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6.26.2012

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut


"Let sleeping dogs lie" is a phrase which comes to mind at this time. It's been awhile since my nerdrage against the Mass Effect 3 ending subsided. And now I just don't care that much. Good game. Horrible ending. Surprisingly fun multiplayer. Kinda evens out. As I've said before, Mass Effect 1 is the best when it comes to story anyhow so I'll just think of it whenever Mass Effect's story is brought up.

But now we have the so-called "Extended Cut." How odd for a video game.

Let me just pose this question: has an "extended" or "director's" cut ever seriously improved a film that had a major flaw? Possibly, I suppose. But I don't know what they are. Mostly they just contain extra tidbits for salivating hardcore fans to lap up.

Lack of information, as has been said time and time again, is not the core problem of Mass Effect 3's ending.

But let me tell you what: in talky sci-fi it does help. What a difference a couple of additional lines can make!

The Extended Cut, in my mind, supports the theory that the ending was rushed. This is the ending that always should have been. No, it's not fundamentally different, but it is definitely a lot better.

The "Star Child" Catalyst is still there. You're still presented with the same choices, but there's a few extra bits here and there that help cut down on the unexplained and seemingly nonsensical nature of the ending. And the three endings are differentiated much, much better than before.

The thing that really won me over was the addition of a forth choice to the mix. That's right. You can tell that little A.I. snot to take his choices and shove 'em! Awesome. Yeah, that'll basically doom everyone, but - hey - freedom of choice and jazz, right? Plus the ending you get after that is pretty well done.

I got pretty excited when I saw this option. Finally!

As for the other choices, you can actually have the Catalyst explain what's up with them. Y'know, investigate. Find out more information. I mean they're kinda significant choices, right? It was a little odd before when you couldn't get much information even though most every side character in the game will spout off their life story at the slightest provocation.

Now perhaps I've just accepted the whole "Star Child" thing. Perhaps if I played it for the first time ever I'd still get angry even with the Extended Cut installed. Perhaps it still makes no sense at all and my standards have been lowered since the original ending was so disappointing. I don't know. It truly is impossible to know at this point and what's the point of speculating?

The Extended Cut fixes or at least attempts to address nearly all the major problems I had with the ending. It will not quell the rage of others who are just predisposed to hate or were fundamentally looking for something different in an ending. For me and for many other fans, we were simply looking for real choice, real closure, and real effort and now I feel like I've gotten that even though it's not perfect. It's pretty good.

This does a lot to repair my damaged relationship with BioWare. So objective accomplished there, guys. Next time don't rush. And when EA wants to get involved in your creative decisions tell them what I told the Catalyst: buzz off!

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