Monday I detailed my thoughts on Bioware’s Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC. I listed just a few of the major questions I had regarding what I thought wasn’t just an ambiguous ending, but one that seemed to have no context or logic behind it, and what I had hoped to see included.
To be fair, I loved the series. Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 were the first RPGs I ever played more than once and the first games I set out to complete all the achievements. And while I had many problems with ME3 besides the ending, it was still better than most games I’ve played. Let’s face it. If the game wasn’t so epic from the beginning, would we have cared about the ending? It’s that epic-ness from the first moment that was carried through three games, only to so inexplicably drop the ball in the final moments that made the ending so appalling.
So were the new additions to the ending worth it? I won’t go into detail for those who are still thinking about trying it out, but for me? Not really. To have a consistent result to compare my experience to, I made the same decisions I did previously: destroy the Reapers. (There’s also a new option I tried and wished I hadn’t). In my opinion it was just a goodbye montage with a bunch of syrupy speeches and no real substance. It answered a couple questions I had, but really it just brought up more. But I think those were just a result of the bad decision making that led to the new changes and can’t really be answered. I have to give Bioware credit. They are nicer than I am. I just would have said, “Yeah, sorry. We screwed up.” Then moved on. Props to Bioware for caving in to us whiny masses.
I do wonder what’s next, not just for Mass Effect, but for Bioware as a company.
It’s an interesting coincidence that Bioware has faced its fiercest criticism for its first products (Star Wars The Old Republic, Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3) produced under the reign of the Dark Lords of the Sith, a.k.a, Electronic Arts. But I think it’s too early for Bioware fans to run around crying about the how the sky is falling. Or maybe I’m being too hopeful and naive. Half my video game playing experience is with Bioware games. Spending my money on their products has always been a no-brainer. (The only games I haven’t played are Dragon Age II and Warhammer Online.)
The end of ME3 thanks us for playing and expresses hope we will continue to adventure further in the Mass Effect universe, and Mass Effect franchise producer Michael Gamble (@GambleMike) tweeted yesterday (Tuesday) hinting at more DLC to come. Not sure how that’s going to work without a Shepard. (Unless I’m right and that final breath was an in breath of life, not an out breath of death!) Or how you can add on to the climax of saving the galaxy. All the DLCs from the first two games (Bring Down the Sky or Lair of the Shadow Broker for example) could fit very nicely into the story if you had already completed it. I have no desire to play the game again with some new squad mate or other random mission content since I know the end is going to be less than satisfactory. Even though in many ways it’s a superior game than its predecessors, ME3 has sucked the fun out of the franchise for me. It’s going to take something very interesting to get me back.
(I do have this re-occurring fantasy about playing my favorite bow-legged, two-toed hotty in some sort of stealth/action shooter that takes place during the two years Shepard is “dead.”)
It’s early still, but quick perusal of Gamble’s twitter and Bioware boards shows what I expected. People still love it or hate it. As far as controversial endings are concerned, it’s like the “Sopranos” of video games.
So what do you think? If you were a hater before the extended cut DLC have you been converted to the dark side? Or are you unmoved by Bioware’s plea for your forgiveness?
Until next time,