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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Alright, I decided…like I decided months ago…that the second post that I would make to celebrate the one year anniversary of Mass Effect 3 would be another opinion piece about that pesky ending. Getting tired yet?

Now this blog, as my opinion, acknowledges that even though the ending is vastly improved under the Extended Cut, and even though I like it…there is still a lot of problems with it. Now this blog will address the first set of problems, I plan on doing the second part later as more of a general blog. If you the readership remind me of this I shall do it.

So, the ending to Mass Effect 3 is drastically improved, but it still does not feel right, and pails into comparison to another ending…to another Video Game…that was so far in the past to almost be unremembered…namely Mass Effect 2.

Now Mass Effect 2s ending, the Suicide Mission, and the ‘End Run’ towards the end of the game, was near perfection, marred only by what some consider to be a sub standard boss fight. But the rest of it? Was good.

So why is this? And why did the Mass Effect 3 ending fall on its face in comparison?

Well in the main way it had to do with presentation, and how they handled the story.

Mass Effect 2 the entire story was devoted to the gathering of a special team, gathering their loyalty, gaining resources, and solving mysteries all in preparation for one suicidal attack through the Omega 4 Relay.

Throughout it you got to personally know the characters and personally lead gain their loyalty by completing tasks for them. But throughout the end depending on the choices you make, anyone is at risk.

The last mission was a reveal of this entire thing. Your entire efforts, stopping the Collectors, your decisions and efforts on who you made loyal and didn’t make loyal throughout the game. The upgrades you made to your ship. Whatever you did you choices mattered. And yeah, they mattered in the end of Mass Effect 3 with the inclusion of the Extended Cut, but you had a personal stake in the mission. Your choices didn’t affect the entire game, the entire universe, just the mission and the men and women you were fighting with. Which made it purely personal.

Plus the musical score really kicked ass but that is beside the point. 😛

But the events of the story flowed naturally from one to another where it all just sort of fit from one to another. The surprise at the end was logical to what you knew about the threat you were facing. And while you faced a decision, it wasn’t universally shattering. And it was exactly what you set out to do from the start.

And about ME 3? Well Mass Effect 3 had many of these elements, the entire story was devoted to dealing with the Reaper threat in one way shape or form, your actions in the game did affect what you could do in the ending.

But it didn’t have that emotional personal connection. It was not truly representative of spending an entire game where everything you did went into that one final moment. Instead you got an info dump and you had to face one last grand decision that didn’t really effect your team, but faceless millions of beings.

This all has to do with presentation. In the Suicide Mission you felt your efforts pay off, you saw your efforts pay off, your team lived and died on you, the musical score and the action kept it going to where you got the sense that this was the end of the line, everything that you did to this point mattered.

Which as another aside I think is why Mass Effect 2 is such a good game. A lot of the game to that point was pretty plain at times, but to watch your efforts pay off, was just amazing, whereas ME 3 had the opposite effect.

And ME 3 you didn’t see your war assets, you didn’t see your efforts pay off. You never really saw your war assets fighting, never saw any different, never actually saw how your decisions mattered. Just they did in a metaphysical sense in how effective the Crucible was.

So in other words, ME 2 was an emotional build up with a climax for that build up, ME 3 for whatever reason failed to deliver. A noble effort, but it was just not as polished.

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Well this past week has been the one year anniversary commemorating the end of the Mass Effect trilogy. It started, basically, with the release of the Reckoning DLC pack, then of the Citadel, and what looks like it could be the last major Multiplayer weekend challenge that they will do, though that remains to be seen.

Hello all, sorry once again for not blogging, and I do feel kind of sorry that this is my first blog back after a while. Nevertheless, I did say to myself and decided months ago that I would do something, blog wise, and many somethings to commemorate the one year anniversary of ME 3. I had no idea though that I would also be commemorating the end of the trilogy. And while I have not had a chance to enjoy and play Citadel yet, and I think I will be reviewing it later, I still think there is some room for proper reflection.

Now there is a lot to be said about ME 3. It affected me personally and Mass Effect as a whole has been one of the most illuminating entertainment experiences of my life. The ending has caused much debate, etc. So I think I will try to do what I can both fun and serious to capture that mood in this and some future blogs. Don’t know how many I will be able to devote to this subject after all blogging does not seem to be as much my thing as it once was.

And it also seems fitting that as I write this I am listening to An End Once and For All. So let us celebrate, the end.

But the end of what?

I don’t know about most people but…to paraphrase the game itself…there would be no Mass Effect without Commander Shepard.

The reason I love the games so much and the is not because of a grandiose plot, at times simplistic bad guys, poor level design occasionally, or buggy mechanics, but it’s because of one woman, or one man.

Commander Abigail…or her brother Cameron…are the first two characters that I have created in any official capacity.

And more to the point this goes for Abigail Shepard, which might explain why I have more of an affinity for her then her bro.

Everything that I had created to this points have been avatars or amalgams or pale imitations of other characters. Childhood games and imitations of other famous characters from various places. Criss crossing and meshing them into a universe all of my own or a plot.

But not Abigail. And while her name is ‘borrowed’ from someone I know and respect, and while she and I have many things in common, she has become a character all of her own.

Through so-called ‘head canon’ through tweaking her image in my head and trying to think of what she would do in a situation. Then sometimes she just does it. Especially when I am writing her for my fan fiction that is devoted to the subject, my fingers spring to life and types out something…and I have no idea where it came from. But it fits her, the actions, and the character so precisely.

So when I think of Mass Effect, I think of Commander Shepard, it is hard to nearly impossible to separate the two. And while I am sure the next Mass Effect game could be as amazing and spectacular, if it does not have that connection to a main character, that connection that helped me realize that characters were so important in any fictional composition, then it will be a pale shadow indeed.

So thank you Commander Shepard. Thanks for nearly two years of memories. Thanks for letting me create you, and give me tons of gudamn great moments. And thanks for providing the occasional moral and philosophical lesson.

You deserve all my praise, and all my gratitude.