Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why Mass Effect 3's ending was that bad, but also why that doesn't matter.

Ok, so I spoke yesterday about how the ending to Mass Effect 3 wasn't as bad as people complained about.  But to be honest, it was still pretty bad.

People seem to keep fixating on the plot holes, and I'll agree there are some big ones.  The two largest being the destruction of the Mass Relays which not only strands the galactic fleet in the Sol system (plot hole one) but also forevermore ends space travel.  This still doesn't mean much to me.  Plot holes happen all the time, just because in this case the hole is large enough for the Normandy to fly through doesn't change things.

The point I want to address is that people aren't happy with how their choices throughout the series fail to have an impact on the ending...Really guys?  Really?  Do you realize how many different possibilities there are in this series?  I don't think you do.

Let's look at just the Geth/Quarian war.  Before I reached at point in the game I had been told by a friend that when he killed the Reaper during that quest and allowed Legion to upgrade the Geth, the Geth then wiped out the Quarians and Tali commits suicide.  That's right, she kills herself.

Now, when I got to that point in the game, I couldn't bring myself to wipe out the Geth.  I had to let Legion reprogram his people.  I made that choice with the full knowledge that I was killing the Quarians and Tali (one of my favorite characters) with them.  But I could not kill off the Geth without breaking character.  My Shepard give equal value to all life, synthetic or organic.  It's this same attitude that had Shepard cure the Genophage and reveal the sabotage in the Shroud.  So imagine my joy when Tali (with Shepard's help) was able to call off the Quarians and make peace with the Geth.

Turns out the different outcomes was due to one sidequest.  That's it, just one side mission made all the difference.  And as any of us who've played the game know, the series is absolutely chock full of moments like this.  The different romance options are another example.  If you made a flow-chart of all the different quest and event results I'd be willing to bet a chart for just the relationships would be as large.

But here's the biggest reason why the ending doesn't matter.  We, as fans, have no creative influence or control over the product we use.  If we don't like an aspect of it, that's the risk we take when we buy it.  When you are paying the salaries of the developers, that is when you get to have control of the product.  Not before.

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