After rambling on about the first two Mass Effect games, I felt like I had to plan ahead what I was going to say about the third.
Things are gonna get a bit rant-like once we approach the end, but for now, I’m gonna start this up like the usual. I enjoyed playing through it just like with the second, hence why I cannot choose between them. But then again, this conflict may be normal for most fans!
|I think it’s only fair that I put a picture with Femshep since she looks so badass in this game|
Finally, the moment we all anticipated would happen: The Reapers are here! It was great how they opened it up taking place in BC, and I will always get goosebumps hearing that piano music when Shepard leaves Earth. After that we head for Mars to get blueprints on a super weapon, and then the majority of the story after that is pretty much we build big alliances and unite all the species of the galaxy (why can’t more sci-fi franchises do this?!) to fight the Reapers in any way they can. Of course, we do that by helping them first, encountering many old friends and a few new ones along the way. Everything seems to be going as planned to the hoped destruction we want to bring to the Reapers, along with creepy indoctrinated Illusive Man trying to persuade us that control is the answer instead. Yet the only thing we lack to end the war is the absence of the Catalyst which then leads to the major shocking (and for many people disappointing) plot twist, which I will talk about later.
I feel like this game had a lot of great improvements with the combat for sure, and the story gets even deeper when you are required to build the alliances with other species by helping them out before they help you. Biggest things there: Curing the genophage and ending the war between the geth and the quarians. I could never bring myself to sabotage the cure, the Dalatrass is a bitch anyway and probably the salarian I hate the most. As for the geth quarian war, I’m better off making peace between both of them, even if it means Legion sacrifices itself.
I found that in this game, there’s a lot more you need to plan ahead before you enter the final fray:
- Gather your war assets, as I was first told that they increase your Effective Military Strength (EMS) which determines how much damage/death will occur from the final battle. The highest amount of EMS points I had once was 7000+ so when I picked the Destroy ending, the mass relays and the Citadel were merely damaged and could be repaired. I would also scan a lot of planets between missions to collect assets and bring back artifacts for people on the Citadel just to build up those points.
- Galactic Readiness, which I didn’t realize was important at first. But, it is useful because it makes your war assets perform better in the final battle, pushing back the Reaper forces more. Hence by the time I finish Sanctuary and all the DLCs, I turn to multiplayer and keep at it until all parts of the galaxy are between 90 and 100 percent readiness.
|My God he is sexy|
This game brought some returning faces that we haven’t seen since the first game. I wandered into the engineering deck and found Adams working there again. Since I mostly save Ashley on Virmire, she’s back too but I feel like she has a hard time letting go of grudges given what happens in the past. James is buff and likes to flirt with my Femshep even though she’s taken by sweet Garrus. This ladies, is the game that makes us love that sexy turian.
|He’s also pretty attractive too|
I love going to Palaven’s moon at the beginning, it’s epic and since I love turians; I’m trying not to fangirl too much, especially when we see Garrus again. Then we meet Adrien Victus next in line for Palaven’s new Primarch. I don’t know why, but I like talking to him, he has such a calm voice and I find it rather compassionate when he says:
“The strategist in me admires their brutality. The turian in me knows I’m watching the destruction of fifteen thousand years of civilization. My civilization.”
He is somehow able to go from being a military general to being a politician, I almost admire that. I kind of like him a little, and imagine if I was dating him rather than Garrus, it would be a more mature relationship, no fun and games but still faithful, consensual and romantic when the time comes.
Like every other average Mass Effect fangirl, I’m smitten over Garrus, but I have an uncommon attraction to Adrien Victus and till this day I still do not know why.
|Did you see that thresher maw? It popped out of the dirt, like a daisy!|
By the time I get to this mission, I just want to sprint under the Reaper, and not even bother with the brutes just to summon Kalros. The first time I did this, I kept worrying she was going to pop out and I’d have to fight her, just like with ever other thresher maw, but now I think it’s perfect that we get to see the mother of all thresher maws after enough exposure to them in the previous games. Nothing is more satisfying than watching it take down a destroyer class Reaper.
|Would you live in seclusion for the rest of your life here, no matter how peaceful it looks at first?|
|This hurts you|
This is where we get into the real juicy stuff. The final battle on Earth after we discover from Vendetta that the Citadel is the Catalyst, is a rather shocking event. I mean, hasn’t the Citadel been part of enough battles already? There are people living there, but nope it’s Reaper tech, so it’s never enough. It’s always emotional to say goodbye to all your squad mates before you start the end of the war.
At first I thought Harbinger’s lasers were going to hit me as I sprinted straight for the beam, but in reality it determines who dies based on how high your EMS is. What sucks however, is this is the last time you ever see Harbinger, so the only way to know what happened to it, is the ending that you choose.
It doesn’t even look like its main laser beam hits Shepard, it just goes towards him/her and they wake up all bloodied and broken as they enter the Citadel. My last play through was the only time I had enough paragon points to make the Illusive Man shoot himself, probably because I imported a ME3 Shepard that I had already completed. One thing is certain; the Illusive Man was way more indoctrinated than Saren.
|You have a choice|
So what did I do in the end? Well, like a million others, I too was surprised that once the Crucible connected to the Citadel, nothing happened, no “Peeewwwww!!” or “KA-BLAM!!” that we were all expecting. Then we get taken to this: the Catalyst is also part some ghost child that looks like that little boy we saw on Earth. The only actual child we see throughout the trilogy, so is that why Shepard kept having nightmares about him?
- Destroy: It’ll be peaceful at first, you might even survive after the destruction starts if you have enough EMS, but your children and their children will create synthetics and the chaos will come back. Why not just set up a law to stop them from making synthetics? Oh no wait….that’ll create chaos in strikes, just like in real life politics!
- Control: The Reapers will submit to you, but sadly you lose your body and soul to them, and all who care about you, won’t even know you’re watching over them. Basically you lose everything and everyone you love, just like death itself.
- Synthesis: Same thing, only you add your energy to the Crucible: another sacrifice in a nutshell, merge with it, and it creates peace without killing all synthetics and organics thus ending the cycle…but sadly, you won’t be there to witness the new age of peace in the galaxy because you gave away your life to make it happen. Seems like a noble sacrifice, but there could have been another way you know.
Yeah I know, if you pick Destroy, you sacrifice EDI and the geth, I was never a huge fan of those so that would also explain why I went with it. The endings I have never hated on, nor do I love them; I’d say I’m neutral about them, but able to cope with them because there are countless other things I enjoy throughout this game that make me nearly forget about how strange the ending is.
The Extended Cut DLC gives a lot of more depth to whatever ending you choose, and I like that idea.
So, what’s up with all the hate? I think what everyone was expecting out of this conclusion was another final boss fight, this time with Harbinger. It could be similar to taking down that Reaper on Rannoch, but in the end, I can understand why BioWare made the choice to not do that.
Think about it, Harbinger is twice the size of a typical Sovereign class Reaper. You’d need everyone painting that target for an orbital strike, or would you even have enough ships with that firepower? Probably not.
Besides, it’s different how they decide to make you choose a final fate like that rather than what video games typically present to you at the very end. That’s what makes this game stand out, and I hate it when people still make fun of it to this day. Some of my friends have even refused to play the games all because of this ending.
Let me remind you that there is tons of deep lore and fun game play throughout the trilogy, the good outweighs the bad, so even if you don’t like the ending, don’t boycott the trilogy just because of that. You’ll be missing out on a lot of fun things. The third game has my favourite DLCs, and the multiplayer is great too.
So, that concludes my rambles on the Mass Effect trilogy, I hope you enjoyed them, and maybe in the future I’ll do another one of these for a different game series.
I have also planned individual entries about the DLCs in the trilogy so that’s on my to-do list too for any major writing projects.
Look out for that all you pyjaks.