Dave Shepard:

"Sadly, I'd have to say the implementation of all the endings was rather bad, so it's hard to say which one was 'best.' Execution-wise, to me there was no difference in any of the three endings. It just changed some colours, but that's really about it. I loved the ambiguity of the endings, and the hard choices the game made you make. I, for one, didn't think there needed to be an Extended Cut.

"But how Bioware showed us the endings needed a lot of work."

Orochi: Indeed. I myself liked the ambiguity when it was clearly a part of the thematic approach and not a plot hole; otherwise, the execution of the endings overall is what I took primary issue with. Naturally of course, me being the "entitled" gamer that I am, I definitely felt something improving the lackluster endings was needed and was pleased with what they did through the EC.


Dood Shepard:

"Well, I haven't downloaded the EC yet, but none of them really strike me as being more well executed than the others. I understand they each have different consequences, but since we don't see them all in play, I don't think they hit home as much. Just some color swappage here and there. I liked the original's endings to some degree; what really upset me was the exclusion of a proper epilogue to begin with."

Orochi: Ah, the lack of closure has indeed been one of the strongest criticisms of the game endings. I really wish they wouldn't have been so vague and minimalist in their approach.


Eric Shepard:

"This may be because it was my initial ending choice, but the Destroy ending is my favorite. I mean, the entire game is about destroying the Reapers. It solves the issues at hand of the Reaper threat (both present and future), as well as the Geth potentially becoming rebellious once again. Could the universe benefit from synthetics? Absolutely. It's not worth risking the future, however. If I was the real Shepard, the choice would have been a ridiculously easy one."

Orochi: I see. You have a very pragmatic approach to the situation regarding the Reapers. I think in that respect you epitomize the Renegade's perspective. Of course, we could always rebuild synthetics eventually, unless there's some weird Space Magic that prevents this.


James Shepard:

"In the Extended Cut, Destroy was my favorite, by a lot. I'm part of the minority that liked the original endings, but I do think the EC improved them quite a bit. Anyway, I liked Destroy because Shepard stops the Reapers (possibly surviving), and the hesitation from whoever is placing his name on the wall, makes me think a small part of them knows he's alive. 

 "And it just feels like more of a victory to see the Reapers falling, then it does to see them simply stop attacking. Finally, Hackett's speech was awesome lol."

Orochi: A lot of people love Destroy for the prospect of Shepard possibly surviving. I also liked that Bioware introduced that sense of hope and ambiguity. It really opens up the game for a lot of new possibilities - and another sequel, of course.


John Shepard:

"The Destroy ending was the best. After three games with the Reaper threat coming, destroying them once and for all was the best. Yes you lose allies such as the Geth and EDI, but in the long run it was for the best. But in the long run, it was worth it."

Orochi: Another fan of the Destroy. It's clearly the most popular ending thus far.


John C. Shepard:

"Synthesis or Control. Honestly, the first time I had to make this decision I was just petrified. It was one of the most poignant experiences I've ever had in video games. Seeing Shepard just sacrifice himself for the galaxy... Seeing Shepard's life flash before his eyes... I just sat there in awe. Synthesis is probably my ending of choice, the Normandy crashing sequence worked brilliantly for it. With the galaxy now being at a technological-zero and a new cycle in place.

"I do like Destroy, but I simply cannot kill all synthetic life in the name of victory/revenge, and have the entire galaxy devastated. I fought for peace between organics and synthetics, so I couldn't choose DestroyI just can't bring myself to kill my friends in order to destroy the Reapers.

"'Beyond the sacrifice, there is life. Beyond the destruction, there is a future. Beyond the sadness, there is hope.' Synthesis is a brighter future for everyone, organic and synthetic."

Orochi: Finally another Control supporter. Nice reasoning as well. That final quote of yours sounds like something I'd hear while watching a vid in the Citadel. You've got promise, buddy.


John S. Shepard:

"I haven't experienced all of the endings first hand, but I have read about all of them...and the many different thoughts and theories prior to and after the release of the latest DLC. As far as which one I think is best...I think they all have value and I'm impressed with any game that supports alternate endings, especially endings based off of in-game decisions. But for me, the best ending is the one you create for yourself. I've written about this a time or two and I am of the mind that your first experience regardless of whether you go back and play the ending again (any game for that matter) - your first experience is the ending. The best ending. Regardless of the outcome.

"While I like games that offer multiple endings, I'm not a fan of playing through a game over and over to get the ending you're happy with. Knowing what I know now about Mass Effect 3, could I replay the game and have a totally different ending - one that hints at life for Commander Shepard and the survival of my crew aboard the Normandy. Probably. But is that anywhere near similar to the experience I had my first time around? Absolutely not. So which is the real ending or the best ending? For me, it's the one I experienced first, so it's the best. Some might think that is a flawed way of looking at it. So be it."

Orochi: I would say that it's far from flawed. You introduce some important questions about gaming in general that I think are especially valid given the overkill players faced by being spoiled with the endings and script before the game had released. I think the first experience is naturally one of the definitive ones, but what I love about Mass Effect is that you can import saves with vastly different choices and have different if not unique new experiences based on them. While it doesn't always compare, in some cases - Tuchanka and Rannoch especially - this really pays off.


Jotale Shepard:

"Synthesis was the best. Best of both worlds type deal."

Orochi: I can see where you're going with that interpretation. Nice.




Marston Shepard:

"Before the extended cut it was definitely between Synthesis and Destroy. The fan theories were downright crazy. They were holding onto something that didn't exist. In the end it's hard to say goodbye to such an excellent series (and yet another from this generation) and quite possibly the most personal trilogy ever conceived. Synthesis (forgetting the infamous "space magic" mock) was just and seemed the most peaceful and right at the time. At least it was the one I was most comfortable with. Sure, I also thought that humans, aliens, and my squad mates shining with green veins inside their bodies and sparkly eyes looked kinda silly. But it was the one I was most in consensus with at the time."

Orochi: Synthesis appears to be one of the more popular endings, and yes, I use the term "Space Magic" frequently whenever I'm discussing that ending.



Phil Shepard:

"To be perfectly honest, all of the endings were bad. They simply didn't fit with the rest of the trilogy from a literary standpoint. Picking the best among them is no fun.

"Synthesis is probably the best. It's the one moment where Shepard can live out his or her purpose to the fullest- literally sacrificing himself or herself for the sake of the galaxy. The moment when you throw yourself into the beam and your friends and allies from the previous games flash before your eyes... that's powerful. Over the course of the trilogy, Shepard goes through a lot of trials and tests. Those short flashbacks are a reminder of how far you're come and how many people are counting on you to get it right."

Orochi: Nice interpretation. From that perspective, I can see the appeal of Synthesis. I'm still not too keen of the Space Magic required to make this ending possible, but I can tolerate it in that sense.


The Verdict

The audience can clearly see which choice was the most popular: Destroy, with Synthesis tailing behind it. Control hasn't gotten a very warm reception, but it was nice to see converts to the Reject ending. I think, in spite of the flaws each has, the player's grasp of each concept is a sign that Bioware did succeed in some aspects.

As for myself, I adore the Control ending over the others, although Destroy probably is the one I'd choose most often; you do get to see Shepard survive after all, but you also see something else that is critical: players are forced to make a tough decision that would normally seem easy to those who aren't as invested in the story. Are players honestly willing to commit genocide by sacrificing all synthetic life, including the Geth, to end the Reaper threat once and for all? This of course enters into the familiar territory that is initially touched on in the second game: can sentient synthetics have "souls"? Are they "conscious" or "alive" like organics? If you truly believe these things, then you probably recognize the grave consequences that come with making it.



However, for all the philosophical dilemmas that Destroy introduces, I find Reject to be the best - although equally flawed - ending. In this case, players find themselves finally telling Starbrat to shove it in an inappropriate place, and we soon watch as everything is eventually obliterated and overtaken by the Reapers as all hell is unleashed. It seems like a foolish decision, but in a way, it's a true display reflective of the vision that's been presented the entire series: that Humanity and the other races will fight before surrendering to the Reapers. Of course, the sacrifice that Shepard and the rest of the galaxy makes during this time eventually leads to the gift of hope that future races have in the next cycle - it's implied that another cycle defeated the Reapers using the data Liara collected.

I would have liked to see Shepard's success with the Reject choice based on EMS - if it was high enough, perhaps Shepard and the rest of the galaxy's races would defeat the Reapers conventionally, albeit with many sacrifices. That would have been a truly powerful choice for players and would've added plenty of additional diversity to the game's endings - as well as some b****in' cutscenes! But no, Bioware had to keep me from having those precious blue babies with Liara, although this ultimate sacrifice was kinda telegraphed to players the entire game; most were too distracted to accept them. Nonetheless I feel Reject was the best ending; Control of course is my next of favorite, and you should probably know why I despise the Synthesis ending so much. Aside from those gripes, I do appreciate what Bioware tried to offer players, and hope they take cues from their foray into ME3 so they won't disappoint fans like they did here.


What ending do you think was the Best? Why? Which was the worst? Sound off here!