Sunday, 13 May 2012

Why I liked the Mass Effect3 Ending (And why I can understand that some people didn't.)

See, the problem is all about individuality. That's the issue right there. The Mass Effect series built itself up as a series that thrived on the players individual choices, and then gave us three seemingly unconnected choices to the rest of the series when it came to the very end.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Sorry, I do that sometimes. SPOILERS FOLLOW.

The Vitriol that spawned in the depths of the interwebs after Mass Effect 3 came out was staggering in its intensity. People were complaining to EA and Bioware, ranting on Youtube and coming up with theories as to how it couldn't possibly be the real ending and they were all hiding it from us to make money of DLC. Since Bioware are now releasing a free DLC pack that expands on the endings, that holds a certain amount of water, but I don't think the "indoctrination theory" does. It's just a little too convoluted for my tastes, and a little over-reaching. I could be wrong, but hey.

I honestly think a lot of the reaction has been very overblown - some people are taking this game far too seriously; at the end of the day its still a game. I got called a "game hater" on twitter a while back fro daring to defend EA over some peoples reaction - a nifty trick for someone who started gaming on a tape drive Amstrad. People threatening to hit EA with lawsuits for false advertising and voting them the "Most evil company in the world" went somewhere beyond fanboyism into the downright asinine, but I can still understand where a lot of people were coming from. Yes, the Ending featured a pure and simple Deus Ex Machina (Something I'm not really opposed to) and yes, it didn't really feature a 'happy' ending (Which I suspect will be expanded upon in the free DLC) but I don't think that was really the issue.

I think, as much as anything else, the problem descends from the fact the choices aren't clear cut. If you click on that link to the indoctrination theory, it goes on about how Anderson is shown as the Renegade choice and the Illusive man is shown as the Paragon choice. What that says to me, rather than a convoluted theory, is that the game is illustrating that not everything is as cut and dry as we may like. Lets not forget, destroying the reapers would also destroy the Geth - who can be allies by that point - and of course, EDI. It's Genocide of a species. The second option is controlling the Reapers, but sacrificing Shepard's life to do so, again, not a clear cut choice. I'm enough of a completist that I also got the third option, to create the new form a life that was a synthetic-organic hybrid, therefore rendering the reapers obsolete.

Some people have pointed out that this is giving into the Reapers but I disagree: the Reapers seek to exterminate or dominate organic life. What the third option represents is peace between the two, but again, its not a clear cut choice.

It's a difficult decision, I sat there for a good few minutes before I made my choice. I won't tell you which one, but I was lucky in the fact that it actually fit into my style of playing. I can understand that for a lot of people that wouldn't have happened. My ending was bittersweet, certainly: I would have liked the happy ending with Liara and the "little blue children", but hey thems the kicks, and we can hope we get that closure in the expansion.

And that brings me back to my opening gambit: it's all about individuality. Those three endings weren't as bad as everyone thought, but they in no way matched up to the three games that came before them. Those game were based around long-standing choices that shook the universe; the final endings weren't. I still think the reaction was disproportional to the supposed offence, but I can understand where people are coming from.