Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite blog on the Citadel.

At the end of the first and second Mass Effect games, I felt a mix of success and apprehension. I was happy because I was close to the end and about to see what conclusion my choices would bring upon the galaxy and its inhabitants. I was also scared, because with another Mass Effect game coming to its end I knew the black hole that had continued to reside in my heart would do so once more.
Describing Mass Effect’s absence as a black hole does seem a little extreme. However, I have never in my life become so attached to a game and been so upset when it was over. Sure, I get a little sad when I finish a Legend of Zelda or Nancy Drew installment, but they are both franchises that will continue to spin out game after game.
With Mass Effect, there was always a looming gloom that hung over the games because I knew, along with other fans, that eventually it had to end. The game’s protagonist, Commander Shepard, was one of the most human and realistic characters I have ever played. Since Shepard was so human, Shepard was also mortal to me. One day Shepard’s story would be over and I would have to let a character that I had put hours upon hours of my life into go.
As with every game before it, the third was no different when it came to its overall quality. The dialogue was satisfying, cut scenes breathtaking and the storyline compelled you to keep playing until 3 a.m. even though you knew you had to be up for work at 7.
This game hit home for a lot of fans (including myself) not only because it was the end, but also because you were fighting to save your own planet—and there was a very good chance you would not be able to.
To be honest, the game itself was kind of like eating your absolute favorite meal and then being left with a sour taste in your mouth. Bioware has been the pioneer for file-transfer-gaming. The choices you made in the first and second games completely affected the third and everything in it.
However, with no spoilers, the end of the game just seemed disappointing. I had worked for over 140 hours of my life to get to the final chapter and—nothing I chose seemed to have an effect. For two and three-quarters of a series everything I did had some kind of consequence that was unique to the choice I made. Yet, no matter which path you took in all the games, somehow every player would end up in the same place.
I might just be an unhappy gamer, upset that the game is over and realizing that there is no Mass Effect 4; only, I was not the only fan left dissatisfied with the ending to the series. There are actually so many that have complained to Bioware that the company is actually going to change the ending. That is almost like everyone being upset that Bruce Willis was really a ghost the whole time in “The Sixth Sense” and M. Night Shyamalan rewriting and redirecting the movie.
I will be replaying the Mass Effect series and the third game by itself. I want to replay the third game with my original fem-Shep and not only change my final decision but also change my relationship with Kaidan. Yes, I chose the whiney guy every straight man who plays the game loves to hate. And I really have liked Kaidan, all along—until Bioware ruined his appeal for me by making him bisexual out of the gosh-darn blue (but that rant is a whole other story).
Honestly, I’m going to go back and get with James, mainly because he is voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr. Even though I’m a girl who loves games and all that is nerdy (which usually puts me with the boys) I’m still a girl…and he’s Freddie Prinze Jr.
As a fan, the most I hope for is that Bioware will continue on with the Mass Effect universe. They have created such an amazing galaxy full of unique worlds, species and characters that it would be a waste not to create a new story (or prequel) of some kind.
Although I will miss sleepless nights and tired mornings after playing the last game, I am glad to have had the experience. The gameplay, dialogue, character development and story were as always, amazing. I smiled at the screen like a goof the first two hours I played, cried when I lost friends and laughed my ass off when Garrus and James talked shit. The unloved conclusion was my only real issue with the game and if Bioware wants to replace it with DLC gamers everywhere will probably complain about having to pay. But, as always, we’ll buy it.