Mass Effect 3 Ending: I Hate It And I Don’t Hate It

June 20, 2012

Three and a half months later, I am finally finished with Mass Effect 3. I know I’m late to the party, but I wrote this post anyway because I was immediately asked left and right about my thoughts on the ending. Obviously, the rest of this entry will contain spoilers, so if you still wish to avoid them, feel free move along; I’ll understand. I myself have been dodging spoilers like a madwoman dodging missiles in a Michael Mann movie since March.

So here goes. After all that I’ve heard, I braced myself for the ending. From the hubbub, you’d have thought BioWare committed the worst travesty of travesties when it comes to the final moments of the game.

Now why do I feel like I’ve been punk’d by the entire internet? As the final scene after the credits played, I found myself staring at the screen and thinking…what the hell, it wasn’t that bad.

I sought to do some post-game research and discovered that those who dislike the ending mostly fall into one of two categories. There are those who hate it because it’s weak in providing different endings (read: there is essentially only one ending.) Okay, point. In this, I am in complete agreement. Especially after seeing that video, changing the colors in the cutscenes to make things feel more different is like rubbing salt in the wound and reeks of laziness.

However, with regards to the second camp, or those who are upset with the game because they wanted a “brighter” ending? What? Why? The hell with that, I say. A not-so-happy ending does not a sucky ending make. Some of the best stories ever told have “crappy” endings. The Fox and the Hound. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Romeo and Juliet. Pretty much almost everything written by Thomas Hardy.

Somewhere in the middle of playing the second game, I think that’s when I realized the Mass Effect series is one of those stories. In fact, I made up my mind right then and there in January of 2010, that this is the only way things could possibly end. The best case scenario could only be bittersweet.

Maybe deep in my heart I’ve always known it, expected it. It’s not just because of the “hero always dies” trope. It’s just that after three installments, I knew that Mass Effect has become so huge that to demand the “perfect” ending is an act of futility (or a programming impossibility). In such cases, perhaps deeply unsatisfactory and confusing story conclusions which lead to speculation, rage, etc. are an inevitability, and if I’m to ask my inner cynic, possibly even intentional. Because hey, they got us all talking about it, didn’t they?! If their goal was a memorable send-off, well then bravo, they’ve done it.

(And while I’m still in Cynical Mode, might I add that I feel Indoctrination Theory is grasping at straws (albeit some very dedicated grasping) and giving BioWare way too much damn credit? The irony is, I’m not entirely sure BioWare didn’t get exactly the result they wanted by having people formulate and discuss IT, under the guise of “Uh, yeah, we’re simply letting the players think and interpret things on their own! That’s it!” Of course, that does lead me to wonder if those who cling to the theory are in a way the indoctrinated themselves, desperately looking for the order from chaos (!) they are missing from the ending. But hey, now I’m just getting all meta.)

So ultimately all the choices I made over the course of all three games didn’t really have a smidgen of impact on the final ending, but I can’t really say it broke my heart. Let’s keep things in perspective; the ME series was never open-world, open-ended, open-anything. There really wasn’t ever that much choice to begin with, even going back to the first game (making Sophie’s choice with Ashley or Kaidan, anyone?) Always, I just made my FemShep do what I felt was best, and I am content with the result — even if that turned out, in the bigger scope of things, to be the only result.

Despite that, I’ve been allowed to make dozens of decisions that changed my journey in myriad ways. The game’s appeal has always boiled down to forcing you to choose between a rock and  hard place and then living with the consequences; for me that means no going back to an earlier save or “do-overs”. I’ve celebrated my smart choices, and likewise suffered intense regret from the not-so-smart ones. But all those choices, both good and bad, were mine, dammit. I lived with them, carried them with me.

In the end, it’s BioWare’s prerogative to write whatever ending they want, but for me it’s the entire experience that matters. I don’t think that would have changed, even if they’d decided to throw dog’s vomit into the last few minutes of the finale.

Still, while I’m not dancing with joy over the ending to ME3, I’ve nevertheless embraced it. And that’s not necessarily to say I didn’t like it, because I think I do, in fact, like it. What can I say, I have a soft spot for downer endings. Perhaps, speaking of Romeo and Juliet, the best way to explain my thoughts on this matter is with the following clip. Out of the entire last act the game, do you know which scene broke me down the most?

It’s this one (since I romanced the crap out of Garrus, obviously):

“Forgive the insubordination, but your boyfriend has an order for you…come back alive.” And of course, that was the one objective the game had to go and make me fail oh so spectacularly. Now I’m in that bar in the sky drinking by myself and Garrus is…well, wherever he is, we’ll still dream of turian-human babies together.

By now, you’re all probably sick and tired of the number of times I’ve extolled the joys of BioWare romances. But I do really enjoy them. I’m a romantic, but my favorite fictional stories always tend to be the ones featuring star-crossed lovers that end in tragedy. I’ll be the first to admit I may be screwed up, but to me it isn’t a great love story unless my heart feels like it was stabbed through with a dagger and torn out of my chest by the end of it. Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I did like Titanic. And Nicholas Sparks also has me eating out of his hand, so sue me.

Sigh. It always comes down to love and romance for me. Out of everything that happened in the ending, that scene with Garrus is probably what I’m most torn up about. Even though it has so little to do directly with the final moments, looking back at it after I’ve completed the game still leaves me feeling gutted. Like completely gutted. Lying on a fishmonger’s block, G-U-T-T-E-D. Yeah, I kinda hate it. But then again, that’s also why I like it. Which just about sums up my views of the ME3 ending.


  1. The ending was so lazy, that was my main complaint. Because the game is so amazing at having you make decisions that have impacted the stories of the three games, it was so weak to have them mean almost nothing in the culmination. I’m perfectly ok with the (possible) death of Shepard. I was just so disappointed to have practically no cutscenes showing the fallout to not only your friends, but the rest of the world overall.

    As for romance, the game pretty much fucked me over because I lost Tali in ME2. I ended up having nothing because Jack was my backup, and she was just a cameo. Which brings me to my other complaint. In ME2, you had the availability of about 10 teammates to bring on missions. In 3, I felt so shorthanded. Kaiden and Tali were dead for me and Vega was a tool. That left me with almost nothing in terms of choice. Lame.

    The gameplay was really great though.

    • Sucks about your romance. I would be so frustrated if that were me, I live for romances in games and wonder if I’d be so into BW games if not for them. I’m totally being stupid, but if that happened to me it might have actually made me stop playing. Some place deep down in my heart I think I would have been perfectly okay if earth was destroyed and everyone in the entire galaxy died except for me and Garrus on a deserted tropical planet. One track mind, I know.

      And yes, Vega was such a tool. Lola this, fucktard!

  2. Hey! Welcome to the bandwagon!

    • At this point, I’m not even sure which bandwagon it is I need to jump on. Where’s the one where I can demand the shittiest of shitty endings that I was promised?

  3. I’m on the same boat as you really. This game was all about the relationships. Mordin, Thane, nearly losing Grunt… these things brought genuine tears to my eyes. In internet parlance, this game made me “feel all the feelings”. It is a genuine favorite and I’m looking forward to the extended ending Bioware is making… if only to get a few more precious minutes with the people I’ve come to care about.

    Oh, but I had a full three game relationship with Liara. She’s a little distant what with being the Shadow Broker, but it was satisfying to see that through. I love her character and loved having her around. Also, Garrus and Tali are awesome together. 😀

    • Yeah, some of the emotions involved literally made me burst into tears. At least everyone can agree the writing team did that part right. It was especially a punch in the gut for me with Mordin. Damn I loved that Salarian.

      I had a thing with kaidan in the first game and then with garrus in the second game. Wish I could have gone with the latter on all three, but oh well. Kaidan throws a fit if you lie when he confronts you about Garrus btw, I LOL’d hard and didn’t feel bad at all.

      • Yes, Mordin. *sighs* Such an awesome character.

        With my FemShep run-through of ME2, I pursued Garrus, but upon playing my MaleShep through ME3, I found out that Garrus and Tali get together and I was all, “Dammit! I like Tali too much to deprive her of hot dextro action!” Oh, I love Tali… and Garrus… they’re my favorites. 😀 If I could’ve had a relationship with Tali in the first game I would have… but then I would’ve deprived Garrus of hot dextro action! CONUNDRUM!

  4. I don’t want a ‘brighter’ ending. I want an ending that makes. Fuggin’. Sense.

    Why was my love interest on the ship if she was down on the planet with me? How did she get to the ship? Was she killed? Was Shep indoctrinated? Why was Joker running away from ‘Space Magic?’ What was that portal? Why did they get teleported/warped to a strange planet? What happens to the fleets around Earth that are now stranded? What about the aliens who can’t eat human food (Salarians, Quarian). In some ‘Destroy’ endings, all synthetic life is wiped out, right? So, why in those endings does EDI walk off the ship if she went down to the planet with you? Who is the old man? Who is the child? Where did the ‘god child’ on the Crucible come from? Why did Casey Hudson promise us that we wouldn’t have an “A, B, C” ending? Why did they let us have an A, B, C ending (blue, green, or red)? Why did virtually none of my choices matter in the end? Why did Shepherd take what the god child spoke of so literally? Why did Shep question it?

    Overall, in a game series that has prided itself on player choice and the consequences of that choice, why did they let the ending boil down to blue, green, or red. That’s my problem with the ending. I knew it wasn’t going to be a happy ending, because ME does not set itself up that way. There’s going to have to be a price paid for victory and I fully expect Shep and his crew to pay it in spades. But the ending was … I mean, what the hell? Space magic and teleportation to worlds and deus ex machina in the form of a ghost child and no choices and different colored endings with the same *exact* ending sequence … I just don’t know what the heck happened at BioWare.

    Now, up until that point, ME3 was a flippin’ FANTASTIC game. In face, if I had to score it out of 10, I’d give it a 9.9. It was just simply that damn good. The last 10 minutes left a lot of folks wondering though … what the hell happened?

    • Oops, that should have read, “Why didn’t Shep question it?” It’s always been a bone of contention with those of us who don’t like the ending … we don’t want a ‘happy’ ending. We want one that actually make sense. Happy endings are for children and cowards. Sensical endings … now that’s what we’re aiming for, and that’s what BioWare’s acquiesced to.

    • All those questions you asked could have answers, like we don’t know how much time had passed while Shepard was up there screwing around on the Citadel, but I do also agree that if you have to explain or speculate the heck out of something to make it make sense that the ending itself is unsatisfactory in the first place.

      I find it funny that in saying they won’t pull “a Lost”,’ BW ended up doing that anyway, even with what they probably thought was a “closed” ending. The thing is, I kinda thought the ending was appropriate in its imperfection. But then again, I also liked the ending to Lost so i understand if my judgment is highly questionable.

  5. Glad to read your thoughts about the story. I won’t pollute your comments with yet another rehash of my personal feelings (I think I blogged about them for a full week straight). I really thought that ME3 was great, maybe amazing, as a game. I was a little rusty at first, but I really did enjoy all of the encounters.

    • Re: your ME3 posts for a whole week straight, I did dig through your archives and read them all 🙂

      • Oh wow. I’m terribly sorry then. 🙂

        I’ll have to go back and re-read your post with that in mind.

  6. So funny that you post this today, when I actually finished ME3 yesterday!

    Like most comments above, I found the game – up until the ending – to be phenomenal. It’s telling that, as the story progressed and things got more and more desperate for Shepard and his mission, I myself became more and more desperate to play, and even found that I was on edge a lot of the last few days leading up to me finishing. That’s the hallmark of a great story for me – that I become so involved with the story and characters that it bleeds into my real life. ME2 did it. ME3 did it even more. And I’m not afraid to admit tearing up over Mordin, and Legion (hand’s down my favorite subplot AND secondary character), and Grunt (whew! what a relief!), and especially Anderson (at which point, in addition to getting choked up, I actually screamed). If there’s one thing BioWare generally does best it’s create compelling characters that have real depth and about whom you actually care. The final scenes of ME3 are the kind that stick with you – burned into memory because you’re fully invested.

    And, yeah, the ending was less than satisfactory; a lot of questions remain (pretty much all of the one Targeter lists above), and not in the good, “make your own decisions” kinda way. But, honestly, there was no way BioWare was going to get a satisfactory ending out of this game. There was no happy ending possible; neither ME1 or ME2 had a “happily ever after”, why should 3? Like Targeter said, “Happy endings are for children and cowards”. I don’t want a different ending (I actually picked the only one the doesn’t kill Shepard, oddly enough…) I just want a better explanation of the ending they DID write. And I think that’s where most people are – they just want to understand. To invest that much time and energy and emotion to be left hanging with nonsensical crap at the end…that’s just not right.

    And, to be honest, I don’t mind that we basically had 3 choices at the end. In epic stories like this, the finale almost always comes down to a single choice – does Frodo drop the damn ring? Does Luke join the Emperor? Does Neo take the right door or the left door? (Okay, not so much that last one, but you get the point…). People seem to think that all of the choices they made through the ENTIRE 3 games should have factored into the ending…but how does that make sense? Either the Reapers win or the galaxy does. And how many ways could a contraption like the Crucible actually “defeat” the Reapers anyway? The choices you make define your journey, not your destination.

    • I finished it yesterday too 🙂

      And it’s true, I find that most of my conversations about the game are about the relationships with squadmates/characters more than anything else. Jacob and Grunt died for me in the last game, and even though Miranda abandoned me for pissing her off the game treated her as dead as well. I just found out the things that happened in my game were vastly different than my friend’s, who lost Tali and Thane in 2 and also sided with Morinth vs. Samara. That’s the coolest thing about the game, imo.

      I think I’d always planned on sacrificing my Shepard if I knew that was one of the options, even before I started this game. Like I said, I have a soft spot for depressing endings and I already had it all figured out that it was going to be the perfect conclusion to my hero’s journey. But it didn’t occur to me until afterward that death had been made obsolete by the illusive man in the last game anyway, LOL.

      And I completely agree with your last paragraph. All of it. Though I think some people wish there was more of a cogent link between the scenario with the three choices and the rest of th egame.

      • In terms of sacrificing Shepard (man, this whole thread is chock full of spoilers, but at this point, really?), oddly it didn’t even enter into my consideration of the last three choices. The way I played it (full Paragon, no team deaths in ME2) and the way in which I was so wrapped up in the character and the story, it almost wasn’t a choice for me at the end. Everything in the game was about destroying the Reapers, so when it came down to it, I found myself taking the right path almost without thinking about it. At the very end, I was indecisive about Destruction and Synthesis, but when it came down to it, I went with my gut.

        As far as creating a link between the end and the rest of the game, yeah. They could have dropped the Deus Ex Machina/Catalyst-as-little-boy aspect and made more out of the Illusive Man and Harbinger as the plot mechanic to drive the choices, and I probably would have felt a little better about it. But again, there was no way that BW was gonna wrap this thing up in a way that was generally satisfying, so I’m guessing they knew there was going to be an almighty storm over the whole thing and said, “Damn the torpedoes” and just did what they wanted to do. I don’t begrudge them their choice any more than I begrudge Lucas for taking the easy road and having ALL of the main Good Guys survive the full three Star Wars movies.

        I am, however, looking forward to the DLC that is supposed to explain more. I’m hoping they don’t change the ending choices, just provide an Epilogue.

  7. Not to rehash what everyone else said, but I felt so truly betrayed by the ending, that even thinking of Mass Efect 3 makes my stomach churn still.

    Yes, I know it’s a video game and I should get a life, but I was very emotionally invested…and you know what? I wanted the whole happy ending!!!!!

    I WANTED to see Shepard on the beach drinking a mai tai, with Liara in a skimpy bathing suit watching little blue children running along the water.

    I WANTED a happily ever after, what with all the crap that I…er, Shepard, went through for 3 whole games….

    Was it really too much to ask?? Really?

    It’s Bioware’s game, and they did what they felt was appropriate. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    Sorry, but even after the past few months, I guess I’m still very sour over it. I’ll get over it, eventually.


    • I get all that. Truly. I never expected that kind of ending, but I understand the desire for Right to Conquer All.

      But can you acknowledge that that scenario was, at all times, highly unlikely? Mass Effect isn’t the most grim, realistic of settings, but it hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows even from the beginning. There was always loss. There was always a heavy price for Shepard’s success, and he never rode into the sunset having “Won the Day”. Not in ME1, and not in 2 or 3.

      To me, the endings make sense – Shepard has always been about stopping the Reapers at any cost. Yes, you maintain your humanity more if you go Paragon, but still – At All Costs. Not for himself, not for his team. For humanity and for the galaxy. Would it be any surprise that he would sacrifice himself to achieve that goal?

      I think BW set the tone for a gritty ending even in the first game. It isn’t the actual ending with which I have issue, it’s the execution of that ending (incomplete, at best).

      • >>But can you acknowledge that that scenario was, at all times, >>highly unlikely?

        My response as above. 🙂

        >>It’s Bioware’s game, and they did what they felt was >>appropriate. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

        They brought him BACK FROM THE DEAD. I think I could have expected a better ending, no?

        *shrugs* 🙂

      • Point taken. 🙂

  8. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the flip side of the coin, and the “Shepard Sacrifice” makes sense, but I was just very emotionally invested him him.

    Hells, *every* team member in Halo: Reach died. EVERY ONE. And at the end of the game, I nodded and said, “Yeah, okay, I can dig that story.” And I was satisfied that it was a great story and a great game.

    But ME3? Great game. Hells, even AWESOME….until the very end.

    Great, even awesome story…… until the very end.

    I just can’t get past it. LOL.

    PS. I have several Bioware ME Tshirts, even an armor stripe hoodie! That tells you how much I loved the series.

  9. I think what bothered me the most about the ending was that I took Kaidan with me on the final push, if Shepard and Anderson could survive and force our way past our injuries, why couldn’t and wouldn’t he have pushed in with her, yet I get a vision of him showing up on some planet? Why would he have abandoned my Shep at the end like that? How could he have made it onto the Normandy to escape? He wouldn’t have left her side even if ordered. No way was that anything but an attempt to put a “happy” ending spin on half of the relationship.

    Second thing that bugged me was being told what happens when a Mass Effect relay gets destroyed, yet the only choices given mean the destruction of all the relays? Total logic fail there. Did Shep just destroy all life in every system with a relay in it?
    I can stand some ambiguity and sacrifice, but not a giant disconnect in logic there.

    I’m not in the camp that says rewrite the ending, it is what it is and what they felt was necessary to wrap up such an epic struggle, but I still don’t know how I feel about a lot of it. Not betrayed really, but not fully satisfied either.

    • That last scene is just completely bizarre. I thought my eyes were deceiving me when a turian came out of the ship on that strange planet, but I had Garrus with me on the ground when I did the final mission. I thought, bug? Or maybe I was up there in the citadel waaaaaaay longer than I thought. They did ask the forces to pull back and regroup, he might have gone back to the Normandy between then and the time I made my choice. But…I do like to think he survived while I did not.

      I wonder how the relays were in fact destroyed. In my mind they either just stopped working or imploded, or only the small systems were affected. But only because I’d hate to think I destroyed all life, and maybe it’s a good thing bioware didn’t specify so at least I can hope.

  10. “Being too dark” is actually not the real problem.
    The real problem is, “is this how dark the Bioware writers intended?”
    I mean, all Mass Relays destroyed. According to ME2 DLC Arrival, that should have destroyed all major star systems, killing everyone, destroying the very planets (Earth, Rannoch, Tunchunka, etc) you were trying to save, defeating the purpose of fighting Reaper.
    And Tali and Garrus were trapped on a ancient planet. Without Quarian and Turian’s special food, they would most probably starve to death.
    And the large armada, including many friends, you brought to Earth (assuming survived the Mass Relay explosions) were all stranded in Sol System. They could never go back home, would most probably starve to death too.
    These consequences were not mentioned or shown or foreshadowed in the ending. On the contrary, Bioware “painted” the ending to be quite full of hopes.
    So, are these consequences really what Bioware writers intended? Or they just didn’t think it through?

    Other problems of the ending.

    1. Plot holes, continuity errors
    Your squadmates fighting alongside you in the last battle mysterious “teleported” back to Normandy, and Normandy ran away without you and without reasons. They “chickened out” of the battle?
    Catalyst said he created, controlled Reapers, which contradicts with what Sovereign said in ME1, that every Reaper is independent, has no beginning.
    Citadel has been controlling Reaper all along, which turned the whole ME1 story pointless, if you remember what Sovereign’s mission was.

    2. Bioware lied
    These are the pre-launch quotes of Bioware staff


    “(The presence of the Rachni) has huge consequences in Mass Effect 3. Even just in the final battle with the Reapers.”

    “There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets? But I can’t say any more than that?”

    “It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C…..The endings have a lot more sophistication and variety in them.”

    “Of course you don’t have to play multiplayer, you can choose to play all the side-quests in single-player and do all that stuff you’ll still get all the same endings and same information, it’s just a totally different way of playing”

    3. Lack of closure
    The ending was so short, didn’t tell you what happened to most of the characters. Only has a few-seconds clip showing Joker and 2 crew members alive somewhere.
    As yourself said, you liked Garrus, doesn’t it kill you that you don’t know what happened to him afterwards? And worse, he might be facing a slow painful death on an unknown planet.

    4. Shepard’s inconsistent character.
    He/She suddenly accepted everything he/she wouldn’t 10 min ago.
    Why accept Control option? He/she objected to Illusive Man by “this power is too big to control”, “it’s them controlling you, you just don’t know”. The arguments still stand now.
    Why accept destroying all Mass Relays? He/She forgot why he/she was on Earth at the beginning of ME3?
    Why gave up fighting? Didn’t he/she said he/she would rather die fighting?
    Why obey Catalyst? How did he/she know if Catalyst is lying? Reaper has always been deceitful, fooling organics around.
    Why not argue at all? After listening to the reasoning of Catalyst, I think what many players expected Shepard to do was punching Catalyst’s face, and tell him “You are wrong!”. Because…….

    5. Catalyst’s talk doesn’t make sense.
    Why “Creator vs Created” is so inevitable? Quarian and Geth just united out there, and Geth never wanted to fight against Quarian in the first place. At least we have one counter proof, Catalyst has no proof at all.
    Why Reaper didn’t overthrow Catalyst himself, according to Catalyst’s logic?
    Why Shepard’s arrival disproved his solution? Why not just kill Shepard? The cycle could just go on fine.
    Why not tell the Reapers to stop, if Catalyst already decided to let Shepard choose? There is no urgency. They can end the war first, then sit down somewhere with all the races, and decide the fate of the Universe altogether, especially when you are going to toy with their DNA, and strand them in Sol System. Most of the sacrifice, including Shepard, can even be avoided.
    Why there would be Control/Destroy/Synthesis panels on Citadel, built aeons ago, waiting for Crucible to activate them?
    Why need Shepard’s life, or why need Shepard at all, for the Control/Destroy option? Catalyst can totally do it himself.
    Why not Catalyst work on the Synthesis plan himself in the first place, if Synthesis is a better, final solution? He built and control Reapers, he can totally build Crucible and a biosynthetic lifeform.
    Why Synthesis would prevent “Creator vs Created”? Biosynthetic would not create synthetic servant? Or synthetic servant would not overthrew biosynthetic creator? Or biosynthetic creator would not lose the fight?

    6. Bad writing
    All these truth reveal, sudden introduction of new conflict (which is all nonsense by the way), Shepard’s easy acceptance, were done within 50 lines of dialogues, in 10 minutes
    It failed at convincing players to accept Catalyst’s reasoning, much less Shepard’s “surrender”.

    And the ending was against ME’s theme.

    Fight the Reapers? No, you obey them at the end.

    Against all odds? Do the impossible? No, Shepard gave up fighting and accepted that they couldn’t win, hence accepting Catalyst’s offer.

    You even eliminated the diversity between organics and synthetics in the Synthesis ending (which is supposed to be the best ending), which Javik said was the reason why Prothean became weak (lack of diversity), and was the exact opposite of what brought Shepard this far (unite the diversity, make use of each one’s strength, this was what Shepard had been doing in at least ME2 & 3)

  11. I finished Mass Effect 3 less than a month ago, after holding out on buying it, KNOWING it would go on sale (I was busy with other things / games I needed to play, so I wasn’t in a rush). And I was avoiding as many spoilers as I could but I was expecting this HORRIBLE, horrible ending. In fact *SPOILER ALERT* when Cerberus/Kai Leng manages to steal the Prothean information thingie, I was wondering, “Is this how Mass Effect 3 ends?! Where I don’t even get to fight the final battle or stand a chance because we can’t even get the darn ‘thing’ built? Did they go for a super depressing / unfinished ending?” *END SPOILER*

    But when I got to the real ending, I thought to myself, “hey, this isn’t too bad. Kind of interesting, actually.” In fact, the first thing I did was hit Twitter with a proclamation that the ME3 ending WASN’T THAT BAD! And the real key: I was ENJOYING myself during the ending. Maybe the plot and the realism whenever the reapers are fighting with anybody doesn’t quite make sense, but the atmosphere and feel was always decent I thought.

    By the way MMOGC: *SPOILER ALERT* if you max out your effective battle readiness thing at around 4500 or something, I read there is one ending where Shepherd apparently survives 😛 (Destroy, perfect ending) *END SPOILER*

    • Oops, forgot to subscribe to comments

    • Yeah, that’s exactly how I felt. It wasn’t that bad! Like I said, I just felt like I was punk’d by the internet 😛 And you’re right, the atmosphere was INTENSE. Even if I hadn’t known about the ending fiasco, I would have been completely entranced by the final sequence of cutscenes. The music, the scope, the explosions, the emotions!

  12. If my previous post is TLDR, I make a shorter version here.

    “Being too dark” is actually not the real problem.
    “Is this how dark the Bioware writers intended?” is.

    All Mass Relays destroyed, killing everyone and every planets.
    Tali and Garrus would starve to death on that ancient planet.
    The armada (assuming survived the MR explosions) were stranded in Sol System, would most probably starve to death too.

    These consequences were not mentioned or shown or foreshadowed in the ending.
    On the contrary, Bioware “painted” the ending to be quite full of hopes.
    So, are these consequences really what Bioware writers intended? Or they just didn’t think it through?

    Other problems of the ending.

    1. Plot holes, continuity errors
    Big ones even turned the whole ME1 story pointless.

    2. Bioware lied
    They promised something about the ending that turned out not true.

    3. Lack of closure

    4. Shepard’s inconsistent character.
    He/She suddenly accepted everything he/she wouldn’t/shouldn’t

    5. Catalyst’s talk doesn’t make sense.
    There were many nonsense in his explanation.
    Most of the sacrifices (including Shepard) were even unnecessary.

    6. Bad writing
    All these truth reveal, sudden introduction of new conflict (Creator vs Created, which doesn’t make sense by the way), Shepard’s easy acceptance, were done within 50 lines of dialogues, in 10 minutes
    It failed at convincing players to accept Catalyst’s reasoning, much less Shepard’s “surrender”.
    And the ending was against ME’s theme: against all odds, fight the Reapers.

    • Hey, not sure if your previous comment was too long or what, but WordPress sent it to spam and I wasn’t even notified at all. I’ve gone and approved it and it is up now 🙂

      I do agree the ending feels like it was written by a whole different team than the rest of the game, or like they suddenly ran out of time and money or something. Bioware shouldn’t have promised all that they did.

  13. Seems like you had a fairly similar experience that I did. I had avoided all of the spoilers and ending talk outside of being aware that people were disappointed, and when I finished I was pretty confused as to why people were so upset. Then I got online and started reading about the indoctrination theory and other stuff, wow were there a lot of people splitting hairs.

    With a series like this, there was guaranteed to be controversy around the ending(s) no matter what BioWare did. The expectations were just too high for that not to happen. Unfortunately I think the whole cycle will get reignited when the extended ending DLC is released.

  14. Nice timing, the Extended Cut launches on Tuesday.

    I finished playing through the game early on, when the ending controversy was heating up. At the time, I knew there was a big storm of complaints going on, but I just assumed it was the internet making a big deal out of nothing. Then I saw it for myself, and found myself agreeing with the complainers.

    It seemed sloppy to me, and not up to Bioware’s usual standards of storytelling. Deus ex machina is a weak technique, and the Catalyst is a pretty good example. Mass Effect was always a very detailed setting that carefully stayed within the boundaries of its own science, but Star Child and his solutions didn’t fit within what I understood to be the capabilities of the universe.

    Emotionally, I went into the end expecting to see Shepard die, his companions die, and probably see Earth die. I didn’t expect to see a particularly happy ending (Although I wouldn’t have objected to that being an option). But I was still expecting a sense of triumph, even if it cost everyone their lives. That sort of feeling you get in ME1 when you call in the fleet, or at Tuchanka when you cure the Krogan, or when you resolve the geth/quarian war. When that didn’t happen, especially after all the suspense that the game had been building up since Thessia, I just had to walk away feeling confused and disappointed.

  15. I like this video on the ending. It’s long and spoilery, of course. In short, the major complaints are mechanical and about the storytelling, not that it’s a downer. Downer endings can still *work*, but the end of ME3 apparently just didn’t flow from the rest of the game.

  16. Last Bioware game I buy. Wish I had known the outcome was, “You die!” No matter what you do, “You die!” Totally sucks, will never waste money on that company again.

    • Actually, if you have a high enough EMS value at the end and you choose the Destroy ending, it’s implied Shepard lives (you take a breath at the end and in the new ending, they don’t actually put your name plate on the wall if dead).

      • of* dead

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