Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut (Video Game Review) - What Has Changed?

You might remember a few months ago a “review” which devolved into a rant over the ending of Mass Effect 3. Well, this is the follow up to that, looking into the changes Bioware has made to the endings and how they have expanded upon them.

The previous ending contained so many problems, plot holes and outright betrayals of Mass Effect’s themes and story elements that it caused many fans to overlook the good in it, my own opinion included. There was an outrage, perhaps a rightfully made one, with cries of betrayal over the conclusion to one of the best video game trilogies of the past two decades. We’ve seen other EA based franchises repeatedly screw over their fans with betrayal after betrayal, the Command and Conquer Tiberium series to name just one, ignoring every criticism and outcry of their fans. Taking that into account I think the fact Bioware was willing to answer such a negative response rather than just ignore it speaks volumes about how the video game developer values its fandom.

Each of the endings have been expanded upon. Closure is actually given to events. Aside from the choice to reject the star child’s demands each ending is now a good ten minutes long and displays events around the galaxy. Along with the end to all fighting on Earth you also see Palaven and other places you have visited being hit by your coloured wave of choice and what happens there. While this isn’t quite the show of multi-species presence on Earth during the finale but it goes a long way to improve upon the criticism of the fact we only saw humans in the original ending. Furthermore, on these worlds you see rebuilding, worlds lost, Reapers falling and the long term consequences behind many of your choices. You assisted in the quarians and geth making peace? You get to see what Rannoch looks like under them. You helped the krogan cure the genophage? You get to see what happens to them.

There is still the Deus Ex influence people have discussed surrounding the endings, but rather than this influence making them overly nihilistic and telling you nothing of what happens it is a positive influence. Shepard, EDI, Hackett or Liara talks of the future. Their voice speaking over the events as you see them expanding upon the ideas behind the choice you made. I won’t reveal anything but many of them, especially the Synthesis ending, are vastly improved by this. With the character explaining the ideas and benefits behind the choice and what happens due to them. Plus that whole business with the Relays self-destructing is properly resolved.

Are there still some problems? Yes, there are one or two. A few plot holes have still been left open but these are not quite so glaring as before and can largely be excused by what we see. You never learn exactly what happens to the surviving members of the Normandy crew, but that can be excused by both not having them left stranded on some unknown world and seeing what happens to their species. Those most opposed to the endings might not like what they see, but it ought to appease most fans.

Some people have thought that the conclusion in which you reject the star child is an act of trolling towards the people who opposed them, but I honestly don’t agree. The battle was already being lost around Earth when the happened, and defeat was always going to be the only real outcome in a direct engagement. At least now you can make the character choice to say “go to hell” to the glowing Reaper kid.

Besides any option which did have you suddenly winning in that ending would have felt like an arse pull, plus what would you have done? Have Shepard declare “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings!” combine with the Normandy to form a giant robot and fistfight Sovereign as the final boss?
Okay yeah, that would have been glorious but let’s just accept the ending we now have for what it is: A well-made send off to an incredible game. Not one with an A A A choice of ending but one with visibly different conclusions.

With it Mass Effect 3 is definitely worth buying, even any copies still being sold at full price months after release. If you held off buying one due to the massive controversy and negative response to the endings, now is the time to get it with this DLC. Go out and buy it, you will not regret doing so. Though it is suggested you find a console copy to avoid downloading Origin.

Oh, and one final note: Would people please stop bashing Buzz Aldrin’s part in this? The guy did a good job in the short time he was in the game for and in spite of it being basically a “buy more DLC” message that scene had good symbolism behind it in terms of the storyline. If it was truly intended, as some people claim, as a massive insult to MEverse fans, they could have chosen a far worse voice to do the role. Just think for a minute what it might have been like with Captain Boreale saying those lines.


Mass Effect and all related characters and media are owned by Bioware.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I know this is an old review, but I gotta do it:
    "Tell me another story about the Shepard?"