Have You Played… Mass Effect 3?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

You know which game has a great ending? It’s Mass Effect 3 [official site].

Very few games that claim that your decisions have real consequences are telling the truth. Mass Effect was telling the truth. Choices you made in the first two games determined the story you were told in the third game, in sometimes dramatically different ways. Relationships you had with companions affected the way you related to them in the final game of the trilogy, people/races who’d lived and died clearly had a significant impact on what you experienced, and calls you’d made about difficult matters saw consequences later on. But none of them affected the final ending of the game. And that’s brilliant.

I argued this in more detail here (then later discovered that “fart” is the worst insult of them all), but Mass Effect 3’s climax, while avoiding spoilers, demonstrated something really important and impressive: the universe is bigger than one person. To suggest that this third game was not impacted by the previous two is madness, simply because the last half hour wasn’t unique to you. Something bigger was going on, and while your character was central to that bigger thing, it was always going to happen. What makes the ending quite so impressive is that it’s the experiences you had up to that point, the relationships you made, the impact that characters and situations had on you, the player, that played a huge part in the choices you made at that point. The choices weren’t there as a consequence of your actions, but the one you picked was so heavily influenced by them. It was a bold statement.

It was also a top third-person action RPG, that stripped down the over-complexity of the second instalment, and told a great story. The ending was of course extremely divisive, and I think the best ones so often are. What a superb trilogy, and what a great way to finish it.

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  1. Exuro says:

    Absolutely. I adored the entire trilogy for its characters, and its depth of narrative, and felt that it was more about the journey than the destination.

    It was unreasonable to expect everyone to have a unique ending, and it was always going to end one of a few ways, but the journey that led there was phenomenonal. The saddest thing was saying goodbye to the universe I felt I’d inhabited, and I’d say in that regard, of was a successful trilogy.

  2. ulix says:

    Still the best in the series, even if that ending WAS shit.
    I remember taking my time playing through it. I had read about the complaints abd criticism of the game’s ending without really spoiling it, and I still remember thninking until the beginning of that last mission “What the fuck are people talking about? This is amazing!”.

    So yeah. The first 95% or so of this game are pretty great.

    • ulix says:

      Let’s remember that the ending wasn’t so much criticized for not representing what you’d done before (although that also was a problem), but that none of the endings made sense in terms of the game’s lore.

      Most of the tens of millions of aliens stranded in Sol would have starved after that ending. It’s just one example…
      Without the mass relays travelling back to their home planets would have taken years. And since many of them couldn’t eat earth’s food… well.

      • Xerophyte says:

        To me it’s not so much that the Mass Effect 3 endings didn’t make sense, it’s that they’re all bleak as hell. The choices offered were (assuming you accept the premise that synthetic life is as valid as any):
        1. Kill half of the people in the galaxy, cause widespread famine and destruction.
        2. Forcibly lobotomize and enslave half the people in the galaxy, cause widespread famine and destruction.
        3. Forcibly replace every single living thing in the galaxy with a slightly altered copy of itself, cause widespread famine and destruction.

        I really liked the ending of Mass Effect 2, in contrast. The entire game built up to how this was a “suicide mission” and you shouldn’t expect most of your crew to come back, and that could definitely be an outcome, but by making an effort to be the best of all Shepherds you could gather the right people, build them into a functioning team and come through with no casualties. Then you could tell your racist asshole employer to go fuck himself, steal his super spaceship and go save the galaxy on your own. Sure, the final boss encounter was a bit of a wet fart, but the entire ending sequence still made me feel like a Big Damn Space Hero in the best possible way and I think it’s one of the best things Bioware has made.

        ME3 is … definitely not that. Bioware have said that they wanted it to be a bit elegiac and, hey, mission accomplished I guess. It just seems to me to be jarringly bleak compared to all that came before it; it’s very much not the tone I’m looking for in my escapist space opera action adventure or the tone I was expecting going into the game. I also thought that the Synthesis ending was goddamn horrifying — non-optional invasive brain surgery for everyone! — and I got the impression that this was not intentional and it’s instead supposed to be the “good” end.

      • Cinek says:

        I never cared much about ME lore, but the ending was shit anyway.

        After all that adventure and building up the the grand closing everything boils down to 3 options and a shitty cutscene. WTF.

        And yea – it’s not the only game that had such a shitty ending. Deus Ex: Human Revolutions would be an obvious example, though there at least it made a little bit of sense due to the setting and how it was all presented.

      • Paul B says:

        I think what most disappointed me about the ending, was that you’d spent the rest of the game rushing around the universe, amassing this huge collection of ships & individuals to fight the Reapers. And then, that was all thrown away by the ending. I was expecting the mother of all battles but instead got something else – something much more disappointing. Still, the journey there was captivating.

      • welverin says:

        “Let’s remember that the ending wasn’t so much criticized for not representing what you’d done before (although that also was a problem), but that none of the endings made sense in terms of the game’s lore. ”

        Um, that is exactly what most people were complaining about.

      • Asurmen says:


        Nah, the Turians and Quarians would have been fine. Between whatever food stocks they have left on their ships, you have an entire system full of resources, and a planet that while attacked by Reapers, on the scale of the population it will take years to cleanse, meaning there’s still infrastructure. Not to mention the expertise and tech available in the rest of the fleet.

        Making D-isomers of proteins rather than L-isomers becomes a piece of cake.


        Not sure why you think all three endings lead to the same affect.

        • Xerophyte says:

          Because the endings are very similar and that’s part of the problem to me. You pick one of three slightly different horrifying atrocities in order to save the galaxy and then the larger scale equivalent of destroying all the boats, planes, trucks, trains and roads on Earth happens.

          Personally I don’t think that the end sequence had any huge consistency issues or failed to respect my previous choices or whatever. I mostly think that it was a huge bummer, and the Big Choice part of it rang a bit false due to the similarity of outcome.

          I will give Bioware this: the “shoot the kid in the face” ending they added later did lead to a substantially different outcome in a way that the original options did not.

          • Asurmen says:

            I suppose I should clarify and ask why they’re all horrifying atrocities. The only one that is horrifying is shooting the kid, which means another cycle goes by.

    • draglikepull says:

      “The first 95% or so of this game are pretty great.”

      I agree with this. The deus ex machina ending was terrible, but just about everything leading up to it was a lot of fun.

  3. LegendaryTeeth says:

    The ending wasn’t really the (main) problem with Mass Effect 3, it’s just where the story collapsed for most people because all of the big or little issues that cropped up from switching writers and themes and focus and scale and everything else never got resolved, and now never would be. The actual core problems are different for everyone.

    Check out this (ongoing) massive retrospective for the Mass Effect series: link to shamusyoung.com and see exactly how things broke for different gamers coming in with different goals and expectations at different times. Really interesting stuff.

    • Kefren says:

      Good to see a ref to Shamus Young, I really enjoyed Free Radical (especially the first version) – for a while I was addicted to all things System Shock. Even made a print copy of it, which also included all the audio log transcripts from the game, sections of the manual etc. Nuts.

    • GWOP says:

      Another recommendation for Shamus’ retrospective. Reading it has been quite cathartic.

    • Geebs says:

      I think Shamus writes from the perspective of a Mass Effect 1 fan disappointed by the later parts of the series (which is one of the reasons I tend to agree with everything he says).

      That said, he’s absolutely eviscerated ME3, and he’s not wrong. The plot was one giant slow motion train-wreck with a couple of bright spots.

      Sorry John, you’re objectively wrong on this one.

      • XX says:

        Objectively not objective.

        I was/am a ME1 fan. I enjoyed the ME3 ending. You might find that hard to believe, just as I find the scale of the apparent disappointment with ME3 hard to believe. I’m sure we could spend all day thinking of good reasons why that might be but in end you’d still be disappointed and I still wouldn’t.

        • kament says:

          Hear hear. I (being a ME fan since the first game rolled out) just don’t get why exactly people are so frustrated by ME3 ending. “It doesn’t make sense in terms of the series’ lore!” But it does. Etc etc.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Meh the ending was a little disappointing, but it was bound to be. I think the main thing is that since everything else in the game was such high quality people were hoping this would be too. Instead it was more run of the mill.

            The idea that it “ruined” the series was silly. But they clearly should have devoted more attention and resources to it.

    • Distec says:

      I think that series needs to be posted any time an article touching on ME comes up. The third game fucked up hard in so many ways.

      The problem with ME3’s ending isn’t that it’s not unique to the player (although Bioware absolutely invited that criticism when they were bullshitting about the number of endings during the hype phase). The problem is that it’s a complete ass-pull which makes little sense, is never properly foreshadowed, and undercuts the idea/illusion of player choice it had managed ’til then. No matter what, you’re railroaded into either being complicit with the series’ Big Bad with three terrible and unsatisfying options or basically committing suicide.

      I would also love to pretend it was all a fine ride up until that point, but really wasn’t. And yes, the last couple minutes of the game absolutely sullied what came before it.


      “that stripped down the over-complexity of the second instalment”

      What complexity?

      • Coming Second says:

        I’ve been puzzling over that line, too. John’s welcome to his opinion that ME3’s story was great, but a) ME3’s gameplay was demonstrably denser than ME2’s, which wasn’t a hard accomplishment given b) ME2 was mechanically speaking an incredibly simple game.

        Just goes to show people who reckon ME3’s ending was great are provably wrong about everything, I guess.

    • Unsheep says:

      The storyline collapsed with Mass Effect 2, which opted for a Seven Samurai theme instead. So it was left to Mass Effect 3 to make sense of everything in only 20-30 hours worth of gameplay. No wonder it felt rushed, considering how much potential storyline content they wasted in Mass Effect 2.

      As far as the entire storyline goes 60% is covered in the first game, 30% in Mass Effect 3 and only 10% in Mass Effect 2.

    • arisian says:

      I was just going to post that link myself; glad I read the existing comments before looking like an idiot. Honestly, I found this article kind of hilarious; if it were posted on a site other than RPS I would think it was intentionally trolling the audience as a form of clickbait. But RPS has built up enough respect for me over the years that I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt on this stuff now.

      Honestly, I think that John’s point about a “bigger than just you” ending being something unusual in gaming is a good one. I like high-concept SF, and would love to see more of it in games. But that kind of ending just didn’t fit with the rest of the 3 games that came before, and the writers had already made such a mess of their universe that it felt far too arbitrary to actually have the impact that John is looking for (at least, that was the case for me, and based on the backlash presumably a lot of others).

      2001: A Space Odyssey basically pulls off this kind of ending, but only because the whole movie supports that tone (and even then, it didn’t work for everyone; it helps if you’ve read the book first). But you can’t just take the last 15 minutes of 2001 and use it to replace the last 15 minutes of Return of the Jedi and expect it to make the Star Wars trilogy high-concept (as opposed to the space opera that it has always and unashamedly been). The audience would be upset, and rightly so. It’s not “a bad ending,” it’s just “an inappropriate ending for that story”.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Jekadu says:

    I agree. I had no particular issues with the ending. The massive furor it generated seems to have been a result of the rise of social media. The backlash was absolutely absurd in its intensity, and highlighted some enormous problems in the Western video game community that sadly went mostly ignored.

    Well, no matter. The thing I will always remember Mass Effect 3 for is its superb multiplayer. I’ve wasted hundreds of hours running around shooting stuff as a Quarian Infiltrator with my N7 Valiant.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      I’m with you. And Co-op’s variety with the new powers/kits, intensity of combat was great – the kiting, flanking, re-positioning etc..

      I thought the campaign’s combat generally wasn’t great though. In the end battles I felt there should’ve been a glimpse of the what was shown in the cinematic “Take Back Earth” trailer, and just open up the maps more, with a few grunt soldiers actually fighting alongside as you pushed through -as opposed to scripted dying upon your arrival, leaving only your squad-.
      I would’ve welcomed more co-op style maps & combat in those battles.

    • iucounu says:

      The multiplayer is indeed magnificent, and remains the only online multiplayer game I’ve ever spent any kind of time or money on.

    • welverin says:

      The hope co-op will be back functionally the same is probably why I’m the most impatient for Andromeda’s release.

  5. Areveas says:

    The ending sure was impacted by the first 2 games, all right. They wrote themselves a completely unsolvable situation in said 2 games, and when they started making the third one they realized as much. So they simply spent the first chapter of the last game introducing the Deus Ex Machina plot devide that would solve all our problems.

    I somewhat disagree that that’s an example of good writing. I’ll agree that the game as a whole is good, but the main storyline is as far as I can tell just “write unbeatable antagonist and solve situation via plot device introduced in last part of the series”. Even more aggrivating is that they spent the ending covering a topic they’d already covered in much greater depth in one of their side stories (AI and the whole Geth thing). I loved the game, but the universe, characters, side stories and so on were what carried it, not the main storyline or the ending.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      The main storylines of all three games have been fairly arse. The setting is interesting enough to stand on its own, but some kind of central conflict is needed to carry a trilogy, I guess. It’s why the second game remains my favorite: the focus is on side activities and character development.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      Well, the Deus Ex Machina/God-Button solution was to be expected, and given what it took just to take down Sovereign..
      The universe, stories and characters around the main plot really did elevate the series.

      I too wasn’t particularly phased with how the ending was written but was very disappointed that the vast majority of your choices were just converted to “War Points”, and didn’t give you further story options through the final battles or gameplay.
      For example, I envisioned in the battle to the Conduit, calling down a big sacrifice of the Quarian fleet on a kamikaze run right at the Reaper Destroyer as an alternate to the Thanix Missile platform.

      I actually said to my friend after finishing ME2: “Bioware will really need to get their asses in to gear if they want to do ME3 right within their 2 year release target”.. Clearly they were already pushing to release what they did.

    • Unsheep says:

      It was Mass Effect 2 that put a brisk stop to the storyline, it pulled the emergency breaks on what could have been an epic sci-fi adventure.

      The first Mass Effect game offered an excellent set-up for the storyline and had a great introduction to the gameworld.

      Mass Effect 2 spoiled it all by taking the gamer on a crudely designed Team Building quest, leaving the core storyline to appear only sporadically and rushed towards the end.

      Mass Effect 3 had to pick up the pieces from Mass Effect 2 and salvage the proper storyline. So ‘yes’ Mass Effect 3 do seem rather rushed, but the fault lies entirely with Mass Effect 2.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      I don’t feel it was “entirely because of ME2” at all. ME2 did need more core story & plot pieces threaded through the game to tie it together though.

      A development cycle of 2 years was tight just to produce a fitting & polished conclusion with the necessary content finished + iterate the gameplay, IMO.
      I thought that As soon as I finished ME2. Even still, ME3 was solid at launch; the actual ending content was clearly “unfinished” to me though (the story’s resolution – I didn’t have particular issues with).

      The majority of plot points in ME3 needed to be revealed || resolved in ME3 itself anyway. However there were plot threads & characters (+ the contribution of various forces in the conclusion) that were glossed over which deserved more attention & development time..
      I also wish there’d been more experimentation & iteration in their level designs, open up parts of the missions like with the co-op maps so we have some good combat hubs.

  6. quarpec says:

    nah, it’s just the janky weird trying-too-hard-to-be-deep-and-dark third entry. it would be an alright game but me1 and 2 are way better overall, despite their nitpicky flaws

    i’d replay it for the dlc but fuck bioware and their shitty dlc pricing scheme

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      “fuck bioware and their shitty dlc pricing scheme”

      Oh this, a thousand times this.
      Sure, sell your DLC for more than the cost of the game when it comes out, even if some of the DLC is pretty much essential to make sense of the game.
      However, if you’re going to allow retailers to discount the game to a few pounds/dollars/euros, how about reducing the DLC prices a bit?
      (You can regularly pick up ME2 for about £2.50, but all the core DLC will set you back about £30 still.)

      • welverin says:

        The DLC has gone on sale on Origin on occasion, not sure how much or how often since I got it already so don’t pay particular attention to it.

        • Frosty_2.0 says:

          Huh? It’s all bound to Bioware Points still, which is in itself stupid.

          Annoyingly, the DLC doesn’t even show up directly in the Origin store pages, for Origin you need go through your library and expand details to see.

  7. Danarchist says:

    Anyone that answers “no” to this should be put under house arrest until they finish it.
    Ok maybe that’s a bit harsh, but I loved this game so much O.o

    • Horg says:

      A bit harsh. I’m still on a BioBoycot after the Prothean DLC debacle. Having seen what they’ve done since with DA:Inquisition, no regrets so far. ME2 left me feeling luke warm towards the series as well with its simplified game play, gaudy fan service NPCs and bloody awful level design (space has never felt more like one long corridor). I’m not going to feel any regret for skipping ME3.

  8. woodaba says:

    Nah, it was just two guys shutting out everyone else who had been involved in the creative decisions for the series trying to write an ending that was deep. And it ended up as a plot-hole ridden pile of absolute nonsense.

    The problem with Mass Effect 3’s ending was never it disregarding your choices. The problem was always that it was just a shit ending.

  9. Kefren says:

    I tried the first game twice, and quit due to boredom both times. I got further on the second attempt, but I think it was planet landings that finished me off. I haven’t played the second yet, not looking forward to it, and wish I’d not done the impulse purchase. I don’t own the third though – presumably because it requires some other DRM system? Glad of that for once.
    Disclaimer: games are subjective, I can understand some people love this as much as I love System Shock and Heroes Of Might And Magic 2, objectively Mass Effect may be great games, I don’t rule that out just because I didn’t get into them.

    • Recurve says:

      Don’t let ME1 put you off playing the second. It plays very differently. IMO Gameplaywise it’s far superior. They really tightened up the janky combat from the first game and there’s none of the planet landings that put you off.

      • malkav11 says:

        I heartily disagree. 2’s combat is incredibly bland and repetitive cover shooting. Cover shooting is a tedious slog by default when in the Gears of War mold and for it to be elevated to a point where it’s actually enjoyable, steps must be taken to introduce creativity, tactics and variety. ME2 does not take those steps, as every encounter is in a blatantly obvious and functionally near identical arena full of illogical waist high cover, the enemies differ primarily in the type of extra sponge they offer for bullets, your choice of companions has no real effect on combat, all your powers share the same cooldown so there is no reason to use anything but the single most effective power over and over, and the guns are bog-standard archetypal shooter guns (pistol, shotgun, SMG, sniper rifle and assault rifle) with only the heavy weapons (with their extremely limited and unified ammo) offering the slightest variety. Unless you buy DLC, in which case there are one or two regular guns that aren’t functionally identical to every other gun of their type.

        ME1’s combat wasn’t great, but it was so much faster and more varied. Of course, ME3 addressed most of the complaints I make above and its iteration of combat is definitely the strongest in the series – enough so that the cooperative pure-combat mode was actually worth playing, surprisingly enough. But 2’s? Ugh.

        Similarly, while I would agree that ME1’s non-story planets were intensely tedious and generally recommend against bothering with them outside of maybe a couple of specific exceptions (you don’t really need anything on most of them unless you’re a completist…which I tend to be, alas), the stupid planet scanning minigame they replaced it with in 2 (and 3, to an extent) was not an improvement.

        • Geebs says:

          Sign me up for team “ME1 had much more varied and interesting combat”.

          If you’re going to do a straight cover shooting game, you either make Vanquish or you go home.

      • Unsheep says:

        Saying Mass Effect 2 is better than Mass Effect is like saying Dragon Age 2 is better than Dragon Age Origins.

        If you want something that plays more like an action game then ‘yes’, Mass Effect 2 is better than Mass Effect. So if the first game really bored you then ME2 is certainly a valid choice, no arguments there.

        However if you want something tactical and strategic, and ultimately more RPG-like, then Mass Effect 2 is not a good game.
        The gameplay and the gameworld are very linear and simplistic compared to the first game.

  10. Zinic says:

    By pure coincidence, I’m actually replaying the trilogy at the moment, and started on the third game last night. This is also the third time I’ve done this, making the same choices I usually do, and it’s actually fairly impressive just how much persists between games. You make decisions in the first game that will have huge effects in the third one. Simple choices such as whether or not you punch the reporter in the first game, or the second, is reflected in the third. The most important of these was always, to me, whether you chose to free the Rachni Queen or not. Hell, there’s a fish you can get in Mass Effect 2 that, if you kept alive, will give you a pretty big bonus in the third game, something I had never even expected. The ripples throughout all three games are easily felt and remembered, especially if you play them in quick succession. And I was always of the opinion that even if the ending of the third game felt… weird, it never the less felt like an actual ending. It all comes down to one man (or woman), and their struggle to get this far. One man, in the right place, at the right time, makes all the difference.

    Oh, and you really do need to play through all three games to get the best result, which is another thing I really liked. The default choices throughout the series make a real effort in screwing you over in the third game, which is bad for new players, but provide an actual reward for the ones who did make an effort to play through all three. For example, Wrex dies on Virmire by default in Mass Effect 2, and 3, so you’ll not have his support or companionship in the third installment. The games themselves are also vastly different from eachother, implementing very different systems, such as the galaxy exploration and combat. Most importantly though, your choices always matter in the game. Even in small ways. Even if the game does fall into the trap of one choice clearly being Good, and the other Evil.

    • GWOP says:

      Well, if you kill the Rachni queen, a clone just takes her place. So… not a massive difference.

      • VaporStrike says:

        Well, it depends. If you didn’t kill it at all, it could help with the crucible (+ war points) If you kill both the original and clone, nothing happens at all. However, if you were to kill the original and then ask the clone to help build the crucible after feeling bad about murdering the original. The clone would sit around for a bit, then murder a bunch of human workers (- war points) and take off. Still not a huge difference, but enough of one to matter.

        • GWOP says:

          Well, all that happens off-screen, and the war assets don’t ultimately matter.

          Though yes, there’s an emotional component of making sure the last of a specie survive, regardless of how it affects the story later on.

          • kament says:

            Except war assets do actually matter.

            For instance, if you don’t have enough and go with destroying the Reapers, a massive energy storm sweeps across the Earth (and, accordingly, all planets within the reach of any relay) upon activating the Crucible, leaving nothing but ashes in its wake. In a word, it’s apocalypse.

            But if you do – it’s basically a triumph. Well, except for the geth.

            I’d say that’s a pretty big difference.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      The consequences of not playing ME1 and ME2 are not really a real effort to screw you over, methinks, but rather that it’s easier to let the players that are new to the series let themselves be introduced to characters that are new for everyone, rather then writing re-introductions for new players to old characters.

      • Zinic says:

        True, this was what I wanted to imply, but worded it wrong. Still, it will have an actual effect on the war score in the third game if, say, Wrex dies. Been going through the games again following more of a walkthrough approach, so I’ve been made aware of how things a weighted in this regard.

    • Zekiel says:

      There are some bits of ME1/2 that have fantastic consequences (whether or not your have Wrex and Mordin alive springs to mind). But for me the Rachni Queen is one of the most disappointing – its a stupid choice in the first place (no reason is given why you can’t just leave it alive in captivity for the Council to make the massive moral choice) and the consequences are negligible in ME3 since its replaced by a clone. The war assets are one of the worst parts of the game since every decision is reduced to a +/- to one big number, which is really underwhelming.

      • Zekiel says:

        PS Hope you’re enjoying your 3rd playthrough Zinic!

      • malkav11 says:

        A number, moreover, that doesn’t really matter in the end. (Or at least didn’t – maybe the extended cut does something with it.) I gather it locks off some aspects of the massively arbitrary decision at the end for no particular reason if your score’s low, but a) originally there was no visible difference between those endings and b) there’s no reason your war effort should have anything to do with that choice, much less invisibly. It’s pretty much zero payoff.

        • kament says:

          I’d say the reason is pretty obvious: if you don’t have a fleet strong enough to fend off the Reaper forces, the Crucible takes heavy damage. It’s actually showed on-screen.

  11. wcq says:

    No, I actually haven’t.

    I’d pretty much had enough of the series after finishing the previous two games, and with the whole ending kerfuffle I just couldn’t scrape together enough interest to get the game.

    This actually seems to be a habit of mine: only a handful of series have ever managed to make me go through a third game.

  12. gbrading says:

    The Mass Effect trilogy was superb, and even though I dislike the ending (any of them), it still doesn’t dampen my enjoyment of the fantastic journey the entire series was. There were some fantastic characters and emotional scenes, as well as some excellent gameplay to boot.

    I think generally ME1 is my “favourite” game but ME2 is the “best” game. ME1 established the universe, generated the lore, and introduced the characters, while ME2 streamlined the gameplay (overstreamlined in my view). In advance of Andromeda I definitely feel like going back and playing some of them again.

  13. ZippyLemon says:

    Nobody ever mentions how both ends of the game were gloopy turds bookending a fucking fantastic experience.

    Yes, the ending. But the intro? That boring stodgy gameplay and Michael Bay bollocks? That was a concerning start…

  14. Lethys says:

    (All the spoilers)

    Yes, the story does differ slightly for your prior choices. But there are so many more important choices which are completely ignored or disregarded. The primary one being the collector base, which if you saved it, you may have noticed nothing. If you destroyed it, well, they took all the pieces of it and rebuilt it again so it’s as if the ending of the 2nd game never even happened. The second worst being the rachni, which ends up being a tiny amount of “war score.” They teased the importance of that choice for two games! And that’s all we got? 100 war score? For the importance of the rachni, that’s honestly the most disappointing thing I’ve ever seen as a plot point in a game.

    The story itself was quite poor. The idea for the Crucible makes no sense, the Crucible being the main driver of the plot. You receive plans somehow from all the alien races who ever lived before you explaining how to make a device which is unfinished, to combat the reapers. No one knows what the point of the device even is. Each race contributes a piece of it, and somehow they end with a cohesive end product in spite of language/culture barriers and none knowing what the end result was intended to be at the start. It needs the Citadel to work, the first place the Reapers actually take over to begin an invasion, so that makes no sense at all. None of the prothean data you see before it mentions it, even though if the game were a cohesive trilogy it’s about the only thing the VI in ME1 would mention, so it’s clearly a shoehorned in plot device to make your victory plausible as opposed to a planned ending. The reapers logic for reaping also made almost no sense, which from a storytelling perspective is awful. Make their reasons beyond our comprehension, that’s a fine enough device for ancient superpower beings who kill but say they have good motives. If you wanted to make a sequel, have them be the invading force of a galaxy outside this one.

    And the ways the story differs are honestly negligible for the most part. The most compelling choices are ruined by how easy the paragon/renegade meter is to fill, like geth vs. quarians. The instance with Mordin is a lone high point. So am I supposed to pretend the Paragon option doesn’t exist just to make the story more compelling to myself? Then I get punished with the lack of “synthesis” option at the end for it, and I lose war score which might mean I lose in the end, so no, you can’t do that. We’ve been making Krogan life or death decisions for many games now, starting with the first one, and the genophage hardly even matters in the context of a synthesis or control victory. If former companions died, they’re mostly filled in by racial stand-ins who do roughly the same exact thing, few deviations aside.

    Not to mention the $15 DLC character who should’ve been far more important to the plot than he was, the fact that a game about diversity ends with everyone becoming unified in its “best” ending, the inane Normandy being chased by colored cloud of energy sequence, and the generally horrid practice of assigning scores to your actions such that the numerical values end up being more important than the actual context your decisions exist in. More points = better. After all that, it’s just points? I know people will disagree. But the insane amount of auto-dialog in the game, the weird anime sword guy, the bugs in that game, I could keep going. Thankfully I don’t remember it all too well these days but I used to have many more problems with the game. Overall even without the ending I found it to be an extremely lacking experience. And the amount I loved those first two games…ah well.

    • Pheeze says:

      Succinctly put, m’lud.

    • kament says:

      Re Collector base: your choice is reflected in the lowest score variation only. But it makes a massive difference. Between salvation and annihilation, in fact. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that – moreso because I assumed it didn’t really change that much.

  15. deadlybydsgn says:

    I was late to the party on the first Mass Effect, then plowed through it right before its sequel came out. It really grabbed hold of my attention, and although the second was more streamlined, I’ve always thought Bioware might the right decision in doing so.

    Why? Because ME1 was an awkward mix of RPG and third person shooting. I never once had to buy a piece of equipment, because my ability to aim with the mouse, take cover, and find serviceable weapons as I went along nullified that need.

    Simply put — Mass Effect is better as a third person shooter with RPG elements than it is an RPG with mediocre, strapped-on shooting mechanics. Anyway, I didn’t mean this to be all about the first two games, so I digress…

    I mention that because I was also late to the party in getting ME3. (mostly due to Origin hesitation and being busy) Unfortunately, I had already experienced The Witcher 3 at that point. So, while it was nice to catch up with a familiar universe, it all rang a bit hollow for me.

    The ending wasn’t horrible, but I can see why some folks were upset. Sure, there were big choices at the end with enormous impact, but nothing particularly satisfying about any of them. Maybe that’s a bit selfish, though, considering the angle of the article. It really was about more than Shepard or her his crew, so I suppose it’s fair that they felt like a footnote by the closing scene.

  16. doswillrule says:

    Three years of arguing this point have really taken it out of me, but I really think you’re reading more into the ending than they intended. It’s particularly tough to reassess when playing the Extended Cut and the crowbarred lore of Leviathan, which do them the kindness of patching over the worst holes and making it look far more cohesive.

    The fact is that the original conclusion to the game just was not up to snuff. The plot holes and inconsistencies were so numerous that they spawned a credible theory that it was so deliberately awful because it was an indoctrination-induced dream. The Illusive Man is a poor clone of the ME1 boss fight, the writing is below par, it finishes with a deus ex machina and a series of choices they explicitly stated they wouldn’t implement (the famous quotes that ‘we won’t do an A, B, C ending’ or a ‘Deus Ex HR’ ending). Then it concludes by ignoring established lore about relays destroying entire systems, some stolen stock art and a message to buy the DLC.

    It most definitely was an issue that they sold the ending to a series predicated on choice as being full of choice, and then failed to deliver that. But the primary problem was that it sucked to a contemptible degree.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      I don’t get the part about there being some kind of massive contradiction in the lore regarding the destruction of mass relays. The mass relay we destroy in Arrival is hit by an asteroid in an uncontrolled manner. There is no reason to imagine that the Catalyst wasn’t capable of “destroying” (which could mean just neutralizing) the mass relays in a controlled fashion.

      I mean, HCl and NAOH are both terribly caustic compounds, but together they make harmless table salt and water.

      • doswillrule says:

        Fair point, although there was a distinct lack of clarity about numerous parts of the original ending. The Normandy crashing while travelling through a relay, with the fair assumption that the ship was fried and that, without a relay, it might never get back to civilisation.

        There were a lot of inconsistencies like this: the Normandy landing for a chat in front of Harbinger, who doesn’t shoot it and later flies away without explanation; how nobody sees you and Anderson make it up the beam; or how Anderson is seemingly miles ahead of you then turns up 10 seconds later). There’s also the infamous reveal of Tali’s unmasked face, which turns out (again!) to be a photoshopped stock model. The game is largely excellent, but there’s just too much about it that feels undercooked and left me feeling unappreciated.

        • Premium User Badge

          Jekadu says:

          I kinda liked the surreal quality of the original ending sequence, but never mind that.

          I feel the main issue with Tali’s face was not the fact that they used a stock photo, but that they used a very popular one that many would recognize instantly. I personally would have preferred that they didn’t show her face at all — after three games the mystery was more compelling than the answer.

  17. slerbal says:

    No I haven’t because it was when they switched to Origin and I didn’t fancy another client on my machine (then or now), especially as I played the other two on Steam. But that’s just me. Besides the real reason was I really enjoyed the first one and completely ran out of steam on the second one (which aside from one quest line had very porr writing) and had no urge to play any more. These days I don’t just play/watch sequels because they exist – they need to win me over.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    I did, until the final battle which was a piece of crap. Not the ending, the battle itself. The game felt much worse than the previous entries, worse written, and it carried over the very worrying colonialist/fascist implications of the Mass Effect 2 DLC. Already mentioned this every time this game pops up in RTS, anyway.

    There is a detail that bugged me above everything: spying over other people conversations to “help” them, telling them what they MUST do. And that is supposedly “good” in the schema of that game. I felt like a psychotic Amelie (pleonasm).

  19. Mr_Blastman says:

    *spoiler alert*

    The series lost me by the second game. As if the whole “alien artifact and ancient civilization” plot isn’t overdone enough, as is, they had to throw in that whole “team farming” plot mechanism, which you do, only to find the sequence the entire second game was building to–going into the other universe/system/dimension/galacticcorewhatever is so shallow and easy that you scratch your head and go… “Huh? That’s it? I spent all these damn hours collecting all these people for this stupid cakewalk that lasts less than a tenth of the entire game? For real?”

    And to top it off… a giant robot humanoid pops out! Come on. This is before I start talking about dumbed-down gameplay or anything else in the second game.

    But… that’s just my opinion. A lot of people like it!

    • deadlybydsgn says:

      …they had to throw in that whole “team farming” plot mechanism, which you do, only to find the sequence the entire second game was building to–going into the other…

      Maybe I’m just a fan of the Seven Samurai / Dirty Dozen story structure, but ME2 was probably my favorite of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong — ME1 had a superior storyline. It’s just that ME2 felt like Bioware had things more in hand with how they were handling the IP.

      Like I said in another reply, though, I feel ME is better off as a third person shooter with RPG elements than it is as an RPG with lackluster shooting tacked on. Despite my initial kneejerk against what they did to 2’s gameplay, I feel like it was the right decision for this series. (tho as far as lore goes, the ammo retcon was pretty dumb)

      • Premium User Badge

        Risingson says:

        “Maybe I’m just a fan of the Seven Samurai / Dirty Dozen story structure”

        Wow. Dirty Dozen values are in the opposite side of the moral spectrum of Mass Effect 3.

    • Replikant says:

      Yep. That giant humanoid robot thing was so ridiculous it single-handedly killed the entire series for me. Completely unbelievable comic-style boss-battle. It would fit right into Final Fantasy but was completely out of place in ME. Actually, the whole: “Gathering life essence from each race” thing was utterly stupd.
      Didn’t want to buy ME3 after that. And definitely didn’t when I learned that it had an deus ex machina ending shoehorned in.

  20. H-Alien says:

    No, but I| recently started Mass Effect 2 again (since I never finished it) and I’ve been completely drawn into the saga for some days now. Can’t believe I forgot about it, Mass Effect 3 must be following next…

  21. Cinek says:

    Sorry, but I very much disagree with John’s assessment. It was one of the weakest endings in the games of last decade, memorable mostly because of just how shitty it was.

    Consequences? Well, I did not play any of the previous ME games, so I can’t comment of how ME3 was affected by what you did in ME2 or 1, but at no point I felt like what I did truly mattered. Some bits felt like a bolted-on BS just to sell DLCs (eg. these underwater monsters that were supposed to be the progenitors of the robot things). Some bits felt like they fully open and close within one series of quests. The very best bits basically affected just one or two dialogs later on.

    Sorry, but it was nowhere, even remotely near the consequences offered by Witcher 2, not to mention Witcher 3 which was so far ahead of ME3 that you can’t even see it over the horizon.

    Relationships never really felt like they went somewhere, at a very best case going for a sex scene which felt like that parody/secret thing from Dragon Age where your protagonist had sex with a Darkspawn.

    What I do agree with is the fact that there was the sense of that bigger galaxy. But at the end it never really mattered what you did. Maybe you got to see some additional 2 second sample of faction X joining you in the final battle or someone jumping in to help you out, it all boiled down to whether you gathered enough points to proceed or not.

    Then there was clearly this conflict between huge universe and your role in it. On one hand you had this galaxy where plenty of important stuff happened, and on the other hand there was you that they wanted to make a hero saving the galaxy under every circumstances. I had an impression that the quests where you weren’t saving the galaxy from impending doom could be counted on a fingers of one hand.

    After playing this game I was tired. I hoped someone for once would save something for me, instead of forcing me to do every fucking thing in the entire galaxy.

  22. Det. Bullock says:

    The endings are very much classic esoteric golden age science fiction endings, not unlike the ending of Asimov’s Foundation cycle, the synthesis ending in particular reminded me of that, it was sad and not necessarily a solution to the problems of the Galaxy but it made sense, my shepard would not have sacrificed the Geths after saving them and the quarians and creating a god was a bigger danger.

  23. Laurentius says:

    It is quality game but with so many cracks that made it collapse in the end. Yeah, ending is terrible and is not making any sense. Infaltion of impossible odds with each game leads to obvious results. Also story is convulated and tied to MP that leaves such sour taste in my mouth. Like, human race is facing extiction, so what Shephatd do in this game, shoot hunderds of humans in the face for long hours. It’s ridiculous, game gives such a poor excuse for it, they are Cerberus and indoctrinated. So even Paragon Shepard never tries to talk to them, make them surrender, find a way to save them nothing just kill them all and no one blikns an eylid and Shperds’s a hero. Bleh…

  24. soopytwist says:

    Funny you should post this just as I’m about to start my third playthrough since the games first release. It’s also my first time at a resolution of 2560×1440 and boy oh boy is that non-scalable HUD noticeable. I have the feels for anyone playing this at 4K, or heck even 8K! link to reddit.com

    BTW don’t waste your time installing the game from ye olde retail disc – it doesn’t work any more, you are forced to download the entire game instead. You either can’t install it at all or you get a “Release date check failed” error when you try to play.

    Oh and I modded all the consoley crap out, this I recommend most heartily (I also modified all the war asset values so I can get the “best” ending without having to win a few multiplayer matches).

    • Det. Bullock says:

      For that you can download the free DLC Director’s cut.

    • welverin says:

      With the changes they made to the war assets and readiness, combined with all of the dlc there’s no need to modify anything, by the end of the game you’re total war assets can be so ridiculously high that playing MP is completely unnecessary. Though it is fun and only takes a few games to max out your readiness.

  25. Don Reba says:

    Nah. I’ve heard many strong damning arguments, but John Walker’s advocacy may be the most convincing reason to avoid the third game. :)

  26. c-Row says:

    First, let me say that I really enjoyed Mass Effect 3. Some manly tears were shed at certain key moments, and while I had wished for a more positive ending for my Shepard it didn’t upset me as much as the angry internet mob.

    However, I pretty much agree with @deadlybydsgn on this one – gathering your rag-tag group of men, women and beings of questionable morals in Mass Effect 2 was much more fun than briefly crossing their paths in what felt like crammed in cameos in ME3. Dialogue branched more than in ME3 as well, and despite its mild annoyance I prefered its predecessors’ hacking mini game over not having any mini game at all in the third installment.

  27. fco says:

    i didn’t really care enough about the story as a whole to care that much about the ending.

    i don’t remember enjoying the combat that much either.

    now that i think of it.. how did i finish it??

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      I cared a little bit about the story in the first two (although being quite a big SF and Fantasy reader, it paled in comparison to ‘proper’ stories) but having just started the third one – I’m about ten hours in – like you I’m struggling to see it through. The RPG parts are all rather dull and the combat is just headshot after headshot (I’m an infiltrator) on slightly different planets. At the moment I’m carrying on more because of the time I’ve already invested in the trilogy than because I’m having any actual fun.

      • fco says:

        totally agreed. it was a bland rpg in a bland scifi setting.

        -every planet looked boringly similar to earth. you’re writing science fiction, why don’t you go bananas with the world design?
        -the spaceship could have perfectly been a teleporter. i never felt like travelling through space, just hop into ship, wait for loading screen, step out to different planet.
        -the aliens felt all like humans with different disguises.
        -the only thing that really added to the immersion, they scraped it after the first game. yes, the rover exploration. (in the second game, remember the mission where you have to choose where to install a monument on the first ship’s wreckage?, i did it next to the mako)

  28. ChewbaccaOnIce says:

    I absolutely loved this game. To me it ended perfectly, not perfect, but it was exactly what I had wanted and could have hoped for. I consider the entire trilogy one of my top 3 all time games of all time (cannot have one without the other).

  29. Doghaus says:

    I remember this came out after I’d given up smoking. I booked a long weekend off work when I came off the patches and locked myself in my room with Mass Effect 3.

    I loved 1 and 2 but this one never did it for me. The first two felt like the focus was on exploration and adventure, whereas the emphasis on “war” on this one was too much. Too loud and belligerent, too linear, too much Shepard shouting. They smoothed off a lot of edges (like the interactions with incidental NPCs) so it felt like it lacked the depth of the first 2.

    I thought the ending was very weak, regardless of the limited impact of your choices throughout the rest of the games. I love the first two, and I’ll definitely play the next “Mass Effect” game but I wouldn’t touch 3 again, it would just remind me of nicotine withdrawal and disappointment.

  30. Cyrus says:

    Regardless on what you think of the ending, I must say I was genuinely bored of the game overall. The two previous games was so much better, though I only played ME3 once and other ones more than a few times.

  31. Cyrus says:

    I had to force myself to complete it I forgot say.

  32. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    Yes, but much as I loved my fem Shepard, I’d just gotten a bit tired of the whole shebang by the third installment. ME1 was really exciting, but it’s hard to make 3x 50-hour games’ worth of top-notch material, without some filler and some wild missteps. So much useless lore, so many characters I didn’t give a rat’s ass about. I was ready for them to wipe the slate.

  33. Wednesday says:

    Good God John have you gone mad? ME3 is awful, a cheap rushjob that strips away almost all the agency you had in previous games. Sheppard wobbles on and on, whole conversations pass, and you get no input at all? WHY does no one ever mention this?

    It’s guns and conversation with most of the conversation stripped out.

    • kament says:

      That’s because in ME3 you have your usual agency plus – let’s call it retroactive one. Almost every conversation has at least one variation, for nearly any line without your apparent input there’s a couple that you influence earlier in the series.

      There’s a reason the game has twice the amount of dialogue lines than ME2 (which, in turn, is bigger than ME1).

  34. comic knight says:

    This is too funny. I agree everyone should play the mass effect series but using the worst part of me3 to say why you should play it is hilarious. Maybe trolling the readers into commenting like I am doing now…

  35. The Algerian says:

    I was already deeply disappointed in Mass Effect 2’s story, so if 3 is disappointing to people who loved 2, not sure it’s a good idea for me to even play it.

    Might be better for me to act like the story ends with the first one.

  36. mpk says:

    I agree with pretty much all of the criticisms presented here, but I still think ME3 – and the series as a whole – is greater than the sum of its parts.

    If you boil it all down to its components then the flaws are many and varied enough that it’s a goddam miracle we got three coherent games at all, but I guess I found enough in both Jock and Jessica Shepherd’s individual stories to identify and engage with them: he was the ruthless space arsehole who shot first and asked questions later; she the Earthborn career solider with a diplomat’s touch. Garrus Vakarian was their best friend and wingman; Tali the little sister neither had ever had.

    I made different choices with both of them across all my playthroughs, and found that Jock softened his attitude as time and tragedy went on, while Jessica became more likely to reach for her gun. I could never bring myself to betray Wrex’s faith in me and Mordin – goddamn it, Mordin! – is the hero that both Shepherds wish they could have been.

    My first playthrough of ME3 left me disappointed and deflated and more than a little confused by the ending. If Bioware had came out in the days that followed and stood by their ending – stood by it artistically, in the way many directors or authors would – then I could have lived with it. They didn’t, and whether they gave into consumer or publisher pressure, or whether someone had a massive facepalm moment and realised “OMFG THIS ENDING IS SHIT!”, the rush job DLC did make an improvement. I wish it hadn’t been needed. I wish they’d spend the time to make the story truly work, and make all our choices truly meaningful across the the three games, instead of shoehorning pallete-swapped avatars into the canon.

    That said, ME3 is, for me, still the best of the three and, in Citadel, is has the single best DLC I’ve ever had the pleasure of replaying just to hear all the extra dialogue options.

  37. yogibbear says:


    Have You Played ME3? Yes. 99% of it was great. 1% was absolute garbage and will always be garbage.

    But RPS can’t say that the ending was good when they could have done the Indoctrination Theory and BLOWN US AWAY!

    link to youtube.com

    BTW if you didn’t pick Destroy you suck and you lost the game.

  38. Jovian09 says:

    It took me a while to achieve catharsis with the ending. But it’s still my favourite game series ever. I’ve never been so utterly immersed in anything before or since. I really, really hope Andromeda can live up to the cataclysmic hype levels.

  39. Jane Doe says:

    Its not often that I agree with RPS’s pink-goggled outlook on the world, but in this case …

    This … a 100-times this!

    I like all Mass Effect games, but I truly love the third game for absolutly delivering on the promise that your previous choices mattered.

  40. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Trust John to vigorously defend a not always widely accepted but nevertheless valid position. In this case, I entirely agree.

    ME3 was the best Mass Effect, ending and all. Yes, there are flaws and missed opportunities but the third in the series is a wonderful game that makes a fitting end to the trilogy… as long as you include some of the essential DLC stories (Leviathan, From Ashes and Citadel) and the extended ending. There are things I would’ve liked to see that didn’t happen like maybe a Han Solo returns type moment for the Rachni (if you saved them) towards the end or something else that was not just some extra man/insect-power on the MacGuffin, and perhaps a more intricate ME2 suicide mission style climax (that could have been great)… I don’t think the Synthesis ending works and all synthetics being killed in the Destroy ending feels like an arbitrary gut punch (especially if you just brokered peace with the Geth) in what would otherwise be (in my opinion) the most satisfying and cathartic ending of the three/four options… HOWEVER, this is still my favourite game in the series.

    Great, vastly improved combat – to my surprise I found myself playing the multiplayer well beyond the story tie in – and a story with some of the highest high points in the series: Tuchanka, Rannoch, the Citadel, all the little moments.

    Suffice it to say, I am really looking forward to ME Andromeda.

  41. malkav11 says:

    I really liked ME3 despite the ending, but the ending was every bit as awful as it was made out to be, at least originally. I’ve not played the game since the extended ending DLC came out, nor have I purchased any of the post-launch DLC (because the prices continue to be insane and never discounted), so if those help, I wouldn’t know.

    Here’s the thing: I’m not sure that the end of a trilogy sold on being about choices and consequences and carrying through your decisions across multiple games is the time to make a bold statement about how for all your importance you’re just one man and what’s happening is bigger than you and ultimately you can’t fix everything, etc. But it would have been an interesting choice that I would probably have been okay with if handled well. That’s not what Bioware did. If that was the point, ME3 would have ended with the Reapers winning and wiping out all life. Or maybe Shepard activates the Crucible and then dies there from their wounds, and the galaxy moves on without them. Or, bleaker, dies before being able to push that switch. Or pushes it and it doesn’t work and then dies. Etc. Or heck, on a more hopeful note, perhaps the combined forces of the younger races somehow pull out a win despite the failure of Shepard’s efforts. Lots of ways to come to a conclusion that doesn’t make everything hinge on Shepard’s efforts. They didn’t do that. What they did do is ignore literally every single thing you had done across three games and the entire war effort mechanic to make the entire fate of the galaxy hinge on which bloody button Shepard pushes. That’s simultaneously the opposite of making your history matter and the opposite of demonstrating that the universe is bigger than one person. It’s quite a feat.

    It’s also disjointed, incoherent, clashes badly with established lore, is poorly written, and has as payoff incredibly truncated cutscenes that answer virtually nothing about what happened as a result of those final events and the aforementioned button choice, much less your prior actions, and differ only in the color of the explosion and the identity of one person taking their helmet off.

    It was pretty much a travesty.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      I never saw the original vanilla ending so I’m not sure of all the differences, but the ending works a lot better with the extended version + Leviathan DLC.

  42. April March says:

    I haven’t, because I played the first two games on the console, so I want to play the third game on the console as well. That means I have to wait very long for it to be cheap enough that I won’t squirm at its AAA price, and perhaps even longer for me to again have the time to sink into a cinematic space opera.

    I don’t feel I’m missing much. Not because of any ending shenanigans, just because 2 was much more “dumbed down” (for lack of a better word) than 1 and I can see 3 was going the same way. I’ll play it out of curiosity more than anything else. That, and to see if Mordin sings again.

  43. BloatedGuppy says:

    Oh my, how daring and contrarian. “You know that thing widely regarded as shit? It’s secretly excellent! Read this article!”

    Fortunately for Bioware, the existence of Ultima IX prevents ME3 from ever realistically competing for “most insulting conclusion to prized gaming franchise”, but it makes a strong case for top three. It’s wonderful that a few people enjoyed it, but people enjoy a lot of objectively terrible things…like clown sex, or throwing rocks at squirrels.

  44. Urk says:

    I thought the ending of ME3 was AMAZING. The idea that you have to sacrifice yourself to save the entire galaxy after ordering so many others to their deaths was way ahead of it’s time. Too far, apparently, for gamers. Too many gamers are still trapped in the mindset of “you die=you lose” but from a literary standpoint it was a meaningful ending: A “good death” in the epic tradition of the Greek Tragedy.

    It was, IMO, the perfect ending to the ME trilogy.

    • Distec says:

      nah m8 you’re wrong

    • malkav11 says:

      People seem to think that people who had a problem with the ending had a problem with the idea of Shepard dying. But I super don’t, and I don’t think that was ever the main complaint. If it had closed with that and skipped the silly holokid nonsense etc, I would probably have objected to the lack of consequence-based epilogues and the way war effort completely failed to have a meaningful payoff, but it would have been a tragic and vaguely satisfying ending. Everything after that was really terribly handled, though.

  45. James0 says:

    I had some issues with the ending, but the extreme reaction to it still confuses me. The bleakness of it all seemed very fitting, and realistically a story about an armada of super-intelligent beings attempting to wipe out intelligent life for the umpteenth time was never going to have a happy ending. They failed to deliver on the grand promises about choice and consequence, but doesn’t practically every game with a branching storyline?

    My main complaint is the decision to try and explain the reapers. In the first installment their origins and motivation were completely mysterious, which was a big part of what made them interesting and scary. The second game didn’t really add anything, but that was fine. Then the third one came along and gave us some incoherent nonsense about ancient aliens building an AI to stop AIs misbehaving, which then misbehaved and started killing everyone just to try and keep the galaxy nice and tidy. It added absolutely nothing to the story other than taking away all the mystery and making the main villains seem pretty pathetic.

    • Frosty_2.0 says:

      I feel similarly on both points.
      But for me, the Reapers quickly lost their eerie, unknowable & calculating quality with Harbinger’s introduction. Where Sovereign had a sinister calm & elegance in ME, Harbinger came across as more of a hokey bully.

      Perhaps with any explanation, that would happen, even with the unused story concepts involving dark matter/gravity anomalies or the hastening of the universe collapsing back into a singularity.

  46. Sentinel says:

    Haven’t played it, loved the first two, but didn’t really feel like contending with Origin.

    So when they refused to release it on Steam I let it slide.

  47. phylum sinter says:

    Yes i did.

    I’m replaying it right now, and want to use the handy-dandy Nvidia DSR to make it look prettier, but the HUD/UI doesn’t scale… WHAT IS THIS?

    Does anybody know if there’s a way to make that happen, or am i stuck with a magnifying glass held up to the monitor during reading sections?

    Also, i know some of the MEs have gotten some texture mods and stuff, Anyone have experience modding ME3? Is it difficult? Worthwhile?

    • soopytwist says:

      It’s pretty easy. Gibbed.MassEffect3.Coalesce.exe let’s you unpack coalesced.bin into .json files and back again (required for modding the FOV for the gaming parts and not fucking up the cutscenes like Flawless Widescreen does). ME3Coalesced.exe let’s you edit the .ini files packed into the Coalesced.bin to tweak things like war assets, how much fuel you use “travelling” the galaxy map and even stopping thems Reapers from appearing when scanning a new system (royal pain the arse that one). I also made a walk toggle. ME3Explorer let’s you extract textures (using Texplorer) and putting them back again. I tried to do that with the HUD elements but it went a bit wrong so I gave up. Oh and the safearearatiox and y values in Coalesced.bin don’t work. Apparently changing it to anything above 0.10 should double the size of the HUD but it doesn’t. At least it doesn’t any more – it may have done in an earlier version of the game.

  48. phylum sinter says:

    also: The hair in this game is far and away some of the ugliest in memory… i don’t remember it being as plastic as it is.

  49. VaporStrike says:

    Literally the only bad things I can think of about any of the Mass Effect games are 1: The reduction in dialogue input in ME3 (people got to speak whole novels in between dialogue choices. It was a bit ridiculous at times.) and 2: Ohmygod ME2 mouse sensitivity through the roof. Took me a few hours to be able to even accurately hit an enemy even at the lowest sensitivity (shaving a few MPH off of Lightspeed doesn’t really make much of a difference), let alone be able to go for headshots reliably. That took a good long while. Editing the files manually helped marginally, but still, ehhhhh.

    Otherwise I loved all the games. Ending and all. In fact, to me, the ending was really damn satisfying, and the first time I played it, I sat there debating between the endings for a good half hour before picking one. No other game has brought me this many manly tears either. Even replaying the game, knowing what happens, brings the sadness back.