By community member Gregory Lowden
It’s been nearly a year since Mass Effect 3, the final chapter of the franchise, hit the shelves. Well, I was in Germany, about four thousand miles away from my Xbox, at the time. I didn’t get to go to a midnight release and wait around as people nerded out and compared decisions and whined about the costs of DLC and whatever else goes on at those things. I wasn’t one of the people who skipped classes and spent every waking moment at my 360 trying to complete all the side missions and chat up my comrades and beat the game in the first day (or week, depending on how much you like to sleep).
But I also wasn’t one of the people who made Mass Effect 3 newsworthy by crying about the ending and telling everyone with ears about how it ruined the entire series.
I picked up the game, used (got me a sweet awesome collector’s edition case) a few weeks ago, but had to play through the other two again first because I’m on a new hard drive. Before I get into ME3, let me first say real quick how much I love these first two games. Mass Effect one, despite its elevator rides and whoops-looks-like-your-inventory-is-full-of-garbage moments, was an extremely fun game. It was like somebody had taken Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (a.k.a. the ONLY RPG I have ever completed) and put gunplay into the mix (point-and-shoot, not that turn-based crap). I’ve maybe played ME1 all the way through about five or six times now.
The sequel was even more awesome, because they got rid of the boring parts and made the exciting parts even more exciting. I can’t even put that game down these days, and have actually spent hours just scanning planets looking for missions–I’ve actually played through this one like ten whole times, and the final mission even more so.
And then, last week, I finished Mass Effect 3. I was preparing myself for an ending that left me completely unsatisfied, one where I’d sit there during the credits with a blank look on my face and think, “That was it? Over a hundred hours of gameplay for THAT!?!?!” But that didn’t happen. I thought that they came up with an extremely fitting end to the trilogy, one where I actually sat for a few minutes thinking, “Oh my God which ending do I choose?” And I have to say, I know there weren’t “three endings”. Yeah, there were three choices, but how many choices did we have in Mass Effect one? Kill Saren and Sovereign, or do we kill Saren and Sovereign? If you say, “But wait, you got to choose whether or not the council lived!” I say to you, “I got to choose whether or not the Geth lived, or the Krogan, or the Rachni, or countless others.”
Even if that’s not enough for you, what did you really expect? At the end of Mass Effect 1 and 2, we knew there would be a next game. We knew, “Oh man, if I save/kill this dude right now, it could totally make/ruin some part of the next game.” But here there IS NO “next game”. Mass Effect 3 was about the whole idea of “Here it is, all or nothing. Is everybody gonna die or not?” There is no continuation. That was clear from the beginning. They used that knowledge, too, to craft to story to this bittersweet epic, where you’re either knee-deep in action trying to save to planet or spending a few brief moments reminiscing with your squad on the citadel–because you aren’t going to get another chance. I don’t know, maybe I was expecting something so awful that the game just couldn’t have actually been that bad, but I for one am completely, one hundred percent pleased with the ending to ME3.
Suck it, haters.