Space. The final frontier. These are reviewages of the starship DOOMandy. It’s mission: To seek out new Mass Effect DLC and new multiple endings. To boldly review the biggest fubar in recent video game history. BAH! BAH-NAH-NAH! BAH-NAH-NAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
So, that Mass Effect 3 ending, huh? Quite a let down. I personally found it confusing and lacking any real closure or depth. Others had a more…. Visceral reaction, but I had faith that Bioware could pull it back and so they put the Extended Cut into development. To develop it, Bioware re-prioritized their post-release downloadable content schedule for the game to bring us this. I wasn’t expecting much given such a small timeframe but I left the end cut scenes satisfied after viewing them online. That’s right, I didn’t do it in-game but there’s a reason for that which I’ll explain later. [SPOILERS AHEAD]
First things first; the indoctrination theory, while brilliantly thought out, is not incorporated into the new DLC. This is literally an extended version of the original endings, plus a fun new surprise. The first thing I noticed while playing through was that it’s fully voiced. All the new scenes and voice-overs were brought in with the intended voice cast. That alone put me at ease because it showed that Bioware weren’t going to half-arse this. During the Conduit Run (depending on EMS score) you get a scene showing why your squad mates are noticeably absent during the endgame. This does include one of the most heart-rending goodbye scenes with Tali that I choked up. I am a grown ass man but I’ll be damned if that little Quarian doesn’t tug my heartstrings.
The rest of the game plays out as usual until you get to the Catalyst and major changes are noticeable. The dialogue has changed, you can actually ask the Catalyst questions and you also get an extra ending. Yes, folks that’s right, a new ending that I didn’t know about until it happened to me. Do you know how I found out how to activate the new “Refusal” ending? I shot the Catalyst IN THE FACE for boring me. I did not know this would trigger something but boy was I smiling when it did. It’s such a great touch that “Refusal” is triggered in two ways, a brief period of inactivity or shooting a starchild in the face. I laughed my ass off in disbelief. Good show, Bioware. Good show.
If you choose NOT to shoot the Starchild and doom the galaxy, the rather bland three ending structure stills stands but you’re given more insight as to what will happen and, given your choice, be treated to a 10-15min epilogue by one of three characters. I won’t spoil them for you and let decide for yourselves what to think but personally, they did such a good job fixing these and adding so much in post that I am suitably impressed. Granted, there will be nay-sayers and those that demand more but Bioware didn’t have to do anything, yet they went out of their way to produce a satisfying fix to many of the issues people were having with the original endings. In no way do I wish to be an apologist for Bioware, if I had a problem with anything they did in the Extended Cut, I’d say it but I don’t. They produced a solid piece of content in a short amount of time that fixes most, if not all, of the outstanding issues with the original endings to the game, including new scenes and voice work and give a greater sense of closure to the story as a whole. For free.
So how do I feel about the series now that we have a satisfying ending? Hopeful. Each of the endings leaves the galaxy in a place where more games could come from this universe and I sincerely hope they do. Bioware created this gorgeous, deep, and wonderful universe with vibrant characters and it would be a shame to see all that effort and potential go to waste.
But if this is the end of the Mass Effect universe and we’ll never see these characters again outside of nostalgia, then I will never be more proud to have met, fought beside, laughed at, and loved so many characters than on the SSV Normandy.
I’m Commander Sharp-O and this is my favourite video game series on the Citadel.
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