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ME3 Ending: what just happened?

Kd82 March 12, 2012 User blog:Kd82

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A few random thoughts and ideas about the game and the ending of Mass Effect 3.

SPOILERS!


Initial

My European version unlocked only on the 9th of March. Till that time, I completely avoided anything about the game. Luckily, this wiki was evolved enough to help me here and there eventually.

Annoying bugs: - I got physically stuck on the Normandy, lost 45 minutes. Since then, I always made a quicksave before talking to Joker or EDI. - Character heads were twisted in some talks.

I started with my very first ME2 playthrough, which had basically no DLCs other than 1st day Zaeed. I come to the shocking realization when there was no Kasumi reunion despite the wiki was worded so. And later on when meeting with ex-cerberus scientists explaining the project Overlord.

Middle

The gameplay was okay, maybe too easy on Novice? I was hoping to get the story and locations the first time, then jump into insane the next time. But the end changed that.

One of my predictions were correct: the too many options made the character returns a bit weightless in terms of missions. The emotional load was okay though.

End

Everything went well until the kid explained the tree options to me. My reaction was:

What? ALT+TAB; Google Mass Effect 3 Ending. OMG.

I didn't like the choices: 1) take control, leave the races, destroy relay network. 2) Synthesis, relay net intact. 3) Destroy all synthetics, relay net intact.

I didn't like 1 because I want to keep the network. Option 3 was unfeasible as my paragon nature and hard work to get everyone together. Option 2: isn't that white, e.g., neutral choice; and how would organics and synthetics merge?

As it turned out, all 3 options destroy the relay network, my English isn't good enough? I chose 1 because it was blue. Funny, the Illusive Man was planning the same? I agree with opinions that this coloring and action was the opposite what we would expect. Watched the other endings.

I wonder, If you don't do anything at this point, will you get the "new cycle" ending?

I could swear I heard the name "Stargazer" from Admiral Hackett. Was it referring to the man at the post-credits or it was just a random ship name?

If I consider the choices and the crash landing as independent from the rest of the game, they were definitely memorable and emotionally moving. The thing I usually feel when completing a good game with a definite end: I would like to continue the story, know what happens with the others. My newest favorite music is the credits as it reminds me how Joker opens and exits the Normandy.

Does anyone actually like the ending? I only found the opposite so far.

When I finished ME2, I instantly started a new game. I played it 11 times with different configuration. With this game, however, I was so shocked, I didn't want to try the my renegade import for a long time.

Questions

  • How could the Crucible approach the Citadel without serious counter from the reaper ships? I guess the reapers should have put more priority on the Crucible? Or was it the kid who let it happen?
  • Usual: Why was the Normandy on FTL? It seems so separated from the main event.
  • Usual: How would the other races get home in time?
  • I wonder, a few months back, some story was leaked from the game. I didn't read it but how different was that from what we got?
  • How does the Crucible-Citadel destroy all synthetic life? Like a galactic EMP? How would it differentiate between organic brain electrons and synthetic electrons (positrons?). What about regular computers?
  • In previous cycles, the Reapers took control over the relay network to reduce the mobility of the advanced races. Why? Because a full galaxy armada would be able to destroy them?

Speculation

I think they run out of money, or to be more precise, the expected profit ratio. It seems somebody got greedy and made the development team do cutouts in the story so they can be sold later. And I'm not talking about Jarik's DLC.

Alternatively, they wanted to kill Shepard at least, but they accidentally/deliberately killed the franchise in the way someone, who is good at a thing, but got tired of it, does the thing the last time in a way that he/she is never asked again for that thing.

Your choices mattered little at the end, maybe too much cost to develop the alternatives?

It seems, all you did in the game was basically worthless at the end. I wonder, why the kid didn't start with

"Understand Shepard, the efforts of all the species you brought together never mattered, this cosmic game was rigged from the start."

One could say, we don't understand the ending because the concept is beyond what humans could fathom - according to Harbinger at least.

If this is true, then it seems the story was changed drastically and they probably run out of time to make it consistent. Dark Energy vs. Technological Singularity.

Till the last minutes, I thought the whole thing was about the reapers running a genetic algorithm on a galactic scale and time to get the best technology to fight some intergalactic enemy. But if this cycle-thing was running for millions of years, who would we expect to arrive at our doorstep after millions of years of FTL travel? Anyway, I call this the "we need a bigger enemy for the next season" effect. A good example is the frenchise Stargate: Goa'uld, replicators, Ori, other side of the universe.

Other of my suspect was that the whole Citadel-Crucible was just a trick to get the Reapers into one place and let the combined force of the galaxy deal with them. Apparently, not.

Why should have this whole thing be bigger than the Reapers in the first place?

In my opinion, it's too late to ask for a proper ending DLC. The current version was forever carved into our memories.

I read most of the writers of ME1 and ME2 now work in other companies. I know the game industry has some career volatility, but maybe they ran from a tyranny? I would ask these writers how they would have finished the game? Would they remain silent for some unknown reason?

Was ME3 story focus tested, or beta tested?

HISHE

I'm trying to imagine how a proper end would look like. I remember when I experienced the ending of ME1 and hearing "the Reapers are coming" line, I thought: nah, probably a hint about what the next season would look like if the channel ordered it. With ME2 I read ME was intended as a trilogy. Okay. With this in mind, ME2 ending was well placed. You knew you have to get to the collectors and do something with it. And after you did, you knew, this isn't over, so lets try the renegade routes. With ME3, this is not the case. I would fight the whole 30+ hours again just to get to those 3 unsympathetic outcomes? (Unfortunately, I'm a person with reverse engineering skill, or a person who can do existing things better than the average, but I usually fail in things which need novelty.)

  • Getting a "reapers destroyed, everyone lives happily ever after, Normandy disappears into the Sunset" feels like a stock ending.
  • Shepard appearing from under the rubble is ME1 again.
  • The Citadel-Crucible firing a beam at every reaper ship and unit? Then we go to the bar to cash in on the many beer offers?
  • If due the lack of military power or decision, the next cycle starts, and we see some aliens opening one of Liara's message boxes? Nice, but rather mission failed, load?
  • Uploading virus, eh, EDI? Okay, how do we remove the rubble from orbit?
  • The Citadel-Crucible's dark energy destroys the mass effect fields, leaving everything end everyone tied to sublight forever. Aka Voyager: Omega particle?
  • The red door leads to the Source, the blue door lets you save Trinity. Or you can stay and chat with me.
  • The whole thing was a dream, and Bobby is just under the shower.
  • Shepard & team goes to Ilos again, powers up the backdoor relay, points at Earth Citadel and given the power of Crucible, the Citadel-Crucible starts swinging around like a huge baseball bat and hitting the reapers out of the galaxy, or at least against something hard or hot.
  • The Citadel-Crucible creates a black-hole thing which consumes the entire solar system. Or at least a field which only drags in Reapers.
  • With enough military strength, you should have just won.
  • The kid explains most of the things, but avoids mentioning the choices and the game ends with the credits right at the spot. Or explains the options, but never lets you chose any.

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