Mass Effect 3 (Spoilers)

I would like to discuss. Has anyone else here played it?

Outstanding game up until the last 10 minutes. That really sums it up.

I have yet to play it (please mark any spoilers!), but I’ve heard that many people didn’t like the ending. It’s next on my list… haven’t bought it because I have some projects to complete first and I imagine it would be a huge distraction.

A 40 hour distraction. Have you played ME2? Or 1 for that matter?

It’s quite amazing to see how the game does so many things right only to ruin everything in the last ten minutes. The first 95% is a game that’s specifically made for the ME fans (as much as their marketing would try to suggest otherwise), while the last 5% is pretty much the exact opposite. If you haven’t played the game yet, I’d wait for the ending update that Bioware is working on.

I’ve played through both.

Wow, that bad.

I’m not convinced this update is going to be anything more than the epilogue they said it’s going to be. I think it’ll just show what happens after the ending, as opposed to actually changing the ending itself.


As far as the ending goes: Here is what fans have called “The Indoctrination Ending”.

I think this is what really happened at the end of the game. When I was first experiencing the ending I really felt that a lot of things felt out of place or strange…

I finished Mass Effect 3 in the weekend. It took me around 25 hours, much less time than it took you Shadow, that’s probably because I didn’t complete many side quests.

*** Spoilers below ***

The ending: I actually didn’t mind it, although it was perhaps too vague for most people. Straight after finishing the game (before I looked at the theories online), my own interpretation was that it showed how destroying the Reapers would ultimately lead to the same consequences as not destroying them. In a sense, I think the writers were trying to say that some decisions lead to the same consequences no matter what we do. So, there was certain amount of fatalism to the story.

However, although this seems like a very dark ending, I interpreted a positive meaning from it as well. We are all going to die, but that doesn’t mean that the choices we may in our lives are meaningless. They have meaning to the people around us, not because of some ultimate end goal, but it the context of our relations with others; the relationships formed are themselves are meaningful to the people involved, regardless of how things turn out in the end, and these relationships are formed by choices. Shepard made many choices throughout his journey, forming alliances, relationships, choosing who lives and dies, deciding whether or not the ends justify the means. While the Illusive Man could only see the end goal in mind, Shepard was concerned about the means of achieving that goal as well (at least, some variations of Shepard). I see this as the writers telling us that the method of going after that end goal matters as much (or more) than the end goal itself.

The other part of the ending is the indoctrination theory. I missed this when I played through it, although something didn’t seem quite right. I think some variant of the indoctrination theory is probably correct. However, if the theory is true, and Shepard did become a pawn of the reapers, it would still not make the choices he made during the rest of his quest unmeaningful. I’m also not sure if there was anything else Shepard could have done - if he had made none of the three choices, the Reapers would have (presumably) completed the cycle anyway.

*** Spoilers below ***

Btw, if indoctrination theory is true, is it as bad as it sounds? Shepard still made a choice, even if it was heavily influenced. Isn’t that the same with all choices?

What follows is a huge rant over how bad I thought the ending was, so you’ve been warned.

*** SPOILERS ***

The indoctrination theory is just wishful thinking, nothing more. The only reason it exists is because the current ending seems so out of place and makes so little sense that people can’t fathom that Bioware could actually mess things up that badly. Sure enough, it’s easy to explain the ending by saying “it’s all just a dream”. Unfortunately the theory creates as many plotholes as it tries to fix. The only reason Bioware refuses to debunk the theory is that they’re afraid of the backlash. It’s better for them that a part of the fans still believe the IT theory, while they try to figure out how they’re going to explain all the plotholes in the Extended Cut.

Personally, I think the ending betrays everything that the series stood for. The Mass Effect series is one of the few modern game franchises I actually still cared about, and to see Bioware run the franchise into the ground like this is really disappointing. Especially since the mission on Tuchanka showed just how good the game could be. The problem isn’t just the Deus Ex Machina and the giant amount of plotholes that the game introduces in the last ten minutes. It’s not just the complete lack of closure. It’s not just the broken promises about how diverse the endings would be. What’s probably the biggest issue for me is that Shepard is forced to listen to the game’s antagonist and then sacrifice himself/herself to solve a problem that he/she never intended to fix or even believes in. Here’s how I see the three endings choices:

Destroy ending: this is what Shepard has been trying to accomplish for the past three games. It’s the only ending where you can reject the Catalyst’s reasoning. But just to troll the fans, Bioware made this ending kill the geth and EDI. So this is basically what happens:

Shepard: “I reject your reasoning that synthetics and organics can’t co-exist. EDI and Legion have shown me otherwise. And now I’ll prove it… by killing EDI, wiping out the geth and betraying Legion’s sacrifice.”

Great. I guess Bioware made this ending that bad on purpose, to match how awful the other options are.

Control ending: you spend the entire game telling TIM that controlling the Reapers won’t work, and in the final moments you go and… do exactly what TIM intended to do all along. Way to be a hypocrite, Shepard. You just subjugated thousands of Reapers which each hold the liquefied remains of millions of organics. Instead of finally granting those souls peace, you keep them trapped in the flying abominations that are the Reapers and enslave them to your own will.

Synthesis: this is so messed up that I can’t comprehend that Bioware thinks this was the best ending. First of all you accept the Catalyst, and therefore the Reapers’, reasoning that synthetics will always destroy organics, something which you have little reason to actually believe. Then you mutate every living being in the galaxy because you believe that making them more alike will solve their differences. The Reapers and the Catalyst remain unpunished for their galactic genocide. And I’m sure people won’t mind the fact that they wake up only to realize they look like the same husks that tried to kill them moments before. Mass suicide anyone? I guess that’s what you get for listening to the Reaper boss. This is not only incredibly far-fetched, but it’s morally wrong on so many levels.

So yeah, I really hate the endings.

Apologies, I forgot to mark the spoilers in my earlier posts. I’ve updated the posts. Perhaps we should mark this whole topic as one big spoilerfest in the title.

More spoilers below…

I’m curious now what plotholes the indoctrination theory creates. Does the indoctrination theory necessarily require that the ending was a dream? My understanding was that the theory says that indoctrination changed/influenced Shepard’s thinking so that he went along with one of the reaper solutions, in a similar way to what happened to the Illusive Man. An indoctrinated person usually doesn’t know they’re indoctrinated.

[quote=“Drakin”]Destroy ending: this is what Shepard has been trying to accomplish for the past three games. It’s the only ending where you can reject the Catalyst’s reasoning. But just to troll the fans, Bioware made this ending kill the geth and EDI. So this is basically what happens:

Shepard: “I reject your reasoning that synthetics and organics can’t co-exist. EDI and Legion have shown me otherwise. And now I’ll prove it… by killing EDI, wiping out the geth and betraying Legion’s sacrifice.”

Great. I guess Bioware made this ending that bad on purpose, to match how awful the other options are.[/quote]

I agree that it’s unlikely that this was meant to be a “good” ending.

Just a question here… if you played as renegade, are you still against controlling the reapers (for yourself)? I played as paragon, however I assumed that at least some the renegade choices would allow you to be more like the Illusive Man. Similar to the dark side choices in KOTOR. If so, then perhaps the control the reapers ending isn’t entirely inconsistent with Shepard’s personality.

It’s weird how this ending is blue for paragon. Perhaps this is because Shepard doesn’t sacrifice or mutate anyone, unlike in the synthesis and destroy endings.

I don’t think this was meant to be the best ending… has Bioware made a statement about it, or is this what fans believe? I saw this ending as another Reaper solution, in that it was just another way of harvesting everyone. Perhaps it is similar to what happened in earlier cycles.

Bioware could have added a fourth ending: do nothing. Now the question is, would this choice have been preferable to the three endings? I’m not sure. Shepard didn’t have another solution to stop the reapers, and the fight on Earth appeared to be a lost cause. So perhaps if Shepard had done nothing the reapers would have harvested everyone and started a new cycle, leading to similar consequences to the three endings.

It’s possible that the destroy ending was supposed to be the best/least bad ending, but thats dubious too. Destroying all synthetics could be seen as better than all organics and synthetics (apart from the reapers) either being harvested or destroyed, which would have likely happened if Shepard had done nothing. However this brings into question the ethics of actions and omissions. Some ethicists believe that the right choice is in the act alone, whereas others believe that an omission is comparable to an action (e.g not rescuing a drowning person is comparable to killing them). Because Shepard actively destroyed EDI and the Geth this could be seen as maleficent, whereas doing nothing might be seen as leaving his hands clean. Alternatively, doing nothing would be seen as maleficent, in that the fight would be lost if nothing was done and everyone died/harvested anyway.

The way I see it, all of the endings have bad aspects to them. It makes sense, considering that that all three endings were reaper solutions.

The most popular variation has it that Shepard never entered the Citadel, and that he’s still in London after getting hit by Harbinger’s beam. People argue the destroy ending where Shepard lives is meant to show Shepard defeating the indoctrination and waking up in London. The presence of concrete blocks is supposed to prove that. In short they argue “it’s all just a dream”. It’s absurd in my opinion. There are indeed plenty of variations, but considering the fact that Shepard was in fact already being indoctrinated by TIM (and beat that indoctrination), it would basically mean that Shepard was being indoctrinated while he/she was already indoctrinated. Really far-fetched, but the funny thing is it would still be a better ending.

No, it does fit for Renegades. That’s why it’s so stupid for Bioware to “corrupt” the Destroy ending, which was the Paragon choice.

Mass Effect 2’s ending was the same. Blue explosion: renegade. Red explosion: paragon. If you kept the Collector base and you have a very low EMS, you only get the control option in the end. If you destroyed the Collector base and have a very low EMS, you only get the destroy option.

The game presents it as such. It requires more EMS than the other two ending choices. That’s just part of the reason why there’s such an uproar over the ending. The fans can’t understand what Bioware was thinking when they made this ending. The ending is completely disconnected from what the series was all about. There’s no way to really disagree or even argue against the Catalyst’s assertion that synthetics will destroy organics, and that while the past games have given us plenty of reason not believe a word it says. Honestly, it’s like we got the ending to a different game.

And really, Bioware just doesn’t even seem to understand their own ending. They’re now trying to explain we didn’t actually kill millions of people on the Citadel when we blew it up (despite the fact that we see it explode and the arms separate, and then there’s the fact that all that debris is heading to Earth). The relays also blow up, leaving the remained of the galactic fleet stranded in Sol. The quarians retook their home world, only for them to be unable to return to it. Wrex is very much needed to keep the Krogans on Tuchanka under control, but he’s stuck on Earth as well. There’s simply no food for all those different races either. Now Bioware is suggesting they can still get home using FTL, which would still take years even in the most positive outlook.

The Normandy crashed on some unknown planet, because for some inexplicable reason Joker abandoned the fight with Sword and entered a mass relay (which is situated near Pluto!). So they’re stuck there as well.

In short: you destroyed the universe you tried to save for the past three games. Apparently Bioware though the details didn’t matter, the characters didn’t matter, and we’re apparently only supposed to care about the bigger picture and the fact that even though we destroyed the entire galactic society, some kid and his grandpa 10.000 years later can look at the stars and wonder if there’s anyone else out there. The game’s concludes with a popup telling us to buy DLC.

And now we have Bioware telling us how proud they are of this mess and how they’ll add “clarification and closure” for the fans that are too dumb to understand their artistic vision. And that’s still only half of it, I’m not even going to start about how they’re forcing people to play MP to unlock all endings in SP, and their day 1 DLC that removed a key character from the game just in order for them to sell it separately. My trust in Bioware has just disappeared completely at this point.

I guess we’ll have to wait for this DLC to properly understand the ramifications of the endings. I’m skeptical of all three choices, as they were all setup by the reapers - are the consequences as the child said they were, or was he lying? It would make a lot of sense if he was lying, a certain amount of manipulation rather than giving Shepard an unbiased account of what each decision would mean.

You seem to be more involved in the Mass Effect universe than I ever was, so I won’t argue against these apparent inconsistencies. Maybe I’ll replay the series at some point to appreciate a better understanding of it.

Still waiting for price drops/better ending before picking this up. I am squeezing just a little bit more time out of Skyrim before I even think about picking up ME3.

Definitely wait for the better ending.

Gamespot has posted videos of the extended cut endings: … ut/videos/

I thought the new endings were okay…At least it explained things a bit more rather than leave you in the dark.

I “played” through all four EC endings, and they’re just more of the same. Bioware tried to fix an ending that didn’t make sense by adding more stuff to it that also doesn’t make sense. The Normandy pickup for example makes no sense at all. What used to be a desperate run towards the beam (“No retreat!”) now has Shepard stopping along the way, turning back to save his two crew members, and calling for a pickup. Then the freaking Normandy appears out of nowhere, Shepard helps the two crew members aboard and says goodbye before continuing his/her run towards the beam. During that time, Harbinger just sits there and patiently waits for the Normandy to leave before firing again. IFF or not, it just doesn’t make sense. And that’s just the start of the EC.

As for the rest of the endings, the clarification about the Catalyst makes the thing seem even worse than it was before. The three endings are basically the same, they just added some “closure” to it. The key issues I listed earlier however were completely ignored. Honestly, as much as I liked this series, what Bioware did with ME3 (and it’s not just the endings) caused me to stop caring altogether.

What did you think of the Refuse ending, Draikin? It seems that Bioware at least listened to one compliant from fans: that there was originally no way to refuse any of the reaper solutions. This would seemingly make the extended cut truer to what Mass Effect is all about: choice.

My 360 is getting repaired at the moment so I didn’t play the ending again, but I watched the new endings on Gamespot. The enhanced versions of the three original endings didn’t do much for me. They just made things more explicit which mostly wasn’t necessary.