupted foot soldiers for 3 games, maybe the core gameplay should have been about flying around in the Normandy launching proton torpedoes at the Reapers' thermal exhaust ports.

I don't agree with Shamus' point of view that the changing of genre between ME1 & ME2 was in any way relevant to the ME3 controversy, especially not when ME3 actually had the best RPG elements of the three. Besides, Mass Effect 1 was an action shooter as well, it just wasn't a very good one. The rule with RPG fans these days seems to be that the quality of an RPG is directly proportional to the shittiness of its combat. I'm sorry, but it's no good having the deepest dialogue tree or the most obtuse loot tables if it's not fun to play.

My impression was that people hated it for leaving things unexplained and not ending on their terms

But frankly I think leaving the ending ambiguous was in no way detrimental, in fact it would have made a sequel much easier to make

As for not ending on the player's terms, well, there's always people who don't appreciate such things, but there's not much one can do with that, except for that one guy who created his own little happy end modification, I think the fact that this exists and has over 20 000 downloads with a 9.6 out of 10 rating tells you much

Personally I thought the bittersweet and otherworldly ending we initially got wasn't that bad, and I think the extended cut eliminated any questions people had

This is probably one of my favorite topics of gamedom only because I instantly swept into the store, lore, and the great writing from ME1... ME1 had everything you possibly wanted in an action story arch.

A main villain you could focus on whom may or may have not been totally in control of himself ( Saren)

Picking up a few characters a long the way, each from a different culture with visible signs of a loose but forming bond as they traveled the known universe.

Romance. Death. And of course Shepard whom had a knack for that Indiana Jones-esque " Oh No is he....." and then he arises from the ashes to get back into the fight. It was the best and most complete games of the two.

I would argue the problems of ME3 started with ME2 when we had to totally diss-associate ourselves from the main characters of the 1st game and were teased by their cameo appearance although some altercations ( Such as when you save Ashely Williams and she tells Shepard that he was a Cerberus Hack) were pretty tough to swallow, especially if you chose to romance them. Liara acted like you were a ghost whom she didn't want to have anything to do with you... and you were left going... What the -----? They basically did a Re-boot between the series in which the 2nd game should have been a bridge between what they started and how they were going to finish it...and that never ends well. A new ship. New characters. New everything.

So when people grumbled and said " Ok...ok...so you killed the man. Brought him back to life. That is your one SF rule used by Issac Asimov to suggest something happened of which you didn't have to explain how. Fine. We got very detailed character bios, their own lives, own stories, and it was more of a piece of electronic literature than a game. People got very, very, very, attached to their favorites and depending upon how you played the game would theoretically give you YOUR experience in ME3. I stress YOUR because I know some people ( like myself) Who actually replayed the game 110x just to have separate saves in order to play different time-lines that ME3 would promise.

When ME3 came along.... it was character butchery. In fact once again, if someone was a lazy gamer whom didn't feel like playing the last two, there were things set up to where they didn't have to play it because they could re-set the course of the past through annoying gimmicks and chosen answers. They had all the characters they needed but they somehow figured adding a lesbian yomen Traynor , a news reporter Allers, and James Vega. Um hello. We had over 8+ characters people really wanted to continue but you gave us these cookie cutter add ons PLUS you diminished many roles of other ME2 characters like everyone's favorite Merc Zaheed Misani, Jackob Taylor, Grunt and Jack... Miranda Lawson. News Flash. You don't take characters that you wrote immense story lines for in your 2nd episode only to make them temporary squad members for linear " levels" in your next big finally game. That was an awful and damning choice.

Lasty --- yes. The ending was probably the last straw. You put up with the massacred characters...were Irked by the seemingly DA2 style run and fetch " Quests", so why not just be happy with......and....ending...that....gave...you....the star child.

Wow Bioware. Simply Wow.

I thourght it did die

in that it happned and as bad as the ending was we're over it...or at least I am

of coarse should anyone defend it I do feel my blood preausre rise...

SNCommand:
My impression was that people hated it for leaving things unexplained and not ending on their terms

being ambiguous is all good and well

IF IT WORKS

in this case it didn't work, leaving us without (desperatly needed) answer did not do anything good, it didn't do what it was suposed to do

compare it to Portal 2....which gave us exactly as much info as we needed

And may I add..

Most of the pain and damage was done before the Citadel DLC, Leviathan, and et al. Bioware was always a day late and a dollar short with their bad PR --- literally thumbing their nose at the fan base.... Hense when someone mentions Casey Hudson, you'll literally get rotten tomatoes thrown.

All the controversial debates, especially on the internet, are exactly as you say; People talk past eachother. They can't see it from the other persons perspective, there is crucial information missing to them, there's lack of sympathy, there's an unwillingness to understand and there is hostility.

When it comes to gender issues, racial issues, religious and sexuality issues this is completely natural for many reasons. You could argue that this issue was due to subjectivity and it would likewise be natural; Except it's not subjective.

Now, to explain why this is still a controversial topic, the explanation lies right here on the internet.
As people were starting to complain about this dissapointment, a similarly vocal crowd formed on opposition. Suddenly, people who disliked the ending for any reason were being called entitled, overreactive, whiny and other things not only by this opposition, but by sites like this one in articles, in videos and podcasts. Almost all "journalistic" pieces on this had either an overt or subtle jab towards the fans who felt this way.
Imagine if Critical Miss or The Escapist called any other group "entitled, crybaby wusses", or joking that feminists should give out blowjobs to have issues resolved - You'd have to be fucking mental to do that.
(Note that I'm not insinuating that womens issues and this particular topic are the same or remotely close - The point is that websites pissed on people that were clearly angry and somehow thought this was a good idea, satire or not. In a similar way, if you, like me, don't acknowledge feminist issues, you still shouldn't portray them as whiny crybabies, at least not when the internet is scalding hot with heated arguments.)

When fans began demanding a change, started "Retake Mass Effect" and sending cupcakes, the whole thing exploded because people rose up to defend the gaming industry and developers, something that we've never seen in such force.

Bioware proceeded to pander to the masses and with disdain they released an extended ending without any indication that they understood any of what people had complained about.

I won't lie, when I saw the title of this article my face began to twitch and I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. Shamus, through that shitstorm that we went through, my biggest dissapointment wasn't the ending itself or the way Bioware handled it. It wasn't even that people argued in the pettiest way possible about it, but it was when gaming websites almost collectively started shitting on these people with sarcasm, disdain and pompous attitudes that showed the true colors of gaming journalists almost across the board.

This is why people are still talking about it and why it takes so little to get it going again.

Don't forget the lies, man. That's what bothers me the most.
Not the hype, not the sub-par writing (although it hurts and is very present in the first scene of the game too). Interview after interview Hudson and the other writer promised things that simply did not happen.

Zombie Badger:
I think the real reason that ME3's ending is still such an open wound is that the preceding series had spent five years building up to it. Everything was leading to this moment and when five years of emotional investment is met with disappointment it's not going to be forgotten quickly.

Exactly! I would forever remember mass effect series with disappointment precisely because I cared and love the series. If I had to nitpick there are a ton wrong with it as well:

1) Tekken 6, a fighting game, got more character customization that mass effect 3 which was supposed to be a RPG hybrid.

2) The challenge of the enemies didn't evolved, they just rush and shoot at you, they never give us any enemies that need us to think and use our skills.

3) Too linear, most of ME3 is get from point A to point B and shoot everything in between.

4) Doesn't have enough potential to fuck up. In GTA games, we can have a car chase and then suddenly we are forced into a gun fight on the highway because we crash our car and fly out the window then we spotted a boat near by so it's now a gun fight to the docks which then turned into a boat chase, all this mutated from a simple mission of getting from point A to point B, the mission could very well be just a car chase or any number of permutations because the game was dynamic. This is not so with Mass Effect in story or gameplay.

Retsam19:

Therumancer:
Shamus, I think your analysis of this is deeply flawed because it considers some fringe components to be serious "sides" of the discussion and omits perhaps the most important part of this entire thing:

The most important part of the ME3 fiasco is that Bioware made specific promises about the ending of the game and what it would include. Bioware made it clear with direct statements that Mass Effect 3 would both answer all the outstanding questions and would NOT include a simple "choose A B or C ending". Bioware proceeded to put in a "choose A B or C" ending anyway, what's more many of the biggest questions in the series were not answered. Bioware released an app that was "behind the scenes" of ME3 and in that app they had the devs saying "well, we decided not to answer a lot of the big questions because they work better as mysteries and give us material for later games in the franchise". Add to this some leaked information about how Bioware actually had no plans for the ending until late in the process, and how what they did was inspired by an adolescent fan whose fan-letter got taped to a director's door, and you can see why there was a riot.

Umm, do you have statistical analysis on hand to say which parts of the discussion are "fringe" and which ones are "serious"? Or are you just picking the parts that you think are "most important" and saying the article is flawed for not happening to mention the one issue you care most about?

And then you launch into how the most important problem is that they broke some promises that they made in some press statements? I'm going to make my own unfounded statistical statement and say that the VAST majority of players of Mass Effect 3 didn't read BioWares press statements or otherwise follow information about the development of the game, so, yeah, I find the idea that this is somehow the "most important part" a bit funny.

No, and I really don't need one having followed the issue and that's something that comes up more often than just about anything else involving the ending, and has also inspired stunts like a bunch of cupcakes with "A B C" (otherwise all the same) being mailed to their offices. It's also apparently a big part of why a lot of people who started out defending Bioware, like Jim Sterling, seem to have taken the other side, the whole thing basically being a generally shitty thing to do when you consider everything. Or at least I'm guessing that's a big part of why he did given that he spends tons of time railing against this kind of behavior in the games industry.

But yes, game developer promises are a big deal when people buy a game because of what they have been told was in the game, especially when they find out later, that the company never had any intention of keeping those promises.

I mean it's fine that you don't like my point, but you should really leave it at that. As I've been following this pretty much since day #1 and watched how much things exploded when Bioware's statements in their behind the scenes app were revealed, and have been listening to the arguments, this is ultimately a big factor in just about everything. Unless of course your defending Bioware at which point the defense usually comes down to "Well, they lied in press statements and you should just accept that because it's the way it is. It's your fault for believing what they said."

The thing that makes "the line" fairly unique is that it's being held against Bioware, and isn't a few different viewpoints all pretty much taking at each other. Sure that DOES happen, but at the end of the day even after years everyone is united against Bioware, and there are some points on which pretty much everyone agrees.

The true test of "the line" however will be when ME4 comes out, and whether or not it maintains enough "membership" and fire to tank the game through not buying it if Bioware doesn't change the ME3 ending, via the intro of ME4 if nothing else. This being done even if it's a great game, since really the gameplay and such has always been secondary to the central point.

Now the fringes within this are people who say go after ME3 in it's entirety as opposed to saying "it was a great game except for the ending which must change and better conform to the promises made" which is where "The Line" stands. That crowd are those who for example attack the writing because of the space ninja, or how ME3 took that character which didn't fit into the plot and had him kick Shepard's butt to escape in direct defiance of the outcome of a fight you just had with him (which is something a lot of games have done the equivalent of, but was new, and kind of annoying for ME3). People are far more divided on things like that. Then you of course go back to the whole Prothean thing and the day #1 DLC to get that story-centric squadmate. Some people have been pushing to force EA to refund the cost of DLC that should have been part of the game to begin with, that's another fringe position even if lots of people have been upset about that one.

Your of course free to disagree with me, but I still maintain that the issue of ME3 cannot be fairly raised or analyzed without the promises made by Bioware, and the direct statement that they game would not have a "choose A B or C" type ending when that is exactly what they decided to put into the game. The fact that none of the endings are satisfying to fans simply compounds the basic problem, along with the fact that for a game where "decisions matter" nothing you did up until that point, including things that directly undermine the whole point of what happened, mattered one way or another, which of course was again counter to what was said about the game and it's ending.

Of course along with that comes the simple point that Bioware by it's own admission apparently rushed the whole ending of the game out. While it's a point you hear less frequently, a lot of people point out that the whole ending sequence of the game is a joke, not just the star child part. This is of course starting with the fact that a lot of what you do during the game is to obtain, develop, and prepare resources for the inevitable final battle. A number of the key choices in the game also directly involve Citadel security. This has lead to comments that it was messed up that The Citadel is magically overrun at the end of the game no matter what defenses it had, and the resources you gathered mean nothing in the end except perhaps one mild scene showing Shepard breathing on a pile of rubble. Reading the flavor text, background, etc.. as a lot of people pointed out by the time of the final battle the good guys are supposed to be using technology equal to that of the Reapers, indeed a lot of it is Reaper tech, something they have not faced before. What's more knowing what's coming they have developed things that no other species has ever used on them before, meaning that by definition the Reapers should not in control of the battlefield due to not having been able to predict what they would be facing. If you read the flavor text of some things you recover, by the time of the final battle ships should be carrying things like singularity missiles (ie missiles that create a black hole at the point of impact). If you did your job well, the Reapers should not have ever been able to just sweep in and take The Citadel, and the entire space battle should have been very different, as opposed to more or less seeing the Reapers ignoring stuff thrown at them and ripping alliance ships to pieces... as the good guys would have been firing back with a lot of their own guns, and missiles dragging them into special anomalies and stuff. It should have been god awful nasty in both directions, and of course the whole point was that if you gathered up/developed enough of this stuff it probably should have been a reaper massacre.... while brought up less often, the point here being that it's not just the final ending selection, the entire climax of the game pretty much disregards everything else you've done up until that point. Your sitting here going "oh hey wow, our ships are now carrying singularity warheads, that's going to be bad news for the reapers" or whatever and feel like you've accomplished something... and nope... the good guys get massacred, Shepard gets sucked up in a beam, and meets Star Child. Less people complain about the whole sequence of events being garbage, but that's another point that's out there.

Some interesting points in the article - I agree the "lots of factions wanting different things" thing is definitely a factor in why it won't die.

The big picture for me though is this is perhaps one of the ultimate examples of what can go wrong when you don't start with the end in mind. Even Drew Karpyshyn admits he only had a vague idea of how the series was going to end if he had've been at the helm the whole time (spoiler alert: the vague ideas he did have were even more bleak than the ending we got - though good execution could at least have made it satisfying). But throw in writer changes, lore changes to suit gameplay tweaks (LOL thermal clips) and innumerable changes made purely for fanservice and it's easy to see how it became a big mess by the end.

Casey Hudson saying over and over again "it's all about the fans, the fans are like our cowriters, blah blah blah" then turning around and trying to play the "artistic integrity" card definitely didn't help either.

Therumancer --- Yeah you brought up other good points. The tech. What happened to the new and improved armor and laser cannons that were learned from the Collector Tech? You would have thought that the war like Turians would have had multiple cannons of such nature on their battle cruisers.

It was and still is a mess. You can tell the people running the show suddenly began to wing-it in terms of the details to the ME universe.

[quote= But throw in writer changes, lore changes to suit gameplay tweaks (LOL thermal clips) and innumerable changes made purely for fanservice and it's easy to see how it became a big mess by the end.

Casey Hudson saying over and over again "it's all about the fans, the fans are like our cowriters, blah blah blah" then turning around and trying to play the "artistic integrity" card definitely didn't help either.[/quote]

I believe the 3rd Installment was reaching for the casual of casual players. I remember watching the partying for the open-day release and the commentator they were using said " I've never played Mass Effect but I'm sure to buy this one!". Why? Because there's more button mashing and shooting?

I suppose I am also expected to apologize for wanting such crazy and scary things like dialogue, an actual working story, and RPG elements.

I thought the ending was just confusing at first and the DLC fixed it (though fixing shouldn't have been needed if they just made it right the first time), but I was more in the camp of "what happened to the galaxy as a whole?" I fully expected one, some or all of the squadmates would live, I got a larger squad through ME2 with no problems, I was banking on Shepard dying/sacrificing him or herself/taking the Reapers with him, so I was mostly wondering what's going to happen to everyone else.

I will say this, I hate the ending for one reason: the endless debates basically make everyone forget the entire rest of the game. It' really unfortunate since the game is so fun and has lots of great character moments. NEVER FORGET MORDIN.

Honestly, Mass Effect 3 was still a better game then Mass Effect 1, which failed at everything it did. Shite plot, mediocre writing, awful world building, exploration so bad they shouldn't even have bothered including it, copy pasting levels, garbage gameplay, and awful graphics with terrible optimization.

MirenBainesUSMC:
I believe the 3rd Installment was reaching for the casual of casual players. I remember watching the partying for the open-day release and the commentator they were using said " I've never played Mass Effect but I'm sure to buy this one!". Why? Because there's more button mashing and shooting?

I suppose I am also expected to apologize for wanting such crazy and scary things like dialogue, an actual working story, and RPG elements.

I dunno if it was reaching specifically for casuals (they may have dumbed some stuff down from ME1, but it's still a long way from Flappy Birds too), but I think they definitely hurt themselves by trying to cater for players who were new to the series. If you've got new players super-excited about the third installment of your epic trilogy, you use it as an opportunity to sell them the first two games, not to mess with the third game just to cater to them...

Yea mass effect was a beautiful dream but its execution was a total mess. So many disappointed fans, I really like the games but they could have been so much more.

For me the the moment that really signalled the third game might be in trouble was right at the start when you couldn't import your Shep because the character generators were not compatible from game to game. That's just sloppy and then to add insult to injury they removed the weapon holster and ready animations because they couldn't fit them in with the new shiny graphics. Gods that was a shitty decision, totally broke immersion every damn time I put my weapon away.

Despite that I really did enjoy the game, I didn't have high hopes for it but I did enjoy it :)

LOL - that's true, the face import bug annoyed the hell out of me. I actually went as far as getting a screendump of my ME2 Shep up on a laptop next to the PC trying to make them match... couldn't.

There were all sorts of bugs (one assumes because things were rushed) that annoyed me about ME3. The quest log was beyond awful, which seems strange because it was something they'd done just fine in the first two games. And the animation bugged me too, made FemShep in particular look like she was trying to jog around with a nasty case of chaffing :P

Like the problems the first two games had though, I can forgive all that stuff. The ending, on the other hand...

I stopped playing as soon as Shepard got on the elevator, and accepted the indoctrination theory as the "real" ending.

Yeah, the striping of RPG elements was a bother, I like micro-managing equipment for my character and my squad, but I liked the Mass Effect series more for the story and universe building. The third game took a big steaming shit all over it. Mostly because the head writer of the first game (who was the co-writer for the second) wasn't involved with the third. Go figure.

The ending to Mass Effect 3 would have been absoultely fine.... Had it been in a series that actually had themes relevant to that.

Organics vs Synthetics was never the main theme of Mass Effect, the main theme built up through Mass Effect was unity, being able to overcome anything should we work together. It ties in well with the squad you build throughout each game, 2 and 3 are all about coming together to defeat a threat that we could never defeat individually.

The Reapers destroyed countless civilizations through dividing and conquering them thanks to the Citidel. Our cycle was the first where we had the chance to stick together and take the fight to them as a united galaxy. Mass Effect 3's ending goes against everything the games had stood for before that

I agree with some of Shamus' points, but the thing that really bugs me is the game telling me that rather than fighting the Reapers because they are threatening the galaxy and everything living in it, what I should really care about is EARTH because I'm (the player) a HUMAN...

Eclectic Dreck:

Charcharo:
The reason I never finished the first game was the UI. Not the genre, not the difficulty not the gameplay (those I liked a lot).

Its UI was Dog Shit. Whoever made that (and the War Thunder UI) needs to change their line of work. They just suck epicly at it.
Mass Effect 1's UI was a mess and something I would expect from a newbie Half Life 1 modder. Not from a AAA developer...

At the time, one would not have considered Bioware to be AAA. Both Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect began their lives and spent most of their development before being acquired by EA. I suspect you'd find the budget for either game would be remarkably low if indeed it were possible to actually get such information.

Maybe. After all AAA means high budget, not good games (at least no anymire, and thank God, since quality cant be measured).

I do wonder whether Shamus will respond to Therumancer. Escapists staff never do respond to direct things though...

Rainbow_Dashtruction:
Honestly, Mass Effect 3 was still a better game then Mass Effect 1, which failed at everything it did. Shite plot, mediocre writing, awful world building, exploration so bad they shouldn't even have bothered including it, copy pasting levels, garbage gameplay, and awful graphics with terrible optimization.

Is that a fact?
Truth is, we ALL here should stop thinking we know facts on game quality. We dont. We know some things, and a few know tech (actual objective thing), but game quality we dont.

My ONLY gripe with Mass Effect 1 was the UI. For many that is a SMALL thing. For me, it was enough to stop playing a game that cost me 1/4 of the monthly salary of HALF my countries population. I F*cking HATE terrible UIs.

A different example is...
Bioshock Infinite. For me its a 6/10 game at most. For comparison, Ryse son of Rome is a 7.
That is my informed opinion from playing both games and having experience at games. DOes not make it fact though.

theluckyjosh:

Shamus Young:
"Lots of people compared it to 2001: A Space Odyssey."

And the comparison usually goes something like ...
"Arthur C. Clarke can get away with a deus ex, star child ending ... but you, sir, are no Arthur C. Clarke."

Well, also Arthur C. Clarke was writing a different style of science fiction as well, and that ending fit with the rest of the movie, which was basically an atmospheric pot boiler/mind trip to begin with. In comparison "Mass Effect" was always high adventure, even in the first one, the bottom line is Shepard is an epic hero, and the whole idea has always been about him beating overwhelming odds, albeit he was never as much of a conceptual underdog as he was in the first game. The trippy, surrealistic, ending didn't fit the game, and the overall message and issues inherent in it directly contradicted events in the game. This is beyond the whole point that we were told there would not be a "pick A B or C" ending at the end.

Now in comparison something like "Dead Space" could have a series finale like this (and might already have it, I haven't beaten DS3), as a big part of the entire premise was things getting into your head, the Necromorphs are supposed to make people go crazy just by being present, the Markers get into people's head, and the hero winds up literally grappling with his own hallucinations when the forces he's up against try and mentally force him to kill himself and stuff. If Issac Clark was to say wind up in communion with the main marker and have it pretty much tell him "I am here to eradicate human life because it's for the best... choose which form of suck occurs from this point onward" it would blow chips but at least you could say it sort of fit with the series... which is a horror game. In such a case a lot of people would be disappointed, doubtlessly including me (I'm kind of a romantic, even when it comes to horror), but if it was done right it could still be awesome and I doubt you'd get the same kinds of mass complaints and years-long anger.

A better example would be sort of like if "2001 A Space Odyssey" suddenly had people dueling with light sabers and stuff well beyond the established tech level... perhaps after having the equivalent of Ming The Merciless step out of the Obelisk and go "Muhwahahaha foolish humans, I subverted your computer, and now I shall finish you... prepare to DIE". It wouldn't have fit the tone of the movie up until that point. If he had done that, it wouldn't have been a classic of science fiction, and would be widely mocked for being so dumb. Of course at the same time it still wouldn't have been reviled as much as ME3, because Mass Effect 3 capped a trilogy, and the ending was so bad that it pretty much undermined everything that had come before it, not just being a bad ending, but making everything else bad by association once you know where it all ends up. Sort of like if someone takes a shit into a gallon of ice cream, sure, you might be able to pull the turds off the top, and the rest of the ice cream might technically be fine and safe to eat, but your going to throw it away because you know someone plopped a giant turd right there on top of it, the turd ruined everything, even if one argues the rest of the ice cream is not tainted.

Okay... where are all these people that wanted a "happy" ending that these game journalists claim allways exist and thus everyones argument about the bad ending is just entitlement?

When the whole thing blew up i never saw anyone claiming that they wanted to see shepard take his chosen fuckdoll and ride with him/her/it into the bloody sunset on the mako.

Never... people where pissed because the ending made no sense, because Bioware came out not 2 weeks before launch and claimed it wouldnt be A, B or C and that all choices would matter (2 weeks before launch, they actually directly lied to peoples faces knowing very well what the ending would be like) Not to mention that nothing in the original endings made any god damn sense.. like the normandy escaping and leaving everything and everyone behind without so much as a word of explanation... da fuck?

And then how they behaved after the whole thing blew up in their face and people called them out... claiming "artistic integrity" (while working for EA... HAH thats a laugh!) that people where simply feeling "entitled" and should get off their high horse (yeah how dare people to expect to get what they paid for and where promised... what world are those people living in?)

In short bioware reacting like an arrogant douchebag to the whole situation and placed the whole blame at the players feet. They even made a rather cynical additional fourth ending to the original three where when you reject the BSchilds options everyone simply dies.

And the reason the argument doesnt die is mostly how bioware conducted itself and how much disdain they showed for their customers and how little value they gave about peoples opinions and feedback. Simply put: Bioware looks down on their own customers and that is something that irks people till today.

Charcharo:

Eclectic Dreck:

Charcharo:
The reason I never finished the first game was the UI. Not the genre, not the difficulty not the gameplay (those I liked a lot).

Its UI was Dog Shit. Whoever made that (and the War Thunder UI) needs to change their line of work. They just suck epicly at it.
Mass Effect 1's UI was a mess and something I would expect from a newbie Half Life 1 modder. Not from a AAA developer...

At the time, one would not have considered Bioware to be AAA. Both Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect began their lives and spent most of their development before being acquired by EA. I suspect you'd find the budget for either game would be remarkably low if indeed it were possible to actually get such information.

Maybe. After all AAA means high budget, not good games (at least no anymire, and thank God, since quality cant be measured).

I do wonder whether Shamus will respond to Therumancer. Escapists staff never do respond to direct things though...

I've gotten responses from Escapist staff before, but it doesn't happen very often. I don't expect one here either because among other things I'm pretty unpopular due to my politics and stuff. I've directly addressed Shamus before. :)

No big deal though, I mean I made the point I wanted to for those reading, it's at least there for consideration. If Shamus is reading this, and he does something similar in the future, perhaps he'll think differently about it. At the end of the day it's his column though and as such a platform for his opinions, which I can respect, even if I strongly disagree with them.

TopazFusion:

If you played "The Arrival" DLC for Mass Effect 2, you might expect that each exploding relay is also destroying its host star system, thus wiping out the galaxy you just spent three games trying to set right.

I'm glad you brought this up.

That relay-exploding overview is the most sloppily put together animation you ever did see.

image

Each 'explosion' is MASSIVE, many many times bigger than a fucking supernova. And the 'explosion' that the Normandy is seen fleeing from, is actively damaging the Normandy.

To someone who's played every game and all the DLCs, this looked very much like the entire fucking galaxy was blowing up. And worse yet, the same thing happens no matter which 'color' you pick for the ending.

As it turns out, the 'explosions' aren't explosions at all. They're just 'energy waves' that spread the Synthesis DNA code / Reaper control code / Reaper kill signal, everywhere in the galaxy.
But in the original ending, we're not told this. In the original, pre- extended cut ending, it just looks like everything is blowing the fuck up.


The other stupid thing about this animation is the way the explosions originate from the very outer edge of the galaxy, at the bottom of the map.

Okay, umm, which relay is that supposed to be? It's certainly not the Sol Relay (aka: Charon Relay), because the Local Cluster is NOT on the outer rim of the galaxy:


It's obvious the game artists really screwed up here. There was clearly no collaboration between them and the writers.

What we're left with, are images and animations on our screen, that absolutely fail to show what the writers are actually trying to get across.

Holy shit, really? I thought the relays were blowing up, too. I was really pissed at that, for two reasons: one, it meant that you were the bad guy, since at least the Reapers just killed the people and let new species rise up. You just blew up the whole galaxy, ain't nothing ever coming back from that. Two, it meant that the entire ending was nonsensical; every shot after that where everything wasn't very very dead was wrong. It made no sense. It was literally like I spent 5 years, 3 games, and countless hours having one of the best rides of my life only to have it end in some sort of strange fever dream.

I was pissed for a few days, but I just stopped caring entirely about the ME franchise before the Extended Cut. So it's news to me that I didn't genocide the entire galaxy that one time.

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