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Why People Hate the Last Ten Minutes
As you are likely well aware of, there are numerous reviews here railing against the ending of Mass Effect 3. While most of them don't even attempt to say what is supposed to be wrong with the ending, a few cite some of the reviewers' issues. And for most of the issues, the last ten minutes do not deliver on those issues...

...because the other 30+ hours of the game do.

Mass Effect 3 has an epic conclusionóis an epic conclusion to the Mass Effect series. Everything you've done throughout the series influences your journey throughout the game. It determines which friends you reunite with, which enemies you cross again and what outcomes are possible for the numerous plot threads that come to a close throughout Mass Effect 3. While there is a definite beginning, middle and end to the storyline, Mass Effect 3 is the farewell to the Mass Effect universe. Conflicts which you've shaped and touched upon are brought to a close, influencing the fates of numerous races and characters.

The game's main storyline focuses on stopping the antagonists of the series, the Reapers. When their invasion of the galaxy begins, Commander Shepard discovers ancient plans to the Crucible, a device that could be the only hope against the Reapers. They don't know what it will do, but Shepard rallies the galaxy to construct the Crucible in the hopes of stopping the Reapers once and for all.

Storyline aside, the gameplay of Mass Effect 3 is strong and challenging. The enemy AI is aggressive and intelligent, using smart tactics to capitalise on each enemy's strengths and weaknesses. Weapons and armor have a great deal of variety, much more than the previous game. The power evolution system of is also expanded upon for greater customization of your team's abilities. Power combos and melee attacks give greater depth and strategy to combat.

When all is said and done, Mass Effect 3 is a masterpiece that delivers on both the action-packed gameplay and gripping storytelling that Bio Ware is known for. Many of the "criticisms" are a result of narrowing the focus past the climatic resolutions and revelations throughout the game and ignoring everything that people play Mass Effect for.
But you didn't say why people hate the last ten minutes.
comment #15744 JobanGrayskull 10th Aug 12
'When their invasion of the galaxy begins, Commander Shepard discovers ancient plans ...They don't know what it will do, but Shepard rallies the galaxy to construct the Crucible [anyway]'

is gripping story telling? :D
comment #15747 Tomwithnonumbers 10th Aug 12
Oh dear...
comment #15759 CrimsonZephyr 11th Aug 12
There are plenty of other problems with the game. It's just that the awful, awful ending works as a black hole that draws all the criticism. Because it's just so unbelievably bad. But the game has plenty of plotting issues. The Crucible is an ass-pull, the Rannoch arc, aside from being a missed opportunity for truly complex moral decisions, makes the geth out to be far too much innocent victims. Kai Leng's very presence in a scene makes everyone else present dumber, himself included. And these are just a few of the problems with the story.

And, of course, the ending is so incomprehensibly stupid that it actually diminishes the rest of the game.
comment #15760 Tiamatty 11th Aug 12
Also: there are no named Reapers. They are all reduced to background. Several prominent characters are Demoted To Extra, including Jack, Zaeed, Kasumi, Harbinger, and Thane (though that's justified). Cerberus loses all moral ambiguity, and becomes the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, able to draw unlimited manpower and openly challenge the Citadel races. The kid was an incredibly cheap attempt at emotional manipulation. The dream sequences are unbelievably pretentious and illogical. Shepard defaults to autodialogue way more than previous games. The Reapers moving the Citadel happens completely off-screen and makes no sense. Galactic exploration (and fetch quests) still suck. The whole Rannoch arc is an Idiot Plot ('cept for Tali and Legion). The Virmire Survivor actually trusts Udina that you are with Cerberus unless you can convince them otherwise, despite the fact that they just accompanied you and slaughtered Cerberus in the first level, and said that they had resolved their trust issues. And the game is four hours shorter than the last one.
comment #15761 CPFMfan 12th Aug 12
I want to say though, that all these flaws were present in 2 as well to most extent. Harbinger shouldn't count as a named Reaper because he provides nothing but to be a joke to diminish the threat of the Reaper. He has no interaction with Shepard except to say ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL and then dying immediately to a shotgun in the face again. Cerberus gains complexity and then is immediately stripped of it again during the ending, which is the exact reverse of ME 3 (and I will say this, the logs at the end of ME 3 made me fall in love with the Illusive Man again and I'm bottling up a huge speech about just how much I love what they do with the character. If only they'd remembered to do it for 95% of the game). The capture of your crew is an incredibly cheap attempt at emotional manipulation and drive. Mining sucks. There are lots and lots of Idiot Plots and arcs. The Virmire Survivor spits in your face and refuses to listen to a thing you say and throughout the game there are only 5 story related missions total and not much happens in most of them.

... but it was a good game and we loved it and we were right for loving it. If ME 3 didn't get the bad PR (because they had a better ending) it would be almost exactly as flawed as it is right now but a lot more people would have probably enjoyed it. Because whilst their are a crud load of flaws in all this games, they're all giant epic Space-Opera-RP Gs and do bolder more exciting things for breakfast than most games will do in their half as long lifespans
comment #15767 Tomwithnonumbers 12th Aug 12
Why is it that people will spam positive reviews of the game by insisting that everything is wrong with the game, yet they won't bother to give any arguments why they have their stance?

"the Rannoch arc, aside from being a missed opportunity for truly complex moral decisions, makes the geth out to be far too much innocent victims."

Attacked without provocation and forced into a Deal With The Devil out of fear of extinction.

"Kai Leng's very presence in a scene makes everyone else present dumber, himself included."

Examples? The fact that Kai Leng is arrogant proves to be his downfall, after all.

"And, of course, the ending is so incomprehensibly stupid that it actually diminishes the rest of the game."

Tell us how, please.

"Also: there are no named Reapers. They are all reduced to background."

There were only two named Reapers in the series. You're not fighting specific Reapers, you're fighting all of them.

"Cerberus loses all moral ambiguity, and becomes the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, able to draw unlimited manpower and openly challenge the Citadel races."

Through indoctrination. When people whine about Cerberus in the third game, they completely ignore the entire indoctrination aspect.

"The dream sequences are unbelievably pretentious and illogical."

Dreams should be logical now?

"The Virmire Survivor actually trusts Udina that you are with Cerberus unless you can convince them otherwise, despite the fact that they just accompanied you and slaughtered Cerberus in the first level, and said that they had resolved their trust issues."

Because it is impossible for them to have been fed false information?

If the mere mention of someone saying good things about a work of fiction drives you to rant about everything you think that is wrong about that work of fiction, then you have a problem. If you can't stand people liking a game, then maybe you should pay no attention to what people who liked the game think. Because all you've done here is insisted that countless things are wrong with the game without giving any attempt to say why anyone should think that.
comment #15795 QueenOfTheSirens 14th Aug 12
I actually really like Kai Leng (as part of my Illusive Man) but most of the scenes he's in involve Shepard being defeated/being suckered in a way that's very hard to swallow. Bioware absolutely suck in Mass Effect at conveying defeats in a way that is acceptable to the player. Miranda tells me to get in a shuttle when I don't think it's important, know who I'd pick and I've done all the missions I wanted to do, so don't really want to get into a shuttle. Then, oh gosh it's a trap! Why didn't you expect that! And now look all the crew have been packed into a shuttle.

And so on, with Kai Leng in particular, you rain all fire on him, wearing down his shields without even getting close to hurt, then you get defeated in a cutscene. Or he's fighting Thane and Shepard doesn't just shoot him in the back. He always gets away and the way he wins, it never feels like he particularly deserves it. Also his character is maybe a little too douchey without being cool enough but that's just subjective

There are stupid things with the ending. The big one is that out of nowhere we're suddenly made to take a big blow on the chin (again Bioware not adequately preparing players for defeat) for a reason not well established before and involving themes, that far from stretching over the course of the game like they should have been, were actually actively countered in the characters of Geth and Edi, as well as the Quarian story (because far from fundamental incompatibility of synthetics and organisms, they were making deliberate parallels between racism and racist regimes/genocides/holocausts, which are problems between organics and not insurmountable, in fact most of them have been surrmounted)

The lack of named Reapers made the enemy seem weak and poorly motivated. I think maybe the problem is that these problems really aren't specific to ME 3, they're for the whole series (see above post) but that doesn't stop them from being really badly flawed. In fact ME 3 realised the lack of villain interaction and motivation was a problem and started giving the Reapers motivation, just way way too late. I would say you're right about it being Reapers as a whole, except Harbinger had been (stupidly) established in ME 2 and it was made clear that he was the main big bad in multiple points in 3. It's just he didn't show.

The manpower with cerberus is fine with indoctrination, was you rightly pointed out. They always had ridiculous resources and with Haven... However the loss of moral ambiguity was huge and undeserved, it was a switch not reasoned. Again they fix this right at the end of ME 3 and cerberus regain the 3rd dimension and become interesting, but it's absent from the game and generally when a group of humans go round being extremely evil with ill explored motivations in a serious work, it's a problem. It's even pointed out constantly through the game 'Hey cerberus didn't seem this evil when I worked for them'. My problem isn't that they're eviler or that they commit atrocities, it's that it's not treated with the complexity it was before, right until the end where they jam it all back in again.

The dreams were a little pretentious, at least for me it openly broke my immersion twice when it happened because I thought 'oh they're trying to be artsy' on the other hand, I thought they served a good purpose and it was about time they started doing things like that. The dreams themselves weren't bad, it was just that it was the only time Bioware did something like that in ME and it stuck out a bit.

And the Virmire survivors are too much of a dick without good cause, they do know you better than that and there's really good evidence that you've only ever been working for the benefit of the galaxy. If it had been revealed the Cerberus had committed atrocities to stop the collecter, and Shepard could be possibly/fake indicated about that, then fair enough I could understand the loss of trust, however to the point that they trust Udina over you? Udina whose known as a human serving unscrupulous man? It didn't affect my continuity because I convinced them, but if I hadn't it would be a bit off

I want to make this clear, I gave this game a positive review, I again speak up for it in the post above yours (ish). But these flaws are there, all the stuff I italicised in my first comments _is_ bad storytelling and the people who take issue with it aren't wrong for doing so, it's been discussed enough that it's not unreasonable to end up bullet pointing it in a comment rahter than writing an essay. But on the other hand, we've also got to see that these flaws aren't the be all and end all, they exist, but it doesn't stop it from being a fantastic game. Everything we loved in 1 and 2 still applies here and not only is it not wrong to love 3, if you can get yourself to overlook it's failings, you will have a lot to love
comment #15797 Tomwithnonumbers 14th Aug 12
I forgot to explain why they don't prepare you adequately for taking a hit at the end. For the last hour/half hour of gameplay there is just one emotional note, everything sucks and we're all going to die. You spend all your time walking through grey ruined buildings, listening to how people are dying every, fighting you way through against an enemy who seems stronger and stronger as your allies slowly die one by one and your left by yourself desperately fighting and unending horde sacrificing everything for a few more seconds. Then we watch more people die, then we see Shepard blown up to within an inch of her life, then we see creepy corridors of corpses that Shepard can barely drag herself along. Then Anderson gets shot by Shepard and dies.

It's good stuff, I personally feel the middle bit needed a few more highs and that i could have done without the greys. Maybe a firey burnt out red, the game was too grey as it was, but anyway, good stuff, but all entirely negative.

So the player slogs through all of that, gives up everything to complete the game and as they're sitting there, tired on the floor next to their dead colleague thinking 'at least I've won', a little kid tells you that to actually win, you've got to die, the Mass Relays have to be destroyed and you have to choose between wiping out technology and genociding a species and one of your best friends or... well control wasn't so negative really. But it forced Shepard to die. No happy moment, just more negative emotion.

So not what the player was emotionally ready to accept. This is really the fatal flaw of Mass Effect, the rest was window dressing, despite people's complaints, the actual things that are wrong with the ending are window dressing. The truth is Bioware fundamentally messed up the way your meant to prepare a player for an ending like that and so people rejected it and refused to see the upbeat bittersweet open-ended planet moment for what Bioware wanted it to be. And then because that was the last moment of the entire series and the players were left thinking like that, the whole house of cards came down.

(I'd actually be interested in what the people who hated it, think of that theory. It's not the widely accepted theory and your right that it was a shoddy ending for all the reasons you put out, but I feel like the reason people noticed all the shoddy bits was the bigger emotional picture. There are lots of plot holes in the greatest works of all time that no-one cares about, the difference was these plot holes were actively countering what the player needed from the ending. We'd just destroyed the Reaper, people wanted a cheer and instead what did we get? Oh look, another one)
comment #15806 Tomwithnonumbers 15th Aug 12
There's some truth to that. That's probably what most people meant when they claimed "lack of closure". The ending was so devoid of upbeat moments that they couldn't look at the ship scene without a paranoid sense of "Well what's going to go wrong now? What? The ship looks busted? How the hell are they going to get out of there? Are they stuck? They can't even eat the same food! Some of them will starve to death! And what's with the relays? The only one we ever saw explode took out a solar system! Is that what happened? What happened to the fleet? Did they die or are they stranded too?"

Those are not the kind of questions you want to leave people with at the end of a trilogy. Then they tried to assure players that after an unspecified number of years there will still be an old man telling the story to his granddaughter, so everything turned out alright, but no one cared about that guy and the questions about the actually significant characters were left hanging.
comment #15809 McSomeguy 15th Aug 12
They put you through all this misery and hardship and eventually strand you on planet and then that's it, that's your happy ending.

comment #15810 Tomwithnonumbers 15th Aug 12
Don't you wish you can just delete these type of comments? They're annoying as hell.
comment #15811 NordRonnoc 15th Aug 12
"The ending was so devoid of upbeat moments"

Like saving the galaxy from the Reapers?

I swear, if people want to scream and cry and lie this much about the game, then they can write their own reviews. They can try to spread their bull and real fans of the game can read them and deride the writers as the liars they are.
comment #15815 QueenOfTheSirens 15th Aug 12
There were a bunch of upbeat moments, like the Reapers flying away/falling over dead while soldiers cheered, and the survival of the Normandy crew amid the Eden metaphor. The soundtrack was beautiful in a bittersweet way, and everything culminated in the triumphant Stargazer scene that showed us that, yes, the galaxy survived and the legacy of the Shepard was not forgotten. The entire presentation was immensely poetic, conveying with short yet powerful images the culmination of the major themes of the series; despite a very cosmicist backdrop (as demonstrated by the inevitable destruction of the mass relays), there is a significance to life that is, appropriately ironic, something the Reapers could not comprehend.
comment #15817 JobanGrayskull 15th Aug 12
Guys I loved the ending, it's in my review and everything. I'm not lying and I'm not trying to be malicious, I'm trying to present the game as I see it and shake of my own bias a bit. It's just I don't think all these people are wrong to hate the ending either. I really liked the planet bit, the reapers lifting off, the music, the after the end talk. I even managed to justify the destruction of the relays bit to myself with some help from Legion. In another review I was even arguing with someone else about how the planet part was upbeat

But all of that occurs after the part I mentioned. The whole of the last gameplay level is very dark in tone. There is an upbeat when Anderson arrives, but even that turns into a watch everyone die around you moment. Then you go into the catalyst and it's dark again. When Anderson dies it's not dark but it is sad. And by then (especially if they did the last level in one sitting) people are going to feel really worn down by the dark. I was, I don't think I could have lasted another 5 minutes of gameplay (which is the affect they were trying to achieve I think)

But it's then that Bioware tries to foist on the player another loss. Shepard has to die (probably). The relays have to be destroyed (which is huge because all the aliens aren't going to be with in contact with each other) and maybe even more people have to die on top of that. And the player has to make a choice as well, so they have to choose what of these is going to be happening.

And what I'm saying is, most people who reach that point aren't going to be in an emotional state to accept that new surprise loss. They're going to feel it's less their doing or a natural consequence of the story but the developers being stupid.

And after that it's too late. You've lost them, they aren't going to ride with you on the upbeat, especially since it's bittersweet. When I said there were no upbeats I meant, upbeats breaking up the downbeats, not one at the end. Frankly if they wanted to do something as drastic as that choice (especially when it's a choice) They needed a bit of gameplay before the catalyst where everything was going well and the reapers were being pushed back
comment #15819 Tomwithnonumbers 15th Aug 12
@Queen Of Sirens

That was upbeat for you? While Shepard is dying and sad music plays and the mass relays are exploding and your crew crashlands on some unknown planet? Okay then, good for you. I, on the other hand, didn't find it all that emotionally uplifting.

@Joban Grayskull

The Stargazer scene would have felt more triumphant and relevant if it wasn't so completely removed from anyone we came to know over the story.

Mind you, these are the complaints I had originally and most of them were fixed by the Extended Cut ...
comment #15831 McSomeguy 16th Aug 12
@Queen Of Sirens

You're seriously doing the "people liked everything about the game are the only real fans" thing?
comment #15848 CPFMfan 18th Aug 12
What makes you think that way, CPF Mfan? She's as entitled to her opinion as much as yours. Also, Queen Of The Sirens, would it just be possible to gloss over the endings and focus on the game since everyone tends to be bitter and angry over the original endgame (it was largely toned down thanks to the Extended Cut).
comment #15851 NordRonnoc 18th Aug 12
She said ' They can try to spread their bull and real fans of the game can read them and deride the writers as the liars they are. ' which is what made him think that, in the latest comments, but her review was good and I'm all in favour of remembering the things we love about Mass Effect despite the things that went wrong
comment #15854 Tomwithnonumbers 19th Aug 12
"Attacked without provocation and forced into a Deal With The Devil out of fear of extinction."

Exactly. The geth are presented as being completely innocent, and any bad stuff they do is really the fault of the quarians. Instead of being a morally complex synthetic race with very different beliefs than organics, they're a race of perfect little angels who only want to help their creators, and why won't their creators be nice to them? Like I said, they're made out as innocent of any real wrongdoing.

"Examples?"

His fight with Thane. Rather than attack from a distance, Thane gets in close, and even runs towards Kai Leng at one point. And during the whole fight, Shepard and his two buddies do nothing.

"Tell us how, please."

The short version: Deus Ex Machina that comes out of nowhere, elevates a middling plot point into the overarching conflict of the whole series, doesn't allow you to dispute the Catalyst's logic, said logic being terrible, forces the player to choose one of the Catalyst's solutions . . . I could go on. The Extended Cut, at least, added closure, which was a glaring omission from the original ending.

"I swear, if people want to scream and cry and lie this much about the game, then they can write their own reviews. They can try to spread their bull and real fans of the game can read them and deride the writers as the liars they are."

Uh-huh. I did do a review. I was actually very positive. I still think it's a great game. But it's deeply flawed. And the ending is some of the worst writing I've ever seen.
comment #15936 Tiamatty 28th Aug 12
You get a very biased version of the Geth from Legion, the truth is just more complex. When it came down to it, the Geth were willing to genocide as much as the Quarians were, instead of finally forgiving
comment #15951 Tomwithnonumbers 29th Aug 12
I agree that some geth accounts are biased, especially if you think about it more. The geth killed the vast majority of quarians, which almost certainly goes beyond quarians that presented a threat to geth, but also most likely included many innocents or non-combatants, as well as possibly even quarians who were otherwise willing to help the geth. By joining up with the Reapers, the geth essentially committed themselves to killing not only the quarians, but all other sapient species, and with the possibility of being discarded afterwards, essentially sacrificing the rest of the galaxy for a false hope at life.
comment #16140 Valiona 15th Sep 12
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