Mass Effect 3 and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ending

Mass Effect 3 – Playstation 3

If you haven’t played or beaten Mass Effect 3, spoilers ahead. You have been warned, Shepards.

I wrote a piece a while ago about how I had just beaten Mass Effect. No, not Mass Effect 3, but Mass Effect 1. I know, I know. I am way behind. But this past weekend, I finally completed the Mass Effect Trilogy, and I have to say it is one of the best series I have ever played. I sort of knew about how it would end thanks to all the coverage about the many who were disappointed with the ending. And I had accepted it. My mind was prepared for what was going to happen. But I didn’t realize it was going to come down to what transpired on the Citadel.

The first feeling was confusion. I thought I died before I got to the beacon, and when they were flashing scenes of Shepard on the ground, it felt like this was the end. But Shepard gets up, and shoots his way through enemies to hobble into the beacon that will transport him to the catalyst. Whew, I thought. That would have been an awful ending. The following sequence was pretty remarkable, and it felt good to stick it to the Illusive Man. Shepard opens the arms, and I thought for sure this was it. At this point, I was okay with it. Shepard died saving the galaxy.

But it didn’t stop there. In a weird series of events, I find myself atop the Citadel, and the boy I had been chasing all game was there. Waiting for me to make the final choice.

I’ll admit, it was a bit odd. The whole kid thing. I figured that Shepard had an illegitimate child that he (or she, I played as Male Shep, so I will refer to him from now on) had no idea about. Which would have been awful to have left him back on Earth.

So I made my choice. And in the end, was extremely dissatisfied. All these choices I made throughout the entire series, and I only get these at the end? It wasn’t until I had watched the end credits to search the web, and after going through forums and blogs, I realized that Mass Effect 3 had suffered from an idea that just didn’t work. I knew I had pumped a ton of War Assets into the making sure that I would be ready for the onslaught that was to come. I scanned planets, did all the side quests, and felt really good of my chances at defeating the Reapers. So what gives?

I went back to my save game and saw that multiplier called “Galactic Readiness”. Why is it only at 50% still? This rating is basically a slap in the face of players who invested heavily in the game to find that if they didn’t take time to play multiplayer missions or invest in the Mass Effect iPhone game, your ending might not be what you wanted. All those choices you made the past three games didn’t matter in the end. It was whether or not you had logged enough hours in multiplayer or GalaxyBullshit.

I’ve looked for statistical data to see how many people had gotten the maxed out ending. There is no data on it anywhere. Just countless guides on how to get the best ending, without or with the most minimal of multiplayer. I tried not to play the game with a guide or wiki, so how was I to know about getting every single last War Asset possible when I was never given a hint that my current rating wasn’t good enough. THE COMPUTER SAID I WAS MORE THAN PREPARED DAMMIT!

BioWare dropped the ball on this one. And their attempts afterwards to help players ease into what they felt was the best way to end the series didn’t work either. It’s just unfortunate, but I don’t feel cheated out of my experience as a whole.

I just feel cheated out of those last, and what should be glorious, 15 minutes.

Mass Effect 3 marauder shields