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Veteran Member - Level 14
Acolytes, we've reached one of the most volatile parts of this blog series: the
debate on the ending(s) of Mass Effect. Which one was the best out of those
offered? This is a question that will be debated ad nauseum, and like the other
topics in my series I felt it deserved additional input from my regular
partners-in-crime, the legendary Spectres who contribute to galactic peace
through their hard work. Due to the sensitivity of their missions, I've left
them anonymous and will only refer to them by their codenames.
Here with me
in this discussion are Marston Shepard, Archibald Shepard, Blake Shepard, Chris Shepard, Batman Shepard, Eric Shepard, James
Shepard, John Shepard, John C. Shepard, John S. Shepard, Dave Shepard, Dood Shepard, Jotale
Shepard, Colin Shepard, Cameron Shepard, and Phil Shepard. I'd like to thank
them all for participating in this dialogue, and I'll now surrender the floor
to them. (Spoiler warning!)
see these legendary figures offer their input, in alphabetical order:
"Which Ending was the Best?"
"This is a
tough question to answer. Having already established my lack of
intelligence, when I first came to the end of Mass Effect 3 sometime in mid
March, I wasn't really sure which ending was supposed to do what. Like
the majority of gamers, whether they agree with the ending or not, I think most
were at least somewhat confused by the last 22 minutes or so. As I was
walking through the citadel, I thought the same things that many angry forum
dwellers had already demanded answers to. How did I get there? Where was
my crew, my beloved Liara, my BFF Garrus, were they wiped out by that ray that
seemingly killed the rest of Hammer?
wondered how something like this, this major part of the Citadel could go
unnoticed for centuries. I then wondered how in the heck the Illusive Man
got there, and why he was turning into Venom. Did I just shoot Anderson but the
bullet hit me? What the hell is going on. Why is shooting the Illusive
Man a Renegade action at this point in the game? Why, with my meter
completely full, mostly Paragon, are the choices grayed out on the last portion
of the dialogue with the Illusive Man? This, all before I even meet the
Catalyst, who just happens to look like a suburban boy scout with a Casper
"Next, I get
some very vague discussion with this...thing, yet I seem pretty calm and
willing to just accept it all. Next thing I know I am seeing visions of
Anderson and Illusive Man doing different things, still not sure. So like
most things in Mass Effect, I decide to check them out before making my
ultimate choice. I start walking to the left, to the "blue"
area, it takes forever, and apparently I get too close and the cut scene
starts. 220+ hours of story driven gameplay ends with me not picking what I
really wanted to. I reload and go through it again, paying much more
attention this time and go with the Destroy the Reapers option, because that is
what I was dead-set on doing for three whole games.
ending was executed best? Of the original, I would have to say probably the Synthesis,
even though it isn't what I would want, it did make the most sense and it
seemed to be the ending that Bioware really wanted us to choose, it had the
most thorough explanation, at least to me it did."
Orochi: I see you're a fan of that
ending I irrationally despise so much. I will convert you to Destroy just yet.
felt that the Destroy ending was the most well executed ending. The other two
endings simply left too many unanswerable questions, and broke their way out of
the Mass Effect mold. I'll say Reject really was an awesome twist. I'm very
content with the fact that they added that ending. But I'll still say that
Destroy made the most sense to me."
Orochi: Nice to see a fan of Reject. I
know a lot of people consider that to be an "f*** you" from Bioware, even
though many gamers actually asked for a sad ending. Oh well; you can't please
"I think Destroy was the best (EC and regular). In a game where a lot of the loose ends weren't tied up (pre-EC at least), Destroy seemed to offer both the most closure and the most hope for the future. It gave me a sense of "all of our work meant something" after all was said and done. I had accomplished my goal without becoming some invisible boogeyman controlling these God-like entities of death and destruction or altering the very fabric of life.
"Destroy was also a way to reject both the Illusive Man and Saren's ideals. The Illusive Man wanted to control the Reapers and secure humanity's place in the galaxy. Saren's corrupted mind believed that melding with machines was the right thing to do. Picking destroy was a way of rejecting the series' main antagonists and giving a giant middle finger to the Reapers."
Orochi: Now that I think of it, your response makes perfect sense. I can clearly imagine Saren wanting Synthesis - although he foresaw organics serving the Reapers - in contrast to TIM's Control. Destroying the Reapers, while costly, is nonetheless the only guarantee against them ever causing damage to the galaxy's sapient civilizations ever again.
"Synthesis. If you let the geth die and decided against the EDI/Joker
relationship, I can see destroy making sense. But after fostering peace between
the Geth and Quarians and seeing the Joker/EDI relationship happen, destroy
seems kinda selfish afterwards. Yep, you set out what you and Anderson wanted
the entire series but you sacrificed allies that didn't need to be. And like I
said before, the control ending leaves a hole that I don't particularly like
when the safety of the entire galaxy comes down to the processes of an AI
Orochi: I liked the consequences of
Destroy. It really solidified who your character was and pushed the envelope in
terms of morality, although it's considered the "Renegade" ending.
"In terms of
presentation, it's hard to say which of ME3's endings is best. While Control
and Synthesis may stretch players' suspension of disbelief, both are far better
than Destroy and Reject in terms of execution. With the changes made by the
extended cut, Destroy is particularly bad; not only is it the bleakest of the
original three endings, but some of the scenes in the new epilogue feel
Orochi: Interesting interpretation. I
think Control is still possible given the implants Shepard has to make their
brain function appropriately; it could be arguable that it is possible to
"upload" Shepard's consciousness through the Control process. Some scientists
are currently in fact interested in the idea of storing an individual's
consciousness in a similar fashion. I think Destroy is bleak because it is
undoubtedly realistic in some aspects, and unlike the others, denotes a true
sense of sacrifice, but to each their own.
"Synthesis was the best
executed in my opinion, it left the fiction open to interpretation of
implications (pre dlc). Post dlc: synthesis again, it was explained thoroughly
and still left the series open to implications."
Orochi: It definitely left things open to interpretation, although I think the pseudobabble of the Catalyst didn't really help make it seem any more believable. It bordered on fantasy in my opinion.
"I think synthesis is the best ending."
Orochi: I can't fault you.