When I turned off my XBOX, 30 hours after playing Mass Effect 3, I sat there staring at my reflection in the blackness of the TV. Was I happy with what I just went through? Did the game deliver what I was expecting it to after almost 5 years of gaming? Definitely not, but that was expected.
When you love a series and adopt its characters to heart, your mind builds a defense matrix around it and denies you the ability to let go. It’s a humorous psychological situation that we all go through. Funnier yet is the rejection and finger pointing we apply: When the show ‘Lost’ neared its end, we all said the writers and producers did not know how to end it and accordingly hated on the series’ finale. When George Lucas claimed that he won’t be shooting any more Star Wars movies, we all blocked the last three and refused to acknowledge their presence with the classic episodes 4,5,6…..wait…1,2,3 DID suck. All Mr. Lucas did was alter the endings of the originals to easily fit in with the….ok, this will require an entry of its own…moving on.
Since ME3′s release, Bioware has been hounded with rabid fans demanding rainbow endings that have Shepard drinking a mojito with Garrus on a beach, as they ponder some sunset on some world. I for one am glad they did not cave in to these preposterous requests and stuck to their creative guns. The Extended Cut, therefore, will not be a recreation, but a clarification that will hopefully serve as a softening to the blow delivered with the goodbye’s. I also hope they remove that ridiculous DLC claim from the end of the game. Leave me mourn in peace, DAMMIT!
Regardless of rants and fanboy requests, the DLC is being released today and I don’t think it will make a rat’s ass of a difference. Here’s why:
- The world will end and the universe will collapse on itself. The sooner you accept that truth, the more you’ll enjoy the game for what it is and not nag at what you wanted it to be. The reapers have been dropping hints of that imminent end throughout all three games, and there were only two ways with which ME3 could have ended: We all die or we all live; There was not going to be a happily-ever-after situation with the reapers. Besides, that scene at the end with the grand father and his grand son goes to show you that the struggle was not in vain. Someone, somewhere survived to tell the story. Bioware did the right thing in choosing an outcome where everyone the gamer is exposed to dies. It’s the riskier choice and the one that will stick most in people’s minds. Also, and while we’re at it, accept the fact that this is how the known alien races die: In the Sol system. The DLC will not change that and I see little else they can emphasize on in regards to this.
- Shepard is meant to die and will not outlive the apocalypse. Pause for a second and read that again for good measure. No one likes to see their hero go, let alone like this, but we need to accept such creative choices. Don’t get me wrong, the ending of ME3 is one of the worst I’ve been through in regards to execution, but not storytelling: Having ghost images of what your actions will translate to moments before you choose your desired path is not exactly Mass effect worthy, but the eventual result scores an A+ on Sci Fi drama. Regardless, Shepard will die, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Protagonists have died a million times in a bazillion games, even Shepard can die up to a total of three times throughout the trilogy! why make a fuss over this now and expect the DLC to answer to that?
- That horrible conversation with the child-reaper freak at the end? That probably won’t change. Just made longer, and more intricate. +1 for game writing / -1 for longer torture. Since Shepard encounters that child early on, he has become the poster boy for indoctrination, the reapers and all-round general WTF comments on all sorts of forums and mediums. I can’t explain what he is or what he resembles, that’s ultimately for each gamer to establish, but he will have a chat with Shepard and he will frustrate you for not giving you the possibility to punch him in the face, or even attempt to, him being a hologram and all. The question should not be why a conversation with that thing is one sided, but why Bioware would choose a child to embody that, thing, and thereby stripping gamers of a liberty they’ve always cherished: That which allows them to attack anyone they dislike. Why introduce the rules and then back track on them, would be my question to Mr. Hudson and his kind folk. We all know Shepard will never be given the chance to attack a child, hell, according to my fading memory, he’s probably the only child who shows up in the whole trilogy! All others are just referenced via your history and NPC conversations. Chances of Shepard swinging his/her arms at the child this time around? All-time epic nill.
- Unless you bought the N7 collector’s edition like I did, or purchased the DLC, the Prothean, Javik, will still not exist in your game and you will still miss out on classic Liara/Javik moments. That hopefully few extra hours of content that you will be receiving with The Extended Cut will still not delve in to Javik, who as much as Bioware try to deny, is an important element of the story. He’s a Prothean for eff’s sake! Could there have been any better reason to make gamers dish out cash for additional content? He represents three games of questions, mysteries and artifacts that blow your mind. Does any of you remember encountering that Prothean sphere in the first Mass Effect and then again in the sequel? I didn’t mind eventually paying for Kasumi and Zaid in ME2 to complete the experience. They are both side characters whom you could do without, and the Batarian introduction in the ‘Bring Down The Sky’ DLC in the first game is interesting yet not pivotal, but a Prothean? Were Bioware for real with the ‘From Ashes’ DLC? Everyone would want a piece of that action! Having played through the game already and ready to do so again for The Extended Cut DLC, I don’t believe anything the DLC will offer can be more important than a living Prothean who can answer your questions and argue with Liara over what’s myth and what isn’t.
- Mass Effect 3 will never be Mass Effect. Trust me. I went through ME1 and 2 again in anticipation for The Extended Cut release, and though the first game suffered from weak combat and a confusing-as-shit inventory system, it still is one of the best damn games out there, bar frikkin none. The story line was ,and still is, absolutely tight with beautifully imagined characters and locations, nail biting decisions and an open field of potential possibilities that your actions may alter in the upcoming games. This comment is not aimed at the DLC and I have decided to include it in this post as an impending reminder that little can change what ME3 actually was Pre-DLC and post. For the few of you, and you better be a dying breed, who have not played the first game and only feel you belong in the universe because you went through that comic intro in ME2, I look down on you. For those of you who just picked up ME3 for the lack of anything else to play, you do not exist to me.