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.
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.