Short thoughts on Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC (spoilerfree)

Just a short one this time, people, and free of spoilers.

Edit: Avoid the comments if you want to remain as spoilerfree as possible. If not, feel free to join in.

Edit 2: If you want more related reading, you can find X2Eliah’s thoughts on scifi endings here, Sophie Prell’s take on the Mass Effect 3 extended ending here and Susan Arendt’s own take on the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut here.

I should state first off that I am one of the people who got unreasonably angry at the original ending for Mass Effect 3, and while I wasn’t completely into the indoctrination theory (mostly because I didn’t think Bioware’s writing team was quite that good), I did see the allure of it.

I actually had a lot of issues getting the DLC itself, what with Origin behaving like a piece of shit and EA being unable to fix it in a timely manner. I am not ruling out the possibility that this might have coloured my expectations and feelings.

I reloaded a save before the Cerberus base and powered through in order to see how far back the changes went, and while that might be necessary anyway because of Galactic Readiness stuff, the changes only affected the final mission.

Now, the Extended Cut is definitely not bad. It does as they advertised, adding more closure, exposition and context, trying to explain away the plot holes in the original ending, with mixed results. Some of the explanations do make certain situations more sensible, while others simply showcase just how deep the holes go, and a few even add entirely new plot holes.

That being said, they have actually put some effort into the writing now, so the exposition did make me quite emotional at times (even if they suddenly seem to be favouring one of the endings way more than the others), but it does not however fix the fact that it is a dumb ending altogether. While I do like the theme of sacrifice the ending presents, so much of what happens makes little or no sense because of the sloppy writing from the original released product that still has to be in there.

All in all, I have loved my time with the Mass Effect franchise, hundreds of hours invested to get the perfect playthrough, and I do not regret a moment spent on it. It’s just a shame they left writing the epic conclusion to a couple of guys who felt they did not have need of quality control, proofreading or time to write more than one draft, and while they have made an admirable attempt at salvaging the situation, I do feel like this is the end for me. I’m sorry Bioware, but I will most likely not be buying any more of your games. It’s been a fun ride, but I’m moving on.

~Wulf is no longer angry, only disappointed.


Posted on June 27, 2012, in Games, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Sounds about right, yeah. They decided to stick with the original endings at least in concept – probably out of fear of causing an even greater backlash about all that artistic integrity nonsense that was bandied about – which meant they had a snowball’s cahnce in hell to actually fix the true underlying issues. Taking into account that they could only touch up, add minor bits and re-word some stuff, it’s a pretty good effort – the really bad stuff is what remains in the actual ideas themselves (godchild, synthetic/biotic endless wars and so forth).

    They did screw up the green ending (synthesis) though. For one, they explicitly brow-beat the players about it being the “ideal” solution – a thing which I wrote about in detail, and two, they introduced a pretty glaring fallacy in dialogues that makes the green ending not be a good option at all. Essentially, talking to Godchild and him explaining the synthesis ending, it is revealed that a) a thing like synthesis cannot be forced; if it is forced, it would never work out as previous attempts have even shown, and b) this synthesis would be unavoidable and chosen only by Shep’s whim, aka forced. So, yeah, that there establishes the synthesis choice as a doomed going (well, until the “everything will be sunshines and rainbows” cutscene plays).
    In fact, Imo the synthesis ending was actually better in the previous version. It was more ambiguous, it had a lot of downsides, and with the relays being blown apart and most life ruined due to lack of food, such synthesis makes sense as a balanced Deus Ex Machina to provide for the galaxy’s survival. With the extended cut dlc, the synthesis ending is an utter smattering of incredibly naiive utopia that cannot help but ring utterly hollow. Not only that, but all the sacrifices as nulled by the extremely optimistinc, upbeat narration and promises of future glories etc… Idk, maybe it feels OK to some, but having read a ton of sci-fi works, Bioware’s imagined outcome for that ending just reeked of unrealistic fairytale nonsense…

    By the way, I really dig the reject ending. It feels the most realistic of the four, and does not involve any dumb space magic. Taken on its own, it can even look like the godchild-akaReaperCommander-just wanted to play around with Shepard, to fool him before his death, and growing annoyed when Shep doesn’t fall for that bait. Not the indoctrination theory, but.. well, something along those lines.

    • Oh yes. I went for the Synthesis ending this time (I did Destroy originally) and while the new stuff they put in was quite moving at times, on the whole it felt rather contrived. I believe when having Electron Kid explaining things they were trying to convey that because Shephard was ready, everything would be alright, and also a lot of people rely on synthetic implants, so they would be “ready” too. It’s dumb and illogical, and it also seems to imply this is the first cycle where any organic race has used synthetic implants, which raises a whole load of new questions.

      And I agree that the Reject ending was a neat touch, even if it basically was a “You don’t like our endings? Well, screw you then” wrapped in pretty words. Well, perhaps that’s a bit harsh, since I do like that they included such an ending. I’m sure that to many it’s preferable over the choices they’re given.

      Edit: I could probably write a more detailed and spoilertastic breakdown of my thoughts about the entire ending sequence, and I might still do that at some point, but for now I’m done.

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