Mass Effect 3: The Extended Cut – Were you satisfied?

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Yesterday, Bioware released an extended cut of the endings from Mass Effect 3, endings and epilogues which gave players more information and exposition on what their end game decision actually meant. It was a measure that was created to appease at least most of the fans, but did it work?

(Spoilers ahead)

So what did that free 2 gig download get us? Well, besides more information on the current three endings, we also received a fourth option, in which Shepard refuses the three options before him, and dooms all advanced life in the galaxy to fight a losing battle against the Reapers, with the cycle continuing, and Liara T’Soni leaving a final message for all future races to uncover, when the Reapers return once more.

You’ve got a few in-game cut-scenes as well, that flesh out why Joker was flying the Normandy through a broken Mass Relay gate, or how the hell one of your teammates could emerge unscathed from the final battle, even though they had been fighting by your side the whole time in London.

Do these endings answer some burning questions in the process? Yes, yes they do. But were they necessary? No, not at all. I’m probably one of the few gamers out there with this opinion, but I was satisfied with the ending to Mass Effect 3.

Was it perfect? No, absolutely not. But was it a solid, final entry that was at least good enough? Yes, yes it was.

It was satisfying, wrapping up enough threads, while leaving that teeny weeny gap open for some form of a sequel, although knowing how the game industry works, the next Mass Effect game will no doubt be a prequel.

But here’s the rub. While the endings may have enough information regarding your decisions, it’s the other mysteries surrounding the game, that still remain an enigma, something that will no doubt upset hardcore fans.

Who are the Reapers really? Who made them? Is Shepard indoctrinated? You’ll have to read some fan-fiction to appease that curiosity, as the Reaper intelligence flippantly sidesteps around those issues.

See, the is one aspect of Mass Effect that I preferred, was an ending in which the major plot points were left open for interpretation, while smaller ones were addressed.We don’t need a perfect ending, and even though the epilogues fill in a few of those plot holes, their major failing is that they still don’t deliver on the promises that Bioware made to gamers, creating even more plot holes in the process.

The expanded solutions feel clumsy, and while I get that Bioware wanted to appease the fans, it just doesn’t work. But had they worked it into the upcoming anime film, I’d have loved it. In that medium, the endings would have shined.

You can’t please all the fans, all the time. That’s impossible. I’ll give Bioware credit for actually going through and making the extended cut, but in the process, they’ve lost a testicle or two along the way. This is one of those occasions where a game developer needs to stand up, and stand strong next to their product.

Ignore the rage, hand out some chill pills and remind gamers that no one forced them to buy the game. It’s fine to be dissatisfied with the ending, but the rest of the time, those dozens of hours spent saving the galaxy and engaging in the most addictive online horde mode this side of the Horsehead Nebula?

That justified the game for me. And that’s something that a bad ending or directors cut cannot take away. So how about you, did the extended cut satisfy you, or were you left wanting more?

Last Updated: June 27, 2012

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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