I was obscenely excited when I was assigned the review for Mass Effect 3. In my year of writing for We Got This Covered, it was arguably my biggest, and most important review since starting here. Hell, it might be the most important review I’d ever written. Little did I know that Mass Effect 3 in general would be the single game that would light the gaming community on fire, and change gaming history forever.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you’ve no doubt heard about the complaints regarding the ending of the game. In various forms and at very different levels of grammar mastery, fans were angry. For some it was the lack of closure. For some it was the fact that all the endings seemed to have no real differences. For some it was your decisions throughout the entire series not making a single impact on the ending. For a few, it was not having a “happy” ending. Regardless, very few people were pleased.
Looking back at my review, I recall exactly what I was thinking while writing it. I had addressed the ending, stating that it was catching a lot of controversy on all sorts of channels on the internet, but I didn’t understand the hate. There was no way that BioWare could have made several totally different endings. None of the games had anything that dramatic. However, as it set in, and more comprehensible people explained to me their gripes with the game (i.e. actually explaining it rather than calling me an idiot for thinking it was an acceptable end), it sunk in.
I never got blinded with rage like many people I know did. I was disappointed, but never irate. In fact, I was more angry at the “fans” of the series that had gone to such moronic lengths to make BioWare feel completely useless. I denounced my own Mass Effect fandom, and vowed to never call myself a fan of the franchise again, not because of a lackluster conclusion to a favorite franchise, but due to embarrassment of being grouped in with the same people who thought sending the writers at BioWare death threats were a good idea.
Months passed. I played other games that got the sour taste out of my mouth. A kickstart to my music career took over what was left of my free time. I had all but forgotten about the fiasco with 2012’s biggest video game release. EA and BioWare wouldn’t let me forget however, as they announced the Extended Cut, some extra game content that would give the ending more closure, answer some open-ended questions, and do everything the fans had wanted minus the one guy who wanted the game to come with hookers and blow.
This is the part where, even the anticipation of BioWare potentially redeeming themselves split the community even more than it already was. The argument no longer was whether the ending was bad or not, the argument was now whether the integrity of the game should be compromised by changing the original intention of the creators of an art form. I personally sat on the side of “wait and see.”
It all comes to a head today. As of this writing for Xbox 360 and PC gamers, you can already play through the Extended Cut and see the ending in a more elaborate manner. PS3 owners will have to wait until the PlayStation Store is updated later today.
I’ve played through the ending. I’ve looked up the other endings on YouTube. And I can say proudly and with complete honesty that BioWare has completely redeemed themselves.
My ultimate worry, that the writers would give in to the fans and completely re-do everything did not come to pass. Everything with the Extended Cut is just that, Extended. Like remembering new details that were there all along that you may have simply missed the first time, only these details are pretty freakin’ important to the Mass Effect lore.
THERE ARE SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON FROM THE ORIGINAL ENDING. NOTHING FROM THE EXTENDED CUT WILL BE SPOILED HERE.
Once you reload a save from before attacking the Cerberus base, you play through the ending as normal. You don’t actually encounter anything new until you reach the Star Child. That being said, you’ll notice new dialogue options, and be given a few other options as well. The original three choices are still here, between destroying the Reapers, controlling the Reapers or synthesizing all organic and synthetic beings in the universe.
Once you choose your ending, everything plays out for you. Much of the ending will remain the same, but with enough to set each one apart from the other. Nearly everything is wrapped up too. It’s answered how your crew ends up crashed on that leafy planet, and what happens to them. Other key members of the story and races still alive are each given a glimpse into how they continued their lives after whichever ending you chose as well. The scene after the credits with the Stargazer and the child, to my knowledge, remains unchanged. Although, it doesn’t play should you trigger a specific ending, which makes sense.
This is what you guys wanted. Closure. Answers. Information. You may not get a happy ending. In fact, I guarantee that all four endings have their downsides, a few much moreso than others. I left my game a second time, but this time was a feeling of satisfaction, and not the confusion and struggle I felt last time. If Mass Effect 3 is still sitting on your shelf, go pop it in, and download the Extended Cut. It’ll renew your faith in the gaming industry. You’ll just have to play through 2-3 hours of game again to get to it.