11 March 2012

Mass Effect 3. So close and yet so far...

Normally I would spend a lot of time thinking over what I wanted to say on this subject and fussing over the content, but I'm going to try to simply speak my mind now, warts and all...

Okay, I'll start by saying that I am a huge fan of the first two games in the series and I was looking forward to playing the third and final chapter in this trilogy for months. I had the good fortune of having not played the first two games until last year due to not having a computer powerful enough to run them. (No, I didn't want the console versions)

Thus I was able to experience and enjoy both games and their DLCs all at once. I even went as far as to buy the collector's edition of Mass Effect 3, which I almost NEVER do because I don't generally care about art books and extra crap like that unless I can get it for the same price as the original bare bones game. The Collector's Edition came with DLC and a bunch of other extras, some of which I haven't figured out how to unlock (Wasn't I supposed to get a robot dog or something? Oh well.)

I played Mass Effect 3 over the past week and for the most part, I was really enjoying it. The decisions I had made in previous games more often than not carried over into this one and helped with my war effort to defeat the reapers. There were so many cameos that made me giddy as I recalled them from previous games, which I also replayed recently. There were a few gripes I had with the game while playing, such as the treatment of Rebecca Chambers, the almost completely pointless character of Diane Allers, and a few others but certainly nothing bad enough to ruin the game for me.

Then we reached the ending. Dear god, the ending. Now in three different colors with the same bitter taste! I'm not going to go into specifics but they basically gave us a Gainax ending times three and basically being a Paragon/Renegade meant absolute JACK SHIT when it was all said and done. It made little sense, it was disappointing and just utterly crushed the joy I had experienced playing it until that moment because it just felt unfinished, unsatisfying and just... UGH.

And I'm not the only one who feels this way. This is not one person whining about not getting the endings he wanted. There is currently a series of petitions, polls and campaigns underway for BioWare to release a patch or DLC that fixes the ending of this game. There is a great deal of outrage and hurt from the gaming community that has devoted so much love and time to this series and rightly so.

We know that Bioware has plans to release more DLC for Mass Effect 3 in the future. But if that DLC does nothing to fix the ending, I won't be buying them. I don't care if they flesh out the universe a little more, let us take over Omega with Aria, etc. I won't buy it because ultimately, it won't mean anything if they keep that ending. If Bioware doesn't care anymore, why the hell should I?

Does this mean I will never play a Mass Effect game again? Probably not. If Mass Effect 3's ending isn't fixed, I sure as hell won't be playing THAT game again but I can still get some sense of closure and satisfaction by replaying Mass Effect 1 & 2 and if I have to settle for that, I will. Also, I may be interested in future stores taking place in the Mass Effect universe without Shepard, but I'm definitely going to be more likely to check for any 'Mass Effect 4 ending leaked: It sucks!' type posts before I waste another 60 bucks and 50 hours of my life.

I do have some hope that Mass Effect 3's ending can be fixed. Fallout 3 changed the nonsensical and all too brief ending of their game with DLC when fans complained and while it didn't solve the problem of the lack of epilogues, at least Bethesda made the effort to appease their fans and give the game a more satisfying conclusion. Please make the same effort, Bioware. Please don't let one of the greatest game trilogies I have ever had the pleasure of playing end on such a bitter and hollow note.

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