This morning, I beat Mass Effect 3. Over the last few days, Miranda died, I killed Kei La….Alright, I know you only want to hear about my opinion on the hugely controversial ending. The content shown is limited, and I am fairly new to the franchise (I started playing Mass Effect in february), so feel free to correct me or add any thoughts in the comments. I am completely open to debate.
In the final moments of gameplay, you and Anderson are trying to stop The Reapers with your last breaths. You are interrupted by The Illusive Man, who wants to control the Reapers. I made the foolish mistake of taking my hand of the mouse, which didn’t give me enough time to pull the trigger on him before he shot Anderson. So Anderson died, and I killed The Illusive Man. From here, I am raised above The Citadel and given the oppertunity to activate the Crucible. I meet the child from my dream, but he is in control of The Reapers. He explains their purpose, which was a little confusing.
Basically, The Reapers were made to end a viscous cycle. Organics create synthetics that will eventually try to overthrow their creators. The Reapers want to stop the cycle by eliminating both entities. Shepard is given the choice to control the Reapers, merge the synthetics and organics into a single species, or destroy The Reapers. I chose to destroy The Reapers. The Crucible was activated, destroying The Reapers and all Mass Relays.
I have been informed that The Arrival, downloadable content for the previous game, states that the destruction of a Mass Relay will cause a huge explosion. To my understanding, this was shown when Joker tried to escape the blast, although I am not certain. The Crucible explodes, killing Shepard and probably most of the fleets, although once again, I am not certain.
My problem with the ending is when The Normandy is shown on an Earth-like planet, and the door opens. In my ending, the screen cuts before anyone walks out. What bothers me is that it is not made clear who would have been onboard. According to IGN, my ending indicates that none of my crew survived the attack. Either way, they would not have shown that footage if no one survived. It would make no sense to show the door opening and the wreck of The Normandy if it plays no significance.
In fact, I have no idea what happened to my squad or crew. I was under the impression that they were coming with me to Earth. I guess only my squad assisted me. I believe I saw Liara, part of my squad, on the floor after the attack before entering The Citadel. Does that mean that both her and Ash died? I have no idea. I wish BioWare made the presence of my crew more assertive.
Another complaint, however minor, would be when they showed Anderson shooting the conduit. Could this be evidence towards the fascinating Indoctrination Theory (a theory claiming that Shepard was indoctrinated. Gameplay mechanics and other evidence suggest that the ending could have been a dream)? A lot of the ending flew by me, leaving me very confused. To my understanding, Shepard and his crew stopped The Reapers at the cost of their lives. Shepard became a legend and a hero, which was shown after the credits.
To comment on the complaints, I think that the main argument against BioWare’s ending is ridiculous. People complain that the game eliminated the notion of player choice, giving everyone a similar enough ending. I disagree. The fate of the Earth (which is how the game was marketed) is in the player’s hands. Also, the player has control over the fate of The Reapers and apperently the rest of the crew. While most of the cutscenes are similar across the 16 different endings, what happens is drastically different.
Overall, I didn’t have a problem with the end of the game. Everything felt fitting. Shepard died a hero, and his legacy lived on. In my game, Earth was saved. People should expect a dark ending for such an epic trilogy, and all the variables were determined by the player. BioWare did a great job at concluding one of this past decade’s best trilogies. Truthfully, I can say that I am not disappointed.
For those of you who disagree with anything I said, or just feel like contributing to the conversation, feel free to comment below.