The End is the Beginning is the End

The internet went on a rampage a few days after Mass Effect 3‘s release. The culprit: the game’s ending. It was convoluted, filled with plot holes, and didn’t really offer any closure. I, too, was disappointed by it. But, out of respect for other gamers who haven’t finished the game, I held my silence to avoid spoiling the game for them. Now that the game has been out for almost three weeks, it’s time for me to break my silence and throw my two cents in this matter.

I still, however, maintain my stance on giving Mass Effect 3 a high score on my review (see here). As a whole, the game is great. It’s merely the ending that has disappointed me. But I also blame myself for that. I simply expected BioWare to follow The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars trilogies, whereas the final installment of the trilogy gives us epic fights and victorious endings.

Indeed, there were a lot of Return of the King and Return of the Jedi moments in Mass Effect 3. Unusual alliances were formed, old enemies discarding grudges to fight a common enemy, and a small fleet facing an overwhelming force. It was glorious to see the whole Milky Way unite, and it was all possible because of Sheperd –of me. When the whole fleet jumped to the Sol system, I was pretty sure that we’d beat the Reapers, and that we’d go home and rebuild: The Geth and Quarians co-habitting Rannoch; Krogans repopulating Tuchanka; and my Sheperd marrying Ashley.

But the end didn’t turn out as I’ve expected. Instead, I was presented with three choices: Destroy all synthetic life, control all synthetic life, and merge all synthetic and organic life. No matter what you choose, you’ll die and the mass relays in the galaxy will be destroyed. It’s pretty anti-climatic. But that’s all you’ll get. You’ll never find out everyone else’s fate. You’ll never find out if the Krogans, now cured of the genophage, will rise in rebellion. You’ll never find out if the Quarians maintained their relationship with the Geth. Like I said, there’s no closure.

So, like many, I was left scratching my head after I finished Mass Effect 3. The ending just didn’t make any sense at all. I also found it hard to believe that BioWare, for all their efforts of giving us a game in which we get to decide what happens in the world, would end the story like that. I couldn’t grasp the idea that BioWare, who has an impressive track record in regards to writing game stories, would give the Mass Effect trilogy a horrific ending like that.

Then, I remembered Neverwinter Nights 2. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment (using BioWare’s Electron game engine), it’s a game that I thoroughly enjoyed. But, similar to Mass Effect 3, I also hated its ending because it didn’t make sense. But a year later, Obsidian released Mask of the Betrayer, a game expansion to tie all the loose ends in Neverwinter Nights 2. That’s when it occurred to me that the ending in Mass Effect 3 isn’t a bad creative decision. Instead, it’s a vile cash-milking strategy.

Just think about it. The ending left a lot of unanswered questions. What’s the perfect way to answer those questions? Through a DLC. Fans are angry over the ending. What’s the perfect way to appease those fans? Through a DLC. It wouldn’t surprise me if BioWare releases a DLC tomorrow. I’m pretty sure they already have a couple of contents done way before this controversy started. They’re just trying to decide how much it should cost. By the looks of it, a lot of people will pay top dollar for a content that will give us a better ending.

Right now, I’m convinced that Mass Effect 3’s ending isn’t THE ending. But it’s a beginning of another end. If there’s one thing to be angry about BioWare, it’s not because they created a bad ending. But it’s because they’ll charge you for the good ending.

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