Review: Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut (Spoiler free)

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Angry and even not-so-angry gaming enthusiasts can now download new ending sequences for “Mass Effect 3,” a very good game marred by a conclusion that, to many, put the “anti” in “anti-climactic.”

EA Games and BioWare released “Mass Effect 3″ in March, but the role-playing game’s real ending did not come out until Tuesday when the producers released an “Extended Cut” to appease fans who hated the science fiction trilogy’s original conclusion.


Why the disappointment? “Mass Effect 3″ ended with a strange deus ex machina sequence, “space magic” that
didn’t seem to fit the game’s narrative logic and unfulfilled
expectations among players who believed the franchise’s touted choice
dynamic would allow players to experience radically different endings
depending upon how they played the series’ previous chapters.

Not all players raged at the ending, but many disappointed players
flooded gaming websites — and notably, Forbes.com — with angry comments
that sparked either flame wars or interesting debates on storytelling
and whether BioWare should keep the original ending on the basis of
artistic integrity or if they owed their customers more than what was
provided on release date.

Given that players who experienced all three games as series protagonist
Commander Shepard could have easily devoted more than 100 hours of
their time to Mass Effect, it’s understandable that so many players had
strong feelings.

As a result, EA Games and BioWare made the rare choice to offer a
revised ending for download, and they deserve a measure of credit for
responding to fans and not charging for the additional content.

But as Mass Effect 3′s original endings didn’t provide the resolution
many players expected, this reviewer is a bit underwhelmed by the fact
that the Extended Cut only delivers exactly what EA Games and BioWare
promised.

The revised ending delivers a better explanation of Mass Effect 3′s
final events and a greater sense of closure, but the Extended Cut lacks
much in the way of surprise for players who spent the past few months
waiting to see if BioWare had something spectacular in mind.

The expanded endings, however, don’t live up to the speculations of the
fan created “Indoctrination Theory.” The idea, based on subtle hints
found throughout the three Mass Effect games, amounted to the
proposition that the game’s villains could trick Shepard — and by
extension the player — into making choices that would doom the entire
galaxy.

Heavily debated on gaming sites and YouTube, the Indoctrination Theory
seemed to have potential as a bold method of breaking the fourth wall
and telling a story in a way that other media cannot.

This review will not contain any spoilers for anyone who has yet to play
the game, but the Extended Cut mostly provides more explanation for the
three outcomes that could be obtained in the original release.

Those three outcomes resolve the conflict between Shepard and the
series’ antagonists, a terrifying race of sentient starships known as
“The Reapers.” Players will disagree on whether those resolutions make
sense.

The new content also includes a semi-secret “everybody dies” ending, for players who are into that sort of thing.

The Extended Cut for Mass Effect 3 is really just the ending that Mass
Effect 3 should have had when the game when it first hit shelves.

All three Mass Effect games are still worth playing. Indeed, the ending
would not have been such a let down if not for the fact that most of the
experiences that led up to the trilogy’s conclusion was so
entertaining.