Just to get it out of the way, yes yes I was not satisfied with the ending either. This is coming from a girl who is usually forgiving when it comes to writers and their shortcomings. You can talk all you want, hate all you want but I won’t be mentioning a thing about the ending here, I’ve seen enough fallacies to last me three lifetimes. So yeah, no.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the good stuff!
Most of the things in this list pertain to story and characters. The gameplay is another big improvement that deserves a post of its own. However, it is important to note that I am still angry as fuck that they made the X button do all the fucking work. Heck knows how many times I died because Shep kept rolling at a wall instead of taking cover.
1. Drunk Tali and Drunk Ashley
One of the things that made Mass Effect 3 so great is that the characters seem more alive. They aren’t cookie cutter, plastic figurines with programmed responses anymore. In this game, they actually do shit on their own without your permission and it’s that little thing that makes a big difference in how the game feels.
|Can’t believe they actually included Drunk Tali|
Who says Tali has to stay in the Engineering deck all the time staring at consoles and punching through numbers? She can get depressed too! And when she does, she relies on her Emergency Induction Port to carry her through booze nights.
|Awwww look at you. haha|
James can give Ashley some hardcore booze if he wants to. He did. Now, being Ashley, she chugged it all down like a boss. And hey look, she’s actually wasted! How fun is it that you can troll her while she lies down wasted on the ground?
These characters, acting on their own, without your consent or knowledge makes you feel like you’re travelling with actual people and not just NPCs that stand waiting for you to trigger responses.
In addition, I think it’s pretty damn awesome that BioWare went the extra mile to put your companions in various locations. They’re not pinned down on their ‘assigned area’ anymore. It’s even more awesome that you can run into them while they’re in the middle of a conversation with your other companions. Really cool.
2. It had to be Mordin. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.
The BioWare minds that concocted the Genophage conflict and Mordin Solus as a character deserve a thousand internets. I have never played a game that seriously made me think of morality as much as the genophage did.
Mordin in Mass Effect 2 is easily one of the most likeable characters in the whole franchise. It’s not just the quirks and the singing but because of his perspective about life and balance.
|The best scientist salarian|
In Mass Effect 2, Mordin can stare you down and tell you to chill the fuck out, he knows what he’s doing. You can bombard him with questions about the genophage and even openly call it out as genocide but Mordin will always have a logical reply that can shut you up.
I can imagine that Mordin’s death on Tuchanka will be one of the most talked about ‘Saddest Video Game Scene’ for a long time. If you picked the renegade options through your final conversation with him, you will hear him cry out in painful desperation, “I MADE A MISTAKE!”
And that my friends… is one of the most powerful moments in the game. Hearing Mordin (especially Mordin) say that he made a mistake brought chills down my spine. In that exact moment you realize how much the genophage has been clawing through his insides. And in that moment, that last conversation, you realize that Mordin will give his life for the Krogans just as you would for the whole galaxy.
I lost it right there and cried like a baby.
3. The Reaper at Rannoch
Admit it, you felt pretty damn awesome being the only target of a Reaper. When Shepard decided that “No, no I won’t take this shit sitting down. This ends now.” then you tell everyone to take cover while you stand in front of the Reaper alone, admit it, it was pretty awesome.
It was one of the many moments when you are one with Shepard, when you feel in your veins that resolve to do anything, ANYTHING it takes to take these sons of bitches down. This is what makes you Commander Shepard. This determination is what makes (made?) you a legend and why the whole galaxy believes in you.
This is why you believe in Commander Shepard.
4. EDI asks about Self-Preservation
When EDI told me that she was going to have some questions that Jeff was a bit uncomfortable in answering, I knew her questions were going to be tough. When under scrutiny, Organics usually look pretty bad. Driven by emotionÂ and disregarding logical calculations, we are usually inclined to do really stupid things that are embarrassing in hindsight.
However this conversation with EDI actually made me feel proud to be human.
Also, when she said, “The Reapers are repulsive” somehow it really hit my gut. It’s like seeing your youngest daughter suddenly grow up in front of your eyes. It was one of the moments that contributed to my final stand regarding synthetic life.
5. No nicknames, okay James?
James is surprisingly a likeable character. At least I think so. At first I thought I’d ignore him just as I ignored Jacob “But The Prize” Taylor but I found myself amused by him. Hell, I’m even considering to romance him on one of my playthroughs.
He’s the stereotypical marine, and perhaps that is his greatest strength. He’s cocky about his abilities sure, but there was something in the way it was delivered that made it tolerable enough to be amusing.
I especially like Shepard’s first private conversation with him. It’s a refreshing take on the ol’ NPC conversation. Plus it fits his character well.
I also like that one time he was in your cabin and he was complaining that the place was too soft for his taste. My Shepard said, “The bed is harder than it looks.”
“Are you flirting with me lola?” he teased.
It, again, caught me by surprise that I had to stifle a giggle. Then my Shep crosses her arms. “I’m goin, I’m goin” James said. It was actually kind of cute. In a ship where everybody practically worships the ground you walk on, it’s a refreshing change to see someone try to push your buttons just for the lulz.
6. Failing in Thessia
This was one of the hardest parts in the game. Everyone in Thessia helped you to succeed. Lives were sacrificed just so you can reach the temple. Heck before you even got out of Thessia, you can hear some of the Asari talk to each other on the radio while inevitable chaos consumes them all.
“Did Shepard get in the temple?”
So when Kai Leng beat me to the punch, when the dawning realization came that they did everything they could to help me and yet I still failed, it broke my heart and my ego.
It is also the first time that you, as Commander Shepard, really failed. Of course one can argue that there are things beyond one’s control but still it doesn’t change the fact that you failed, and a whole world fell because of it.
They placed their faith in you and despite the chances of them dying they still went on ahead and got your back. And in the end you failed them all. It really hurt.
7. Thane > Kai Leng
Thane has always been cool but to see him fight Kai Leng elevated him to another level of awesome. Maybe because Kai Leng just looked really ridiculous as an assassin. And I hate him.
I think Kai Leng looks too bulky. He’s always crouched like a crab. Assassins in my mind are slick and lithe and graceful. Kai Leng looks as awkward as a bull compared to Thane.
It’s also equally awesome how Thane scoffed at Kai Leng as an assassin. Even though he did die in the end, you just know Thane is more skilled. Perhaps it’s the way he talks and how his beady eyes seem to express death.
8. Does this unit have a soul?
Mass Effect made me think about synthetic life in ways that no philosophy discourse can. I would even go as far as saying that it changed my views on synthetic life. In writing, we are often told that our main goal is to make our readers believe. If you fail that, you ultimately fail as a writer. In this matter I guess, (discounting the endings) BioWare won.
I never thought I’d care about synthetic life as much as I do now. When Tali was desperately begging me to “choose her people” over the geth, to actually destroy the geth, I had to pause and think because for that moment, the geth ceased to be just machines for me.
My decision on the Geth-Quarian conflict solidified my stand on synthetic life. It was in this moment that I decided I will do whatever it takes to protect ALL life. Synthetic or Organic, everyone deserves to live, everyone deserves a chance.
As my Shepard always says in tight situations, “No one else will die today.”
I bet you can guess which ending I picked, no?
9. Garrus, meet me at the bar
There are very few characters in games who can gather the admiration of both the male and female audience. If your Shepard is a man, Garrus is the best wingman. If your Shepard is a lady… well…
|Them scars drove me CRAZY HOT. hahaha|
That final conversation with Garrus is one for the books. BioWare did an amazing job. You know what, before going back to Earth for the Final Conflict, my Shepard was already resolved. She knew she was going to die. I was okay with that. By the time I got to Earth, I cared about all these people I gathered for the army that I will do anything in my power to drive the Reapers away and let everyone live.
For their future, I was resolved in sacrificing my life.
But when I talked to Garrus…
…. suddenly I wanted to live. Suddenly, I had this massive desperation to not die. It was a moment of selfish weakness. This scream inside my head that says, “You must live! For the turian-human babies!”
Seriously though, Shepard choking on her last few words was enough to make me dangerously doubt my mission. I wanted to live for him.
10. The Last Sprint
Much has been said about the inadequacy of the ending but the suspense that was built leading to it was incredible. Everything in the Final Conflict screams of desperation. And there is no better manifestation of desperation than making one mad dash to the Citadel beam.
Think about it. You have worked your ass up to this last minute and now your vehicle breaks down. There’s a few meters separating you from the beam. You don’t know what the hell the beam is going to do to you, you don’t know exactly what to do, but you run. You run because the fate of the galaxy rests in your hands.
|We’re so close!|
Looking at that empty space that separates you from the Citadel scared the shit out of me. You’re so close and yet so many things can fuck up in that empty space. You and your crew run towards the beam, all of you risking your lives, all of you doing all that you can do.
There are a LOT more awesome moments in Mass Effect 3. These are the things that I remember at the top of my head. Share me your awesome moments![Updated]
1. Grunt Wants Something Eat
Grunt has always been a favorite of mine in ME2. This scene where he throws himself at the Ravagers and seemed to die only to come out bloody with the words, “Has anybody got something to eat?” made me cry so hard.
Just recalling that now brings tears to my eyes.
Perhaps it was the feeling of losing so many friends already. I was just so tired, I didn’t want to lose anyone anymore so when Grunt reappeared I just cried, relieved that I didn’t lose him too.
2. Reaper VS Thresher Maw
This was just beyond awesome.
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