Kinda liked the Mass Effect 3 ending!

Even though I haven’t played any Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, nor the iPad game (though I did buy it when it was a dollar a week or so ago), I finished the Mass Effect 3 story line and didn’t mind any of the 3 endings I tried. There are some spoilers below, so if you still have plans to finish ME3, stop reading now.

Because I didn’t do all those extra things mentioned above, my galactic readiness level was stuck at a miserable 50%, so there was no hope of Shepard living happily ever after. The final sequence begins after a fairly brutal cutscene where all the troops are wiped out (well, except for a gravely wounded Shepard who soldiers on, plus a couple of others, whom I won’t reveal so you can still have some sense of wonder when you play it. After Shepard opens the Citadel, he is confronted by an AI (the Catalyst) that says he needs to choose between controlling the reapers or killing them. There are a couple of other choices that I’ll describe too. I had read that there was a choice to merge organic and machine, thus creating a hybrid lifeform, but I must not have met some criteria, so that wasn’t presented.

Annoyingly, there is no way to save the game during this sequence, so to see various endings, you should play the whole 20 or so minute sequence again and try a different choice. This is disappointing, since the one thing that denotes Bioware games is the good writing, yet they want to make us suffer. Instead, we should be able to save to explore all the possible options and get all that good writing and story. Anyway, after the first playthrough, I learned my lesson: the game autosaves at various points, so Alt-Tabbing out and killing the game, then copying the Saves folder allows easy restoration to the previous point.

The first time I tried, instead of choosing to destroy the Reapers or control them, I shot the AI. That pissed it off, so the reapers went ahead and destroyed all life. But, Liara left a time capsule for the next epoch so they could fight the Reapers and the epilogue scene shows that someone managed to do so 50,000 years in the future. OK, so I made a difference.

Next, I decided not to make a decision, which also pissed off the AI and resulted in the same ending as above.

So then I destroyed the Reapers, killing myself in the process. The Normandy was pulled out of the Mass Effect system and crashed, but they survived. EDI, the ship’s AI was killed by the same effect that nuked the Reapers, since she was a machine. So the crew survived and I stopped the Reapers. Not bad…

Lastly, I decided to control the Reapers. In this case, Shepard became an AI, replacing the Catalyst, and converted the Reapers to be good. The Normandy still crashed, but EDI survived and the Reapers helped rebuild the Mass Effect gates. Not a bad ending at all – eternal “life” and the Reapers on our side.

So, while Shepard didn’t get to live a long and happy life chasing women and aliens or alien women, in the end, it wasn’t nearly so depressing as all the stories I had read. A fairly good ending to the series.

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