I finally got around to playing the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC. I was quite happy with the open-ended original ending, but many people were not. This 2GB free download will provide more closure to you if you fall into that category. Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t finished Mass Effect 3 yet, stop reading now. 🙂
First of all, it’s fantastic that EA/Bioware offer this ending for fans at no cost. Hopefully, you have a save that’s relatively close to the end. I had to start a ways back, before the assault on Cronos Station, but the epic battles that follow were enjoyable to play through again. I chose to bring a different party with me in the final stretch to make the Banshee battles a bit easier and to vary it up a bit. However, if you can, I recommend bringing your romantic partner with you, as it will give you a more meaningful scene added by the Extended Cut, near the end of the game.
The primary addition of the DLC is an epilogue of sorts. There are the 3 endings, each with their own added epilogue, and there is also a fourth mini ending if you refuse all the choices offered to you. After playing through it once, you’re given a save that you can load right before you beam up to the Citadel letting you try the various endings and see how they play out with your characters and the choices you made. I definitely recommend playing through it at least once, but here are the full endings for reference (the links will open in a new window).
Synthesis Skip to 70s.
Control Skip to 80s.
Destroy Skip to 90s.
I liked the original open-ended conclusion. Yes, it made a lot of fans complain, but it also spurred a bunch of discussion – I was actually really leaning toward the Indoctrination Theory. But these new endings are good, as well, and provide closure to those that want (need?) it. Perhaps more importantly, they differentiate the endings in more ways than colour (the community were calling the endings the Red, Green, and Blue endings – hah). I liked the added scene when running to the beam where your squad mates get evacuated. I found the Synthesis ending a little too fantastical and Utopian – even the plant life is somehow infused with synthetics and everybody has green eyes and magical circuits or something. A little creepy. Great for Joker and EDI, though. 🙂 And I liked the narration by EDI. One thing that didn’t change but remains interesting is that the Destroy ending is the only one where Commander Shepard lives.
I didn’t play the original Mass Effect, but played both 2 and 3. I got attached to the characters, I cared about what happened to them and felt bad about poor decisions. These are not short games, they’re massive time investments. Yet they managed to keep my attention (which grows shorter by the day), for almost their entirety. The writing can be both funny and moving. The art direction and visuals are top notch. The voice work is exemplary (Nintendo, please take notes). The music is evoking… I love the music and will be printing out a decent piano score of Leaving Earth. The gameplay is genuinely very fun, tense, and polished. You could say, “Well, it’s an overwhelmingly massive production, …” (it is) “… everything has to be amazing.” Luckily, in this case, that’s true; but not only are the components amazing, everything fits together so well the end product is something more. And I’m thankful for that. I look forward to the next entry in the Mass Effect universe.
(But I’m content to wait a while, I have a massive backlog of neglected games.) 🙂