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Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut – My Thoughts

Mass Effect 3 Extended CutFirstly, this post will probably contain a lot of Mass Effect spoilers, so you are forewarned.

A while ago I posted my opinion on Mass Effect 3 shortly after it was released and I played through it. To paraphrase: epic game for the first 95%, but the ending to the game almost ruined the whole series for me. Since then, in reaction to the outcry over the lack of closure, illogicality, and plot inconsistencies, EA/Bioware announced that they'll be releasing an 'Extended Cut' of the ending which will add extra cut-scenes and dialogue to more fully explain it.

My attitude up until now was pretty much: "no matter how much you polish a turd, it's still a turd". The various theories from fans and alike over the past few months of the reason for the horribly inconsistent and illogical ending, especially the 'Indoctrination Theory', have been pretty convincing. It's my own personal opinion that the 'Indoctrination Theory' plot was to be the actual storyline for around the end of the game (it makes too much sense not to), but for whatever reasons - probably time and budgetary constraints - that was cancelled and the ending we got was churned out in a rush with little or no peer review of the writing team in order to finish the game on time whilst still keeping it open for extra content or more sequels.

That's the only logical explanation I can come up with that explains how good the other 2.9 games were in terms in plot and writing, and how bad the ending to ME3 truly was. After that, I think it's just stubbornness that they wouldn't go back and continue, or admit to, the 'Indoctrination Theory' plot once it had been 'exposed'; they had committed themselves down the path and wouldn't turn back for their own ego/PR-based reasons.

Anywho, roll on a few months and yesterday the Extended Cut was finally released.

After playing through it, I think that the new 'extended' endings are probably about as good as they can make the plot for how they decided to end the series. I still think that the whole premise of the synthetics-vs.-organics-inevitable-destruction for the ending is bad, and introducing a new 'character' that is the AI god-child right at the end of a story is a cheap literary technique that I hate in things like movies and books, let alone an epic three-part game series that I've invested over a hundred of hours into.

Putting that aside though, the revised and expanded dialogue and cut-scenes, both with the god-child as well as the post-choice scenarios, do give a lot more closure and satisfaction to the end of the game and the series.

Now at least mostly explained are why your friends are back on the Normandy, why they were leaving Earth, were they stranded on that planet or not, what's happened to the other races both at Earth and elsewhere, the status of the mass relays, at least partly the motives and origin of the god-child, as well as finally having the option to even reject having to make the final choice in the first place.

Just listing those things above (which is by no means a complete or exhaustive list of huge plot holes and alike in the original ending), it astounds me that EA/Bioware could have genuinely believed that people would have been satisfied with the original ending.

With the Extended Cut ending choices, I found that the decision between the three endings ('Destroy', 'Control', or 'Synthesis') was made a lot more difficult . Whereas originally I chose the 'Destroy' (red) ending without a flinch, now with the new dialogue and explanation of the choices beforehand I had a lot more indecision, as the other two options seemed a lot more viable than they were previously. This time around I went with the 'Synthesis' (green) ending instead.

Overall, I never expected the ending to the series to be perfect, or be even be a 'happy' ending, but the original endings were unexplained illogical garbage that pretty much resulted in the same thing with different coloured explosions. Whilst the new Extended Cut endings carry across the same plot premise, they give just enough explanation and closure to be satisfied.

Whilst I was full of rage at the original endings, and I still can't say I'm totally happy with the way the Extended Cut explains things, I'm now actually satisfied. Whether or not this at least salvages the wreck they've made of the series will probably be judged on if I can stomach a complete 1-3 replay in the next couple of years knowing how the end turns out.

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