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Contrary to most everyone else, I absolutely hated the ending(s) to Mass Effect 3. In this blog, I hope to articulate the reasons I feel let down after five years of expectation.
- You know an ending is bad when the main antagonist makes a cameo. When I started the final battle, I stopped and asked "Where the hell is Harbinger?" From the middle of ME2 onward, he never shut up. Like Sovereign in Mass Effect, the evil villain banter helped to make me exited about killing him. In ME3, Harbinger appears at the end, flies down, and starts blasting everybody before flying away. But we neither saw nor heard from him the entire game. The Illusive Man and Kai Leng take his place and the antagonist from the second game sits on the sidelines the whole time. I appreciate the encounter with the Illusive Man mirroring the final confrontation with Saren, but I would have liked a final boss fight, perhaps one where Harbinger controlled him, would have been a nice conclusion. Seriously. Mass Effect 3 needs a good boss fight to wrap things up. Not some guy named Marauder Shields.
- I didn't understand the final choice. It's one thing to make difficult decisions, but it's meaningless if you can't weigh the consequences of what you are doing, let alone comprehend what the hell is going on. When deciding whether or not to undo the Genophage, I took pause and considered the ramifications of doing so. Whilst my opinion changed by the third game, I eventually realised that a choice I made resulted in Eve's death. Few games are capable of making one feel guilty, but Mass Effect 3 is one of them.So when it came down to the final decision, I didn't really understand what "Synthesis" was all about. Organics and Sythenics becoming one? It sounds like something I would hear from a cultist, not an endgame scenario. The biggest beef I have with the endings were the minute differences. There was essentially 3 endings with the only real difference being the colour of the Crucible's blast.
- There was no sense of closure. Rule of thumb: Don't end an epic trilogy on a cliff-hanger. I was hoping to see what become of the characters after all was said and done, but all I got was a cutscene of Joker flying away and landing on a remote planet, emerging with Garrus and Tali. A short 1-minute cutscene of Tali and I on Rannoch would have sufficed, but a short clip of Shepard taking a breath isn't any way to give any sense of closure to an epic trilogy.
- I felt lost. Good stories make you feel feelings, such as happiness or sadness. Others make you feel all messed up, but in a good way. Leaving on a low note can certainly spoil the entire narrative, and confusion really shouldn't be something we should be feeling when get to the end of a trilogy. Take Return of the Jedi for example. The ending was bitter-sweet; Darth Vader died saving his son, and was honoured for the man he once was. Shortly after, a party ensues, and we see everything run full circle, with few questions left unanswered. It was perfect. And then Hayden Christian showed up. In the endings in which Shepard dies, I felt nothing. Regardless of your choice, Joker survives, and the Galaxy is saved...sort of.
What what I have done? I would have cut everything after Shepard opens the Citadel. If Shepard died pressing the button, I would have been pleased if I could at least know how if affected the characters in whom I invested so much. What did you think? I'm sure you all loved it.