New reasons why Mass Effect 3’s ending was terrible.

A casual glance at youtube videos regarding this issue will make abundantly clear the big problems with the Mass Effect 3 ending. I particularly like the philosophical problems with the ending that this video points out. While these two videos sum up about 90% of the issues that make it so terrible, I thought I would put the last knee in and come up with some additional reasons as to why the whole thing is a stinking puddle of cat piss. Now there is without question an enormous amount of spoilers. Do not read if you want to play ME3. ME3 is a fantastic game with superb combat, dialogue trees, immersion etc. it just so happens that the ending (and a handful of other things) are not up to par.

The boss fight

Right. So you’re about to race up to get to the big transport beamy thing that the Reapers have in place. One last Reaper stands it your way and you’ve got to take it out with guided missiles, but the reaper itself needs to be far away from the extraction point in order for you to blow it to kingdom come (using the Normandy’s upgraded technology-somehow). So, in this final, gripping scene before the mad dash to the beam, a horde of darkspa-*cough*adapted reapers come to stop you, and you are left with the final big boss of the series.

Oh wait! No you aren’t! Instead of a boss like the last two games that both were  a creative way to kick your ass, you’re left with tackling about five Brutes, a couple of Banshees and a handful of Husks. A lot of enemies does not make an end game boss. Last time I saw someone pull this shit was the first Doom, and that was fair because the concept of a boss battle was fairly new at the time. To add insult to injury, after you get to the beam you’re final challenge is a single Marauder, a couple of husks, and you take them out with a pistol you didn’t necessarily have to be carrying with you up to that point. No biotics, no tech, no big guns; it’s an interesting way to go when you literally say “screw you and your combat specialization” to literally every specialization possible.

The Catalyst

Imagine. You’re a nigh omnipotent being capable of creating (no less) a self perpetuating army so powerful that it has dominated the galaxy for a billion years. You’ve made the calculations that synthetics will always try to kill organics (severely disproven in the very same game provided Shepard used a speech option). Yet somehow you can’t actually do anything with regards to your ship. You can’t affect the drive cores, or throw a human in to become synthetic, you can’t even tell the Reapers to stop for a second or two.

OK fine. Let’s say its some sort of inter-dimensional being who can’t affect material things. Fine. What you need then, is an organic, aka Shepard, to make the best possible decision because despite the billion or so years of time you’ve had to contemplate, you can’t come up with a decent option yourself. What you need to do is probably patch up the poor guy if he’s making a decision that is going to affect the entire galactic community until complete heat death… ahhh no. Well maybe you should explain exactly why the relays arbitrarily need to be destroyed… ahhh no. Well at least let’s not give this frail organic any reason to be any more traumatized by this ordeal because if he doesn’t make a good choice then the galaxy is screwed… well shit. Rather than do that and keep Shepard a bit more sane, The Catalyst takes the image of the human child that Shepard has had recurring nightmares about for months. The same child that Shepard didn’t save, and who Shepard perpetually dreams dies in a fire while passively looking on. The same child that, at the final dream, rather than being saved, dies in a fire that includes Shepard as kindling.

Synthetic/organic blend option

Now the Catalyst informs us that the synthetic blending stuff is going to be the right option for everyone involved. But what exactly would that entail, beyond forcibly changing every sapient individual into a homogenous blend?

Let’s not forget that the Catalyst is the same sorta fella who thinks that forcibly making Reapers from genetic material of billions of organics is a great way to preserve biological diversity- does that mean everyone becomes a reaper? Or what about all those Husks, Marauders and Banshees you’ve been dealing with- they are individuals who’ve been “blended” by the same inventor. Maybe they’ll all turn out like the collectors.I agree things are going to be a bit less argumentative when everyone is a slathering drone. Let’s say that this  isn’t the case- semi synthetic people are still independent thinkers with independent ideals and belief. How exactly does this situation halt someone making an AI different to Reaper hardware? What exactly is stopping that AI doing what The Catalyst has been fearing all along?

Synthetics will destroy… wait, what?

Ok. So synthetics always wanting to destroy organics may, may not occur. The Catalyst is really concerned about that. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of weapon, deployed across the galaxy, that would halt synthetic rebellion with one fell swoop? I mean if we had that, then surely the possibility of synthetics actually rising up would stop, right?

Oh wait! We do totally have one of those! It’s called the Crucible, it’s powered by the Catalyst, and as the Catalyst states can totally destroy all synthetic life in the galaxy in one fell swoop. But AI could still get us right? I mean if they got sufficiently powerful, even with like, 30 Crucibles around, they could, y’know have a big army or a big number of insurgents and they could all, at once, disable all the Crucibles? If organics are stupid enough to let that happen then they probably deserve it. A better and easier option would be this- ban all AI, even EDI (sorry EDI). Then, make a crucible, as well as perfect mass relay tech. Every thousand years, whether AI has been reported or not fire the damn thing and if needed replace the relays (I’m sure you could figure out how it could avoid destroying the relays). That way AI doesn’t even have a chance to grow into a decent force… ever. Even by accident.

Synthetic issue no.3: the syntheticanning

Remember how The Catalyst said that all synthetic life would be destroyed? Ah hell no, EDI, an unshackled AI, is still alive and kicking after the great swathes of destruction. Now people might say that what Catalyst meant was “all Reaper synthetic life”, but that’s not really a factor that you could confuse with “all synthetic life” as the Catalyst clearly states. So it’s either a plot hole, or the Catalyst is a bit of a douche (or both).

The stargazer

Ok. Last rant. The stargazer and child are boring and stupid and corny and unnecessary. What I don’t get is how he managed, under a pretty cold night, to discuss the entirety of the Mass Effect series to a small youngster, who is somehow eager to hear more. That was like sixty hours of gameplay, minimum there kiddo. Talking about it is probably going to treble that figure. Plus there’s more than a few racy scenes in there granpa, you sure you want to expose the kid to Shepard banging a variety of female aliens  and then a moustachioed shipmate? Or killing innocent civilians in cold blood? Or Conrad Verner?

Maybe I’m just old fashioned that way.

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~ by freeze43 on May 18, 2012.

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