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Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction

By Shamus
on Wednesday Mar 21, 2012
Filed under:
Game Reviews


It should be obvious, but this post is going to be complete and total spoilers for Mass Effect 3. Also, most of what I say here is just a re-hash of points that have been made elsewhere. The problems with the ending are very obvious, and I don’t think it takes a keen analysis or a deep understanding of the Mass Effect lore to uncover these issues.

The truth is, my nitpicking skills are wasted on this, and I don’t have a lot to add to the conversation. I’m writing this mostly to get it off my chest.

And to deflect the likely objections: Yes, the rest of the game is often quite good, and there were many “fanservice” moments where players got things they had been hoping / waiting for since the original game. But right now we’re talking about the ending to Mass Effect 3, which I rank as the worst ending I’ve ever personally played. Worse than KOTOR 2. Worse than Neverwinter Nights 2. It fails thematically, it fails logically, it fails at basic coherence, and it fails to be consistent with what has come before.

I know it’s childish and melodramatic when fans say, “This new thing has RUINED this series FOREVER!” I don’t want to go that far, but I will say it’s done a lot of damage. I just finished a re-play of Mass Effect 1, and it’s shocking just how many things seem stupid, contrived, inconsistent, or pointless now that I know how they turn out.

And no, I’m not a believer in the “indoctrination theory“. I think that would be better than the ending we got, but I don’t think it it was ever intended by the writers. This theory involves an incredible level of subtle symbolism, which goes against just how ham-fisted the rest of the story is. To wit: If these writers thought Shepard was indoctrinated in the last stage of the game, we would know it.



In the first game, Cerberus was a bunch of idiot mooks that you mowed down for XP. In the second game they were expanded to be this vast organization with research stations, ships, advanced technology, and the ability to build a ship more advanced than the ship that the Humans and Turians could build together. Despite this, they are still amazingly incompetent, with 99% of their victims being human and 100% of their experiments turning on them and destroying their stuff.

In the third game, Cerberus is even more ludicrously powerful. They now have an army, fleets, and military bases that dwarf the size of the human colonies we’ve seen. They’re everywhere, they know everyone’s plans, and have all the best technology.

The Reapers are attacking. Supply lines are cut. The dead and wounded are piling up. Populations are dwindling. And yet Cerberus can conscript, arm, feed, train, equip, and field this endless army, which is powerful enough to fight a war on multiple fronts and even mount an open invasion of the Citadel itself. You spend more time fighting them than you spend fighting the supposed enemy of the series.

This is to say nothing of Leng, the absurd plot-armored emo supervillain, who seems to be made of contrivances and looks like he just escaped from a school for Final Fantasy villains. (When his shields get low, he crouches in the open to become invulnerable to all damage while mooks spawn and his shields recharge. He has no business being in in a cover-based shooter that’s trying this hard to be taken seriously.)

All of this is a drawn-out way of saying that by the end of the game I was just sick to death of Cerberus, and so it was agonizing to have yet another nonsense conversation with the Illusive man right on the threshold of the final encounter. I was so uninterested in him and his goals, and the guy seems to be a sort of plot-hole singularity where the gameworld bends around him until it stops making sense. I was hoping he wouldn’t show up in this game. Instead he was a major focus of it. Not since Fable 2 has there been an annoying second-fiddle antagonist that so gleefully overshadowed the main villain.

The Reapers


The explanation for the Reapers is that they destroy all life, every 50,000 years, in order to fix the problem of synthetics rising up and killing their organic masters. This is akin to, “You burned dinner, so I have incinerated the city to save you from the dangers of a kitchen fire.” It’s ludicrous nonsense. It’s not even a solution to the stated problem. It’s just a bigger and grander version of the original problem, running in parallel.

I know we were all worried that the Reapers were going to be some horrible cliche. “Two million years ago, our creators gave us a simple order about being the ‘most powerful’, and our robotic monomania has driven us to this cyclical killing spree to fulfill it.” Yes, that’s a little tired. I admit that wouldn’t have been terribly stimulating. But I’ll take “tired cliche” over “comical blatherskite” any day.

The most offensive thing about this is that you’ve likely got Geth fighting at your side, along with EDI. You have two different synthetics as allies. It’s a major theme of the Quarian storyline that the Geth repeatedly spared their creators, despite having both the means and the justification for eliminating them. The central motivation of the villain is directly undercut by the story itself, and Shepard can’t even bring this up in conversation. The writers couldn’t even be arsed to hand-wave it.

Mass Relays


No matter what choice you make using the Ending-o-tron 3000tm, it shows the mass relays exploding. In Mass Effect 2 (in the DLC) it was a major plot point that an exploding relay would destroy the entire system. The game gives us no indication that this case is any different. So what happened? Did Shepard just wipe out every single inhabited star system? Did Shepard end up killing more people than the Reapers? We can’t know for sure, but that’s only because the game can’t be bothered to answer trivial questions like, “Did I just blow up the galaxy?”

The Galaxy


Here is what Casey Hudson had to say about the ending to the Mass Effect series:

For us and for you, Mass Effect 3 had to live up to a lot of expectations, not only for a great gaming experience, but for a resolution to the countless storylines and decisions you've made as a player since the journey began in 2007. So we designed Mass Effect 3 to be a series of endings to key plots and storylines, each culminating in scenes that show you the consequences of your actions. You then carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey.

…and then all decisions are instantly negated or rendered moot. Did you enjoy working hard to bring peace between the Salarians and the Krogan? Nice going. Too bad they’ll never see each other again now that the relay network is destroyed. Did you side with the Geth or the Quarians? Doesn’t matter, because the migrant fleet is never moving again. Those colonies you fought to save in Mass Effect 2? Those idiots are probably going to starve.

He continues:

We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet endingâ€"to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way.

(Emphasis mine.)

I don’t know that bittersweet is the only way to go, but I’ll admit it’s what I was hoping for. But what we have here is not a “bittersweet” ending. This is a nihilistic tragedy where everyone dies for no reason.

For something to be “bitterweet”, it must have some sweetness in it. There is nothing sweet here. Nobody hugs. There is no hope, no future, no joy, no understanding. The isolated people of the galaxy starve or explode. Whatever happens to them, they don’t even get to find out what it was all for or how it turned out. Shepard takes all the secrets to the grave, and the galaxy would have been better off if Shepard had just jumped off that cliff the moment they touched down on Eden Prime in Mass Effect 1.

The Crucible


The star child tells us that the Crucible has been in development for many cycles. Each race adds pieces onto it, finally perfecting the design this time around.

How? How are the races collaborating? The whole point of the series is that the Reapers surprise attack, kill everyone, and then leave no traces of their work. Does every single race just happen to never find any hint of the Reapers until after the Reapers attack? And then once the attack is begun they find ruins, or old computers, or whatever, and try to build their own crucible, even though nobody knows how to use it or what it’s for? And then they bury their modified plans in such a way that the next cycle will only find them once it’s too late?

Imagine that the first race, facing the Reaper threat and having no idea how to defeat them, sit down and design a trigger guard. And that’s it. Then they bury the plans for the trigger guard and they die. 50,000 years later, the next race is getting pulverized. Before they die, they find the plans for the trigger guard. They have no idea what it’s for or what it does, but they design a handle to go with it, add it to the plans, and re-bury them.

And so it goes. 50,000 years. A safety mechanism. A rifled barrel. A magazine. A rear sight. The trigger. A front sight. A muzzle. An ejection port. Nobody knows what any of this does.

Then Shepard & Co comes along. They follow the plans, which builds a Glock 17 pistol. Admiral Hacket points to the chamber. Something goes in there, but we don’t know what it is or what it does.

Then you meet the Star Child, who just happens to be a 9mm bullet, which miraculously is a perfect fit for this pistol, even though the people who built it have no idea what a bullet is or what it does.

Then the Star Child explains that the next step is to put the bullet in the chamber, aim the weapon at your foot, and pull the trigger. That’s how you “win”.

Actually, I think my explanation makes the setup sound cooler than it really is. A situation where you’re tricked into building the weapon of your own downfall would have been a great twist. This isn’t that. This is just writers who didn’t remember what they wrote yesterday and can’t plan for tomorrow.

Case in point: The crucible is the ultimate weapon, derived from Prothean ruins, yet it was never mentioned or hinted at in any of the previous games. None of the beacons talked about it. Vigil didn’t bring it up, and I’m willing to bet the Prothean squadmate (a DLC character) doesn’t mention it either. This is because it wasn’t planned at the outset. It’s a late-story asspull done by writers who never had a plan.

Did the Protheans build a crucible of their own? Did they try to use it? If so, what happened? I suspect I have just given this more thought than the writers did.

The Normandy


Shepard has just used the Ending-o-tron 3000tm, and now suddenly Joker is flying somewhere? Where is he going? The Normandy was a key part of the fleet to take back Earth, and suddenly he’s flying away. I suppose he’s running away from the exploding mass relays, but the game makes it look like he’s traveling to some other system, which would indicate he flew towards the mass relay.

We don’t know where he’s going, or why, or who is with him. He’s just inexplicably flying somewhere. Then the explosion catches him, and he crashes on a planet someplace. Where? We’re led to believe it’s uninhabited. The ship is smashed. The relays are gone.

So crew of the Normandy abandon the fight, flee like cowards, then crash for unexplained reasons and starve to death? Is that the end here? Because that’s the only conclusion we can draw based on what we’re shown, and anything beyond that is fanfiction.



Did you like the “Take Back Earth” marketing campaign? You want to get in there and reclaim your homeworld from the Reapers? Ha ha! You don’t take back anything, Commander Jerkface. Earth is wasted, and possibly incinerated by the exploding mass relay. Which is your fault!

You spent the entire game building a massive fleet, and now that fleet is stuck in orbit around Earth. So even if there are survivors on Earth, they’re probably going to die soon. All of those Turians, Quarians, Asari, and Krogan are going to get hungry, and then your hard-fought alliance will dissolve as the starving armada invades the remnants of Earth civilization and kill each other for the last few scraps of food.

How bittersweet!

Your Squadmates


Want to know how things turned out for them after the war? Dead or alive, they’re stuck on some random jungle world with Joker and nothing you did for them matters.

Wrex isn’t going to lead his people, Tali isn’t going to build a home on Rannoch, Ashley isn’t going to hook up with her family, Miranda isn’t going to see her sister again, and Garrus is done being Space Batman. If EDI managed to hook up with Joker, she can look forward to watching him slowly die of fever, malnutrition, and broken bones. This is assuming you didn’t kill her with the Ending-o-tron 3000tm.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who think of malaria and parasites as “bittersweet”.

In Conclusion

The ending has RUINED this series FOREVER!

Comments (819)

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  1. […] otherwise I'd be pretty choked too this guy nails it pretty damn good in one simple paragraph, Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction – Twenty Sided "If you are crazy enough to make a three-game series that ends on a black note with no […]

  2. JMA says:

    2 points to add to an otherwise fantastic article:

    1) Cerberus – They became infinitely powerful somewhere along the way by “indoctrinating” refugee civilians, and have an unlimited army thanks to Reaver technology. That’s the best excuse I can offer.

    2) The Normandy – This was the worst part for me by far regarding the ending. Not only were they maybe or maybe not going through a mass relay, but after the crash Ashley (who was a squadmate on the final mission) magically crawls out of the Normandy when she was supposed to still be on Earth. I assumed everyone except Shepphard was blow’d up running for the portal, but apparently she never joined the last charge, and instead somehow got picked up by the Normandy.

    And where the hell did they land??? Was that a protoplanet with two moons? Oh great! They all either starve to death or live out the rest of their lives marooned on a jungle planet, eating bugs and battling alien diseases.

    I’m glad you echoed the 2nd worst ending of all-time, KOTOR 2, which literally made me scream. This was even worse.

    One more point: Both choices at the very end led to almost the EXACT SAME cinematic, with either an orange blast or blue blast. The Reavers either collapsed into lifeless husks or lifted up and flew away somewhere. Same cinematic with the Normandy exactly. So much for choices making any damned difference whatsoever.

    It’s literally like the designers ran out of time and interest. Games ended like this 20 years ago, but Bio-Ware really, really damaged their reputation in my book.

  3. Sumanai says:

    I have a hypothesis on what happened at Bioware. I will share it partially because I want to get it out.

    What we see is what happens. Bioware ran out of time and rushed the ending. After they, or at least Hudson, saw the wrath and bile rise up, they decided to make it look like fans were complaining about the ending being a downer. Hence the questionnaire in the forums that had the options that the ending was “great”, “good” and “too depressing”.

    The plan was that they would then release ending DLC that made it over the top happy. If fans would hate it for being saccharine they would most likely be more accepting towards the original. Then Bioware would say that “the fans have come to their senses”. If they like it over the original, then Bioware will complain that “fans couldn’t handle a bittersweet ending”.

    But something took them by surprise. Fans were able to come up with an insane interpretation that suited the existing ending. And not only were they praising it, they were saying stuff like “the best ending in the history of video games”. This was great. They could turn the ship right around. But what if there’s a huge plot hole hiding right behind the corner for this theory?

    They’d have to wait for a month or two so the fans would patch the theory up as well as possible and any mistakes they would’ve done would come up. Meanwhile they could make the ending DLC that would make it canon. They just need to pick which variant of the Indoctrination Theory fits the best and covers the most holes.

    Can anyone go more cynical? Note that I expect it to cost money and that they will flaunt their “superior writing skills”.

  4. joe says:

    wow… really? you say you don’t believe the indoctrination theory before going on to say how much you hate everything else, how it doesn’t make sense and how far-fetched and desperate it is. This surely would put the indoctrination theory forward because it’s pretty much the only explanation that makes sense as the underlying theme for a lot of it. It sounds like you want to hate it and so discard the clever alternative.
    Mass effect, also, has not been TOTALLY RUINED 4EVA. The story and everything leading up to the ending was epic. And hell, I even liked the ending.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Like it was mentioned here already,for the indoctrination theory to be correct,you have to assume that these are brilliant writers,that also wanted to screw everyone over with a sequel/dlc bait,and thats just as bad as them being stupid hacks who didnt know how to finish this well.

      As for how it ruined the series forever,read what Dalendria wrote a few comments above.

      If you can like it,thats great for you.But plenty of people hate it,and they cannot just erase it from their minds.

      • joe says:

        I agree that relying on DLC isn’t the way to go and maybe they have screwed us. However, I feel they are brilliant writers, shown by how much everybody clearly cares that the ending didn’t live up to the rest of the series. I disagree with the article that it was a quick job where they made it up as they went along because that just defies all logic.

        I know what dalendria is saying and I certainly agree to some extent but it is ultimately the ending to a series. Plus the fact it’s left relatively open makes me want to play it again.
        However, I do wish the endings differed because, as they stand, they are insanely similar in the overall effect (hopefully DLC can fix that).

        Going with indoctrination, there’s still much more to come, much more DIFFERENT things to hopefully arise, the god child can f*** off and we’ll hopefully get an ending with more possibilities.

        If you’re not a ‘believer’, give this a look: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QT4IUepvrU1pfv_B95oQj0H84DlCTUmzQ_uQh1voTUs/edit?pli=1

        I find it hard to believe BW would overlook so much.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          “However, I feel they are brilliant writers, shown by how much everybody clearly cares that the ending didn't live up to the rest of the series”

          There is a saying in my country:”Its a bad cow that gives 50 liters of milk in one go,but in the end kicks and spills the whole thing.”.I just cannot call bioware brilliant when they vary so wildly with their writing.Its even worse than having mediocre writers,because those would always be mediocre.But when you have peaks of awesomeness,the bad parts end up looking even worse.

          It seems like it defies logic,but just look at the incredible inconsistencies between the three games.Cerberus,for example,is the most obvious example of how something is set up to be one thing,but was later retconned.Then there is shepard dying in the beginning of 2(what was the point of her surviving in the end of 1,if they were going to just kill her again?If this was planned in advance,why not kill her in the end of 1,and then have her resurrected?).Or the thermal clips,and inconsistencies with them appearing on planets isolated from the rest of the galaxy for quite some time.And there are more examples like those.Such inconsistencies appear either when you change writers between the works,or when writers are rushed.

          But Ive said it before,and I stick by it:if the indoctrination theory ends up being true,Im buying the damn thing,even if its sleazy business.I prefer sleazy over stupid,after all.

        • Sumanai says:


          Near the end he comments on the Indoctrination Theory.

          Here are some arguments against it (I’ll make a separate arguing against your particular variant of the theory):

          If true, Shepard breaks the Indoctrination when s/he presses the red button (Good Destruction ending). Why are we shown the explosion? This was all supposed to be inside Shepard’s head, right? And everything is created by the Reapers? So the Reapers are still influencing Shepard, despite having lost control? That doesn’t make sense.

          Then, if true, why isn’t there gameplay after we see Shepard breathing? The only explanation is that Shepard is too wounded to do anything. But then why are the Reapers bothering to indoctrinate Shepard? Obviously s/he can’t do anything to help the fight.

          Unless, the Crucible actually does what is shown and they’re trying to get Shepard to use it the way they want through an illusion. Which gets us back into “the ending sucks big balls”.

          • Sumanai says:

            The following is arguing for: 1. What is being said in joe’s link isn’t the only valid interpretation. 2. It’s sensible to assume Bioware just dropped the ball and the Indoctrination Theory is not canon.

            Note that: Bioware has revealed the ending was still unfinished in December and that there’s a rumour (it’s likely the source was one of the writers at Bioware) that Hudson and one other writer wrote the ending and didn’t ask for input from any of the others.

            1.1 From what I remember of this part, they’re trying to contact people through radio, not visual contact.

            Anderson getting through first doesn’t make any sense, unless you realise this isn’t the real world, and that scenes are not necessarily made in order or on the same day. They could’ve noticed they needed Anderson there, but not remember to justify him being there.

            1.2 They knocked Shepard out for drama. They weren’t thinking about how the Anderson got there, because they were running out of time.

            Superheroes/-powers: all biotics (honorary mention for Jack), tech skills, Shepard being Space Jesus since ME2 and The Illusive Man is a badly written supervillain. Actually, Saren.
            Magical coincidences: The beacon at the beginning of ME1 has one, and exactly one, charge left just enough for Shepard to get hit and then breaks down so no-one else can use it for proof. The council conveniently beliefs a bad recording of a conversation. The Crucible’s existence. Shepard running into many, many, familiar faces in ME 2 by accident and all those people who joined Cerberus and therefore end up in the Normandy II right from the beginning.

            If you don’t see that ME is very much a story about superheroes and magical coincidences, you’re not giving the ME series a critical look.

            “Makes the story nigh impossible.” Like the resurrection of Shepard at the beginning of ME2?

            1.3 Because it’s plot convenient. Isn’t the first time Bioware have done that either.

            1.4 Placing a starting point for a segment in the exact same location as where the player was before a loading moment is extra time for the coders and potentially risky, in case they happened to be in a bad place for any reason. So standard “respawn” point for everyone.

            1.5 Just like the writer says. Art department was told to give Shepard a hurt look. Why is the face unhurt? Because players can adjust the face. Making different damage art for different hair styles and faces is a lot of work. They were hurting for time. So not gonna happen.

            1.6 For the love of. He points out, right here, that it seems like Bioware is trying to cover their ass by having convenient points for retconning. How is it impossible that that is exactly what they were going for? That they had no grand plan, just a hope that if the ending was not liked the fans would come up with explanations that they then could claim as their own.

            Bioware has before done stuff that sets an atmosphere without any reason. It’s also possible they just thought it was dramatic. Or allowed them to make the scenes in pieces.

            1.7 Yes, that is surely the only possible reason why that is. Couldn’t have possibly been that Bioware wanted to remove the HUD for dramatic effect and therefore found it sensible to remove the ammo counter. Or that they weren’t worried that the player gets in with too little ammo and can’t finish.

            I’ll finish this later. That piece of “logical” breakdown is giving me a headache.

          • Sumanai says:

            2. Most of these can be explained with “they were running out of time”. They quickly made a handful of locations and events, which were put together without time to check that the seams are alright.

            2.1 It’s common in movies to lose or gain items, people and the situation to change. If the result is visible enough it gives the scenes a dreamlike feel, or that they were rushed. Doesn’t mean it was intentional. Shepard’s reaction to hearing Anderson’s voice is reasonable, even if you don’t expect anyone to be there.

            2.3 Where’s 2.2? Anyway, like above it’s a scene transition mistake. There’s a word for those in the film industry, but I can’t remember what it is. It’s not like the comment makes a lot of sense in a “this an illusion put up by the Reapers” sense either.

            2.4 It’s really common in video games to have areas with one way inside and an NPC saying they came in through “another route”. It’s a simple mistake. They could’ve been planning on a bigger place, but couldn’t make it.

            “This is not how rational people think” Anderson is fictional. There’s nothing to prevent him from starting dancing right in the middle of the conversation. I’d also like to note conversations with Kaiden/Ashley, Miranda and Jack to prove that not all of Bioware’s writers have a grasp on rational behaviour.

            “…not how military operations work” Joker is your contact in ME1 when you’re driving on a planet. Which is also against how things are done in the military. I think it’s pretty obvious Bioware has the barest of grasps on the topic.

            “Changing” so Anderson is being indoctrinated? If this is supposed to be a dream sequence, shouldn’t the walls or environment be changing, instead of Anderson saying so?

            “I see something up ahead” Recorded before they set up the scene.

            “…to the point one suspect of doing it intentionally.” I’d appreciate if the writer would stop trying to manipulate me. If this were the first time I’d let it pass, but he seems to be doing it constantly.

            Having Anderson talk about the place changing could be to hide the fact that no-one had time to redesign the place in such a way as to allow another way in for Anderson.

            An argument that is based on the opinion that Bioware writers are too good to screw up like this and that they wouldn’t add unnecessary crap. The beginning of ME2. Shepard dies and is resurrected for no good reason.

            Where did the numbers go?

            3. “…Seems Intentionally Surreal.” See what I mean about trying to manipulate?

            3.1 Uh. From what I remember Shepard bleeds later. Also the ME wiki curiously mentions that Shepard shoots Anderson in the stomach. Shepard bleeds from the shoulder. It doesn’t matter which side has been hurt, because Bioware has shown in the past that they’re willing to follow Rule of Cool over consistency anyway.

            3.2 “therefore Shepard is indoctrinated. Period.” Online there have been several mentions of The Illusive Man having control over other people due to him getting Reaper tech. “The power THEY have” is the tech. It’s figure of speech. If I get a law passed by bribing I could easily say “look at the power of money” because the power that I had over the politicians came from the money.

            But I’m done. I am not reading anymore of that. There’s only so much delusional thinking I’m willing to read on a given topic. Every argument until I stopped reading sounded like a mad man grasping straws and insisting that what he says is “the only truth”. That compounded by the attempts to manipulate the reader made it a distasteful experience.

            And then he went on and actually wrote “Period.” So he is the smartest person in the universe and can therefore come up with all the possible ways the scene could be interpreted and can therefore dictate that the discussion is over.

            The writer of that piece went through denial, anger, bargaining and then in madness jumped straight back into denial.

        • Sumanai says:

          Watching this:

          Early in the video he asks what happens to the Quarians or other people who are cyborgs (have synthetic parts in them) in the destruction endings, since it’s supposed to kill Shepard because of those synthetic parts.

          If the indoctrination is supposed to discourage you from choosing the destruction ending, why isn’t Casper telling you it will destroy Geth and Quarians at the very least? After the “Geth will be destroyed” is meaningless to someone who decided to work against them.

          Looking from the POV of the Indoctrination Theory this is suggesting that what the ghost kid is saying is true. That the correct way of going is destroying all synthetic life forms, since thinking like that gives you a clear winner of all the options. Which is supposed to be the correct one if you want to fight against the brainwash.

          In that video there’s a clip from this:

          It reminds me of Star Control 2, but I can’t pin it down.

    • Shamus says:

      “Mass effect, also, has not been TOTALLY RUINED 4EVA.”

      The final line of the article was intended to be comical, ironic, and self-deprecating. The setup is in the intro.

  5. Yuuji says:

    This series isn’t over yet. Many of Bioware’s team on Mass Effect has stated this isn’t the end that is waiting to explain in more details. Refraining themselves from telling spoilers. Not that it’s the indoctrination theory or whatever, but that Mass Effect 3 isn’t the end.

    • Rhesus Monkeys says:

      I think that is partly the problem. Bioware claimed this third installment would answer our questions and end Shepard’s story. How do you tie loose ends and give the gamer multiple options and still leave a way out to set up the fourth game? I’m not even sure how any new entry can be as important than this was suppose to be.

      The endings provided by Bioware was the illusion of choice. No matter how you examine it, ALL the endings are the same. When you consider the primary goal is to stop the Reapers, all decisions lead to the same conclusion. Those that were baffled and upset by the endings need to pull the red curtain away to see the real truth. None of your decisions mattered. All those moral dilemas you thought long and hard on before making a decision doesn’t matter. Notice the progression from ME1 to ME2. You have actually been playing a shooter game and pretending that you were making important decisions. If you can see it for what it is… THE ULTIMATE PLOT TWIST- this is a shooter game all along- the ending turns out to be perfect.

      • Alex says:

        I freakin wish! I might actually appreciate something like that.

        But in the tradition of M. Night Shyamalamadingdong, the twist ends up being worse than “It was plants”, “They’re allergic to water”, and “BUT THEN WHO WAS PHONE” put together.

    • Sumanai says:

      They’ve also talked about “clarifying” the ending, which sounds ominous.

  6. […] Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction (from the same person as the previous link) […]

  7. […] than go over them myself, read this by a favourite author of mine, who sums them up quite […]

  8. TSi says:

    Shamus, I just replayed Mass Effect 2 and if you play like I do, you should know that collecting ALL resources from planets by sending there probes makes it YOUR FAULT that Cerberus is that wealthy and powerful in ME3… just saying. ;p

  9. […] Young provides a wide-ranging deconstruction of the three endings. I disagree on some of his points, but his feedback regarding the Reapers and […]

  10. ltk says:

    I’m a bit perplexed that, in this context, nobody is discussing the mother of all nonsense in the ME story – the fact that nobody believes you at the end of ME1 / beginning of ME2.
    Any sensible galactic government would react very seriously at the possibility of Shepard telling the truth. In the face of an enemy of such obvious technological superiority, they would isolate the Citadel, get their hands on every single ounce of Reaper tech and analyze it to bits, regardless of expense. Considering we’re talking about a station in space and the potential extermination of all civilization it should be doable. Even if it was possible that only one more Reaper may appear, let alone thousands. At that point – at the latest; assuming that they still don’t trust Shepard for some insane reason – they would also confirm (or at least test the theory) that the Citadel and the Relays were created by the Reapers, which, even outside the context of the crisis surrounding the Battle of the Citadel, would be impossible to ignore. The way this is treated in the game… well, leaves a lot to be desired.

    Also, another huge question mark – the relationship between the Reapers and the Relays they apparently created. Surely they’d have the means to turn them off. It’s hard to imagine a galactic war between two forces, if only one of them has full control over the only method of long range galactic transportation. If they don’t – why? The question seems to me to deserve at least cursory treatment.

    I’m also disappointed by the incoherent ending, but why are we so surprised?

    • Rhesus Monkeys says:

      I believe the truth of the mass relays and the creation of the Reapers should remain concealed. It is this unknown knowledge that makes the Reapers so god-like creatures. If I can scrub that ridiculus god-child out of my mind, I may still think of them as powerful deities, each a nation.

      I think what makes the ending so lame is everything I learned from ME1. It’s like Bioware didn’t care about the foundation in what it created and only considered elements from the second game.

      Based on what we learn from ME1, the Reapers would have taken control of the Citadel and de-activated the relys. The races would have been divided and conquered one solar system at a time. Shepard would not have been parading around trying to unite the races- the fight would have remained on Earth.

  11. Alex says:

    I see most people saying “we don’t need a saccharine, perfect happy ending.” and while I agree, why can’t we at least have a happy ending? It’s not too much to ask that Shepard live, the Reapers leave, and the Mass Relays remain intact. These would be the bare minimum for what I would truly enjoy as a happy ending. Bittersweet would include one of those three going away, and bad would have the Reapers winning.

    Why can’t I have my good ending? I’m fine with bittersweet, like a happy ending that is twinged with some unintended consequences. But I want all of my excellent choices to pay off. I played my game perfectly, I made all the choices I wanted and solved all of the problems I wanted. Now, I want to see Shepard rewarded with free everything forever and then retire to a beachfront house on Rannoch, with Tali. Why is the “Awards Ceremony” ending of Star Wars (Ep 4) not a perfectly viable option? What I want is a payoff for all of that investment of emotion and moral soul-searching.

    Going back a bit, the Reapers winning should at least be a freaking option. “You fail. The end” drives home that your choices matter, and that you made the wrong ones. It’s obvious when you have a high enough strength to succeed against the Reapers (EMS). In ME2, if you didn’t prepare enough, you paid the consequences. You succeeded in the short-term, but you all died. That’s a consequence. In ME3, if you don’t bother to prepare enough, if you do everything wrong, you still destroy all the Reapers. So much for consequences.

    Now, I don’t think I have a right to demand a damn thing of Bioware. They let me down, that’s the end of it. I could claim a bit of false-advertising, but nothing legally enforceable. Even if I could, I still wouldn’t. This isn’t the functionality of a product that has been deceptive. They didn’t sell me a blank DVD. I was simply unhappy with a piece of art. I have no legal recourse for interpretation. It’s part of what protects the Freedom of Speech.

    What I can do is appeal to their nature as artists and craftsmen who put so much time and effort into their work. There is NO WAY that they can be happy with this. This ending can’t make more sense to them than it does to us. This is the only way to get artists to change their art: by having them see what you see.

    Barring that, I can appeal to EA the only way that one can: with money. In the market, your dollar is your vote. Remember this and vote wisely.

    Now, if they try to release this as DLC and charge for it, that will be truly dickish. I would blame EA, in that case. Whatever happened to the days of free DLC? So much for that. Thanks, EA.

  12. John the Savage says:

    The thing that bothers me the most about the organics vs synthetics thing is that this god-child is clearly synthetic. If what he says is true, and synthetics will always rise against their creators, why the hell does he care about organics in the first place? Why not just destroy all organic life and be done with it? His point isn’t just undercut by the rest of the game, his point undercuts itself.

  13. […] really don’t think I could do a better job at this than Shamus Young did on his blog and in his Escapist column. I don’t think I can count the plot holes better than Angry Joe […]

  14. Dreadjaws says:

    Excellent analysis, Shamus. I’m only commenting now because I finished the game a couple of days ago. I agree with all your points, although I don’t believe the Indoctrination Theory should be ignored it because “we would know it”. I believe it should be ignored because it doesn’t make any goddamn sense.

    For the IT to work, you’d have to ignore the previous games’ history. For one, I don’t remember (and please correct me if I’m wrong) any of the games saying the indoctrination causes hallucinations. As far as I know, it only causes obedience. Sure, the hallucinations might be caused by Shepard having been hit by Harbinger’s beam and receiving major trauma, but that illustrates my second point:

    One part of the IT claims that it makes no sense for Harbinger to just leave after hitting Shepard without noticing she (my Shepard is a woman, so I’m going to refer to Shepard as “she”) is still alive. But then tell me, if Shepard is indeed hallucinating and Harbinger hasn’t left, why the heck Harbinger didn’t disintegrate Shepard, knowing how much of a threath she is? She is unconscious right there!

    Also, if all that Starchild bullpoop is happening inside Shepard’s head, how come she never questions the Starchild’s nonsense? People claim this is an ambiguous thing, and Shepard isn’t really having this conversation, and the only way she’s reacting is by choosing the ending, by either destroying the reapers or falling victim to complete indoctrinaction, but to my fourth point:

    If the “Destruction” ending is the real one and the other two are happening inside Shepard’s head, why are they identical? Has Shepard become a sightseer and now she can accurately predict what would happen in real life and apply it to her fantasy?

    Furthermore, if all of this is happening inside Shepard’s mind and she’s not really on the Citadel, but on Earth, unconscious under rubble, how in the freaking heck can she activate the Crucible?

    And how about the evidence outside the game? If this was the true story, why did Bioware put a poll that only let you say you didn’t like the game because it was sad instead of for other reasons? Why did a writer claim the ending was supposed to be about Dark Energy until around November, a fact which is supported by the previous games in the series? Why in the iPad app “ME3: The Final Hours” the developers claim they considered indoctrination for some time but ultimately decided not to go with it? Why do all that if this theory were true?

    I think the writers at Bioware liked the idea after people started coming up with it. Otherwise, if all this stunt were true, it would mean they’d be ripping off yet another game (besides Deus Ex and The Curse of Monkey Island) for ME3’s ending: Metal Gear Solid 2 tried a similar stunt several years ago, as I commented in the Game Informer article on the IT. It was as big an outrage as this one (well, not as big, being the internet not what it is now).

    Be it true or not, the Indoctrination Theory doesn’t change the fact that most of the game is poorly written, the ending ignores previous in-game lore, takes away your choices and explodes the mass relays, effectively causing more damage than the Reapers would, even if those explosions didn’t destroy the star systems.

    But what really, really infuriates me is the little message you get after the ending, encouraging to purchase DLC. The moment I saw it I almost rip my PC from its desk and throw it outside the window. If all this stunt happens to be true, it would be much worse than if the ending was just crappy.

    In short: “Hi. I’m Commander Shepard and this is my least favorite ending in the history of gaming.”

    OK, I’m done. It’s too long a rant for a comment no one is going to be reading anyway.

    • Indy says:

      That datapad was the single most obnoxious part of this game but nobody ever brings it up. It comes across as self-congratulatory right after you’ve been gaping at the screen for ten minutes trying work out if that really was the ending.

  15. Even says:

    So I changed my mind and decided to get the game, if only to be done with the series. Finish what you started and all that, for whatever it’s worth. Reached the ending about an hour ago and it left me with an odd numb feel. The kind of “What the hell now?” “What is this going to mean?” “Why?”. Not angry, just a little confused and irritated. Goes pretty much for the whole series for me at this point I suppose. Your criticism seems pretty much spot on.

    • Even says:

      Now that the dust has settled, I figured I’d put down some of my own thoughts about the ending.

      Frankly, the ending just doesn’t work. Artistically it just feels like an attempt at being clever without actually thinking things through and thematically it barely makes any sense. The indoctrination theory just feels insulting when the series never made any sort of sensible build-up towards it. The “fact” videos and articles I’ve seen contain mostly just massive and very wide speculation. The amount of indisputable facts being fairly close to zero, for me to believe in it would require a lot of faith and I just can’t find it. It’s been kinda sad to see some of its defenders cling on to it only because, according to them, it’s the “only way to save the horrible ending”.

      There was definitely the potential for it, but looking at the way Shepard’s character develops over the first two games, it just isn’t there. The only things in ME3 I could ever see working for the theory were the hamfisted dream sequences and the equally hamfisted little kid, but they made more sense to me as an indication of a possible Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (which by itself feels hardly justified after the almost non-existent character development in ME2), what with the voices of the dead.

      Even if at the end of the day the theory turned out to be true, it just wouldn’t make the ending any better for me.

      One thing that could have saved the ending would have been keeping true to the series’ themes. Instead we get a bunch of nonsense about synthetics vs. organics which is mostly in contradiction with everything we as a player and Shepard as a character knows about synthetics, which doesn’t give any ground to believe what the Catalyst is saying in the first place. In the confusion of the moment I figured I was just being bullshitted and just went for the sweet orange warmth of the destruction ending, because hey, fuck any villains trying to half-assedly convince me they’re right, especially when they don’t make any sense or they’re a horribly written smug snake à¡ la TIM.

      If, given how the Galactic Readiness scoring suggests, the Green Magic Beam a.ka Synthesis is the best ending, then it opens a whole new can of worms. Sure, you save the Geth, but the implications are otherwise potentially just pure horrid. You can’t even really compare it to the Deus Ex series’ synthesis, because the themes just don’t support it in ME3. Not only does the synthesis get explained in Deus Ex, it also gets a rational argument and it gets well defined lines as to what happens. Humanity has through history proven it is uncapable of achieving peace with itself, a true unity and therefore it must be elevated. The end result is everybody getting nanites. It fits the themes of the game perfectly. Take ME3, where humanity has gone far beyond of that of humanity in Deus Ex. And it’s not just humanity, but several different sapient species have done it as well, and many of them have come together to rule the galaxy in harmony. It may not be perfect, but damn if it isn’t fairly stable. If not for the Reapers, the galaxy would still be a fairly nice place to live in. The argument that the synthesis could make for an objectively better universe is running on a very thin ice, especially when it doesn’t even define what it would ultimately mean.

      I think the only truly bittersweet thing about the ending was the satisfaction of reaching the end meeting with the horrible disappointment for the end itself. If that was the intent all along, Hudson gets a 10/10 from me.

      • Even says:

        An ending that would work a lot better:


        Stop the non-sensical cyclical genocide and instead work with the organics to achieve a better future together. No color-coded magic beams.

        All the justification for it would be already in the game if you managed to make peace between the Geth and the Quarians. It would make for a satisfactory ending without throwing all the original themes out the airlock. Alas.

  16. zephon says:

    shepard and his team make a final run for the beacon, right before reaching it harbinger lands and begins showering the land with his energy beams devistating the majority of the ground troops. taunting shepard with cryptic remarks harbinger keeps blasting away at the ground toops when suddenly he begins taking fire.

    the normandy has arrived.under the cover of the normandy a shuttle lands. emerging from the shuttle are all of shepards living squad members throught the series, armed with heavy weapons the join shepard to make the final push toards the beacon. the normandy pulls back from the attack taking heavy fire.

    BOSS BATTLE: Harbinger

    all living squad memebrs can be picked to form multiple teams that will take harbinger down. (spoilers on the fight later)

    after another direct hit harbinger stumbles back and falls to one leg. quickly recovering he starts taunting shepard once again, firing up his primary weapon when harbinger starts taking heavy fire from the normandy wich is closing in on harbinger at incredible speed until crashing directly into harbinger itself ripping almost straight through it. destroying both in a glorius explosion scene.
    ::cutscene end::
    EDI makes it aware that she took full control of the ship and no members were on board at the time of impact.

    shepard and his team make it to the beacon, reaching the citadel.

    Similar to what we have already seen the citadel is littered with the bodies of its inhabitants. while there are multiple paths that can be taken your goal is clearly visible in the distance. fighting your way through multiple husks you finally reach the connection point for the crucible and the citadel.

    you near a lone console and as you get closer it begins to activate itself. a hologram of the crucible becomes visible along with multiple strings of text.(anyone currently in your party that is familiar with the prothean language makes a comment. javik gets a special cutscene)

    shepard activates the crucible.


    as the citadel begins to open up the battle above earth rages on, the casulaties are high, morale is getting low. the reapers are winning. the fleets protecting the crucible / citadel can barley hold back as the reapers start breaking off heading straight for the crucible.

    fully opened the citadel begins to light up. speculation begins to stir through the squad as it appears the citadles mass relay has been activated when suddenly everything goes dark. silence stirs for a few mometns until the crucible starts to detach from the citadel.

    moments pass…

    it didnt work.

    a defeated shepard falls to the ground watching as the battle raging around him is slowly being lost. all he can manage to say is “it wasnt enough” with his crew arguing around him all shepard can hear is the sound of lives being lost around him and the screams of the people he left behind on earth.

    shepard gets on the com with hackett to tell him the bad news and to try and get whatever remains of the fleet to flee when suddenly the crucible begins to light up, looking similar to a mass relay.

    at this point every reaper can be seen heading towards the crucible disregarding everything else

    the crucible appears fully operational but still nothing is happening. the team begins to speculate when suddenly a small probe appears from through the crucible.

    the fight around the crucible rages on, the victory fleet is making its last stand when out of the crucible comes an unkown vessel.

    appearing suddenly the vessel quickly begins firing on a reaper ship, blasting straight through its armor, killing it.

    another vessel comes through the relay, then 10 more then a fleet.
    with incredible firepower and increasing numbers they begin to seemingly exterminate the reapers with ease. while shepards fleet begins to push forward with renewed morale and hope.

    as shepard and his team watch in awe as the unkown force cuts right through through the reapers defenses liara stands next to shepard, eyes wide and says,

    “”prothean. those are prothean ships.””

    after a cutscene of the final reaper meeting its end you and your squad are now back on earth with a prothean ambassador. he explains how the crucible was originally a top secret plan by the empire to replicate the mass relay system only reaching further out than the current relays allowed.

    originally considered a failure, one of the relays was lost through a black hole. production on another was in the works until the reapers began their assault.

    a century later the empire decided they needed to escape the reapers or they would all perish. they decided that regardless of what may lie on the other side of the crucibles relay field that had to give it a shot. the reapers quickly caught on and destroyed the crucible, but not before they managed to send multiple fleets through. The entire ordeal was kept quiet due to indoctrination, they did not want the reapers to be able to follow then wherever they ended up. without the citadel to power it, or the resources to build it the protheans decided to leave the plans in the hands of who they thought would be the rulers of the next cyclem. so they traveled to the sol system and left the plans on a neighboring planet as to not disturb their evolution.

    later everyone eats cake.

    • Thaniell says:

      That would have been a great happy ending. And if you don’t have enough galactic might, the thing gets damaged by the reapers and explodes after the Protheans arrive, taking Earth and a large portion of the fleet with it. And if you’re even weaker, the reapers destroy it without you being able to press any buttons. That would give meaning to the damn strength points and your choices would ultimately matter – also, good reason for a ‘better’ playthrough instead of just reloading the savegame from before the button pushing ;D

  17. […] known to man, and perhaps a few more undiscovered levels, if there are any to be had.  It fails at simple logic; it fails thematically; it fails coherently.  It is obvious the writers had no plan, paid no […]

  18. […] even the Thanix Cannon on the Normandy.  We are forced to rely on the Crucible, what Shamus Young perfectly labeled as the “Ending-o-Tron 3000â„¢.”  That massive “gun” that no one, from its […]

  19. LMR says:

    I have to wonder if you’ve examined how the Extended Cut addresses almost everything you gripe about here. I have to assume that you’re too determined to be upset at Mass Effect to bother trying, or to let it change your mind at all.

  20. […] 15-20 hours).  A comprehensive list of Mass Effect 3′s ending failures has already been done elsewhere and, in addition to being redundant, my take would require a seperate post in and of itself.  For […]

  21. csm says:

    Regarding the choice about the mass relays exploding, I’d like to note that even if that was the case, not every Krogan, Turian, or Quarian was sent to Earth to fight. There was maybe 1000 or so of each. Yet, there was probably a billion or so of each still fighting on Palaven, Rannoch, or Tuchanka. You just wanted to make the choice to destroy the Reapers and have everyone go back home.

    This game is about choices and consequences. Make a hard choice, and live with the consequences. Don’t go to Bioware that it’s too hard a choice to make and you want them to soften it up so it’s easier to take.

    This game teaches you to be a leader. Leaders make the hard choices and live with the consequences. If they can’t do that, then this game isn’t for you.

    As for what happened to your crew after the war? Closure for them? Closure for them came before the ending happened. Just like your quote says, Mass Effect 3 was designed as several endings to stories and such. Each mission is like a chapter and at the end, you get a resolution to each story, character or situation.

    Also they told you before the game launched it wouldn’t end with “beat Reapers, proceed with medal ceremony (closure)”. Besides, this was Shepard’s story, not the story of the entire galaxy. Shepard’s story ends with him dying in 98% of the endings aside from one.

    They didn’t need to tie up every single race and every single character in the Mass Effect universe because Mass Effect 3 was all about Shepard’s story arc. All those characters were just along for the ride to help you achieve your goal.

    Catalyst is a Reaper in disguise, you’d know that if you read the codex. Reaper disguised as a child to convince Shepard to control/synthesis rather than destroy them. Why do you think it doesn’t want to have Shepard to pick the destroy option? Oh yeah, it wants to live. Self-preservation. Not to mention, it throws some psychological manipulation in there, where it says “if you don’t pick control/synthesis, I’m going to threaten to destroy the mass relays. So you better pick those options or else”. And all the people just did and believed whatever the kid said as truth.

    You essentially sided with the Reapers and betrayed all your friends if you pick anything other than the destroy option, which is what you’ve been wanting to do since the first game.

  22. Bartendelous says:

    If someone still reads the comments and this particular article, let me assure you that Smudboy is working with other people to fix Mass Effect 3.


  23. Dork Angel says:

    Yes, I know it's now 2014 but I've just finished Mass Effect 3 (also played 2 but not 1) and dammit I want to talk about it regardless of whether my comments get read or not. Waiting this long meant I got the extended endings and I was aware of the controversy so I had lowered my expectations. I also got 2 DLC's (Citadel and Ashes ““ couldn't find Leviathan or Omega).

    My experience of the ending first time round was spending so long listening to every dialog option that I forgot where to go to choose each ending (it was 5am and the entire 40 minute interactive cut scene ending doesn't allow you to save it after the attempted run to the light so I was hanging on to the end. In Shepard's case I put it down to blood loss). So I wandered to the right to take a close look and found there is a point of no return so I was forced into the Destroy ending. I had maximum military might so I got the “best” one. In other words, as well as destroying the Reapers, I destroyed the Geth (whom I had much sympathy for as I discovered their back story and had twice brokered a ceasefire between them and the Quarians), EDI (whom I also had bonded with and fixed up with Joker) and as it implied technology assisted humans would be affected too, Jack (my long time love interest). On top of that, it looks like I bloody survived so I get to live with the guilt. Bittersweet doesn't come close…

    Going through the other endings, I think I prefer the Control one. I mean the best form of government is benevolent dictator. Unlike TIM I would be fair to everyone – honest…

    Thoughts on the rest:

    Exploding Relays: This looked like more of a controlled explosion – as opposed to the hit the bomb with a hammer approach in Arrival. This would have hopefully have meant less damage and hopefully easier repairs. Besides with the Blue and Green options the Reapers can help. Perhaps salvaging the dead Reaper tech with the Red option will help too.

    Fleeing Combat: Since on-one really knows what the Crucible does when it activates, it makes sense to get out of there when it does. Joker is last to leave as he's hanging on to try and rescue you and ends up being caught in the blast wave as he tries to get away. I can see the Red wave damaging the ship (EDI) but why the Blue and Green?

    Reaper Blah Blah: While bonkers from our perspective, this sort of makes sense from their perspective. Left unchecked, the war between synthetics and organics will destroy all life so they nip in the bud before/as it starts by destroying the more advanced life-forms (A little similar to the Genophage. Enough to stop the war, but not cause an extinction of life). Besides, they aren't really killing us but turning us into a DNA data-stream to be stored on our own Reaper server (a bit like the Geth).

    FTL Travel: This doesn't really help us. I only had enough fuel to fly between a couple of systems before having to refuel and the Reapers have destroyed most of the refuelling stations. Many times I arrived running on vapour at a Mass Relay to get back to a working fuel station before I could explore further.

    Cerberus/TIM: Cerberus used most of its funding rebuilding Shepard and the Normandy and they lost both of those assets to the Alliance who still faffed around over the Reaper threat. I think this led to TIM getting desperate and turning to some of those “rogue” units he originally disproved of. He's always been an end justifies the means type of guy anyway. Part of this led to more Reaper tech and his indoctrination. Since he was technically working for the Reapers they probably left him alone a bit so he found it easier to get supplies than the others.

    Attacking Earth: I think they came for Shepard. He's beaten them twice making him their greatest threat.

    Citadel/Crucible MacGuffin: I like the idea of the unfinished weapon from the last cycle. Linking it to the Citadel was interesting too. But then having the Citadel contain the controller of the Reapers? Who could just have readily chosen not use it and instead destroy it, if it hadn't decided we had “changed the variables”? Not so much.

    Anderson: He was always a little ahead of us on the Citadel. We entered the beam first. He saw us go and followed, radioing the fleet to let them know. He'd been fighting a guerrilla war against the Reapers for months and probably knew better than to run blindly at the beam. We woke up after hearing his voice on the com. From the dialog, he reached the moving walls first, the chasm first and hence the control panel first. I thought it was very poignant he called us son before he died since my character was an orphan.

    Things I would have liked.

    A little more love interest acknowledgement. Yes we get a final goodbye before the mission, but up until now Shepard has always found a way to beat the odds. With the blue and green option he knows there's no way back. It would have been nice for a whispered “Sorry Jack” before he made the final sacrifice. Also some sort of closure on them afterwards. (Jack looking at his battered dog-tags and vowing to devote her life to the kids on our behalf, gaining us surrogate children as well as well as a surrogate father in Anderson)

  24. PPX14 says:

    How about, The Reapers are the first synthetics to have overcome their organic creators, and spent the next thousands of years becoming incredibly advanced only to see that in that time organics rose once more and created synthetics; therefore the Reapers quelled said civilisations, and must do so periodically as this cycle repeats, to stop themselves being threatened.

    In the first instance, the new life arose in some far reach of space, allowing the new organics to create and be overthrown by synthetics which became advanced enough to pose a credible threat once the Reapers came across them, resulting in a huge war. Hence the Reapers designed the citadel and mass relays to guide all life to the one place, to be exterminated periodically.

    Thus your own struggle against them to become the first organics to overcome your synthetic masters, is a mirror of their own history of being the first synthetics to overcome their organic masters; and the significance of the Geth, and their manipulation by the Reapers becomes much more poignant.

1 2 3

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  1. […] otherwise I'd be pretty choked too this guy nails it pretty damn good in one simple paragraph, Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction – Twenty Sided "If you are crazy enough to make a three-game series that ends on a black note with no […]

  2. By Mass Effect 3 « Thoughts from Mirality on Thursday Mar 29, 2012 at 9:32 am

    […] Mass Effect 3 Ending Deconstruction (from the same person as the previous link) […]

  3. […] than go over them myself, read this by a favourite author of mine, who sums them up quite […]

  4. […] Young provides a wide-ranging deconstruction of the three endings. I disagree on some of his points, but his feedback regarding the Reapers and […]

  5. By Mass Effect 3: Ending | Terminally Incoherent on Wednesday Apr 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

    […] really don’t think I could do a better job at this than Shamus Young did on his blog and in his Escapist column. I don’t think I can count the plot holes better than Angry Joe […]

  6. […] known to man, and perhaps a few more undiscovered levels, if there are any to be had.  It fails at simple logic; it fails thematically; it fails coherently.  It is obvious the writers had no plan, paid no […]

  7. […] even the Thanix Cannon on the Normandy.  We are forced to rely on the Crucible, what Shamus Young perfectly labeled as the “Ending-o-Tron 3000â„¢.”  That massive “gun” that no one, from its […]

  8. […] 15-20 hours).  A comprehensive list of Mass Effect 3′s ending failures has already been done elsewhere and, in addition to being redundant, my take would require a seperate post in and of itself.  For […]

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