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Submitted on
June 27, 2012


11 (who?)
Yesterday I downloaded and played through the ending DLC. While I could only offer a few flailing and inarticulate meeps of protest to my boyfriend after finishing it, a day of gathering my thoughts and seeing other people's reactions on various forums has allowed me to put them down in words.
It was in response to someone on the Bioware forums posting a link to a Youtube video of the Renegade control ending (which I hadn't seen before) that this outpouring finally erupted, so please view the beginning in that light.

*shivers* I already thought control was creepy. Even as a paragon, I can't help but see Shepard as, in tens of thousands of years, becoming essentially the next starchild. There's enough humanity left in her to go mad with that kind of power, that immortality. Paragon or renegade, you're still setting your Shepard up not as a figure of hope and cooperation, or of strength and leadership, but as a hopefully benevolent god with control of an unopposable army of horrors. TIM wanted that power for humanity, but my Shepard was telling him just a few moments before the final decision that humanity is not ready. Maybe a few cycles are skipped, but I see them resuming eventually, with Shepard now at the helm.

Synthesis - also creepy. Unless it's completely stopped evolution, in tens or hundreds of thousands of years, on some planet where there were only sub-sentient creatures prior to Shepard's decision, a species will rise up to full consciousness, create culture, computers, and even though they don't understand why their DNA is partially synthetic (does this make any sense in general, and especially on pre-civilization planets?), they will build machines to make their lives easier. In time, "the cycle" continues. Saren believed that a synthesis of organic and synthetic life was the way to achieve greatness for both. This rejects the idea that it's the differences between species (both organic and synthetic) being used to their greatest advantage, that makes this cycle the one that can finally break the Reapers.

Refuse - "What, no! Our endings were good! Choose one or it's your fault everyone dies!" I really wish there was a pants on head emoticon.

As crappy as killing EDI (who had told me not long before that she was willing to sacrifice herself to save Jeff from the Reapers, who repulsed her), and the Geth (didn't I spend two games trusting Legion and brokering peace between them and the Quarians?) was, I still see Destroy as the only acceptable ending. I'm not naive enough to say that peace between the Geth and Quarians meant that there would never be another conflict between organics and synthetics - only that peace is possible. And more than that, I can't stomach setting a human being up as a deity, or forcing every scrap of life in the galaxy into an imposed harmony through homogeny. Perhaps organic beings will continue to create synthetic beings who will rebel against them in time, but is it Shepard's place to not allow this to happen?

Backing up a bit - the added scene of your teammates taking an explosion to the face, then you calling for an evac and the Normandy appearing... Even though it punched me directly in the feels (of course I had Garrus with me), it was an explanation for what you saw in the original ending, but not a good one. The Normandy is part of the climactic fight for every advanced sentient being in the galaxy. All of you, especially your teammates, know that this is a do or die situation. It feels... implausible that the Reapers pause long enough for the ship to make it to the planet's surface and for you to say your touching goodbyes. It seems out of character (even though I know every Shepard can be played differently) for her to order Joker within a few hundred feet of the beam, just to pick up two wounded teammates, even if you love one of them.

I'm aware that the Extended Ending has brought closure and consolation to a lot of people. Some have changed which ending they prefer. Some have offered words of gratitude over being listened to at all. Most of the Indoctrination Theory believers seem to have left the camp, although it's also set a few more firmly in their minds. What I can say is that while I'll grant that the new content makes the endings more understandable, it does not turn the ending of the game from garbage to gold. I tried to keep my expectations very low - difficult for a universe I've so enjoyed participating in - so this leaves me more sad and wistful for what could have been than betrayed by a tiny spread of choices that each resulted in a different, insultingly bad ending.

Maybe I'll have more thoughts later, but for now, it's back to the same head canon-ing as before.
  • Mood: Not Impressed
  • Listening to: Florence + The Machine - Seven Devils
  • Reading: The Stand
  • Playing: Mass Effect 3
  • Eating: chicken soup
  • Drinking: coke zero
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RobStuff101 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Destroy all the way for me! I look at it as I didn't spend all that time trying to defeat the Reapers to all of a sudden given a choice to "control" them. You kill billions, my Shepard is gonna do whatever it takes to take you out!

I don't agree with the Synthesis ending. I don't believe Shepard would do something like that with the rest of the Galaxy not knowing about it.
cvrc11 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I must say I disagree completely on which ending is the best.
I really think Destroy sacrifices too much. If you sided with the Quarians and the Geth are extinct anyway, than MAYBE I can imagine sacrificing EDI (and Joker's happiness and his first true love, after years of being asocial) for the greater good, but just MAYBE... If you brought peace to the Geth and Quarians, then killing the Geth seems like giving in to the God-childs logic. I'd much rather leave them both alive and in peace simply to spite the God-child. And if you killed the Quarians, then picked Destroy, TALI DIED FOR NOTHING. And not just Tali, but 17 000 000 Quarian men, women and children were sacrificed to save a race that you wipe out a dew days later. So I really think Destroy is the worst ending, not just because of the above, but also because it's the only ending where the Galaxy is left worse than it was before ME3, since the Reapers destroyed a lot, and in the other endings the other races have access to Reaper tech to help rebuild.
Synthesis seems to leave the Galaxy in the best possible state, but there is a major moral dilemma as to wether Shepard has the right to make such a deeply personal decision (major genetic, physical and psychological alterations) for everyone in the Galaxy. It seems pretty unacceptable to bio-engineer the billions without asking them. Still, I see Synthesis as the anti-thesis of Destruction, since EDI and the Geth are the ones for whom it works out the best.
Control is, to me, the most clearly "good" choice, if you're a Paragon. You have to ask yourself, Do I trust Shepard, the woman / man whose story I have followed and helped create, to do the right thing? And, after a long time of contemplation, I found that I do. I cannot imagine Shepard ever being anything other than a benevolent and utterly benign deity, no matter how many millions of years pass. Control is a question of trust. And I trust Shepard.
Xaneria Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I came across this looking for some art, and [link] lol.

I agree with you in all manners.

Btw, your art is wonderful.
ResidentEddy Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
One of the good things (to me) was they released the dlc on my birthday, so it was like BioWare coming to my doorstep and saying "Happy Birthday, your present from us is reducing the ME flame war to a slight minimum! It was EA's fault.. " Unfortunately, I haven't played the extended cut version yet because I'm on vacation using a different xbox.

Personally, I like the Destroy ending a lot because it fit my Shepard as I expected, and that I've also expected from the start one of the consequences of war which is "You make good friends, but there IS a huge chance they won't survive by the end". Not many people got used to that, which explains why half the world's population ragequit at the middle of MW3 and Gears of War 3 simply because -spoiler- main characters died.
PrototypeB Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I still believe in the Indoctrination Theory (more so now) but it's probably Shepard hallucinating Anderson and his/her surroundings on the Citadel and the Illusive Man being indoctrinated as well. Still makes zero sense how Anderson followed Shepard up lol.

I would have been fine with Destroy and Control being the only choices. Synthesis is just... there. So in context of what the Catalyst said "That they tried something similar in the past but it can't be "forced" by us, but Synthesis is the true way" made me go hmmm was that by turning people into husks with Indoctrination? I see what you tried to do there Space Child.

In which case with only Control and Destroy there is a hollow victory just like Mass Effect 1's choices. Save the council but you lose a few ships and good people or Kill the council focusing on Sovereign. You win regardless but different perspective. Destroy is like the Save option (Lose Synthetics... then fix them. :3), Control is Focus on Sovereign (Shepard being like the council, but very critical to others)

But regardless, still a 99.97% game (no Normandy crew and Shepard resolution) I'm hoping that Bioware is making that one to come with other Single Player DLC since they struggled to fit the 2GB limit (Take back Omega/Leviathan DLC). Till then... HEAD CANON.

Better be fucking free though.
VampireGoddess0806 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2012
I personally found synthesis a rather good ending... Maybe it's just me, but I disagree with the whole imposed-homogeny thing, probably because I don't see it. I mean, the quarians are still quarians and the humans are still humans, etc., they just have some extra synthetic stuff added to them. I mean, just because you have similar DNA doesn't mean you're the same. Your thing about the cycle continuing does cause some concern. But that argument could also be used for the Destroy ending (as much as I'd hate to agree with the Catalyst). So... I don't know. I feel like Bioware was kind of pushing Synthesis to be the "best" ending, but I guess now it's all up to player interpretation.

The refuse ending made me laugh a little, because I felt it was a bit of Bioware saying "F*** you guys" and adding their own little touch. Sure, that's probably not exactly a good thing but a little spunk never hurt anyone.

I agree with your take on Control. The extra dialogue Shepard makes in itself is pretty cool, but the thought of him/her the Reaper overlord freaked me out a bit. I don't know... I've heard people say that particular ending was pretty cool. I thought it was kind of creepy...

One thing I didn't really like about the new endings is in my opinion, Bioware made the endings more definitive in terms of which choice is more Paragon, Renegade, etc. It might just be my interpretation, because I'm hoping that wasn't what they were actually going for. Ah, whatever. At this point I don't really know anymore.

Some things I really liked about the new endings: in 2 of the endings the Reapers help rebuild. That was something I was 100% not expecting at all. Before the DLC was released I thought they just flew off back to deep space and permanently shut down or headed to a black hole or something. The Reapers helping to rebuild was a great touch to me because it shifted the way I saw them. Granted, they're still giant killing machines but at least now they're useful and the Citadel and mass relays can get finished faster.
Another thing is how there is no perfect ending. There is no ending where the Reapers help rebuild AND Shepard definitively survives (such as in Destroy). In my opinion it kind of follows one of the themes of ME3: war through sacrifice. A perfect ending would be really nice, but in my eyes Mass Effect was an incredibly unique series and the way the endings were set up seemed appropriate. Probably a lot of people will disagree with me, but hey. That's what I honestly think.

As for the Indoctrination Theory... At first I really liked the idea, it would have made Bioware one of the most gutsiest trolls to ever exist, but then I found a blog noting how there was one scene in ME3 that completely disproved the theory, which was the scene with the Prothean VI on Thessia. Ah, well, it's been Jossed anyway, but hey, gotta give creds for the people who came up with it.

This was a bit of a long read, I apologize... But the DLC does deserve its bit of discussion. Overall I thought it was an improvement over the original endings. Whether they were good endings in context, I'm still not quite sure. But I'm not going to let the final few moments of the game ruin my overall good opinion for the entire three games.
JaylaClark Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012
Well I liked them... for a given amount of 'like'.

The plot holes don't distress me too badly, because I got caught up while playing the game to not notice them. Fridge Logic would knock me down later, at least in ordinary circumstances.

They really needed all six months between December and now to put together a better-thought-out ending, though. The pickup being moved from down the 'ramp' to 'just before the run'... making the Starchild an AI created by a previous cycle instead of the ultimate bad guy... and giving at least a simple explanation on how Synth works when ROBOTS DO NOT HAVE FREAKING DNA!!!... those three differences alone would probably bring the game up to uniting the entire gaming world in proclaiming this the best game ever made. (Even though that's not my idea of an ideal ending as is. I could go on for pages about my actual ideal. But it might hit Ice Cream Reaper territory... so I won't.)
mottledmoth Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
This is a slightly abbreviated version of a Bioware forum I made, which no one replied too. XD
(start quote)
So I played through ME3 back in May and was happy with the ending. I went into the game prepared for the ending because my (rightfully) enraged friends had already told me about it. I also had read about the Indoctrination Theory before finishing the game, so playing through I found a lot of "evidence" to support the theory. Therefore upon finishing the game, I was feeling very optimistic and my faith in Bioware was still intact. In my mind it all made sense. Bioware had just mindf***ed us in order to make ME4 plausible. By having only ONE choice (destroy) where Shepard lives (if you have high enough EMS), it would be easy for them to make another game. (A situation similar to the endings of ME2; if Shep dies you can't import, choices/survivors from your importable playthrough will have an effect on the next game.) Bioware was more conniving and creative than we thought possible.
After watching all the endings of the Extended Cut DLC multiple times however, I feel like I was just being naive and a complete idiot and had too much faith in Bioware. There is still only one ending where Shep lives (destroy), but now it seems like all the events after getting hit by Harbinger's lazer are actual events and not a battle within Shep's mind. If this is the case then this "fixed" ending is even less plausible than the underdeveloped original ending. I just can't see any logic in this new ending and because they have stuffed all this extra s**t in there I can't use my imagination to reason away the inconsistences.
Therefore, I actually LIKED the original ending more than this "improved" one. Maybe I'm tunneled visioned, but I don't want to play spin-offs of the ME trilogy in which you aren't Shepard. I either want an epic finale to an amazing trilogy or another game where you play as Shepard and get the epic ending you've been waiting for.
(end quote)
In short, I agree with you. All the EC dlc did was sprinkle sugar on sh*t... so the ending is still sh*t, but that is just my opinion. I feel worse than before the EC dlc and will find it hard to forgive Bioware. However, I choose to still believe in the Indoctrination Theory, so that makes replaying all the games plausible. :)
drawanon Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree completely. BUT it made me feel a lot bit better, as to the last one just made me really depressed, this *new* ending just made me face/palm hard, but at least no depression. Just.. More confusion. I have my headcanon, and I'm happy with that untill bioware fixes this. If they do, then GREAT. If they don't, well theres nothing no one can do other than use their own imagination.
D4NI3LA Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Writer
The one thing I didn't like about the Control ending was the fact that Shepard was still (physically) gone for good. If you think about it, the Reapers are incredibly powerful. They can build an army of organic/synthetic organisms, but they can't re-create one person of the same chemical makeup? Especially when she's the one in charge? That's definitely what bothered me the most. In 3 out of 4 endings Shepard dies and even in the Destroy ending, nobody knows if that last second was also her last breath. The Control ending was probably their best chance to give the fans exactly what they wanted and they messed up big time.

That being said, the Refusal ending was realistic. You can't turn down the largest, most dangerous beings in the galaxy- the same ones who you've been fighting for 2+ years, and expect that everything will work out fine. In the end, all you did was piss off Starchild and basically leave it up to the next Commander Shepard of some other future race to make the same decisions. That makes sense to me, even if it is the worst choice you could ever make. Ever.

The only ending that I'm truly comfortable with is the Destroy ending because technically there is no net loss to the decision. It sucks that EDI dies, but Admiral Hackett says that all of these things can easily be rebuilt, and I believe that includes EDI and the Geth. If everything can be rebuilt that easily, there should be no problem restoring the galaxy (and Shepard) to the great place it was before the whole conflict. Which allows EA a blank slate for the 50 sequels that they promised would not be happening.

And Synthesis is just plain stupid. It's the polar opposite from the Refuse ending and basically defeats the purpose of either existing. :no:
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