Okay, let me be straight here. I really enjoyed the game of Mass Effect 3. Yes, there were parts of it that were far from perfect – that can be shown from the way the review scores were spread across the board from different outlets including our own (I gave it a decent score, while James wrote a scathing letter about all the parts he saw as wrong). The part that James, I, and just about every reviewer on the planet (not to mention everyone that played the game) can agree on though, is that the ending was absolute garbage. Too many holes in the plot, too much left to you imagination about what the hell was going on, and no sense of closure were the main complaints. In a show of “understanding”, BioWare commissioned the creation of their “Extended Cut” DLC that arrives today.
There were rumors on top of rumors as to what this “Extended Cut” would consist of. Would it incorporate the so-called “Indoctrination Theory”? Would it tell the tale of what all the members of your party were doing after the “Big Splut” ™? Would it wipe the slate clean and do something completely different? As it would turn out, neither of those – and either would have been a much better option than what we are expected to take and be happy with. Ladies and gentlemen, let me lay out what the “Extended Cut” consists of in all of its glorious detail. Spoilers ahead, so consider yourself warned.
For starters, you now have the option to make no choice at all. Everyone that claimed “My Shepard would never make these choices” can rejoice, because now you have the option to make no choice. Shepard gives a wonderful speech about how he/she was fighting for freedom, and will die free yadda yadda. Beautiful speech ,doesn’t matter – everyone dies. You can also shoot the annoying holographic brat if that’s your choice (you violent prick you) – again, nice gesture, bu everyone dies. Once you are satisfied with those wonderful choices, maybe you want to see what is different in the ol’ Control, Destroy, or Synthesize endings – yeah? After all, those were the main choices- they HAVE to be better, right?
Well for starters, not much actually changes. I am not about to go sit through all three pre-patch endings again, so I can not be 100% sure, but I think some of the animations of the Crucible firing have been altered. It at least looks better than I remembered it. Other than that, you are treated to a small animation sequence based on what you choose – in Control, the Reapers are helping to rebuild the Relays, in Synthesis you see DNA being reconstructed, and in Destroy you see the remains of the fleet moving off together. After that short (15 seconds there about) animation sequence, you are treated to dialog from one of three people telling you what is going on.
In the Control ending, it is Shepard reborn as a Reaper talking about how he/she is immortal and can watch over and protect the galaxy (seems creepy to me). In the Synthesis ending it is EDI talking about how the line between synthetics and organics is gone, and they are surpassing every civilization before them. Finally in the Destroy ending you hear Hackett drone on about how the victory is shared by the entire Galaxy, and that they need to all work together to rebuild everything. These monologues are delivered over top of a number of still pictures – and the thing about these still pictures? They are exactly the same across all the endings (with the exception of in the Synthesis ending, all of the eyes are creepy green).
That’s right folks – yet again we are treated to three supposedly different endings, and all three endings look exactly the same save for color and one animated scene. There is no telling you what is going on with your squad mates – no showing you what these characters you grew to love over three games are doing. Oh it shows you the dead ones, and then shows people putting your name plate on the Wall of the Lost, but there is no mention of the survivors. In one game I had, Mordin Solus – don’t you think THAT would have made for a story? About what he was doing to end the genophage now? But no, not so much as a mention. ‘The galaxy is doing this and we won’t forget the people who died, but to hell with the people who lived on your team’.
In many ways, this “Extended Cut” is an insult to the people that were waiting so long for it. It in no way brings the closure many of us had asked for, and instead leaves a bitter taste in your mouth that is worse than the original endings. At least with the original endings, many of us could hope that the Indoctrination Theory was correct because SO many pieces fit – but this just shatters all of those hopes, while spitting on the fans that carried the BioWare torch. I still loved the first two Mass Effect games, and really enjoyed the third one up until the last two hours of it – but this? This is a slap in the face. This is BioWare saying “We have your money already, shut up and take what we give you”. I’m sure there are many others like myself who really looked forward to this “new ending that would explain everything”, and I predict the outrage to be everywhere once again. I’m the type of person that just enjoys playing games for the sole reason of playing them, but this is something even I can not excuse. Thanks BioWare – thanks for nothing.