I finished Mass Effect 3 this morning and I’m just now understanding what people’s problem was with the ending.
I had no idea which was the “good” ending I was after. All three choices I’d been presented with seemed ambiguous.1 Which was surely another creative decision on BioWare’s part, but a poor one, because this one interfered with the trilogy’s most basic assumption: that you can build the story the way you want to.
I have mixed feelings about this because in real life, no matter how well you plan or behave, no matter how you build your own story, sometimes you just gotta play the cards you’re dealt. There is no good ending. If you wanted a good ending then you should play games that are linear and don’t allow you to craft your character’s story.
I prefer games like that, by the way. I dislike open-world type games that try to make you believe you have ultimate control. I dislike seemingly endless side missions meant to make you think you’re crafting your story, but end up feeling like filler. If there’s a regret that anybody should have with the entire Mass Effect series it’s that they were tricked into wasting time doing side missions because they thought it somehow mattered.
They didn’t. After 20hrs over the past 6 months on ME3, not counting all the times I died that didn’t get logged, I’m glad it’s over. I liked the game a lot, but I’m glad I didn’t invest as much time in it as some of these people did. Even 20 hours is too much.
It’s not the ending that’s the problem. It’s the illusion.