Fun fact: I started writing this article two weeks ago, almost within seconds of credits rolling. This particular version will actually be the eighth drawing-board rewrite of the whole thing. I’ve completely blocked other reviews from happening (namely, the new SSX and Journey on the PS3) just so I could keep my thoughts straight. It may very well have be the hardest article I’ve ever had to write, just because the argument has taken so many disparate, shapes since the beginning of the month, and things keep happening, some good, some bad, a lot of really, terrifyingly ugly. I’ve seen the gaming community at its best, worst, and most puzzlingly apathetic through it all, and I’ll be honest, it’s tiring, possibly the most I’ve been just disheartened by those who share my love of the medium in some time.
A lot of that has to do with the fact that after beating Mass Effect 3, my standpoints were in such stark contrast with what feels like the majority of the gaming community. That is to say, I actually liked my choices. With caveats and criticisms and a healthy dose of frustration about how they played out, but betrayal isn’t even in the same county of any of my feelings.
So, I’m gonna apologize right off the bat for being terse. After so long leaving MCP without updates, there might be some that expected more. After finally getting my own head together about it, I’m finally ready to start discussing these things at length on the boards. But volumes have been written about these subjects, and I’m sorry, but after two weeks of hemming and hawing, discussing, and arguing, and ultimately surrender, I dont have a dissertation in me. All I have are six inalienable points made abundantly clear to me through eight drafts of writing:
–I chose Synthesis. Piggybacking off of the kind of person Shepard turned out to be, Mass Effect 3 gave me every opportunity, when not on the battlefield, for Shepard to express to both Garrus and Liara just how tired she was of this war, of the endless politics, or misunderstandings that have nearly ended races. The Illusive Man risking death to the entire galaxy for humanity’s gains alone made it obvious to me the only way this galaxy will ever win is to move on to the next stage and evolve together. Is it probably the most out-there sci-fi idea presented so far? Yes. But thematically, it worked. My major qualm was that I expected to see some awesome, Child of Eden-esque future in the epilogue. What I got were leaves with Intel Inside.
–The endings varying in color and little else is lazy, yes. As is the Normandy ending up in FTL for no apparent reason. As are many of the sidequests. I’d also argue just about everything from Tuchanka onward is “the ending” for most of the galaxy as we know it, and Shepard’s story ending with that swan dive is strong enough just as it is as a climax.
–The indoctrination theory: Bioware’s many things, but meta ain’t one, and the text in no way supports Reaper control of Shepard. And most of the speculation sounds way too similar to the logical hoops fanboys leapt through to support Harvey Dent being alive. But thanks for playing.
–I’m glad the gaming community is finally figuring out one of the cardinal rules of life, which is that anything said doing PR should be taken with a grain of salt. I’m just distressed it took THIS to realize it.
But, regardless, welcome to adulthood. While you’re here, you may wanna start petitioning Sony for when we’re gonna get those Toy Story graphics out of a PS2 we were promised, or when John Romero is intending to make us his bitch. Let me know how that pans out.
–I hereby invite Bioware user SLICCK to go fuck himself.
Actually, I apologize. In the interest of keeping my criticisms constructive, I would like to simply inform you that the penis in a soft state is not a prehensile mass, and may be cumbersome in a current erect state. Therefore, removing your own penis while in an erect state would be the correct course of action. As I do not have a physical representation of you, and in the interest of fairness, I do not wish to continue with any assumptions that you were in fact a hideous trollfaced mongoloid with T-Rex arms, for maximum mobility, I recommend contacting the good people at RealDoll.com, who can craft, for you, a male RealDoll in your likeness, whom you may choose to endow with the staid remains of your genitals. You may then strap the doll to yourself, using one of the handy belts that window washers occasionally use–likely available at any local Home Depot–and thrust as needed.
I hope that these suggestions are taken to heart so that you may fuck yourself more effectively in the future.
–To Bioware directly: Here’s a story for you guys: I got 100+ hours into your games before I felt there was a fundamental element worth complaining about, but I got 50ish pages into the first Twilight book and had to put it down A: because it was ass-awful, and B: because I Couldn’t. Stop. Laughing. at how ass-awful it was. I can and have happily brought Stephenie Meyer to task for how bad it was. At no point do I believe that woman owes me anything better than what we got, because HER BAD ART DOES NOT BELONG TO ME.
Mass Effect, and all the choices offered therein, ultimately, belongs to you. STAND BY YOUR FUCKING CRAFT. Do the DLC because you have something to add, a story worth telling. Not because your fans demand it.
Bottom line, so I can get it out of my head, and move on: There are very few ways in which Bioware could bring the whole thing crashing down with 5 minutes of disappointment that don’t involve tentacle rape or an end credits song by Limp Bizkit. What matters to me is that I’ve spent a grand total of 113 hours in one of the best-realized universes in this medium, loving, laughing, fighting, and dying alongside one of the bravest, most layered, fascinating women ever created in any of them.
Please continue to explain to me why I should punish the people responsible for allowing me to have known her at all.
Take your time.