Author Topic: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*  (Read 3092 times)

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Offline Crimzen

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Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*
« on: March 22, 2012, 10:50:28 am »
Why are people so mad about the ending(s) in Mass Effect 3? I really don't see anything wrong with them. It seems that 'everyone' that has played ME3 got the ending where 'everyone' died. Well then you're playing it wrong! Jeez, in ME2 everyone died but that's if you were an ass the whole time. I've seen all endings to ME3 and yeah there were a couple shitty ones but there were a couple good ones too. Which makes me want to play the game again and again. Isn't that the point of multiple endings?

My opinions are now tiny in case of Spoilers
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 07:40:45 pm by evilcandybag »

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2012, 10:52:47 am »
Why are people so mad about the ending(s) in Mass Effect 3? I really don't see anything wrong with them. It seems that 'everyone' that has played ME3 got the ending where 'everyone' died. Well then you're playing it wrong! Jeez, in ME2 everyone died but that's if you were an ass the whole time. I've seen all endings to ME3 and yeah there were a couple shitty ones but there were a couple good ones too. Which makes me want to play the game again and again. Isn't that the point of multiple endings?

Y'know, spoiling how things end isn't a very nice thing.
Oi, is this when I get a huge sig-image, start whining about "moar sid" and make nonsensical arguments to no good?

Offline Crimzen

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2012, 11:07:59 am »
Didn't mean to spoil anything, I guess I should have put possible spoilers in the title. I've played it. I never got that ending at all. And it seems that's the only ending that people are complaining about? I don't get it

Offline Caranfin

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2012, 01:29:28 pm »
To put it briefly, the very final minutes of the game introduce an incredible amount of plot holes and inconsistencies, the choices you can make at the end are poorly explained and for a lot of people go directly against the perceived theme of the entire series, and the ending lacks any sort of closure about the effects of your choice on anything.

I'll elaborate on the details when I get back from a lecture. Do we have a spoiler-tag on the forum and, if not, what would be the best way to mark spoilers? The small text thing isn't exactly an intuitive way what with having to copy/paste the text or quote the post in order to be able to read it.

Offline mumppis

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2012, 03:25:38 pm »
yeah i had the same thing to say what carafin said. the ending is just annoyingly poorly done and leaves to many holes in the plot and it's a shitty way  to end a trilogy

Offline evilcandybag

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2012, 06:05:19 pm »
What Caranfin said.

It really showed that they switched writers for the third game. It completely lacked the sense of doom that the first two games had, and most interactions had this sentimental bullshit air to it that completely removed the feeling that the galaxy is doomed and everyone is going to die.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 06:31:06 pm by evilcandybag »
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Offline Crimzen

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2012, 06:27:36 pm »
I have no clue if this worked or not but I put SPOILERS in the title in a reply. Small text does get annoying after a while. But I think this would be a great topic

Offline Caranfin

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? SPOILERS YOU GUYS
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2012, 07:29:57 pm »
All right. Watch out, incoming words. DO NOT READ ANY OF THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED THE GAME YET.

I'm going to preface this by saying that this is obviously mostly a very subjective view of the end. I've spent in excess of a hundred hours playing the games on one character alone, and have a hard time distancing myself enough to offer a completely objective view. I'm also going to focus on the ending here, as I feel the post is probably going to be a bit on the lengthy side.


The ending sequence goes against the established themes of the series

In the past, Shepard has repeatedly conquered seemingly insurmountable odds through either loyalty and self-sacrifice (Paragon) or pragmatism (Renegade). On Virmire, you pull off a suicidal attack against Saren's main base; Mass Effect 2 makes a point of establishing that nobody expects the crew of the Normandy to survive the Suicide Mission, but with good planning and a loyal crew it's completely possible to get through the ordeal with everyone alive and the mission successful; Mass Effect 3 is even more abundant with examples of achieving the impossible: you can cure the Genophage and gain the Krogan force as an addition to your alliance, you can negotiate a peace between the Geth and the Quarians, you can even bring back the Rachni, a previously thought to be extinct race, as allies!

The series also repeatedly shows Shepard going against the opinions of authority. Mass Effect 1 is mostly spent trying to convince the Council to trust in what you know is right, culminating in the ultimate rebellion against authority when you steal the Normandy and go to Ilos against the Council's commands; Mass Effect 2 is also spent going against the wishes of the Council and most of the Systems Alliance, again because Shepard just knows better; in Mass Effect 3, you can choose to go against the commonly accepted facts that the Krogan should not be cured (against the wishes of the Salarian dalatrass), and that the Geth and the Quarians can't achieve piece (against most of the Quarian admiralty board).

In contrast, the final sequence of Mass Effect 3 introduces you to a being of authority; the Catalyst. It tells you that winning against the Reapers is impossible. It tells you that the cycle of violence between the synthetics and the organics is inevitable. And suddenly Shepard doesn't do anything but weakly argue that maybe organics don't want to be preserved as giant huge machines of death. What is this shit? Why am I just forced to accept these choices, particularly from the creator of the primary antagonist of the entire series?


The ending fails to play to the strengths of the series and doesn't fit thematically into it

For me, the main appeals of Mass Effect have always been the characters and the universe, and the way my choices affect the futures of both. It is a huge failure of the ending not to offer any sort of closure on either. Regardless of your ending choice, the only thing you are shown about your friends is three of your crew climbing out of the Normandy on some sort of unknown jungle planet. In two of the endings what happens to the Reapers is left completely ambiguous, and in all of them the fate of the galaxy is not elaborated on further than "all mass relays explode" and "at some point in the future a dude talks to a kid". For such a character-, choice-, and setting-driven series it is a complete travesty that literally everything about the effects of your final choice is left up for interpretation.

Having the relays explode, destroying the entire galactic civilisation we know, trivialises a great deal of your choices in the game; our choices should not only be felt immediately, their long-time consequences should also be taken into account. You don't unite the Geth and the Quarians to make your War Assets-bar go higher, you unite them because you want to see if they manage to coexist and if the Geth can join the community for real. You don't choose to (not) cure the Genophage only to make a green bar bigger, a large part of the importance of the decision is weighing whether you trust the Krogan to join the community peacefully under whatever leadership they have or whether you think you'd just be creating a new war. All of this is rendered meaningless in every single ending.

Such a sense of fatalism (in contrast to the feeling of prevailing in the face of certain doom in the earlier games), coupled with the open-endedness of all of the endings, reeks to me of an attempt at creating a "deep" and "thought-provoking" ending. The notes of the main writer, in which the main point about the ending is seen to be "LOTS OF SPECULATION FROM EVERYONE" seems to confirm this. The ending fails at provoking any meaningful thoughts, rather raising utter confusion and a feeling of "What the fuck just happened?"

And even if the endings managed to offer a deep and meaningful discussion, Mass Effect has never been a particularly thought-provoking or deep series. It is a series in which the protagonist climbs victoriously out of rubble in the aftermath of explosions, bangs hot blue aliens, and headbutts huge angry aliens into submission. It is a series in which the protagonist dodges giant lasers while facing down a huge machine of death with a laser pointer, shoots the heads off multiple enemies with one shot, and blows offending space stations the fuck up.


The narrative structure of the end sequence is terrible

Mostly due to the sudden introduction of Casper, the genocidal ghost. The narrative clearly climaxes at the rush towards the citadel conduit and the desperate battle before it, while the citadel is part of the descending action. This is where we should get a resolution to the main problems, a defeat of the antagonist, and answers to important questions. Instead, we are introduced to a completely new character, who proceeds to load the player with masses of information none of which is resolved. It goes completely against literary convention and fails to achieve anything with it, instead leaving the player confused. The lack of any sort of epilogue (apart from the nonsensical jungle planet scene) leaves the player with no closure regarding anything (we don't even know if anyone but three people in our crew survived!), providing a thoroughly unsatisfying resolution to the series. This would be bad enough even if the information we are given would make any sense.

Explaining the purpose behind the Reaper threat, introducing Casper, and ridding Harbinger of any lines also undermines the primary antagonist of the entire trilogy. The Reapers are reduced to a background object controlled by an annoying ghost instead of the incomprehensible and ancient malice they were before. This isn't helped at all by apparently making The Illusive Man the primary avatar of your enemies and (unnecessarily, I feel) making Cerberus suddenly able to carry out massive invasions of, for example, the Citadel. This would also be annoying enough even if the reason behind the Reapers' reaping made sense.


LOTS OF SPECULATION FROM EVERYONE

First off, the entire conversation with the Kid is filled with contradictions. It says it is the Catalyst, but are we supposed to think that the earlier civilisations planning the Crucible knew of it's existence? It says it has created the Reapers and "lives" in the Citadel. Why, then, did Saren need to get to the Citadel in Mass Effect 1? Why could the Catalyst not just go "whoop guess it's time to call in the Reapers again" and do all that by itself? If the Catalyst knows everything best, why the hell does it make Shepard choose the future of the entire galaxy?

Then for the big one: we are told that the reason for the Reaper invasions is to prevent the chaos of organics creating synthetics that will eventually always rebel and kill the organics. What the shit? The whole "it is inevitable that synthetics attack organics" thing is demonstrably false; the Geth only fought the Quarians in self-defense, you've flown around the galaxy in an AI controlled ship for two games, and all around every single instance of a "rogue AI" during the games has been protecting itself, not attacking organics out of malice. Further, the reasoning of "We made synthetics to kill masses of organics to prevent the organics from creating synthetics that kill them" is completely goddamn asinine at best.

The Normandy scene near the end is also bizarre. During the final attack, the entire squad is fighting on the ground while the Normandy is in space with the Sword fleet. It has been repeatedly pointed out and proven that the crew would follow Shepard anywhere. Why is the Normandy apparently running away from the Crucible's energy wave? And at what point did my friends, who were running with me towards the citadel conduit, decide to bugger off? How did they get on the ship? What?


SPACE MAGIC

While Mass Effect has been far from hard science fiction so far, has at least made the effort to explain the technology in use. Yes, biotics and element zero are basically "a wizard did it", but they have really paid a lot of thought into how this made up element would affect society and what it can be used for. They have strived to keep the level of implausibility to a minimum. This all goes straight out of the window with the Crucible, which just basically fires space magic all around and makes things different. But only in three different ways, which aren't even consistent with each other. The red wave apparently kills all synthetic life, including the Geth and EDI. Does the blue one also target the same things? If you chose Control, is Shepard now EDI and all the Geth? The green wave just happens to affect all sorts of life (and Joker's hat for some reason).
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 11:57:52 am by Caranfin »

Offline Caranfin

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2012, 07:33:19 pm »
Ok I think I deserve a double-post after that. Should I just go ahead and edit all of that shit into a small font since apparently the thread title seems unchanged after all?

Also holy shit that thing has so many words why did I do this.

EDIT: Oh and the multiplayer is really fun. Which platform are you guys on? I'd be totally up for some rounds if you're on the PC. My origin nick is Caranfin, which I'm sure will surprise each and every one of you.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 07:39:55 pm by Caranfin »

Offline evilcandybag

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2012, 07:50:44 pm »
Pretty much sums up most of my complaints with the game. Mechanically, it is wonderful. The writing though, is way below what I've come to expect from a Bioware game.
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Offline Caranfin

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2012, 08:02:30 pm »
You must have not played Dragon Age 2 then. :D

Anyway, I'm not quite sure if I agree that the overall writing is that bad. Sure, there were stupid things like EDI's new sexbot-body (really, Bioware?), Kai Leng the animu-ninja-wannabe, and the whole "lol we don't really know wtf this Crucible thing does, but let's build it anyway". Still, I found the character interaction overall the best in the trilogy. Your squadmates move around the ship, talk to each other, do their own thing when you're docked in the Citadel, and all sorts of little things like that. I really liked that you could hang out with your buddies without going into awkward romance zone, even though I agree the sentimentality got a bit tiring at times.

The conversations all seemed to flow a lot better as well. I harbour a burning hatred towards the "back to the other questions"-thing and overall encyclopaedic nature of usual Bioware conversations, and that was toned down a lot. The game was, apart from the ending and the beginning, also a lot better paced than ME2 for example. And many of the individual missions were fantastic; Curing the Genophage, and everything on Rannoch in particular. Mordin's sacrifice was one of the best moments across all three games in my opinion.

Offline evilcandybag

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2012, 09:04:16 pm »
I agree with the part about the crew and conversation, but a lot of that is more game design related than writing related in my book.
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Offline evilcandybag

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2012, 09:30:33 pm »
Although I don't really agree with them; Penny Arcade have some interesting thoughts on the whole ME3 endings thing: http://penny-arcade.com/2012/03/14
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Offline Caranfin

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2012, 12:30:23 pm »
Yeah, it's interesting to read differing opinions and trying to see where they're coming from. Speaking of which, LuckysRevenge: I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on the ending and particularly regarding anything you disagree on with me. I didn't type 1600 words just for the catharsis (though I admit it felt good), I'd actually like a good discussion about it!

On the PA post: I can kind of see Tycho's point about the traditional hard scifi ending, but I disagree with him about the questions the endings raised; I found them to be utterly uninteresting. "What next?" might be an interesting question if we actually knew anything about how the endings work and had some sort of an existing framework upon which we could build any speculation. "What did that thing do, exactly?" and "Who is even alive anymore?" aren't interesting questions in my opinion, they are essential for the story to work and should be answered in the game. And even if they were answered, "what next?" is a question that is completely removed from the theme of the themes of the game. Good classic hard scifi mostly spends a lot of time exploring the themes the ending raises questions about, completely unlike ME3 where the ending's questions are abrupt and feel separate from the rest of the game. I think I touched on most of Gabe's points in my earlier post already.

I agree with the part about the crew and conversation, but a lot of that is more game design related than writing related in my book.
I found the crew's interaction to be well written, and mostly consider story pacing and conversation structure to be writing instead of game design. I thought both of those were significantly improved in ME3. Plus I still maintain that the game has some of the best individual missions in the entire trilogy. Anything on Tuchanka is fantastic, and Rannoch is a close second. And like I said, Mordin sacrificing himself to cure the Genophage is, in my opinion, one of the best moments in the games.

Related to the writing, I also really enjoyed many of the conversations you can overhear on the Citadel. The Turian engineer talking to his Asari wife, trying to convince her that he's going to be all right; the Salarian soldier who's friend had sold her car to buy new armour for him; the old woman trying to get information about her soldier son. There's also a ton of small things you don't necessarily notice when playing for the first time, which is nice since Bioware isn't exactly known for subtlety in writing. For example, the PTSD Asari commando talking about the human family they met on Tiptree? The girl she had to kill has the same name as Joker's sister. Joker's family is from Tiptree.

Offline Crimzen

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Re: Mass Effect 3, You Mad Bro? *SPOILERS*
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2012, 08:02:22 pm »
After playing through a second time (almost a second time) it's starting to all sink in. And I'm starting to have the same feelings towards this game. I love the way it plays. Although I wish there were more RPG elements in it like the very first game. I was hoping for a well blended ME1 & ME2 but that didn't happen.

@Caranfin: That was an epic review and I have to say that I can't not agree with you on every single point! I mainly played through trying to get the best ending possible and was somewhat disappointed. Even with the good one. But I hoped things would be better the second time around, it's not. The writing is really horrible. Honestly dude I think you should write gaming reviews. I would totally play some multiplayer on ME3 but I have it on the 360.