The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Ending of beloved game has Mass Effect on editor

After almost a month of frustration, I think I can finally vent with some sense of reason.

Early this month I bought my long-awaited copy of “Mass Effect 3,” the concluding chapter of the “Mass Effect” series, 2012’s most anticipated game by several gaming websites and magazines and, more importantly, the end to the story. My story.

The gist of the space odyssey is that you are Commander Shepard, a human soldier thrown into a nefarious plot of an ancient synthetic race that threatens to return to the galaxy and destroy all organic life. Humanity, as well as the other alien races, faces extinction.

What sets “Mass Effect” apart is the sheer volume of effort, writing and pure detail that went into making the trilogy. BioWare, the series developer, has by far profited the most from “Mass Effect.” Its universe parallels even the heavy hitters of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.”

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But BioWare set out to rewrite gaming history. Sure, they could write one linear story: Commander Shepard is a marine for life, learns of the threat of the Reapers, makes some friends and some enemies along the way, but ultimately beats the Reapers. No. “That’s not enough,” BioWare said. “Let’s put the choice into the player’s hands. That way, each experience would be different.”

A huge risk, to be sure. Imagine the variability that goes into each game. Your Shepard character can be male, female, white, black, sinner or saint. You, as the galaxy’s polarizing figure, could choose to exterminate races, sacrifice worlds and play God. Each story would have a different series ending, depending on your choices. A huge risk, but through the first two entries in the series, it paid off for BioWare.

Which brings me to now – 2012, five years after the first game hit the shelves. With “Mass Effect 3” in my hands, I spent about a week-and-a-half sprinting through the single-player story mode; I had to know how it would all end.

Long story short, the ending didn’t live up to all the hype. The in-game relationships I built and the galaxy-wide decisions I made – which were promised for years to affect the endgame outcome – meant absolutely nothing. My success against the Reapers was determined by some quantitative number of how many ships and support I had at my side. Most of the characters I had worked to keep alive were killed off in the third game anyway.

Even worse, I didn’t even feel like I won at the end. “Mass Effect” seemed to fall right into the stereotype of the science fiction genre, essentially stating, “You exist only as part of a bigger problem, and you are helpless to do anything about it.”

This is the first “Mass Effect” title I don’t feel like replaying, and I’ve replayed the first two titles several times. And yes, I’m not alone either as more than 80 percent of fans say they feel disappointed by the trilogy’s ending. That, I think, is because BioWare promised a unique experience for every player, and ultimately, it desperately wrote a poor conclusion after the realization that such an experience was not possible.



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