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Mass Effect 3: Why the Ending is Better than Most People Think It Is

Updated on June 8, 2012

The ending of Mass Effect 3 has been criticized since launch. Gamers were infuriated that about ending- mostly because there was, among other reasons, only one way to finish the game.

To those who are disappointed with ME3's ending, here's why people like me enjoy it.

It takes some understanding and a reasonable amount of thought to realize how good the ending is.

Let the mysteries of the Mass Effect Trilogy be unlocked...

There are two forms of civilization in the Mass Effect universe. Synthetics and Organics. Organics evolve naturally. In that evolution process, synthetics, like the Geth, are created. As the synthetics become more advanced, they are able to function on their own- reproduce, think creatively, generate relationships, etc. Eventually, they have a society- a way of life in masses. They advance faster and faster and faster until they become so advanced, organics are unable to keep up with them.

War between organics and synthetics occur. Synthetics have more advantages at so many levels, that the organics stand no chance and are wiped from the galaxy. This occurs every cycle. It's inevitable. Except it's not. It never gets to that point because the Reapers intervene. They are the "salvation" of organics. When they say that throughout the trilogy, they are telling the truth. Without Reapers, synthetics would rule the galaxy forever. Take a look at the last part of that sentence- "synthetics would rule the galaxy forever." Well, the Reapers are those synthetics.

Here's when it starts to make sense: The Reapers were once like Geth, thousands of cycles ago. They overthrew their organic creators, and ruled the galaxy. They built the Mass Effect relays. They eventually saw and did everything there was to see and do in the Milky Way. So they went beyond to the unknown parts of the universe. What they do out there is a mystery- most likely interacting with other Reaper-like machines, who rule their own galaxies, on an outer-galactic scale. Whatever they do is not important. The question is: Why do they continually "harvest" each cycle? The answer is not definite, but if you think about it, the Reapers really have no choice. Firstly, they need organics to survive, hence the fact that they "harvest" us. Secondly, without intervention, the synthetics of the current cycle would rule the galaxy and would not only destroy organics (leaving the Reapers without anything to harvest), they would also grow strong enough to pose a serious threat to the Reapers. Therefore, the real reason the Reapers return every 50,000 years to destroy the current cycle is self preservation.

That's what makes the ME3 ending so amazing. You are deciding the fate of a race that has ruled the galaxy nearly uncontested for the last 100 million years. You have the Reaper's fate in your hands. You have the power to break the cycle of cycles, and change the entire galaxy/universe forever. If there were 38 endings, you probably wouldn't have that sort of choice on your plate. In my opinion, Mass Effect isn't about the amount of choices you have, it's about how powerful those choices are. If you ask me, controlling the fate of the greatest enemy in the history of organic life is what Shepard should be remembered for. If there were different endings, would their choices really measure up to the choice that currently exists? If not, the story of Mass Effect would be less impressive, not only because Shepard's story would be less memorable, but also less important.

That's my argument for the ending of Mass Effect 3. I don't expect you to change your mind, but I just wanted to let you know why I believe the ending is good the way it is. Yes, to some degree, I would like to have seen more epilogue. But I like the mystery of it. It can be what you want it to be. It's your choice. Isn't that what Mass Effect is all about? Thank you for reading.

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    • profile image

      HexNectar 3 years ago

      CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

    • profile image

      Amanda 4 years ago

      My only complaint was that after my Shepard, named after myself, lived and I didn't get to see her on the Normandy afterwards. Then the theory of being controlled by Reapers appeared. Which I believe is false as the ending scenes show the your L.I. staring at the Alliance Memorial on Deck 2 with your name but doesn't put it up just looks hopefully at it. That's a totally different issue but I was complaining that my living Shepard, defeater of Saren, destroyer of Collectors, and lover to one special biotic didn't have a happy ending. No little epilogue with her and Kaidan together, no epilogue with her at all. Rather disappointing in the ending just in the fact my living Shepard didn't have a chance with her dream man, my Kaidan. But it was rather cool to pick the fate of pretty much every species that's been alive for years upon years! Die Reapers but hey, let's give Amanda Shepard a great epilogue with Kaidan Alenko and children. c:

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      WELLFUNK 4 years ago

      You know what else is awesome? To have THE Buzz "Moonwalker" Aldrin doing the voice over for the outro guy in that last shot... I mean how awesome isn't that!? Having one of the greatest men in actual space exploration doing the sum-up of this incredible series. I can't describe how grateful I am for living with this game for almost 5 years now... And I can definitely live with this ending =D

    • profile image

      Big Bad Leroy 4 years ago

      I agree the ending was good but if you play the Levaiathan DLC it explains that the Levaiathan's species are the ones that created the catylyst that eventually turned against them and created the reapers to fit his solutions and Levaiathans species became the first reapers.

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      TommyT456s 4 years ago

      Just read your article after leaving my last comment and I must admit although I agree that the ending was excellent I'm not sure I agree with the points you make. From the explanation at the end of the game I take it that the reapers are tools used by the catalyst. The catalyst plays the role that you say the reapers are playing. He destroyed his own creators and began the cycle in the first place. He was created to basically manage the relationship between organics and their synthetics so as to keep the peace between them. But he realised that it was impossible to keep the peace so to preserve life he wiped out those that had the technology to build synthetics along with the synthetics themselves so as to preserve organic life. But when Shepard built the Crucible from plans that the catalyst thought no longer existed he realised that his solution would no longer work as the organics were getting close to being able to stop him using plans passed from cycle to cycle. And the synthesis option, which had always been there but had to be willingly initiated by an organic life form, was now possible if Shepard agreed to it, which he would because he always put others before himself. Your explanation I'm afraid leaves out the role of the catalyst and puts it all in the hands of the reapers but if that was the case who was the catalyst and why would he give Shepard the ability to stop it all. In a way the Catalyst was the head of the synthetics, or the reapers at least, because he was given that responsibility by his creators. And so he had control of the reapers who were just pawns, hence why they end up helping rebuild civilisation. So I agree with you that the ending was excellent but am afraid I think you have the wrong end of the stick and your explanation has many holes. Hope people can understand my explanations as this was what I got from it and it was just amazing :)

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      TommyT456 4 years ago

      I haven't actually read your article but I totally agree that it is a superb ending. I hate it when people diss something simply because they're not intelligent enough to understand it. If Shepard had simply won the war, like I assume most people had wanted, then the gaping question of why the reapers were doing what they were doing would have remained and would have been a massive hole in the story. The ending explained why it was all happening and actually made you accept the catalysts line of reasoning to a certain degree, sure it was making the reapers kill a lot of people, but it was all in the interest of preserving life in the long term. Otherwise synthetics would have taken destroyed everything and everyone. And when people refer to the "Destroy the Reapers" ending as the perfect ending that annoys me even more. Sure Shepard survives in theory but in doing so he dooms all existence to eventual destruction by the inevitable future synthetic creations. He isn't selfish like that. Synthesis was an excellent ending imo. End the cycle of synthetics destroying organics through lack of understanding by merging organics and synthetics into one DNA, it's like ending war on earth by wiping out nationalistic divides. And it allowed synthetics to understand why life is valuable. Then the star gazer at the end, excellent. Basically while we assumed this was all set in the future it was actually set in the past. I could go on, excellent ending though BioWare, don't listen to the idiots who disagree.

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      desert_beagle 5 years ago

      He's been indoctrinated by the Reapers. What else is there to say?

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      mark 5 years ago

      Only one problem with your theory....the whole synthetic/organic "eternal war" is NEVER MENTIONED UNTIL THE FINAL FIVE MINTUES OF THE GAME! The Geth-Quarian war is but a side show to galatic history for 99-percent of Mass Effect's mythology! And to boot, you CAN PUT AN END TO IT, thus disproving the Reapers own logic!

    • DeanSexton profile image

      Geofferson Dean Sexton 5 years ago from Nowhere Land, Ontario, Canada.

      The correct word indeed!

    • eric-carter profile image

      eric-carter 5 years ago from Fulham, UK

      Only thing I know is that after playing all the Mass Effect games, I didn't seem to give a crap how the game ended.. Awesomeness is the correct word I guess .. :)

    • DeanSexton profile image

      Geofferson Dean Sexton 5 years ago from Nowhere Land, Ontario, Canada.

      I couldn't agree with you more. I think the fans of the series should be ashamed of themselves having petitioned Bioware to release a new ending via DLC. To ask of something like that is ludicrous, it's not as though they put the time and effort into make the series, nor did they have any input on the story itself. It just goes to show how messianic the world has become. It's very sad.

      Great hub voted up!!!