So I decided to be the first to bring it up since nobody has breached the topic yet. How are you all feeling about the ME3 endings? Personally (and most players it seems disagree with my sentiments) I hated the endings, but I would not want them changed. For me Commander Sheppard wasn't just a video game character, like Mario or Link, that I enjoyed playing but had no real connection to. No Sheppard was truly a part of myself. I felt the pain of watching Garrus die in the suicide mission during ME2, the joy of successfully wooing my chosen love interest, the thrill of achieving Spectre status in ME1 (even though at that point I had barely begun to understand the game). I have been tearing myself apart for nearly a week because I failed to convince the Quarian fleet to stop firing at the Geth and had to watch as the liveships exploded one by one and finally watch as in his final act of desperation the Quarian standing with me and Legion took a pistol and shot himself in the head. All of these experiences weren't just carefully scripted game play moments, no not for me, these were real life and death decisions that I made (along with countless others I have not listed) and that affect me not just in the game world but in real life as well. And with that we return to the topic at hand, the ending. I despise the ending. It caused me utter misery watching Sheppard disintegrate, the Citadel and Mass Relays explode, and Normandy get blown to hell. It felt almost empty, the lack of dialog options, the fact that I never got my final revenge against The Illusive Man because he killed himself before I had the chance, or the fact that the 3 ending options are pretty much identical. The there was the scene of the Normandy on another planet with Joker, EDI, and Liara (my chosen love interest) and the burning question of how (and if not how, why) Liara would after confessing her love for Sheppard immediately preceding the final battle, then disappear during the run to the beam while Sheppard gets fried by reaper beam, and then suddenly appear unscathed on Normandy. However even after all this there is an important truth here. Just how ME doesn't end up the way you expect or hope life doesn't either. In my opinion the brilliance of the ending comes from the fact that they ultimately decided to show you that just like in real life you can do much good and make all the right choices but ultimately there is always a risk that you will be placed into a shitty situation and be forced to make a decision that is repugnant to you. Commander Sheppard is not just a video game character, he is a part of myself and that will never change. Changing the ending would only cheapen the experience of Mass Effect, much the same as being able to change previous decisions in life would cheapen our existence. And one final note: Part of me hates the ending because it is the end. I will never again share an adventure with Commander Sheppard and that is like killing one of my best friends right before my eyes.

But enough of my experiences and opinions. Agree, disagree, share your thoughts feelings and experiences. 

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Well you only live in one out of the six available "endings".  There are 3 variations on the red ending, 2 of which you die in.  You only live in the 3rd if your resources are high enough.  Both of the blue endings end in your death, as well as the green one.

If you are being indoctrinated, why would you (for whatever reason) have a vision of the Normandy getting blown through a relay on to some nameless jungle planet with (at least in my case) my two dead squad mates?  Joker wouldn't pull that and Garrus and Kaidan would have kicked his ass for trying.

You're right, and the reason why there is only 1 destroy ending that works is because you had to have all your shit together to succeed. Simply choosing to destroy the Reapers wasn't enough to overcome the indoctrination for some reason. That I can't really explain. Perhaps someone else who has studied the series more than I can would know the answer to that. 

However, as for the Normandy crash on the remote planet Shepard doesn't know s/he is being indoctrinated while making the final decision in his/her mind. The Reapers thru the Catalyst vision tell Shepard that whatever choice s/he makes the Mass Relays will be destroyed (this is probably a lie) but Shepard takes it at face value and hopes that his/her friends will make it out okay... it is a vision of hope for those that Shepard cares about the most.... her Normandy crew. 

Why do you assume that Garrus and Kaidan would kick Joker's ass for trying to save them from the Mass Relay explosions? The image is in Shepard's mind. It's not about Joker leaving him/her behind... it's simply about Shepard having hope that her crew will make it out okay and that his/her sacrifice won't be in vain. This is evident by the fact that the people Shepard sees coming out of the Normandy after it crash lands are the same ones you chose to take with you on the final mission is because Shepard is hoping that they got out alright. The ones that weren't with you are likely okay so Shepard's mind wants to believe that the ones that were with him/her made it out okay as well. The reason why the planet they land on is a lush and fertile planet is because Shepard sees that as hope for their future. It's resources they can use to survive.  

Unfortunately, there's really not a reason for it.  It's just one of many plot holes that the ending leaves open. 

From the perspective of my play through, there is no reason for Shepard to hope that Kaidan and Garrus make it out.  I took them to London.  Anyone else, yes.  I think that the introduction of Joker running away (which does play in to the crash) is just bad storytelling. 

I assume Garrus and Kaidan would kick his ass because my crew would not abandon me.  Never mind the fact that (to paraphrase Garrus) we go on suicide missions every two days and that Joker has already followed me through hell and back and (in my mind) wouldn't leave.  From a timeline perspective, Joker would have needed to leave in the middle of the fight against the Reapers.  He would have needed to get to the Mass Relay long before anyone knew what was going to happen.  If you say that it didn't happen (which I haven't really heard addressed via IT), why would you get the same cut scene (with varying crew members) regardless of what ending you choose?  After all, there's no need to run away to anywhere if the Reaper threat is gone, is there?  Wouldn't it simply be more effective storytelling to have Shepard think of them safe, celebrating victory in London, where she left them? (Of course this brings up another issue, what with all those fleets just stranded outside Earth...)

Remember, space travel is still possible without the Relays.  It's just ponderously slow, relatively speaking.  However, the crew is now stranded because the Normandy is a smoking wreck.  The planet would not be capable of providing resources for your entire crew.  Keep in mind that both Turians (Garrus) and Quarians (Tali) can't eat the same food that the human crew can.

Now, the issue of the exploding Relays regardless of ending is bad.  Real bad.  As established in the Arrival DLC, the explosion of a Relay is a death sentence for the solar system it inhabits.  You, as Shepard, just blew them all up.  All of them.  Yup.  This is just another reason the ending doesn't work for me.

In addition to the fact that the way I played my Shepard was as a no compromises do-or-die and in the red ending, the loss of the Geth (and EDI) would not have been on the table.  Why believe the deus ex machina Reaper Jesus Ghost Baby or anything it has to say?  When I got to that point my first thought was "This is not what my Shepard would do." in regard to any of the choices.  In fact, my Shepard would agree with those clips I've watched where people are just unloading the limitless ammo gun in to him.  To be true to my character, rejecting ALL of those options would have been the way she went. 

After all, she hasn't been fighting the Reapers all this time to just take what their leader says to heart.

There may be no reason to BELIEVE that Kaiden and Garrus made it out, but there is always reason to HOPE they did unless Shepard knew for a fact they were all dead rather than just suspected they were. 

Like I said, Shepard wasn't seeing it as them leaving Shepard behind. Nor was Shepard seeing it as them abandoning the Reaper threat. Shepard was seeing it as them getting out before the Relay exploded and killed them all. Shepard was hoping that Joker's flying skills would save her crew from the fate of them all being killed because yes, the belief that destroying the Relays would mean certain death for the surrounding system.

It's a vision of hope in a person's mind. Subconscious thought is not bound by reality or physical possibility. There is no logic within the realm of subconscious thought. You could have a dream about you, John Lennon, Jesus Christ, and President Obama sitting down and having a meal together. That actual meal would be impossible because John Lennon is dead, Jesus Christ is a fictional character. Obama is a bit more realistic, but unlikely. Point is shit can happen in dreams that are unrealistic in reality.

The fact that it is a subconscious thought makes the rest of it work. Shepard's hope for his/her crew's survival isn't dependent on details regarding whether or not Quarians and Turians can eat the same food as humans or how they will get home with a wrecked ship. Subconscious thought does not process things the same way as logical thought. It simply shows us what we want to see regardless of whether or not such a thing is realistic or logical. 

Shepard does not know that the spirit-child is a Reaper hallucination. It is a vision the Reapers used to further manipulate Shepard. The child represents Shepard's regrets for those that have been lost and his/her desire to save who s/he can. It's obvious throughout the entire game that that child is nothing more than a hallucination because no one else sees or interacts with the child except Shepard. Also it shows in the conversation between Shepard and the child in the beginning of the game... Shepard tries to coax the child out of the vents and bring the child to safety. The child claims that Shepard can't help him... no one can. How would the child know that Shepard can't help him and get him somewhere safe? It seems to me that the child is the voice of the Reapers and their belief that the cycle of destruction will continue as it always has... to instill the belief in Shepard that the situation is hopeless and organic life is doomed. Shepard doesn't realize that. Shepard believes that the child is real... not knowing that it's a subtle hallucination by the Reapers towards indoctrination. Your Shepard may not have listened to the child if it was still your Shepard. Your Shepard is no longer your Shepard... s/he is being manipulated. Remember the conversation Shepard had with Liara's mother regarding indoctrination? You find yourself believing in the Reaper agenda and thinking of it as your own. It's how the indoctrination works. If your Shepard was in full control of his/her mental state then you're right, s/he probably would not have listened to the voice of the child and would assume it's all lies and destroyed the Reapers. 

My recommendation would be to go back and replay the entire series paying close attention to anything that has to do with Reaper indoctrination. And then comparing that to what Shep goes through at the end. Perhaps it will make more sense. 

As I said, I'm quite familiar with what you're talking about, which is the Indoctrination Theory.  I've no idea if you're involved with the Retake ME3 group or not, but here's one of the best dissections of IT floating around right now:

It would turn the character of Shepard in to what is, in literary terms, an unreliable narrator.  Again, nobody knows for certain and BioWare isn't talking (yet). I stand by my assertion that if we are talking about Shepard's indoctrination then it was poorly executed, as the people who seem to like the ending tend to ignore Indoctrination as the entire point of the ending (blue representing TIM, Green representing Saren, and red representing rejection of Reaper Ghost Jesus), and those who dislike it cobbled Indoc Theory together as a way of making BioWare's plot holes make sense. 

Unfortunately, from a storytelling perspective, if the point that you were trying to make is lost on most people (feel free to consult the scores of feedback threads and articles that have talked about the ending for substantiation on this), then you failed to make your point. 

As I stated, even from an Indoctrination point of view, the jungle brouhaha makes no sense.  Given all that Shepard has gone through with her crew, why, out of all the places they've been together, would her consciousness pick something unrelated?  Why the look of sheer panic on Joker's face as he tries to outrun the exploding relays?  Why not something altogether more... realistic?  Like those drinks on the Citadel you promised to have with Garrus?  Or imagining Tali back on Rannoch, home at last? Why not something that would fit with Shepard's world view? 

I understand what you're talking about, but do understand that to me Indoctrination Theory is the best of a bad situation, poor planning, and slipshod execution.  

I don't really care for being told to replay the series, as if I'm incapable of understanding what you're talking about.  As I said, I'm more than familiar with Indoctrination Theory, which is a point that I've attempted to make more than once.   In an effort to keep up a rather pleasant debate, please don't think that just because I don't agree with you on all points doesn't mean I don't understand what you're talking about.

The More I have thought about Mass Effect 3 and the ending is that I did not agree with how the writers chose to end it but the entire game leading up to those last unfortunate minutes was amazing.  The action, stories and the graphics were out of this world.  This is why I am playing it once again on Insanity.

I just recently read an article on the matter I would like to share.  Some of you may have already read it but I want to post anyway.  Nerd Trek Perspective

Also looking forward to upcoming DLC's.  I know that Bioware is taking the outrage seriously and still defending their work.

To me the ending felt rushed and unfinished. I could have lived with a bad ending, and was fully expecting my Sheppard to die in a gigantic explosion while heroically saving the galaxy. 

 

What i'm particularly angry about is that i don't no anyone who thinks the ending is acceptable for this great game series. So either no one tested the ending or they just didn't care enough to create a good one. 

 

I could accept if they were out of time but then the argument for the DLC "From Ashes": 

"The content in “From Ashes” was developed by a separate team (after the core game was finished) and not completed until well after the main game went into certification."

falls apart.

My conclusion after a weak Dragon Age 2 and ME3 is that i just will stop buying Bioware games at release dates. 

 

 

So, I know I shouldn't respond to this, but it's a whole year later and I still can't finish the ending to ME3, once it gets to the part where Anderson dies, I just turn it off.

I think the original endings had (at least) one critical flaw. If I remember correctly, even the best endings resulted it the destruction of the relays. (If I'm wrong here, someone please correct me.) The inevitable conclusion of that is horrific infighting among the races now stuck at earth, each race represented by the most powerful militaries they could possibly assemble. This results in absolute chaos, anarchy, and destruction of all or nearly all life located there. Additionally, no system in the galaxy could possibly reach another without the relays, at least not without traveling for thousands or tens of thousands of years. That, for me, undermined everything in the game. No matter what decision you make, no matter what happened in the previous two games, all races are fucked. What's the point? This is not a satisfactory ending. The fact that the Normandy crew was apparently stranded on an unknown world heightened the heartless nature of the game's conclusion.

At least the extended cut offered a conclusion worth fighting for. It wasn't perfect, and I still have grievances, but at least there was a sense of somewhat positive resolution and not death for all. Any story that attempts to be plausible, even in a sci-fi setting, will have many sad and unjust elements to it. That's just being realistic. Overall,a the extended cut was superior to the vanilla game's ending, but I admit, I still didn't feel as fulfilled as I had hoped.

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