I’ve just finished Mass Effect 3 (ME3), which is unusual for me. Normally I take weeks to even get close to the endgame – if not months. I’m pretty sure I’ve missed a whole lot of content. I’m also pretty sure it doesn’t bother me. Another unusual thing.
I suspect I’ll make another post about some of the lovely set-pieces in this game, and also about the things that annoyed me. However, right now I’m feeling very deflated and let down by the whole endgame. As you may guess, from here in in, there will be spoilers.
I’ll begin with what they got right. The whole thing is not a complete disaster.
Most of the end game involves battling through London (though apart from the red telephone booths, it could be anywhere on Earth) to get to the beam that connects to the Citadel. It’s supposed to be a last, desperate attempt, and it feels like it. Even with a lot of spare ammo around, the sheer number of enemies – and the number of harder enemies like Brutes and Banshees makes it feel very tough. The almost constant radio chatter makes it feel like you really are in a warzone, and you’re losing.
The final huge battle before you make it to the Citadel feels completely overwhelming, and had me running all over the battlefield trying to find ammo, and a space for enough of a breather to let my shields regenerate. The the last, final dash towards the beam with Reapers destroying the landscape around you felt exactly as it should have: desperate.
The next section has a wounded Shepard, limping towards the beam with only a single weapon. Truthfully, this just annoyed the hell out of me. I know it was supposed to feel like a heroic moment as she stumbles, barely keeping herself upright, barely able to fend off the defenders – but it just frustrated the hell out me in all kinds of not fun ways. It was almost a relief to get to the beam, then the Citadel.
The Citadel section, until you get to the central area, was tense, but I’d lost a lot of the edge and atmosphere at that state, and just wanted to get on with it. Hence the final meeting with the Illusive Man was just more frustration. There was really no feeling of Shepard not having control. Since so many cut-scenes up to this point have wrested control from you, it just felt like more of the same.
Meeting the Catalyst was intriguing, but it just didn’t feel enough. I’m not sure what I wanted, but it reminded me a bit of the ending to AI (Stephen Spielberg) where it seemed to turn from a Sci-Fi movie into some kind of surreal fantasy. Except in this case, it felt incredibly wrong.
When I went to make my choice I found that once you’ve got close to one Console or the other, you can’t move away and select a different one. Thank guys. I appreciate it.
Then the final ending…
Now, given I didn’t finish Mass Effect, and never played Mass Effect 2, then I don’t have too much back-story weighing me down as I hit the ending. I only have what ME3 told me, and hinted at. What I’m saying is that a lot of the gripes from people who started with the original ME, don’t really affect me.
Even so, the ending just felt … flat. There was this huge build up and then, while it was obviously supposed to be a dramatic pay-off, it wasn’t. And the final scene with the ‘stargazer’ just felt like it was from a different story.
Really, I think I’d have felt better about the ending if I’d stopped at the final, desperate fire-fight. As it is, I just feel dissatisfied and let down with the whole thing.
Which isn’t to say I haven’t had a lot of fun, and I might go back and restart, or perhaps pick up an earlier save point. But I don’t think I’ll bother with the ending again. I really don’t.