Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut

The Mass Effect trilogy is one of the most memorable and character-driven experiences in gaming today. The first game came with massive potential, with developer Bioware promising an epic sci-fi tale with lasting choices that would carry over from game to game. This kind of thing had never really been done before in games. However, the ending to Mass Effect 3 left most people feeling short-changed. In response to an overwhelming number of people asking for clarification on the events of the game’s ending, Bioware has released the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut.

If you don’t want the ending spoiled or just don’t feel like reading the article, know that the extended cut fixes some problems, but not all. It takes the ending from abysmal to acceptable.

[SPOILER WARNING]

Many of the complaints about ME3’s ending revolved around the fact that none of your previous choices seemed to matter whatsoever in determining your ending, and that this was simply not what the developer had promised. There’s also an argument to be made that the endings weren’t nearly different enough and were riddled with unanswered questions that left the audience scratching their heads. So, do we think the extended cut fixes all of these problems? Not really, but it does provide some extra clarification on some of the more glaring plot holes from the original ending.

Bioware was pretty intent on not changing anything; they had a specific story in mind and they didn’t want to change it just because the fans said so. Everything from the original ending is still here, they’ve just added onto it. Whether you loved them or hated them (actually, nobody loved them), the original events are here to stay. Most of the additions are very welcomed and needed, such as additional dialogue choices for Shepard’s conversation with the “star child.”

Everybody’s expectations for the ending to the Mass Effect trilogy were enormous. We were ecstatic to see how all of our choices up to this point would influence how we left the Mass Effect universe. Bioware simply did not deliver. Not only did we get pigeon holded into three final choices with endings attached to them (essentially making all of your previous choices nonconsequential), but all three endings were almost identical. While the Extended Cut doesn’t do much to include your previous choices in the ending, it at least succeeds in making the three endings quite distinct from each other (and even adds a fourth.)

The extended cut adds quite a few extra cutscenes that really focus on giving the player that gratifying feeling that was just missing from the original ending. Things like images of the united races of the galaxy left you feeling like you’d changed everyone’s lives for the better. It was also a  relief to see Joker struggling to leave Shepard behind, rather than just running for his life. The added cutscenes show the aftermath of Shepard’s choice (singular), and we’re left with more than just various colours and minor aesthetic differences in cutscenes.

Bioware has stated that Commander Shepard’s story is over, but what’s next? They’ve put so much time and energy into building this fantastically deep universe, it seems silly to think that we’re done with Mass Effect. It’ll probably be a long time before we get another full game set in the Mass Effect universe, but a prequel seems likely.

All in all, the extended cut was good. It focused on clarification above all else, but that still leaves out one of the biggest problems it had originally, which is making our previous choices matter. The new endings are acceptable, but the fact of the matter is that you could look up each of the three (now four) endings on youtube and get almost the exact same cutscenes as you would if you were to use your own save file, and that’s simply not what Mass Effect deserves.

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10 responses to “Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut

  1. ddog13 July 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I must ask, and please don’t get upset for my ignorance, but does Mass Effect have a stronger character based story than Gears of War? I recently played Gears 2 and 3, and I have never had a gaming experience with characters that deep…that moment in Gears 3… :0 I have never felt emotional towards a character in a game. I have never played Mass Effect. Which is stronger character wise?

    • mcgodot July 11, 2012 at 6:42 am

      Mass Effect is a lot more character driven. In gears your character’s choices are set, because you’re following the story of marcus phoenix, in Mass Effect, you ARE Commander Shepard. Not to mention the rich dialogue you make with other characters you meet along the way. Try it for yourself, definitely worth the money!

      • ddog13 July 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

        Cool sounds good! I have an Xbox 360 and it’s almost a crime that I haven’t played Mass Effect, one of the most praised games of all time.

    • susanna maryi July 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      But if we’re talking about humor wise, the Gears of War Series is funnier. Having Baird and Cole and the other gears banter makes the gameplay so much more enjoyable. =p

  2. mcgodot July 11, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I quite agree. Though the ending was much improved by the recent extension DLC, it still neglected to take into account some of the major decisions that were made in ME3, such as the krogan problem (especially if you didn’t cure them) and also, if you chose the negative ending, you still get a lovely ‘the future is fantastic’ ending which does”t reflect the outcome you were foretold by the catalyst. Anyway, much enjoyed the game, even a second time though, looking forward to new stories in this universe.

  3. Laurie July 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    The analogy I thought of (and wrote) post-DLC was: Extended Cut was a bucket to bail water from the bottom of the boat, instead of the plug it should’ve been, for the holes letting the water in. Too little, too late. I appreciated the gesture though, and the extra explanations. Bottom line: I’d still play the hell out of a new Mass Effect game, if it were to ever come out 😉

  4. rainmaker97 July 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I can see what they were trying to do with the original endings: cater to people who were worried that they were making one choice at the expense of all the others, and having that turn out to be the “wrong” or “unsatisfying” choice. So they made all the endings fairly similar so no one felt left out, or that they “missed” anything by making a certain choice. You can play it once with no need to spend hours replaying in order to see each of the endings, since they all kind of look the same. However, they underestimated their fans. Pretty much everyone I know has played through Mass Effect 1 and 2 multiple times just for the sake of seeing completely different things every playthrough. People LIKE replaying these games to see dramatic differences, and they’ll gladly spend a great many hours doing so.

    That being said, I was satisfied with the big-picture outcome of my choices in the original ending, just not the extra small stuff (did my team die on the way to the beacon? Why the hell is the Normandy in a jungle?). The Extended Cut came dangerously close to overexplaining things during the Starchild conversation (I don’t mind a little bit of space magic), but did a decent job of helping me to understand what really happened to the galaxy at large, especially my party members, after the last stand. Like the review says, it was an acceptable (but not phenomenal) ending, and I was glad to put the trilogy to rest.

  5. susanna maryi July 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I felt like the extended cut was even more depressing. It further emphasized the fact that Commander Shepard died, especially when you see the Commander’s love one having a difficult time placing his or her name on the Memorial.

    • studioeingana July 18, 2012 at 4:15 am

      SPOILER COMMENT: However, if you decided to blow up the Reapers in the end, the final scene shows Commander Shepard taking a deep breath. Bioware stated at Comic-Con during their “Past, Present And Future” Panel, it states:

      Another “future” peak: When asked about the motivation behind the shot that ended the “perfect” runthrough of the trilogy, that famous single shot of Shepard breathing in a wrecked atmosphere, writer Feketekuty said:

      “The motivation was, ‘are these endings all too bleak?’ You know what, for the fans who stuffed everything in the Normandy’s hold, and did everything, we wanted to give them a little something. We did intentionally make it vague, so you can project your own gameplay experience on to it.”

      “It could be just a last gasp before death,” writer Helper added, helpfully.

      I don’t think it’s the end of Commander Shepard just yet. If you know EA, you know they like to milk their products to the end.

  6. studioeingana July 18, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Reblogged this on Studio Eingana and commented:
    This is a great article. Check it out.

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