Editor’s Note: The following write-up is in detail of the end so if you haven’t beaten the game yet I must warn that there are spoilers to come.
When I originally beat the game I expected that martyrdom would be Shepard’s fate… after all they have been prepping us for that since the original Mass Effect, so I won’t be here lamenting the loss of a hero like Commander Shepard to the Reaper scourge.
A rough rundown of the endings
The synthesis ending was extremely positive, but so were the other 3 – it always ended with everyone doing just fine in the aftermath.
In one ending Shepard becomes a god and the Reapers turn around and begin to help humanity by making us advanced along with the other living beings in the Mass Effect world. In another ending they get wiped out and though the Mass Relays are destroyed it seemed as if they could easily be rebuilt.
I also unlocked a surprise ending by turning around and shooting that annoying glowy kid instead of making a choice and that led to an ending where the cycle continued; everyone is wiped out and someone is playing back Liara’s recordings of what happened during the war (pretty cool).
My True Choice – Synthesis
But my true choice was synthesis and it was almost beautiful as you saw literally every human, alien and synthetic with glowing green eyes and data streams flowing over their surfaces. I saw Tali-Zorah and the Quarians unmasked (and not some bad photoshop of her this time); there were happy Krogans with kids; Asari hugging one another and the Geth were alive and well.
It gave me flashbacks of the people who meant the most to Shepard – for mine it was Admiral Anderson, EDI and of course Jack. I felt good to see that despite Shepard’s death the people who gave everything to serve him and his mission would be allowed to live happy lives now; rebuilding the various worlds no doubt but still happy and at peace.
Difference from the original endings
After watching all 4 endings (yes there are 4) – I was extremely satisfied with the explanation of each – which are done through naration, some video and many slides. The emotional part for me however was when they showed your crew standing in front of a memorial column; it held names of everyone of the Normandy’s crew who had died in service.
I saw the names of Kasumi Goto, Kaidan, and many more. In the center of the column was a special plaque with Admiral Anderson’s name on it and a tearful Ashley walks up and places Shepard’s plaque above his. It was such a powerful scene and it made me proud to have burnt the hours I did making sure that not only humans but that everyone involved was done justice for the lengthy war against the reapers.
Bioware has won me back for taking the time to handle this P.R. nightmare that came from the original endings and while a few people were satisfied with the (make up your own end) that was launched with the game; many of us needed to hear and see it. This free expansion for a better ending was just what the doctor ordered and it has reignited life into the 3rd game for me.
Have you had a chance to experience the new endings? I’m asking those of you who replayed your endings… sorry but watching the videos on Kotaku doesn’t count for this question. It just feels more personal when the expanded ending features your own Shepard and I want to hear from you folks. Are you good now, or are you still put off by the end of Mass Effect 3 and this wonderful saga of Commander Shepard?