Average User Score: 5.7Mar 21, 2012This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. First off, there are plot-holes galore. Huge gaping plot-holes. Squad mates who were with you on Earth magically appearing back on the Normandy. Joker randomly deciding to flee before the Crucible even goes off. Anderson saying he's behind you then magically appearing in the room ahead of you. The Illusive Man appearing on the Citadel with no explanation. Etc.
Secondly, there is a complete lack of choice as to how the game ends. Nothing you've done in the previous 120 hours has any bearing on the options available to you in the end. Nothing. Your choices did not matter at all. No matter what you did you are offered three choices as to how to finish off the Reapers. They sound different, but the only difference between the three endings is that you get to watch a different colored explosion. Really, that's it. In a series that was all about real choices with real consequences this is completely unacceptable.
Thirdly, you get no sense of closure. You watch the Reaper attack end, the Mass Relays blow up, the Normandy crash land on a planet, and possibly Shepard draw a breath, proving that he lives. Roll credits. What? Are you kidding me? Is my crew just going to die on that planet? Will Shepard ever see his love interest again? What will happen to Galactic civilization without the Mass Relays? Are all the peaces I brokered between the different races meaningless now that they're never going to see each other again? (In this way choices you made hours ago are completely negated.) What about that giant fleet that gathered at earth and is now stuck there? Are they just going to starve to death? I have no idea what the future holds for all the characters I've come to care so much about.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, the ending goes completely against everything the rest of the series has stood for. For three games Shepard has been running around trying to convince everyone to work together against a common enemy. He has forged deep friendships with members of every species and solved centuries old conflicts (including, importantly, that between the Geth and the Quarians). They drive home the point that the Protheans were doomed by their homogeneity and that this cycle has a better chance because it consists of diverse races working together. Peaceful coexistence and cooperation are encouraged again and again and again.
Then Shepard reaches the the Crucible and the Starchild says that war between synthetics and organics is inevitable. You have three choices for how to deal with this: genocide (kill all synthetics, including friendly ones, [red]), slavery (take control of the Reapers, [blue]), homogenization (merge all synthetic and organic life [green]). Shepard responds by fighting back and saying that there must be another way. His presence there is proof that cooperation is possible. He demands another solution that doesn't involve destroying the Mass Relays or synthetic allies like EDI and the Geth. Oh wait, that's not what he does at all. HE JUST GOES ALONG WITH IT AND PICKS ONE OF THE THREE AWFUL CHOICES. Are you @#$*ing kidding me Bioware? After all that Shepard just abandons everything he believes in without a fight and picks a color coded ending? This is about as believable as your whole crew suddenly turning into cowards and running away before the fight ends.
Finally, the (only) ending is incredibly negative and depressing. If you want to say that I'm whiny and want an ending that's full of rainbows and unicorns and ice cream, fine, but hear me out. First consider how bleak the existing ending really is. The Mass Relays are gone. The civilization that you've come to know is torn apart completely. All the races you've just united really aren't going to interact anymore. The giant fleet hanging over the smoking ruin that was earth has no way to get home. Are they just going to starve to death? Where the hell is your squad? Will they ever get off that jungle planet? Are Tali and Garrus just going to starve to death (they can't eat the same food as us, remember)? We're left with small numbers of survivors cut off from each other on ruined planets. Call me crazy, but I don't think this is much better than letting the damn Reapers win.
I don't object to the fact that this ending is possible. I object to the fact that its the only ending possible. As I've said, choice is a huge part of this series. If you did things a certain way in ME 1 you could convince the final boss to shoot himself in the head. If you were adequately prepared in ME 2 you could have a 100% survival rate on a "suicide mission." If I've been a solid paragon and completed every side mission for three games straight (which I did) I want the possibility of a happy ending. Screw this "the hero has to die" nonsense. This is Mass Effect! The hero doesn't "have to" anything! I want endings that differ in respects other than color of explosions, and I want at least one of them to be somewhat happy.… Expand