For those of you who are not familiar with the Mass Effect series here's a quick recap. Mass Effect is a series of third person shooter/RPG hybrid games that first saw release in 2007. The release was met with critical acclaim, commercial success, and even a little controversy (courtesy of Fox News). The first game was an xbox360 console exclusive but it's sequel's saw release on the PS3 as well after BioWare was bought by EA. The games followed the adventures of Commander Shepard and his mixed crew of aliens and humans as they take to the galaxy fighting evil...or committing it, if you so chose. Along these adventures you could form friendships and alliances, make enemies, or even fall in love. These games were very ambitious and entertaining as well as a little bit epic.
One of the trademarks of the series was the ability to carry your actions, and their consequences, over to the next game in the series for a completely unique experience tailored to your behavior. The game saw 2 sequels and all seemed well...well, that was until players came to the final outcome of Mass Effect 3. Before I go any further I want to point out that EA claimed that Mass Effect 3's ending would, as with previous titles, would be dictated by the actions of the player in the 2 previous titles. Ultimately this proved a bane to both EA and BioWare.
Mass Effect 3 was released in March of 2012 and grossed over $200 million worldwide, all seemed well until players made their way to the final stretch of the game. Upon finishing the game players were treated three very similar endings that were seemingly unaffected by their previous actions. The outrage was felt almost everywhere from online forums to the letters section of several gaming publications. The players had spoken and they were not happy. For weeks the debates raged on and some gamers even rallied and demanded a better ending for Mass Effect 3, one that delivered on EA's promise of an ending affected by players actions. EA first defended the actions of BioWare by preaching artistic integrity but soon caved to the demands of hundreds of thousands of angry fans and said "okay, we'll fix it."
So, lets get down to it shall we? Yesterday I received an email letting me know that the Extended cut had arrived, immediately I turned on the 360 and began the download. After waiting a few mins (the download was actually over a gig and a half) I fired up Mass Effect 3 and loaded the first Shepard I had ever played. I played for a few mins and finally came to the ending. The 3 main decisions were still there so I went with the synthesis ending which I had previously chosen the first time around. The short scenes that followed caused a stir in me that I hadn't felt since playing Mass Effect for the first time, I felt that I this story had finally come to a satisfying close. Yes, Shepard still died and yes, the light was green but that is where the similarities ended. I was treated to several shots and cinematic clips and even a narrator that showed me and explained to me how what I had done had affected the universe and I now feel that I actually have some closure. It should be noted that I fired up a second Shepard that I had previously played to check out the other 2 endings and while they were similar, my actions were still reflected. So, yes we finally got what EA promised.
Now, in closing, EA.....was it so hard to actually keep your promise? Granted it took alot of angry fans to make you follow through but at least you made good in the end. Okay, finally got that outta my system, now onto another matter. While I understand that EA is not the most popular company at the moment, they still pump out some very fine games and if you think I'm wrong then leave a comment. Also, I know this is still not enough for some of you out there because NO YOU STILL CAN'T SAVE SHEPARD AND BE THE SHINING GALACTIC ANUS THAT YOU LONG TO BE OUT OF SOME NEED TO BE LOVED BY ALL!!!! So, in closing, yes those that didn't like EA being lazy and half assing their ending just to meet a deadline (yes I believe this is the case, otherwise I wouldn't write it) congrats on telling them that you weren't gonna take it.