The Drunken Nerd Defends Mass Effect 3 Ending

The other day I received a text message from a fellow gamer of my mine asking, “Hey, what ending in Mass Effect 3 did you choose?” I replied, “I destroyed synthetics. I played three games all with the purpose to end the Reapers, I wasn’t about to compromise now.” My friend responded, “Yea, same, but didn’t you think the ending sucked?”

I won’t bore you with the rest of our conversation, but it was centered on one thing-my solo attempt at defending the ending of Mass Effect 3. I didn’t beat ME3 as quickly as some (didn’t take me as long as my friend here though either), but before I beat it I began hearing tons of negative feedback from fans about the ending. I stayed impartial, waiting until I beat the game to come to a decision. Well, the time came I finally destroyed the Reaper threat on the galaxy, game cinematic play through, credits roll, Stargazer (Buzz Aldrin) talks and you know what I was happy.

I’ll admit I could’ve been happier than some after their first play-through (spoiler alert) because my Shepard actually lived after my decision, but none the less fans should have nothing to complain about.

Too often fans complain about games even ones they play time after time. In Mass Effect 2 the big compliant after was the lack of a multiplayer facet, but after the news was announced about ME3 would include a multiplayer section fans once again complained it wouldn’t meet expectations. It doesn’t make sense to me why fans cannot be happy and appreciate games for what they are.

ME3 is the final piece of a trilogy, meaning it is the ending, the closing, the conclusion to Shepard’s story. Most fans complained that ME3 didn’t explain enough after the game. Too many questions were left unanswered. What happens to the crew? Anderson? The Reapers? The list goes on and on and yes, some are valid points, but from my perspective fans are doing a number of things wrong here.

First, I believe fans are suffering from an initial shock. The initial shock that a beloved franchise is now coming to an end, allowing a fear and denial to set in that this may very well be the last Mass Effect game any of us ever play. So, naturally majority of fans are replacing that denial with anger, attacking the game’s creators for a lackluster ending and that’s not exactly fair is it?

Second, understand that BioWare has mentioned before the release of ME3 this is merely the end of the Shepard saga. BioWare may peruse another Mass Effect game after this, but likely without Shepard. With that in mind it makes sense for the production team to leave the game a bit open-ended making it easier for themselves to peruse new story lines.

The Reaper Invasion on Earth

Third, how many questions can BioWare actually answer in the ending? Once again, I’ll go back to the point this is a story about Commander Shepard. The vocal point is on Shepard, not his crew, just Shepard. We played through an epic nearly hour and half ending and we’re presented with options at the end of our journey. Each of the choices would ultimately eliminate the Reaper threat one way or another. Two of the three will see Shepard die and one will allow Shepard to live after your choice cinematic show the Reaper fight coming to an end and then your crew lands on what looks like an uninhabited planet creating an Adam and Eve sort of feel about it. All of this closes the tale of Shepard (made clear when you hear Stargazer at the end credits sharing a story with a little boy about “The Shepard”) and it leaves one to believe that with the Reaper threat gone the crew (or the galaxy really) is now in brave, new world, which they will all work together to recreate following the destruction caused by the Reapers. Shepard completed his task, cemented his legacy and that’s what is highlighted. The crew symbolizes hope and a new beginning, they come second to Shepard’s story, thus the reason everything else is just touched upon. This is a fan-made video that focuses on indoctrination, but I believe it still helps showcase my point that Mass Effect is a story about Shepard. I highly recommend watching this video, but be warned it does spoil the ending(s) to all three Mass Effects.

Lastly, how the hell are fans focusing on the ending and ignoring the fact that this game had everything we could’ve asked for as fans. Regardless, if you did or didn’t like the ending fans have to look at the bright side at how well put together this game was. ME3 highlighted every single relationship (big or small) Shepard encountered along his journey through three different games, allowing a plethora of characters to be part of the story-line. Every member of your crew, spanning from all three games, was involved in the storyline one way or another. Even less involved characters like, Aria T’Loak and C-Sec officer Bailey were involved to a respectable degree. The amount of detail in this game was incredible. The game play was amazing, the graphics stellar, the number of guns, and the multiplayer facets surely would make one forget about being mad over something as trivial as an ending right?

At the end of the day, fans have to at some point stop complaining and respect BioWare for giving us three stellar games and creating one of the best video game trilogies of all time. For Pete’s sake BioWare even gave fans free DLC because of their complaints-for me that fact alone should be enough for fans to stop criticizing a game we all admire and love-what other company would listen to fans to such a degree as GIVING away DLC. So, please for me, for BioWare, and for yourself stop hating on such a great game and fantastic franchise after all not everyone liked the ending of Return of the Jedi, but we all love Star Wars don’t we?

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About the author

Neil Strebig


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  • Yes, let’s continue to support games with rushed endings, confusing plot holes, and lazy writing. Sounds great.

    If you are enjoying a delicious cake and the cook informs you that there is smallpox in it right as you take the last bite, how tasty the cake was stops to matter.

  • @ Sigh – What a silly comment. He presents an entire case and you just rattle off an unsupported list of grievances. The saying, “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence,” comes to mind.

    I liked the ending as well. I chose synergy. First, I wanted my Shepard to die. It was in-character for him to be self-sacrificing. Second, I had spent a good portion of the game encouraging EDI and Joker’s romance. I also had to really wrestle with Legion’s sentience or humanity, if you will. It appealed to me on many levels.

    I’ll admit after the video I had “buyer’s remorse” and was afraid I made the “wrong choice” but the glory of this game is you can’t make a wrong choice.

    • Wow… You need support and evidence for why the ending was bad? I recommend doing a simple Google search on “Mass Effect 3 Ending” and looking at the countless forum posts and articles on the Web from angry players and disgusted reviewers. There’s plenty out there that shows how the ending is a complete failure. BioWare has thankfully listened to the community and is taking measures to try and fix this mess.

      • I have read quite a few articles on why some people think the ending was bad. That doesn’t explain why Sigh or you personally dislike the ending. It really sounds like you’re just hopping on the Hate Bandwagon. I really appreciate a person’s original critique or argument much more than saying, “I agree with what they wrote.”

        Credit to Xtrenx for responding to me directly. I don’t mind downvotes but something more constructive, a short comment even to promote discussion? I’m not sure if people dislike my logic for liking the end, my choice, or my comment to Sigh.

  • I apperciate the good and bad comments from you guys let’s me know I’m doing my job correctly stirring up debate amongst us fans. Since I recieved a decent amount of attention I suppose its only fair to respond to you guys. The new DLC is dropping the 26th this month, so I’ll likely re-visit this topic, but in all honestly what are you guys expecting to come out of this DLC.

    Along with expectations, I will say if fans are still hating (which I’m sure they will) after this DLC then they’ve truly missed the point that BIoWare has gone above and beyond any sort of expectations from a production company going to these lengths to provide fans with answers and FREE DLC no other company would’ve or has taken such intiative in listening to fans, so hopefully fans can begin to respect that. Once again thanks for all the comments good and bad I apperciate it guys.

  • I would like to point out one facet that you neglected to point out that is they never showed how our choices effected the ending and that is what the main gripe players have. This I believe is the real problem we as gamers put alot of time and effort to get our ending and we wanted to know our choices mattered. Though I didn’t hate the original ending I just wanted to see some actual difference in between the endings beside a different color beam shooting out of the crucible at the end.

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