The Elephants Aren't As Big As We Thought 
Friday, 13 July, 2012, 01:47
Posted by Administrator
No, I haven't been stewing over the Mass Effect 3 endings since May, I've been busy :)

Earlier this month BioWare released a free DLC for Mass Effect 3 known as the Extended Cut. This DLC did not contain any new gameplay at all; rather, it contained a clarification of the original three endings. These came in the form of extended cutscenes, still images, and voiceovers. While some folks will stick to their guns and say that this DLC did nothing to improve the Mass Effect experience, I believe it resolved a lot of the questions that I was left with after my first playthrough.

Let's look at the color choices for a second. Mass Effect was all about choices and, based on these choices, the storylines diverged. When the player is called upon to make a decision, he or she must choose one of several possible responses that can be neutral, Paragon (often colored blue), or Renegade (often colored red). The original endings of Mass Effect 3 presented you with three choices: control, synthesis, and destroy. These were colored blue, green, and red, respectively. Since the encounter with Sovereign in the first Mass Effect installment, the player has been compelled to defeat the Reapers, which means they need to go with the destroy ending, colored red. So, if the ultimate goal is to defeat the Reapers, why is the preferred ending colored Renegade Red? Why is the Control option, which the Illusive Man has been trying to pursue the entire time, colored Paragon Blue?

It seems like a minor thing, really, but it kind of confused me. My first character was, by and large, Paragon. At the end of the game, I had to make one last decision that I have been working toward throughout the series a renegade decision.

The problem with the original endings was that I had no idea why this was a renegade decision. That is the purpose of the Extended Cut DLC: to clarify why this could be construed as a renegade action. In the end, it boils down to the fact that all Council races need to rebuild everything themselves, and that the control mechanism implemented by the race that originally designed the Reapers is now destroyed, paving the way for synthetic life to eventually eliminate organic life altogether. That honestly makes sense.

Similarly, the blue (Control) ending finds Shepard becoming a Reaper himself, controlling all other Reapers and helping rebuild everything that was destroyed during the war that played out in Mass Effect 3. This gets all Council races back on their feet again with minimal interruption to their space-faring ways, and it preserves the Geth (which matters if you decided to keep them alive to work with the Quarians).

I played through the ending with my first Shepard a second time. I chose the Control ending because, now that I knew what it was all about, it seemed to be a fitting choice.
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