Thoughts on Mass Effect 3

Posted on Thu 19 April 2012 • Tagged with Video Games

Warning: Contains plot details for Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. Stop reading if you want to enjoy those games without prior knowledge.

Ending the fun

By now you might’ve seen that everybody and their mum complain about ME3’s ending. That it didn’t reveal enough details. That it wasn’t sophisticated enough. That it wasn’t a perfect match as the conclusion of an epic trilogy. I’m looking at both my friends Leonhard and Thomas here.

The game basically offers three different endings with two distinct flavors. There are the options to destroy the reapers, merge organic and synthetic life and control the reapers (from best to worst) as well as a distinction if you saved or destroyed the Collector’s base in ME2.

Leonhard got the “mediocre” ending, also called “synthesis” in which organic and synthetic forms of life are merged. In his mind that was actually the best ending considering the outcome for EDI and Joker, who get to continue their relationship, and for life in general, since it seems like a great step in evolutionary terms. Too bad that Bioware doesn’t agree with this point of view. Therefore this ending isn’t considered the “best” and my friend was upset with the way Bioware handled his view of possible evolution in an imaginary scenario.

I don’t actually remember what Thomas told me about his choice for the ending but I clearly remember him being disappointed when talking to me about how meaningless your choices were. Although he used some rather ominous terms to describe his findings at that time in order not to ruin my surprise when playing.

Personally, I have not yet seen any of the endings, although my Total Military Strength is nearly enough to be able to choose the best ending when the issue arises. Right now I’ve looked up the possible outcomes and also don’t consider any option the best.

Dissolving conflict

However, I found something else rather baffling. The entire Mass Effect series is a game that - in my opinion - is very much about choice. The decisions you make define more or less the state of the galaxy which is a concept I am rather fond of. Sometimes you’d like to reverse your decisions though. I always found myself being a friendly and peacemaking person when I’m in Commander Shepard’s (lady-)boots. The universe in which I live is mostly peaceful and does not try to slaughter each other at every opportunity. I also don’t shoot every guy 1 in the head just because I don’t agree with them. Unless there’s no other way, but many times there will be another way, for I am a charming person whose charisma has often managed to solve a situation without casualties.

So when I realized that the quarians had gone to war with the the geth and the geth were forced to accept the help of the reapers in order to survive I was displeased, but according to some research it was possible to keep them from tearing each others’ hearts out 2. There was just major problem. I knew I rewrote the geth in ME2 thinking they might be allies during the fight in ME3 3. I knew I successfully defended Tali at her trial. The only variable I had to consider was wether I solved the conflict between Tali and Legion in ME2 or sided with one of them. Unfortunately I seem to have done that and there’s no way my actions in ME3 can make up for that. So I won’t be able to prevent them from war. However I don’t want to take sides in this idiotic conflict since I have friends on both sides of the battlefield.

That means I will have to play the whole of ME2 again in order to change one tiny decision. I definitely won’t change my decision to rewrite instead of destroy the heretic geth since they are a great war asset. And judging from experience a complete run of ME2 with almost every DLC and full completion took me around 17 hrs on Insanity when trying the last time. This should be fun. Unless - and that’s the reason I have to do this crap again - I have too little paragon points again in order to stop Legion and Tali from arguing in ME2. Meh.

On the other hand I might save my the cerberus crew in ME2. Or not, since I enjoy Legion’s company during all the side missions.

  1. Or girl, for that matter 

  2. Make that CPUs for the geth 

  3. They are, but it’s not a good starting point for peace