March 20th, 2012, 12:04 PM
Mass Effect 3 Ending [SPOILERS]
As the title suggests, massive spoilers for the ending.
So, I've played these games over 3/4 years like many people, and the ending left me... Just unsure, I guess. It was nothing about the way it was done, I think. A few more cut scenes featuring your old allies and the actions they take would have been preferable, just so I could feel like I'd accumplished something, or feel proud. All I got was one scene of the fleet arriving, some holograms, and some guy voiced by Guy of Gisbourne telling me that only 50% of my ground Troops (who were all, oddly human Alliance and no one I have recruited) made it.
The chance to speak to literally every ally you'd made was lovely. But it felt like a slap in the face to then not get a cut scene with Wrex. Voted a firm fan favourite, I don't understand why he's the only one left out of your squad, and, worse, the only one you can not interact with fully in the final (London) area. Made me sad.
Other than those issues, the actual working of the ending is fine.
Now we get onto the good old Starchild-Catalyst-Deux Ex-Citadel-TIM sequence. Oh, the fun! This has been controversial as I understand it, between fans who liked the ending, disliked it, enraged fans, depressed fans, confused fans, fans in denail...
I'm going to be honest. I'm one of those who goes for the indocrenation theory. In that, it is my belief that either after speaking with Anderson or after Harbringer's laser hits Shepard, you are under Reaper Control. Everything appears blurred, or wrong, your level of bleeding is constantly shifting, the Citadel bodies are featureless dolls, your Squadmates are all gone, yet no corpses can be found. (In fact, later, it turns out that at least one of them is magically on the Normandy.)
In the theory I agree with, Harbringer is the Catalyst AI. The whole scene is quite crazy, really. Shepard, a usually tenacious and questioning character rolls over and accepts all of these facts without question, also knowing nothing about this random AI. He/She accepts the choices presented. You'll also notice that the AI only speaks negatively of one choice - Destruction.
The way I read it, yes, war might come again between Synthetic and Organic life, but peace can always come of it, just like it has between the Geth and the Quarians. Synthetic life can advance, and Organic life can evolve. The Reapers and their annoying Catalyst are doing nothing by restarting the Cycle but trying to control everything and giving in to their fears. Their ultimate plan is Synthesis, I suppose, which may either be a neutral want of theirs, something they believe is 'meant to be,' or 'an ultimate solution', OR, It may be the Reapers taking control of everyone and everything in existance.
Either way, Synthesis seems like a random, never before discussed option. It is introduced to Shepard who is supposed to, in a matter of seconds, decide it is in everyone's best interests without even giving them the choice.
Then, there is Control. Giving up who you are in order to save everyone. Seems so selfless, right? Seems perfect. Yet, throughout all three of these games, you've been trying to tell people 'No, you can never control them, they control you!' Then suddenly Shepard is told, 'Oh, but that doesn't apply to you, you're specail, you can control us.' Fishy, no? You'll also notice that this is the only option where the AI remains and is seen after Shepard is dying/changing. It is also the option where the changing Citadel closes, instead of explodes. The Reapers are also still alive, but are they really controlled or have they just crippled technology, setting everyone back thousands of years? Maybe that's how the Cycle always begins again, all of the advanced races amassing and becoming 'trapped' so to speak. The rest get's lost in 50,000 years of history until we are beliving in 'Shields that Guard us from the Heavens,' such as at the Temple in Thessia.
So, having looked at Control and Synthesis, we come to Destruction. How could you wipe out the Geth? And EDI, who's shown you how far AI can come? Yet, wait, every piece of dialogue in this game, Renegade or Paragon, has come down to 'We must destroy the Reapers.' Destruction is Shepard's intended goal, and always has been. Since when did we want to meld? Since when did we want the Reapers to leave us alone?
The AI also tells Shepard that, because he/she is part synthetic, he/she must also die. Yet, we see Shepard waking up in rubble (possibly the London rubble) after the Normandy scene, taking a breath. If Shepard is a lie, it is possible the AI was lying to steer him/her away from using the Crucible for it's proper purpose.
You should also note the colours, and faces, of representation. Destruction, a typically renegade action, is represented by red and yet also by Anderson. Control, the calm colour of Paragon blue, is represented by the Illusive Man, and Green, represented by Saren.
I hope the ending is this, or something akin to it, otherwise I can't say what I would think... Likely that it was rushed due to a leaked ending or a sudden change of mind, or too much time spent on SW:TOR. They made little effort to explain anything, such as how Synthesis would even work. But, this just adds to my theories that Harbringer was trying to control you.
The only scene I don't get is the Normandy scene. Why was Joker running? He knew what Shepard was going to do, and he knew he might die. He's 'nearly died' a good ten times at least without running away when he saw the Crucible was flashing - y'know, what we were gonna' do anyway? Also, for many, at least one of the squadmates you chose to accumpany you on the ground has somehow ended up on the Normandy (despite Joker having returned to the air battle prior), and is now on another world.
Perhaps it's an indocrenation dream. I don't really know about that part...
Anyways, rant and theories over. What did everyone think of the ending?
March 20th, 2012, 04:40 PM
I agree with pretty much everything you said except that I do think Shepard was actually there, I don't think he's fully indoctrinated unless/until you choose Control or Sythesis (I've heard that in the cutscenes for these Shepard actually even gets the freaky indoctrination eyes that Saren and TIM had). I also think that since the Catalyst is a little liar then if the Bioware dev's go back and fix the ending it would be easy to figure that he was lying about ALL AI needing to be destroyed. I don't see that EDI and the Geth are really a problem depending on how things pan out.
If they do go back and tweak that ending though IMO they need to put in an option where the Mass Relays aren't destroyed. It just screws everything up so bad. People are complaining about a lack of closure (I know I had that feeling) and that wouldn't be the case if there were still Mass Relays, you could take some comfort that the choices you made would pan out more or less the way you thought they would. Also since they get auto-destroyed even if you get the ending where Shepard survives it's a hollow victory because all his friends are now stranded god-knows-where. This wouldn't be a problem if that ridiculous crap with the Normandy never went down though. What the hell was that? I challenge them to present a scenario where that comes close to making sense.
Other than that I think this is one of the best games ever.
Edit: I totally chose destruction and never looked back. My Shepard stumbled into that beam looking for a reckoning, not a lesson.
Last edited by saintjon; March 20th, 2012 at 04:42 PM.
March 21st, 2012, 09:01 AM
I agree. No matter the ending, it's the Normandy part that confused me. I didn't understand why Joker was legging it, or how half your squad got back on there. xD It being an indoctrenation dream could work for Control or Synthesis, but you still get it with Destruction, so hey... Who knows?
The Relays being destroyed I believe is a way to end the franchise so no one can milk it, perhaps. Though it brought up practical questions, like, how an already mined-out solar system is going to be enough to support all of those amassed forces? The Fleet is pretty much going to die, there's only one inhabitable (but destroyed) planet there, afterall. There's practical questions I just didn't understand.
Maybe EDI and the Geth and other AI can survive because they are freed from the Reaper signal. Perhaps we build Mass Relays again, though that'd still take years upon years... I don't know, questions!
Anyways - if the indocrenation thing is correct, I think it's a wonderful ending. I just think the writing needed to be better in relation to things that people do not seem to understand. Letting players figure out they're being lied too on their own is fun, but leaving so much unanswered is just poor writing. Someone said it best in an article I read, though I can't find it I'm afraid. The whole plot of a story is only as good as it's explaination. Basically, no one will be able to appriciate it's brilliance if it is never explained. How you chose to explain it is up to you.
But at the minute, it leaves too many variables and unawared questions (some of which relate to plot holes and practicality, and aren't simple mysterious wonders.)
March 26th, 2012, 08:19 PM
I had trouble picking Destruction because you're not just destroying the Reapers but EDI and the Geth too (so wait, I went through all this trouble to broker lasting peace and now I destroy them anyway?). Why does destroying Reapers destroy all synthetics? How are they connected to the catalyst "button" anyways?
The destruction of the mass relays, no matter your choice, sucks too. I consider how many planets, colonies, stations etc that are cut off from supplies and would functionally be unable to survive long term. Oh and we have the entire galatic fleet stranded on Earth too.
I wasnt expecting rainbows and sunbeams, but I was expecting coherence.
March 26th, 2012, 09:36 PM
I failed to save the Geth so it was really just EDI, and faced with those 3 garbage choices I figured I might as well destroy some Reapers. Tough break, Joker.
April 6th, 2012, 03:42 PM
Kiss my axe!
Just finished the game and my thoughts were, "ermm... is that it?"
I went for destruction and apparently killed everyone on Earth (or at least that what it looked like), destroyed the Reapers and was remembered as a legend, which was odd as I was then given the option to continue playing on with other missions as in the previous two games. Not that there were any to do other than those find and retrieve artifact missions which are all impossible due to heavy Reaper presence in all sectors who instantly attempt to intercept me.
Funny, I thought I killed all those off. Saying that I thought I also died.
Then I notice the assault Cerberus HQ mission is up again.
So it seems I've traveled back in time to a point before I destroyed the Reapers.
It's a shame when an epic franchise fizzles out in this way leaving fans to basically make their own minds up about what happened.
Edited to add, Did anyone else get the feeling that whatever choices they made in the previous games would have made virtually no difference to the endgame outcome?
I'm curious if anyone has tried other playthroughs choosing different options etc. For example in my playthrough I was forced to choose the Quarians survival thus causing the Geth's genocide, despite pushing the peace option at every given opportunity in ME2 and ME3.
Last edited by kahnovitch; April 6th, 2012 at 04:05 PM.
April 6th, 2012, 06:37 PM
You can get the Geth AND Quarians together if you do certain specific things in 2 and 3, but yeah at the end of the day it always comes back to that crummy A, B or C ending, where they endings are pretty much the same.
The new free dlc for multiplayer looks pretty good though. I want me a Krogan vanguard. My Krogan sentinel is like a force of nature when he goes berserk, with biotic charge you would be such a force.
April 8th, 2012, 01:12 AM
The choices you make in the three games just boil down to your galactic readiness score. That's it. No effect on the ending generated by the score and your choice.
April 8th, 2012, 02:53 PM
Kiss my axe!
Ultimately the Galactic Readiness makes no difference to the overall outcome or options.
All those hours spent bridging alliances between ancient blood enemies and uniting opposing factions, calculating every possible decision no matter how big or small to keep the big picture and overall mission objective in focus, and for what?
I came across this article and it hits all the nails on the head about what was wrong with the ending.
April 9th, 2012, 05:39 PM
On the more positive front: seen that they're releasing an Expansion Pack (the Resurgence Pack) for free in the next couple of days.
Might that be due to the bad press about the ending?
The article also says there will be another free pack in the summer that will 'clarify' the ending:
April 10th, 2012, 05:42 AM
Kiss my axe!
"Director Casey Hudson also defended the ending, claiming that the polarising conclusion makes it more memorable. "
Mr Hudson needs to look up the word polarising.
I don't know anyone who liked the ending, which gives us a monopole of dislike.
April 10th, 2012, 03:46 PM
I've seen 1 out of maybe 200 people claiming they liked it, maybe less.
April 10th, 2012, 03:56 PM
'polarising' = polite word for 'crappy rushed ending', perhaps?
'1liked it-3million didn't like it'= polarising.
April 11th, 2012, 02:44 AM
If it is indocrenation, I think that's rather genius. But it was handled poorly, or written poorly, so it didn't quite work out as they'd planned. I also think it's a genius storyline for a MOVIE or BOOK, not so much a game, where walking to one of three conduits doesn't really compare to the epic boss fight-save the Galaxy idea many had in mind.
There's been a lot of evidence in support of indocrenation lately. After being hit with the beam, if you turn around, mysteriously, the black trees from your dreams are behind you. Also, the eyes, if Shepard takes control or goes for Synthesis, his/her eyes are seen to turn exactly the same as Saren and TIM's while under indocrenation. This is not the case for Destruction.
You can also wake up from Destruction, so perhaps the Geth can too? Perhaps Harbringer (GodlyStarChild) was lying? Or perhaps it was because you got rid of the Reaper Signal.
The biggest sadness I have about the ending was that, with no other games coming out, they're choices finally didn't have to be 'samey'. Okay, in one, you chose to save or abandon the council? Yet the outcomes HAVE to be relatively the same so the level of game play in 2 remained the same across all parties, right? That didn't have to happen here. There is no more gameplay. Choices through the 3 playthroughs could have given you entirely different scenes, and it wouldn't have mattered!
April 11th, 2012, 07:55 PM
My beef with the "Indoctrination ending" is that if your Galactic Readiness score is high enough and you choose to destroy the Reapers (and all AI while you're at it), you get a bonus cut scene of Shepherd waking up the in rubble. I assume since you are rejecting an Indoctrination attempt, the whole messy ending was just a bad dream so..... hello? arent the Reapers still there? What kind of an ending is that?