I took a while to figure out how I was going to approach this entry.
This isn’t my typical blog entry where I talk about an episode with a carefully lined out review, or where I rant angrily at game because the programmers forgot to put on their programming hats when they stepped out their doors that morning.
Like Mass Effect 3, this review is a horse of a different color. This is targeted towards those people who, like an angry mob, invaded the internet with their loath and hatred towards this game. Because I think somebody here is doing something they shouldn’t be doing.
I like to think that I live in a World where the fans of stuff don’t usually jump to conclusions or, when they do, they realize their mistake a few weeks later. Sadly though, that’s absolute wishful thinking and it’s completely unjustified. I a naive guy, I admit that, but that’s because I don’t want to give up hope on the people whom I appreciate so much. That’s why this is so hard.
Let’s get started.
When Mass Effect 3 was released, not one day later, I began to see the reactions towards the game. I started to see the reviews, the Facebook entries, the tweets, the blogs, the jokes, and of course the outrage about the ending. I heard claims of the game lasting well under twelve hours. I heard people saying that the game feels rushed because EA force BioWare to publish an unfinished game. I heard the Day Zero DLC and Real Ending DLC drama. But what caught my eye the most was what people were wielding as their flagpole for the entire barrage of insults. The sentence “Our decisions have no impact”.
I don’t want to come across as a hypocrite, so I will tell you what I did.
I got worried. Very worried.
I feared that my favorite videogame trilogy of all time was going to get ruined right in the final chapter and that every decision I made, every thing I did during the first two games was going to be just for naught. So I did the most sensible thing. I went on to YouTube and checked the ending myself. Needless to say I was angry. I saw the three different colored explosions, the ending being basically a copy paste, a path decision between A,B and C, rendering the whole involving storytelling to a final decision where you choose what you want to be, instead of working hard for what you want to see.
And then I raged.
I am broke at the moment. Well okay, let me re-send that. I am in a recession at the moment. I don’t have a very stable job, and the money income is pretty scarce, so getting new videogames has become quite hard. This is one of the reasons why I moved onto Ponies as my hobby, they are cheaper to acquire. But with the current money that I had I couldn’t afford to buy a copy of the game. So I waited until the store had a second hand copy of the game ready so I could rent it and play it.
I stood away from the whole Mass Effect 3 fiasco the same way Shepard stays away from Earth while looking for war assets. And then one morning I see my game store has a copy of the game for rent. So I rent it, I take it home, and this is the story of how my gameplay experience went so far.
> Huh, my female Shepard looks more like Samus Aran now, neat!
(Yes, I play with a fem Shep that looks like Samus, because Jennifer Hale voiced Samus in the Prime trilogy).
> I saw this in the demo, moving on.
> Cool, that scene felt like Minority Report.
> Oh no, is he going to be okay?
> Alright, let’s get the team back!
> Well that was epic.
> Oh my God, that was even more epic.
> That was massive! I can’t believe I just did that!
> Oh my God. I…I fixed it. I fixed it. After more than a thousand years, I did it!
> I’m giggling like an idiot in this part because Tali just showed up.
> Oh God don’t do this to me, no, no, no, no, don’t make me choose, don’t make me!
> It’s just how I imagined it!
> YEAH! YEAH! DIE, DIE, DIE YOU MOTHERF*CKER! DIE! HA! Now that was satisfying!
> Now for the final run.
> Oh God, the tears, I can’t hold them!
> Holysh*t, in the name of The Goddess, what the hell is going on?
> Is this…Oooooh my God, you’ve got to be kidding me.
> Wait, wait, wait, is this the ending? The ending everyone was raging about. This is it? And people where butthurt over this ending?
> I am so writing a blog entry about this when I wake up tomorrow.
Well, that last one should be corrected to “after dinner” instead of "waking up".
Seriously guys, what is the matter with you? I am severely disappointed and seriously concerned. I am going to address this very carefully.
|Brought to you by the voters of Dragon Age 2.|
First of all, that whole gaming experience took me a total gameplay time of thirty four hours. Thirty four hours during which I didn’t skip a cutscene or a dialogue, and where I paid close attention to all the details. Second, I played the game in hardcore mode, because there is a severe gap in difficulty settings where “normal” is too easy and “hardcore” is almost insanity, but it’s a lot more fun that way. It makes you plan strategies more carefully and it makes you feel really accomplished when you kill a very hard enemy. Third, I didn’t read a single codex entry. I never read codex entries unless I’m really curious about them. Fourth, I didn’t have any of the DLC’s released for the game. And fifth and last, I used my saved game from both Mass Effect 1 and 2 to see if there were any changes in the game.
And now that I said that let me dismantle the arguments that fans and haters have been using to tear this game down, starting with the main one.
- “Our decisions have no impact!”
Yes they do. In Mass Effect 3 you will see everything and everyone you have affected through your decisions in the previous two games. Were you a jerk to Conrad Verner or were you nice to him? Did you save the Rachni Queen? Did you take Grunt out of his tank? Did you revived Legion? Did you save the autistic biotic from Project Overlord? What kind of class did you pick? Did you romance someone in the first game but then romanced someone else in the second one? How far did your romance experience go? Did you saved everyone in the suicide mission? And so many more. I was dumbfounded as I walked around the Citadel and people would stop me to say “Hey Shepard! You helped me in the first game and now I will help you in this one, count on me to take down the Reapers”, or “Thanks to you now we have a family”, or “I should’ve killed you back then, I am going to correct my mistake now”. I felt like BioWare was giving me a lot for what I did in the previous two games. Without DLC or anything there was a lot of pay off there, I felt great! I felt like my decisions matter. I felt like I did make a difference in the way the game develops. Even the smallest conversation from the first Mass Effect game was addressed in this one. Without DLC or anything I was shocked at the amount of detail BioWare put into this, let alone full conversations addressing each subject. There is a lot of work going on here guys, and you just didn’t appreciate it.
- “The Ending is absolute garbage!”
SPOILERS IN THIS ENTRY, IF YOU WANT TO AVOID THEM
CONTINUE TO THE NEXT ONE.
When I first heard about the ending, a few weeks later I started hearing about something called “The Indoctrination Theory”. I didn’t dig much into it, and I assumed it was a fan theory explaining that everything that happens in the ending proves that Shepard has been indoctrinated. With that knowledge in my head and nothing else, I played through the entire game and when I reached at the end I could pretty much see why people said this. I said I only read the codex entries that I am interested into. Well, I happen to be very interested in the whole indoctrination process and how it works. One of the Mass Effect novels actually narrates how it feels to be indoctrinated and possessed by Reaper technology, with all the gruesome details.
To have all the clues to this one must have played the Mass Effect 2 DLC The Arrival, where Shepard gets hit by Reaper tech and starts having visions and headaches. Those are the first steps of indoctrination. Shepard’s dreams are the next clue. In them she sees a child she couldn’t rescue. The Reapers use this to get to her and mine her free will and confidence. Things get even more evident when you reach the end of the game, the Reaper beam hits you, and everything turns into this dreamlike landscape. Your pistol has infinite ammo, and there are trees from your nightmares on the ground. When you get inside the space ship where the ending awaits you, it’s a mix between the Collector, Shadow Broker and Citadel Ships. Probably the Reapers used Shepard’s memories to build something familiar to her? I’m not sure. Then you are confronted by Anderson and The Illusive Man, and this is where I knew this was an indoctrination process. If you watched enough David Lynch movies you know how to read cryptic messages. Anderson is the good part of Shepard, her soldier part, her human part. The Illusive Man is the invader, the reaper tech that tries to poses her, depending who she gets rid off, one side wins over the other. However, the game doesn’t end there. There is one last trial for you to get through and it’s a devious one. At the end you are given those three options. Two of them are a trap, just a way to give in to the Reapers and complete the indoctrination. The last one is the right one, the one that destroys the Reapers and frees you from their control. Now, in Mass Effect we all know that blue is good and red is bad. Here the good option is actually the red one. The game screws with you making you think the blue is the right choice, when in fact it isn’t.
That’s just Machiavelli, I love it.
- “BioWare has given in to Electronic Arts!”
EA only publishes the game; it has nothing to do with the actual game development. If you want to blame EA for something you have to blame them for not releasing the game complete. Releasing the game and then the DLC to cash in more money is not right and I will back any one of you on this subject. EA should’ve allowed BioWare to release the game with everything in it, including the real ending that's coming on April. Do you have any idea how much that pisses me off? But then again, that doesn’t seem to be what people are complaining about! People are complaining because they think EA was involved in how the game ended.
Uhm, you guys know that this game was written way before it was programmed, right? This thing has been written since the very first game was published. I think BioWare has overrated its fans, me included. If anything this entry is me back pedaling over some stuff that I said that I now regret. They thought we could get foreshadowing without having to patronize us or take us by the hand. I think the biggest disappointment here was the one we gave to BioWare, because BioWare didn’t give us a disappointing game. This leads me to the final point as something I want to address.
YOU ARE JUDGING AN ENTIRE GAME
BY THE LAST TWENTY MINUTES!!!
Did you forget all the other epic stuff that you did? Did you forget all that? How could you? No really, how can you dedicate around thirty hours to play this and forget everything you’ve done because of the last twenty minutes? I know it feels like having a super awesome meal and when it comes to the desert the cake has transformed into three different colored cupcakes that all taste the same, but come on guys, there is over-reacting and then there is going nuts.
I am a brony, alright? I was there during the biggest sh*tstorm of the year. I was there when Derpy Hooves was changed, and I saw people tearing each other apart over a cartoon horse that got changed and that nobody cares about now. There was so much drama you could literally put your glass next to the screen and it would fill with fanboy tears. I have never seen anything like it, and I probably won’t see it ever again. There were petitions, there were movements in twitter and Facebook, and there was a lot of nagging and picking and bitching. We moved on, I hope, but I want you to understand this.
That was a maelstrom of a sh*tstorm. That was a Perfect sh*tstorm. The DerpyGate made the Brony Community look like a bunch of lunatics. It’s true. It’s okay. We can live with that.
That whole thing is nothing, nothing I tell you, compared to what happened over at the BioWare forums. That wasn’t just “Take back Earth”, that was “Take back Mass Effect 3”. There were not just petitions, there were donation drives. There were websites offering full refunds for opened copies of the game. There were people banging their acne riddled faces against the keyboard and there was so much drama that I really couldn’t understand it.
And don’t tell me that I am doing something wrong when comparing these two events, because Derpy Hooves and the Ending of Mass Effect 3 have the same impact. One is a cartoon horse. The other is a videogame ending. And you know what those two have in common? They are sub-culture material. One is a cartoon, the other is a game. They are on the same level. They are entertainment. They are not going to make you have a better life. They are not going to make you more successful. They are not going to change anything. They are there for you to have fun with them. They are there to make you laugh at how silly they are, or to make you feel invested at how deep they are.
It’s almost the end of the entry, so let me clarify something. I am not a Mass Effect fanboy, I wish I was. I wish I knew all of the Codex entries, or the coordinates, or data of every planet. No, I know nothing of that. I know strategies to finish the games on Insanity. I know the names of the squad mates, or at least their first names. I can hum a couple of songs. I have the first two games, I plan to finally buy the third one soon (I rented it to play it, remember?). I have a Tali doll. I have the game guides, and three of the novels. But that’s it. I play the games, I enjoy their characters, I love their stories, and that’s it. I’m a fanboy of other things. I’m a fanboy of My Little Pony (duh). I’m a super fanboy of Pokémon! I’m a fanboy of Fanhunter!
So from the perspective of a guy who loves the games, appreciates the expanded universe, and can get foreshadowing when he sees it, I want you guys to know this, and with you guys I mean all the fans of Mass Effect that went insane at the ending, and demanded BioWare to change it with donation drives and petitions.
You are looking like a bunch of idiots.
Seriously, it’s sad. It’s very, very sad. All that rage, all that butthurt, all those donations and petitions, and you know what all that changed? It changed nothing. You made no impact on the game. You made an impact, indeed; on the internet. And your impact looks like a broken ass. BioWare is not going to change the game. They never will. You know why? Because it’s their game, and they can do whatever they want with it. And you know what? You are going to buy the DLC’s. You are going to. You will buy them. You will play them. And you will rush to your Tumblr and rage and pick and moan and bitch about it, because that’s how every fandom reacts, some less than others. You can hate the ending all you want. But you know you want answers. You want to know what really happened. So all of your nagging is hollow. Like a husk. If anything, the indoctrination worked with you guys, way too well.
Wait for April.
Stop your bitching.
END OF LINE.
(NOTE: If anyone felt offended while reading this, please know that I just couldn’t hold my anger towards the people who complained so loudly about the ending. I just can’t get my head wrapped around that childish, petulant reaction, so I put it in the shape of an article. If you felt offended, leave a comment letting me know about it).