The will likely be spoilers, but should I talk about something super new I'll warn ya. But consider this a pre-emptive warning! You're WARNED!

Sunday, March 11, 2012



So I knew I would clear a block of time when Mass Effect 3 arrived, like I did for ME2, so I could just play until completion. There has been completion.

And over the last 12 hours, as I've been thinking about it- this ending that will set, at least, The Internet on fire- I've literally gone from



thinking it's absolutely the most ingenious ending to a video game ever.

This requires faith in what's to come, but even thinking about it...I am completely blown away. And I'm blown away by the process it took for me to completely flip my opinion- that the game provides an answer that is not clear cut and/or easy. I'm stunned.

Of course, maybe I'm wrong and that's that. We shall see.

Now hurry up and finish, everyone, so we can discuss!



CashBailey said...

Gah!! I'm nowhere near finished. Too many distractions.

Stacie Ponder said...

I totally marathoned. And I'm pretty sure it's the shortest game in the series. Not short, mind you, but it took me the least amount of hours to finish (around 35, as opposed to 60 for ME and I think 45 for ME2).

CashBailey said...

So do you feel like you did everything? All the side quests and whatnot.

Stacie Ponder said...

I'm pretty certain: with ME and Dragon Age, I am super completionist and I try my best NOT to move the main plot forward until I have no choice. Same here- anything tagged 'priority' got shelved (counterintuitive and silly, but I took a chance. The only time it bit me was after my crew was abducted in ME2- you HAVE to go straight away to save them).

So, I think I did it all, although there are SO MANY small ambient conversations, I may have missed a couple.

I do know that if you move the plot forward, some smaller quests get locked out, like, say, Grissom Academy.

Stacie Ponder said...

Oh, and I did the DLC (it comes with the CE) so a regular run will be even shorter. It's pretty cool, but it's definitely not ESSENTIAL.

matango said...

I just finished this, and I am very much in the "hate the ending" camp. Any analysis of the story I can think of, makes me more upset with the ending. File this under bad endings with BSG.

I find myself in agreement with Hitler (HAS VERY MANY SPOILERS):



Stacie Ponder said...

I do love the ending, but ONLY because of what I think it all means...which, if I'm right, means the end is NOT the end and there's more to come. I think BioWare took a huge risk by essentially ending it with a cliffhanger- and after the From Ashes DLC debacle, if they ARE planning a DLC denouement, they'd do best to make it free, or, like, 99 cents.

Or, I could be wrong and the end is the end. If that's the case, my theories still stand but it will be SUPER SUPER SUPERRRRRRRRR disappointing to say the least.

But I'm not wrong, I just KNOWS it! :D

Stacie Ponder said...

Which ending did you choose, by the way?

UntrainedMonkey said...

Because of the general buzz I'm picking up about the ending, it has really put the brakes on the speed at which I'm playing through ME3...

A real pity as it's something I've been looking forward to for so long.

matango said...


I chose the middle ending. I didn't choose red because I'm not really down with the genocide. I didn't choose blue because, yeah, I don't trust the Reapers, but I don't know if I'd take the middle route again.

Maybe I would if I were to feel like replaying and could make a Shep that looks like Persis Khambatta.

I am really uncomfortable with that ending though. It's not genocide (red) and it's not letting the Reapers win (blue), but it's still f-ing disturbing. It's kind of the Doctor Mengele ending.

I suspect that the blue ending really is meant to be the Paragon ending, but I spent the prior 2.95 games learning that you just stay the heck away from Reapers. I am now to trust ghost kid?

I do hope there is an ending change. Even if it isn't planned, there's a precedent for DLC changing a crappy ending (Fallout 3).

Otherwise, I don't think I can play any other single player DLC. Oh, there will be a "Retake Omega" DLC, and they will dangle Aria T'Loak in front of me as a temp squaddie, but I will simply say . . . no. I don’t think I could care about who controls Omega for the next week and a half until they starve to death and are eaten by Vorcha, who in turn starve to death.

Another thought for a possible real ending is that the single player DLC will change the outcome, assuming it all comes before the ending. In ME2, everything was supposed to be done before completing the single player campaign, I think (I played it that way, since I came late to Mass Effect, in 2011, after it had all been released), except for Arrival (IMO).

Now, it’s kind of dirty pool to do that to get people to buy DLC, but I’d be fine with it if it gives us a better ending.


Also, everybody on the Citadel died? That’s f’ed up.


My hypothetical alternate renegade ending:

The same until we reach the Illusive Man holding a gun on Anderson. A guy who looks like Huey Lewis is also there. It turns out that TIM came up with the Reapers as a cover to rob the Citadel National Bank! I’d say more, but that would ruin it.



Captcha: Edidia Frefoli. The next time I make a woman character in an RPG, that's her name.

Stacie Ponder said...

Okay, you get all the points for namedropping Persis Khambatta! :D And I saw that Ali Hillis tweet earlier, too. I thought the Liara romance was handled very super duper sweetly and well, although Liara did act like we didn't hug shit out after killing the Shadow Broker. Oh well.

Anyway, here is my long LONNNNNNNG interpretation of the ending (and that it's not the ending at all):

The whole game was just one big, long goodbye. I think the "Shep dies" end was telegraphed from very early on, and there's just this heavy sadness hanging over the whole experience and nearly every interaction. For the first time in the series, Shepard was doubting herself, and I started to think choosing "unsure" answers might affect the ending.

My Shep is nearly 100% paragon (gotta push a sassy merc out a skyscraper window once in a while, though) and so I managed to resolve most situations without TOO MUCH tragedy (TALI SUICIDE NO THANK YOU, LOSING MORDIN WAS BAD ENOUGH).

THEN THAT ENDING. I admit, I was stunned and angry and shocked by everything that happened after Anderson dies. I thought it should have ended there, pretty much, before you take the platform up to the Catalyst. I chose the red/follow Anderson/destroy the Reapers option. It wasn't that the finale wasn't the big cheesy sendoff I wanted with drinks and blue mindbabbys forever, but when it was over, it didn't make *sense* to me from a logical standpoint- even from after the moment Harbinger blasts you and you get up. I was feeling Battlestar Galactica-levels of letdown, for reals.

Then I thought about everything that doesn't make sense about it.

The slo-mo run-up with gun that never needs reloading? Where did it even come from? Where is my armor? It got BLOWN OFF but I'm alive?

How did my LI and squadmate get on the Normandy when they were right beside me at the end? Where did Harbinger go after blasting me? How did the Illusive Man get on the Citadel?


Stacie Ponder said...

And those endings. Choosing red- renegade- felt right and wrong. It felt right because I was killing the Reapers, which has been my goal since the first game. The other options weren't right for my Shep- you CAN'T control the Reapers. And rewriting every being in existence with Synthesis felt too...god-like. But then it felt wrong to go renegade because it would kill EDI and the geth (and me), obviously, but even more than that, I was paragon for THREE GAMES and here I was doing the opposite of that at the very end.

Then it finally hit me- I'm not doing the opposite. The renegade choice IS the paragon choice. I only think it's renegade because it's red. It's red BECAUSE THE REAPERS WANT ME TO THINK IT IS RENEGADE AND THEY ARE TRICKING ME AND THEY ARE TRYING TO INDOCTRINATE SHEPARD AND ME OH MY GAHHHHHD!

And I realized, holy crap: none of what happens after you get hit by Harbinger *actually* happens. This is BRILLIANT. The three options presented are the last attempt by the Reapers to fully indoctrinate Shepard (and you) and you as the player must resist. The blue "paragon" option benefits the Reapers, because again, no one can actually ever control them. Synthesis: merging organic and non-organic effectively makes EVERYONE a Reaper, or at least what the Reapers want life to be. Choosing red is a big EFF YOU, we decide our own fate and even if it means such a huge sacrifice, so be it. This is the only option where Shepard lives. Shepard and the player have both resisted indoctrination.

There's so much evidence throughout the game if you think about it: with the end choices, the non-red are the ones where Shep is all "But there will be peace if I do this?" and gets a YES. To choose the blue ending, Shepard follows the frickin' Illusive Man, an indoctrinated enemy. For the red, the godbabything is all "Oh, don't choose that, it won't work and you'll kill your friends and yourself and the cycle will emerge again and continue. No really. Don't pick it! I AM SERIOUS" and if chosen, she follows Anderson, her heroic friend and father figure.

Not to mention: all of Shepard's dreams feature those OILY SHADOWS the rachni talk about in reference to indoctrination. What, there are NO conversation options at the end, for the first time in the series, when it matters most? Shep couldn't talk down the Catalyst with, basically "What do you mean synthetics and organics can't coexist? Look at the geth/quarians and EDI/Joker and the fact that the galaxy is totally united for the first time in the history of ever". How would the Catalyst even know that the "child" image would mean anything to me unless it was IN MY HEAD? Probably throughout the entire game- the kid never actually existed and he was just an idea planted by the Reapers to wear me down. Shep's been exposed to so much through all 3 games- artifacts, beacons, not to mention implants- so OF COURSE total indoctrination is possible. And it explains that SERIOUSLY WTF Normandy crash business.

If that's all true (and admittedly, maybe it's not) it's a mind-blowing, ingenious ending. Risky, because it's not all spelled out and obviously fans are enraged. But I bet there will be DLC that has Shep getting up from the rubble after being hit by Harbinger and REALLY killing the Reapers LIKE A BOSS, because that is what she would goddamn DO. She wouldn't submit to them.

And then there will be blue mindbabbys. :D

Stacie Ponder said...

And there HAS to be Omega DLC. I will be so all over that it will not even be funny. Aria T'Loak is such a BAMF.

matango said...


I think that's all plausible. Also, I think it would be thematically appropriate to have Shep have to face down indoctrination.



I hope I don't need old saves.

Stacie Ponder said...

I know!! I can't wait to find out what is up with BG.

This past summer, a friend gave me a decent-enough PC because she got a new one. The FIRST thing I did was buy BG 1 & 2- I'd never played them! And my regular computer is a Mac. A pretty cruddy one.

So I was playing BG and I got...not very far. To some mines. And my friend said she wanted her computer back.

And that is all I have done with Baldur's Gate. One of these days I'll get a PC for gaming. ONE OF THESE DAYS.

Stacie Ponder said...

Well, it seems maybe I'm right. Someone leaked forthcoming DLC- this same dude apparently leaked Kasumi and LotSB DLC- regarding the end.

More info here.


Stacie Ponder said...

ALSO, characters. Oh, how feelings change from ME 1 & 2 to ME 3! This is pretty much my rundown for the third game:

Jacob: Boringer than ever. So boring that the word "boringer" had to be created. Could have done without him altogether.

Grunt: I like him more. Was happy he didn't die.

Ashley: BLECCH. Here's Ashley throughout the game:

"Shepard, I don't trust you. I don't trust you. Me me me me me, me me me. I don't trust you. Me me me. Can I trust you? Okay, I trust you. Me me me me." Likely Kaidan won't be any better, but I think he'll survive Virmire next time.

Garrus and Joker: They are great in this last installment.

Tali: Ehhhh. Quarians sure are assholes.


UntrainedMonkey said...

You missed Jack!

I thought she put in a great cameo.

Stacie Ponder said...

HOW COULD I FORGET JACK? Loved it. Thought they took her in a really unexpected direction and it was great. And her hair is boss. :D

Apparently if...I'm not sure if it's because you don't save the students on Grissom OR if she's not loyal in ME2, but she CAN get taken by Cerberus and she becomes a Phantom...and you have to fight her later.

Oh, and Samara- looooved the mission. She was a little meh, but exploring the colony was cool. And freaky- Banshees are TERRIFYING!

matango said...

Man, I hate banshees.

I didn't have any problems with Tali in this game.

I was a little upset that Kal'Reegar didn't make an appearance, but I guess Adam Baldwin is busy.

I liked most of the ME2 characters cameo missions, but I didn't really like Zaeed's tiny bit.

I thought it kind of odd that they didn't have any ME2 characters as squadmates.

I ended up using Liara for nearly every mission because of those stupid guardians.

I wish I had gotten to use Wrex as a squaddie. He and Garrus were my go to team for ME1.

Stacie Ponder said...

Oh Liara is SUPER useful in ME3. I used her on every mission. She was throwing warp bombs all over the place! And as a vanguard, I had a charge - nova - shotgun thing going. It always ended really well or in total disaster.

I think pretty much all the ME2 cameos, save Miranda's were kind of a let down. The missions were fun, but the interactions were on the underwhelming side (ESPECIALLY Zaeed, what the heck). Really wish I could have had Miranda back as a squaddie.

UntrainedMonkey said...

Casey Hudson on the ending:

Stacie Ponder said...

The plot, she thickens!

On YouTube, I just heard a piece of Joker dialogue cut from the game. It's at the end, and it indicates that Joker provided some sort of air support. He said he couldn't let Shepard take all the credit, and that he picked up the girls and they were on board- which would explain the crewmates at the end.


BioWare is keeping mum. I just...can't believe this wouldn't be a plan they had the whole time. That end couldn't REALLY be the end, could it? It just wouldn't make sense, and it's no way to end a 100+ hour epic.

matango said...


Qwertie said...

Did you come up with this indoctrination theory yourself? If so, that's pretty neat, since I've seen multiple other people talking about the same thing. The ending is bad enough to deserve changing and the indoctrination theory would be a nice way to pave over it... too bad BioWare won't change it:

"Are there going to be more/different endings or ending DLCs in the future? No. BioWare strongly believes in the team’s artistic vision for the end of this arc of the Mass Effect franchise. The extended cut DLC will expand on the existing endings, but no further ending DLC is planned."

CashBailey said...

Okay,m I know I'm the last person on earth to finish ME3 but all I can say is that I loved the ending I got.

I chose Paragon, so I dove into the beam and synthesised everyone. I thought that was kind of brilliant.

And thank you, Bioware, for finally confirming, after years of wondering, that Tali'Zorah is, indeed, totally hot. Even with her creepy goat legs.