Mass Effect 3: Reapers, Reapers Everywhere

After rambling on about the first two Mass Effect games, I felt like I had to plan ahead what I was going to say about the third.

Things are gonna get a bit rant-like once we approach the end, but for now, I'm gonna start this up like the usual. I enjoyed playing through it just like with the second, hence why I cannot choose between them. But then again, this conflict may be normal for most fans!


I think it's only fair that I put a picture with Femshep since she looks so badass in this game
Finally, the moment we all anticipated would happen: The Reapers are here! It was great how they opened it up taking place in BC, and I will always get goosebumps hearing that piano music when Shepard leaves Earth. After that we head for Mars to get blueprints on a super weapon, and then the majority of the story after that is pretty much we build big alliances and unite all the species of the galaxy (why can't more sci-fi franchises do this?!) to fight the Reapers in any way they can. Of course, we do that by helping them first, encountering many old friends and a few new ones along the way. Everything seems to be going as planned to the hoped destruction we want to bring to the Reapers, along with creepy indoctrinated Illusive Man trying to persuade us that control is the answer instead. Yet the only thing we lack to end the war is the absence of the Catalyst which then leads to the major shocking (and for many people disappointing) plot twist, which I will talk about later.

Once again we have a game play where we have to rely on resources to get the best results.

I feel like this game had a lot of great improvements with the combat for sure, and the story gets even deeper when you are required to build the alliances with other species by helping them out before they help you. Biggest things there: Curing the genophage and ending the war between the geth and the quarians. I could never bring myself to sabotage the cure, the Dalatrass is a bitch anyway and probably the salarian I hate the most. As for the geth quarian war, I'm better off making peace between both of them, even if it means Legion sacrifices itself.

I found that in this game, there's a lot more you need to plan ahead before you enter the final fray:
  • Gather your war assets, as I was first told that they increase your Effective Military Strength (EMS) which determines how much damage/death will occur from the final battle. The highest amount of EMS points I had once was 7000+ so when I picked the Destroy ending, the mass relays and the Citadel were merely damaged and could be repaired. I would also scan a lot of planets between missions to collect assets and bring back artifacts for people on the Citadel just to build up those points.
  • Galactic Readiness, which I didn't realize was important at first. But, it is useful because it makes your war assets perform better in the final battle, pushing back the Reaper forces more. Hence by the time I finish Sanctuary and all the DLCs, I turn to multiplayer and keep at it until all parts of the galaxy are between 90 and 100 percent readiness.
Those are your best bets, in my humble opinion, to get the ideal ending you want, no matter what you choose to do.

My God he is sexy
This game brought some returning faces that we haven't seen since the first game. I wandered into the engineering deck and found Adams working there again. Since I mostly save Ashley on Virmire, she's back too but I feel like she has a hard time letting go of grudges given what happens in the past. James is buff and likes to flirt with my Femshep even though she's taken by sweet Garrus. This ladies, is the game that makes us love that sexy turian. 

It seems that he's been relying on romance movies to help him boost his confidence in the relationship, but once he kisses my Femshep for the first time, there's no need for those vids anymore. Like she says in the paragon interruption "Who needs a vid when you've got me?" That first kiss where he dips her down like that never fails to make me swoon. 

It's also a shame we don't get a small sex scene with him like you do if you romance another human....errr no I don't think I'm gonna write the details of what I would prefer to see, only Garrus fangirls will know what to picture along with me.

He's also pretty attractive too
I love going to Palaven's moon at the beginning, it's epic and since I love turians; I'm trying not to fangirl too much, especially when we see Garrus again. Then we meet Adrien Victus next in line for Palaven's new Primarch. I don't know why, but I like talking to him, he has such a calm voice and I find it rather compassionate when he says:

"The strategist in me admires their brutality. The turian in me knows I'm watching the destruction of fifteen thousand years of civilization. My civilization."

He is somehow able to go from being a military general to being a politician, I almost admire that. I kind of like him a little, and imagine if I was dating him rather than Garrus, it would be a more mature relationship, no fun and games but still faithful, consensual and romantic when the time comes.

Like every other average Mass Effect fangirl, I'm smitten over Garrus, but I have an uncommon attraction to Adrien Victus and till this day I still do not know why.


Did you see that thresher maw? It popped out of the dirt, like a daisy!
By the time I get to this mission, I just want to sprint under the Reaper, and not even bother with the brutes just to summon Kalros. The first time I did this, I kept worrying she was going to pop out and I'd have to fight her, just like with ever other thresher maw, but now I think it's perfect that we get to see the mother of all thresher maws after enough exposure to them in the previous games. Nothing is more satisfying than watching it take down a destroyer class Reaper.

It's awesome how both sets of the main quest that involve building alliances with species, end up with a showdown with a Reaper, first you bring in a thresher maw, then you call in an orbital strike to take down another. Nevertheless, that doesn't stop the Reapers from continuing to harvest.

Would you live in seclusion for the rest of your life here, no matter how peaceful it looks at first?
Aside from the main missions, my favourite side one that you have to do before you do the priority ones, would definitely have to be about the Ardat Yakshi monastery. Seems a lot like a boarding school to me. Asari with special abilities have to live here all their lives, with a routine, like you're back in post-secondary school, or summer camp again. But this was an eerie mission, like when you enter the darkness and hear screaming echoing from afar. The place is abandoned and the Reapers are harvesting the asari by turning them into banshees: Those screaming creatures that look seriously demented. Too bad about Rila, but at least you get to save Falere. I wouldn't allow Samara to kill herself or her daughters for anything.

This hurts you
This is where we get into the real juicy stuff. The final battle on Earth after we discover from Vendetta that the Citadel is the Catalyst, is a rather shocking event. I mean, hasn't the Citadel been part of enough battles already? There are people living there, but nope it's Reaper tech, so it's never enough. It's always emotional to say goodbye to all your squad mates before you start the end of the war.

At first I thought Harbinger's lasers were going to hit me as I sprinted straight for the beam, but in reality it determines who dies based on how high your EMS is. What sucks however, is this is the last time you ever see Harbinger, so the only way to know what happened to it, is the ending that you choose.

It doesn't even look like its main laser beam hits Shepard, it just goes towards him/her and they wake up all bloodied and broken as they enter the Citadel. My last play through was the only time I had enough paragon points to make the Illusive Man shoot himself, probably because I imported a ME3 Shepard that I had already completed. One thing is certain; the Illusive Man was way more indoctrinated than Saren.

You have a choice
So what did I do in the end? Well, like a million others, I too was surprised that once the Crucible connected to the Citadel, nothing happened, no "Peeewwwww!!" or "KA-BLAM!!" that we were all expecting. Then we get taken to this: the Catalyst is also part some ghost child that looks like that little boy we saw on Earth. The only actual child we see throughout the trilogy, so is that why Shepard kept having nightmares about him? 

Anyone else get hit by a confuse ray while the child explains why the Reapers do what they do? Cause I sure as hell did, it seems that no matter what happens, there's always going to be a hitch:

  • Destroy: It'll be peaceful at first, you might even survive after the destruction starts if you have enough EMS, but your children and their children will create synthetics and the chaos will come back. Why not just set up a law to stop them from making synthetics? Oh no wait....that'll create chaos in strikes, just like in real life politics!
  • Control: The Reapers will submit to you, but sadly you lose your body and soul to them, and all who care about you, won't even know you're watching over them. Basically you lose everything and everyone you love, just like death itself.
  • Synthesis: Same thing, only you add your energy to the Crucible: another sacrifice in a nutshell, merge with it, and it creates peace without killing all synthetics and organics thus ending the cycle...but sadly, you won't be there to witness the new age of peace in the galaxy because you gave away your life to make it happen. Seems like a noble sacrifice, but there could have been another way you know.
Or you can just refuse and it'll basically be the war continues until everyone has been wiped out, or some miracle happens and we wipe them out.

So what choice did I make in the end? Well looking at all these options, I went with the Destroy ending as I have said already. I had a sufficient amount of EMS so Garrus didn't put my name on the memorial wall, and I saw a glimpse of my Femshep gasping for air. 

The aftermath I see it as this: The Alliance find my Femshep barely alive in the rubble of the severely damaged, she is taken into the hospital on Earth and spends a few weeks there recovering. Eventually Garrus comes to see her and is in tears but rejoices once he realizes she's going to be all right. 

After being discharged, the Citadel and the mass relays are repaired, my Femshep and Garrus get married, they adopt one human and one turian, and basically live happily ever after somewhere warm and tropical! The peace is restored in the galaxy: the krogan are breeding again, the quarians are living on Rannoch and eventually will be able to live without their suits, Tuchanka, Thessia, Palaven, and all the other planets that suffered collateral damage rebuild their cities and civilization as well.

Yeah I know, if you pick Destroy, you sacrifice EDI and the geth, I was never a huge fan of those so that would also explain why I went with it. The endings I have never hated on, nor do I love them; I'd say I'm neutral about them, but able to cope with them because there are countless other things I enjoy throughout this game that make me nearly forget about how strange the ending is.

The Extended Cut DLC gives a lot of more depth to whatever ending you choose, and I like that idea.

So, what's up with all the hate? I think what everyone was expecting out of this conclusion was another final boss fight, this time with Harbinger. It could be similar to taking down that Reaper on Rannoch, but in the end, I can understand why BioWare made the choice to not do that.

Think about it, Harbinger is twice the size of a typical Sovereign class Reaper. You'd need everyone painting that target for an orbital strike, or would you even have enough ships with that firepower? Probably not.

Besides, it's different how they decide to make you choose a final fate like that rather than what video games typically present to you at the very end. That's what makes this game stand out, and I hate it when people still make fun of it to this day. Some of my friends have even refused to play the games all because of this ending.

Let me remind you that there is tons of deep lore and fun game play throughout the trilogy, the good outweighs the bad, so even if you don't like the ending, don't boycott the trilogy just because of that. You'll be missing out on a lot of fun things. The third game has my favourite DLCs, and the multiplayer is great too.

So, that concludes my rambles on the Mass Effect trilogy, I hope you enjoyed them, and maybe in the future I'll do another one of these for a different game series.

I have also planned individual entries about the DLCs in the trilogy so that's on my to-do list too for any major writing projects.

Look out for that all you pyjaks.

-Emily

Comments

  1. To this day, I think I actually enjoy the weird-ass endings. I was happy that it differentiated itself from the very "THIS IS A VIDEO GAME BOSS" of the Mass Effect 2 Proto Reaper. A battle against Harbinger would have been besides the point. Mass Effect has always been very lovecraftian in nature and I think it's fitting that the "final boss" cannot actually be beaten. Harbinger and the Reapers are just simply too much. And even when a solution through the Catalyst is found, it's still the end of Shepard. For the hero of this story it is actually impossible to see the world she/he managed to change.

    Overall I think ME3 was better in line with the first game than ME2. It manages to keep consistent with the themes of the series even if the Star Child wasn't perhaps the best presentation of the "Reaper AI". And you're right; The DLCs in ME3 are great and the multiplayer is really fun.

    Glad to see not everyone blindly hate the ending. It's really easy to judge it but if you look under the surface I think the ending feels actually really fitting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said.

      Yeah the problem with the gamer community is they seem to love the thrill of defeating the final boss. Whereas with Mass Effect it's a different story like you just described with Harbinger and the rest of the Reapers. Realistically it's too much. It ends with a bang of your choice as it seems. At least we have the Extended cuts to make some sense out of whatever ending you choose.

      Honestly, those who boycott the trilogy because of this don't know what they're missing. One of my friends has not played the games ever since and he's missing out on trying different approaches to the story and of course the newer DLCs for this game. I pity him.

      Delete
  2. Very good review. Like few people I don't hate the endings there OK in my book it did what it needed to do, my only complaint is the lack of Harbinger now I am not saying we needed a boss fight with it cause we didn't but I do fill it deserved a slightly bigger role after the huge build up with it in 2. But other then that i love this game and have played the trilogy many times over and will continue to in future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true because Harbinger is supposed to be the main antagonist leading the Reapers right? Why didn't he/it get a bigger role. All Harbinger does in ME2 is control the Collectors and then we don't see it again until it arrives to stop us from reaching the Conduit. Harbinger has a badass voice.

      I need to play through again, and this time not take long pauses hahaha

      Delete

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