[Editor's Note: This review contains spoilers for Mass Effect 3.]
The ending of Mass Effect 3 hasn’t been a subtle matter, and it’s not an ending that will just fade from everyone’s mind. It’s one of the most controversial things that have happened this year in gaming, and not in a particularly good way. It’s only been a few months since BioWare’s “bombshell” endings were dropped on us. Whether you loved or hated the ending, you’ve got to admit that all the endings were far from perfect. They left people with a lot of questions and a lot of vocal complaints, some with a better foundation than others. Whether or not you agree with BioWare’s decision to “expand” on the ending or not, they’ve done it, and then some. But is it really what you wanted?
In with the New, Still in with the Old
I’ll try to be as spoiler-free of both the original endings and the new endings as possible. As far as the content you’ll see, you have to start the game from before you attack the Illusive Man’s base – a solid few hours, unless you put it on narrative mode, where it’s literally a cakewalk. There are very little changes between the original release and now, complete with Marauder Shields, if that means anything to you. However, it’s not free from error.
The original three endings at the end of Mass Effect 3 aren’t drastically changed; they’re just elaborated on such that there are clear feelings of closure. Personally, I liked the endings, though as far as the new specifics are concerned, you could have used your imagination to think of them. However, there is a new ending, simply dubbed “Refusal.” While all three endings elaborate on the ending in a way that is good for most, it still doesn’t fix the main problem of the endings: your choices throughout all three games do not have an impact.
In all honesty, the endings still aren’t perfect, but they’re at least endings that offer a sense of closure in a chaotic galaxy. However, plot holes are still there from the first time around. Why is Anderson on the ship that Hackett says that you’re the only one on? Why do you have a wound that Anderson clearly got? Why is the Paragon (destroy) option Renegade color, and vice versa for Control? I’m not saying there’s still room for the Indoctrination Theory, but there’s still a little clout if one of these endings is canon.
Hopefully, this isn’t a trend in any more games. Developers shouldn’t have to bend to the consumers’ will after the game’s released. And while these endings are good, their conception was one just to improve company perception. That really can’t be done for BioWare and Mass Effect: people will have things to complain about until the end of time, and a better ending to a beloved trilogy isn’t going to turn that around.