So I finished my very first play-through of the Mass Effect trilogy (PC, natch!) a month ago, and it has taken me this long to get over it.
I managed to avoid a lot of information and spoilers since release, although the uproar from gamer friends and the gaming community at large when it did end did not escape me. I couldn’t let their fury over a sub-par, let-down ending sway me though, this was a game I absolutely had to play. And overall, despite what I am about to say about it, I’m ever so glad that I did.
Science-fiction is my favourite genre. Of all times. I also love RPGs. Sprinkle in a decent story set in an expansive, rich and creatively designed universe and I’ll be a sucker for you. Mass Effect had everything I could want in a game, and more. From the very beginning I was hooked. And therein lay my problem.
What do you do when something you have spent 100+ hours of your life on just, well, ends? All this time with your Shepard, saving the galaxy, hanging with your awesome teammates who you’ve gotten to know and actually care about (yes, I cared about them, I don’t care if that makes me an idiot) and then KEPOW, done. I grieved, I actually mourned the loss of Mass Effect. For days afterward, I just wasn’t myself, it was almost like a depression. The only experience I could liken it to was a break-up. And it wasn’t really an amicable one.
The first installment, such a shiny and new experience for me, drew me in, excited me, made me look forward to the future. The second installment solidified my loyalty to the series. The third… while it had its epic moments… completely disillusioned me. It chewed me up and spat me back out. I found out afterward that the process; the writing and writers essentially, had been changed. And holy **** did it show.
Things just started going wrong, my relationship with ME was on the rocks. The dialogue in some scenes felt forced, the options not as total as they had been for me in ME2. I found myself yelling at my monitor, frustrated. “My Shep would NOT say that!” I was confused and dissatisfied. Slowly my Paragon was turning Renegade, and I myself went from delight to dread.
And I had all of the DLC and the Extended Cut. I can’t imagine how people must have felt playing at release.
I won’t get into the ending, or the Star Child, or the possibility of your Shepard turning into Space Jesus, but suffice it to say this is basically what I looked like:
I sat there, and stared and stared, for a long time. It was over. Where do I go from here? Where does Mass Effect go from here?
Short answer: Nowhere. The little glimmer of hope I felt when I thougt Liara mindfecked me at the end, stealing the Essence of Shep to make a future little Liapard left me when I found out that ME4 will not include previous canon characters, and no Shepard. It will, however, be set in the wonderful ‘Verse that Drew Karpyshyn created, so I will most definitely give it a whirl.
For now, so long Mass Effect, and thanks for the memories. It has been a month since we finished, and I’ve had enough of obsessively trawling through Youtube videos and listening to our songs like a brokenhearted adolescent teenaged girl. I’m ready to move on. It’s time to peruse the Steam sale and buy me a rebound.