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[personal profile] goddessofcheese
Okay, so I've had a day to process the ending, so here's some good/bad thoughts on my first impression of the game overall.

GOOD:

-- Thane's death scene. It was sudden, but it made poetic sense. He died protecting civilians from a killer, saving thousands of lives in the process. He gets to go out like a fighter and not wasting away in the hospital like he hadn't wanted to. I know some fans will be upset over it but, frankly, I'm kinda glad he died. A cure would've felt... idk, cheap, hammy.

-- TRAYNOR, HOW ARE YOU JUST THE MOST PERFECT, YOU ADORABLE LITTLE FKAFJKSDLFS;DFSASAD YESSS *___*

-- Cortez is also just the cutest, though also super sad, I can't wait to romance him.

-- The dialogue on the ship is equal parts commentary and equal parts actual conversation, and I like it. It gives the characters more mobility around the ship, more interaction with squadmates, and that's awesome. ME2 was a lot of guessing about "what would so and so think of so and so", but to get clarification in ME3 is gonna make a lot of fanfic writers and fan artists happy.

-- Rannoch looked like Utah! XD

-- Jack being a teacher is just perfect. I love that she didn't lose her edge, but that she had matured a bit and had found a reason to work for something. Also loved her new outfit and such. *_*

-- Rannoch and Tuchanka were, imho, the best parts in storytelling, my hats off to them. Also, the Citadel attack was just waaaaaaay too cool.

-- Speaking of the Citadel, it's my favorite environment EVER. The attention to detail, the design, the conversations, everything about it was phenomenal. It seriously couldn't have done better unless it had come with cake.

-- Mordin's death I'd known about from spoilers, but... nothing prepared me for how it ended. The singing. The cure release. It was... dare I say, perfect. I think I'm gonna cry, every time.

-- Brokering a peace between the quarians and geth = FUCKING. SATISFYING.

-- I was worried about bringing in new characters this late into the game, but Vega and Javik are AMAZING. Javik is hands down my favorite atm; the way he's basically the mirror to Shepard if they had failed, his attitude, the way the Protheans get knocked down from there ~mystic ancient race~ pedestal and shown to be just as organic as the rest of the universe. Ohhhhh man. And Vega is just so adorable, he's precious and I love him and you should too.

-- GRUNT'S SCENE. BEST SCENE, OR BEST SCENE. God bless our little tube baby.

-- Stabbing Kai Leng and shouting "THAT'S FOR THANE, YOU SON OF A BITCH" = the most gratifying thing I've felt in a Bioware game to date.

-- Having Buzz Aldrin in the final cinematic was a nice little nod, very fitting.

-- [livejournal.com profile] pats_quinade is responsible for 80% of my tears in this game. I GOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE PTSD ASARI, BY THE WAY. 8'[

And now... the bad.

-- Thane's death was great. The reaction to Thane's death, or rather the lack of one, was not. I went from watching Shepard's love interest die in front of her, to her cracking jokes with Ashley in a matter of minutes. No one said a word, nothing hinted at Shepard possibly grieving or getting over it or anything, it just went on as if he'd never existed. And considering the things I've heard about Jacob's romance? Color me intensely nervous for Milo's import and any other Shepard with an ME2 romance. ;_; Just let me know the Jack one turns out okay, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease.

-- Is it just me or did the Rachni get dropped like a hot potato. You go from securing their help to... not even seeing them at all in the ensuing plot stuff. Mrr.

-- The above can be KIND OF forgiven. The rest really can't. It only exists within the last 10% of the game, but it's enough that it feels like 50%. The paragon ending is atrocious. Destroy the Reapers! At the cost of technology! Doesn't sound so bad at first but then you think about it. You just destroyed the geth, the race that dropped everything to come help and who's finally achieved their freedom. You just ruined the lives of anyone with medical implants, like Kaidan or Jack. Quarians who depend on the mechanics of their suits to live at the moment? Fucked. All the species on Earth who can't get home now, including all those now fertile krogan? Yeah that's gonna end well! Everyone aboard a ship at the time, or in a moving vehicle, or aboard a space station? Dead. You literally kill billions of people, entire races. It's like the more I think about it, the worse it gets.

-- The crash landing of the Normandy is just... ugh, wow. So if you took the 'destroy Reapers' option, you just marooned everyone on the Normandy. That means any of the aliens get to die alone, separated from their people forever. All the humans who just fought to protect Earth and see it again? Nope, never going home, gonna have to deal with it. And that's IF the majority of them even survive on a totally alien planet.

NICE.

-- I also feel like the "SYNTHETICS WILL NEVER LIVE WITH ORGANICS" thing was such bullshit after Rannoch. Hello, wanna meet the entire race of synthetics that I brokered peace with who are helping me to fight back the Reapers? No? Okay. :|

-- The complete lack of closure regardless of what you choose. We spent years getting to know our comrades, our love interests, our background characters. And that amounts to. Jack. Shit. There's a difference between being a little vague about their ending, and being flat out blank on the matter.

-- The final scene should've been Earth. Period. The last cinematic would have worked great, or even BETTER, if it had been in a future London or Vancouver or a ship overlooking Earth, to bring it full circle. You can't spend HOURS on a game where your #1 priority is "GET BACK TO EARTH AT ALL COSTS", and then not actually show how the damn planet ends up. ._.

-- And frankly, the tone of the ending is the worst part. You spend three games with one overall theme: hope. Hope that you'll stop the Reapers. Hope that you'll see an end to the krogan/salarian/turian conflict or the geth/quarian war. Hope that you'll get a happy or at least a full ending. Hope that Earth and all the other races will be okay. Instead, we got a ham-fisted "no matter what you do, you're fucked and you can't end this happily" at all. It feels like a grab for drama and falling flat on its face. The ending needed to be more varied, to have more choice and, overall, to stay true to the idea that if you work hard enough, you can win your battles. That's the biggest disappointment at all.

Overall:

It's a wonderful game... if you quit right before the final decision, and that's how I'm going to play it, tbh. I shouldn't have to headcanon the rest of the stuff, but there it is.

The stuff preceding that is damn near perfection. But the last section is just so jumbled, so bleak, so unexplained, that it completely threw me off anything that had come before it and is really coloring my views towards replays. Everything feels pointless.

Why bother to romance anyone if you're just going to die and leave them alone.

Why bother saving the geth when you may have to destroy them.

Why bother saving the Citadel from Cerberus when all those millions of people are murdered by TIM later.

Why bother dying to defend Earth and your comrades when you don't even get to see what happens to t hem.

And so on.

I'll probably learn to ignore it in time... but it's still going to smart for a long while that we didn't get the ending we were promised.

Date: 2012-03-09 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinvraal.livejournal.com
I have to say I get kind of rankled when everyone makes such a big deal about getting back to Earth constantly when the point of the Reapers is that they're out to annihilate everyone. And then in the end we don't even see Earth? Whut?

The more I think about it, the more I feel that the "end" is the entire game, minus those last few minutes. Characters get their resolutions and swan songs. Relationships come to their culmination, entire species change focus. There is hope for defeating the Reapers, hope for all these people. You almost have to stop just short of that denouement, and it's a work of art. In my head I'm already excising that last sequence. The rest of the game is wonderful, but that end is so grossly out of step with what I wanted that I can lop it off whole cloth and be happy with the rest. It's this ugly gangrenous sore on near perfection. And sadly, it's the taste that will linger, staining all the great stuff.

The biggest problem is the game sold like crazy, which means they have basically no motivation to listen to these criticisms. After this and DA2, I'm off the must-buy BioWare list. I'll wait and see where they go from here. Because why should I invest so intensely for so long when I all I have to look forward to is railroaded tragedy? I play games to feel like I can affect positive change in the world- to overcome adversity, not be steamrolled by it no matter what I do.

Date: 2012-03-09 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] popehippo.livejournal.com
Pretty much everything you said. I'm off the Bioware bandwagon. I'll keep an eye on what they do, what comes next but, tbh? If this is their future? I honestly don't really want to be a part of it, and I don't know who to blame. :|

Doom Hobbit found something on the BSN that I think would've worked way better, don't know if it's a cut ending or someone's fanon:

"The Reapers' goal was to find a way to stop the spread of Dark
Energy which would eventually consume everything. That's why there was
so much foreshadowing about Dark Energy in ME2.

The Reapers as a whole were 'nations' of people who had fused
together in the most horrific way possible to help find a way to stop
the spread of the Dark Energy. The real reason for the Human Reaper was
supposed to be the Reapers saving throw because they had run out of
time. Humanity in Mass Effect is supposedly unique because of it's
genetic diversity and represented the universe's best chance at stopping
Dark Energy's spread.

The original final choice was going to be "Kill the Reapers and put
your faith in the races of the galaxy in finding another way to stop the
spread with what little time is left" or "Sacrifice humanity, allowing
them to be horrifically processed in hopes that the end result will
justify the means."


This? This is fucking perfect. It explains so much. It gives the Reapers a logical, rational reason to exist without falling to technophobic "MACHINES WILL KILL US" tropes. It gives us a clear but varied choice. And it leaves the entire ME 'verse up to possible sequels! Holy shit, how perfect is this?

If the above IS a cut ending? I'll scream.

Date: 2012-03-09 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinvraal.livejournal.com
Wow... an external threat even bigger than the Reapers? And more than that, a threat with no agency, no intent? Interesting. And interesting choices, too.

We'll probably never know what ended up on the cutting room floor. What makes me sadder is knowing a better ending DLC is virtually impossible, because it would a) open them up to all kinds of intense rage that we're being made to pay money to get the end we want and b) it would be an admission that they screwed up the capstone on their epic trilogy, and after the nearly endless marketing blather about "so many" (three is many?) varied endings that will be "satisfying". And if there's one thing big companies don't do, it's admit mistakes.

What I wonder about is how this went down internally. If we're upset than I don't think everyone on the inside liked it either. I also really wonder about time and budget. I keep seeing these amazing, elaborate and beautiful cutscenes in the gameplay, and it's almost like they ran out of gas at the end, where it was arguably most important.

Date: 2012-03-09 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zidane.livejournal.com
Screencap from one of the Something Awful threads (http://i.imgur.com/IOHS0.png)

(... Also spoilers for the Revelation Space series)

Date: 2012-03-09 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinvraal.livejournal.com
What's the poster's credibility on this? I know next to nothing about the SA forums. Did s/he work on ME2?

Date: 2012-03-09 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zidane.livejournal.com
Pretty credible, all his information wound up being legit. Here's his post history for the leaked spoiler thread (http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3449196&userid=172719). I don't know how he was able to post all that without breaking NDA.

Date: 2012-03-09 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinvraal.livejournal.com
Wow, yeah. All that seems spot on.

Date: 2012-03-09 08:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] popehippo.livejournal.com
Oh wow. Just... well then.

Date: 2012-03-09 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinvraal.livejournal.com
Reading through the poster's comments, I find it really interesting how ambiguous everything is all the way up and down the line. It seems like they handwaved an awful lot, or expected us to come up with our own version of events. What a weird approach.

Date: 2012-03-09 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] littlepunkryo.livejournal.com
Oh wow this is now what I'm pretending happened at the end; it's so much better. I want to know who was in charge of what ended up cut/changed because the people who read the leaked script ages ago said there were a lot of scenes that were really good that got shelved entirely or changed into less awesome scenes.

Date: 2012-03-09 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] popehippo.livejournal.com
SERIOUSLY. Any and all fanfic I write? Will end with this.

Date: 2012-03-09 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erunamiryene.livejournal.com
That ending is AMAZING. That would have left my jaw dropped in astonished admiration.

(Rather than wanting to throw the controller, which is what the actual ending did.)

Date: 2012-03-10 02:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silentstephi.livejournal.com
This really should have been the ending. Like... ffs, really, it should have been.

/sigh\

Date: 2012-03-09 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] doomhobbit.livejournal.com
You've already seen my post and I agree with everything you said.
Thane's Death, as well as Mordin and Legions were executed well. But the fact that no one really talked about Thane just leave me miserable. He came in like a bad-ass, and went out like a bad-ass. The only thing I did not like at all were the endings. There's too much left open. Everyone should have been on earth.

Do I want a happy ending choice? Fuck yes I do. After all that shit Shep went through there should be the option for happiness. You saw what was originally supposed to be according to rumors. It would have made more sense then what we were handed.

After this, Bioware isn't getting a dime of my money. Even if it's a DLC to fix the ending choices. I'll just watch those on youtube.

Date: 2012-03-09 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erunamiryene.livejournal.com
So if you took the 'destroy Reapers' option, you just marooned everyone on the Normandy.

... From what I can tell, that's what happened ANYWAY, no matter what. Will picked Synergy and the same thing happened. Someone else picked Control and that happened. It's fucking cheap and ridiculous. It's like they just got sick of it, said "there you go, stop whining" and went home.

I'm more pissed by the fact that EVEN IF SHEPARD LIVES, and so does your LI, kiss them goodbye because, well, they're stranded somewhere completely different, the relays blow up, and you're on fucking Earth. FUCKING A SERIOUSLY?

It's the fact that the "choices" just ... aren't. It's not a fucking choice. It's the same fucking ending with three different paint jobs.

GRUNT'S SCENE. BEST SCENE, OR BEST SCENE. God bless our little tube baby.

Okay, are you talking about the bit where he tells Shepard to go and he starts punching the Reaper-altered Rachni spider things? Because holy shit that made me bawl like a baby and he didn't even die. If there's some OTHER scene, IDK if I can handle it. XD
Edited Date: 2012-03-09 08:37 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-03-09 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] popehippo.livejournal.com
Yes, that's it. I *SCREAMED* when he came back out, holy shit, what a victory that felt like. :DDD

Date: 2012-03-09 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erunamiryene.livejournal.com
Between that scene and Mordin (that ONE FUCKING LINE ABOUT "would have like to have tested seashells" GODDAMN), I was a mess (and I was just watching Will's playthrough!). The music started and Grunt's punching these dudes, and I'm like OH MY GOD NO NO NO NO NO NOT GRUNT NOOOOOOOOO, and then he went over the side and I'm like FUCK IT I'M NOT PLAYING FUCK YOU BIOWARE, and he showed back up and it's INSTA-TEARS OF HAPPINESS. Emotional rollercoaster, holy shiiiiit.

Grunt, Mordin, and Legion were the top three wringers for me. And it's another reason why I'm SO PISSED at the end. The rest of the game, the dialogue, the emotions elicited, were PHENOMENAL. And then there's ... that.

Date: 2012-03-09 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] littlepunkryo.livejournal.com
I agree with all of these points, good and bad. I had forgotten that the Rachni never appeared after you free the big one but now that's bugging me, too. I will say that I think my favorite thing about this entire game really is just how REAL everyone feels. The ambient dialogue that showed squaddies actually forming friendships with EACH OTHER as well as Shepard, how much more "human" Shep came across as being (it was in the body language as well), just I really love everything about how people in this game interact with each other. And I've seen some complaints about all the auto dialogue but I liked it, for the most part. It was rare for Alex to say anything OOC, but then again he's as Paragon as you can get so maybe it's Renegades who are running into stuff they consider OOC? I thought the script was great, too. There were a LOT of speeches that probably could have been ultra corny but somehow weren't. It really felt like Shepard was a soldier hellbent on saving the world, it was awesome.

I think you hit the nail on the head with lack of closure with endings. Because not only do I not know for sure what happens to my crew (although the second you think about it you realize you don't want to know), you don't find out what happens to the rest of the galaxy, either. If you chose Destroy, how many people died because their impants or other tech doesn't work anymore? If you chose control, does that mean you can make Reapers maybe go back and FIX things? How does everyone react to being turned part synthetic? You don't get to see if the krogan manage to start having babies, if the quarians finally get to settle on Rannoch with the geth using themselves to speed up the time it's gonna take for them to be able to live suit free, you don't get to see if any of the peace you fought for lasts, or even how much of earth got destroyed. It just ends. It realyl makes you feel like "what's even the point?", at least it does for me.

BUT, back to the positive: ALMOST EVERYTHING BEFORE THAT WAS PERFECT. I have very little sympathy for the quarians at this point, but hearing Tali talk about building a home on her homeworld was lovely. Everything about the set-up for that felt perfect - getting to see those "memories" from the geth about how the war started, hearing that the geth showed mercy (and having to place a huge amount of trust in Legion in order to jack myself into that...whatever that was to see them) seeing those, even Legion sacrificing himself to make it work...tears. And when Tali said that the geth had been uploading themselves into quarian suits and boosting their immune systems, making it possible for them to live without suits a lot sooner than they thought? I was SO PROUD of the geth, THOSE ARE MY BABIES OKAY.

TUCHANKA. It was even more perfect than Rannoch, imo. Wrex just inspires so much love and loyalty from me, I DON'T KNOW HOW ANYONE COULD KILL HIM. And Eve is just as awesome, WE FINALLY GOT A FEMALE KROGAN AND SHE'S BADASS PERSONIFIED, but she's also smart and ambitious and <33 It was fascinating, finding the Krogan ruins - I wonder what Mordin would have said if he'd seen the Krogan art. And KALROS PWNING THAT REAPER WAS AWESOME. Mordin's death made me sob like a little child, but it was PERFECT. "Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong." Still crying. And then Wrex being all "To every Krogan born after this day, the name 'Shepard' will mean 'hero'.", more ugly tears. Watching the cure get distributed was possibly one of the most beautiful moments in the series for me.

The new crew I adore as well, I really did. James and Javik were my favorites. I loved their banter with the other squad members, it felt a bit more like a real family than I thought it would. I think out of all the ME2 cameos outside of Mordin's, Grunt's and Jack's were my favorite. I think Jack's wins out just because he gave my Shepard so much shit and I loved it, and then we went dancing at the bar and she made the "Shepard can't dance" thing legitimately canon.

Seriously so much of the game was perfect up until the end, which if I play again will only to be to get the synergy ending since I can't justify wiping out the geth and all that other tech JUST because that's the only ending where my Shep possibly lives.

Date: 2012-03-09 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] littlepunkryo.livejournal.com
AND I forgot to add: it irks me that things like whether I cured the genophage and got krogan support or got peace between the quarians and the geth didn't somehow appear in those final scenes - I could have chosen to kill all the geth and if I had gotten enough points, I would have still gotten the variation when the earth doesn't get destroyed as someone who opted to kill them. I was just hoping to get to see the races working TOGETHER a bit more, since I worked my ass off to get everyone united, and yet I get the same scene variations as someone who did none of those things. I know it's probably dumb but it's like...why did I even bother, then? Because they gave me war assets? Blah. If they WERE gonna go with those endings, the execution needed a lot of work to even be passable, imo.

Date: 2012-03-10 02:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virusq.livejournal.com
So... was I the only one expecting a scene with Shepard looking up through the palm trees, obviously dying, and Urz running over to lick his face? No? Anyone?

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Goddess O' Cheese

March 2012

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