Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
There is some ending discussion going on in the "Show your Shepard" thread, so I thought I would create this so people who haven't finished the game won't go to that thread and have the ending spoiled.
I thought Mass Effect 3 as a whole was the best in the series, but the ending did leave something to be desired. There has been a massive outcry from the fans, and BioWare has stated that they will release new content expanding on the ending in some way. More news to come in April, most likely at PAX on April 6th.
Meanwhile, there has been a lot of discussion and speculation about the endings amongst fans. There are basically two camps. One takes the endings as they are, and says that BioWare just screwed up/ran out of time/became bad writers all of a sudden at the most important part of the game.
Here is a video picking apart the problems with the ending. Very long, but well done and entertaining. The guy sounds a little like Seth Rogan to me.
The other group says that the end sequence was entirely in Shepard's head as he fights indoctrination. There are lots of things in the game that suggest this may be correct. The three choices you are presented with in the end game are control, synthesis, and destruction. According to 'indoctrination theory', control and synthesis lead to Shepard giving in to indoctrination.
In ME1 you fought an indoctrinated agent, Saren, who believed that the way to survive the Reapers was to allow them to evolve organics by implanting technology (this would be analogous to the synthesis choice). In ME3, The Illusive Man is an antagonist who is presumably indoctrinated and believes that the way to defeat the Reapers is to control them (obviously, this would be the control choice).
Both of these choices would lead you down the path that these other two men have already been down, and that path leads to indoctrination. On the other hand, you have the destroy choice, which has been your goal over the course of three games. Choosing this will reject the Reapers and break the indoctrination. This is the only choice that will show you a cutscene of Shepard alive at the end. In this cutscene, it appears that Shepard is laying in a pile of rubble in London. How did he get to London if he was on the Citadel, which was destroyed?
This is the strongest evidence, in my mind, that indoctrination theory is correct and Shepard never left London after he was knocked out by Harbingers beam. This ending would imply that the fight is not over, and that they will have to release ending DLC where we see the actual destruction of the Reapers.
Here is a video explaining 'indoctrination theory'.
I found the game fun and enjoyable until the last 10 minutes (the ending on the citadel).
I would have liked some longer and more elaborate videos showing the consequences of your choices and the effects on your crew and main people you met. (And the ability to save the damn game at the choices, instead of redoing the whole damn slow-motion sequence each time. Yes, it auto-saves, but it overwrites that autosave when you are done watchign the ending, so you can't reload it! Gaaaaah, amateurs!).
But the choices and your sacrifice I found fully within the spirit of the game, and your character.
On the other hand, you have the destroy choice, which has been your goal over the course of three games. Choosing this will reject the Reapers and break the indoctrination. This is the only choice that will show you a cutscene of Shepard alive at the end. In this cutscene, it appears that Shepard is laying in a pile of rubble in London.
Umm... Not in my game. This is the one on the right (red), yes? The thing that bothered me most about the ending is that you have no way of knowing which path is which until you activate it.
_________________________ Undercarriage lever a bit sticky was it, Sir?
Well I just finished ME3 today (late to the party). Kept my save from right before the "choice" so I could see all three and man, what a disappointing ending. The game was absolutely fantastic up until the last 15 minutes.
I could write an essay on all the problems I have with the endings, but most of it's been said before. The first video in the OP is fantastic. Really the single most amazing thing to me is that they invested far more effort to giving closure to characters from ME2 than they did on giving you resolution with your current crew members at the very end of the game, most of whom have been with you all the way since ME1. Thane, Miranda, Grunt, Jacob, Samara, Legion all have good and fairly satisfying conclusions to their story, IMO. Garrus, Ashley, Liara, etc? Nothing more than "stranded on a planet somewhere." It's literally like Bioware actually made the first 99% of the game, then gave some random stoner a joint and piece of paper and said "write an ending."
I really *want* to like the indoctrination theory, but it just doesn't work. Plus, if Bioware is actually going to say that that's what they intended, then they're actually saying that we didn't get an ending at all. We don't have any idea what happened after being hit with Harbinger's beam. Even if Shepard "wins" and beats indoctrination, WTF happened then, other than him (presumably) waking up in a pile of rubble? Did some one manage to make it to the Citadel? Is the battle lost? If the "endings" are just indoctrination induced visions, then WTF did the Crucible actually do?
And based on Bioware's response, I don't think the DLC will be any help in resolving things.
Who would have thought that ME 3 was going to have such a negative response when you consider how universally praised the first two games were?
ME3 is a fantastic game. My only really quibble with the game itself is that I think the suicide mission in ME2 was very well done while ME3's final mission just has a standard "pick your squad and go fight" setup (basically like ME1).
It's literally just the last 15 or so minutes of the game where the bottom falls out for me. Even with the current ending I would still highly recommend it if you've enjoyed the other games in the trilogy. The journey is great, even if the destination sucks.