Mass Effect 3 Finale

Sometimes an event or an experience in life makes you sit-up and think very hard, to metaphorically ‘rub your eyes’. For me, these moments can occasionally be triggered by a particularly good book or maybe an epic film – probably only a handful of each throughout my life, to date, mind you. I’ve now added a computer game to the list too. Or, to be more precise, a trilogy of computer games.

In the early hours of this morning, I finally completed Mass Effect 3 (ME3). Having played ME1 & ME2 back-to-back, before then moving on to ME3, the total amount of time I’ve invested in order to reach the conclusion of the trilogy, is around 120 hours. However, the nature of the ending has left me with a profound sense of disappointment.

Mass Effect 3 - Beginning of the end

Mass Effect 3 - Beginning of the end

Without giving too much away, there are three end-game scenarios. In order to ensure that I hadn’t made some horrible mistake, last night I desperately played though the final sequence three times, in the hope of finding an ending that gave closure; no joy – all three are (more-or-less) identical. Identically awful, unsatisfying, and lacking not only closure, but continuity and logic to-boot. In short, a total, deflating, let down.

The Mass Effect series, from the word go, relies on the ripple effect – your in-game choices have in-game consequences. Except that is, for the very last hurrah where all the choices that you’ve made throughout the three episodes, are just swept away, ignored, made worthless. What we then get are the identical endings that, well, just leave me feeling empty, gutted.

Mass Effect 3 - Bloodied and Burned

Mass Effect 3 - Bloodied and Burned

It’s a tribute to the extremely high overall quality of the three games, that by the end of ME3, I was highly attached to my character, not to mention the NPCs that made it to the journey’s end too. ‘Emotionally engaged’, you’d call it. I was mentally prepared for a variety of endings, all probably downbeat, but with the hope of something upbeat. What I got was, to all intents and purposes, a single ending that really had nothing to do with the choices that I had made during the hours of my life which I poured into the trilogy.

Before I reached the conclusion, I had it in my head that I was going to play though the series again in order to select alternate options; to see how different the game-play could actually be, a second time around. Now, I don’t think I can face that. Now I know the ending, the one-and-only ending, I just can’t go there again. In summary, I’m feeling sad, and that’s not how I want to feel when I reach the end of a piece of entertainment, albeit an extremely intelligent and thought-provoking example of the genre.

Mass Effect 3 - The Crusible

Mass Effect 3 - The crucible

On that note…the cut scene that follows the credits, is indeed, a real thought provoker (voiced by Buzz Aldrin, interestingly). Our reality is that we live on a small planet, in a vast galaxy, which is part of an unimaginably large universe. Further, the tiny fraction of time that our civilisation has been around for, is not even a blink of an eye in terms of the history of that universe. The ‘Mass Effect’ series is based on fictional events that occur every 50,000 years. And we can only dream what our planet might be like in even 10,000 years. Does that make you feel a little insignificant? It does me. But I’d be feeling a darn sight more cheery if Bioware had come up with a decent finale to their otherwise fine series.

Mass Effect 3 - Bye Bye Big Ben

Mass Effect 3 - Bye Bye Big Ben

So now what? Well, maybe, just maybe, Bioware has me fooled. Rumours abound that the conclusion was in fact some sort of dream sequence. There’s substance to give these idea merit too. So, can we expect an epilogue of some sort? Possibly, but I ain’t holding my breath. So, for now, I’m off to find a new game – but I’ll really miss my Shepard. 😥


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: