I finally finished Mass Effect 3. SO MANY TEARS. D:
Please enjoy this depressing music from the soundtrack while I tell my tale....
I'm putting this behind a cut because, ahoy spoilers!
Long before I started playing ME I knew that that the ending of ME3 was controversial. I read a lot of gaming communities & blogs and it was impossible to avoid the fan rage after ME3 was released. However, I knew I would play it and didn't want to spoil myself so while I knew something bad happened, I didn't know what exactly. As I got further into the series I assumed some or all of the following was the "bad ending": Shepard dies, Shepard was being controlled by Cerberus the entire time, the Reapers win and kill everyone in the galaxy.
I assumed that the ending was controversial because it was dark and depressing. It never occurred to me that the ending was controversial because it made no damn sense and did not in anyway fit with the plot/aesthetic/characterization that was so painstakingly laid out in the earlier games. Thus, I find myself on board with the Indoctrination Theory, the fan-created theory about what the ending really was.
I'm okay with the IT because it means that rather than dropping the ball at the last minute and totally phoning it in, the writers actually have a big plan, they expect a level of intelligence from the fans in requiring them to read between the lines in the ending, and it leaves the story open for much more development (Mass Effect 4? Yes PLEASE!).
Mostly though, I buy the IT ending because it is the ONLY THING that makes sense. It's just not feasible that Shepard was zapped by Harbinger's laser and woke up, considering just seconds before we saw the same laser shearing through entire buildings and vehicles. Shepard is a badass but she's still human! Honestly when I played the game and got zapped with the laser and then woke up I didn't realize I was still able to play. I died the first time the husks came running at me because I assumed it was a final cut scene showing you Shepard's gruesome demise and failure to stop the Reapers. Then I realized I could shoot the husks, and the shield marauder, and what's this? Hop into the beam and zoom up to the Citadel? Hey, don't mind if I do? What's this, Anderson is here ahead of me despite not ever crossing me in the one way entrance to the Citadel? How odd. Oh and look, it's my old pal the Illusive Man. Has he just been hanging out up here all along? WTF BIOWARE?
Never mind the fact that at the end after I chose the Destroy option (yeah, fuck you reapers! sorry Geth and EDI) Joker is flying the Normandy away....with my crew on board? Liara was just down on the planet with me! To my knowledge, Asari can't teleport. And then they crash land on some crazy tropical looking planet and everyone is okay? This is all just bananas. I choose to believe the IT because it's more satisfying than believing the writers waited until the end of an amazing trilogy and then took a lazy shit all over the awesome product they had created and disregarded the high level of quality expected and anticipated by the fans.
So on that note, I'm doing a re-play from ME1 because I accidentally killed like ALL of my fucking crew through a series of bad decisions. Seriously, I killed all of the following: Wrex, Kaidan, Jacob, Thane, Jack, Mordin, Legion, Dr. Chakwas and the entire ship crew, Tali, ALL of the Quarians, and apparently all of the Geth and Edi by choosing the Destroy ending option. I'm pretty sure they need to change my title from "Commander Vanessa Shepard" to "Genocidal War Criminal Vanessa Shepard." UGH, the body count, it was unreal! At least my BFF Garrus survived <3
For me, the high point of ME3 was the Tuchanka mission because I LOVE KROGANS and I wanted to cure the genophage. I'm really glad I did because it was such a great moment for the Krogans AND the Salarians. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed that I got to free the Rachni again AND Grunt got to be a badass hero. I thought he died at first and I was sobbing my eyes out at the thought that I accidentally killed another Krogan (RIP Wrex) but I was so relieved to see that he survived!! However, after all the Krogan-centric missions my interest in ME3 waned somewhat. I was less invested in the Thessia mission (sorry Asari). I did enjoy the creepiness of infiltrating Sanctuary and seeing all the horrific video footage. I really thought there was going to be a video Miranda had recorded revealing that Shepard was implanted with a control chip/reaper tech all along. I was almost disappointed that it didn't happened because I felt the constant re-hashing of "you didn't get a control chip" was a little too defensive.
Long story short, Mass Effect was amazing even with the bizarre nonsensical ending. I recommend everyone play it! I've started in on the multiplayer now so if anyone on my flist plays it please let me know and we can be MP friends.
This concludes the longest, most rambling video game review of all time.