Opinions on the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut (spoilers)

7 Jul
  • Holy mother of God, it actually works. Plot holes are plugged, the galaxy-wide effects of (in my case) the Reaper’s destruction is shown in glorious montage-vision, and my crew are no longer apparently content to live in a jungle for the rest of their lives. It’s not everything I wanted – more on my ludicrously detailed demands later – but it ensures ME3 no longer requires the ability to mind-read (which must be commonplace in Canada) Bioware’s writers in order to make any sense of the last five minutes.
  • One of the biggest gaffes made by the original cut was the failure to mention how Shepard’s two chosen squadmates managed to get from partaking in a disastrous race to a teleportation beam (an attacking force declared, save for Shepard, to have been wiped out) to safe and sound aboard the Normandy. Here, they just drop a tank on one of them. Seriously – Shepard calls for a medical evacuation for the injured teammate, and the Normandy promptly shows up to take both party members away. It’s a bit odd that the frigate-sized ship wasn’t even targeted, let alone hit, by the laser-spewing Reaper that flipped the tank in the first place, but the added dialogue is one of my favourite parts. The victim’s reaction to being sent away from the fight is spot-on across the board – Garrus resorts to gentle mocking, Tali blinks back tears and Javik’s furious veneer cracks to show a genuine desperation. Good writing, terrific performances, and a real chance to say goodbye to at least two of Shep’s team. Great stuff.

 

  • I never actively disliked the Star Child concept, particularly not because of accusations of “space magic”. Have you ever read the Wiki? Mass Effect is 80-83% space magic. Hell, that fancy new Omni-Blade? It works by a holographic glove “fabricating” a twelve-inch ceramic blade. Out of nothing. Because it’s a hologram. An AI that can create a projection in the shape of a child is hardly a massive leap. Anyway, his section has a handful of extra dialogue options, including the ability to outright reject his three options and let fate decide. Alternatively, you can shoot him in the face. Either method assures the destruction of nearly all organic life, of course – which, given that it effectively nullifies three games’ worth of graft, is a bit of a weird choice to make – but I guess it’s sometimes nice to have the ability to fail. Victories without the possibility of such are meaningless.
  • You know how every comic, piece of fanart and snide editorial that mentions the Extended Cut uses a kind of strawman argument to suggest people won’t be happy until the ending involves every main character going for ice cream and high-fiving? That’s me! I really do want that! Well, I seriously did carry a minor hope that we’d see the soppy stuff; Tali building her house on Rannoch, Javik and Liara writing that book together, Garrus autographing tie-in merchandise for his pre-watershed detective procedural… There wasn’t anything that cheesy, but even the slideshow of images showing civilisation rebuilding, Krogan holding (adorable) alien babies and Zaeed kicking back with some beers did enough to warrant a smile. Just. Video would have been better.

 

  • In the Destroy ending, it’s implied that instead of flying off into the sunset, the Normandy’s crew head off in search of the missing but breathing Shepard; normally I hate cliffhangers, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t better than then just walking out into the jungle and gawping for a bit. After years of “I’m kind of busy, Commander”, it’s also incredibly cathartic to see them come looking for me for a change.
  • More than a few commentators suggested that Bioware were wrong to even consider remaking the ending, usually on the grounds of artisitc integrity. Whilst the concept of do-overs in other, more traditional media remains barely comprehensible, I think – on balance – I prefer good writing and satisfying conclusions to the interpretation of ‘integrity’ as unwaveringly sticking to whatever was ready to go on the disk before the publisher-sanctioned launch date.
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2 Responses to “Opinions on the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut (spoilers)”

  1. Justin July 8, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    Only thing is
    A) The extended synthesis and destroy endings are oddly positive given how you spend 3 games fighting against those options. It all feels like they altered a more logical plan based on fan rants. The original ending would imply that Destroy was the logical choice because Synthesis was Saren’s goal and control was te Illusive man’s goal.

    B) showing what people did afterwards is somewhat pointless when most characters told you what they wanted to do after the war during the game.

    C) Wouldnt it be better to let the creators sell the game their way. I suspect they probably did intend to do an extended ending but modified it based on the fan reaction into something with more plot holes rather than less.

    • James July 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      Good point regarding Synthesis/Saren, that completely passed me by. I think Control is something for the Renegades but yeah, Synthesis was a bit too utopian even before the EC.

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