Spoilers warning: If you haven't finished Mass Effect 3, I would avoid reading anymore than this. Seriously, I would even avoid scrolling down too far.
Let me get this out of the way at the very beginning. I love Mass Effect 3. 99% of it is my absolute favorite in the series. I think it takes the best aspects of both of it's previous installments and combines it into one amazing nerdgasm. But that ending… Dear Lord, that ending.
I keep an open mind about things that I have no control over. If, as an example, George Lucas wants Darth Vader to yell "No!" as he throws Emperor Palpatine to his death, that's his prerogative. It's not a change I would have made, but it's not my movie. It's his. That's how it is on the blu-ray, and I except that. I'm not entitled to anything.
Like I said, It's not my movie.
To that end, I ask myself: Why, as the credits began to roll at the end of Mass Effect 3, was I so uncharacteristically livid? I felt like taking the disc and breaking it in half. I say again, I'm not entitled to a damned thing. I never pretend to be. Even after the 100+ (probably truer to say 200+) hours that I put into the series, I know I'm not entitled to anything better than what Bioware decided to give me. But that also means that Bioware themselves, after the many, many man hours they put into making the games, are not entitled to universal praise for the game they released.
I knew right away why it didn't sit well with me (the fact that I felt so angry was the confusing part). I didn't get any closure. The only thing I can compare it to is the Lord of the Rings movies. I've never read all the books, so the movies are the best approximate I can come up with. Spoilers for that series are in the following paragraph.
At the end of Frodo and Sam's legendary quest, right after they had finally destroyed the ring of power, they lay exhausted on mount doom as lava erupted from what had become a live volcano. They share a few words, embrace each other as brothers and the screen fades to black. If that was Mass Effect 3, that is where the credits would start rolling. But no, Peter Jackson put in 40 minutes of closure to end that epic.
I submit that Bioware has every right to undo all that history and utterly destroy Galactic Civilization. That's their call to make. I just wish, with every fiber of my being, that they had had the decency to give us 10, maybe 15 minutes to let us know what Tali'Zorah Vas Normandy thought of Shepard's sacrifice. A scene to let Liara T'soni grieve for the man (or woman) she loved. A moment to let Admiral Steven Hackett revel in the victory of a battle hard fought. It did not have the emotional punch that I had deluded myself into thinking it would have.
I've heard all the "it's Shepard's story" arguments throughout various website forums. Also, I do "get it." Believe me. I've tried to convince myself every which way that what is presented should be enough for me. It isn't.
This is quite literally what the ending was like for me. Yay for 8-bit era endings!
I suppose I was angry, because after years of falling in love with a world and the characters inhabiting it, all I got were explosions followed by Gilligan and crew getting off their boat. As a story telling medium, I've always thought that video game's peer could never be film, but rather novels. A lot of my disappointment likely comes from the thought that as much as I love this medium, even my favorite developer's may still have a ways to go.
The truth is, I have never felt such vehement rage after playing a game. But now, I'm forced to reconcile my feelings with what it is. If this is truly all we're getting, I'll deal with it.
Despite my disappointment of it's end, the game is amazing and I will be playing it multiple more times in the future. However, unfortunate as it is, every time I make it to those end of game credits in the future, I'll have a hard time not thinking, "If only, damn it. If only."
John is over it. He furiously typed this out a few days ago and afterwards found this wonderful Fan Fiction ending by DevianArt user, Arkis. It made him feel better… also worse.