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Mass Effect 3: Is Disappointment Over The Endings Justified?

Posted by Yogizilla on March 25, 2012

About three weeks ago, just over a week from the official release, Mass Effect 3 posts seemed to pop up on every gaming and tech site possible.  The topic, of course, is the outrage over the disappointing Mass Effect 3 ending.  The discussions all boil down to this:


Are we gamers insatiable or was Bioware really lazy here?

Justin Germino of DragonBlogger.com put it all into a good perspective by discussing Five Worse Video Game Endings.  Still, I think core issues have been completely neglected in these discussions.

First and foremost, when one considers that dedicated Mass Effect fans have invested anywhere between 70 to 180 hours of total gameplay throughout the trilogy, you have to wonder, “Was this really worth it?”  I beat Mass Effect 3 about six days after starting it and I must say: I found the missions very satisfying.  Character and plot development alike were very well done, too.

Though I kept my expectations for the ending very low, I expected some sort of closure.  I got that.  What I did not get was an ending worthy of the time invested and all the build-up.  The climax in Mass Effect 3 leaves you hoping there will be at least more DLCs and multiplayer opportunities, if only to keep the addictive gameplay going.

Yes, the ending was disappointing yet it was to be expected.

The Mass Effect 3 Ending Feels Forced

For all the foreshadowing and tragedies that less up to the final moments of the Mass Effect 3 storyline, I can’t help but feel that the ending was forced.  You get a maximum of three possible ending choices and none of them are very satisfying.

The Bioware team did a great job of foreshadowing by making it clear how hopeless and impossible the scenario was..  yet I can’t help but feel that the glimmers of hope were misleading, even after everything goes awry time after time.  I believe Bioware wanted to allow for a truly happy ending but they got themselves stuck and did the only thing they could do: present us with controversial, perhaps incomplete content and let our imaginations do the rest.

I know that by now this horse has been beaten dead but I’m still having a video game hangover due to the severe disappointment here. I almost want all those hours invested back.

What Makes The Ending So Bad?

I can get into a long diatribe about all the plot holes and questions left in the supposed grand finale.. But I won’t. The simple facts of pure suckage are as follows:

  1. Our decisions and dedication all lead to the same place so our alignments and tough calls amount to much of nothing..
  2. The endings are all essentially the same, with some food coloring and one extra cliffhanger scene, if you’re lucky to get the “best ending”.

To be fair, I believe Bioware set the bar too high for themselves so I almost expected disappointments and cop-outs.. Still, it only slightly softened the blow of the apparent laziness here.

You Can’t Fathom The Reapers!

Talk about lack of closure. We see a build-up for the lore behind the Reapers throughout the series, only to have Mass Effect 3 leave us more confused in the end than we were to begin with. What the heck happened to the Collectors? Not a single one survived? I find that hard to believe.

So, in an attempt to wrap it all up (here comes a spoiler), Bioware threw in a new character at the end. This child-like creature is some sort of god and he created the Reapers to bring order to everything. WHAT??

The Reapers represent chaos and we’ve come to hate them all along, yet we’re forced to (almost) sympathize in the end and act completely out of character. As many have pointed, the Reapers are reduced to cosmic janitors.

Don’t Rush, It’s Only The End

Mass Effect 3 begins with utter chaos but, after the first couple of missions/chapters, you’re back to being a galactic errand person. What’s bad about these sidequests is that you’re forced to so them if you want to be galactically ready.. only to find out it has little impact on the ending.

While the action in Mass Effect 3 was great, it’s broken up by missions that have little to do with the insanity going on. The sensd of urgency is lost, evn with Reapers chasing you in space. I guess this was a omen of things to come but I still needed to know, “What happens next?”

The Normandy Is Very Advanced.. But Not Enough

The Normandy SR-2 went through a series of upgrades in Mass Effect 2. This would lead us to believe that it would be instrumental in combating the Reapers, yet this awesome space vessel plays a very small role in the grand scheme of things.

Maybe I am knit-picking but you would think the combined intellect of the galaxy would come up with something to at least slow them down. Crap.

A Better Mass Effect 3 Ending?

What’s done is done so there’s no real way to fix the crap ending unless completely new cinematic scenes are created. I would have liked to have seen some more character development. If you’ve played throughout the entire series, you can’t help but feel we created these relationships all for nought.

Bioware wasted some truly memorable characters by shoving them aside in the final stretch of the game. It just doesn’t make sense to me from a storytelling and game design perspective. Most of these characters have been around from the beginning yet they become throwaways in the end.

The lame forced ending makes me wish Bioware just went with a “give up” option. After all, if we’re all doomed, we might as well just choose how we go out, no? Instead, we get our hopes up just to be severly disappointed.


At Least There’s Multiplayer

For all it’s flaws, Mass Effect 3 is still a great game but I would say it is the worst in the series. If you haven’t finished the journey yet, don’t expect a Suicide Mission style ending. Really, it’s all scripted and ends the same way.

But, hey, there’s multiplayer.. And it’s actually quite fun if you enjoy MOBA or Survival type game mechanics. Sadly, I’ll have to wait for my disgust to wear off before I touch multiplayer or any DLC that may or may not come out.

Speaking of DLC, word has it there is a free DLC coming that will give us some closure.. I won’t hold my breath. I dislike broken promises! Gosh, I sound like a scored lover. LOL

What do you think? Are we gamers insatiable or was this really a disappointment of a finale?


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