Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ME3: WWWWW, Part 2

Alright, as you know the internet has been vocal in their dissatisfaction about the ending of Mass Effect 3 (see above). Now, I miss Red Letter Media too, but I don't really have the time to make a 20 minute homage while talking about Mass Effect. Today is part two of my point by point criticism of the point by point criticism of Mass Effect 3. (Part One)

6. Closure & 7. Twist Ending
In terms of the series, the ending is open; a sandbox of chaotic elements that make rich fertilizer for subsequent Mass Effect games. I've said my goodbyes proper before the final series of missions. It would be nice to have more detail about what's going on in the end, and having all of my (surviving) allies land in the same one-size-fits all ending that doesn't get much exploration is disappointing, but I'm not angry about it; there will probably be another game and there's no reason my friends can't get off that dumbass planet. Also; I get Buzz &*@#ing Aldrin telling me how Shepard's a legend, so +1 for that.

If you didn't expect more Mass Effect games or the DLC plug, then you were ignorant of the modern economics of major platform gaming. If you don't like plugs and corporate story lines, try playing Braid. Also, I decided that instead of taking a 16% markup on the game just to get a Prothean, I'd wait until my Self-Respect:Money ratio was a bit lower before rewarding the corporate masters who allegedly ruined this game, so my perspective on getting to putter around the universe for a bit longer isn't as unforgiving, as I might actually want to play this game with more content later.

Oh, you're angry because it's "not a happy ending"? That's not what Mass Effect does. That misses the key themes of Mass Effect, but then I was a Renegade, Earthborn orphan who ordered my entire unit to die on Torfan, so maybe that's why I never expected anything happy at the end of this shit rainbow. 

And seriously? "Earned" a happy ending? I earned the money to play Mass Effect and it was fun. I played Mass Effect because I liked playing and I enjoyed the trip; I wasn't grinding for a dick-sucking pat-on-the back in exchange for shooting imaginary robots.

And...what twist ending? The Catalyst? The Illusive Man? I guess I didn't see the Star Child coming, but it wasn't a twist by any means. I mean, a dumbass twist ending would've been if I was indoctrinated the whole time and only really win by taking exactly one course of action. That would be a "&#^$ you" to the fans. 
8. The Catalyst & 9. The Catalyst...again?
Nope. Foreshadowed. The Catalyst--a piece of ancient technology that Shepard's been pursuing for most of the game (both physically and in her dreams[Thanks Prothean beacon!])--explains a lot cleanly and...isn't a villain. 

As for The Catalyst's motivations; I don't want to talk down to anyone and I don't want to insult you if you weren't able to put this together without an FAQ or player's guide to hold your hand, but:

The Quarians made The Geth even though they knew better.
The Quarians started a fight with The Geth and lost.
The Quarians picked another fight with The Geth, one they couldn't win.
Shepard gave them breathing room, and they kept attacking.
Shepard gave The Geth souls, told The Quarians to back off...
...and they kept attacking.
All The Quarians died because organics are dumb.
...unless The Shepard unites The Quarians and The Geth.
Hinting that only the savior of the galaxy could've brought peace and saved The Quarians. 
The dumb, dumb, Darwin-defying Quarians.

The issue isn't that synthetics are dangerous (though it takes only a difference in rounding to make them amenable to an anti-organics cause); it's that organics and synthetics are too different to reconcile. As a soft-hearted, child-hugging Paragon, Shepard might find this offensive. As a Renegade with her planet on fire, Shepard would probably find it academic.

As for being able to reject The Catalyst's theories; as a Renegade, Shep's been saying nothing all game when she should be backsassing and backpatting. Maybe I'm used to listening to people prattle off the dumbest shit I disagree with while Shepard responds with some variation of approval (something I never felt talking with The Catalyst) or being an unavoidable jerk to people who seem to have good ideas. I dealt with it for three games.

However, The Catalyst acknowledges that its solution wasn't very good by virtue of the fact that you're there. Shepard standing on The Catalyst tells it that the whole "Reaper Plan" is now fucked beyond function.

I dunno, I guess having a semantic argument with a holographic child from a long-dead civilization when he's telling you you're right and millions are dying is something that persons possessing a certain level of "asshole" would want to do. I'm a pretty big asshole and it was beyond me, so honestly...hats off to you, sir.

Oh, and the theme of the game is that you have to cooperate to survive...if you're playing Paragon. The Renegade path is pretty strict about using dangerous people (Udina), forces (mercenaries), or entire races (fake genophage cure) until you can fuck them over and take them off the table as a threat to you.

10. Lack of Player Choice
Yeah, okay. I'll give you that.

Yet, somehow it seems like it would be worse if the indoctrination theory was correct. If by controlling The Reapers--a renegade act--I'm dooming humanity, it would drop the pretense and show once and for all that renegade is evil and paragon is good (not that anyone would be shocked). It would be an even bigger fuck you if someone worked for the synthesis ending and it was also wrong.

Whatever the angle, most of the conversation is just jaw-wagging, in light of the fact that the expanded ending DLC is coming out soon to either cement or obliterate most of these theories.

[EDIT]: Which happened yesterday. I just got through playing through the new, fourth ending (by accident, kinda) and I'll try to put something up about it soon.

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