Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut: Was It Worth The Wait? (Opinion Article)
Discloser: This article is solely the opinion of this one writer and does not reflect the overall opinion of this entire site.
Spring Break 2012. Families, young, old, and everything in between flocked to the beaches of both the east and west coasts to revel in a short glimpse of the upcoming summer. Those unfortunate enough to not be able to participate in over-glorified tourism spent time at the pool and with their families and friends, enjoying this week of relaxation and freedom from school and for some, work. Though I did enjoy some of these endeavors, the thing I looked forward to the most was a game I had longed to play for four entire years, Mass Effect 3. Receiving the game at the beginning of Spring Break meant an entire week to spend playing the most anticipated game ever in my gaming career. The fanatic I am, I of course scourged eBay, having been too arrogant to pre-order the Collector’s Edition ahead of time and was treated to the punishment of them being sold out. Paying much more than I would have otherwise, I had invested in this game more than any other game in my entire life. And was it worth it? Of course! Now this is by no means a review of Mass Effect 3 (though I believe it to be one of the greatest of all time), but instead an insight into the infamous ending.
I got the game in the mail and started it on Monday of Spring Break, arriving to the conclusion that Saturday afternoon. Anticipating the inevitable defeat of the Reapers since the end of the first game, I knew it was coming. I woke up that morning knowing that today, the machines bent on destroying all life as we know it were going to be vanquished once and for all. The ending came and gone and alas many were disappointed in how the war ended but there was no true impact and result from all the decisions and choices made across three entire games. Bioware had attempted something no other franchise had done before in truly making your voice count in the game you played but when the final credits rolled, no matter what choices you made, you roughly had the same ending as everyone else.
But I liked the ending.
There I said it! I am apart of the staunch few that stand by Bioware’s original ending, praising the brave sacrifice of one man to save the galaxy. Normally, I would be on my soapbox demanding change just like the majority, but I didn’t simply because the ending Bioware gave, gave me closure on Shephard’s life and the Reapers’ lives for that matter. Peace and salvation for all those I cared for because of Bioware’s fantastic character development. So why does a few decisions matter? The ending left an air of mystery into where the series could possibly go next. The thought that the mass relays were completely destroyed, leaving many races and peoples stranded in their systems (many of which were presumed to be stranded on Earth) left me pondering about a new series where there is no racial discrimination but instead galactic unification. Against a new threat? Of course. Which is why I of course chose the Synthesis ending and still stick by that one, loving the idea of a unity and equality between organic and synthetic life, plus that was a sick green color! (no pun intended) I went onto Bioware’s Facebook page, praising the ending and overly excited for where the series was headed next. Whether that be continuing the story of the Normandy crew through the eyes of a new main character (more of my hypothesis about that at a later date) on an adventure across this strange new world they landed upon or somewhere completely different, I am ecstatic regardless! But now to the main event: Tuesday’s release of the Extended Cut.
All I have to say is this is where I am now disappointed and in more ways than one. First of all, the download was an entire 1.85 GB (almost 2 GB’s!!!) for a 5 minute, that’s right 5 minute, additional cutscene/slideshow. Now yes that is 5 minutes for each ending including all new 4th ending, entitled “Refusal”, which by the way is not good at all except to amuse yourself to the idea that the cycle will continue (but actually inferring in the post-credit scene that the next race does in fact destroy the Reapers anyways). Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to the extended scenes. My second problem is a short and simple one. Yes, I did in fact enjoy the extra scenes (and humorous other ending) but why make us wait so long for this? Couldn’t have this been made much faster? Did Bioware even intend for all this to happen and if so, what was their goal? And finally, my third and biggest problem is the fact that Bioware did this in the first place. It is the battle between the consumer and the creator. But I personally think they should have stood by their original ending and not added anything because this decision has ultimately taken away some of the power a developer has in their own creation. From now on, who’s to say this whole community uprising won’t happen again and cause an entire game to be completely different than what it’s creator would have wanted it to be. Game is an art whether the main stream society wishes to believe so or not, it truly is and how would you like it if you spent a couple years putting your entire self into something you believed in and loved just for a person to hate it? And not only that, but they only hate something as small as your sculpture only has four fingers. Would you go to the trouble to completely remove the hands and spend months to rebuild them just for one pinky? Yes we are the consumers and yes we put the money in their pockets but does that give us the right to demand they change or even simply add to their creation? We wouldn’t have Mass Effect without them so don’t take them for granted. Don’t you trust them? I do. And that’s why I can’t wait for Bioware’s next game, be it Dragon Age 3 or a new Mass Effect, because when it comes down to it, I trust Bioware to deliver a rich, compelling storyline and truly immersive, choice and player driven experience that no other developer can do.
As always for walkthroughs for this game and/or tips (including videos) just comment or send me a message! I’m always willing to help!