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Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3
Alrighty, lets talk about the ending, why do some people think it
I'll just leave this here:
The Data Cache
( of links about why the ending sucks, official media reactions and so on ).
One of my favorite threads in that regard:
"All Were Thematically Revolting"
- Which pretty much sums up the deeper reasons of what caused my visceral revulsion to the endings. There's more, but this is a very good post about it.
Seriously, I am very pressed for time this weekend until next Sunday, so I cannot devote much time to this topic. But I am still very,
furious about the whole thing and at the same time I am repulsed at the thought of discussing it in depth, because it brings up so much bile. But, man, this really ruined the whole Mass Effect franchise. If Macross Frontier ended
badly, our fandom would have ceased to exist. At least in the positive way we have it now.
And, hey, from that same thread about how the endings were thematically revolting, one user, Strange Aeons, sums it up very well:
"Let's ignore the insanity of Shepard taking the word of the catalyst, an unknown creature who just appeared out of nowhere with absolutely no buildup or justification, at face value in making a choice that could potentially condemn the galaxy to a fate worse than death (really, the most sensible conclusion about the Catalyst from Shepard's perspective would be that it's a trap). These "choices" do not even rate as meaningful ethical dilemmas, where there's some doubt as to what's good and bad. They are outright evil, and not even in an abstract way: each manages impressively to contradict the specific lessons of the previous events in its own unique way. After explicitly stating that he would not sacrifice his soul for victory, ME3's ending forces Shepard to do exactly that; each "choice" demands that Shepard commit a senseless and unconscionable act and then calls the nebulous outcome victory.
Nothing in the preceding games established this sort of hopeless, futile tone, and for good reason: people do not generally play games only to have all their efforts reduced to nothing and then perverted into an atrocity. People are revolted by the ending, in part because it's a betrayal of the themes of self-determination and strength through unity, as well as the unprecedented interactivity that they loved about the series. This is not some calculated philosophical meditation: it's just plain thoughtless and incompetent storytelling.
The only option that would actually be consistent with Shepard's character as established over three games is the one we weren't given: to defy the Catalyst and refuse to accept his false dilemma."
And one more by Strange Aeons. And he doesn't even go into the nitty-gritty of all the little things which were wrong with the endings, but stays with the larger themes:
The decision in Legionís loyalty mission is nothing like the ending of ME3 except in the most superficial sense that both involve some sort of choice. The context of the situations, the nature of the revelation involved, the significance of the ďchoiceĒ are all completely different.
At the time we met Legion, we had just spent a game and a half fighting the Geth, who were actively waging a war against the Citadel races in conjunction with the Reapers. There was no question that at some level they were a destructive and dangerous enemy. Then we learned that this was only part of the story. This information challenged our assumption that the Geth were a homogeneous society, but it didnít contradict the clearly-established lessons of the story that preceded it. It expanded our knowledge of the situation without asking us to ignore the significance of what we had witnessed previously.
ME3ís ending, in contrast, demands that we disregard everything the last three games have taught us about synthetic life. Itís not a good thing when the primary motivation of your antagonist is revealed to be completely incongruous with the story you just told. The games go to great lengths to establish that synthetics are alive and capable of growth and selflessness and individuality and love just in time for Shepard to exterminate them all. Itís like ending Pinocchio with Geppetto stuffing him into a wood chipper.
Weíre also implicitly asked to forget that this was never even the central conflict of the game. The Reapersóand the heretic Geth, for that matter--were not our enemy
they were synthetic. That they were synthetic was incidental; it would have been the same had they been oozing, fleshy space-shoggoths. No, they were our enemy because they were trying to destroy and/or subjugate us. The battle of ideas at the core of the ME series was never organic vs. synthetic life, but rather indoctrination and subjugation vs. freedom and self-determination. Appropriately, this theme was even paralleled in the gameplay itself through its unprecedented emphasis on meaningful player interactivity vs. being forced down a predetermined path. Then they reached the end and inexplicably threw it all out the window.
Itís just as faulty to compare the choices in Legionís loyalty mission to the red and blue endings. Shepard never sought to control the heretic Geth. You can indeed argue the ethics of rewriting them, but you cannot claim it is the same as Shepard attempting to control the reapers after spending literally the previous scene (and ME2, if you were a Paragon) explicitly explaining to TIM why controlling the Reapers was insane and doomed to failure. Based on everything the game has told us, there is no reason to think attempting to control the Reapers will even work. Really, the best comparison for the control ending is not rewriting the Geth but rather Morinth convincing Shepard that heís so awesome and special that he can survive mind-melding with her. How did that turn out?
Likewise, destroying the heretic Geth was a serious and debatable decision, but killing a hostile enemy in wartime is a far cry from deliberately massacring your own allies to the last man after gaining their trust. A general might send his men into a dangerous and deadly situation to fight; thatís a realistic ethical dilemma. No general of any conscience, however, would simply butcher his own men himself in exchange for an objective. Some prices are simply too high to pay, and he would attempt to find another way even if it meant losing. Without question Paragon Shepard would reject that sort of diabolical calculus. Even Renegade Shepard, who is no less committed to self-determination, would balk at being shoehorned into the Catalystís phony and obviously flawed paradigm.
This decision is not even a sacrifice in any meaningful sense of the word. People wrongly use that euphemism to describe Shepardís arbitrary killing of the Geth, probably because it sounds nobler than alternatives like ďmass murder,Ē but it is nothing of the sort. The Geth are not giving their lives. Shepard is taking them without their consent. As for Shepard himself, he is condemned the moment he enters the Citadel. Itís never a question of whether; itís just a matter of how. There is no feeling of choosing to give up your life in exchange for a greater good (as, for example, there could be at the end of Dragon Age: Origins) because your life is automatically forfeit, and itís never clear that any of your choices even result in good, regardless. Thatís not a sacrifice: itís a gratuitous death sentence.
It doesn't need any further explanation as it is a simple choice in itself, but you have to think about what the consequences could be, as you cannot know them, and make a choice depending on a more or less educated guess.
Legion could have used considerably more buildup than he received, and the idea of bringing a live Geth aboard the Normandy on a whim and then allowing it to run around loose in the AI core, of all places, was extremely silly. Still, at least we knew what a Geth was at that point, and we were given some opportunity to question Legion, gain a feeling for his character so we could decide whether or not to trust him, and even fight alongside him. If you didnít trust him, you could choose not to carry out his loyalty mission at all, which had a whole separate set of consequences both in the suicide mission and later in ME3. And, of course, there was also the option to ignore Legion altogether and just sell his body to Cerberus for spare parts or whatever. So, Legionís existence had some level of justification, we had a legitimate frame of reference for evaluating him, we were offered a wide range of options for how to deal with him, and the choice we ultimately made in his loyalty mission did not contradict what we knew about the game, nor did it violate Shepardís fundamental character.
The Catalyst, in contrast, appears literally out of nowhere. He has no precedent whatsoever in the game, and we have no way of knowing what he really is. He admits he is the controlling force behind the Reapers and appears under highly suspicious circumstances, yet we have no way to investigate or challenge his assertions. The story he tells us makes no sense based on everything weíve witnessed in the game, yet we must accept his premise without question. There is no reason to think anything he tells us is even true. In fact, it seems just as likely to me that itís an elaborate trap.
Thatís not a simple choice at all; itís a bewildering mess. There is no way to make an educated guess because it arrives with no buildup, justification, or legitimate information to guide us. For all that we have any real ability to evaluate the consequences of this utterly baffling development, we might as well just pick the result out of a hat. That sort of sloppy, careless contrivance would be bad enough for a side quest; itís downright disastrous when it occurs at the most pivotal moment of the entire trilogy.
The thing about a
deus ex machina
--and to dignify the ending with that term is to be charitable enough to place it within a literary tradition--is that the audience must understand and accept the authority of the god for it to work. When it was Hercules or Apollo descending before the audience of Euripedes' day, people knew who they were. We know nothing whatsoever about the Catalyst; he is dumped upon the audience with absolutely no buildup or justification, and we are compelled to accept his three "choices" at face value
Also why hopeless or futile? The Reapers get stopped and civilization can live on, where is that hopeless?
Iíll begin by pointing out that the writers failed to make it remotely clear, as innumerable criticisms of the ending have already detailed, whether civilization really can live on to any meaningful degree. They can apply whatever rationalizations they like after the fact, but with the information we actually have in the game itís reasonable to surmise that the ending results in every bit as much an apocalypse as if the Reapers had just gone about their business unhindered.
For almost three full games we were led to believe that our decisions could make a difference, that what we did really mattered. Certainly, that was the case in ME2 in the suicide mission. It was true in ME1, as well. We could save Captain Kirraheís squad against all odds, and make the call on which of our crew survived; the way we handled Saren and the council set the philosophical tone for what followed. ME3 was supposed to be the apotheosis of this design philosophy. The big payoff. A whole trilogyís worth of granular decisions were supposed to culminate in a spectacular finale that glorified hundreds of hours of play. Instead, all of our painstaking decisions were stuffed into a blender and homogenized into a single number that did not meaningfully alter the outcome with respect to things that people actually cared about.
Yes, we ďtook backĒ Earth, I suppose, even though Iíd never even been to Earth in ME and really had no emotional investment in taking it anywhere. Yes, Iím sure people were thrilled to learn that Big Ben survived if your number was big enough, for reasons that remain unclear. I guess we won, for whatever thatís worth, though they never bother to show us how the allies we brought together really contributed to the outcome, or how they fared in the end.
Wasnít there something else, though? I feel like Iím forgetting somethingÖoh, right, the characters. Maybe there ought to have been something about them?
ďÖwe didnít know there was such a huge demand for it.Ē
See, the concept of the Reapers and the backstory of the ME universe are really just a hook, in the same way that the Federation, the Enterprise, etc. are just the hook for Star Trek; theyíre the skeleton for the story. The animating force of the story is the characters. The rest of it is just an excuse for them to do something exciting.
If Shepard has a home, itís not Earth: itís the Normandy. If he has a family, itís Tali, Garrus, Liara, Ashley/Kaiden, Joker, and the rest of the Normandyís crew. ďHumanityĒ (you manatee?) is just a word. Tali, Garrus, and Liara are the people who believed in Shepard and stood by him when nobody else would.
After all the effort Bioware put into developing the cast of the series, letting us talk with them and learn about their problems and build friendships with them and even romance them, what were we really fighting for?
A vague resolution to an esoteric, eons-old conundrum we didnít even know existed?
I sure as hell wasnít. I was fighting for the characters that I cared about.
And at the finale of a game built around an emotional center of relationships established over the course of an entire trilogy, itís all for naught. Shepard faces the Catalyst alone. He dies alone. He never learns what happens to his friends or LIówe donít even really learn what happens to themóand he takes the events of the Crucible to the grave. There is no way to save them, let alone reunite with them, any more than there is a way to save yourself.
You reach the Catalyst, you do something (Iím not really sure what), and then random stuff happens. Have a nice day.
Itís inconceivable to me that the writers could possibly have been that tone deaf about their own creation. There is a forum called ďCharacter and Romance DiscussionĒ on this very site with almost 450,000 posts in it, and they thought this stuff wasnít important to people? Itís like they failed to see the trees for the high-concept, "artistic" forest.
The ending betrays its own design philosophy of meaningful interactivity; it betrays the values and principles of Shepardís character; and it betrays the emotional investment of players who devoted their time thinking that they could shape the outcome by playing wellóyou know, the sort of thing you expect from a video game.
Itís a disgrace, and everyone who had a hand in producing it ought to be ashamed.
Meh, I didn't like it, but that didn't invalidate all the
that came before. The plot holes and the lack of individual resolution for the characters was what irked me most - but I'm hopeful the "
" DLC will resolve those.
Actually, it pretty much invalidated most of it. Sure, the character moments happened and were great. But if the end result always is "you're screwed, your friends are screwed, the galaxy is screwed" it sucks the enjoyment out of those great moments for me.
". We obviously have differing opinions, here.
I sure as hell don't claim mine as the more valid one - but I reserve myself the right to have it.
Disclaimer: I haven't played the game...so yeah, my opinion probably doesn't mean much.
But after sifting through some of the hatred for the ending, if a
theory is, in fact, right (and based on the evidence I've seen people collect, I think they have an interesting argument), then I find it pretty fascinating and downright brilliant, all things considered.
The Indoctrination Theory reads fascinating, but as far as we know it isn't supported by BioWare. We'll see when the ending DLC comes out.
Hm...I personally think that Bioware's response:
"The indoctrination theory illustrates again how committed the fanbase is," Bioware's representative said, "We don't want to comment either way...We want the content to speak for itself, and we'll let it do so."
makes sense, and that they may never confirm it if that's what they were aiming for all along. Why go through all that trouble to make an ending that requires people to decipher it, only to tell them how to think in the end?
At any rate, it's probably best for me to put it aside until that Extended Cut has been released ^^
I'm right with you there Maggy. In my head I constantly ask "What's ME3 again?" because I don't want to go through the trauma anymore. X.x My boyfriend felt the same way, if not more so since he put in a lot more time and feelings into the series.
Well, I've been playing ever since the first one on the PC, played 2 thrice (once on the PC and two more on the PS3) and the only reason I haven't played the 3rd one a second time already was because my old female Shep wasn't recognized by it. Still figuring
I can't bring myself to play it again, knowing how it ends.
a lot of extremely good emotional parts in the game, most of them dealing with Tali and the missions on Rannoch and Tuchanka. But... it's all chaff, destroyed by that horrible crap ending.
Man, I hope the extended cut does something to alleviate that.
Going by the most recent rumors, there's only clarifications coming. No actual differences in resolution.
Oh, I know. Maybe seeing how everything turns out will make it better.. although the stupidity and just...
of those three choices will remain.
Bleagh. Seriously, fuck their "artistic integrity".
FUCK. THE. POLICE.
Oh, wrong chant...
New extended ending thoughts?
Better. Still not what could have been, but a significant improvement.
What, it was a free DLC?
Yeap. All the DLC post release has been free, so far.
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