Average User Score: 5.8Mar 14, 2012WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
As a prelude, let me just say that I'm a writer, and I make my living writing. I've been a writer since long beforeWARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
As a prelude, let me just say that I'm a writer, and I make my living writing. I've been a writer since long before Mass Effect came out, and that's a huge part of what drew me to these games. What I loved about the ME series was how masterfully the story was woven in such a way that the authors (Bioware) crafted a tale that actually permitted input from the readers (gamers) to determine how the story progressed. No matter what path you chose, the story was interesting and engaging, but your decisions always had clear consequences in the end, as the decisions of any protagonist should.
Coming into ME3, I was a little nervous. After all, with the bar being set so high with the other two, could Bioware really deliver a fitting conclusion? I mentally prepared myself for the worst. But then, as I played through the game, my fears were gradually alleviated. Frankly, the experience was Epic with a capital E. I saw how the decisions my character had made in the previous games impacted the galaxy around him. The characters came to life and drew pure emotional responses from me as the plot continued to weave itself together. But the arc of the story was clear: Shepard was not going to survive. I was okay with that, and I was ready for that. And playing through the final mission on Earth, having final conversations with all of Shep's squadmates, the writer in me was satisfied. All the loose ends seemed to be tied up. The ending was in sight, it was just a matter of seeing what exactly would happen.
I'll spare you the details, but in the last 5 minutes of what had essentially been a hundred hours (or more) of story, that story was destroyed. The sad thing is that the story all made sense, it all fit, except for that last 5 minutes. From the perspective of a player, I failed to accomplish my mission. To quote Ecclesiastes, it was all vanity and grasping after the wind. From a writer's perspective, it's like I crafted a beautifully written and engaging trilogy of novels, but made someone else who didn't know the story or care about the characters write the last paragraph of the last book.
As I played through the game, I kept thinking: "This is how video games should be." Now, seeing the end, all I can ponder is what could have been. It was so close to being perfect! But it all unraveled in 5 minutes, FIVE minutes! I didn't want a "happy" ending where Shep lives and has kids and blah-blah-blah (although the option would have been nice, admittedly), I just wanted an ending that kept in step with the series and made sense to a reasonable person. But none of the "endings" meet those criteria. It's just that simple, and just that disappointing.
The endings as they are, if accepted in a straightforward manner, are so nonsensical that anything, even a hallucination or even the Reapers winning, would be more fitting. At the very least I hope Bioware will own up to how mercileslly they butchered the end of such a great story. The optimist in me dares to hope that they actually do something about it; it would not be the first time a game was significantly changed with a patch, or that a game's ending was changed with a DLC pack. No one is going to forget the feeling of being betrayed by the end of ME3, but it would go a long way towards healing those wounds if Bioware would try to make things right somehow.
As a writer, I understand the argument that the creator of a story has the right to determine the ending as they see fit. And I think it's valid. But even in the realm of printed fiction, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "changed his story" and brought back Sherlock Holmes after the public outcry at the character's death. Even in the realm of literature, there's room for an author here and there to admit they were wrong and change their tune. I earnestly hope Bioware decides to do the same.… Expand