Mass Effect 3: My Final Thoughts

Yesterday I finally actually finished Mass Effect 3.

Although I had seen the endings actually playing through them was different indeed.

Please note spoilers will happen from this point onward. Read with caution.

When I finished Mass Effect 3 yesterday to put it simply I felt I was an emotional wreck, I was honestly not sure wether to cry, to cheer and just sort of sat there.
It was finally over.

Okay that might sound a tad melodramtic but this was a game I had poured a lot of time into. I am one of these people who gets stupidly hooked into games and this is especially true if it’s a game where you have a real influence on what happens and it’s a game that really works on getting under your skin.

The crew of the Normandy much in the way of the Companions of the Warden and of Hawke could have just been silly one dimensional characters just there to fill various roles and occassionally have something ‘cool’ to say.

They were much more than that, you got to know them, you could be their friend, help them, fall in love with them, and the game successed at making them very human. In ME2 I had this real urge that I wanted to save everyone, I would through hell or highwater find some way to get everyone out alive.

Shepherd herself (I played fem shep so shep shall be reffered to as female throughout this) was also a marvel. She could have just been a genric protagonist, pre scripted to spout awesome one liners and look ‘badass’ but the game gave her depth, gave her life gave me chance to think and decide on what she was like working from what the game told me. You can see subtle hints in ME3 that Shep might not be coping as well as everyone thinks.

Your companions notice this, they talk they help, they give Shep the push she needs when she needs it. All the while Shep helps, she brings hope, she brings ‘light’ as it were. (Going from the Paragon standpoint here, I haven’t played as  Renegade). She’s the pinnacle of humanity, everyone looks up to her, thinks she will save them. Yet she’s human, you can see this, you can see.

In ME3 they will mention on whoever you sacraficed on Virmire in my case it was Kaiden. Some games will have a character die and that’s it, seldom reference is made to them ever again like they didn’t exist. It’s subtle but there’s hints given that she misses them. There’s a memorial wall on the Normandy and as the game goes on more names get added. It’s sobering to think of.

In this game, three of your former squadmates die with nothing you can do to stop them. This game nearly ‘ripped my heart in two’ especially at the death scene of Mordin, especially with his ‘someone else would have got it wrong’, Thane died but he died in a fitting way, this game made me care about a robot. I managed to save Samara and I was so relieved, and although she wasn’t my favourite character I was quite happy that Miranda was able to survive too. Each character in this game has a story and each  story has it’s conclusion. Each character has their own conflicts that need resolving, each character recives their closure.

This game showcases so well the theme of ‘hope’ everything seems lost but Shep manages to keep the hope going, she inspires, she manages to end century long conflicts, she gives a race back their homeland. She reguarly manages to pull of the impossible.

Romance, now I admit I am a bit of a sap for character romances, I got absoultley hooked on the ones in Dragon Age.  In Mass Effect, it took a bit longer. In the first game I didn’t have much interest and didn’t pursue one, in ME2.

I went nuts for Garrus, I admit I think I was drawn to him as romance wise he’s very similar to Alistair and one of my real interests in ME3 was seeing how they’d continue Garrus’ romance with Shep. I liked seeing how it progressed, Garrus still carried off the ‘don’t know what I’m doing’ vibe but it was nice seeing how it had changed. And the Citadael date is still one of my favourite moments in the game.

There’s several scenes, subtle moves that really speak volumes, they say more than any dialogue needs too.

In the new cut ending there’s scenes added in. One of these is just before Shep makes the one last run toward the beam she calls in the Normandy to rescue the two crew mates you took with you. I took Garrus, and there’s this moment which is just so powerful where he almost point blank refuses to go on the ship but Shep makes him. You can tell it’s potentially ‘the last I love you’.

Then in the new ending, the crew are assembled on the Normandy (turns out they crashed on a planet, and yes they do get out). There’s that memorial wall once more and there’s a new plaque for Anderson and then you see Garrus, he has another new plaque on the wall and it says

‘Commander Shepherd’ there’s no dialogue in this scene but it speaks volumes.

I went with the destroy ending and managed to get the ‘good’ extra where you have that one last scene, you see Shepherd, stuck under rubble take a breath.

There is still hope.

(I will probably try out control and synthesis eventually, once I’m emotionally recovered enough)

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